How long to keep carry ammo

How long to keep carry ammo

This is a discussion on How long to keep carry ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've had the same 16 rounds of 9mm Hornady TAP in my magazine since late april. I will sometimes swap them out with some Federal ...

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Thread: How long to keep carry ammo

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array 762's Avatar
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    How long to keep carry ammo

    I've had the same 16 rounds of 9mm Hornady TAP in my magazine since late april. I will sometimes swap them out with some Federal ammo i have, but i want to know if there is a "shelf life" on carry ammo. I've had to empty the mag a few times, reload, etc, so the casing are marked up a little.

    I was thinking of firing them all off and loading fresh ammo up this weekend, but wanted to get opinions first.
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  2. #2
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    Probably good to shoot those you mentioned.
    Shelf life will depend on climate where you are and where you store your mags. IE do you leave them in the car etc.
    Most suggestions I've seen recommend shoot 'em every few months.
    I don't worry about it much, though mostly because the ammo is in a revolver not left out in the heat.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array 762's Avatar
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    it's vegas...gets hots in the day. sometimes the ammo is in the car all day. i've read that ammo is effected by constant shifts in temperature.

    i might pop 'em off this weekend and put in fresh stock.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    About six months or so is my limit....then shoot 'em up.

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    For me, it depends. I've been known to allow my Mag Safes and Glasers go a year in my M642 revolver and about as long in my H&K 9mm or Sig. I don't think carry ammo has a definable shelf life for ambient temps. I judge the time to change ammo by bullet seating depths. When I have chambered my rounds so many times that the projectile starts to sink lower in the case then I know it's time to rotate. Modern ammo, properly cared for will "last" a very long time. Witness that some WWII 45ACP has been dredged off the bottom of the pacific for the first time in about 50 years and still fired. That stuff was manufactured in about 1942. So I don't worry about shelf life or life in my mags. The only reason to worry is if you use a lubricant that is also a penetrant like (Heaven Forbid) WD-40 where you have to worry about the chemical penetrating your primers and causing misfires. THEN you've got real issues.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    About six months or so is my limit....then shoot 'em up.
    That's what I've heard. After six months, put new rounds in and shoot the old. The old rounds would probably be OK to defend your life......but is it worth taking a chance? I don't want to try to figure out how long the ammo's been sitting on the store shelf, plus your carry time under God knows what conditions. Change them, just my $.02.
    Tim
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    Senior Member Array 762's Avatar
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    my ammo is exposed to extreme heat if i have my car parked in the full sun during the day.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I would change it every six months at that rate your only looking at about 15cents a day for a box of HST or ranger Talon
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    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Question Ummmmm Something wrong here.....

    Quote Originally Posted by 762 View Post
    my ammo is exposed to extreme heat if i have my car parked in the full sun during the day.
    I think there are some basic flaws here. I think the thread began with the idea that defensive ammo should be shuffled on a regular and timely schedule. This was based on....? A degradation of the ammo composition based on ambient temps and weather? Perhaps something to do with spring tension in the mags.

    Let's take a lesson from the military. My own meager experiences in the distant (waaaaaaay distant -- lol) past. I was a US Army Infantry Officer from 1980-1994 in a combination of active and reserve units with some national guard time thrown in. In all that time, I can't remember a single military class on any weapons system that mentioned a shelf life for ammo. Beyond normal weapons maintenance on the system or firearm itself, there was little or no mention of ammo, except to keep it away from P.O.L. (Petroleum, Oil & Lubricants) products. I spent time in a variety of jungle and desert environments and there was never an issue related to heat & ammo, especially no heat induced cook offs.

    I remember the time I spent in the Armor Officers Advanced Course during the end of my service commitment as I learned to fight the M1 A1 tank. I was training in the high desert of Idaho and the dang heat was bad enough to raise skin blisters if you laid flesh on the turret of the beast in the noon time sun. No ammo issues. No problems with sand as long as routine maintenance was run. Same thing with jungle heat down in Panama.

    I missed the actions in the Desert both in 1992 and of course by 2003 I was out for a long time. But my buddies who went never had issues of that nature, be they branched armor, aviation, infantry, artillery or special forces. That is defensive duty of the most extreme nature, IMHO. So when I hear this group wondering about swapping off perfectly good ammo on a regular schedule, I gotta remember the good old days and wonder if somebody's not getting a little bit too nervous.

    Is OPFOR still around here? He was in a Ranger outfit and saw action in some interesting climates. See what he has to say what he was taught in the Rangers. I'll bet it's not much different from my experiences.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  10. #10
    Member Array KSJustice's Avatar
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    Personal Experience

    I have heard the ammo debate many times. I did a small test my last deployment and have one going this time out as well. I carry 240+ rounds 5.56 and 60+ rounds 9mm with my battle gear at all times and they are exposed to excessive heat and other extreme conditions for extended periods of time. I had one magazine that I marked, it was fully loaded and kept that way for just over 12 months last time out. I kept this mag in one of the old school pouches that seals up very well and doesn't let much dirt in so I wouldn't have to unload the mag at any time to clean it. After 12+ months of toting this mag around in all sorts of conditions I shot off every round with no failures to feed or missfires.

    I know this isn't a comprehensive test but it just affirmed in my mind that the whole "keeping your magines loaded will weaken the springs" thought is BS. I would think that most CCW conditions are better than what I have put my ammo through. Obviously if you use the same round to put in the pipe each time I would recommend changing that top round out because it will get beat up, but other than that I wouldn't be concerned. My main concern is just keeping weapons and ammo clean because this is what gets you killed. Hell, they still issue us ammo that's over 5 years old! As long as you are using quality ammo, it will last well over a year IMO. Of course, if you have the chance to regularly visit the range, why not burn the old ammo first? Just my experience.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array 762's Avatar
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    there is nothing more American then shooting off expensive hollow points for no reason ;-)
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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I usually don't let them go longer than a year.

    Then I will shoot them at a match to run stages with defensive ammo
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Member Array 1911packer's Avatar
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    +1 on rotating out the top round. One could experience some setback if it is rechambered a lot.

    I shoot the primary carry mag once a year. By then, each round has been rechambered several times.

    Age is not a concern for me. I bought several hundred rounds of carry ammo a few months back that I store in an ammo can. Unless I get into a firefight, the last of the carry ammo will go into service in about 20 years.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    I usually keep them for a year or so, then shoot them up and replace with similar ammo.

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    I rotate out the top round as well after four or five times or if I see any dents or minor defects. In about 1979 or so shot some old .45 ammo my dad had from the Korean war in his 1911 and both the gun and the ammo functioned flawlessly. Keep it dry, away from solvents and it will keep until after you are dead and buried. Though I do shoot my carry mag off about once a year, I replace it with one of my spares that may have bullets in it years old. Unless I change the brand of my carry ammo in which case I shoot the old carry ammo off and replace it with the new carry ammo. After assuring that the new ammo functions flawlessly in the gun I am using it in
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