I had boxes of ammo that just refused to light. It was a few boxes of both Armscorp and Magsafe handgun rounds that had been stored for a couple of years after I bought them. Out of the several boxes, I maybe had 5 or 6 rounds that went off.
Upon further inspection, the primers had been struck. When the bullets were pulled and the powder checked, it was revealed that the primers were indeed the culprit, as the powder readily ignited.
"'Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue sky? "
Location: Third bunker on the right,Central Virginia
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WD 40 and simiar products will kill primers quite quickly. It will penetrate the primer pocket, around the edge of the primer. However, I have WW II vintage 8mm Muaser that I am still shooting. Depends on how it was stored. Stable temps, low humidity, don't repeatedly drop boxes on a hard surface, etc.
Supposedly ATF approached manufacturers several years about building in a shelf life to primers. The ammo makers told them there is nothing you can do to make a primer go bad in ten years that won't make it go bad in ten minutes.
I have ammo that I loaded in the early 80's that still works fine. Kept in sealed ammo cans but not very climate controlled. Zero problems. I have fired commercial handgun ammo that was from the 40's. Stored under unknown conditions for many years. Tarnished with white crusty bullets. Brushed off the oxidizing from the exposed lead and they all fired, but had a delay of about 1/2 second.
Have fired a ton of surplus ammo from a variety of Soviet Bloc countries, never had an issue beyond some cases splitting.
However, Someone told me that an ingredient has been added to cigarettes so that if they aren't actively smoked, they will extinguish. I laughed this off, and two days later, my smokes started to go out if I wasn't puffing away.
Would the Government try to pull something like this? I lean toward yes.