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Old May 28, 2013, 07:43 AM   #26
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There are exceptions to ammunition longevity. In the early 60s i came into thousands of rounds of .30 caliber ammunition manufactured in 1917-18. The stuff had been stored in ammo cans in a cellar since the early 40s.

Some of that ammo was made by National Copper and Brass with headstamp NC18. Never fired any NC18 ammo because it has soft cases. It probably contributed to the destruction of low numbered Springfield rifles during and after WWI.

First sign some lots were going bad was the splitting of cases and verdigris. Then the powder started turning red. It got to the point where there were more than 50 percent misfires with rounds that looked good. Kept a couple cans of nice looking ammo and disposed of the rest.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:26 PM   #27
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I had some ammo I bought in a dry climate. Moved to a wet climate. The ammo was about 6 years old by then. The revolver stayed under the bed except when the vacuum came out. I wasn't aware but under the apartment we rented had water. At any rate, when I went out shooting, the bang had left a long time ago. The occasional round sounded like dull whumps when fired. The other rounds had a dampened bang but not very impressive. I stopped an destroyed the rest of the rounds rather than risk injury or damage to the gun.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:17 PM   #28
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What bt380 is saying is something we all should think about . When the head stamp says it was made 50 to 100 years ago . Sure if stored correctly it should be good to go . How many of us know where and how that ammo was stored for that 50+ years . If the ammo looked good I would shoot it but unless it's been in your cool dry place for all that time you never really know .
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Old May 29, 2013, 11:38 AM   #29
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My main concern with ammunition in a carry gun or in a home defense firearm is with semiautomatic firearms. If a round has been chambered multiple times, the bullet might have been pushed back in the case. For that reason, I try to shoot my carry ammunition every so often.

A secondary worry- for carry, not home- is that the ammunition may have been wet. For me, that's anything from sweat to falling in the river while fishing.

None of this applies to ammunition that's just been stored in someone's house.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:07 PM   #30
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Jetjim a couple of times does not cut it. Even if you just learn the basics and do lots of dry fire you need to do something. Vanya is offering very good advice. I learned proper basics and after being told to dry fire more I started doing that. In a short period of time I can now balance a shell casing on my front sight during trigger pull. This has shrunk my grouping size a lot already and really improved my recoil control. I am going to be seeking professional training from a PD training officer I know, but even just proper basics and dry fire help a ton. Also be mindful that some guns require a break in period and will not be reliable till they have 500 rounds down range.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:08 PM   #31
George Hill
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I have fired military surplus ammo from WWII. It fired and cycled just fine.
The fact that it was .45 Tracer was a surprise though.
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Old June 1, 2013, 12:17 AM   #32
Terry A
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I store (hoard) ammo. I also shoor alot. But I have 12 gauge and 20 gauge ammo from the early 1970's. Occasionally, I've shot a few rounds and every single one fired. I have 9mm, 45acp and several hundred rounds of 22lr from the late 1970's to early 1980's and I've shot some of them recently (a year or so ago) and they all fired.

My dad had ammo from the 1940's that he was still shooting as late 2005-2006 thru his Mosin-Nagant with no issues.

I've come to believe in the reliability of ammo, even if it's considered pretty "old". Of course, there have to be duds out there somewhere. I've just never come across any.
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Old June 1, 2013, 07:39 PM   #33
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short answer... ( with reasonable care) many many decades and then some.
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Old June 2, 2013, 12:19 AM   #34
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I shot some of my grandpas hand loads out of my .38 special the other day. The ammo was 25+ years old and fired flawlessly. It's all about how you store the ammo. I've invested a lot of money in airtight/watertight ammo cans. I feel that it's money we'll spent
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