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How often should you replace your carry ammo?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Ben86, Jul 9, 2011.

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  1. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    I realize this must vary according to what the ammunition has been through, but is there an established time frame that one should replace one's carry ammo? I am considering this with pistol ammo in mind. I kept my last bunch of gold dot 9mm in use for about 2 years. Considering that it got locked in a hot car a lot and chambered once and a while I think that may have been too long. I do try to chamber a "virgin" cartridge every time I carry, but I realize there must be a point were setback will occur regardless.
     
  2. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Two years? It's probably fine, but I would shoot it off and replace it.

    Seems as if most recommend between 6 and 12 months. Carry ammo is pricey, but 7, 8 or even 15 rounds once or twice per year is not an excessive expenditure.
     
  3. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    As I understand it, modern ammo is not effected by time, at least not as measured by the rest of your relitivly short life span. A buddy found some 90 year old WWI 8MM Mauser ammo and every one of them fired reliably! A few years should make no difference.
     
  4. Agmundr

    Agmundr Member

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    From what I've been told by my dad, who has years of reloading experience, most modern ammunition isn't really affected by age due to modern primers and powders. I personally like to shoot my +P ammo instead of regular range plinkers from time to time, so I use the occasional change up as an opportunity to change out my carry ammo.
     
  5. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Member

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    You should fire some anyway from time to time to get a feel for them.
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, you should be using your carry ammo to finish off the occasional practice session to have the feel of it more than worrying about the "freshness". Ammunition will be good for several years as long as it isn't subjected to solvents and wetting.
     
  7. Doxiedad

    Doxiedad Member

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    Glad to hear. My carry ammo is about 6 years old now. Only shot maybe 5 rounds from the box I bought when I got my first Glock. Don't think they even make it anymore. It's a winchester JHP in a black box. I just bought what the LGS suggested when I got my pistol.
     
  8. WinThePennant

    WinThePennant Member

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    Just a few weeks ago I fired off some FMJs and hollowpoints that were 20 years old.

    No probs.
     
  9. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    My SP101 is loaded with Federal 125 gr JHP's that I bought in 1990. I have full confidence in them.
     
  10. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Member

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    I change mine about every six months. A year would be OK. You are betting your life on this stuff. Changing to new ammo is cheap insurance. Just my .02.
     
  11. WinThePennant

    WinThePennant Member

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    FWIW, I am more concerned about my magazine springs over time than I am about my ammo.
     
  12. Doxiedad

    Doxiedad Member

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    Yeah I worry about the same thing sometimes, but an unloaded pistol is about useless.
     
  13. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    I carry my snubby all day long, roughly 15-16 hours. Due to the fact that I work as a mechanic, sweating all day long in our wonderful AZ heat. I change out my carry ammo every two weeks. I'm sure that it could go much longer as I shoot my old carry ammo every range trip and have never had a problem. I just feel more comfortable changing it often. I'm a sweaty guy to begin with and as I said before, the heat out here just makes it worse. Even more so now that we are fully into our monsoon season, 110+ heat with 80%+ humidity. Better safe than sorry.
     
  14. Canazes9

    Canazes9 Member

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    Wow! I see there is a lot of folks in this thread that aren't anywhere near as OCD as me. When I go the range all of my carry guns get fired with the carry ammunition I've been packing around, pocket lint in place etc. It isn't because I think the ammunition has gone bad or think it would come anywhere close for years and years. Just for me, I need to know that my carry guns will go bang every time as I carry them, no fiddling etc.

    David
     
  15. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    I do that once in a while.

    I actually carried my PPS for many many months (I think it was over 4) with no cleaning, no extra lube. And I saved every dinged-up 9x19 round in the household for it, plus some of the cheapest steel-case ammo I could find.
    Took it to the range, cleared it, popped off the slide to see how much lint was in there (A LOT!), re-assembled and loaded up the cheapo steel ammo and ran 100 rounds ... then I ran all the leftover carry ammo from the last year or so through.

    Not a single failure other than a sideways-mounted primer in the steel-case ammo, and I can hardly blame that on the gun. So I now know that I got away with 4 months of lint and a bunch of carbon crap buildup in there, so my 2-3 month range and cleaning rotation and roughly monthly inspect and blow out routine should be fine.

    But I still only change my carry loads every 3-4 months, it is more of a seasonal thing. Plus I already have a different lot of ammo in the reload, and sometimes a different HP design.
    "getting cold, better stick in some EFMJ in the gun just in case"
    "getting warm, time to rotate in Gold Dots"
    "been sweating on these a while, time for fresh"
    "getting cold, time to dig out the EFMJ again"

    MrsBFD gets fresh ammo when winter hits, and again when things warm up ... since she carries in her purse it doesn't get sweated on or much extra lint.

    Mouse-guns get carried with ball anyway (.32acp) ... so they get fresh ammo after they go to the range each time. They get carried so rarely that I don't worry about time as much as proficiency.
     
  16. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Lots of unneeded worry, IMO....I carried one brand of duty handgun 7 years and another brand for 12 years before each were retired. My mags were only unloaded twice a year...at bi-annual qualifications. Out of 2 handguns and 6 mags, I never had a single issue....Same goes for my duty rifle, which I have had now for 10+ years. The mags stay loaded year round. I've got 3 issued mags that I've had all that time. Never had a problem.
     
  17. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    I had a feeling is wasn't that big of a deal. Thanks for clearing this up guys.

    I still plan on doing my usual monthly rotation and this time yearly (instead of two year) replacement for the carry ammo. I do live in a pretty humid area, so I don't want to push it.
     
  18. Obsidian

    Obsidian Member

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    I find its a personal thing. Some mentioned humid sweaty carrying conditions cause them to expend their ammunition sooner. Some don't worry bout it at all. My personal feelings for Revolvers are that I've yet to change the ammo for them that has not been exposed to moisture.

    Semi autos are a different story. I rotate the ammunition once a year for something that is commonly carried/used. I find that the chambering of the rounds, especially for the .45 acp is harder than any personal carry is. The extracting/ejecting cycle does more to the rounds than any of it.

    I rotate magazines every two weeks as part of my maintenance of the firearm in question as well.

    Overkill, perhaps but I feel confident in it. And once a year I use new ammunition and get a refresher on that particular ammunition for SD drills.
     
  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I replace mine periodically to function check the gun, not because I'm concerned that the ammunition has suffered over time. Probably twice a year or so.
     
  20. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    My question is for all you guys are are replacing at whatever time frame you use...Have you ever had one of your "old" rounds misfire or be a dud?...In both alot of career and personal shooting, I don't think I have ever had a commercial factory round fail. (Not counting 3rd world multi-decade old surplus stuff, BTW)
     
  21. Obsidian

    Obsidian Member

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    Yes, I've had a defective round from the factory by one company fail to touch off, however upon further inspection it appeared that a small amount of corrosion had started between the casing and the projectile. Possibly that way from the factory, hard to say. But it was also a round greater than ten years old. (Was what I had for that firearm at that time. Used the old stuff to test point of impact)

    Again, I'm not really worried about a round going bad (You do inspect each round from time to time don't you?) due to age as it is the human factor and the chambering and unchambering of rounds in autos.
     
  22. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    nope, I have not abused commercial defense ammunition to the point of failure.

    but I have seen brand-new in package factory ammo come out of the box in unacceptable condition, in the cheap plinking stuff ... WWB/Tula/Brown Bear/etc
    I've seen bullet seated deeper than anything else in the box (WWB 9x19 100-pack, hard to complain when most boxes actually have 101 or 102), sideways primer (Tula 9x19, twice), casing peeled down the side of the bullet (Aguila .30carbine from the CMP) ... and I've seen undercharged rounds, with significantly less report than the rest in the box (Remington's cheap .45acp)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  23. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    I think we all know that ammo can sit and wait for decades and still be perfectly fine, but what happened to the hysteria about carrying ammo around for years and the powder abrading itself down to a fast burning blasting agent that will kaboom your Glock and the first third of your shooting arm?

    I liked that theory. Never see it anymore though. :(
     
  24. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    That's my belief as well.
     
  25. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    That's one of the reasons I swap mine out, and one of the reasons I don't keep a gun in the car or bike (one of, far from the only or primary reason)

    I don't think that it will become a super-explosive, but it can change the function of the round enough that it isn't the round I tested any more.

    It would be an interesting experiment to put some loaded ammo into a measurable and repeatable vibration generator (paint shaker?) and tested results. I imagine it would take quite a beating to make a measurable result, but I do think there would be degradation if there's any room in there for things to move about.
     
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