Ammo Life Span

Ammo Life Span

This is a discussion on Ammo Life Span within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This may be on here somewhere, but i could not find it. We all hope we never have to use our DC weapon and ammo, ...

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    Ammo Life Span

    This may be on here somewhere, but i could not find it. We all hope we never have to use our DC weapon and ammo, therefore is there any chance of it becoming old and causing a misfire? I plan on using cheaper ammo for practice and training but what about the more expensive ammo such as Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr FTX Critical Defense at $0.88/cartridge, I don't want to shoot too many unless needed. We clean and maintain our weapons so they always work but what about reliability of ammo? If we keep them in a "cool, dry place that helps, but in cc we have them next too our 98.6 degree F bodies with sweat. What do you do to ensure your ammo will go BANG when you REALLY NEED IT TO!?


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    Depends more on how it's stored than how old it is.

    In the 1970s - 1980s I shot off some perfectly fine World War I .30-06 and .45 ACP. A few years later, a .30-40 Krag cartridge from the Frankfort Arsenal that was dated 1904.

    On the other hand, I once tried shooting up some late 19th century .38 WCF ammo. This was loaded with black powder and featured a small rifle primer. Some went off and some didn't. This appeared to have been stored in a barn with varying temperatures and humidity. Some moisture-induced corrosion was evident.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Depends more on how it's stored than how old it is.
    That's what I meant when I said

    Quote Originally Posted by techieccw View Post
    If we keep them in a "cool, dry place that helps, but in cc we have them next too our 98.6 degree F bodies with sweat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Depends more on how it's stored than how old it is.

    In the 1970s - 1980s I shot off some perfectly fine World War I .30-06 and .45 ACP. A few years later, a .30-40 Krag cartridge from the Frankfort Arsenal that was dated 1904.

    On the other hand, I once tried shooting up some late 19th century .38 WCF ammo. This was loaded with black powder and featured a small rifle primer. Some went off and some didn't. This appeared to have been stored in a barn with varying temperatures and humidity. Some moisture-induced corrosion was evident.
    Same here. I have tried to shoot both 9mm and .380 ammo which had been stored in a dry, but unheated outbuilding for many years. While the ammo would fire, it had become so under-powered that it wouldn't cause the guns to cycle properly, resulting in continuous failures to eject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by techieccw View Post
    This may be on here somewhere, but i could not find it. We all hope we never have to use our DC weapon and ammo, therefore is there any chance of it becoming old and causing a misfire? I plan on using cheaper ammo for practice and training but what about the more expensive ammo such as Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr FTX Critical Defense at $0.88/cartridge, I don't want to shoot too many unless needed. We clean and maintain our weapons so they always work but what about reliability of ammo? If we keep them in a "cool, dry place that helps, but in cc we have them next too our 98.6 degree F bodies with sweat. What do you do to ensure your ammo will go BANG when you REALLY NEED IT TO!?
    98.6 degrees in a magazine in a gun in a holster probably qualifies as a cool, dry place.
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    I shot a LOT of .50 BMG ammo when I was flying that was about 40+ years old! I don't recall any ammo failures OTOH, the links in the belts were a frequent source of aggravation!
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    I have no experience with ammo as old as some of Bryan's, but during the 70's & 80's I got a bunch of WWII and Korean War-vintage .45ACP and it worked fine. Through the 80's & 90's I was shooting a good bit of Vietnam-era 5.56 & .45. No problems.

    In the last couple of years, I've used a couple of battle packs of So. African 7.62x51 that were dated 1979 and 1982. Again, no problems.

    I'm not worried about any new ammo getting too old to shoot before I do!
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    I carry Hornady in all my carry guns. I work outside in all kinds of weather. I try to replace my carry ammo every 3 months or so since it is exposed to big swings in temp and humidity. That really only applies to my Glock 30, which I carry 5-6 days a week.

    Since my Beretta is a house gun, I keep those rounds for about 6 months. Any range ammo is stored in sealed ammo cans with silica packs. I've seen people use just plain ziplock bags to store long term if needed. But if you are like me range ammo doesn't last more than a month or two anyway.
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    I have some 45 Colt that I reloaded in 1986. It has been kept in one of those MTM plastic ammo cases in a bedroom closet. I shot some last January and it worked perfectly. I don't reload any more, but now days, I use a Food Saver vacuum sealer to store ammo. I usually just leave it in the original box and seal and date each box individually. The sealed bags keep everything nice and shiny and protects the ammo from high humidity and oxidation/corrosion.

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    I have shot shotgun shells that were 30+ years old without a problem and they are not sealed as well as a brass cartridge IMO. I also have used 30+ year old reloading components, specifically powder and primers, and they all functioned perfectly, and I'm talking about thousands of loads shot. I think modern ammo, stored in any half-way reasonable method, will outlast you!
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    A similar question I read (here? or some other forum?).
    Storing ammo in a vehicle for long periods of time.

    Group answer:
    Don't exceed 140F, keep temperature swings to a minimum. Do some testing, report results (then we will know too).

    My answer:
    Good quality factory ammo, will keep for decades if stored as above.
    Temperature swings will cause any moisture inside to react with primers before powder.
    Lots of surplus ammo has sealant around the primers (and sometimes bullets) to prevent absorbing moisture thru those locations.

    Advice:
    Buy good ammo. Treat it nice. You will likely use it up before it becomes unreliable.

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    Distinguished Member Array David Armstrong's Avatar
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    For carry ammo the LEO standard has usually been rotate your duty ammo every 6 months. I'm not aware of any issues, and that stuff is out in the elements, hot and cold, wet and dry. for ammo thta is stored at home...as long as it is stored in what most woudl consider a normal living environment there shouldn't be any issues over decades.
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    I have shot lots of US surplus .30 carbine ammo from the 1950's and didn't experience any failures. Modern ammo is pretty resilient
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    Only really old stuff I've shot was 22mag from 35 years prior. It shot fine.
    M&P Shield9; RIA 1911 Tactical 9mm;...many long guns

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    Very, very long time. Was at the range recently with a guy shooting some 1950s corrosive handgun ammo (forget the caliber, it was something uncommon). It was loud and looked like fireballs were coming out of the bbl when he shot, but it fired flawlessly!
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