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Old November 3, 2008, 02:47 PM   #1
Parmasan
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Shelf Life for shotgun shells

I've read that 9mm, .38 rounds, etc can have very long shelf life if stored properly- How about 12 gauge 00 buckshot? nothing on the boxes regardinf shelf life. I have 5 boxes bought about 6 years ago stored in a military ammo "can" in a cool, dry place- any problem with the age?
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Old November 3, 2008, 02:56 PM   #2
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No problems if stored properly.
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Old November 3, 2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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I shot a month ago 4 boxes of a paper hunting shells from CBC (Magtech), 1oz, 7-1/5 shot.
All 100 went out fine. Not a single failure.
The boxes were from 1971.

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Old November 3, 2008, 03:25 PM   #4
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My dad has an old SxS 16 and a mixed bag of paper hulled shells from I'd guess the mid 60's -- he shot a couple of them last year and they seemed to work fine.

I put together some hot #6 hand loads about 15-17 years ago and gave a box to my grandfather. I ran across his old hunting coat last season (he passed away 8 years ago) and found 6 of them still in the pocket. Took his old Browning Light 12 out hunting last year and use those shells to kill a limit of squirrels (6 shots, 6 squirrels).
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Old November 3, 2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Ammo life should be measured in decades, not years. I've shot ammo that was manufactured in the 30's with no problems with reliability or accuracy. If it's stored at high temps or high moisture that shelf life is decreased, but unless it's stored at greater than 130 degree temps or such humid conditions that they turn green, ammo lasts a LOOOONG time before you have to start worrying about hangfires or squib rounds.
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Old November 3, 2008, 03:35 PM   #6
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ive shot paper hulls from the late 60's with no problems, all went off and none sounded weak. `
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Old November 3, 2008, 06:17 PM   #7
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I don't know that I would keep them over 25 years - but as long as they've been dry and not somewhere that you might have huge temperature swings ( say of beyond 40 degree swings or so - or like 40 degrees to 80 degrees), they should be fine. Real hot, or real cold, would not be good even in the short term.

I've got cases of field shells from Remington - that are easily 10 years old now - and I still trust them. I keep them in the cardboard cases / in a warm and dry place in my shop - inside my house ( so maybe a low of 60 degrees on the floor / to a high of 72 degrees at the most on the high side ).

If I had some older paper cases - I would probably shoot them up rather than keep them much longer.
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Old November 3, 2008, 11:51 PM   #8
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i ran out of shells the other day shooting black birds out of my yard and the only thing i cud find were winchesters from 1990. they all shot just fine
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Old November 4, 2008, 12:41 AM   #9
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I've shot ammo older then me and I'm in my sixty's!
Just depends if it was stored properly.
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Old November 4, 2008, 07:19 PM   #10
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My experience with old shells

Father bought a case of 16 gauge Winchester #6 shot back around 1968, around the early eighties I borrowed his shotgun and went hunting, shotshells fired A-OK, then that same season I went out and purchased a similar box, this box was Remington brand, same shot size, felt the difference in kick right off! IF this situation means anything, both were 2 3/4 inch shells.
Unless Remington's have a little more kick then Winchester's...?
Oh yea, Father's case of Winchester's were stored in his closet in his bedroom, central air and heat and all of that.

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Old November 4, 2008, 10:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
b.thomas:
I've shot ammo older then me and I'm in my sixty's!
Just depends if it was stored properly.
+1
However, the original question may have been intended to ask not so much, Will old ammo still shoot?; but, Is there a recognized standard to determine when service ammo should be relegated to range use? And, does it apply equally to shot shells and metallic cartridges?
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Old November 4, 2008, 10:42 PM   #12
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Shotgun rounds should be OK, I've fired plenty of ancient rounds bought at flea markets.

Rifle rounds are another subject especially those loaded with Cordite.
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Old November 4, 2008, 10:43 PM   #13
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Quote: "Father bought a case of 16 gauge Winchester #6 shot back around 1968, around the early eighties I borrowed his shotgun and went hunting, shotshells fired A-OK, then that same season I went out and purchased a similar box, this box was Remington brand, same shot size, felt the difference in kick right off! IF this situation means anything, both were 2 3/4 inch shells."

But were they the SAME POWDER CHARGE AND SAME SHOT WEIGHT?

Ex: 3 dram eq, 1 1/8 oz, #6 shot, in 2 3/4" shells vs
3 1/4 dram eq, 1 1/4 oz, #6 shot, in 2 3/4" shells?
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Old November 4, 2008, 10:49 PM   #14
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I learned to shoot a shotgun with leftover duck loads from the 1950's that had been stored in the attic in the garage for 25+ years. Gotta love waxed paper hulls!!!
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Old November 4, 2008, 11:14 PM   #15
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Parmasan

rantingredneck, has given you a good answer to your exact question, I also agree that well stored you should have no problems with these rounds.

BigJim also gave you great info om relation to long term storage, I agree temp and moisture are the killers of scattergun ammo.

Good Luck and be safe.
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Old November 5, 2008, 05:31 AM   #16
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LHBI, to respond,

The old 16 gauge Winchesters described above were Super X and the box of Remingtons were Remington Express (as I recall), both 2 3/4" and both #6 shot. I remember a big difference in the two brands. Other then that I don't know.

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Old November 5, 2008, 07:22 AM   #17
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The Remington Express line of shells is a pretty stiff loading. Very likely that they were just 'bigger' load then the older Winchesters.
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Old November 5, 2008, 07:31 PM   #18
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ARM,

Apparently all shotgun shells aren't alike, didn't realize bird shot or number six shot would have much a difference between brands. So Remington's have a little more punch then some others, I didn't realize. I admit I'm not really much of a shotgunner, have one for defense here is about it, but have hunted with them in the past, some. Speaking of, wouldn't mind taking my new Remington 870 home defense model hog hunting with slugs (close heavy brush), one of these days, haven't fired it yet.
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Old November 5, 2008, 08:11 PM   #19
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You're right, all shotshells are not alike - they vary a lot - ounces of shot and velocity can vary significantly ( and sometimes the boxes aren't really marked in a way they are easy to understand ).

Companies use all kinds of marketing language on boxes of shells - Pheasant Loads, Quail Loads, etc - and they aren't universal concepts between brands of shells / let alone over the last 40 years. Sometimes they are marked with a Dram Equivalent that can be roughly interpreted to velocity / sometimes they are marked with the velocity. Different powders burn differently - and all of the companies use different powders in their factory shells / and its almost always different that what we use for powder as relaoders. So it means they have different curves in terms of how fast they burn / and in combination with the type of primer used (where it might be a hot primer, or medium..) ....its just a mix of all kinds of things. You have to read the box / and interpret the best you can.
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Old November 6, 2008, 12:35 AM   #20
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Quote: "So Remington's have a little more punch then some others, I didn't realize. "

NO. You just happened to fire a stronger load in the Rem shell than the load in Win shell IN THIS CASE. You could very easily get opposite results next time depending on loads compared. Size of shot does NOT affect recoil. Weight of powder and/or weight of shot WILL affect recoil. Higher velocity for same weight of shot is another way of saying a heavier powder charge and thus more recoil. Study the markings on shotgun shell boxes until you see these relationships. Heavier/faster loads (powder charge, velocity, shot weight) can be expected to recoil more than light loads in a given shotgun.
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Old November 6, 2008, 12:55 AM   #21
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I have shot shotgun shells that probably were 15yrs or older that were stored properly, and every one went bang and shot just like new,
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Old November 10, 2008, 06:50 PM   #22
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see that!

You learn something new everyday in here, thanks for the info.
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Old November 10, 2008, 07:41 PM   #23
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I've shot 40 year old 12 ga ammo.
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Old November 10, 2008, 07:48 PM   #24
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Ol shotgun ammo

I have taken some ol shotgun ammo from the 40s & 50s the ol paper crimp type and it functioned as well as any Ive ever used..............
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Old November 10, 2008, 08:52 PM   #25
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Well. When hurricane Katrina hit central pennasylvania, i had a whole bunch of problems. The one that was of the most concerned to me was my shotgun shells and not my cottage that was filled with 18 inches of water and it sat 3 ft of the ground. It took lets say about 1 week for the water to recede, I had 35 flats of estate shotgun shells under water (federal and the estate are the same ammo its the same co.).

Well the shells had a lil rust on them just like my brothers gun that was sitting on top of the 35 flats of shells (do not worry the gun is ok) and it got the most water it will ever see in its time. The shells worked fine that year couple of trophies every here and there with them but all around the shells worked and thats all that matters.


BigJimP the beretta is ok now after giving it a bath in rem oil for a day not like the other guns in my basement.
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