WORKING WITH ORDINACE IS THE REALMS OF PROFESIONALS IF YOU ARE NOT A PROFESIONAL AND YOU ARE NOT CERTAIN YOUR ITEM IS INERT DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RENDER IT INERT YOURSELF TAKE IT TO A PROFESIONAL OR THE POLICE. That is why you will find no information on redering devices inert in this guide you will simply find information on how to tell if an item you are interested in buying or sellin is inert.
INERT...OR IS IT?
While ebay has specific regulations pertaining to the sale and purchase of inert ordinance it is still largely up to the seller and purchaser to ensure they are followed. The collection of inert ordinace whether it be grenades (my specialty) mortars or shells is a fasinating area to some however it can also be a dangerous hobby. I have for a long time noticed items for sale on ebay which were inproperly rendered inert. In many cases this is not the sellers fault as they simply do not know however it goes to say that sellers and buyers should educate themselves on the items they are interested in.
WHAT DOES A DETONATOR OR BLASTING CAP LOOK LIKE
A detonator will be a small metal clyinder either made of copper or aluminum. It will be about the diamiter of a pencil and will have one closed end, one open end and will contain an explosive mixture that may or may not be redily observed. The detonator will be found attached to the fuse mechanisim or held within the fuse covered by a metal cap. At this point it is important to note that detonators are sensitive explosive devices wich become more sensitive with age. IF YOU SEE WHAT APPEARS TO BE A DETONATOR SEEK OUT A PROFESIONAL. They may be small but they are powerfull enough to kill or maim.
IT IS SO OLD THAT IT WILL NO LONGER FUNCTION
WRONG! ordinace form the civil war still will function in many cases; and items from WWI and WWII almost certainly will. Explosives do not become harmless on their own especially when held in a container instead they tend to separate and become increcingly sesitive and unpredictable.
GERMAN WWI DISCUS GRENADE
Not all pieces of ordinance are as straightforward as they appear and while the main charge is almost invariably removed the individual detonators (blasting caps) are occasionally not. The grenade I see this with most frequently is the German Discus grenade form WWI. From my observations probably only about 50% of these have been properly made inert; that is the main charge (in this case Potasium Clorate) and detonators removed. With this particular grenade there are 4 detonators present; these are located under the 4 slot head screws around the circumfrence of the body. If you remove a screw and DO NOT see a hollow tube but instead see a small metal cylinder then the detonators are still present. At this point you need to seek the help of a profesional which goes for any piece of ordinance. If you dont have the training you dont know what you are doing...period.
It is impossible for one guide to cover all ordinace however here are some genral guidlines for buyers and sellers. First of all look at the pictures there should be included a photograph of the piece dissasembled if possible. If there is a photo of the item dissasembled look at all the parts is there anywhere where a cap has not been removed or where a void should be but isnt. Check the description how knowlegeable does the seller appear to be: does he know the proper name for the peice of ordinace, does he explain how it has been modified to prevent re-use, does he have similar items for sale. Finally ask questions if there is something your not sure about ask.