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.22 ammo storage/longevity

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Tokugawa, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Tokugawa

    Tokugawa Well-Known Member

    I have a couple of partially used bricks of .22 and noticed that it is going bad- misfires and lowpower ,etc. Is there a brand that is not subject to "decay" in long term storage? The stuff is about 10 years old. (yes, I went through a period of not shooting much!)
  2. Rob62

    Rob62 Well-Known Member


    I'm not sure I can answer your question directly, but let me make some random observations about ammo storage.

    I've got ammo that was handloaded and stored since the early 80's. I've also got factory ammo that has been stored for at least that long. And some MILSPEC ammo that was made in the 50's. No problems with any of this stuff.

    It all depends on how the ammo was or is being stored. If ammo is stored in a dry cool place then I don'tthink there is a practical shelf life. In other words, if someone were to store ammo in good conditions today I suspect that it would be shootable in 50-75 years from now with no noticable problems.

    I've seen ammo that was stored in someones outside shed that had problems after less than a year of this kind of storage. So it all depends on what conditions the ammo has been stored under.

    I don't think there is any one brand better than any other that stores better. That is of course presuming you start with good ammo to begin with.

    Something that came out of military storage from any of the "Stan" countries of course should be suspect as to how it has been stored and how that may effect further storage and use.

    Hope that helps,
  3. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Well-Known Member

    FWIW, I found an opened box of CCI Stingers in my storage garage that probably haven't seen the light of day in at least 15 years. I fired them all in my Buckmark without a single failure or weak round.
  4. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    Properly stored ammunition will still be good long after you've gone to the big range in the sky.
  5. dave5339

    dave5339 Well-Known Member

    In the late 70's my Dad decided to start stockpiling Winchester Expediters in 22 LR. It didn't hurt that we were getting them for something like $5.95 a brick if I remember the story right.

    Over the course of the years we ended up shooting a lot of it. When he died in 2003 there were about 1500 rounds left. They still went bang without a problem.

    My wife has some Iraqi 303 Brit from 1907 I believe. It's getting a little old, sometimes it only goes pop instead of bang.

    Semper Fi
  6. Moonclip

    Moonclip Well-Known Member

    I've heard 22 rimfire rims tend to harden over time and be harder to set off but I've never experienced it.
  7. bakert

    bakert Well-Known Member

    I've never had a problem with any centerfire ammo that was reasonably stored even in a closet. Rimfires another matter. Most of the bad ones I had were the cheap bulk Federal and Winchester Wildcats. Whether I got some bad batches or not I don't know.
  8. JoeHatley

    JoeHatley Well-Known Member

    I've had a stash of over a dozen "bricks" of Winchester Super-X .22 lr for a lot of years. Around 14 years.

    Just recently started shooting some of my .22s again, and the ammo works fine.

  9. MAUSER88

    MAUSER88 Well-Known Member

    I've got a brick of Remington .22LR from the 60's. They all still fire fine. I recently found some 30/06 military ammo headstamped 1917. I fired five rounds and they all worked fine.
  10. Tokugawa

    Tokugawa Well-Known Member

    I have never had a problem with centerfire ammo, even really old .303. Some cheap bulk .22 has given me poblems, stored under the same conditions, cool, dry closet. I think it is PMC and winchester, I will check.
  11. foghornl

    foghornl Well-Known Member

    Mostly dependant on storage conditons.

    F'rinstance, I have some (at least) 12 year old Remington "Thunderbolts" that came in a plastic tub called a "Bucket of Bullets". Not really high-quality ammo to begin with, but they still go bang!

    Plus, after I originally opened up the tub, I dropped in one of those Silica gel packets.
  12. Tropical Z

    Tropical Z Well-Known Member

    I do think temperature has an effect.Hot is bad.
  13. The Freeholder

    The Freeholder Well-Known Member

    What I've noted is that:
    • rimfire ammo in general doesn't store as well as center fire
    • cheaper (bulk) ammo stores less well than the more expensive stuff
    • older ammo seems to shoot "dirtier"
    • I've shot 25+ year old rimfire ammo with no problems
    • I've shot 25+ year old ammo that split cases left and right (not dangerous, just disconcerting)

    I've decided that bulk ammo is great to store for a very few years. Luckily, as much .22 as we shoot, it sems to rarely last more than a year on the shelf. For .22 I want to store for longer periods, I buy the better quality stuff.
  14. Taurus 66

    Taurus 66 Well-Known Member

    I don't understand why your ammunition is bad after only 10 years. To be quite honest with you, I sometimes shoot from the back edge of my property into the farmer fields. It's not uncommon to find a few unspent 22 Short, 22 LR or 22 magnum cartridges along that line. Some of these have been through many winters and rainstorms, exposed to every bad thing mother nature could give, including direct sunlight. Heck, I've probably run them over with the mower too. I've picked up a few, wiped clean, inspected for damage, then loaded, just for kicks. Every one of them fired so far.
  15. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Well-Known Member


    I shot 50 year old 22 rimfire that had corroded noses and looked like
    they were found in a barn and all went off just fine. However, had
    another batch that was 30 years old, stored in a dresser the entire
    time that did not --10 rds in a row.

    I had some Egyptian 9mm from the 60s that likewise had a misfire
    rate of 10-25% depending which box it came out of.

    There's also been batches of brand new wolf .223 ammo that would have
    a few duds out of a case.

    I've never ever had a primer for handloads fail to fire --1000s of them.
  16. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Well-Known Member

    I've noticed some breakdown or deterioration of the lead (corrosion?) on old .22 rf. I usually try to date the boxes and use the oldest first.
  17. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

    I think your problem isn't with the storage method but the ammo itself. The cheap bulk packs of .22 tend to have a higher-than-average number of duds.
  18. KAR120C

    KAR120C Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with Justin. Quality over storage.

    I bought 5000 rounds of Remmington standard target .22 in 1991. I've slowly worked my way through it over the years. Have less than 1000 rounds left. It spent a lot of time in an un-air conditioned upstairs, yet I can only remember one or two that failed to fire.

    Meanwhile... I have bought very little Winchester Wildcat .22, certainly less than 500 rounds. I've had several weak rounds, or failures to fire. And this stuff was shot immediately after buying it, so no aging involved. Wildcat is such crap it isn't worth buying.
  19. campbellcj

    campbellcj Well-Known Member

    OK -- just to be a dumb newbie, by "proper storage" I assume we are talking about sealed against excessive moisture/humidity (what is the optimal RH%?) and located where extreme temps (again what are optimal ° ranges?) won't be experienced?

    I see this as a fairly serious topic, as IMHO we all should stash away some sizable ammo stores the way things have been going lately.
  20. rs3604

    rs3604 Well-Known Member

    I've got ammo including .22's that have been around for a long time and a buddy of mine had some of those old cardboard 12ga shells given to him and it all shot fine. guess that cardboard never got wet.

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