View Full Version : How Long Can You Keep Shotshells?

September 16, 2002, 10:34 PM
How long do you think you can keep shotshells if they are kept in cool and dry place?

I just got 1,000 rounds of Federal Tactical 00 buckshots from a friend at a price I could not refuse. He got them back in 1999 and has kept them in his closet enclosed in ammo cans. The A/C in his house is always on so the temp has never gone higher than 76 or 77 degrees for more than a day or two at most during that time.

I want to keep some stashed for "just-in-case" need. I will keep them in same manner (ammo can ans air conditioned closet). I would think ammo kept in this condition should last 10 years or more?

September 16, 2002, 10:41 PM
Let me preface this with the admission that I really don't know what I'm talking about... but here's my $.02...

People shoot up mil surp ammo that is 50 years+ old all the time. No real issues (other than a slight "warming" of the loads).

I know of a guy who took a big Alaskan moose with an original box of factory .33 WCF (well, one round out of the box)... don't know age but was early part of the century.

My guess is that it varies by manufacturing technique, storage conditions, type of powder, type of primer, phase of the moon and price of beer in Bolivia... but the stuff will probably be good for longer than you can keep it around without shooting it up! ;)

September 16, 2002, 11:18 PM
Have some Remington Express out in the barn thats probably 15+ years old. Stored in the carton inside a steel case from a first aid kit. Seems to seal up OK but not airtight or anything. Still goes bang when you pull the trigger

Al Thompson
September 17, 2002, 07:21 AM
I've fired ammo from WWII with good results. Sme was a mess of .45 ACP and our battalion in Germany was issued an enourmous amount of .50 caliber for a gunnery density. No problems with the .50 ammo that I remember.

Ammo these days is probably much better than ammo of those days.

Cool and dry seems best.

Dave McC
September 17, 2002, 08:07 AM
Long ago, the NRA tested some 22 ammo by keeping some of it in a car trunk in the summer and some cool and dry in a house for the same amount of time.Some was used to fire control groups. After 3 months or so, they benchtested the two using a Model 52 target rifle, a machine rest, and on an indoor range to keep everything as unvariable as possible. The "Inside" ammo shot incrementally smaller groups. The conclusion was that a longer time and/or more extreme temp changes would create more variance.

Ammo kept cool and dry seems to last a very long time w/o deterioration.

September 17, 2002, 08:37 AM
I shot sporting clays this past Saturday with a gentleman who was burning up some old Winchester AAs. He had purchased them in 1967. Not a single misfire or malfunction in his Remington 1100.

September 17, 2002, 09:23 AM
I have quite a bit of shotgun ammunition my father bought in the late 60's. I found a big wooden box of it in his unheated garage in the late 80's. It still works fine.

September 17, 2002, 11:44 AM
not really sure?

shot some paper hulled 12ga. last month.

worked fine:)

by the way,anybody know when they quit making them:confused: don't remember manufacterer.



September 17, 2002, 10:33 PM
I reload and I am still using up some "Dupont" PB powder that I bought in the mid '70s. Still works good, I just kept it well sealed and dry.:cool:

September 18, 2002, 12:13 AM
I took 1 round from 50 random box and give it to my brother this morning to got try it out. He said they all fired perfectly and couldn't tell the difference from the stuff he bought few weeks ago. Every ammo I check look brand new.

This evening I took my wife's vacuum sealer and packed 10 boxes (50 rounds) into each sealed plastic bag. I didn't have any descissant (thing that sucks up moisture) so I wraped a handful of dried rice in a paper towel and put it inside each bag. Then I sealed 2 sealed bags into another bag (100 rounds) along with more wraped rice. I bagged total of 700 rounds and put it all away in my closet.

That ammo should stay good until I'm too old to shoot... or until I finish shooting it :D

September 18, 2002, 09:00 AM
not really sure?

shot some paper hulled 12ga. last month.

worked fine

by the way,anybody know when they quit making them don't remember manufacterer.



Probably not what you shot, but Federal Gold Medal Paper is still manufactured today. It is my favorite competition shotshell.


Larry Ashcraft
September 18, 2002, 02:58 PM
I've still got some Remington blue paper 3" buckshot loads, probably made in the 60's. I use them for coyotes and they work fine.

I shot a sporting clays match a couple months ago and used some Sears target loads and some Alcan loads that I got in a gun buy, both made in the 60's. All 50 fired great, in fact, the Sears loads did better than the new loads I bought.

Mike Irwin
September 18, 2002, 03:20 PM
A few years ago I went clay pigeon shooting with some Peters paper-hull shells that were made in the late 1920s.

100% functionality.

September 18, 2002, 04:31 PM
I can remember back in the 70's, my friends father owning a few shotguns and looking over the ammo. The shells back then were wrapped in something like a cardboard wrapping. Vulnerable to moisture of anykind (they would swell if in a hot moist area). Today, if kept in a dry storage area, I believe the shotgun shells produced could outlast a human being, twice! :D Its kinda nice to know.

September 19, 2002, 07:18 PM
I recently wanted to test my Remington 870 Police. I dug up a 25-rd box of shotshells out of the closet. They were at least 32 years old. They still had the "Gemco" price label on them. Remember when "Target" used to be "Gemco?" They all fired perfectly, even though the brass was rather corroded & Green.

September 19, 2002, 11:24 PM
Yeah, just recently got a shotgun again after not having one for, oh, 15 years I guess: the shells I still have from my dove shooting days (80 thru 85) still work just fine!

September 20, 2002, 12:22 PM
Remember when "Target" used to be "Gemco?"



September 20, 2002, 03:06 PM
I've got some Winchester AA's, 12 ga., that I bought in Savannah, GA, in 1988...last time I used four boxes from the last case--old, TWENTY-round cases, BTW--I shot a 99x100...and the shells didin't miss the high three...I did, stopped, shot behind...oh, well, that's what happens when you get old and slow....mikey357