Ammunition Age (First Post)


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JV_2108
January 3, 2006, 03:50 PM
I'm in the process of registering a couple of my dad's former service revolvers, and am wondering whether I should consider using the ammo that has been kept with the guns. My best guess would be that the ammo is on the order of 20-30 years old, but still looks to be in fine shape.

My plan would be to use these rounds at a local pistol range if it seems likely they will be safe. If it's very unlikely to be safe, any thoughts on the proper/best way to safely dispose of it?

Not sure about the storage conditions, but I've attached a couple of photos to give you a sense of what this stuff looks like. The 38s clearly have brass casings, and the 357s have aluminum.

33410

33411

Thanks for any thoughts you may have on this.

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Lupinus
January 3, 2006, 03:52 PM
If they look fine odds are they are fine.

If there is corrosion, cracks, extreme dents, etc. chuck them.

But if ammo looks fine odds are it is fine.

TexasRifleman
January 3, 2006, 03:54 PM
I don't think Blazer has even been around that many years yet, but yes if it looks fine there's no reason it won't fire. I have shot many hundreds of rounds of 30-06 from the 1950's and 60's with no problems.

From those photos I wouldnt think twice about shooting them up.

And welcome!

gt3944
January 3, 2006, 03:55 PM
Just use your better judgement buddy..thats all i gotta say

f4t9r
January 3, 2006, 03:59 PM
curious as to why you are registering the guns ?
The ammo should be fine

MatthewVanitas
January 3, 2006, 04:06 PM
The first time I ever went shooting was with my da's 20-yr old .22 ammo, and it worked great. I've shot plenty of 1960s military surplus ammo, and tons of folks on this board have shot older than that.

If you're concerned, just watch for two things: 1) an "audible pop" with no hole in the target, means that the bullet made it partway down the barrel and stopped. Make sure to jab it out with a cleaning rod before shooting another round, lest the second bullet collide with the first in the barrel. 2) A "hang fire", in which the hammer drops.... and the cartridge doesn't fire for a couple seconds. Just keep the revolver pointed downrange for a few seconds to see if its' going to go or not. It's not terribly uncommon that a round simply won't go off on the first hit, and that's okay for cheap target ammo (not self-defense ammo), so don't worry about a dud, just worry about the ones that do fire after a short delay.

The odds of you having problem #1 or #2 are very, very low, but if you do have either problem in a given box of ammo, you may want to discard that box. So long as ammo isn't kept in horrendous climate extremes, gets wet or oil spilled on it, it's usually pretty good to go.

I'd shoot that ammo with no hesitation.

-MV

P.S.: kudos for posting pics. It makes it way easier for us to understand what kind of ammo or firearm a poster is asking about when they include pics. Helps eliminate a lot of the guesswork. Welcome aboard The High Road!

JV_2108
January 3, 2006, 04:09 PM
Michigan requires registration. These started out as Christmas gifts, and I've caught up a bit on the rules. For safety, I store the ammo and guns separately, and will get some way to lock them up - soon. After they're registered, I'll go to the local range.

Given that I've never owned a gun, I'll probably practice a bit with the .38 in the .357 to see how it goes. If that seems manageable, I may use the .357ammo. If not, I'll consider getting a .22 for practice to make sure I have reasonable aim/control.

Andrew S
January 3, 2006, 04:34 PM
I just shot some 50+ year old 32 win special ammo that I got from my dad with his model 94 and didnt have any problems with the 40 rounds I fired.

DMK
January 3, 2006, 07:01 PM
That CCI aluminum case ammo can't be that old. When did they start using alumin cases?

I shoot a lot of old surplus ammo. Much from the 50s, some from the 40s. Do a physical inspection. If it has no corrosion, cracks, and the bullets aren't setback to deep (from rechambering the same round too many times in a semi-auto) it's not going to blow up. It's either going to go bang, not go bang, hang a second or two and then go bang, or it will shoot weakly. The last one is your worst concern. If you hear a round shoot weak, check that the bullet left the barrel.

Chances are, your ammo is perfectly fine.

Standing Wolf
January 3, 2006, 07:05 PM
Michigan requires registration.

Oh, no, no, no, no, no! That's not registration. That's safety inspection. That's all. The state of Michigan has no interest in knowing who has which guns.

Did I say that with a straight enough face?

JV_2108
January 5, 2006, 07:23 PM
That CCI aluminum case ammo can't be that old. When did they start using alumin cases?


From the sounds of this link they started making CCI Aluminum in the late 70s and were having problems with 357 ammo made in 1983 and earlier.

http://www.cci-ammunition.com/default.asp?menu=1&s1=6&s2=16

I should be ok, though, as I've found that this box is in the 5-15 year old range.

jamz
January 5, 2006, 07:27 PM
Well may I be the first to say Welcome to THR!

Newbies buy the beer and ammo. I'll take newer ammo though, in either 9mm or 45acp. :)

-James

KriegHund
January 5, 2006, 07:28 PM
Should be fine, ive shot 80 year old turk 8mm....

Aluminum doesnt have the same life as steal, but i doubt its been through enough strees just from weather changing to be an issue. Aluminum skinned planes go through tons of flights before they need retrofitting.

Wiley
January 5, 2006, 10:25 PM
The brass, not a problem.

If you are concerned about the Blazer, there should be a lot number on the box. Call CCI and ask when it was made.

DonP
January 6, 2006, 11:38 AM
It's been covered before but ...

Look for cracks or any corrosion or severe discoloration around the case necks and near the head.

If none then fire away.

I routinely shoot British, US and Russian Military Surplus ammo from the 1930's and 40's with no problems.

ball3006
January 6, 2006, 01:26 PM
shoot it. If it goes bang, it is ok. If it goes click, it can be tossed. Michigan, at least 14 years ago, required all handguns to be inspected and registered. If anyone does not think the "safety inspection" is not really a registration, I have some ocean front property in NM for sale.......chris3

benEzra
January 6, 2006, 09:09 PM
For safety, I store the ammo and guns separately, and will get some way to lock them up - soon. After they're registered, I'll go to the local range.
Here's a couple of good starts for secure storage:


For under $30: http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3859635/
http://ai.pricegrabber.com/product_images/3859000-3859999/3859635_125.jpg


For under $50, 21 pounds of heavy-gauge steel: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=3266151
http://i.walmart.com/i/p/00/04/90/74/00/0004907400205_215X215.jpg

Wal-Mart has something like the former in the sporting goods section, and the latter in the home/office safes section. Both can be bolted down somewhere secure, though the heavier-gauge Sentry one will be more resistant to being pried open.

Given that I've never owned a gun, I'll probably practice a bit with the .38 in the .357 to see how it goes. If that seems manageable, I may use the .357ammo. If not, I'll consider getting a .22 for practice to make sure I have reasonable aim/control.
Some .38 target ammunition is probably almost as light-recoiling as a .22, though it will always be more expensive. For target shooting, a good choice is probably light "wadcutter" loads (so named because the bullet has a flat front profile that makes a nice neat hole in a paper target). Here's a discussion of some .38 target loads I found online: http://www.gun-tests.com/performance/dec96specialammo.html

If you choose to get some defensive ammunition at some point--my own handgun is a 9mm (as is my wife's), but if I owned a .38, I'd probably go with Federal Personal Defense or Hydra-Shok ammunition starting out. Any hollowpoint ammunition. Once you get more comfortable with recoil, you could move up to +P .38 loads (+P denoting higher chamber pressure than a regular-spec .38) and eventually a .357 once you are comfortable with the much greater muzzle blast.

If you store it unloaded, you may want to invest in one of these little gadgets for loading it more quickly:

http://www.pistoleer.com/hks/revolver/
http://www.pistoleer.com/hks/pics/speedloader.jpg

I don't know how much shooting experience you already have, but since I'm already on a roll with the unsolicited advice :), I'd recommend that if you're starting out, you use both soft foam earplugs and comfortable earmuffs when shooting; you'd be surprised how much of the recoil you think you feel is actually just your physiological reaction to the sound of the gunshot. Doubling-up like that also helps you if you shoot at an indoor range with people firing guns to your left and right as you try to shoot.

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