The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 21, 2019, 03:35 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: August 25, 2006
Posts: 305
Whats your oldest round fired ?

Some old ammo , if stored correctly , can still be fired safely. Some not. So what is the oldest ammo you have fired ? For me it would be 1935 headstamp Turkish 8mm. It was hot stuff but very accurate out of my Turk Mauser.
KROIL is offline  
Old June 21, 2019, 05:46 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: June 1, 2005
Posts: 4,345
1942, 43 and 44 Lake City 50BMG ammo. Had a 150 rd case of it. It all shot fine.

laytonj1 is offline  
Old June 21, 2019, 07:31 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 25, 2017
Location: Lawnguyland, NY
Posts: 166
7.62X54R -- most of what I have is between 1944 to 1960 --
NRA Instructor / RSO & NRA Life Member / S.A.F.E. Armorer / 03-FFL / Moist Nugget gun nut / Ammosexual / COR of a Venturing Crew / And a right wing Republican Jew with guns

Μολών Λaβέ
Ricekila is offline  
Old June 21, 2019, 07:45 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 14,152
11x60Rmm Mauser, BP load, paper patched lead, loaded sometime in the 1880s. Worked fine.
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old June 21, 2019, 11:08 PM   #5
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,782
8mm Lebel. Don't know how old the ammo was? Rifle belonged to another fellow. Although I did take notice the cartridges were Berdan primed.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 12:19 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2005
Location: AZ
Posts: 3,098
I had some Bulgarian 7.62x25 from 1955. Worked great.
kozak6 is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 03:09 AM   #7
50 shooter
Senior Member
Join Date: August 6, 2002
Location: SoCal PRK
Posts: 888
I've shot 8mm and 50 BMG from the 30's and 40's, it worked fine. I have to agree, if properly stored, it will last for decades.

I would like to know what's the longest people have had reloads last? You always hear stories about primers and powder going bad. So how do they compare to factory loaded ammunition?
I see the world thru bloodshot eyes
Streets filled with blood from distant lies
The dogs of war never compromise,
No time for rearranging.
50 shooter is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 03:42 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: January 20, 2000
Location: Selah, WA
Posts: 324
This, though I cannot remember the date.

Powermwt is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 11:19 AM   #9
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 11,931
The best .303 Ball I've ever fired was some 1944 vintage DA the CF issued us in the early 80's. Made the 80's vintage IVI crap(accuracy wise. It went bang every time.) we got later look like complete garbage.
"...primers and powder going bad..." It's all about how it is stored. Same as any ammo. Primers don't go "bad" though. Even dunking 'em in oil is unreliable for killing 'em.
Powder only "goes bad" if it get wet. Either through direct moisture or humidity. The latter is more about extreme changes in temperatures causing condensation though.
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 12:24 PM   #10
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 21,721
In the early 70s I fired a quantity of .30-06 and some .45ACP that was made in 1918.

I have reloads I made in the early 80s that still work just fine.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 01:47 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: March 20, 2011
Location: Willamina, OR
Posts: 1,241
I have some WWII surplus .30-06 ammo but I won't shoot it. Some years ago I pulled down one of the AP rounds and the powder looked really bad. I've shot early 1960s Lake City '06 ammo but I don't member where I bought it. Might have been a gun show find.

I have a friend with a 96 Mauser and shoots WWI ammo out of it but I wouldn't shoot it when he offered. I pulled down one of the miss fired rounds and the powder is sticky and smells odd...

Geezerbiker is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 05:39 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: December 29, 2010
Location: Shoshoni Wyoming
Posts: 2,714
Back in the late 70s I fired a box of 1916 head stamped 45 ACP. It all fired as if it was brand new, even though it was close to 70 years old then.
I have also fired a few 32 Rim Fire rounds just last year that dated from the teens and all went off just fine. It was about 98 years old.
Wyosmith is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 06:33 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: July 20, 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 1,549
I had a 100 round box of 7x57 from 1900. Most fired perfectly, and rather accurately.
2020 PA Cartridge Collector Show has been cancelled. See us next August 20-21, 2021!!!
Buy...Sell...Trade All Types of Ammunition & Ordnance
jonnyc is offline  
Old June 22, 2019, 08:18 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: January 3, 2006
Location: Brockport, NY
Posts: 3,440
I got a few boxes of ammo with my Krag last year, headstamp RA 18. I am guessing its a century old. it shot fine!
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
mikejonestkd is offline  
Old June 29, 2019, 06:26 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: August 25, 2006
Posts: 1,334
1880's Climax black powder shotgun shell, a collectors item I accidentally mixed in with modern 12 ga shells when shooting a Browning A5. Functioned, fired. This was about 15 years or so ago.
shurshot is offline  
Old June 29, 2019, 12:03 PM   #16
F. Guffey
Senior Member
Join Date: July 18, 2008
Posts: 7,249
I have old ammo; I do not shoot it but if I did I would check the powder to make sure it has not turned to clods

I got involved in an inheritance of a 30/40 Krag. The rifle came with 4 boxes of ammo. To start with I did not get one ounce of truth about the rifle or the ammo.

the ammo could have wrecked the rifle, the ammo had one of two problems. The powder was caked ahead of the primer or behind the bullet. What does that mean: I did not recommend opening the bolt after pulling the trigger without waiting at least 5 minutes. And then there was the caked powder behind the bullet; The caked powder would have rendered the one lug Krag scrap.

I find nothing entertaining about shooting old ammo.

I have shot 8mm57 Turkish ammo, I consider Turkish very strange stuff. I pulled the bullets on 100 cases and I dumped the powder. After dumping the powder I formed the 8mm57 cases to 7mm57 cases and then loaded them with my powder and bullets. I shot 40 of them, all the necks split, I waited and waited and then without warning the other 60 cases developed split neck while stored in a drawer with the rest of my 7mm57 cases/ammo.

And I wondered , too much bullet hold or too much neck tension.

And then there were case body splits, the splits looked like they were hit with
shaped charges. I did consider the possibility the gas got trapped between the case body and case chamber. When this happened the case was too brittle to bend, thus? the case split.

At $2.40 cents for 70 rounds the 8mm57 ammo was not a bargain. And then there were the bullets, the bullets were streak-ers. meaning the bullets would align with the magnetic force lines created by a magnetic.

At the same price the Romanian ammo had the rifle friendly bullets and the speed of the bullets never got up to the speed created by the Turkish bullets.

F. Guffey
F. Guffey is offline  
Old June 30, 2019, 11:13 AM   #17
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 21,721
Smokeless powder is a chemical compound, and one of the chemicals used in its manufacture is nitric acid.

When the right factors combine, (time, and storage conditions are two of them) the powder can chemically break down, releasing the nitric acid, which attacks the brass, making it brittle. So brittle it can crack just sitting in a drawer.

I have some 1897 6.5x55mm that did that. One case broke open at the shoulder, while on the stripper clip in the original box.

I think this accounts for most of what is generally called "season cracking" in old ammo. However there are cases of brass just appearing to crack from old age, so, it is apparently something that can happen from indeterminate causes, as well.

Oddly enough, some of the oldest rounds are the most stable. IF properly stored (throughout their lifetime). Black Powder is chemically more stable than smokeless, over time provided it doesn't get wet. It may become inert from moisture (again, environmental conditions of storage) but it doesn't break down chemically the way smokeless powder can.

The big problem with very old ammo is that other than uber rare cases, there is simply no way to know if the ammo has been properly stored throughout its lifetime. Generally, the closest we ever get to "cradle to grave" tracking is knowing the year and location where the ammo was made (IF we even know that...), with no records of the actual conditions it went through during decades and decades or a century or more, of storage.

In the early 70s, I fired a bunch of 1918 .30-06 and some .45ACP ammo. some of the 45 cases are still in my mixed brass stash, and a couple of the 06 cases I cut and sized into ,308 Win cases back in the 70s and I still have them in my brass stash too. Dark brown color that no amount of mechanical tumbling seems to change, but full functional, have been loaded multiple times without any failures.

Contrast this with some surplus 7.62NATO stuff a friend got about a decade ago, all of it from the late 90s. Fired 100rnds, 11 failed to fire, 17 of those that did had cases crack (body, not neck). Pulled down the rest for the bullets, where were fine, with a little surface discoloration where clumped powder, had stuck to the base of the bullet.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old June 30, 2019, 01:42 PM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: January 22, 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,641
I bought some 7x57 made in 1938 at the gunshow several years ago. It fired but acted like it had a fuse instead of a primer. Some went off as normal but too many were slow fire. But it was light recoiling and accurate. You just had to hold on target until it went off.

So I pulled it and saved the bullets. The bullets are round nose 175gr shiny steel jacket I am guessing are the same kind of bullets Bell used un elephants. I have around 220 of them left.

The powder seems to be fine. It is square cut flakes. There was 38grs loaded in each case. I may one day load up 10 rounds and use the old powder just to see if it still works.
ThomasT is offline  
Old June 30, 2019, 02:40 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 2,000

Good then, great now.
,,, stupidity comes to some people very easily. 8/22/2017 my wife in a discussion about Liberals.

Are you ready for civil war?
flashhole is offline  
Old July 1, 2019, 12:16 AM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,369
Back in the 70's you could buy original Civil War .58 caliber paper cartridges for 1.00 apiece. I bought some of those and shot them in 1980.
Hawg is offline  
Old July 8, 2019, 12:17 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: May 26, 2000
Location: Hastings, Nebrasksa - the Hear
Posts: 2,209
In the late 1960s I shot some .45 ACP ammo in my rather used Ithaca 1911A1. The ammunition in question was found in a neighbor's attic by some neighbor kids. It was headstamped FA (Frankford Arsenal) 02 16 (February 1916). It shot much like .45 ACP hardball.

Had I know then what I learned later, I would have kept it for collecting.
There ain't no free lunch, except Jesus.

Check out updated journal at
Archie is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:58 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08649 seconds with 8 queries