Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Old ammo - Still Good?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Richard Collins, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. Richard Collins

    Richard Collins Greater SW WA Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Was given several boxes of 12 gauge, .22, 270 and .38 and was wondering since this has been kept in dry atmosphere, but is maybe 20 years old, is it still considered safe to fire?
     
  2. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

    Messages:
    4,185
    Likes Received:
    6,659
    yep. If it was stored right 20 years is not a problem. I have shot plenty of ammo that was 50-60 years old
     
    WAYNO, orygun, Gunner3456 and 2 others like this.
  3. Richard Collins

    Richard Collins Greater SW WA Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    It was definitely stored dry. Good to hear, thanks Monstermetal
     
  4. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    346
    20 years is nothing in the ammunition world. I have old military stuff from the 1920's that still works. Cool and dry it will last a very long time.
     
  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    8,534
    Likes Received:
    19,776
    I've shot ammo that was 30-40 years old. I agree, as long as it was dry, it should be fine. The only old ammo I ever saw was a problem were older shotgun shells made of the old paper/cardboard type material (I don't know what that material was) - I've seen some of those kind of fall apart if they got any exposure to moisture. I've not seen those kinds of shells in quite a while, but I might be hesitant to shoot them now unless they seemed very solid and intact.
     
    Richard Collins likes this.
  6. Richard Collins

    Richard Collins Greater SW WA Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Good info, thanks
     
  7. JO JO

    JO JO Vancouver WA Active Member

    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    223
    I have shot 20+ year old 22 ammo they all shot the same as new ammo but no duds with the older
    .22 shells go figure
     
    Richard Collins likes this.
  8. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,643
    Likes Received:
    2,031
    I had some Remington .22's which were packaged in that square plastic box, yellow plastic with green Remington label- those older LRN bullets that had been coated with wax, remember those?

    The wax had gotten gummy and so they didn't feed correctly in self-loading pistols, sticking in the magazines.

    Also those had a high percentage of fail to fires, about 10%. So not really unsafe unless you were hoping to fend off attackers with it.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,109
    Likes Received:
    834
    When I bought my .270 in the early 1970's I bought a ton of ammo for it. I still have about 7 boxes with $7.95 price stickers on them. (They are Remington 130 gr PSP.)

    No different from brand new AFAIK.
     
  10. DeanMk

    DeanMk Poulsbo, Wa. Active Member

    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    242
    You should be fine.
    All my 20 gauge rounds were bought by my dad, when the stuff went on sale......in 1979.
    Still have a couple boxes Federal "Hi-Shok" .30-30 ammo from a few years earlier.
    I've got some other rifle ammo from the 50's and 60's, too.
    Like yours, this ammo is all stored in a cool, dry location.
    I have no qualms about shooting any of it.
    You should be ok, but don't forget to use typical safety practices and common sense, when shooting.


    Dean
     
  11. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    6,463
    Likes Received:
    7,670
    If it looked like this, I would pass on it.

    uscco_zps41294ff3.jpg

    men94002.jpg
     
    jcweber, orygun and P7id10T like this.
  12. DeanMk

    DeanMk Poulsbo, Wa. Active Member

    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    242
    I would, as well.
    Doesn't sound like the case, this time around, though.
     
  13. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,857
    Likes Received:
    10,560
    I have shot ammo that is over 80 to 90 years old and as along as it has no signs of moisture damage, corrosion, it should be fine. Much of the ammo I use today is close to 50 yrs old, 30yrs etc; Smokeless powder is pretty stable if stored in a somewhat cool dry place. Or hell just a dry place.
    Just finished off the last of the 270 that I loaded for my granddad back in the early 60's, last winter.
     
    orygun likes this.
  14. Richard Collins

    Richard Collins Greater SW WA Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    I appreciate all the help guys, it looks good compared to the photos, and the rounds with brass corrosion look like they were in a metal ammo belt.
     
  15. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    1,240
    Jbett, I believe those case samples of yours are a great example of what they call "red rust" on musical instruments. It totally destroys the integrity and strength of the brass.
     
  16. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,857
    Likes Received:
    10,560
    Be suspect of ammo with corrosion. But if it is just a little green from being in a leather carrier for a short time, just clean it and make sure no pitting and it will be just fine Common sense says if you are really in doubt don't shoot it. Keep oil off of cases also. That brass needs to grip the chamber for that instant when firing. just fyi.
     
  17. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    256
    I on the other hand found my old M93 Mauser safer to shoot with a coat of oil on the brass.
     
  18. DeanMk

    DeanMk Poulsbo, Wa. Active Member

    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    242
    Steve,

    What do you mean by "safer"?


    Dean
     
  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,859
    I've fired original .30-40Krag ammo made in the 1890's, shot just fine. I've also shot stuff made 20 years ago in pakistan, that wasn't ok. It all depends on the quality of the ammo originally, and storage conditions. If it's not showing signs of deterioration I wouldn't sweat it.
     
    U201491 and DeanMk like this.
  20. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    256
    The rifle has a generously long chamber and factory ammo is made to minimum chamber size, slightly less for the cartridges that I measured. As a result new factory brass grows about 0.014" on being fired. Dry brass will hold to the chamber walls and the growth will happen in the head area. Oiled brass will slide back against the bolt face before pressures increase enough to cause it to hold to the chamber walls, causing the growth to happen in the neck area.

    I threw out over 100 pieces of brass that had case head thinning, many of them once fired (by me) factory cartridges. Of the 10 or so that I oiled before firing none of them show any signs of case head thinning. Reloads of this brass won't need to be oiled.

    It goes to show that oil on your brass isn't necessarily a bad thing and I wouldn't hesitate to use a very tiny amount to stop corrosion.