These were particularly wet when collected, so you put a fan on them to dry them. If you let them sit without air circulation, they'll go mouldy.
I use one of my pallet knives to loosen the seeds in the cones, then use the handle to tap, tap, tap it. Some will rain out lots of seeds, others not so much. It is rare to get one that has no seeds in it. If you do get one with no seeds, which would be never, it would be because it is old and they have already fallen out.
They have a good germination rate. But you get inevitable die-offs, no matter what you do. Then you get others that make up for the die-offs - really happy-to-grow ones. The seeds will be soaked in water overnight, then stratified (put into some moist sterile soil in a sealable baggie and put in the fridge until spring).