On April 22, 2017, in Hoover, Alabama, an antique German shotgun, made in 1892, was turned in as hazardous waste. At first, the Hoover authorities were going to have the shotgun destroyed. After finding that the antique could be worth thousands of dollars, they decided to try to find the owner instead. From hooversun.com:
One of the most unusual items dropped off today was an 1892 double-barrel German shotgun. David Buchanan, a painter for the city of Hoover who was helping unload items brought in by residents, said an older gentleman brought the weapon after finding it in his closet and figuring he had no use for it.It is good to see some common sense in Hoover City administration. They should have known that a gun made in 1892 is not considered a firearm under Federal law. It is an antique, and not subject to the 1968 Gun Control Act.
Hoover Councilman Gene Smith, a co-owner of Hoover Tactical Firearms, estimated the antique shotgun is probably worth at least several thousand dollars.
Smith and city workers initially said the gun would have to be melted down like other guns turned into police. However, Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice said city officials will try to locate the man who surrendered the gun and help him determine the value of it and what should be done with it. The city does not plan to destroy the antique and will work to preserve the history associated with the weapon, Rice said.
While the authorities made the correct decision about this shotgun, they will be destroying 75 pounds of ammunition.
I would not shoot reloaded ammunition from such a source. It could be disassembled for components. Quite a bit of the ammunition in the picture is obviously from the factory. I would not be worried about shooting it. I should attend the next Hazardous Waste day in Yuma to see what shows up. If most of the ammo were shotgun shells, 75 lbs would be about a thousand rounds of ammunition, worth about $200.
Sources have told me that they have obtained tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, simply by promising to "dispose of it properly".
Modern ammunition is remarkably durable. If kept dry and in reasonable temperatures, expect a shelf life of at least 75 years.
If you are willing to experience a few misfires, or perhaps even hangfires, even ammunition that has been stored in poor conditions is likely to provide good service. Proper care should be taken when shooting it.
Unless the cases are badly corroded or damaged, the danger of poorly stored modern ammunition is that it might not expel a bullet or shot charge from the barrel. If that condition is not discovered, a burst or bulged barrel is almost certain, and damage to the person is possible.
It would be far better that the unwanted ammunition be expended at a range, where the lead will be recycled, than burned in an incinerator.