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Old 01-01-2017, 08:07 PM
hammerfired hammerfired is offline
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Default Would you buy/shoot old ammo?

I've picked up some older ammo over the years at estate sales, garage sales, asking a gun seller if he has any ammo for sale as I buy a gun from him.

It's usually not expensive and sometimes dirt cheap. I picked up all this .357 a while back when I bought a Ruger Security Six (yes I own S&Ws too) for $50. Mostly full boxes and it all shoots great so far. I do inspect it closely and stay alert while firing it.

If you picked up a paper box of clean and dry 20, 30 or 40 year old factory ammo, would you shoot it?
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:24 PM
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Most old factory made ammunition will fire well. Was given a grocery bag(paper variety) half full of .45 ACP one day when stationed in Calif. by the local PD. The was ammo from the 19 teens, 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's. Probably 500 rounds, all of it went bang except six rounds from 1936. I shoot 20-30 year old rimfire ammo all the time.........works as advertised.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:29 PM
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I see old ammo once in a while. I just check that the ammo is as represented (not reloads, reused box, corrosion).

Had a situation where someone tried to pass off LRN in a JHP box, so now I always look.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:39 PM
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Unless it's highly collectible, yes I would shoot it.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:41 PM
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Yes. I have. If it's factory in the box, and looks undamaged, all day . . .
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:46 PM
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I see no reason not to fire that ammo as long as you're sure it's factory ammo. From the boxes I don't think it's all that old anyway.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:47 PM
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Most ammunition has a longer shelf life than most people. Only thing to watch out for is whether it has corrosive primers.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:11 PM
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A friend of mine found a unfired .50 BMG round----IIRC, it was SL 43----out at the old (and now closed) Sahuarita Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range, just south of Tucson, AZ. Suspect the round had been laying out in the desert and out in the elements since the days of WWII. Long story short, he put it in his brother's Barret and---incredibly---it fired. He said it didn't have the potency of a current production .50 BMG round---but the fact that it went off at all, after laying out in the desert for 70 some years, is truly remarkable.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:38 PM
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Factory, yes if it looks good.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:40 PM
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I wouldn't consider your ammo as being "old". Your Ruger will handle that ammo just fine.

I've shot British WWII 9mm ammo made in 1943 (very carefully watching for squib rounds) and all fired fine and cycled my G19.

Have fun with the Federal 125 grainers! Big BOOMs and big fireballs! Fun!
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:52 PM
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Any factory ammo under fifty years old, I wouldn't think twice.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:03 PM
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I have boxes of ammo for my old Steyr 8X56R with a head stamp 1938 and although corrosive it shoots as good as if it were made today. Same with my LC53 M2 Ball ammo. Never a missfire.
So in short, HECK YES... It all depends on how it was stored. I store mine in GI ammo cans in my basement where it is a constant temp. Stored this way it will outlast you or I.
Back in the 80's I was shooting 155mm HE and WP out of an M109A3 Howitzer dated from WWII and the Korean war. Same for the powder charges, fuses and primers. It all was right on target too.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:35 PM
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No, its dangerous! Sell it to me cheap. Did you know that milk goes bad in a few weeks. What makes you think ammo is any better?
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:41 PM
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I'm trying to shoot up some 30 Carbine that is probably 20-25 years old. I had three out of five fail to fire while dispatching a rattle snake a few weeks ago. I don't trust any of it now as I also use the carbine for coyote and wild hog. If a wild hog charges, I might as well start spitting at him.

I bought a bullet puller after that but haven't had a chance to burn the rest of them up since cold and rain came. When I dumped the powder of the three, it sort of clumped together like it was damp but its always been stored indoors as far as I can remember.

If I were to come across old ammo, I think I'd sacrifice one or two rounds and check the powder before I'd even waste the time shooting them at a target. I sure didn't like having the misfires around while waiting for the puller.
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinhack View Post
I'm trying to shoot up some 30 Carbine that is probably 20-25 years old. I had three out of five fail to fire while dispatching a rattle snake a few weeks ago. I don't trust any of it now as I also use the carbine for coyote and wild hog. If a wild hog charges, I might as well start spitting at him.

I bought a bullet puller after that but haven't had a chance to burn the rest of them up since cold and rain came. When I dumped the powder of the three, it sort of clumped together like it was damp but its always been stored indoors as far as I can remember.

If I were to come across old ammo, I think I'd sacrifice one or two rounds and check the powder before I'd even waste the time shooting them at a target. I sure didn't like having the misfires around while waiting for the puller.

When the ammo is questionable, then always get new. When my butt is on the line then nothing is to expensive..........
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
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No, its dangerous! Sell it to me cheap. Did you know that milk goes bad in a few weeks. What makes you think ammo is any better?
HA! I'll take it off your hands for FREE.

Yes, after a close inspection, it should be safe to shoot.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerfired View Post
I've picked up some older ammo over the years at estate sales, garage sales, asking a gun seller if he has any ammo for sale as I buy a gun from him.

It's usually not expensive and sometimes dirt cheap. I picked up all this .357 a while back when I bought a Ruger Security Six (yes I own S&Ws too) for $50. Mostly full boxes and it all shoots great so far. I do inspect it closely and stay alert while firing it.

If you picked up a paper box of clean and dry 20, 30 or 40 year old factory ammo, would you shoot it?
Unless it shows obvious signs of poor handling or storage, certainly I'd shoot it. I have a can of 7.62X54R from the 20's or 30's and it shoots fine. Corrosive, so it requires careful clean up.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinhack View Post
I'm trying to shoot up some 30 Carbine that is probably 20-25 years old. I had three out of five fail to fire while dispatching a rattle snake a few weeks ago. I don't trust any of it now as I also use the carbine for coyote and wild hog. If a wild hog charges, I might as well start spitting at him.
I have quite a large amount of both WWII and Korean War vintage .30 Carbine ball and tracer ammunition, all of which is far older than 25 years old. Not once have I ever experienced a misfire with any of it. But stay far away from any of the French carbine ammo - all of it has corrosive primers.

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Old 01-02-2017, 11:34 AM
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I have shot plenty of WW2 ammo. Note some of it is corrosive so intense clean up is mandatory!

I have also shot some of my reloaded 12 G skeet loads I found in a old box. They were loaded in the early 70s and other than a coupe were a bit light all worked fine.

Just remember to only use them as practice ammo, use new stuff for serious occasions.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
I have quite a large amount of both WWII and Korean War vintage .30 Carbine ball and tracer ammunition, all of which is far older than 25 years old. Not once have I ever experienced a misfire with any of it. But stay far away from any of the French carbine ammo - all of it has corrosive primers.
Additionally, there was some Chinese .30 Carbine ammo made to look like U.S. production----headstamped LC 52-----that is corrosive. The packaging on this typically looks cheap----not like Lake City USGI----as a tip.
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:54 PM
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Here is the problem. Just to build on what some others have noted, you can reload ammunition with an appropriate bullet and it cannot be distinguished from factory ammo by inspection, especially if loaded a decade or more ago. How can you tell they are not super-hot reloads, wrong powder, double charges??

I would take it apart and reload with the pulled bullets, brass, and my choice of powder for a known loading. I would not take the chance of unknowingly putting reloads in my guns, so it is better to take extra care and reload, rather than take the chance of putting them in your favorite gun.
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Old 01-02-2017, 01:18 PM
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Default Old Ammo, Old Worry

Old ammo is fine to shoot with the exception of military ammo with corrosive priming prior to the 1950s or so.

I've mentioned this before: My 94 year old father passed away two years ago. I was cleaning out his Jeep Cherokee and in one of the rear cargo compartments, I found a leather belt strip holding about a dozen .30-06 cartridges, I rig I gave him and had forgotten about. He hadn't hunted in more than 15 years.

Despite 15 years of alternately baking and freezing through New York winters and summers, I removed the accumulated verdigris from the ammo and it all fired like it had been made yesterday.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:01 PM
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Heck I have socks that are older than the ammo in your photos. I would shoot it without hesitation. The only concern I would have which one of the others pointed out would be reloading ammo of questionable origin. If you think these are reloads than maybe I would pull the bullets and reuse the brass.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:34 PM
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A couple years ago I traded for a 1968 Winchester Mod 94 30-30 'Buffalo Bill' commemorative and it came with the original box of ammo dated 1967 from Montgomery Wards in a 'Hawthorn' box with 18 rounds in it. Anyway story was the two missing rounds were the only two fired out of the rifle so after I had shot quite a few reloads through it I decided to shoot the 'Monkey Wards' ammo and let me tell you! Ammo was loaded a LOT hotter 'back then' than it is now - the 170 gr rounds coupled with the steel crescent buttplate were brutal! I am glad all I had were 18 to go as I don't think I could have taken any more!
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:51 PM
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I have shot a lot of 1940's vintage ammo... no issues...
30-06, 30 carbine & 45 acp... all milsurp provided thru the CMP... at one time they were rotating stock at the range and selling bandoleers of 30 carbine... I think I still have a full one. they still go bang...
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:56 PM
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A local army/navy surplus store use to have 45 acp in bins at 6 cents per piece. I bought and fired many of these with head stamps of 55 or later. Never had one to not fire.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:10 AM
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:30 AM
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Factory Yes !!
If any question about it at all.....No.
Not blowing up a gun is a hobby of mine.


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Old 01-03-2017, 12:24 PM
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I still have a few boxes of 45acp ammo that was loaded during the WW I time period. I used to shoot it occasionally until it became valuable as a collectors item. It all shot reliably.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:34 PM
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For my $, the ammo in the OP's photo is essentially brand new. I have a number of those loads in those boxes. No thought of it not being shootable.

As others have posted, always check what you are buying at a show. Some sellers try to be cute and push their reloads as factory. In spite of this, I made it through the "ammo crunch" with ammo I had bought inexpensively at shows.

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Old 01-03-2017, 01:01 PM
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some years back (20+) I fired some military 30-06 from the 20's in my Garand. A case split from primer to rim and the escaping gas ruined the stock plus I ruined a set of skivvies.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:44 PM
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Yes..
Bought these at a blackpowder competition
Planed to shoot them so i could have some brass to reload.
Most of them cracked and i ended up getting some .32-20 brass (and cut them down) instead.


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Old 01-03-2017, 03:02 PM
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I have shot some 50 year old stuff. As long as it's factory and non corrosive.
I was given my uncles circa 1960 300 Wby mag with 10 boxes of ammo. Interestingly marked at $8.00 per box of 20. Turned out to be reloads by who knows, so I took them to the LGS for disposal. Didn't want to fire even one.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:43 PM
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some years back (20+) I fired some military 30-06 from the 20's in my Garand. A case split from primer to rim and the escaping gas ruined the stock plus I ruined a set of skivvies.
I have shot CMP "Military" ammo for years and never had a problem. Wonder if you were really shooting original military ammo or reloads. My reloads for the M1 are indistinguishable from factory mil rounds, other than they might be shiny. Even that difference will disappear with age.

I will just make one more plea not to shoot old ammunition from unknown sources. It only takes one mistake to ruin your day and is never worth the risk.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:48 AM
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I have shot up many rounds of old ammo over the years. Was heavy into collecting military surplus guns some years ago and bought all kinds of old surplus ammo. Have shot stuff from many different eras and found most of it to still be good, functional ammo. The OP's stuff I wouldn't consider to be old at all. I recently shot up some 1913 dated DWM 7mm Mauser, every round I tried fired (I did save a few of the best looking ones for my cartridge collection).

Even though the great days of cheap surplus seem to be over there is still a lot of old ammo floating around gun shows, flea markets and garage sales. Key thing is to always inspect anything you buy before shooting any of it. If I suspect handloads or see signs of corrosion (especially green crud around primer or bullet) it's going to get pulled down for components (easy enough since I am a reloader myself). I have run across dead primers occasionally and a few split necks on firing but really not all that many considering the amount of old ammo I have gone through over the years.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:04 PM
30-30remchester 30-30remchester is offline
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Would you buy/shoot old ammo? Would you buy/shoot old ammo? Would you buy/shoot old ammo? Would you buy/shoot old ammo? Would you buy/shoot old ammo?  
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I have collected for over 50 years. I see no reason to shoot older ammo. New stuff is available most times. We all need a stockpile of extra ammo in case the world comes to an end. Why not save this and use newer? Some of this ammo is already 30 years old.

In a previous thread about shooting old ammo some member told about shooting his armor piercing 30/06 ammo at paper. Wow I do not believe he knows this stuff will never be available again to the public.

And I think I get the prize for shooting the oldest ammo so far. I harvested a buffalo using an original 1863-68 Sharps carbine and used a round of ammo loaded in the 1880's. Worked just fine.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:57 PM
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A good friend was given some Federal white box 38 special. He fired one round through his new Rossie and it blew the top strap and the usual part of the cylinder so far we could not find it, it was extremely loud.

He called Federal, sent them some photos and they informed him that they would not stand behind their old ammunition!!
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:26 PM
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Default Old Ammo

It is hard to tell if the ammo is good just by looking. I was given some 45 ACP ammo a few years ago by the range officer in a police pistol league I attended. The ammo was Federal 185 grain match. It was in an old looking box but it was in good condition. When I fired it reacted like a flintlock rifle. The hammer fell, then the primer hissed, then the round went off. I shot three rounds and every one behaved like the first. The RO told me he got it from a neighbor who kept it in a refrigerator in the garage. I guess the neighbor also kept food in the refrigerator as well and the moisture penetrated the ammo.
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  #39  
Old 01-04-2017, 01:38 PM
scoobysnacker scoobysnacker is offline
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Like the other posts have said- if the ammo in the boxes are still factory, I wouldn't hesitate. I see Academy stickers on some of those boxes. That isn't what I would call "old"; I don't think that became a chain until the mid-90's.

I've shot a bunch of surplus ammo that all went bang, all much older, and likely went through some rougher storage. If you have 20 year old factory ammo stored in a manner that preserves the cardboard boxes, you should be good to go.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:55 PM
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"In a previous thread about shooting old ammo some member told about shooting his armor piercing 30/06 ammo at paper. Wow I do not believe he knows this stuff will never be available again to the public."


Back in the 1960s-70s it was available in quantity and very cheap, and many service rifle competitors did use it for shooting paper. I once had a foot locker full to the top with it, still have several 20 round boxes.
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  #41  
Old 01-04-2017, 06:54 PM
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Yes I did/would shoot it up.
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  #42  
Old 01-04-2017, 07:05 PM
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I have ammo 7.62x54 , that was made in the 50's, and it works perfect. Coated with lacquer, so it's corrosion proof.


Thank you,
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  #43  
Old 01-05-2017, 12:22 AM
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I have several bandoleers in .30-06 of the black tipped stuff.
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  #44  
Old 01-12-2017, 10:50 AM
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Two experiences...

A couple of years back my dentist, who had retired ten years earlier, called me to stop by his house. He used to shoot on the Army pistol team and had a lot of old .45 match ammo that he wanted to get rid of. He gave me 3-4 thousand rounds of ball ammo head stamped '52 or '55. I was leery at first but tested some rounds and it all went off and was very accurate. I assume it was used in bullseye matches. I ended up using it in several I.P.S.C. matches through my Para P-14 and every single round went off.

I recently bought a new S & W M69. I was running some rounds through it and just getting familiar with it. I had a couple of the 20 round boxes of Hornady 180 grain XTP with Frontier head stamps that I had picked up in the late '80's or early '90's. I loaded and fired five rounds and noticed substantial recoil. When I opened the cylinder I was unable to get the empties to eject and had to beat them out with a wooden mallet. I didn't pay much attention to the empties and was basically shooting the rounds up for the brass. Later my brother loaded five more rounds of the Hornady stuff and had the same results. I pulled all of that ammo I had left and set it aside. When I got home I noticed that all ten of those fired rounds had split from the rim to the case mouth. I know for a fact that this is factory ammo and had been stored in a sealed Plano box since it was bought.
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  #45  
Old 01-12-2017, 11:54 AM
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I have purchased vintage factory ammo in pristine boxes but mostly for the purpose of display/collection. Whenever I've tried it, it goes bang. I would NOT purchase reloaded ammo - no matter how it looked.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:22 PM
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Stores do not throw out unsold ammo at the end of a season. They may or may not rotate old to the front, but the manufacturers have warehouses filled with ammo.
I found a box of .22lr in a dresser that hasn't been used for twenty years. Stuff was hot and accurate in my 22A. Wished I had a couple of bricks of it.
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  #47  
Old 01-13-2017, 06:33 AM
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Years back we were buying 1000 round spam cans of Portuguese 7.62x51 that was around 40 years old.

Would like to have some more. Lots more.
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  #48  
Old 01-13-2017, 01:12 PM
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I've got 30 and 40 year old ammo I loaded myself I'm still shooting from time to time. I Do buy some factory ammo at auctions.
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