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Old February 11, 2012, 04:33 PM   #1
MrGreen
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Can ammo "go bad?"

Does ammo have an experation on it? If you keep it in the box for 10 years would it be more likley to jam your gun? What about if you leave it in the trunk of your car at night when the temp drops 30 degrees? Does that harm it?
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Old February 11, 2012, 04:46 PM   #2
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Yes, it can, but this generally depends on storage conditions; anytime the temperature or humidity goes outside of certain ranges, the chances of misfires, hangfires and duds starts to climb, and this is part of the reason why the military keeps close track of such things. The trunk of a car is not such a great place to keep ammo, because it goes through cycles of very hot, very cold, condensation, and so on. Some police departments (who generally keep extra shotgun and sidearm ammunition in the trunk for emergencies) will usually fire that ammo off during qualifications, and replace it with fresh stuff for another year. As a general rule, keep it cool (not cold) and dry, and it will outlast you.
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Old February 11, 2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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Thanks!
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Old February 11, 2012, 07:19 PM   #4
tony pasley
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I have some 45acp date 1942 surplus ammo that shoots just fine.
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Old February 12, 2012, 06:45 PM   #5
Newton24b
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it can go bad, it can do other things.

ive seen reports that 30+ tons of explosive ordnance (grenades, shells, etc) is recovered each year from the front lines of ww1. All of it seems to be still good, but detonators are unstable.
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Old February 12, 2012, 07:15 PM   #6
cajun47
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some say the brass will break down over time. i have some mauser 8mm ammo from the 40's that sometimes crack after shooting.

that cheap junk steel case ammo will outlast the brass. if kept dry of course.
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Old February 13, 2012, 05:08 AM   #7
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The cracked brass is caused by failure to anneal the case necks during manufacture. The cracks form after some time.
Powder deteriorates if not stored properly . An acrid smell and a change in color indicate this and the powder should be spread out over your lawn to safely dispose of it .It's a nitrogen fertilizer !!
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Old February 13, 2012, 08:52 AM   #8
vito
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I'm confident that if I left any of my S&W revolvers loaded with factory ammo untouched in my dreser drawer for 30 years, it will go bang when I pull the trigger.
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Old February 13, 2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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I've got some shotgun shell that are at least 30 years old. Maybe older.

I wouldn't hesitate to use them.

Properly stored, ammo will last longer than you will. Leave it in a damp basement or a bunker in the desert...maybe not so long.
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Old February 13, 2012, 09:52 AM   #10
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Properly stored ammo will be good for 50 years or more.

i have tens of thousands of rounds of old ammunition. My .45/70 military ammo dates to the 1880s. One of four or five rounds fire. Some of my .30 Army (.30/40 Krag) ammo dates to 1904-06. About 30 percent of it still fires. i have .30 caliber (.30-06) ammo made in 1918: Most of it fires. Every round of my WWII .30 caliber and .30 carbine ammo fires.

Several years ago i picked up several hundred rounds of Western made .30 Newton and .35 Newton ammo that was made in the 30s. Every round fires. It's accurate too.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:51 AM   #11
Jack_Bauer24
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Any ammo made with lead free primers such as FN 5.7 will only last for a few years in the best of conditions. Give me leaded primers any day.
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Old February 14, 2012, 09:00 PM   #12
dancarpenter95
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Never had any issues as long as it has not been stored in very adverse conditions. One solution is to buy vacuum packed ammo. This will increase storage life. Hope to only have to use it during the coming Zombie Apocolypse.
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Old February 15, 2012, 07:18 PM   #13
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I have some 303 ammo that was manufactured in the late 40s it came from the middle east and had sand and grit in the can. I have not experienced any failures.

I recently found some CCI 22 lr which I purchased in 1977, it still had the sales recipt on it. I have had no failures with this ammo. That is a much better rate than my recently purchased 22 lr.

My father gave me some paper hull 12 ga. The box indicates a manufacture date of 1949. The shells performed flawlessly.
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Old February 15, 2012, 07:42 PM   #14
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It definitely depends on storage conditions. Back in the 60s I used to be able to get German surplus 11mm black powder cartridges loaded in the 1870s (repacked in 1882 LOL!) that went off with one or two duds out of a hundred. Obviously they had been stored under ideal conditions.

I have read that modern, non-corrosive cartridges using lead styphanate primers have an average shelf life of 20 years. Again, it depends on storage conditions. I would suppose the "20 years" is something that the manufacturers deem to be the limit for optimum performance, as many non-corrosive cartridges older than that will go off.

Corrosive ammo with potassium perchlorate priming has a much longer shelf life than non-corrosive since the priming compound is more stable.
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Old February 15, 2012, 07:49 PM   #15
GroovyMike
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its good forever - if stored properly

Properly stored ammo say dray and between 33 and 99 degrees F will will be perfectly good for multiple generations. BUT - leave it laying in the snow and mud and sun for awhile it might not go bang every time.
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Old February 15, 2012, 08:45 PM   #16
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My favorite .30 caliber military ammo is some TW 54 armor piercing. My Remington 700 loves the stuff. Some of my best .30-06 groups have been fired with that ammo: It makes military match ammo look sick. It's been in a celler since i got it in 1960.
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Old February 16, 2012, 02:22 AM   #17
gyvel
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Quote:
its good forever - if stored properly
Defiinitely not forever. Both powder and priming compound are checical compounds and, much like medications, tend to break down over time.

Try opening a can of surplus .30-06 that has been shut for a number of years and get a whiff of the ether.
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Old February 16, 2012, 09:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Any ammo made with lead free primers such as FN 5.7 will only last for a few years in the best of conditions. Give me leaded primers any day.


??????

Can ammo go bad? Why yes it can. I decided to finish off some factory ammo I had bought about ten/fifteen years ago. I picked up a gun I had not shot in several years and decided to try it out. Not one of those rounds hit the target.

Keep your ammo dry and will last a long time. My Uncles had a hunting cabin in Maine and kept ammo there. When they would go up hunting, they would get the old boxes out and "Test" a few rounds. Never any problems.

They bought their ammo in Maine because they had to travel through Mass. to get to their cabin. The ammunition would sit in a cupboard during the coldest parts of a Maine winter.
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Last edited by Uncle Buck; February 17, 2012 at 09:29 AM.
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Old February 16, 2012, 09:14 AM   #19
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Sometimes it isn't good when it's new. I have discovered at least one cartridge with a very odd dent in the side from a box of brand new store bought ammunition.

I have seen a lot of old (WWII) ammunition with corrosion around the primers and on other spots on the casing as well but while I wouldn't expect those to be 100%, most will fire.
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