National Gun Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
G

·
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is prolly a dumb question but how long does ammo keep? I've had some people tell me that it "goes bad" after a few years and not to use it. I've had some in a military ammo box for about 7 years now and wondered if it's still any good? The ammo is 9mm if that makes any difference and its not reloads. Is there a good rule of thumb for shooting old ammo?

Also, is there a good way to store ammo? I would assume to keep in a dry place away from moisture but how about the container?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
811 Posts
As long as you keep it in a dry, climate controlled environment it should be good for a very long time. That being said I would want to keep newer ammo in my carry gun and save the old stuff for practice. I have shot ammo that has been stored for 7-8 years before with no problems.
 

·
Ancient Gaseous Emanation
Joined
·
55,702 Posts
Back in the early 1990s I purchased 50,000 rounds of .303 Birtish ammunition. It was loaded in 1909. I have approximately 20,000 rounds remaining. I estimate that I have had 2% duds out of the rounds I have fired.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
I would shoot ammo of any age if its for plinking or target shooting. I think only a few like Popeye said would be duds or maybe even low velocity..maybe moisture gets to part of the powder charge in a casing and only half of it burns? Im not sure. Ive shot surplus 8mm ammo thats older than dirt that would DUD a couple times every hundred rounds but no big deal..the price is right. I just make sure my carry pistol's have new ammo and my hunting ammo is new because I would shoot myself in the butt if the deer of a lifetime walked in front of me and I had a dud in the chamber :cry: :D
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for the feedback. I'll use my old ammo when I go practice at the range.
 

·
Harley Dude
Joined
·
14,651 Posts
I still have ammo that I loaded back in the 1970's that works like a charm. I just push it back in the cabinet and forget to use it up. Lot of 45 acp target loads with the dirty ole Bullseye powder that I love so much. Accurate as heck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
Once upon a time way back in the 1970's I found a string of .50 cal Browning Machine gun ammo lying out in the desert on
top of a sand dune. It had been there, I believe, since WWII when the area was a training range for the army. A short time
later I found a man with a single shot rifle that fired the stuff. Some of the rounds were damaged and would not chamber,
but all that were not damaged fired OK.

So, you can use ammo that is quite old if you wish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Ammo stored in a dry, cool environment will remain useable indefinetly. If stored in a damp environment with big changes in temperature, or if oil or wd-40 got around the primer; I wouldn't it trust for anything but plinking.

I had a part box of very old 38-55, black powder, that the cases were badly corroded. They all fired and did remarkably well on target at 100 yds. But if I was out hunting I sure wouldn't have them in my gun.

Back in the 70's I used to do a lot of varmit shooting and I had a Winchester self loader that worked real good on gophers. Over the off season I would keep the magazine full. The next season I found over half of those LR 22's wouldn't fire. From then on I emptied the magazines over the off season.

Regards:
Rod
 

·
Harley Dude
Joined
·
14,651 Posts
I have not had real good luck with the old 22 rimfire stuff either. It can build up crud on the lead, dust and dirt and fail to chamber.
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I wouldn't carry old ammo in a personal defense gun unless I had to but for just target practice as long as you store it in a cool, dry place like an ammo can, it should last you a lifetime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I had about 100 rounds of .45 ACP that was approximately 36 to 40 years old. It all fired with no problems a couple of months ago. Also, have a few rounds left of 400 rounds of .30 carbine that go back to WWII and so far they have fired about 85% to 90% of the time. I would only use this stuff for target practice.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,424 Posts
All of the above answers are correct. Just be sure the case is intact, i.e., no thin spots due to corrosion. If the bullet is firmly seated (doesn't turn in the case) and the primer is clean, it should be fine. I was firing Spanish 8mm Mauser ammo made in 1937 with about a 10% dud rate. The rounds that did fire were just fine. Of course it was corrosive, so I had to thoroughly clean the rifle. But I do that anyway and that was the way the ammo was made, back then. I have some .30-'06 military ammo that was issued in 1918 that I'd love to shoot, just to see what happens, but to me it's a collector's item, so I won't shoot it.

For personal defense ammo, just to be on the anal-retentive safe side, I usually don't let it go past 2 yrs. I'll use the loads I'm carrying for practice and replace them with fresh ammo after that time.

Finally, as some of the others mention, I've found it best to store my ammo in military-style ammo cans. The plastic ones with the rubber gasket on top are good too. Keep the ammo at moderate temperatures and away from moisture and you'll be fine.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top