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Old October 2, 2012, 05:34 PM   #1
StainlessSteel215
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Shelf life for defense ammo stash?

So I dont have a huge safe...in fact its only enough to store maybe 1000 rounds along with 3 of my 4 guns & mags (the Glock26 never goes in because its always with me). Got it for $100 at Sports Authority and I think its about 2 cubic feet.

Anyways I am about the 500 round count in both .45acp and 9mm for my pistols which I am slowly adding to each week. Every time I hit the range I come home with 2 more boxes, 1 for each caliber, for my home stash.

Does anyone have a decent gauge for shelf life for premium self defense ammo? Does a year sounds reasonable.....or too early?
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:43 PM   #2
Sparks1957
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It ought to be good for decades, honestly.
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:48 PM   #3
orionengnr
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Put some dessicant packs in that safe with the ammo and it will still be good when your grandchildren fire it.

Once it is loaded into magazines and carried daily, exposed to changes in temperature, humidity, possibly sweat, perhaps being ejected and re-chambered a number of times, etc...you might want to err on the side of caution. Most say six months to a year. I follow that advice.
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Old October 2, 2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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Decades. If stored properly I'm sure that 50 years for a box bought today wouldn't be a problem.
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Old October 2, 2012, 07:55 PM   #5
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The lifetime of small arms ammunition is basically determined by the lifetime of the gunpowder. If you used new gunpowder a rule of thumb is 20 years for double based, 45 years for single based.

Heat is the worst enemy of gunpowder.

If you are looking for more information, I found this UN manual.: International Ammunition Technical Guideline, IATG 07.20, Surveillance and in-service proof. to be an excellent read with its explanation of gunpowder deterioration and the tests used to determine stabilizer content. Table one was excellent in showing how temperature reduces the lifetime of gunpowder “propellant”.

If it was not copyrighted, I would have copied and pasted the table.

Section 13.1 explains how gunpowder deteriorates, well worth understanding.

http://www.un.org/disarmament/convar...Proof(V.1).pdf
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:47 AM   #6
Rifleman1776
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Isn't WWII 30-06 ammo still available?
I am with the decades crowd.
I shot some of my .44 mag. 15 year old reloads recently. Worked just fine.
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Old October 3, 2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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Don't say you were not warned:


Garand Blowup with WWII ball
http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost....3&postcount=13

I have an old shooting buddy who some years ago was shooting some WWII ball (don’t know whose) but his M-1 was disassembled in a rather rapid fashion. He was lucky only his pride was hurt. He said he took a round apart and found rust looking dust along with the powder. Bad powder. Just sayin…..The op rod can be rebuilt which might be a good way to go. Op Rods are getting harder to find and when you find one a premium price is required so it seems. Garands require grease. I’m not sure if you are aware of this. If you are, please no offence taken.

Garand Blowup with WWII US ammunition.

http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?p=1344088

There was a thread on another forum titeled “What’s in your ammo can” and many guys had old surpluss ammo so I told this story. Ty (arizonaguide) asked that I come put it here also so here it is boys, draw your own conclutions.

Back in the mid 80s my Dad and a bunch of us went shooting in Arizona. Dad had a couple thousand rounds of WWII surplus .30M1 (30-06) ammo that looked great on the outside cut his M1 in half in his hands. He was kneeling with elbow on knee when the first round of this ammo went BOOM! We were all pelted with sand and M1 shrapnel.

When the dust cleared Dad was rolling around on his back with buttstock in one hand, for stock in the other, barrel and receiver hanging by the sling around his arm trying to yell “mortar” thinking he was back on Okinawa in battle. The blast had removed his ear muffs, hat, glasses, and broke the headlight in my truck 15 feet away but Dad was only shook up and scratched a bit once he got his wits back. It sheared off the bolt lugs, blew open the receiver front ring, pushed all the guts out the bottom of the magazine, and turned the middle of the stock to splinters.

After a couple hours of picking up M1 shrapnel we headed to the loading bench and started pulling bullets. Some of the powder was fine, some was stuck together in clumps, and some had to be dug out with a stick. It didn’t smell and was not dusty like powder usuley is when it’s gone bad. Put it in a pie tin and light it and it seemed a tad fast but not so you would think it could do that, wasent like lighting a pistol powder even. He had 2000 rounds of this stuff and nun of us were in any mood to play with it much after what we watched so it all went onto a very entertaining desert bon fire. I got the M1 splinters when Dad died last year and will post pix here below for your parousal and entertainment.

Anyway, I no longer play with any ammo I am not 100% sure has always been stored properly . . . cheap shooting ain’t worth the risk to me anymore! I still buy surpluss if the price in right but I unload and reload it with powder I am sure of or just use the brass.

She was a good shooting servasable Winchester M1 before this.












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Old October 3, 2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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Agree with the dessicant idea. If you have a FoodSaver machine for the kitchen, put the box (or more) along with some dessicant in one of those bags, vacuum the air out and seal it. That ammo should be good for way longer than I have left. Put a date code on each bag, whether in the clear or your own system, so you can rotate properly. I also use this process for primers.
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Old October 3, 2012, 09:49 AM   #9
StainlessSteel215
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Slamfire...WOW WOW WOW.

I am both happy and shocked at what happened to your father's WWII M1 piece. Happy that he was virtually unharmed and that it served as a healthy lesson....and shocked at what DID happen!

Lesson learned, dont trust old ammo thats been poorly stored for over 60 years. I dont plan to keep handgun ammo on hand for that long though
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:42 AM   #10
Slamfire
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The concern is warranted but it was, thankfully, not my Dad and not my experience. I am just relaying what someone else posted.

Heat will reduce the lifetime of ammunition drastically. When you are dealing with surplus ammunition you just don't know how it has been stored.

When you are dealing with your reloads you know the storage conditions and how long it has been around.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:59 AM   #11
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I have read several accounts of emergency stockpiles called POMCUS (positioned out of the Continental U.S.). The U.S. Govt. has been stashing huge amounts of weapons ammo and other "necessary" items all over the world since the end of WWII. Underground with "houses and barns" built on top of them. Steel cans and dessicant. I'll bet it still fires. I have ammo I loaded 30 years ago and it still fires 100%. Don't worry about changing your ammo load out.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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I've been shooting some economy grade 22lr that has been stored in ammo cans in my basement for about 20 years. No problems so far. I have a lot of reloaded ammo that is still as accurate as it was when loaded a decade ago.
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Old October 4, 2012, 04:05 AM   #13
FloridaVeteran
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I am sort-of pleased to be able to say that all of the ammo I presently own will outlive me. Guess my kids will be happy with the haul. At any rate, I am happy that they are more likely to get it than some brownshirt.
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Old October 7, 2012, 06:26 AM   #14
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I've shot 1938 bulgarian 8x56R without any issues.
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Old October 7, 2012, 07:56 AM   #15
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You know those "silica gel" packs? Every one of those you see, throw into your safe. Just try not to overflow the safe.

Those absorb any moisture and you'll be 80 years old, God willing. And shooting that ammo.
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Old October 7, 2012, 10:21 AM   #16
drail
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Unless you store your ammo in the attic or in a wet basement it will last for many many years.
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Old October 7, 2012, 10:23 AM   #17
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Old October 7, 2012, 10:28 AM   #18
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Instances like that pictured above are very rare and usually more of an operator error than the fault of the ammunition. Barrell obstructions (which is what I believe to have caused the above failure) sure can cause some nasty high pressures. I regularly shoot rounds that I know to be 30 years old or better and rarely experience any failures.
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Old October 8, 2012, 11:37 AM   #19
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I have no scientific data to cite, but I think modern ammo which is kept in a temperature range of between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, not exposed to moisture or penetrating lubricants; should be good for at least two decades.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:42 AM   #20
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while I understand the pictures above here of the WWII gun and the failure of it were indeed catastrophic you are comparing apples to pumpkins.

mass produced ammo today is much cleaner and more durable than war time produced ammo made by many different suppliers that may or may not have been up to snuff for spec on that ammo and powder etc

peace time ammo produced for a hand gun today kept at moderate temps and dry out of sunlight etc would in theory be useable for the duration of your life time with out a doubt.
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Old October 21, 2012, 10:50 AM   #21
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I've just shot .38, 9mm, and .45acp ammo I bought 20 yrs ago and they bang just fine. I did not store them with desiccant, just in boxes.
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Old October 22, 2012, 10:20 AM   #22
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Sounds like that guy with the m1 found a high pressure proof round if the bore was clear.
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Old October 22, 2012, 11:04 PM   #23
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If stored in "non-extreme" temps and environment (dry), good for the duration of your life.

For the OP, what model gun cabinet do you have (doesn't sound like a "safe")?
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Old October 23, 2012, 06:31 AM   #24
Hal
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Quote:
Does anyone have a decent gauge for shelf life for premium self defense ammo? Does a year sounds reasonable.....or too early?
As already mentioned,,,,how it's stored is more important than how long it's stored.

Using fresh ammunition for defense is something I class as - something I can control.

In the manner of, take care of all the details and the big problem is solved,,,I like to address all the things I have control over so they don't pop up unexpectedly when something beyond my control happens..
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