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CCW ammo life expenticy?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Roadwild17, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Roadwild17

    Roadwild17 Participating Member

    Jun 15, 2005
    Ok fellas, how long to you hang on to your pricy SD ammo (in mags for every day use sweat and rough handling and all) before you replace it?
  2. Kurush

    Kurush Participating Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    You should throw away the chambered bullet when you unload if it's a JHP because the tip can close up if you chamber it more than a couple times. Other than that you shouldn't need to replace it, just keep the gun clean.
  3. Technosavant

    Technosavant Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't use the real pricey stuff- I just can't afford a few hundred rounds of it (200 to make sure it functions flawlessly, another 200 for an on-hand supply). I just use Remington UMC 230grn JHP- $24/box of 100 at Wal-Mart.

    Every time I go to the range, I shoot off a full magazine of the SD ammo. This keeps it rotating through, and I probably end up shooting all of my on-hand stuff in 8-12 months after purchasing it. One year won't make one bit of difference.

    I don't ever have any problems with the JHP closing up, and this is the first I have ever heard of it. I guess with a .45, it is no concern at all.

    My only concern about multiple chamberings is bullet set-back in the case, which increases chamber pressure. I only chamber any given round 2-3 times, and then the only time it gets chambered is at the range to get fired. I also keep my CCW piece loaded at all times, so once I finish cleaning it following a range trip, it gets loaded and stays that way, so I don't have a lot of chambering going on. You can mark the casing with a Sharpie marker in order to keep track of which rounds have been chambered.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  4. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Participating Member

    May 25, 2003
    Northern Idaho
    I have surplus ammo that has been stored since the early 1940's and it still shoots great! With that said, and the consideration of modern powder, primers, and bullets, I would venture to guess that SD ammo would keep for at least the same amount of time. :rolleyes: I normally cycle my ammo out every twelve months for good measure.
  5. farscott

    farscott Participating Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Athens, AL, USA
    I usually end up shooting my carry ammo every week as part of my practice. I usually only shoot a few magazines of carry ammo and then switch to 230-grain ball for the remainder of my practice. Thus, it takes me about a week to go through my carry ammo.

    I do have to watch bullet setback when I load/unload, especially with 230-grain Remington Saber. I see much less setback with PMC Star-Fire and Federal Hydra-Shok. I probably have a few boxes of rounds that I set aside that show significant setback. I usually dump them in a jar of Kroil to deactivate the primers, yank the bullets, and use the powder as fertilizer.

    I did run an experiment when I kept the same rounds in a magazine for a year. The magazine was tucked in my left hip pocket. When I went to the range, all rounds fired with no issues.
  6. Tim3256

    Tim3256 New Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    When I eject the chambered round, I put a small mark on the casing with a sharpie. That round now goes to the bottom of the magazine. I repeat this process until I have a full mag of "marked" rounds. When this happens, I fire the entire mag at the range. Then I start over.

    I would not chamber ANY round more than twice. That may seem a little paranoid to some, but I worry more about bullet setback than shelf-life.

    As far as shelf-life of a loaded mag; that really depends on various conditions. How hot do they get? How cold? Is the temperature differential substantial? What about moisture/humidity? Have they been exposed to sweat, grime or dirt? Too much for me to keep track of...my CCW ammo generally gets used at the range within 3mos.

    Now, STORED ammo is another thing altogether. If your good quality ammo is kept clean, dry and in a reasonably stable thermal environment, it will outlast you.

  7. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
    Greeting's All-

    Modern day ammo has an indefinite shelf life; so once a magazine is loaded
    with good quality ammo, and the full magazine is inserted into the
    firearm it could last until who knows when? :uhoh: But, for good measure
    I rotate my CCW ammo 'bout every six months. Since I'm carrying a 1911
    .45 ACP these days, cost of old CCW ammo is not a factor. :D
  8. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Elder

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    That, and deformation of HP rounds. There is some wisdom that suggests the case's rims will wear "grooves" in the adjascent cartridges from "rolling" in place and eventually cause feeding problems, though I have never noticed any such phenomenon.

    Some guns tend to beat up rounds as they feed, others don't. I have had the same rounds in my Witness for nearly a year with no problems, but I do have to cycle them in the S&W 4506, as it will eventually begin to close the hollow point. bullet set back has never been a problem, since I set a very firm taper crimp on CCW ammunition.
    (<<<<Oh no, an evil hand load packer! :evil: )
  9. pwrtool45

    pwrtool45 Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    I've had a handful of good rounds fail to pop over the last couple years. Some 2-year old Federal 357B and some similarly aged 145-grain .357 Silvertip. Not that old, all things considered. I've shot M2 ball that was loaded before the Nixon administration, and it's true that ammo can have a shelf-life measured in decades if kept in a cool, dry place. But when you take it in and out of the weather on a daily basis the game changes. Repeated temperature cycling of any propellant is usually a bad thing, AFAIK.

    It's a somewhat unsettling feeling to have round #3 in your piece fail to pop when you're burning up old defense ammo. Shoot up your old ammo sometime...better yet, chrono the stuff. You may be surprised.
  10. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    IDPA junkie in DFW, TX
    The first thing I do each visit to the range is empty my carry gun into the target just like if I'd drawn and fired in self defense. (using the ammo that I'd been carrying in the gun of course)
    So far, no failures.
  11. Murphster

    Murphster Active Member

    Jan 30, 2003
    We were issued a new box of carry ammo yearly. Our folks recommended changing out the carry stuff in our pistols at six months. The year-old ammo was part ( a small part) of what was shot up during yearly firearms qualification. After qualifying, we were issued a new box for the upcoming year. Ammo will last a long time. But I always saw fresh ammo as insurance.
  12. Zach S

    Zach S Mentor

    Jun 30, 2003
    Western NC/East TN
    I rotate new ammo in every two weeks (payday), the truck magazines get new ammo every month or so.

    If I waited until the six month mark such as Ala Dan, I'd forget. By changing it too often, I dont worry when I do forget.
  13. bpisler

    bpisler Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    I also mark each round and only
    chamber them twice before they
    get shot.I put a little extra
    crimp on my factory carry loads
    to help prevent bullet setback.
  14. Braden

    Braden New Member

    Sep 25, 2005
    Technosavant, if you're willing to pay just $6 more you can get 100 rounds of 230 grain Speer Gold Dots HERE. They charge $15 for a box of 50. There's nothing wrong with what you're using, but if you DO want to shoot the "real pricey stuff" then this is a good place to get it where it's not so pricey. :) Notice, however, that their website is a secure site. You'll want to order over the phone.

    Back on topic, I typically shoot my carry ammo and replace it with some fresh stuff about every 6 months.
  15. nyresq

    nyresq Active Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    my agency makes us shoot off our duty ammo every time we qual (4x per year). And we also shoot ten rounds from the new box of 50. just a little added check for the new stuff. I would say if you are buying the ammo and money is an issue, keep it 6 months. is $20 every few months really all your life is worth? :banghead:

    look at it in the big picture, $70 a year works out to 19 cents a day for fresh ammo every four months. ;)

    don't be cheap with your life, you only get one. be cheap with the wife or the car, they can be replaced. :D
  16. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    sweet home arizona
    i switch it out whenever i get a weird hair up my butt. usually two or maybe three times a year. i'll buy another box of "the good stuff" don't particularly care what brand - federal hydrashock, rem golden saber, winchester sxt, whatever as long as it's a major brand's premium line. always shoot up the old stuff at interesting targets like water jugs, pumpkins or watermelons. i don't think it's that big of a deal as long as you DO change it out every now and then and you take care not to rechamber the same round too many times.
  17. RTFM

    RTFM member

    Apr 25, 2003
    Land of ID

    Say what!?!?

    Where you getting your info Willis?

    Exactly what I do also.
    SIG P229 .40S&W Speer Gold Dot JHP, never a problem - EVER.
    Then switch over to Walmart Winchester White box 100 round pack specials for the rest of the shoot.

  18. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Mentor

    Jan 26, 2004
    It shouldn't be an issue. You should be practicing with it regularly and replacing it with new. You life may depend on it.

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