Old reloads

This is a discussion on Old reloads within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was cleaning out an old army footlocker that I use to store my old reloading equipment. In the bottom of the mess, I found ...

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    Senior Member Array Geezer's Avatar
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    Old reloads

    I was cleaning out an old army footlocker that I use to store my old reloading equipment. In the bottom of the mess, I found two 50 rd plastic boxes of 45ACP that I had loaded in 1971. I'm pretty sure they were loaded with Bullseye and Nosler bullets. My first reaction was to discard them, but decided to test a few just for grins. After 39 years, they were flawless, and very accurate. They're not suitable for defense, but the remainders will be great for hog control. BTW, they were never stored in a climate controlled area. If kept in a dry environment, is there a self life to be concerned with??

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I wouldn't think so.

    If they are kept relatively dry and they were built right when you loaded them, I don't see how they could be damaged.

    I once dropped a factory 35 rem into a puddle when I was loading my hunting rifle early one morning. Was too dark to see it. Later that day when I rebroke the ice and retreived to bullet, I dried it off and kept it in a separate place to shoot later. It shot just fine after hours laying in water.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    Hi to one geezer from another.

    I'm west of you about an hour south of Abilene and I've been doing some "mining for treasure" in some of my old stuff. I've also come up with quite a bit of mixed boxes and containers of ammunition I handloaded as far back as 1979. Mostly its .38 Special and .357 Magnum with some .44 Special, .220 Swift .270 Winchester, and .30-06 thrown in.

    I'm going to enjoy shooting it up and getting the cartridge cases back into the handloading cycle. I intend to check some over the chronograph to compare what was recorded up to 30 years ago with what it will do now.

    I've never had problems with either handloads or factory loads that were kept in dry storage. I've shot all manner of WWII, WWI, and even some 1904 vintage Frankfort Arsenal .30-40 Krag ammunition. Also some 19th century black powder .38 WCF (.38-40) ammunition. The real old stuff will sometimes give neck cracks.

    The other day I also found a couple more hundred rounds of that mixed .38 WCF stuff from a big batch I got many years ago. Some of it is really old. I don't expect to shoot any more of it.

    I also found some .44 Special ammunition prepared by another handloader using Sierra 240 grain jacketed hollow points and IMR 4759 powder. I have no idea where they came from. The writing on the labels isn't mine and the powder used is entirely too slow for use in a low pressure revolver cartridge in my view. They will be disassembled. I trust my own old handloads but don't want any part of someone else's concoctions.
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    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    I was cleaning out an old army footlocker that I use to store my old reloading equipment. In the bottom of the mess, I found two 50 rd plastic boxes of 45ACP that I had loaded in 1971. I'm pretty sure they were loaded with Bullseye and Nosler bullets. My first reaction was to discard them, but decided to test a few just for grins. After 39 years, they were flawless, and very accurate. They're not suitable for defense, but the remainders will be great for hog control. BTW, they were never stored in a climate controlled area. If kept in a dry environment, is there a self life to be concerned with??
    Heat is more of a problem than humidity. I've fired ammo that was in boxes with the cardboard almost dissolved from water.

    Given reasonable storage conditions, there is no shelf life problems. There's ammo from WWII still floating around (sometimes literally) that still shoots just fine.
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    Don't know why you say .45 ammo isn't good for SD, but unless it's been terribly abused, shelf life for ammo is forever. I've got some WWII .30-06 that still goes bang every time. No special storage ever used for it.
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    Not long ago I chronographed some 38sp, 357 & 45acp reloads that were pushing 30 y/o. They had been stored in ammo cans inside house. They all checked out close to what my old Lyman manual said. Standard deviation and extreme spreads were better than most new factory ammo I've clocked.

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    Senior Member Array Geezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Don't know why you say .45 ammo isn't good for SD, but unless it's been terribly abused, shelf life for ammo is forever. I've got some WWII .30-06 that still goes bang every time. No special storage ever used for it.
    I wasn't implying that .45 isn't good for SD. I was saying that my 39 year old reloads would not be good/considered for SD. I'll pick .45 for SD above all others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    I wasn't implying that .45 isn't good for SD. I was saying that my 39 year old reloads would not be good/considered for SD. I'll pick .45 for SD above all others.
    Thought maybe it was SWC target loads or something like that. Even if it's "old" as you stated, the fact that it still works fine should tell you it's still good to go.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Old Reloads??

    I have a ton of 38Spl SWC Reloads (148GR SWC) that I did back in the 1970's with a single stage press and Bullseye powder. I have chamber checked them and fired several from two different 38Spl revolvers I own and all go bang when the trigger is pulled. The biggest issue now is will the bullet go into battery. That is where Chamber Checking is out front and in parallel with the powder Check. If all is well, then things will go bang when you want it to do so.
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    Two years ago, cousin was target shooting his .357 Mag a little before deer season (carries it along with a rifle). This year, I was on the family acreage targeting in my .30-06 just to be sure. Happened upon a .357 Mag round he must have dropped. Two years of all seasons. Was a reload his father had done many years ago.

    He gave it a try, bang.

    Count on it, na, but odds are good for almost all ammo if stored in a container, IM novice & HO.
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