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How long is ammo good for?

This is a discussion on How long is ammo good for? within the Ammo Dump forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; In general, when I go buy a box of ammo and put it in my closet, how long should I expect to be able to ...


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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #1
 
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How long is ammo good for?

In general, when I go buy a box of ammo and put it in my closet, how long should I expect to be able to let it sit there before I can expect to have problems with 1 or 2 of the shells.

This question came to me back during dove season, but just remembered i never found an answer.

I got my grandfather's 16 guage shotgun that was made around 1900 and had the gunsmith clean and testfire it. It passed the test and i used it for dove hunting. Out of about 100 shots it did not fire 4 times. I showed the shells to a more experienced family member, and he said that it was probably old shells because it looked like the firing pin hit the primer pretty hard. He said that i probably got shells that had been on the shelf since last year because not many people shoot 16 guage.

So, how long should they be able to sit? How about my .38 sp and .357 ammo? Are there different shelf lifes for different types of ammo?



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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #2
 
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IMO, what type of enviroment it is stored in makes all the difference in the world. I have recently shot .38 wadcutters & .45 ACP that was twenty something years old that was stored in a humidity controled environment and it all shot fine. Any ammon that has been stored for a long time I would use just for practice, I would not carry it in my CCW gun.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 05:40 AM   #3
 
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Here in Houston things are strictly humidity controlled: 100% humidity 100% of the time!

Thanks for the advice, I will look into storage containers
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Old March 10th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #4
 
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The ones to worry about are those getting green from setting in shell lopes. Found old belt with six in bottom of closet, buried them, deep
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Old March 10th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #5
 
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A bit here sport

Ammo Shelf Life
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Old March 10th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #6
 
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I recently fired some paper hulled 20 gauge shells that were marked 1952 and the entire box were fine in my 1938 Rem model 11.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #7
 
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Recently unlimbered my 30/06 which had been stored for many years. Only ammo I had was that which I loaded in the mid-sixties. Fired flawlessly and still MOA accurate. Also found a stash of even more ancient .22 rounds including the old crimped shot rounds - probably dating to the fifties. They also shoot just fine. All stored in a wooden box and dragged all over the country - without special treatment. Primers and the reclaimed WW2 machinegun powder (H4831) are fully usable. I don't think the wood box ever got wet, but sometimes it was in damp basements.

As a sideline insight - don't ever use WD-40 on you firearms. It turned to shellac and nearly ruined my 30/06.

Richard
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #8
 
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If kept dry and cool, it will easily last many decades of storage. I have shot .22lr ammo that sat in a household closet from sometime in the late 1930's until I uncovered it in the 1980's and it all went bang just fine. I also have a neighbor who had .45acp ammo from the 1940's (found cleaning out his uncles basement after he passed away) that all shot fine.

I remember my father saying that the Enfields they used onboard ship during WWII to "pot" mines that the sweepers brought up were using WWI ammo.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #9
 
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Ammo

With even halfass storage it will be usable long after you are gone.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 04:34 PM   #10
 
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Hmm... That makes me wonder about the condition of the gun... Maybe i will have to go shoot some clays and see how it does.

Thanks for the input everyone!
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Old March 10th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #11
 
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looooong time

I still have a half can of 30/06 lake city match made in 1973. still shoots great.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 06:35 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalMan2004 View Post
Here in Houston things are strictly humidity controlled: 100% humidity 100% of the time!

Thanks for the advice, I will look into storage containers
la porte is horrible, i have a dry rod and still he humidity in my safe is at 48%
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Old March 10th, 2011, 07:53 PM   #13
 
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As stated above,with any care in storage it will last a long time.Dampness seems to cause the most problems.I do thonk shotshells lose some potency over time.Im sure some will correct me,but I dont like keeping it for very long.I try to use it up and buy fresh every couple of seasons.Im sure thats why I miss the occaisional grouse. (did he actually just say occaisional?)Yes,that must be it.Bad shells.Be safe.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:40 PM   #14
 
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A few years ago we shot the last of our WWII 8mm ammo, no problem. I still have a couple A.P. 9mm rounds left from then and have no doubt they'll fire, just won't do it.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #15
 
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As stated above, it does depend on how its stored. I have 8mm mauser ammo form the early '30s it goes bang everytime i pull the trigger.
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