The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 30, 2010, 09:08 PM   #1
k9cougar
Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2010
Posts: 74
Q:Is ammo ever too old?

I run accross some bricks of Remington 22 LR at a local Radio Shack store while on vacation. (wouldn't it be great if all Radio Shack stores carried guns and ammo?). Anyway the brick is just $15. The downside is the ammo is probably 20 years ago that the franchisees picked up at a estate sale. They are "High Velocity" and are "exclusive golden bullet" along with "Kleanbore priming" that is supposed to help keep the gun barrel "bright and clean". Can ammo go bad? Looks OK to me. Would you take a chance or let it pass?
k9cougar is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:12 PM   #2
publius
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 25, 2005
Location: Mississippi/Texas
Posts: 2,466
If it's not corroded and you think you are getting a good deal, go for it. should be fine
__________________
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." Mark Twain
publius is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:16 PM   #3
Daryl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Posts: 2,350
I'd shoot it without hesitation.

It'll either go bang, or it won't. *shrug*
Daryl is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:20 PM   #4
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,668
Ammo can go bad if it is stored in a wet environment, or someplace subject to wide temperature swings that can cause condensation.

OTOH ammo that has been stored in a reasonably cool and dry environment can last for many decades, even for over a century. Most climate-controlled homes are perfectly fine for long-term storage.

If the rounds look nice and shiny and there's no sign that they've gotten wet, they should be fine.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:21 PM   #5
surbat6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 22, 2010
Location: Northampton, PA
Posts: 164
I've got .22 ammo older than that, shot it to compare with recent stuff and the old stuff shot better!
The old ammo was Rem. "Golden Bullet" plated, and the new was Thunderbolt with that wax-coated bullet.
The only bad .22's've seen have been range pickups, exposed to the weather.
All such were duds.
I'd grab all the ammo in that Radio Shack, just to protect them from possible prosecution for selling ammo without a license! (If you scare them bad enough, you might get a discount for the lot!)

-Edited to correct a spelling error. I know, I'm too anal.
surbat6 is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:31 PM   #6
30-30remchester
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2009
Location: mountains of colorado
Posts: 977
I harvester a buffalo a few years back with a cartridge loaded in the 1870's. The round went off like it was built yesterday. So if not corroded go ahead and shoot the stuff.
30-30remchester is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:35 PM   #7
bobelk99
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 18, 2005
Location: Central KY
Posts: 220
The ammo is not 'too old'. if stored properly it should be fine.

I am still shooting Winchester lead bullet 22s left over from ROTC of the 50s.
bobelk99 is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:38 PM   #8
Lavid2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2007
Posts: 2,568
shot some .22 from the 60's the other day : )...went bang just fine
__________________
Math>Grammar
Lavid2002 is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 09:40 PM   #9
jaughtman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2010
Posts: 759
My personal experience....

I found a couple of old 30/30 cartridges that were hidden in an old cigar box that came with my first deer rifle - I got it when I was 14 - I am 40 now. I shot them and I can attest that ammo will last at least 26 years.

Jamie
jaughtman is offline  
Old March 30, 2010, 10:34 PM   #10
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,327
I've fired 100+-year-old ammunition, Spencer .56-56, with no problems other than about 30% failure rate.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old March 31, 2010, 10:31 AM   #11
10-96
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Tx Panhandle Territory
Posts: 3,275
Another opinion on that:
It might be worth while to determine if old ammunition would be more valuable as collector fodder than shootability. I'm still amazed at what vintage packaged ammunition will bring at times.

Your .22lr is probably far from vintage, but still, I thought I'd throw that out for everyones ponderance.
__________________
Rednecks... Keeping the woods critter-free since March 2, 1836. (TX Independence Day)

I'm going to use the words "clip" and "Long Colt" every chance I get. It grinds my gears to see new members attacked when we all know dang good and well what's being refered to.
10-96 is offline  
Old March 31, 2010, 11:56 AM   #12
surbat6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 22, 2010
Location: Northampton, PA
Posts: 164
"I've fired 100+-year-old ammunition, Spencer .56-56, with no problems other than about 30% failure rate."
Mike, not to be too nit-picky, but I think that a 30% failure rate qualifies as a problem! I'd also imagine you shot that old .56 RF ammo before you knew how much each round is worth to collectors!
surbat6 is offline  
Old March 31, 2010, 12:30 PM   #13
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,327
For ammo that old, a 30% failure rate is actually far better than what we expected it to be.

As for how much it is worth to collectors, it was worth more to us to actually shoot a historical gun than it was to try to get rid of the rounds at a gun show. At the time it was bringing maybe 75 cents a round, and you could find .56-56 at gunshows in boxes of loose cartridges for less than that.

HUGE quantities of .56-56 were loaded in the United States right up through to about 1920 when it was finally dropped by American manufacturers.

I have a couple of the rounds in my personal collection. At this point it's 130+ years old.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 01:06 PM   #14
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,845
If it looks good, it likely is...

However, its no guarantee. If you are talking about ammo from one of the major makers, 30-40 years is nothing. Hell, I have some of my own reloads that are getting nearly that old! And yes, they still work fine.

.22LR more than a few decades old might give you a bit more trouble than fresh stuff, or it might not. As long as the cases look clean, its probably fine. RF ammo (even from major makers) has a higher expected percentage of misfires than centerfire ammo, its the nature of the beast. Budget .22RF ammo is often less reliable than their premium stuff.

Remington Golden Bullets were their high end .22 round, back before the "hyper velocity" .22s came out. Stingers, Vipers, Yellowjackets, etc. are hyper velocity, and Golden Bullets are "high velocity". This is compared to the "standard velocity" rounds from generations before. Today most standard velocity ammo is target/match ammo, and "high velocity" is what is more or less standard (i.e. commonly found).

I have seen .22s so old their bullets had oxidized (turned white on the surface) that still shot fine. I have seen cheap stuff I bought last year have multiple duds. If your Rem ammo is in the old red and white (1960s eras) packaging, and is in pristine condition, it might be worth a little more than new ammo, to the right collector. Might. A Little. Maybe.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 06:10 PM   #15
riggins_83
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 19, 2009
Location: Wherever I may roam
Posts: 1,484
I fired a bunch of WW2 45ACP surplus ammo last summer.. never an issue.
__________________
l've heard police work is dangerous. Yes, that's why l carry a big gun. Couldn't it go off accidentally? l used to have that problem. What did you do about it?
l just think about baseball. -Leslie Nielsen
riggins_83 is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 08:19 PM   #16
FairWarning
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: GA
Posts: 815
20 years is nothing at all if stored properly.

I've shot plenty 1950s vintage 8mm Mauser rounds without problems. I suppose the oldest modern ammo I have is a box of original Win 9mm Black Talons, by now nearly 20 years old and as rare as hen's teeth, but many decades away from being too old to shoot.
__________________
Mauser Werke, Schmidt-Rubin, Remington, Colt, H&K, Weatherby, Browning, Ruger, Marlin, Mossberg, Saiga, S&W, Sig Sauer....a few friends of mine
FairWarning is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 09:17 PM   #17
Locoweed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 646
This morning my son-in-law shot up a box of Western Cartridge Co .45 acp ammo from 1953. No problems.
Locoweed is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 09:32 PM   #18
Chettt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 30, 2006
Posts: 214
So where is this Radio Shack that sells guns and ammo?
Chettt is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 09:54 PM   #19
starbuck125
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 11, 2009
Location: kentucky
Posts: 137
i shot some 8 x 56r nazi stamped ammo stamped 1938 awhile back, worked great.
starbuck125 is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 10:24 PM   #20
k9cougar
Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2010
Posts: 74
Thanks all

Thanks all! I bought and shot the some of the old ammo. Worked great! BTW, if you ever in Lincoln City, Oregon, swing by the local Radio Shack. Not a bad selections of guns and ammo considering they are, after all, a Radio Shack. Prices for guns and ammo seemed a bit more reasonable then their prices for electronics which I have always felt were a bit expensive.
k9cougar is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 02:06 AM   #21
gb_in_ga
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2005
Location: Wylie, Tx
Posts: 3,027
A> It depends on how it is stored.

B> I'm not all that impressed with new Remington .22lr Golden Bullet reliability. I've had bad experiences with it.

But for target/plinking purposes, I'd scarf it up and shoot it with no qualms. It either shoots, or it doesn't.
__________________
COME AND TAKE IT
http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/batgon.htm
Formerly lived in Ga, but now I'm back in Tx!
gb_in_ga is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 11:30 AM   #22
Kreyzhorse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2006
Location: NKY
Posts: 11,522
Quote:
it was worth more to us to actually shoot a historical gun than it was to try to get rid of the rounds at a gun show.
That's awesome Mike. I wouldn't have passed up a chance to fire a historical gun either. The experience would be just too hard to pass up.
__________________
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
Kreyzhorse is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 02:15 PM   #23
Slamfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 4,133
The storage life of cartridges is limited by the storage life of the gunpowder.

Black powder does not deteriorate. Water will ruin the stuff, but dry cartridges loaded with black powder, or cannon shells loaded with black powder have an extremely long shelf life. Every so often you will read of someone who died from a Civil War artillery shell going off.

Smokeless single based and double based powders start deteriorating the day they leave the factory. Nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose want to combine to form a lower energy compound. Nitric acid gas is released as a by product of this reaction.

The reaction rate is directly proportional to heat. The hotter things are, the faster the migration and reactions.

The Navy initially test for acid gas by the Methly Violet test, or Talliani test. If acid gas is detected than a chemical analysis is performed to determine the amount os stabilizer in the powder. (Stablilzer is either MNA or 2-NDPA)
When the concentration of stabilizer is LT or EQ to 15% of the original content, the Navy scrapes the lot.

The Army does things different. They scrap based on clock time. 20 years for double based powders, 45 years for single base.

The best storage conditions for powder is artic cold. That is cold and dry.

Water damages powder and water causes nitroglycerine to wick to the surface. A surface rich in NG will cause pressure spikes.

I would there fore advise storing powder and ammunition in as cool and dry conditions as possible.

If your cases has case neck cracks, it is highly likely the powder inside is outgassing nitric acid and damaging the brass. The stuff should not be shot as the burn rate of the powder is now unpredictable and the case may split in the case head.

I don't know the shelf life of primers. If they go dud then whatever is in the case is not going to go bang.
Slamfire is offline  
Old April 7, 2010, 04:32 PM   #24
Archie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 26, 2000
Location: Hastings, Nebrasksa - the Hear
Posts: 2,100
I've shot WWI era .45 ACP ammo.

Frankfort Arsenal, February 1916 by the headstamp. All worked fine except for the few that had the powder removed by a young experimenter.

Old ammo should be examined. Sometimes one finds lengthwise cracks in the necks. This is a result of the neck tension over time - usually measured in decades.

I got a 'deal' on a cardboard box of 7x57 Mauser FMJ ammo, loaded for the Remington rolling block sold to Mexico. The ammo had been stored (at one time, anyway) in a duck pond or something similar. It was dark, corroded and had green I had to polish off. I took the rounds that looked intact and fired them from the rolling block I had purchased. Those nasty looking rounds fired just less than half the time. Considering it looked like someone had tried to sabotage them, not bad.

With modern storage techniques, well made ammo lasts a good long time.
__________________
There ain't no free lunch, except Jesus.
Archie

Check out updated journal at http://oldmanmontgomery.wordpress.com/
Archie is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13092 seconds with 9 queries