How To Dispose Of Shotgun Shells

If you’re a shotgun owner, then you know that there are a lot of shells involved in the shooting. And, at some point, you’re going to have to figure out how to dispose of shotgun shells. It’s not as simple as just throwing them away you have to be careful about how you dispose of them, because they can be dangerous.

It is your responsibility to properly dispose of the shells once you are finished using them. You don’t want them just lying around your property because they could create a dangerous situation. But it can be a bit confusing to know how to dispose of shotgun shells. You can dispose of them by giving them to a certified ammunition disposal company or taking them to a shooting range.

Hence, we are going to tell you how to properly dispose of shotgun shells. So, whether you’re getting rid of old rounds or just cleaning up after a day at the shooting range, follow these ways to make sure your shotgun shells are disposed of correctly.

What are shotgun shells made of?

Today’s shotgun shells have at least three key components: the plastic shell, the steel base with brass plating, and the primer and gunpowder inside. The amount of brass that makes up a shotgun shell will vary depending on the particular type. Over the years, the plastic case has held all kinds of shots. These are balls or projectiles produced from a variety of metals, including lead, tungsten, and steel.

How to dispose of shotgun shells? 5 Ways

Dispose Of Shotgun Shells

Shotguns are widely used for sport shooting, hunting, and self-defense. After using the shotgun, the shells need to be disposed of properly. Here are 5 ways to properly dispose of shotgun shells:

1. Recycle the shells:

One way to dispose of shotgun shells is to recycle them. This can be done by taking them to a recycling center that takes metal. Many recycling centers will accept shotgun shells as long as they are made of metal. However, some places may not accept shotgun shells because of the risk of them is explosive. So you’ll need to check with your local recycling center before taking them there.

2. Dispose of them in a metal container:

Another way to dispose of shotgun shells is to put them in a metal container and then dispose of the container in a dumpster or at a landfill. When there is no recycling center in your area or the regulations in your area do not allow recycling, this may be an option for you. For this method, it’s a must to make sure that the container is made of metal and that it’s sealed tightly so that the shells can’t escape.

3. Use them for crafts:

Shotgun shells can be used for a variety of arts and crafts. For example, you can use them to make jewelry or decorate picture frames. If you’re creative, there are a lot of different ways that you can utilize shotgun shells to construct something unique. There are many different projects that you can make with discarded shotgun shells, such as:

  • A vase
  • A wind chime
  • A keychain
  • A necklace
  • A bracelet
  • A lamp

4. Shoot the old shells:

This may not be the appropriate option for everyone, but if you’re a gun enthusiast, you may want to consider shooting your old shotgun shells. This is a simple way to get rid of them and have some fun at the same time. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the shells are safe to be fired before you do this. But if they are, shooting them is a reliable way to get rid of them.

5. Give away: 

Old shells can be properly disposed of at gun clubs that accept them for recycling. Others would be willing to use bullets even if you can’t or don’t want to. Call the local hotline to learn which facilities are taking animations.

Are shotgun shells recyclable?

It depends. If ammunition is unused, it’s possible to recycle it, but the ability to do so isn’t widely available. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) created a prototype of a device that can disassemble cartridges into their parts for recycling.

The metals can each be recycled, and the gunpowder can be reused as fertilizer. This revolutionary device will make it easier for police departments and other recyclers to collect ammunition and recycle it.

In the case of shells that have been used, you’re left with just the brass casing. The brass casing is recyclable, so after a round has been fired at the range, this portion can be recycled.

How to recycle shotgun shells? 

Shotgun shell recycling cannot be done at home. Additionally, no device can properly dispose of readily available shotgun rounds.

As a result, you should leave it in their hands. Here are the steps you need to take to properly recycle shotgun shells.

1. Garbage drop-out:

You can visit garbage cans or rubbish disposal sites close to your house. These facilities often dispose of hazardous garbage.

They have a procedure for handling ammunition they find in their hauls, and they adhere to it religiously. If you’d like, you can even hire a private hazardous waste firm to take care of this for you.

2. Events for Waste Collection:

These are collection locations created specifically for recycling used materials like metal or plastic. To locate a recycling drop-off location, you can also consult the Earth911 Recycling Locator. For more possibilities, you can also visit the websites for your city, nation, or state.

You can call in and ask for more selections if they don’t collect them at a certain time.

Numerous places routinely refuse to receive bullets. There may be certain events you can attend to help out.

Signs that shotgun shells have gone bad?

Assume you discovered some outdated shotgun ammunition in the attic.

Or perhaps you received a present for a birthday or an anniversary from someone and thought the shells were “strange looking.” You need to first look at the shells to see whether they’ve turned out wrong.

You must first thoroughly inspect the shotgun rounds for any oxidation-related symptoms. These typically show up in two different ways.

Discoloration :

It is the first sign that shotguns have gone bad. This will indicate either that rusting has taken place or that the shell has significantly lost its luster. The shell’s outer casing sustained some external damage in both situations. As a result, its integrity has been compromised. An attempt to fire the shotgun shell may result in it exploding.


At the bottom of the shell, you may see the most basic corrosion indicators. Examine for further sorts of damage, such as cracks or dents. In the event of any hacks being discovered, the shell should not be used. The box in which you discovered the shells should then be examined. It’s not a big problem if it’s bent out of shape.

If there is evidence of dampness and clear evidence that the shell has been submerged in water, all shells are compromised. Take no chances with ammunition that has been exposed to moisture for an extended period. The same holds for shells that have been kept in a damp location.

Angled shell:

 Third, you can determine if a shell has degraded while handloading or reloading your weapon. The shell may be angled and the primer may not be properly inserted. The crimp might not be accurate. These warning flags all point to poor maintenance of your weapon.

What not to do with shotgun shells?

Shotgun Shells

1. Never dispose of surplus ammunition in the trash: 

We don’t believe that throwing away used ammo, wet shells, or damaged cartridges is safe. It’s not a wise idea. In actuality, those shells might be active and a threat. Never discard them!

2. Don’t soak shotgun rounds in water or oil: 

Some people deactivate the primer and gunpowder inside shotgun shells by immersing them in water or oil to render the powder inert. They shouldn’t be pardoned for making such a blunder.

3. Do not bury shells in the ground: 

Do not place rounds or shells that you find, damaged or not, in the trash. Don’t even consider burying them in the earth. The waste may be collected by individuals, which can be problematic.

Where can you dispose of shotgun shells?

Where should you put these shells if you can’t bury them or dump them in the trash? Ensure the community and the environment are safe at the same time. What you should do is

1. Reach out to the law enforcement forces in your area:

Calling the police or your local sheriff’s office should be your top priority. Speak to them before you bring your shells. You can call the local police department directly. They might offer advice on how to get rid of used ammunition. The majority of them have eco-disposal initiatives and strategies.

2. Take them to your neighborhood gun range or gun store: 

In addition to contacting your local police, you may choose to contact your preferred gun store. How to get rid of your ammunition may be suggested by certain gun owners. Additionally, there is a chance that they offer services for getting rid of shotgun shells. You will gain despite all the odds.

3. Drop-off for toxic materials:

 Never dispose of used shells in the trash. Consult the neighborhood trash management office. You can ask the staff for advice on how to handle these shells. Keep in mind that many of the same departments won’t routinely accept gun debris; save defective rounds until collection day.

4. Look for a shooter or collector:

You might think little of old shells. However, a gunman might think about them. A buyer or offer from a collector is also possible. Ensure that the ammo is still sealed in its original packaging.

Can you throw away shotgun shells?

No, shotgun shells cannot be thrown away, to put it simply. If shells are discarded or dumped on the ground, whether they are recycled or wasted, they will have negative side effects. To learn about the most appropriate disposal procedure in your location, speak with your local police department, gun shop, or shooting range.

Final Verdict:

If you don’t properly dispose of old shotgun shells or leave them lying about your house, they could be harmful. By contacting your neighborhood home hazardous waste facility, local gun range, or gun store, you can safely get rid of them. They may provide you with detailed instructions on how to dispose of expired ammunition. The most effective course of action is simply to go to the range and use the shells as directed if they are still functional.

In this blog, we talked about how to dispose of shotgun shells. We hope this blog was helpful and that you now have a better understanding of how to properly dispose of shotgun shells.

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