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Posted: 1/16/2006 9:31:22 AM EDT
I am speaking of loaded mag ammunition. The ammunition you keep in a hand gun or rifle for self defense. I have had rounds that stayed in a mag for several years, and still functioned reliably at the range, where a dud woudn't really matter, but in a self defense weapon a dud could spell dead.any responses would be greatly appreciated.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 9:38:08 AM EDT
Well, this is anecdotal, but I was given a few hundred rounds that had been stored in a metal shed for about 20 years. 9mm Hi-Vel stuff, Every round went bang when I pulled the trigger.

Temps in that shed .... 100-120 degrees? in the Florida summer daytime. Temp lows went as far down as the teens.

So.... when you store ammo in a good environment, it will last a long, long time.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 9:38:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 9:39:39 AM EDT by DevL]
In airconditioning? In an ammo can? Lifetime.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 9:54:11 AM EDT
I've shot some .38 cop ammo from when my dad was a CHP in the Sixties. It all went bang. And he said they got it surplus from the Marines back then. . It all went bang. But it's lead and it's no fun shooting indoors!!!!!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 10:42:28 AM EDT
I figured the life of a round was pretty long, but I also think there is a military or LEA s.o.p, as to how long you should keep defensive rounds before rotating them out of service. I have had shotgun shell go bad in a short amount of time, so I wouldn't feel safe counting on them for more than a year. My first defensive firearm is a pistol, and want to be confident in the ammo should the need arise.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 10:48:17 AM EDT
I shot a mix of blank and live rounds from 20rd mags loaded back in the late 60's. All went bang and the mags still work.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:02:47 PM EDT
I appreciate everyone's input, but I would like to know if anyone has heard of an actual, reliable shelf life of ammunition stored in a firearm? Surely there is a rule of thumb on this subject, I know most LEOs wouldn't trust ammo in their duty gun, that had been laying around since the 60's. There has got to be some sort of rotation shedule. I will take any ammo I have to the range, but I want the best, and most reliable ammo in my firearms when they are carried or stored in my home for self defense, and would like to find out how long you can confidently have it, before it is time to retire it to the range, and put in new.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:03:46 PM EDT
87 days!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:12:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 12:18:45 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
Where did you get 87 days from? If that is a honest answer thank you.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:12:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
I appreciate everyone's input, but I would like to know if anyone has heard of an actual, reliable shelf life of ammunition stored in a firearm? Surely there is a rule of thumb on this subject, I know most LEOs wouldn't trust ammo in their duty gun, that had been laying around since the 60's. There has got to be some sort of rotation shedule. I will take any ammo I have to the range, but I want the best, and most reliable ammo in my firearms when they are carried or stored in my home for self defense, and would like to find out how long you can confidently have it, before it is time to retire it to the range, and put in new.



You'd be suprised.
All that .50 BMG the .mil is using in Iraq?
They have a shortage, so they are re-issuing ammo that is WW2 and WW1 production.
Still works just fine.
The answer is: if properly stored, ammo has an indefinte shelf life.
Shotgun shells are more prone to go bad - many aren't sealed that well.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:14:50 PM EDT


I shot 50 rnds of .45ACP that had been stored in its box for about10+ years inside the house (sometimes a closet, sometimes a bag, etc). All went bang.

Now I store my ammo in a .50cal ammo can with a dessicant pack taped to the lid, knowing that the ammo, in this condition, will last a minimum of ten years. Some cans are in the house, some outside in the shed.

The main culprit of ammo damage is moisture. Heat without moisture does not seem to be a major problem.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:28:09 PM EDT
I've got 7.62 rounds that have been laying around the house for years, probably 10+, and no telling how old they were when I puchased them, they came in a chinese sardine can. But what about the ammo actually carried in your pistol, that gets exposed to heat, humidity, sweat, dirt, and everything else, it isn't protected from the enviroment, or stored in a can, this is the ammo I'm refering to.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:30:01 PM EDT
I have fired old military surplus ammo for a steyr straight pull that came in clips with swaztikas on them, and it all fired fine.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 12:37:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 12:38:38 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
I'm sure a 100 year old man could fire a load! but that still doesn't answer the question.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:29:49 PM EDT
Okay I will make it simple, how long do you LEOs carry the same rounds in your pistol, or spare mags?
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:43:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Okay I will make it simple, how long do you LEOs carry the same rounds in your pistol, or spare mags?



I am not a cop, just an average CCW type.

there are other factors at play there, round kept in a mag and carried can become slightly misshapen from having pressure focused on certain points for long periods of time. Ammo carried in a mag, or in a vehicle in a magazine would need to be rotated out at a higher frequency than ammo left in a mag stored in a closet, or ammo left in a box, either of which could last indefinitely.

At what intervals that ammo should be rotated out or refreshed is entirely subjective. I try and do it on my carry guns every 3-6 months depending, and if I were a beat cop would try to do it at least that often, considering the ammo would be constantly be being jogged around in a duty weapon.

Also if you jog with a weapon you'd want to change out ammo more frequently than if your weapon was just sitting in the nightstand.

Then there is differences in different manufacturers brass and other components, and so on. My suggestion would be to pop out a couple rounds and see if they are still round by rolling them in a smooth surface.

The main reason to change out ammo is for your own sense of mind, so doing it however often you need to do it to satisfy yourself is fine as well.

Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:52:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 2:55:36 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
Thank you Yekimak, I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I have currently had the same ammo in my primary pistol for around a year, as I said they are black talons,and federal hydra shocks, I have them staggerd, in case the talons mis fire. you can't get black talons in AL. anymore. I take them out of the mags when I'm at the range, and reload the mags after I' through shooting. I fire one of them from time to time just for piece of mind. The other firearms I have don't all get to the range that often, and I keep all of them loaded and chambered. I am single, and rarely have children in my home, and my girlfriend knows all of ny guns are loaded, and where they are. If I were involved in a home invasion, I can get my hands on one from anywhere in my house, I carry a sig 228 everywhere I go, as long as it is legal. My 232 goes with me when I let the dogs out. This is a question that just occured to me, because some of my guns have been sitting loaded, for several years without the ammo rotated. I'm going to make a better effort to replace the ammo on a quarterly schedule, for piece of mind,I hope I never have to rely on it, but if I do, I want it to function. Thanks again. Treeman
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:53:06 PM EDT
You are not going to get a "answer" because no one knows, I have .38 special reloads that were done in the 60s, stored in a dirt basement that was somewhat damp. I tossed the one's that had corrosion on the outside that was quite thick and the one's who's lead had "frosted". Every single round I have fired went bang. No squibs, no duds, and it was still pretty accurate.

If you cycle ammo thru the weapon and chamber and rechamber, you have to watch for bullet setback, that can cause hi pressures and troubles. I carry for a few months, then shoot the mag up and reload it with fresh ammo. I don't continue to chamber the same round every time, I rotate the ammo in the mag once a week or so, if I carry and chamber and unchamber. I don't worry about life of good ammo because, honestly, I don't think you can quantify it.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 3:16:47 PM EDT
Some of my guns do get their ammo chambered and rechambered, the ones I carry to the range most often, I try to get them all to the range at some point just to stay profficient with the gun. I do play favorites though, and some, like the ones my father left me when he passed, I keep ready, but don't fire them often,(S&W 38), I don't want to risk damage, it has little material value, but is not replaceable. He did leave me a Winchester 22 pump, and a Belgium light 12 Browning, and a Ruger Mark? the one that looks like a luger, it was my Grandaddy's. they do have material value, but more sentimental. My Dad never let me use the Browning or the Winchester, but I took the Browning pheasant hunting last year, best shooting shotgun I ever fired. I cleaned it real well, and put it back in the safe, I don't think Dad would have minded to much. I am going to take the Winchester out on a pretty day, when there is no threat of rain, shoot it a few times, and put it away for my future children, when they are 40 or so.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 3:30:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Okay I will make it simple, how long do you LEOs carry the same rounds in your pistol, or spare mags?[/quote

Department policy is to issue us new carry ammo once a year.. I do the same thing on my carry ammo on all my personally owned weapons.. (I use my B-day so I don't forget) It's not that ammo can't go longer than that but I've always figured if it's my life at stake... spending $50-$100 to buy new carry ammo once a year is a small price... Hell, I wish that was all I spent....
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 3:54:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 4:01:51 PM EDT
Lifetime, have shot ammo that is WWII vintage and is good.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:45:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Where did you get 87 days from? If that is a honest answer thank you.



Research has proven this!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:58:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MONGO45:
Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Okay I will make it simple, how long do you LEOs carry the same rounds in your pistol, or spare mags?[/quote

Department policy is to issue us new carry ammo once a year.. I do the same thing on my carry ammo on all my personally owned weapons.. (I use my B-day so I don't forget) It's not that ammo can't go longer than that but I've always figured if it's my life at stake... spending $50-$100 to buy new carry ammo once a year is a small price... Hell, I wish that was all I spent....



+1
My pd has an ammo exchange every year. I prefer to get new ammo ever 6 months. Keep in mind that as LEO my weapon and open top mag carrier are exposed to the elements..ie rain, dust, heat and cold.

Side note.....I also clean my duty weapon at least once a month (I choose to qualify every month).
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 7:21:17 PM EDT
LEOs thank you for your replies, that was exactly what I wanted to know. I realise that ammo stored properly has an almost indefinate shelf life, and the military probably stores their surplus ammo correctly. As I said, Im not an LEO, I am a fiefighter, and own a quick mart, the risk of attempted robbery on me is pretty high. I carry bank deposits everyday, and there are fools who think because I own a business that I am rich. I worry about home invasions, car jackings, and hold ups at the store. my 228 is with me everywhere I go, it gets exposed to all the elements I do, heat, cold, wet, you name it, not all that different from an LEO, and I want to make sure it is as close to 100% reliable as I can get it. and I agree $100 a year is not to much, for that peace of mind. My stashed guns are generally protected from the elements, in the house hidden where I can get to one fast.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 7:33:34 PM EDT
As far as cleaning, I take my228 to the range on average once a week, and rotate the others as the mood srikes, the range is about 4 miles from my house, I strip, clean and lube all of them when I return home. I do believe in keeping my weapons clean. I usually take an AR, and fire 50-100rds, and pistols, and practice at various distances, and different situations.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 8:00:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Okay I will make it simple, how long do you LEOs carry the same rounds in your pistol, or spare mags?



The standard is normally ONE year.
Having said that, I worked for a dept that
carried the same 38 +ps for three years.
Had no problems when they finally fired them off.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:49:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
I have currently had the same ammo in my primary pistol for around a year, as I said they are black talons,and federal hydra shocks, I have them staggerd, in case the talons mis fire. you can't get black talons in AL. anymore.



Get rid of the Talons and Hydrashoks and get some good ammo. There is no reason to still have the BT's - they're not worth anything, and there are much better self-defense rounds available.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:36:51 AM EDT
In my department we are issued new ammo once a year. We shoot up the old ammo and I have never had a malfunction with the old ammo. I leave the pistol loaded at all times and every time that I go out to practice with the pistol I rotate the round that rests in the chamber. The reason that I do that is because that is the round that is exposed to the most oil. Sittting in a magazine won't ruin ammo but oil might.

Get rid of the Black Talons. They aren't even a very good round any more compared to what's available.

Don't vary the type of ammo that you carry. Carry only one round in your mags.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:04:07 AM EDT
In another post I ask what is the best off the shelf self defense round available? I was told Speer, and Rangers, any other opinions? At one time, the black talons were supposed to be good, and now they are illegal to purchase, I guess, that is the main reason I have held on to them. Thanks for the advice.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 8:00:58 AM EDT
I have shot ammo that was as old as I am. I'm 58. I have shot 9mm Czech ammo with 1948-1954 headstamps all went bang.

Read an article in one of the gunrags were the writer had 45acp loaded in mags from 1945-48 and all fired no problem 30 some odd years later.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 10:19:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2006 10:20:45 AM EDT by sta1treeman]
Yes, that seems to be the general opinion, that if it is stored properly, it will last forever. but if it is carried in your gun, and exposed to heat, moisture,and so forth, it needs to be replaced annually, or sooner, there is no reason to risk your life, relying on old ammo, that hasn't been stored, but carried
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 10:24:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
In another post I ask what is the best off the shelf self defense round available? I was told Speer, and Rangers, any other opinions? At one time, the black talons were supposed to be good, and now they are illegal to purchase, I guess, that is the main reason I have held on to them. Thanks for the advice.




Black Talons aren't illegal to purchase in most areas. They just don't make them any more and people think that they are the greatest round ever thanks to the media. The Winchester Ranger line is the replacement for the Black Talon and is a far better and more effective round. You can find it in may places.

I really like the Corbon 115 grain 9mm loads. They don't penetrate the supposed minimum required depth but that's a matter of opinion. They are VERY accurate and VERY hot. That's what I'm currently carrying in my personally owned duty weapon but will switch to the Ranger 127 loads soon for a variety of reasons.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 12:44:13 PM EDT
Better Performing Self Defense Loads - Various Calibers Go to the link for more detail but here's the CLIFF's Notes Version:

9mm
-Winchester Ranger 127 gr +P+ JHP
-Winchester Ranger 147 gr JHP
-Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
-Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP
-Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP
-Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP

.40 S&W
-Winchester Ranger 180 gr JHP
-Winchester Ranger 165 gr JHP
-Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP
-Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP
-Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP

.45 ACP
-Winchester Ranger 230 gr JHP
-Winchester Ranger 230 gr +P JHP
-Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP
-Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP

.357 Sig
-Winchester Ranger 125 gr JHP
-Speer Gold Dot 125 gr JHP

.223
-Black Hills or Hornady 75 gr OTM
-Black Hills or Federal 77 gr OTM
-Black Hills or Federal 69 gr OTM
-Black Hills 68 gr OTM
-Winchester Supreme Power Point Plus 64 gr JSP
-Federal 55 and 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (these also penetrate deeply, even through barriers so be careful where you employ these rounds)
-Black Hills 60 gr SP

.308
-Hornady 155 gr TAP (with AMAX bullet)
-Federal 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip
-Winchester Supreme 150 gr Ballistic Silvertip
-Loads using the 165 gr Sierra Game King

7.62X39mm
-Lapua 125 gr JSP
-Winchester Super-X 123 gr Power-Point

.30 Carbine
-Remington 110 gr JSP

12 Gauge
-Most any 00 or 000 buckshot loads will provide necessary penetration. However some may pattern better than others. The Federal Tactical 00 Buckshot is often a favorite.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 9:10:29 PM EDT
Thank you for the break down, I'm going ammo shopping tomorrow for moe 556, I guess I'll get some new handgun loads also. I've always liked 3 1/2, #1 buck, but they are somtimes hard to find during hunting season. 00 or 000, would do as well in the house, or in the woods.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 3:49:00 PM EDT
I apologize for not being able to find the thread tonight, but some where in here is an excellent all inclusive article about ammunition, including storage. Basicallly the article stated that a loaded magazine at room tempurature and resonably steady humidty(shrink wrap if you must) will outlast the ammunition's owner.
Link Posted: 2/3/2006 2:03:38 PM EDT
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