How long does your reloaded ammo last?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Kentguy, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    Yesterday I went to a local indoor range to shoot my 38 special revolvers and 1 lever action rifle. I found an ammo box full of 38 special ammo marked January of 2009. I think this is the oldest ammo I have on the shelves, since I have shot off everything before that date that I know of. Bottom line, about 400 rounds of 4 different types of loads -
    Alliant Bullseye, Winchester 231, Hodgdon Universal and Accurate #5 - shot flawlessly through all the guns - and if I could actually aim a bit better i'd a had some real bragging rights - But, these rounds were right on our darn near the center of my targets. Not too shabby for an old guy.
    Now this ammo is only 10 years old and I know this has been discussed before about just how long or effective, can you keep ammo on the shelf? After the results of my ammo/range time, I thought it might be worth covering again for those new(er) reloaders.

    What's you secret to keeping ammo - long term?
     
  2. jmorris

    jmorris

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    Stored properly, climate controlled or sealed and such, it can last long enough the people that inherit it can shoot it, if they think you loaded it before you became senile. :)
     

  3. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    I have some I loaded in the late 80s. I keep saying I'm gonna' sort through it and shoot up my old stuff, but usually I end up grabbing the boxes or coffee cans that are in the front of the shelf or in the top of the ammo cans.

    Bad thing is that my ammo that old is a real mish-mash of bullet weights and types, powder types and charges. I always followed the cook books and stayed towards the middle of the loading charts, so it's good to shoot, but point of impact can be all over the place. I was buying the supplies at local small gun shop and would buy whatever stuff they had, so not much consistency with the components.

    Always stored in dry place inside the house so no worries about it going bad in my lifetime.
     
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  4. tom mac

    tom mac

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    As above, have some ammo loaded by Dad in the 70s... 38 wadcutters with BullsEye

    Stored in a 50 cal ammo can, they still shoot as good as ever. Accurate as hell
     
  5. NAZG26

    NAZG26 Lost in transit

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    About one training session.
     
  6. Lt. Donn

    Lt. Donn PSO Survivor. currently in NW Georgia

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    My oldest is all 38spl...don't get to shoot my 686 much these days, but every time I do, she brings a smile to my face...nothing like a slick K/L frame to brighten one's day..
     
  7. sas-G19

    sas-G19

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    I still have several boxes of .44 Spl that I handloaded ~1976. And lots of .357, .38, .40, .45ACP waiting to be shot, handloaded in the '80's and '90's.
    -steve
     
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  8. BigBull 301

    BigBull 301

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    I have stuff from 1977......still goes bang!
     
  9. Borg Warner

    Borg Warner

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    One time I bought a bottle of "Official" primer and case mouth sealer and loaded a bunch of ammo with it. I suspect that nail polish would have worked just as well but I never got to find out because I've never been able to store ammo for very long. For some reason, If I have ammo available, I want to shoot it.

    But I have come upon boxes of old ammo at gun shows, some of it from the 19th or early 20th century and it all fired and preformed well on target. This included 44 special. 38 S&W, 38 Special, 32 S&W (short) 30-30, 30-06 (Winchester silvertip and Remington bronze points from the early 50's and 200 and 150 grain 350 Remington magnum from the mid-sixties.

    case sealer and primer sealer would be extra insurance for ammo longevity but it the ammo is properly stored it is n' necessary. But the military sealed their ammo just in case it wouldn't be stored properly.
     
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  10. tom mac

    tom mac

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    And I'm shooting 45acp from the mid 40's still in original cardboard boxes form milt suppliers
     
  11. marty_bill_

    marty_bill_

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    I found some 7Mag the other day loaded in 1977 and it shot beautifully. So stored in good condition I'd say it's no problem. But also I believe it is important to always date it. I find stuff I loaded years ago and always takes me back loading with my dad. Thankfully we still load together.
     
  12. Benchrst

    Benchrst Ban Hamster

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  13. ottomatic

    ottomatic

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    US military ammo in original military boxes should have collector value. Even foreign stuff may have.
     
  14. fredj338

    fredj338

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    I have some 30-06 from 1950s, still goes bang. I have so e 45colt handlads from my cas days, about 20y old, still goes bang.
     
  15. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

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    Ammo lasts a long time, but some stuff definitely goes bad. Last year I burned up some Unique from the 50s. Primers seem to last indefinitely. Most powder, too. I've seen some extruded powders (DuPont in the metal cans) go bad. 1970s vintage.

    Going through my grandfather's indoor storage, he had a couple of boxes of plastic shotshells with green ooze leaking out. I would guess late 60s or 70s vintage.
     
  16. billorights

    billorights

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    It lasts until the hammer falls. (or the striker, et el. )
     
  17. NVSeabee

    NVSeabee

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    I'm still shooting some 38 spl SWC that I loaded over 20 years ago.
     
  18. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    Thanks for all the input everyone.

    Several of my long-time friends (and reloaders) got together yesterday and as it happened, this subject was brought up. Several common elements were put forth for long term storage, but each had their own way of tackling this;

    1. Once cartridges are reloaded, place into a stable container - cardboard w/Styrofoam ammo box, plastic container like Rubbermaid w/plastic seal lid, Large plastic zip lock freezer storage bags or any container with a lid.

    2. Some stash a couple of these in with the ammo - https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Silica+G...s+of+10+Grams+Each+by+Dry-Pack&ref=nb_sb_noss

    3. You need a cool, dry place for long term storage. You can get as creative as you want with this one. I have wooden shelves in my basement shop where I keep (most) all my ammo. My shop/basement is dry as a bone, and I have de-humidifiers going if and or when needed.

    That’s it - easy as one, two, three. My one friend has ammo going back to the early 80's, but most of us not that far back. The ammo I posted at the top of this may be the oldest ammo I have because I shoot often and rotate my ammo. However, I do Reload & shoot many different calibers so I have quite a bit of it around and just don't get to all of it, so some does sit for almost a decade.

    Feel free to add to the list with your long-term storage tips.
     
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  19. rogn

    rogn real dogs

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    Later ammunition ispretty stable, but the older ammo seems to have suffered some degree of primer failure. That seems to be the weak link. Recent manufactured powders also seem very stable. Older powders maybe not as good, but Ive been reloading since the 50s and have only seen one powder failure . That was a case of GI322 where the 8 or 10 bottle not used all deteriorated. No idea where it came from, probably pull down from WW11.

    Old shotshells and rimfire ammo seem to have the greatest rate of failure. We can probably extend that to reloads with the paper hells not offering good protection from atmospheric vagaries. Rimfire dont seal well either but not easily reloaded.

    That being said I have some loads from the 60s that still function well. 7x57 and 357M.
     
  20. hogfish

    hogfish Señor Member

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    I load to shoot. The only rounds I store are factory rounds, so my reloads only last a few hours.