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What's the shelf life of factory loaded ammunition?

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  • What's the shelf life of factory loaded ammunition?

    What's the shelf life of factory loaded ammunition?

  • #2

    Kept cool and dry over 50+ years. I have some older than 50 and it still shoots fine. Older shotgun paper shells not so long. Military ammo in a vacuum packed tin if kept cool could be close to 100 years.

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    • #3
      What jhjimbo said! Same for reloading components, keep them cool and dry and in their original containers. Keep your powder cool, dry and out of locked containers and you're good for many years.

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      • #4
        Is humidity a a problem because I live in South Texas where it is humid most of the year.

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        • #5
          They The (U.S.Military)have found and used Ammo that was 100+ years old and worked as if New.

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          • #6
            Lllllooooonnnnnggggg time!
            Like others stated, keep it in a cool, dry climate and it'll last.
            Remember, metallic cartridges aren't THAT old. Cartridge guns weren't readily available to the public until the Civil War era and weren't that common until the 1870's.
            A dark closet in a climate controlled home will suffice for long term storage.

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            • #7
              Longer than a coon's age if kept in an ammo can or dry cool/warm, not hot, environment.

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              • #8
                Yes, humidity is a problem. The old saying, 'keep your powder dry.' is still valid today. Keep it dry and cool and you won't have a problem.

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                • #9
                  A couple more examples. Early 458 Win Mag ammo developed a reputation for erratic ignition due to compressed loads of ball powder. I have a few boxes from around 1957 that seem to fire fine. Also have some 06 factory ammo from the 1920s which belonged to my Father, they appear to be OK too.

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                  • #10
                    I remember shooting WWII and Korean war stocks when I was on active duty/training in 1979 and early '80's. Even stocks of .223 Nato from early '60's. As said above if properly stored and maintained no problems with shelf life. Just don't try soaking them in water and then shooting.

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                    • #11
                      I recently used .22-250 handloads I'd assembled in 1992, and they were fine. All my handloads are serialized, so I knew "92-022" were loaded in 1992 and what the components were - in this case, H380 - so it was reassuring to see I'd stored them properly and they'd performed well.

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                      • #12
                        I did have one case fail several years ago. I was shooting a Model 98 Mauser 7X57. The gas came back along the bolt, was deflected by the large ring at the end of the bolt and hit me in the forehead. Thank God for the large ring, or it would have hit me in the glasses/eyes. It was like getting hit with a 2X4 and I saw stars for some time.
                        The ammo was military and very old - don't remember the Country of origin. Always wear certified safety glasses.

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