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Old December 27, 2012, 07:11 PM   #1
Onward Allusion
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The 22LR Cartridge

I understand that centerfire pistol cartridges will last a very long time if kept in a cool dry environment. I've recently shot .357 Mag & .45 ACP from the late 80's and they were fine, albeit a little smokey.

So, given that the 22LR cartridge uses a heel bullet; how many years would a 22LR cartridge hold up in a similar cool/dry environment? The first part that would probably go bad would be the bullet if it was uncoated lead. But how about copper coated 22LR's?
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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I have shot 22 ammo from the 50's and it's still good if stored in a reasonably cool and dry location. To answer you question.. I don't know.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:27 PM   #3
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The bullet might get a little coroded but I don't see how it would "go bad". Likely the first thing to go bad would be the priming compound in the rim. Cheaper ammo is somewhat sketchy even new.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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I worked a suicide case where an elderly fellow shot himself on Christmas eve several years ago. He used a 22 shell out of an ancient box of I believe Remington UMC Old Green and Red Box. If I found the box it would have been on the mantle with some of my other ancient ammo boxs. The 22 shell worked as good as new.

Properly stored they last a long time.

Tip for Today: you can store 14 each Federal 550 packs in a GI Fat 50 ammo can. Might be handy to know some day.

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Old December 27, 2012, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Tip for Today: you can store 14 each Federal 550 packs in a GI Fat 50 ammo can. Might be handy to know some day.
Heh, I think you read my mind.

As to my comment on the bullet itself going bad, I'm more worried about oxidation and its effect on bullet diameter. I've see ancient 32 S&W Short cartridges with oxidized bullets that would have caused over-pressure if shot w/o a bit of clean-up. I'm guessing copper coated would be better for long term storage?
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:04 PM   #6
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I suspect the copper washed bullets or golden bullets will appear in better condition after being stored for many years as you suggested the lead is not exposed to the air to become oxidized.

Most of the lead bullets will have a lube on them also but I have read that it hardens long term.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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40 year old ammo

I had some 22lr ammo that I "inherited" from my father in law that was at least 40 years old. It shot just fine. It did not run through my semi auto hand gun well until I dumped it all in a bag and squirted in a dribble of gun oil then tossed it well.

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Old December 29, 2012, 08:40 AM   #8
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I'm shooting Remington Golden 22's from the mid 80's. Stored in ammo cans in my basement with dessicant packs for over 25 years. Shoot as good or better than current production. Just received a case of 22 from CMP still in Mylar wrap inside the cardboard box. Expect those to shoot as well as the same looking stuff did back in the early 70's.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:52 AM   #9
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If they are Remington brand you're lucky if they fire when brand new. To the OP's question, the construction of the round (rimfire with heeled bullet) does not make any difference in storage life. None.
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Old December 30, 2012, 03:09 AM   #10
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storage conditions key

What is important is good conditions.

In hot humid situations, .22lr can go flat quickly. I know of lots of instances where guys have carried the little 5-shot .22's as deep cover guns on their persons, pockets, clipped to undergarments,armor, etc, , and found the rounds were duds after a month or so. I had the same trouble with a Berretta 21 that I carried as a third gun in a boot. So much so that I would recommend swapping out .22 ammo bi weekly if forced to carry it as a SD round under any conditions.

But, controlled environment, safe, locker, AC/Heat.....should be good for long while.
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Old December 30, 2012, 04:28 PM   #11
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I've shot ~50 year old rimfire ammo. I've heard and read of ammo much older working fine,
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