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Old November 8, 2005, 07:36 PM   #1
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How often should you change out your carry ammo?

I've heard that you should change out your carry ammo at least once every year. If you don't get oil on your magazines, what is the danger? Some people are going to argue that your life is worth the cost of a few bullets a year, even if they are Magsafes. I think those people are ammo manufactureres or own stock in ammo companies . I have defensive ammo in all of my guns. Fortunately, I have not had to shoot anyone in my 10 years of gun ownership. I have more than half a dozen guns. Does it make sense for me to swap out the ammo for all of my guns even if I only carry one of them?

Basically, I want to know is if there is a legitimate reason for swapping out your carry ammo at least once a year.
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Old November 8, 2005, 07:44 PM   #2
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Peace of mind is a good reason for me till they put an experation date on them
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Old November 8, 2005, 07:48 PM   #3
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my only concern (in regards to autloaders) is that the top round may get slightly deformed when it pushes against the top of a loaded magazine, and maybe that may cause feed problems or jams. I'm not sure if this is a valid concern or not.
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Old November 8, 2005, 07:53 PM   #4
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I can think of at least one other reason: practice. Even if your practice ammo is similar to your carry/HD ammo, itz probably not exactly the same. So it couldn't hurt to shoot your carry ammo about once a year just to make sure you can shoot it as accurately as your practice stuff.

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Old November 8, 2005, 08:05 PM   #5
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when they start to change color[for copper jacketed] or if they start to seat back in the case from constant loading and unloading. ammo that sets back in the case[so it is shorter overall that the other rounds in the mag] can dangerously raise chamber i would say the round you load all the time needs to be constantly checked. if it starts to sink into the case then throw it out. i try a maximum of 6 months. i usually buy my bulk ammo a couple times a year so i will buy new sxt or hydra shock and then shoot up the old stuff at the next range session. THE IMPORTIANT THING TO WATCH FOR IS THE BULLET SINKING INTO THE CASE THIS WILL RAISE PRESSURE TO POSSIBLE CATATROPHIC LEVELS
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Old November 8, 2005, 08:11 PM   #6
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I change out my ammo whenever I notice wear on the case or bullet from being chambered. I just rotate a new round to the top, and I am good to go.
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Old November 8, 2005, 09:20 PM   #7
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perhaps they should...

Put an expiration date on ammo...hell I've heard of failure issues related to old ammo being used and corrected simply by using factory fresh. I'll bet you'd be OK for 5 or 10 years though.
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Old November 9, 2005, 02:45 AM   #8
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I've tested ammo that was 40+ years old(in a safe platform), very few failures. On the other hand, I dont think I would want to bet my life on them! I agree with practice, especialy with your primary round.
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Old November 9, 2005, 02:56 AM   #9
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I've shot a lot of WWII 30-06 in Garand clips. Never had a problem with it. Only stuff I've ever seen go bad is really old paper type shotgun shells (not the modern plastic stuff that's been made for decades).

In my case ... whenever I shoot my semi-auto carry piece I take the top two rounds (chamber/first in magazine) and replace them with two fresh rounds, that I normally put in the bottom of the mag. I replace the two top ones because between trips to the range I'll generally unload/reload the auto at least once or twice, and that means both of these rounds have already been fed once.

Just me ... but that way I do cycle through my expensive carry ammo on a regular basis (maybe every year) and do an occasional sanity check to make sure nothing's gone wrong with it since I last shot.

Never had a problem so far.

I don't worry with the revolvers -- just shoot a few rounds of carry ammo every now and then just for a sanity check.
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Old November 10, 2005, 01:08 AM   #10
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I like some practice with carry ammo. I know nothing about the chemistry side of the issue...except to recall a recent article about the military are now using stocks of WWII 50cal. ammunition in Iraq, fwitw.
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Old November 10, 2005, 10:06 AM   #11
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I use to shoot my carry gun empty every evening when I came home. I always kept fresh ammo in the gun that way. Stayed proficient without the long weekend sessions every once in a while and not as expensive as you would think. I have known revolvers to be loaded for over ten years and never fired. Took them out and shot them, worked just fine. Personally I like to keep things a little fresher then that.

Hopefully you are shooting more often and just keep different ammo for carry. I would say shoot up your present carry ammo at least once a year and replace it then.
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Old November 10, 2005, 11:42 AM   #12
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The only thing I'm really worried about is trace solvents making their way to the priming mixture, converting the nice carry ammo into duds. I figure that would take, oh, about 6 months to a year to happen at the very least. So that's about when I shoot it up and replace it with new ammo. That, and I give it a quick visual check every couple of weeks, looking for the obvious things like bullet seating depth.

Longer term, I really don't think that ammo that is kept at room temperature will deteriorate much at all. It should be good for 10+ years, I've heard of much longer than that. Even then, I'd be prone to change out what I've got stockpiled every 10 years or so, just because of advances in ammunition technology -- better bullets, etc.
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Old November 13, 2005, 05:42 PM   #13
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For what it costs me I change it yearly without fail.I think the piece of mind is worth it not to mention my life.
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Old November 13, 2005, 07:36 PM   #14
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I think it's a good idea to "shoot what you carry" every time you go to the range. That doesn't mean 100 rnds of the stuff, but enough to know your gun is reliable with it, and to know what to expect. I now only shoot carry ammo thru my snub. I've enough practice with it to know where they will go, and 20 rnds of premium ammo won't hurt my gun or my wallet.
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Old November 13, 2005, 08:02 PM   #15
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I think gb_in_ga hit the nail on the head when talking about trace amounts of oils & solvents finding their way into the primer mixture.

Remember that many of todays lubricants are not simple petroleum based oils anymore. They include other chemicals that give them the ability to "penetrate into the metal". This means they can potentially find their way into the microspaces around the primer and reduce or deactivate the primer. When this is discovered in a combat situation it is generally referred to as "bad luck".

Figure the cost per round and see if you think you life is worth that much every month. One of my pet wheelgun factory loads is about $0.50 per boom but it's worth $3/month to me if I always have fresh ammo. If your hi-cap 9mm or .40 holds 15 rounds of premium ammo at $0.43 each, is you life worth $6.45 a month?
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Old November 13, 2005, 08:11 PM   #16
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Practice with what you carry and carry what you practice with. Shoot at least 50 rds a week in my 2 carry pistols and always will.

Don't care for that high faluting fancy pants ammo either. Placement counts for much more than cal. or the absolute highest velocity or trick bullets that may or may not work.
Pick a reasonablly priced widely available ammo and shoot a lot of it and keep fresh stuff in the gun all the time. If you can find a load you like that you can duplicate with a reload so much the better.

I carry and practice with reloads, reloads carefully made and of higher quality than any of the premium loads you can buy. No I do not care to hear about the supposed additional liability if I ever get into a shooting or any of the rest of that crap.

I am an ammunition manufacturer and do own stock in ATK.

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Old November 13, 2005, 08:49 PM   #17
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We shoot our carry ammo at LEA during every fall firearms qualification. No explanation has ever been given, but then again I don't necessarily disagree with it. Replacing one box of ammo a year is not a lot to ask when your life could depend on it.
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Old November 13, 2005, 10:37 PM   #18
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Six month intervals is an acceptable answer. At least that was the theory
within our upscaled police department~! Nowdays, since I'm retired I
shoot up my carry ammo pretty much on three month intervals.
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Old November 14, 2005, 09:22 PM   #19
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Told me to replace or shoot the rounds in your carry guns every 3 months IF you carry every day for several reasions.
1 practice
2 Gun powder as it vibrates in the case over time can break down from the vibration and change the burn rate due to smaller particls.
Is there any truth to that,, I dont know but I have done it for the past 20 years and will continue.
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Old November 15, 2005, 09:51 AM   #20
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Right now, I'm carrying Remington Golden Saber hp .45 ACP. I used to carry Gold Dot 200 grain +P, and I'd do so again (I'm carrying the Golden Saber because I got a pretty good deal on 'em).

I change out my carry ammo every 6-mo. to a year. I don't really keep a regular schedule.

After reading some of the above comments, though, I may go for every 6 months or less now. Good points.
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Old November 15, 2005, 01:27 PM   #21
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I carry on the job, in a standard duty belt. My gun, magazines and ammunition are exposed to all types of weather. Who is to say that constant exposure to rain, dust, and snow isn't going to cause one of those rounds to die? Can you tell me which round is going to fail?

I can't, and that's why I generally buy 100 rounds of GDHP from Ga Arms and restock my carry load when the gun shows come around. The old ammo is used for practice, familiarizing myself with the recoil of the more powerful round.

I have never experienced a failure with the old ammo. But, I am very happy to pay that $30 for new stuff every six months. Call it cheap insurance.

Of course, I don't replace my .223 ammo in a similar fashion because my carbine isn't subjected to the same weathering as my duty pistol. While I enjoy taking my carbine out for a spin on the range, the majority of its time is spent sitting in the corner of the room. The magazines for it and my other guns might be loaded, but they are kept warm and dry, with a roof over their heads.
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Old November 15, 2005, 06:02 PM   #22
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Change out your Carry Ammo???

I change the Battery in our smoke detectors every year, and they still have juice in them. But I still put in new ones!!! Why not shoot out the carry ammo and replace it every year for just the piece of mind it brings. Ammo is pretty cheap insurance when you consider the alternatives.
The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
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Old November 15, 2005, 11:28 PM   #23
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Change your ammo regularly. At least 4 times in a year. Not because older ammo wouldn't work(it should work perfectly after 3 months of carry) but carrying ammo will wear it and you should minimaze any risks at gun figth.
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Old November 20, 2005, 08:17 AM   #24
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Change it a couple of times a year.

It probably isn't as critical to do so with a revolver, but with a semi-automatic, one needs to ensure that bullets do not start getting set back into the case from repeated racking/unloading of a round. If this happens, the overall length gets reduced and the there's a chance of high pressures developing.

Shoot straight,

Take a kid shooting.
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Old November 21, 2005, 09:10 PM   #25
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I change mine out in June and December. Even if it would cost me $50 it's still better than wondering if that green tinted ammo is going to work. I also rotate my magazines at the same time.
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