Disposal of collection items and trash

In a recent post (maybe an old post I was reading for the first time) an individual as unsure of the safety of a small arms cartridge and asked the disposition. Once of the responses was “to find the nearest body of water” and dump it. I cringed when I read it then, and having a few minutes spare this morning I wanted to respond.

Most police departments will accept old ammunition and related items. Bomb squads will come and pick up ordnance items. Generally unless there is evidence of a crime connected they need little or no additional information, just drop it and go.

Dumping and burying are done out of ignorance, for the harm that this does to the environment, and in the ignorant belief that this will destroy or reduce the hazard. Here in Michigan there is no place 6 miles from a lake or river. As a result, ammunition and ordnance items have been dumped into our waterways since the French Canadians were in residence. It is all still there. While it is one cartridge to you (or one box, or belt, or case) over the decades this amounts to thousands of rounds. This creates a concentration of heavy metals and other toxic materials.

In our region I provide assistance to bomb squads in the identification of ordnance and their hazards. In the past several months we have seen a large quantity of recoveries from ponds, rivers, and lakes by people “magnet fishing”. This activity has become popular all over the world, and is revealing one small slice (iron based) of what were are dumping. Since September I have seen several 2.36" rockets (bazooka), numerous 3.5" rockets, 4 MKII grenades. While some of these are empty munitions, more than you would think are still live. Others you cannot be sure, so you must treat them as live. These items are most often being recovered by kids, 12-17 years old.

The most recent item was last night, I was sent the following picture:

This is a WWI German granatenwerfer. In its current location and condition it is not possible to tell if it is explosively loaded or not. It was recovered by three boys magnet fishing in a river in the west side of Michigan. It is hard to tell how long ago it was dumped, because in the mud corrosion can be significantly delayed.

I strongly recommend that if you have something that you need disposed of you contact the authorities. In most cases they could care less where you got it, they just don’t want it dumped like this.


Just to add…many gun shops and 'smiths will happily take in small arms ammo (not ordnance) for disposal.

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I am moving to Michigan. I just need to get a giant magnet. Meanwhile, if you have .303 Brit, Mosin-Nagant, .30-06 or 8mm Mauser, I shall have a FREE collection bin at SLICS, and I ask no questions. Heck, I’ll take guns too!!!

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Do any members of the IAA accept a deceased members collection in case he dies suddenly as in the case of an auto accident or heart attack?

I’m sure that many of us have agreements with friends to help the survivors, and have communicated that to their families.

Yesterdays harvest…

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I would be glad to consider taking any small arms ammunition collection off any one hands. The explosives items need to go to the bomb squad, or some one that knows what they are doing. :-)

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Some background: these items were found in a sold barn of which the former owner deceased recently. Emptying the barn, the new owners called us for help (yes, the police) as they wanted to get rid of these. Of course I took it in as we have some kind of safety room at the office. Next step is handling it over to our EOD-services. Interventions of this kind happen regurlarly.

I have people drop off old ammo for disposal a couple times a year just to get rid of it, usually old shotshell boxes, and it winds up in the bargain bin for a good price.

Some interesting full-box finds among the old free “garbage” that I have received would include several boxes of Kynoch .470 Nitro, a Winchester SXZ Black Talon .40S&W box (right after they changed the box style from black to white), and even a Winchester 12ga Salesman’s set of window shells.

I recently saw a photo of a US 120mm TPCSDS M865 full round next to a dumpster in a alley.


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And how many alleys have you patrolled since???


NONSTOP now! One day the ultimate dumpster score :-)

PS: Found the pic


When my father in law died in 1999, we cleaned out his basement. He was a WW2 vet, and one of those people who never threw anything away. I mean, NOTHING was discarded: old pieces of wire, chunks of concrete, and several 3-pound coffee cans of FIRED shotgun primers. God knows what he wanted those for.

Among the stuff were two black, 2-piece cardboard canisters. They were labeled “Grenade, Fragmentation, Mark 2.” I opened one, and sure enough in it was a pristine grenade: yellow paint like new, just as it came from the factory, and complete with wax paper wrappings. The fuse assembly was in it as well.

I served in the military and know how a grenade works. I unscrewed the fuse assembly–all the time wondering a) if it still had a bursting charge in it; and b) how stable 50-year old TNT might be. If I’d guessed wrong I likely would never have known about it.

Luckily (for me) he had dumped the bursting charges long before. He didn’t ship home a live grenade in the mail, as was a common enough thing to do in 1944. I immediately cut off the fuse trains, and filled the bodies with “Great Stuff” expanding foam, the stuff you seal house cracks with.

I’m sure that there are still WW2 (and Korea) souvenirs floating around like this. I was in Vietnam and when we came home we could bring captured weapons but absolutely no ordnance; and the MP’s at the debarkation point made good and sure we hadn’t hidden any such souvenirs in our hold baggage. I had registered a captured SKS with the Provost Marshall’s office and could legally export it, but no ammunition. I had to buy that here, and in 1971 commercial 7.62x39 wasn’t easy to get.

Nowadays soldiers aren’t permitted to bring home any captured weapons, not even a bayonet. This is wrong: when you kill a man you have a right to claim his weapon as a legitimate trophy, but the times have changed since 1971 and we’ll never go back to allowing it again. Anything soldiers might want to bring home has to be a legal antique exempt from the never-sufficiently-to-be-cursed Gun Control Act.


Good stuff here, and interesting reading.
I retired in 2000; but in 2009/2010 I went to Iraq as a civilian police trainer. Road with soldiers frequently, one of the forts we went to on the Iranian border was a collection point for unexploded ordinance.
I’ll try to include pictures tomorrow.
Guys told me that earlier in the war, guys brought him legal weapons. And in veteran bring back vol I or two, was a story of an Iraqi issued pistol smuggled into the states by a gi.

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