Aging Ammo

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Aging Ammo

Postby Terrye » Fri 13 Jan 2017 8:21 pm

So how old is too old? When is ammo bad?

I recently decided to pull out a few guns that my dad left me years ago. The guns had sat at my house for 15 years, and other than running an oily rag through them they had not been touched. As a young boy I remember shooting these guns with my dad and brothers. One, a single action revolver that shoots .22 Magnum’s; the other an over and under rifle that shoots .22lr’s on top and .410’s on the bottom.

As I prepped these guns to shoot them with my grandsons, I found there was some old remaining ammo for both. As I thought about it, the old ammo had to be the same ammo that I used as a kid. To my knowledge, the guns had not been shot since those earlier days. As I looked at this old ammo, I estimated it must be 50 years old. The 22 WMR’s (Mag’s) were still in their Yellow box, “Western Super X”, that at one time contained 50 rounds. A dozen or so rounds were still in an old leather ammo belt that is part of its long leather holster. The rounds in the leather had turned a light-green copper color. They were taken out of the belt and wiped clean. The old 22 Mag’s looked a bit tarnished, but did not appear to have any damage or weakness. I also purchased a few new rounds … just in case the old ones were going to be duds. There was also one old box of .410’s; they were in a white box with the Yellow X …”Winchester Super X”. These .410’s are in plastic casings, and look like brand new; the low brass hardly tarnished. I also picked up some new .410’s … just in case.

Result? The .22 Mag’s and .410’s both fired and seemed as good as the day they were made. I only shot a few of each, but there were no misfires or duds and they seemed to have expected power.

Weeks after trying the ammo, it was noticed that the ammo boxes have manufacturing codes on them. And, of course, there are websites that help identify the age of the ammo. Turns out the .410 ammo was produced Feb 13, 1963. The .22WMR number identifies it as manufactured Dec 4, 1962.

So what else is stowed away, sure to still fire? I have some .22 wrf’s that will surely work perfectly in the .22 mag pistol, and some .22 shorts the same age, and a few .22 lr’s. These are in Remington Red and white boxes with green letters. I bet they are all manufactured in the early 1960’s.

None of this ammo was stored in a special place, it was in one or another Utah basement for all these years. I don’t plan on shooting any more of this old ammo, as I don’t want to part with it, but I may find a better way to preserve it.

Just curious if others have had good or bad experiences with old ammo, or if they leave them alone?
Attachments
410superx.jpg
410 Super X
410superx.jpg (56.53 KiB) Viewed 590 times
22WMR.jpg
22 WMR
22WMR.jpg (87.64 KiB) Viewed 590 times
22wrf.jpg
22WRF 22LR 22Short
22wrf.jpg (44.5 KiB) Viewed 590 times
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Re: Aging Ammo

Postby Snurd » Fri 13 Jan 2017 8:40 pm

It all depends on how the ammo was stored. If it was in a cool dry place, it can last for a very long time. My dad and I have shot ammo made in the 60's if I remember correctly. There is still a bunch of surplus ammo from the 70's and possibly earlier that is still being sold and shoots fine. I've shot that as well.

If it's been stored in a damp place, or with extreme temperature differences, that will hamper the effectiveness of the ammo. Meaning you will get duds.


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Re: Aging Ammo

Postby dewittdj » Fri 13 Jan 2017 9:58 pm

:agree:
Stored in a cool, dry place with very little fluctuation in temperature and the ammo will last almost indefinitely.

Exposure to heat, moisture, chemicals and oxygen will cause ammo to deteriorate at a rapid pace.

As long as there is no apparent corrosion or leakage from the cases, I wouldn't hesitate to fire the ammo.
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Re: Aging Ammo

Postby D-FIN » Mon 16 Jan 2017 1:36 pm

I like to keep couple spare mage in my car. I think I need to get a small cooler or something to insulate them a bit.
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Re: Aging Ammo

Postby Karl » Mon 16 Jan 2017 3:36 pm

Once I bought some cheap shotgun shells and I noticed that after a couple of years of sitting in my gunsafe the primers all began to corrode.

That is the only ammo issue that I a have ever seen.

I have fired military ammo that was 50 years old and never had a problem with any of it.
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