57 year old relaods

57 year old relaods

This is a discussion on 57 year old relaods within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; A good friend who had died a fews years back gave me some loaded ammo that he said he cast bullets for and reloaded back ...

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Thread: 57 year old relaods

  1. #1
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    57 year old relaods

    A good friend who had died a fews years back gave me some loaded ammo that he said he cast bullets for and reloaded back in early to mid 50's. There were .38 spl, .45 Colt and a few .45 ACP along with some 38-40 Win. I shot all of it except the .38 WCF last Sunday and all of it--except 2 rounds--went bang, recoiled properly and made a noise when it struck steel. I know the Colt was loaded with Bullseye and it was the only misfires out of about 75 rounds total. The primers had a great strike in the Ruger Blackhawk, just did not light off. . These had been stored in a tack room of his barn where he loaded all those years.

    I pulled the two bullets and the powder charge was dry and correct and when I knocked the primers out, no sign of why they misfired as they were dry, no oil or anything else. I loaded them in bare cases and hit them with the revolver hammer again--no light/no bang. Really was amazed. His lead was alloyed to be close to Lyman #2, but on some of these there was oxidation on the part of the cast bullet outside the case. On the bullets, I pulled, the lead inside the brass case was tarnished but not affected by age.

    Wish my friend could have been there to see us shoot it. The farm where our range is located is one I bought from him after he retired so it would have been twice as nice. Still got to shoot the .38*.40 though, Maybe next range day.

    A bad day shooting is better than a good day shopping with the wife. Bear


  2. #2
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    Sounds reasonable for the ammunition to still perform. Unless the storage is really lousy, ammunition seems to have unlimited storage life.

    Cool about the .38-40. I shoot a .38-40 revolver on occasion. A grand ol' cartridge.

    Nice of you to remember your friend. I had a great friend like that. He was 50 years older than I and just a wonderful person. Still have some of his ammunition on hand, loaded in the late '40s to early 70s, including .220 Swift, .257 Roberts, .270, Winchester, .30-40, and .30-06. It would probably function fine but I can't bear to shoot it off.
    glockman10mm likes this.
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    Sounds great as I have a few hundred 38Spl Wadcutters that I reloaded in the 1970's that still go bang when i take them to the range. These were loaded using a Lee simple loading machine that required you to first size the casing, then prime it, then load powder with a dipper and then press the bullet home. It works and I still have it after all these years!
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    Two misfires--that's the exact number I've had since I started reloading in 1975. Overall, I'd say that's a pretty acceptable percentage.

    I'm not surprised his ammo still worked. As long as ammo isn't repeatedly soaked and/or stored in someplace that regularly exceeds about 150 degrees, it will survive.
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    Distinguished Member Array chuckusaret's Avatar
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    I have never reloaded any ammo but I would believe if done properly would be no different than commercially produced ammo. I have on occasion fired ammo that was left by my father, not reloads, but all from 1940's and 50's without a problem. Note this ammo was stored in the original boxes on open shelves in his garage for over fifty years.
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    Could be bad primers,I've had a fair share that FTF and even had some factory ammo with bad primers...Thats why they say if you get a click and not a boom keep gun pointed downrange for 30 seconds just in case
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  7. #7
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    Yeah, 30 seconds for sure. My son is a Marine machinegunner. He was running an M240 in a blank-firing training exercise a couple of years back and his gun quit. Waited the time prescribed by the Marine Corps which was less than the 30 second rule though I can't recall the interval (15 seconds maybe?), took a peek over the side of the receiver just in time to peer into a cartridge cook-off from an open-bolt weapon. Was blinded but healed up with no lingering after-effects. I'm guessing that the injury could have been far more severe if ball ammo had been used.

    I thought I taught him better than that.
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    I was a MP in 69-70 an we were using .45 's from a 55 gallon drum dated 1944 still worked
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Back in about 1955 I bought a couple hundred lbs of surplus military rifle powder (4831). Still use a little of it to this day. Never had a misfire due to old powder. Primers are another story---maybe a couple of bad ones in 60+ years of reloading.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Could be bad primers,I've had a fair share that FTF and even had some factory ammo with bad primers...Thats why they say if you get a click and not a boom keep gun pointed downrange for 30 seconds just in case
    Oh no! Say it ain't so. It's supposed to be 100% reliable.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  11. #11
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    I shot some 30-06 reloads that my father did back in 1968 a few weeks ago. they all went bang and groups were good.

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