Forums / Gun Discussion / Ammo shelf life?

2 years 32 weeks ago, 7:51 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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Ammo shelf life?

How long is cartridge ammo good for? Decades? Seems to be decades, but I don't know if there is some general rule of thumb on this. I've had some ammo where the brass has really tarnished and it looked questionable, but never had an issue with it.

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon
2 years 32 weeks ago, 7:58 PM

Vaquero

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Good question

I have some old 30-30 ammo that is in good condition. I suppose it is 30 years or more old. Storage conditions would determine shelf life I suppose. Watch for green spots (corrosion) on the brass cases. Normal dull tarnish shouldn't affect prformance or safety at all.

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2 years 32 weeks ago, 7:59 PM

Reaper308

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depends

It depends on how it was stored. If it was stored in dry cool ammo cans or spam cans, then yes, decades. The last time I had my enfield out I was shooting ammo with a 1944 head stamp.

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:03 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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Reaper

See, that's what got me wondering. I have ammo at my hunting lease that's been out there years. The brass is dulled, but nothing that looks bad. But I've seen deals on surplus ammo from 50s and such as well as had old family members bequeath me their "vintage" ammo. So I was curious how long this stuff can last. It would be good to know in preparations for the zombie apocalypse ;).

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:00 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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Good call, Vaq

On the green spots. That definitely would be a warning sign as that indicates metal corrosion and therefore weakness in the case.

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:01 PM

Reaper308

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correction

I just double checked... it has a 1942 head stamp

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:05 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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Reaper, 1942 ammo

Did you notice any degradation in the performance? I don't suppose you have a chrony?

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:12 PM

Reaper308

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SJMB

No chrony. It shot just like any other surplus ball ammo - not the tightest groups, but it went bang. I still have a bit of it left, the brass is a little dull but not bad.

I would be more worried about the powder degrading than the brass. I had some old 8mm stuff I was shooting out of one of my mausers. Two different rounds had a 1-2 second lag time between when the pin hit the primer and when the round actually went off. I threw that shit away.

I'm sure you already know this but almost everything pre 70's (and some after) is corrosive, so just clean it up well after shooting. I usually use windex after shooting corrosive shit.

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:25 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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Miltary ball

Yeah, not made to be match grade, right? But the windex is a new one on me. That works? I guess it's the ammonia, huh? You think that would clean up the mess lacquered steel cases make too? Not that I plan on buying that shit ever again. But it might be a good note. Besides, if I get myself a "workhorse" rifle and a shit ton of cheap eastern-bloc ammo to go with, it would be good to know.

Speaking of which, to whomever is interested. I had posted before about my next firearm. It isn't happening now. I was at the lease the weekend before, filling feeders and cleaning up my area, and took a spill from the trailer I was on being towed by my buddies ATV. He caught a fence post with the wheel well, and I went flying. My wife told me I need to buy an ATV now. Darn the luck. lol!

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon
2 years 32 weeks ago, 8:23 PM

Vaquero

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ATV

Heck yeah! Nice little workhorse with a low feed bill. LOL!

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