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Ammo Shelf Life

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Famine, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. Famine

    Famine Member

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    Two questions...how long can I keep ammo, and if there is a shelf life, is there a difference between handgun and shotgun shells?

    And a bonus question, should I be worried about handling lead too often, or do the bullets or shells keep the lead contained?
     
  2. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    In a cool ,dry location, rifle and pistol ammo will outlast you. WWII surplus ammo still is being shot today bu some people. Can't help on the shotgun ammo.

    Elemental lead is not normally absorbed through the skin - wash your hands after handling and before eating, etc., and you'll be fine.
     
  3. nhhillbilly

    nhhillbilly Member

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    Welcome

    I have shot properly stored ammo from WWII without any issues. Store your ammo in a dry cool place. I use 50 cal. ammo cans and it will be good well after your are gone.

    Lead, Most ammo is jacket and not an issue but don't put in your mouth. Wash up after you are done shooting and prior to eating. Most lead problems occur from indoor ranges and folks that mark their own bullets by melting lead
     
  4. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I have heard of people shooting blackpowder cartridges 100 years old. I have fired .30 Carbine ammo made in 1944-5. If stored properly it can last a long time. If the cartridges look OK they may be just fine.
    Shotgun shells may be a different matter, as I don't think they'd be as well sealed against the environment as a rifle round or handgun round.
    I don't get your question about 'what keeps the lead in.' If you're handling a round and it's a FMJ, you're not touching lead, if it's a soft nose or hollowpoint you can touch it. So what?
    I load and fire repro cap'n'ball revolvers, which entails handling lead balls.
    It won't hurt you....just don't eat them!:D
     
  5. dave5339

    dave5339 Member

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    My wife's been known to fire off some surplus ammo in her 303 Brit. I think the headstamp indicated it was made in 03..... As in 1903. Scary thing is, about 90% of it still goes bang.

    I'd never seen cordite till I pulled a couple of the dud rounds. The problem wasnt the cordite, it lit fine when I tossed a match to it. The problem seems to have been in the primer.

    Semper Fi
     
  6. Famine

    Famine Member

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    Well shoot...I can stock up without any worries.:rolleyes:
     
  7. Bravo11

    Bravo11 Member

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    I found an old box of .22 ammo the other day that was 26 years old(don't ask how I knew the age). I went out to shoot it up and not very much of it would fire. It could be the firing pin in the rifle but it always shoots new ammo.
    Center fire ammo might age differently from rimfire.
     
  8. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    My uncle has .22 LR ammo at least that old and it still shoots. It's been stored in the original boxes in a closet under the basement stairs.

    John
     
  9. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Bravo11, was it stored in a place that's mostly cool&dry?

    High moisture content can take out the priming given enough time.
     
  10. Sheldon J

    Sheldon J Member

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    I cannot match the 100 year old mark but I regularly shoot .22's I bought over 35 years ago, and some of it shoots better than the new stuff I buy in bulk packs.
     
  11. ndh87

    ndh87 Member

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    Years ago i shot some old old russian 22 ammo, felt like it was covered in something, maybe cosmo, gunked up the gun horribly, but it fired like it was new.
     
  12. mec

    mec Member

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    best 8mm I've shot is 1943 turkish ball. It's more consistent over the chronograph than new factory stuff. A friend got interested in cars and stopped reloading in 1964. every year or so we check the zero on his winchester mod 70 with 300 win mags loaded with Military surplus H 4831. Last week, we shot three over the chronograph and averaged about 3200 fps (165 grain bullet) with about 30 fps spread. His old .357 loads have worked 100 percent too. All of this was in plastic boxes in Military ammo cans and kept in moderate temperatures.
    on the other hand, I had some black powder 44 specials loaded between 1913-16 storage conditions unknown All the primers were dead but I replaced them and the powder worked fine.
     
  13. true believer

    true believer Member

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  14. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    carry ammo/storage

    I would shoot up or rotate your carry loads every 3/4 months depending on conditions. I've heard rounds you use for duty weapons/CCW should be "factory fresh" and not worn old or dirty/dusty. Ammo may fire in these conditions but it would be a good idea to check it on a regular basis. ;)

    RS
     
  15. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    I still use ammunation from WW1 and don't have much problems with it, apart from one or two hangfires.
     
  16. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

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    I bought some WW1 45 ACP ammo (loosies) 1918 stamped on the cases. Had about a 10% failure rate. Of course, it was corrosive primers so I had to scrub my guns afterward. I have heard from a reliable source that Lead Free primers (NT) will NOT have the same shelf life as standard primers, but since they haven't been around for forty years yet, what the shelf life is, is not known.
     
  17. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Shot 2 boxes of OLD .22 Shorts that were from a 1967 lot. Most went Bang!, and a few sort of went pooof. 8 ftf out of 100. Not bad for 39 year old rimfire ammo.
     
  18. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Heck, that's better than new Remington .22lr!
     
  19. The-Fly

    The-Fly Member

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    the ammo for my mosin is 40 year old surplus. I've fired off about 300 rounds of it, and not a problem yet.
     
  20. Zero_DgZ

    Zero_DgZ Member

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    Shotgun ammo: In the open, one year. Properly sealed, many years - Probaly 5 or 6 on the lower bound, god only knows on the upper. I know oldsters who are still lighting off shotgun shells they've had since the 70's.

    Centerfire rifle or handgun ammo: In the open, approximately forever. Properly sealed with dessicant &c., approximately double forever.
     
  21. Lou629

    Lou629 member

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    Make sure you keep it dry, and most factory ammo. should last for decades on the shelf. I've personally shot hundreds of rounds of rimfire & centerfire that were at least 30 years old when i used them, and this included shotgun shells. Not one round failed to go bang. There were nothing 'special' about the storage conditions, 2/3 of that time was spent on a closet shelf at standard room temp. & humidity, and about 1/3 of the time it was in an attic that often gets to well over 100* in the summer time. I can't vouch for any brands other than remington, winchester or federal, but that was nearly all there was around to buy back in those days, and the only brands i will consider using today. YMMV.
     
  22. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I have fired 50+ year old surplus military ammo that went bang every time.

    I shot a box of 22s a couple months ago that were 1980s vintage. Had 1 in 50 FTF. Not a whole lot different than what brand new cheap 22 promo ammo does.
     
  23. Bravo11

    Bravo11 Member

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    Sorry for the late reply Firethorn. Yes it was stored in a cool dry place.
     
  24. ROCKSHUND

    ROCKSHUND Member

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    Well, I expect that my 3200 rounds of 7.62mm Port in cases/battlepacks will outlast me, as it's my deep storage ammo.

    All the rest lives in ammo cans, and I expect it to do the same.

    It all lives in a climate controlled area, too. -FNR.
     
  25. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    Regularly shoot some 1938 mfg stuff, no problems. Some of the best 6.5 Swede I shot last year was made in 1924. I thinK that if ammo is stored in a cool dry environment the shelf life could be almost unlimited.
     
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