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Old 05-02-2012, 08:14 PM
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Question Shelf Life for Ammo?

I have several rounds of various calibers of ammo which I have kept stored in military metal ammo cans with rubber gaskets since the late 1970's. I have kept it dry in the original boxes in the ammo cans. What kind of shelf life should a person expect??? Thanks for any info.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:22 PM
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There is probably no definitive answer (just MHO for what it's worth) but I don't believe I would shoot anything laying aroun since the 70's. Some old stuff I did shoot not too long ago was over 10 years old and it shot fine.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowburninsteve View Post
I have several rounds of various calibers of ammo which I have kept stored in military metal ammo cans with rubber gaskets since the late 1970's. I have kept it dry in the original boxes in the ammo cans. What kind of shelf life should a person expect??? Thanks for any info.
Steve
Thanks for bringing this important issue up. My dad, who spent 40 years in the military, always made sure his ammo were kept inside their original boxes and then kept inside a wooden crate. He applies grease to the edges of the wooden box before closing it, and he does that twice a year.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:33 PM
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I've shot 30/06 ammo that was over 50 years old with no trouble. Made a really nice 100 yard offhand group too.
I have fired shotgun shells that were probably 60 years old, again, without any issues.
Good ammo can be useful for a long time if it is stored correctly.
Jim
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:44 PM
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If properly stored, ammo will outlive you by centuries. I shoot 1943 production 30-06 on a regular basis in CMP matches. I've shot 1917 production .45acp. I've shot pre-ww1 .30-40 Krag. I've even shot a few rare rimfire rounds from pre-1900.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:52 PM
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Almost blew through all of it but I still from time to time find handloads I did 20 years ago that are all just fine. Fired much, much older surplus ammo too.

I once watched this fella at the range with a G21 shooting the gnarliest looking old steel cased 45ACP. Appeared to have been dredged up from Atlantis or something. Ran just fine. I was blown away. Seemed like it was LSWC bullets too, which created very "interesting" guilding in the barrel. He "cleaned" it by firing several mags of FMJ at the conclusion of his session.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:56 PM
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I have recently shot .45 acp ammo from the WWll era, regularly shoot my M1 Garand with Milsurp. ammo from the late 50's and early 60's and just last Saturday I shot 12 gauge paper Shotshells from either the late 50's or early 60's.

Never had a FTF.

As long as the ammo was stored properly (cool & dry) it should last a long long time.

Chief38
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:31 PM
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If it's in factory boxes I'd shop it around before I burnt it up...
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:20 PM
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I shot some 1880's head stamped .45-70 ammo in the early 1970's. It was black-powder ammo and all shot fine. We were shooting at a steel 55 gallon oil drum at about 80 yards. I was shooting it out of a trap door Springfield. We had been shooting the oil drum with a whole bunch of more modern rifle rounds. (.30-06,.30-30.8MM Mauser) The modern stuff just poked holes in both sides. You could hear the .45-70 rounds hit. The drum was already pretty shot up, but the .45-70 rounds rocked the drum and started to bend it.
I also got a deal on some Turkish 8MM Mauser ammo in the late 1990's. It was dated in the 1930's. It shot fine. I think I only had a few that would not fire at all. Also had a few that needed 2 hits on the primer. Out of about 5,000 rounds I doubt if I had trouble with 100 of them.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:19 PM
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If ammo has been kept in good containers, cool clean & dry, it should just last forever. They have some smokeless powder stored in water for 125 years at Lapua, I believe. Dried it out & it shot just fine. The powder is not the issue. It is projectile decomposition and deterioration of the metallic case.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P&R Fan View Post
I've shot 30/06 ammo that was over 50 years old with no trouble. Made a really nice 100 yard offhand group too.
I have fired shotgun shells that were probably 60 years old, again, without any issues.
Good ammo can be useful for a long time if it is stored correctly.
Jim
That is a Fact I too am shooting Greek Military Surplus HXP 30-06 50 years old, All have Fired.
only 2 things that hurt ammunition is Moisture and Temperature Fluctuation . And I am Pretty sure the Greeks Did not care about the Latter
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:24 PM
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I had some old Brit 303 from 1947. Nearly every round was a hang-fire. But I have shot lots of other surplus ammo that was as old or older and worked just fine.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:14 PM
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I currently issue LC69 in my club's CMP shoots. They all go bang, and the shooters are happy with the scores.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:24 PM
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no reason at all not to shoot it..it doesn't go bad...
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperduper View Post
I had some old Brit 303 from 1947. Nearly every round was a hang-fire. But I have shot lots of other surplus ammo that was as old or older and worked just fine.
I believe that old .303 surplus ammo is the ONLY kind you should avoid. The Brits did not use ball powder.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:12 PM
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I shoot Greek ammo from 1938 in my Mauser .. Never had one problem.

Regards

Bill
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:26 PM
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There was an article in the "American Rifeman" a few years ago about a test that the Navy did in the early 1900s. The battleship Maine was recovered from the bay of Havana several years after being sunk and some small arms ammunition recovered from its cargo. It was test fired without problems.
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45acp, garand, krag, m1917, military, model 1917, primer, rimfire, springfield

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