Old ammo...

Old ammo...

This is a discussion on Old ammo... within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So my dad is letting me borrow his old Colt 38 special six shooter to take to the range. He wants to give me his ...

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Thread: Old ammo...

  1. #1
    Member Array Red82's Avatar
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    Old ammo...

    So my dad is letting me borrow his old Colt 38 special six shooter to take to the range. He wants to give me his box of ammo, but it's roughly 35 years old. Is it worth it to try and load? I'm cleaning the pistol up but I don't know anything about old ammo. It's Remington or Winchester he said not sure which. What do ya think?
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Old ammo

    It's not worth risking a classic Colt to save $15 bucks or so. It's more likely they will squib than blow up the gun, but a squib can still be the cause of a disaster. Tell him thanks for the ammo, get rid of it, shoot some good stuff, clean his gun when you're done, and get him a new box of ammo.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Depends on how it was kept for those 35 years. If there's no visible rust, or white spots and they don't look crusty, I might try them. To be ultimately safe....I'd save them if in the original box for a tale to tell your grand kids, or dispose of them. If they were .357 magnum loads, I wouldn't even try them.

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    Member Array Red82's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. They've all been kept in the box with the styraphome and look ok, but I'm no expert. My initial reaction was to just not use it and buy my own box so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being too picky.
    Protection is a responsibility not just a right.

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    I routinely shoot 60 year old ammo with no issues. If properly stored, the stuff lasts a long time.

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    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I routinely shoot 60 year old ammo with no issues. If properly stored, the stuff lasts a long time.

    I don't have anything 60 years old, but i've shot .30-06 i found from the 50s/60s. I recently came across several hundred rounds of 40+ year old .45 ACP that i shot through my SA Mil-spec, and not a single round FTF or FTE. Granted, these were all stored very well, and just to be certain i wiped it all off with a clean, white, lint-free cloth to be sure.

    Ammo, if stored well, would theoretically last forever. the powder and primer won't go bad, it's just damage from the environment you should worry about.

    I'd shoot it.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

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    I have shot 1000's of rounds way older than me. I believe 1945 or 1946 was the oldest I can remember.
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    Member Array Jay6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    It's not worth risking a classic Colt to save $15 bucks or so. It's more likely they will squib than blow up the gun, but a squib can still be the cause of a disaster. Tell him thanks for the ammo, get rid of it, shoot some good stuff, clean his gun when you're done, and get him a new box of ammo.
    Ammo will NEVER blow up the gun just from being "old". If anything it will not fire, I would doubt you would even get a squib. If moisture had entered the case at all it will not ignite. The thing you need to make sure of is that it is factory ammo and not an old hand load from someone. If you are sure it is factory, go ahead and shoot it without worrying too much. The worst that will happen is it will not go bang!

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    Member Array Maxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    It's not worth risking a classic Colt to save $15 bucks or so. It's more likely they will squib than blow up the gun, but a squib can still be the cause of a disaster. Tell him thanks for the ammo, get rid of it, shoot some good stuff, clean his gun when you're done, and get him a new box of ammo.
    That's some damned good advice.
    Squib or not, I wouldn't even chance using 35 year old ammo.
    Thank him, toss the old ammo, buy some new rounds from the post-Nixon era, and take it back to your Dad after a thorough cleaning with some new ammo.

  10. #10
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    I've shot 30+ year old stuff, and it always seemed to 'go pow' just fine.

    If it looks like is was stored correctly...I would try it, but then I've lived most of my life already...
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    Senior Member Array digitalexplr's Avatar
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    Gunpowder does not increase in explosive power with age so your gun would not explode. Nor does it lose power with age. If the rounds have not been exposed a lot of moisture, which would be readily evident.

    If you are worried don't use it. But it will in all likelihood work fine. Folks buy and shoot military surplus ammo on a regular basis. Much of it older than what you Dad has.

    If you do buy a new box do not get +P. The is a greater chance of the gun not handling the +P than there is in the old stuff causing problem.
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    I just fired off some ammo thru colt .38 that was appx 25 years old with out a problem.

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    35 year old ammo don't get more powerful it either goes bang or it don't,I would shoot it and take along a new box in case it has problems,if the discharge sounds light or no recoil,open cylinder and inspect barrel for obstruction repeat as necessary
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    test

    Not to hijack, but I have a loaded WW2Thompson magazine that has aparantly been loaded with steel case .45ACP since the war. What a good test that will make.

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    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    Not to hijack, but I have a loaded WW2Thompson magazine that has aparantly been loaded with steel case .45ACP since the war. What a good test that will make.
    Except that isn't considered "Stored Properly", unless that magazine was kept in an ammo box, or some other device to keep it healthy.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

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