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Old May 9, 2009, 12:50 PM   #1
dougbull
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How long can ammo last?

I finally found some ammo at a gun store. All I could get was 3 boxes. I guess because Ive bought 15 guns there he sold them to me. They were so exspencive ,I guess Iam going to save them for s/d. What I dont know is how long I can store them? Will they go bad after a long time? Fiochi hollow points 148 gr 38spl. $33 bucks. Pmc bronze 9mm fmj $18 bucks. Pmc bronze 38spl fmj 132 gn. $24 bucks. THANKS IN ADVANCE. NRA MEMBER
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Old May 9, 2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Modern factory ammo purchased today will most likely be safe, functional and reliable for the next 50 or more years, no kidding.

One thing to guard against is the constant, daily shucking and un-shucking them from a pistol. This can lead to bullet setback and compromise where the bullet is supposed to be sitting. If you are talking about a defensive or carry pistol, it's my routine to secure the gun when it's not on my person, but NOT to unload it. If you find that you must be constantly loading and unloading a round from the chamber of a semi-auto, then you may be wise to shoot your defense ammo and freshen your stock on a somewhat regular basis.

But if your question is how long will the ammo last sitting in it's cardboard box? My answer is that your children can teach their own children to shoot with it if you still have that ammo.
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Old May 9, 2009, 01:08 PM   #3
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long time

stored properly you will be dead before it goes bad.
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Old May 9, 2009, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
stored properly you will be dead before it goes bad.
Sad but true........
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Old May 9, 2009, 01:44 PM   #5
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Yup

Will last for yonks if it is kept dry and out of sunlight, and extremes of temperature.

You should get out and have a shot, to keep 'your eye in' so to speak.... just keep some for HD, I'm sure you will find more soon

Can't have your trigger finger gettin' rusty, now, can we
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Old May 9, 2009, 02:40 PM   #6
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If you see a milsurp green ammo can with the rubber seal in the lid, buy one, they are usually cheap, but don't settle for a junker. Some have paint, little bit of rust etc. on the outside, but should be pristine inside to keep. Good place to keep your ammo, protects against moisture, dust, etc. but not extreme temps if you store it in a hot place like an attic. Cold no problem. Some ammo will produce lower pressures on firing if very cold, but heat will deteriorate the chemical compounds in powder at some point. Leave it in a good ammo can with a good rubber seal and it ought to last as long as you need it. Maybe even last as long as your grandchildren need it. Otherwise on the closet shelf in your bedroom, probably will last about as long there, if left alone.
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Old May 9, 2009, 04:26 PM   #7
dirty magazine
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Quote:
stored properly you will be dead before it goes bad.
Hopefully, that's not at the same time
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Old May 9, 2009, 08:11 PM   #8
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I bought a bunch (1500 rounds) of Euro MilSurp 9mm back in 1991 or so. It was manufactured sometime in the 40s IIRC. I still have some of it left, and it still works just fine.

Wish I had bought a whole bunch more of it. At the time it wasn't a great deal, just a decent deal. Today it would be a steal.
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Old May 9, 2009, 08:40 PM   #9
Nnobby45
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The only reloading powder that went bad on me was old, and stored in the garage were it suffered temperature extremes year after year.

Keep your ammo stored where temps are fairly consistent.

Shots some 30-30 ammo I got back when the Yankees, with Mantle, Maris, and Berra, beat the Cincinnatti Reds. About 1961, I believe. Worked fine.
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Old May 9, 2009, 09:15 PM   #10
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I harvested a buffalo a few years back and used an original Sharps carbine in 50-70 GOVT, that I borrowed from a friend. I used an original 1870's vintage black powder round of factory ammo. The result was expected as if it was new ammo. Three feet of penatration after breaking ribs and shoulder. So to answer your question, ammo can last a LONG time if it is kept in good condition.
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Old May 9, 2009, 10:01 PM   #11
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Hey, remchester, that is such a cool story you should start your own thread, elaborate on the details a little and post a photo or two if you have them. VERY neat stuff.
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Old May 9, 2009, 10:05 PM   #12
scorpion_tyr
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Quote:
How long can ammo last?
I've never had good luck with keeping ammo for long periods of time. Somehow it always seems to "go up in smoke" within a few days or weeks at most
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Old May 9, 2009, 10:13 PM   #13
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If it is not exposed to heat, oil/solvents, or submerged in water; I would think modern ammo would be good for 20 years or more.
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Old May 9, 2009, 10:18 PM   #14
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I still shoot some WWII surplus that I bought back in the early '70's. Getting them out of the disintegrating links and sorting the tracers out makes for a night in front of the tube. The lots that I have are from 1943 and '44. They still shoot fine.
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Old May 10, 2009, 01:31 PM   #15
44 AMP
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If made right, and stored right....a century, or more

Kept dry, out of the sun, not subject to high temperatures, the shelf life of modern ammo is nearly indefinate.

Very old ammo, may not last as long as modern stuff, but it has already lasted a very long time. In the 1970s, I shot a quantity of .30-06 made in 1918. It all worked fine, even though the cases were a uniform dark brown!

I have a box of 1896 mfg 6.5x55mm Swede ammo that has suffered season cracking of some of the cases.

Military surplus ammo is the least reliable, especially that from foreign nations. One has no idea of how well it was made to start with, or what conditions it has been kept in, for decades or more. And wartime production ammo (particularly from nations who were defeated) tends to be some of the least reliable. But this is not a hard and fast rule. I recently had an experience with some surplus ammo (Israeli, I was told, headstamp TZ 80,81,82) that produced 17 misfires from 145 rnds, and 12 cracked cases (all TZ 80).

Balance this against all the old ammo I have shot that worked perfectly, and it is a very small matter. Even my handloads, some made in the early 80s are still fine.

Ammo will last longer than you will. Don't worry about it.
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Old May 10, 2009, 01:55 PM   #16
C Philip
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The oldest ammo I've shot was some 1930's 8mm mauser. It was tarnished, but it worked just fine. I'm sure some of the military ammo in the sealed spam cans could last over 100 years.
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Old May 10, 2009, 02:29 PM   #17
wnycollector
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I regularly shoot com bloc ammo produced in the early 50's. I agree with the other posters that factory ammo should be good for between 50 years! Seal it in a nice ammo can and keep it dry, a century could pass and it should still work.


Quote:
Somehow it always seems to "go up in smoke" within a few days or weeks at most
Hey scorpion_tyr if you can shoot all your ammo that quick...LOL you just aint buying enuff
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Old May 10, 2009, 06:09 PM   #18
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Not long ago my son-in-law came across some 357 ammo that was issued to his grandfather (a LEO) in 1950 and has been lying in a gun safe since that time. Grandfather recently passed away and we shot a round or two with no problem. It went bang and made one heck of a sound.
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Old May 10, 2009, 07:13 PM   #19
scorpion_tyr
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Quote:
Hey scorpion_tyr if you can shoot all your ammo that quick...LOL you just aint buying enuff
I absolutely agree with you! I used to buy as much as I could afford, now I buy when I can find it.
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Old May 10, 2009, 07:27 PM   #20
lee n. field
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Quote:
What I dont know is how long I can store them?
Cool and dry, longer than you will last.
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Old May 10, 2009, 07:49 PM   #21
troy_mclure
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i know a guy that shoots ww1 milsurp -06 from his 1903.
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Old May 11, 2009, 01:11 PM   #22
PointOneSeven
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It's pretty humid sometimes up at my place, so the brass starts getting cruddy and splotchy within a year. I usually shoot it up by then, so it's a non-issue for me.
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Old May 11, 2009, 01:23 PM   #23
OJ
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Quote:
I've never had good luck with keeping ammo for long periods of time. Somehow it always seems to "go up in smoke" within a few days or weeks at most
That's been my experience also - just doesn't seem to have any shelf life at all.

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Old May 11, 2009, 03:47 PM   #24
riggins_83
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I shot some milsurp 45ACP ammo packaged in 1944 from a Springfield XD yesterday and it all fired fine.. so provided conditions are right (not too much humidity, temp changes, etc), I'd say a long time!
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Old May 11, 2009, 04:10 PM   #25
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This is a good time to rehash some advice about storing ammo.

1) Moisture is the enemy, whether it's in the form of humidity or leaking water. The storage environment should be protected from both.

2) Extreme hot and cold is IMHO not as bad as rapid temperature swings because changing temperature causes condensation.

3) Ammo should be kept in a reasonably watertight and airtight container, but not a particularly strong one- you don't want it to turn into a bomb in the event of a fire.

4) I recommend against cardboard containers unless they're kept in a watertight environment. Cardboard will wick up water and hold it like a sponge. The storage area may be indoors, but remember that roofs can leak.

All that said, ammo should last for decades inside an average modern American climate-controlled and leak-free home.

However, as other posters have also said, I dispose of my carry ammo and replace it at least once every ~3 months.
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