Shelf life of .22LR ??


September 28, 2008, 04:10 PM
A friend of mine whom I generally defer to on gun related stuff, told me that CCI .22 ammo has a better shelf life than lots of other .22,which supposedly doesn't hold up to long term storage well. Can anyone substantiate or refute this ? Thanks.....M.

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September 28, 2008, 04:17 PM
Never heard of it.

I'm still shooting .22 WRF ammo made in the 1950's.

.22 Winchester .22 LR Match ammo made in the late 60's early 70's.

If it's stored properly, it should last indefinitely.

In general though, CCI ammo is pretty well made stuff.
But I doubt it will last any longer then the top-shelf ammo of similar price from any of the other makers.

Can't speak for the bulk-pack WallyWorld ammo, because I won't buy it anymore.
It is gone bad to start with! :eek:


September 28, 2008, 04:18 PM
I've heard that .22LR doesn't have a lengthy shelf life. However, I've fired .22LR ammo that was decades old without any problems.

I'm not sure how this likely to be all that important. If you buy .22LR ammo in quantity you should shoot your oldest stock first and presumably your oldest stock will never get to be too old.

Steve H
September 28, 2008, 04:19 PM
I'm with RC on this one. I also have stuff from the 50's that I still shoot

September 28, 2008, 04:22 PM

I too believe that this is a non-issue.


September 28, 2008, 04:22 PM
I've shot Winchester that I found buried under hay in the grainery. I couldn't tell you how old it was but the box was barely legible and the cases were corroded. They all went bang.

September 28, 2008, 05:08 PM
If you guys are shooting 22's from the 50's, I just gotta ask how much of it did you buy?

I can't keep 22's around for longer than 6 months.

September 28, 2008, 05:16 PM
I just gotta ask how much of it did you buy?I acquired an 1890 Winchester .22 WRF pump about 10 years ago, and started buying all the old .22 WRF ammo I came across at gun-shows.

Now both Winchester & CCI have made new runs of .22 WRF ammo, but it is Lawyered down to about the same level as .22 LR Standard velocity performance.

The old stuff seems closer to .22 Mag.

I use the old good stuff for hunting, and shoot the new weak stuff for killing beer cans & hedge balls.

Beer cans & hedge balls can't tell the difference!

The old standard velocity .22 Match ammo is reserved for my three pre-war Colt Woodsman.


September 28, 2008, 05:18 PM
I have shot ammo from as far back as the early 1900s. I have shot .22s that were 40-50 years old.

In my experience ammo shelf life is pretty darn long no matter what and damn near forever if stored indoors in your average climate controlled home.

B.D. Turner
September 28, 2008, 05:20 PM
I bought bunches of .22's on a yard sale just for the boxes. Most all of it was from the 40's and 50's. So far it all shoots just fine.

September 28, 2008, 06:57 PM
dont know of any , box doesnt have one , No seriously ammo is as good sa you store it . it will last at least fifty years or more . i was shooting some ammo from the 50's that was it storage tins and it shot perfectly with no misfires :neener:

September 28, 2008, 07:04 PM
My only concern would be the "corrosion" on said lead or brass. I did have the opportunity to shoot some .38's that had "corrosion" on them and they all shot fine.

As long as they weren't stored underwater.......shoot them up!

September 28, 2008, 07:04 PM
At the range today, I fired 100 rounds of Remington Thunderbolt .22LR that was purchased in about 1996. I didn't have any failures, and the accuracy was as-good-as it always has been.

September 28, 2008, 07:06 PM
I shoot .22lr from the 50s and 60s fairly regularly, and ammo from the 70s, 80s, and 90s often as well. Most, however, is new production. No significantly higher failure rate for older .22lr of quality manufacture.

September 28, 2008, 07:09 PM

Holy moly! :eek:


September 28, 2008, 07:37 PM
wow doc 100rds of thunderbolt with no failure what were you shooting it out of? the only thing i shoot that stuff out of anymore is my heritage revolver i cant get it to reliably cycle either of my marlin model 60s and it will ftf at least 3 times per tube of 14rounds.

September 28, 2008, 08:15 PM
100rds of thunderbolt with no failure

I have shot a few thousand rounds of thunderbolt ammo and have only had 1 or 2 FTFs...its not that bad.

September 28, 2008, 08:35 PM
I thin shelf life is almost eternal if properly stored. Some of the best 6.5 Swede I ever shot was mfg in 1924. I've got a few boxes of 22 from the late 40's. Last time I shot any was about 10 yrs ago. Just as good as when it was new.

September 28, 2008, 08:46 PM
Yeah, I know lots of sealed,mil-spec ammo holds up for decades, but I'm assumning .22 isn't sealed to the same degree, and therefore (possibly) a little more at risk from less than ideal storge conditions. But it seems the above posts have answered the question satisfactorily, many thanks everyone....M.

M2 Carbine
September 28, 2008, 08:52 PM
I had many thousands of rounds of CCI, Remington and Federal from the late 80's and 90's. Most of it was sealed in air tight plastic bags with the old Seal-A-Meal sealer.
After about 15 years the cases began to corrode on the outside, usually starting at the base. Most of it would still fire.
My theroy is that during priming, primer dust would get on the case bottoms and eventually corroded the cases.

Another thing that happened to the Federal is the bullet lube coating the bullets broke down into a granular white powder. As I recall the federal was the only one that did that.

Also, when fired, in a revolver especially, light loads could be heard.

I'm working on the last 10,000 rounds of 20,000+ rounds of Remington 22 Short I bought in the mid 1990s. Now when fired low power loads can often be heard.

September 28, 2008, 09:08 PM
I've been shooting some old "Winchester Staynless" " The Leader" ancient .22 ammo. Works fine. I have no idea how old it is, but figure it's from the 1940's or 50's.

September 28, 2008, 09:22 PM
Holy moly!


September 29, 2008, 03:03 AM
i have heard, but not found any printed evidence, that most quality 22 ammo has some kinda sealant on the powder/primer. this needed due to the loose fit of bullet in brass.

grab a case firmly with one hand and twist on the lead with the other. if you have a strong grip, it's easy to make it turn. this, i'm told is why the precautions are taken.

i have shot some old 22LR my dad bought back in the '50's. i gave about 200rounds of ammo box stored 50's head stamped .30 carbine ammo to a bud who has reported no failures. same went bang about 30 times when i was giving it to him. some of them were so green and hairy he saved those for use untill after he could clean them.

ALWAYS AVOID RAPID FIRE IN A SEMIAUTO WHEN BURNING ANCIENT AMMO. bbl blockage from a squib WILL ruin your entire day.


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