View Full Version : Antique ammo

cougar gt-e
July 26, 2009, 02:41 PM

I am feeling sort of ill right now. I got a colt woodsman with a brick of 22's. Shot up all but 4-5 boxes. Just saw this


It is the same stuff. Is there really a demand for old ammo?

Also have an ammo box of 30-06 armor piercing rounds. Used most of them for shooting "stuff". Still have 4-5 of the 8 round clips with cardboard cover and the old cardboard covers from shot ones.

I think I have a partial box of 30-30 silvertips from '55 or so. Neighbor sold me her husbands gun and old ammo for it 15 years ago or so. I think he only shot it 6-8 times.

So, did I shoot up a gold mine or what?:(

July 26, 2009, 03:28 PM
First of all dont be too sad. The ammo is not the same as you shot up. The ammo on your link isnt 22 long rifle but an obsolete round similar to long rifle ammo. It is actually 22 Winchester Automatic ammo, and was chambered in 2 firearms only, the model 1903 Winchester and the model 16 Remington. The price he is asking is on the high side as most go for @ $30 a box. The ammo you shot that was similar actually comes from the 1950's and sell for @ $5 a box. I collect antique ammo and you should just save the remainder of your 22 ammo. One thing to check for is if your Colt Woodsman is a standard velocity model or a high speed model, The ammo you shot was most likely standard velocity. If you shoot high speed ammo in a standard velocity Woodsman it will break the slide. If you are in doubt PM me and I will tell you how to tell the difference. On any antique ammo it is always better to keep it or sell it to a collector like me and buy fresh ammo to shoot.

cougar gt-e
July 26, 2009, 04:45 PM
good to know that it wasn't a major deal. Still, smoking off boxes of stuff someone is looking out for makes me sad!


July 27, 2009, 12:57 AM
I inherited a Colt Woodsman and it prefers the high velocity loads or it won't reliably eject empties. I shoot it plenty every time I go shooting. It was made in 1953 and puchased at the Seward General Hardware Store, Territory of Alaska. What do you think, Remchester, am I hurting this gun? By the way, it's an excellent shooter and since it's a family heirloom it can't be sold..... I got antique ammo though.....

July 29, 2009, 05:30 PM
Pathfinder good to hear from you. No worry about your Woodsman. Any gun built after the mid 30's were all built for high speed ammo. I am a great fan of this John Browning designed handgun. It is the standard all others were judged against. And originating in Alaska where these 22's were the determining factor for life or starvation makes it a real treasure. 22 handguns made it possible to survive for extended periods in the northern relms. If you study history, during WWII the army actually issued 22 handguns to soldiers in the Aluetian campain.

July 30, 2009, 06:16 PM
A friend of mine was given a few bricks of the old yellow box/red X Winchester hi-velocity 22LR ammo, and he traded and sold the stuff for about $10/box. So yes, there is a demand for older ammo, usually 1960s and earlier. It won't make you rich, but it will put a few bucks in your pocket.

July 30, 2009, 07:16 PM
I have fired many thousands of rounds of WWI and WWII antique rounds. When I was a kid the stuff was all over the place and it was very cheap.

So I've shot boat loads of MK VII 303 rounds, and an equal number of 8mm Mauser rounds. Also 7.65 Argentine rounds, and Swiss rounds and Eqyptian ammo.

All except some 8mm Lebel fired pretty well. I got hang fires with some 8mm Mauser, others too, from time to time. Jap rounds hanged fire too. But they were very old.

So I suggest you shoot your old rounds, but beware of hang fires or duds. Wait a good minute to eject a dud/misfire. Sometimes I reload it and it shoots, but I only do that once, and it's probably not all that smart.

Remember; almost all old rounds are very corrosive. Especially those armor piercing 30-06 rounds. Mine were Federals, headstamped 54 and they rusted a bore badly. Luckily I got to it soon enough and cleaned the dickens out of it.

I used to shoot old Canadian 577 Snider rounds. I had a friend who fired an entire case of old balloon head .45 Colt black powder rounds. Too bad, as they are worth probably $5 @ today.

So shoot the old rounds, make sure they fit your rifle as sometimes it's hard to tell. If you are not absolutely sure; then don't shoot them.....EVER. You can remove your face.

July 30, 2009, 08:14 PM
I have to disagree with logjam. Antique ammo can be fired sucessfully, I once harvested a buffalo with an original black powder loaded 50-70 government manufactured in the 1870's. However I knew I was shooting a $20 cartridge. Those 577 snyders he shot are at least $25 apiece. And those 45 Colts his friend shot up are @$200 a box. Modern ammo would have been the way to go. Sell the old stuff to us collectors, use the money to buy more and better and cleaner and safer modern ammo. As to his military ammo shooting this is another matter. MOST military ammo was built by the millions and isnt usually as valuable as modern ammo. You can usually buy wheelbarrow loads of common stuff like 303, 8mm, 7.62x54R for small amounts of money.

August 4, 2009, 12:54 PM
When I was shooting that 577 Snyder Canadian ammo is was so cheap it was nearly free. We could buy it by the wooden case. It was stacked in army surplus stores. Much of it was tin foil wrapped ammo. It was all black powder, and paper patched. It shot just fine in my Snyder musket.

I also recall trapdoor entrenching tools, that fit on the bayonet lug that cost then, in 1955 about $5. Bolo knives, never issued; cost $1.75. A Krag carbine cost about $14. Trapdoors were about the same. In 1970 one could buy a Danish Rolling Block for $14.50 and the bayonet was tossed in for another buck and a half. They relieved a bit of the bore so that you could drop a standard 45/70 in there, which was a tad bit longer than the original 11.7 x 51.

I bought a mint SMLE for $7.50 and a full case of MK VII ammo for $3 in 1958. I was twelve or thirteen. I'd go to a pond and shoot at bubbles and sticks all afternoon. A mint Mauser 71/84 cost $24. I still have it. A Remington 50/70 Rolling Block cost $5 in 1956. We'd take them to shop class and mess with them.....they were so cheap they were considerd almost free.

In 1971 in gun shows you could buy a Jap Arisaka for $25, a 1895 Winchester for $200, a Navy colt for $130. I own a Pocket Navy model 62 that I paid $130 for. I own a Sharps percussion musket that I paid $365 for in 1972. I have a mint Hall that I paid $600 for and an 1861 Musket that I paid $225 for. Mint Winchester 44.40 muskets with bayonet thrown in cost $425.

Surplus ammo was stacked high in all surplus stores and it was dirt cheap. Most of it was 8mm mauser, MK VII 303 stuff and cases upon cases of 30-06. Lots of .45 ACP in those little brown cardboard boxes.

In 1961, I had a buddy who'd buy a case of cherry bombs each 4th of July. One day he went to buy some and they cost .25 each! He thought, "heck I can buy dynamite at .19 a stick." So he went to the local hardware store and bought a case of dynamite. We blew the crap out of things! (rocks and tree stumps, etc.) It was just that easy to do, back before Oswald popped Kennedy and wackos started bombing draft centers.

Interestingly, all black powder shooters, prior to those TC Hawkins shot original guns. From Colt Navy's to Kentucky Long Rifles to Sharps carbines. All we shot were originals. DuPont Black Powder cost $1.98 a pound. If we broke a part or needed a sling we'd just call Dixie Arms, where they stocked all old BP stuff and all original! It got a black McKenzie ammo pouch for my Trapdoor for $6.50, From Dixie. I busted a part of a Smith Carbine, and called Dixie and replaced it with an original part for my original carbine, which I plinked with.

August 6, 2009, 07:17 PM
....long ago and far away, the Territory of Alaska would give you a title deed to a sizable chunk of land if you simply claimed it and lived on it for 5 years. That's what my folks did and it's how the Woodsman came into my family. I still have the original box and instructions along with the factory target signed by the inspector at the factory. Imagine that: They wouldn't allow it to leave the factory until they were sure they would be proud of it! After all, Colt was competing with Smith and Wesson for your dollars; and I heard that during the 50's, S & W would not allow one of their K-.22 revolvers out of the building if it wouldn't group into an inch-and-a-half at 25 yards. Ah, but those were RELICS of a by-gone age when America was a land of the free and a dwelling place of a brave and self-reliant people who were proud of their work. And when those people made something it had to be the best or they couldn't sleep at night.

September 6, 2009, 01:32 PM
Shooting high velocity ammo in a pre-war Woodsman won't "break the slide" as remchester suggests, but it will damage the mainspring housing. Colt remedied this ca. 1931 by introducing a new style housing at approx. s/n 80,000.

Look at the housing; If it has a small oval with checkering in it, it is for standard velocity ammo. If it has a small rectangle with horizontal lines, it is a high velocity housing.

Colt also offered new housings separately to be retrofitted to older guns to eliminate this problem. A stronger recoil spring was to be installed as well.

This does not apply to any post WWII guns; They are all made to shoot HV ammo.