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Ammo Shelf Life

Fish

Well-Known Member
Messages
871
Location
San Diego, CA
I own a Bushmaster AR15 but am in no way a gun expert. I have been looking to improve my emergency stockpile and that includes ammo. I see deals such as cheaperthandirt for 1000 rounds of ammo but I wonder about the shelf life? Does it last for awhile? Is there an optimal way to store ammo?
 

Paladine71

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
Messages
1,483
Location
Tallmansville, WV
Well made ammo can be stored for decades if you keep it from being damaged by rust, corrosion and being dented/bent. There has been ammo from World War 1 and World War 2 that is still usable. Recently, I watched a video about an English Spitfire that was dug up in Britain. One of the machine guns and some of the ammo was still intact. They thoroughly cleaned it and it still fired fine.

I prefer to store my ammo in .50 caliber metal military ammo cans that still have a good rubber seal on them. This keeps them safe from impact, away from moisture in the air and is easily portable. I have at least one can per caliber, labeled and completely full. The cans are easily bought from a number of online sites, gun shows and even some gun stores carry them. Be sure to check for the rubber seal, integrity of the box and absence of rust.

Here are some: http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/index.php/cName/ammo-cans?osCsid=7h04dkin342pmf9lpondqr58a0
 

MaxPF

AGNTSA
Messages
1,394
Location
The dark side of the globe
If the ammo is kept in a sealed container it will last for decades. I have fired late 40's, early 50's vintage ammo in my Mauser, and it worked perfectly fine. Only thing with that old ammo is that it used corrosive primers, so I had to clean the gun immediately after shooting. But functionally it was flawless, even after 50 years of sitting in a warehouse somewhere.
 

Flash

Well-Known Member
Messages
195
Location
Michigan
FWIW...ammo is heavy. I suspect a thread on caliber considerations will pop up shortly. Depending on what you are preparing for, a consideration might be what is popular in your area - meaning what calibers are readily available at your neighbors house, local stores, armory, etc. .223 and 9mm are pretty popular all over regardless of where you live or move to. Not sure how much is enough? 5 rounds are enough if you never need them. 10000 may be too little if you do.
 

Trekker

That Guy
Messages
217
Location
Olathe, KS
For handgun ammo, I really like the Fiocchi Canned Heat line:

3-0315168.jpg

It may be a little pricey, but it's basically the same concept as food you buy in #10 cans. Theoretically as long as the can is not compromised the ammo should have an indefinite shelf life. For my AR, I like to buy the 840 round Lake City 5.56mm on stripper clips from CTD. These ammo cans come with the factory seal:

View attachment 4502

My thinking is that hermetically sealed ammo that has not been handled or exposed to air will be easy barter material.
 

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Trekker

That Guy
Messages
217
Location
Olathe, KS
By the way, if you do buy the Fiocchi Canned Heat, don't get it from Ammunition To Go. I've ordered twice from them and both times they packed the cans on sides instead of laying them flat in the box. I received the cans dented, but still intact. Go with Cheaper Than Dirt.

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3Hummers

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,183
Location
Central Texas
The biggest threat to ammo is moisture. Store it in a sealed container, preferably with dessicant if the container has been opened. Do not store the ammo in locations where there might be high humidity such as in rooms with washers, dryers or water heaters ( in case of a leak ) I prefer ammo with a recent date of manufacture but like the others I have shot WWII ammo with no problem. I have bought, sold and shot ammo from China, Mayalasia, Russia, Yugoslavia, Mexico and who knows where else with no problems. As MaxPF noted lots of the older ammo is corrosive so be aware and clean appropriately if shooting the older ammo. I have a lot of ammo, some I bought new 20 years ago, some is vintage ammo like Lake City Match and some is old WWII stuff. All have performed flawlessly. I also used to load lots of ammo and I still have ammo that I loaded 15-20 years ago that shoots like new.
 

Paladine71

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
Messages
1,483
Location
Tallmansville, WV
A lot of the foreign stuff is very dirty (leaves a lot of carbon on the weapon). Russian Bear and Wolf ammo comes immediately to mind. If I had to pick a brand of preference, my brand would be Hornady.
 

JGBB04

Well-Known Member
Messages
520
Location
Tampa Bay
Be sure to inspect & rotate the stuff in your daily carry guns also. Bullets & primers can get messed up from repeated loading/unloading & it's exposed to the elements. At work we change ours every year
 

Paladine71

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
Messages
1,483
Location
Tallmansville, WV
It's worth noting here that you need to keep your magazines in the rotation as well, or at least give them a few days a week empty to keep your springs from taking a set. If the magazine is always full or near full, your spring will compress and will not feed the rounds properly into your weapon when you need it to. This is especially important in sandy or rainy areas where grit or rust can affect the magazine. Take the mags apart and clean them every so often as well, then apply a light coat of gun oil on the metal parts to protect them. In the .45 that I carry concealed, I have four magazines that I rotate each week. Two are kept loaded and two are empty, then I switch them every Sunday night before bed.
 

Neo

Badfish
Messages
1,658
Location
Brookings, OR
i recently shot a bunch of 30-30 and .270 ammo that had been setting in a garage since the late 50's early 60's , they were with my grandad's 1962 deer permit. some of the rounds could of been even older , not one misfire or fail to feed or eject . keep it dry and it will last longer than we will be around :wink:
 

Portager

■ ☼▐▐▐▐▐▐▐ ☼■
Messages
1,506
Location
Silverado
Ammunition manufactures will provide a shelf life and it is usually around 10 years. For example Federal :link: says the following in their FAQ:

"What is the shelf life of ammo and storage?
A: Store reloading components and ammunition in a cool, dry place, protected from direct exposure to sunlight. If stored properly there is a 10-year shelf life on loaded ammunition."

The main issue is usually the primer formulation. When manufacturers first started moving away from heavy metal and corrosive primers, the shelf life initially went down, but I believe they have developed improved primers that meet 10 years now. The failure mechanism at the end of life is initially a firing delay, usually measured in milliseconds (imperceptible to the shooter, which is why shooters think the ammunition functioned flawlessly even though it might not meet the manufacturers firing delay specification) but eventually hand fires will occur (hundreds of milliseconds to seconds). Hang-fires can be dangerous if the round fires during or after it is ejected and can cause stoppages in semi-automatics. I've fired over 10,000 rounds of 15 to 20 years old M230 ammunition and I had one round that detonated after the 20 second hang-fire protection delay. I also had 9 duds which were equally scary.

After you've experienced a hang-fire that detonated during/after ejecting the safety of fresh ammo will out weigh the cost.
 

Big2dabank

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,208
Location
Central Florida
Bulkammo.com had the best price on my last order of 500 rounds of .223 and they were fast to ship and the ammo was in great condition, boxed in 25 20 round boxes. It pays to shop around, though, the deals tend to bounce around from suppliers.
 

Hunner

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,321
Location
Arkansas
How is the Ammo supply in your area??
Around here it is disappearing fast. After the larger caliber ran out people started loading up on .22 shells. I went to three Wal-Marts today and they had none.
Three gun dealers were out. I found some at a small hunting goods store in a small outlaying town and cleaned them out. All one box!
There are also empty shelves and racks where there were AR rifles in all three of the private gun stores.
Nobody knows when they will get more. Apparently manufactures are firing up more production but stock is depleted.
 

f5moab

Mr. Beretta
Messages
1,979
Location
Somewhere in Idaho
Drug store still has some high priced ammo. Moab is really not known for having a lot of ammo stores. But I have plenty of 9 and .40, and the mags are loaded, and will remain loaded until spring (or someone comes through my door uninvited), and then after the spring shooting, will reload the mags until the next time.
 

3Hummers

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,183
Location
Central Texas
Ammo and ARs are non existent almost everywhere. In Texas I could not find .45, .223 or 380. I did find relatively plentiful stocks on 9mm but it was going fast. 22 vanished except I found about 200 bricks at Atwoods.
 

deserth3

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,059
Location
Layton, Utah
Haven't paid attention to specifics. But the ammo shelves around here look pretty bare. Luckly I stored up 9mm before this craziness began.
Doesn't look too good for the 308 Ruger American I picked up last weekend. Don't know when I'll be able to pick up ammo for that. Hope the panic ends soon.
 

Green 1

Matty Patty Pookie Bear
Messages
1,149
Location
Ferris,Texas
Haven't paid attention to specifics. But the ammo shelves around here look pretty bare. Luckly I stored up 9mm before this craziness began.
Doesn't look too good for the 308 Ruger American I picked up last weekend. Don't know when I'll be able to pick up ammo for that. Hope the panic ends soon.

It is not panic we are just helping the economy recover. :)
 
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