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Thread: Is Old ammo safe to shoot???

  1. #1
    Recreational Shooter TomW's Avatar

    Is Old ammo safe to shoot???

    New member here...just getting started with training and gear, etc. but I have 2 old handguns, a .32 and a .38 special. I have a couple boxes of ammon for each, but it is at least 10-15 years old.

    Is this still safe to shoot???

    No physical damage, still in original packaging, discolored/tarnished some but otherwise they seem physically OK. In no hurry to screw up though!

    Any input would be appreciated...

  2. #2
    LA CHP Instructor # 522 Guate_shooter's Avatar
    What kind of condition were they kept in??????

    Too much moisture does tend to have an effect on powder, if nothing else you could probably recycle what you have, its nothing to take the loaded bullet apart and load it again with new powder.

  3. #3
    Marksman TomTerrific's Avatar
    We were shooting WW2 ammo in the '60s in the Army. These rounds were sealed in ammo cans, tho.

    We were eating WW2 rats, too.

  4. #4
    Marksman
    Should be safe to try. With no physical damage the worst that could happen is that they dont go bang. Just follow your basic safety rules while shooting. You said the guns are old so inspect them before shooting. Have fun and be safe.
    Those who live by the sword, get shot by those who don't.

    Tim

  5. #5
    Recreational Shooter TomW's Avatar
    All have been stored inside, so no excessive moisture, etc.

    Re-loading is not an option for me..yet! No skills, no equipment to do that.

    Thanks for all the quick answers!

  6. #6
    Clandestine Sciuridae

    Gold Member
    charliepapa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Guate_shooter View Post
    What kind of condition were they kept in??????

    Too much moisture does tend to have an effect on powder, if nothing else you could probably recycle what you have, its nothing to take the loaded bullet apart and load it again with new powder.
    I'm thinking as long as it's already pointed downrange in a barrel it should be OK to try, right? Once during a discussion on the longevity of compressed mag springs, I recall some guy talking about dragging out grandfather's loaded 1911 after he passed away, that had been up on a shelf for 30 years with loaded mags and shot it all with success; mag springs and ammo worked fine.
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  7. #7
    Marksman
    I would not be at all concerned about ammunition that is 15 years old. That age is insignificant in my opinion.

    Physical condition is another matter. If it appears corroded, discard it. If the brass is just discolored, that in itself is not an issue, but does raise the question of why did it get that way? If it has been kept dry and not in excessive heat, I would be okay. If you know it got wet, then I would be much more critical of it.

    Ammunition is relatively simple, and you only need to be concerned about structual integrity of the case and primer, and chemical compromise of the powder and primer. Look for bad corrosion or bulging primers.

    If you can post a picture it would be helpful. If you PM me, I'll be happy to look at it. My office is on Siegen Lane, and I'll be in Prairieville Friday.
    __________________________________________________ ______
    Smarter than the average bear.
    ___________________________
    For some people, their gun is a tool, and they are the weapon.
    For others, their gun is a weapon, and they are the tool.
    __________________________________________________ ______

  8. #8
    Professional Amateur

    Premium Member
    oleheat's Avatar
    About 8 years back I got a case of 1940's production .45 ACP surplus ammo (various mfgs in the 42 rd stapled cardboard paks). They ran through my Springfield 1911 & Glock 21 / 36 with absolutely no problems.


    I still have lots of Super-X 3" 12ga shells from the early 80's (back when lead shot was legal on waterfowl- the good ole days), and they shoot just fine.

    So like the other guys said- unless they were kept in extremely bad conditions, your ammo should be just fine to use.

    Happy shooting.
    Sam
    Central/Pride, Evil Black Rifle Parish(EBR), LA

    “Remember the first rule of gunfighting... ‘have a gun.’"
    -Col. Jeff Cooper

  9. #9
    LA CHP Instructor # 522 Guate_shooter's Avatar
    As mentioned before inspect and clean before you shoot, worst case scenario would be a cartridge malfunction.

    A)misfire
    B)hangfire
    C)squib load

  10. #10
    Marksman
    As I think your ammo is probably fine, just consider this general knowledge:

    1). If you get a "click", but no "bang", that is a misfire. Keep the gun pointed downrange for a minute or so, to make sure you don't get a late "bang", which would be a "hangfire".

    1). If you get a "pop" or "dud" as opposed to a good "bang", STOP IMMEDIATELY! You could have a bullet lodged in the barrel, which is a very dangerous condition. Thoroughly inspect your weapon to make sure the barrel is clear, and that there is no other damage or obstructions. This is sometimes referred to as a "squib". Regardless of the condition of the gun and ammo, you should always stop immediately if a shot sounds or feels different.
    __________________________________________________ ______
    Smarter than the average bear.
    ___________________________
    For some people, their gun is a tool, and they are the weapon.
    For others, their gun is a weapon, and they are the tool.
    __________________________________________________ ______

  11. #11
    Recreational Shooter TomW's Avatar
    Thanks for all the input. According to the posts, it seems it would be OK to try it, once I get a "safe" opportunity.

    Since I am just getting started it would seem prudent to run some "new" ammo. through the gun to establish what is normal in my own mind.

    Thanks again to all who posted here...

  12. #12
    Banned

    1977 Ammo

    Currently shooting Non Corrosive 9mm Largo ammo in a Star Supero A 1950 1911 style Pistola.

    All good in the neighborhood! !!!


  13. #13
    Marksman

    Premium Member
    mwk1975's Avatar
    Well I've been shooting some .303 British manf. in the '50's. Love the smell of that Cordite!!!!

  14. #14
    Marksman

    Silver Member
    I bought 2 cases of CCI Blazer 9mm in late '80. Still have about 12 boxes and it shoots fine.
    Have another half case of Win Silvertips .357. It shows no signs of degradation and I used a box up last weekend.
    Intelligent life has been killed off by virulent outbreaks of broadband access.

  15. #15
    Marksman Tim67's Avatar
    As long as there's no other reason for the ammo to be unsafe, the age shouldn't be a problem. Last year, I fired about 20 rounds of 1938 vintage 8x56mm and everything was fine.

  16. #16
    Marksman Tim67's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mwk1975 View Post
    Well I've been shooting some .303 British manf. in the '50's. Love the smell of that Cordite!!!!
    Have you ever pulled one apart to look at the components? The cordite strands are the length of the case and they look pieces of fly fishing line. There's even a little cardboard wad.

  17. #17
    Marksman

    Premium Member
    mwk1975's Avatar
    Yeah Tim, I have pulled a few to look at their guts..... first thought was orangish angel hair pasta. Wacky stuff.

  18. #18
    Hk fingerbanger Dave328's Avatar
    NO!!!
    This ammo is unsafe. Send it to me and I'll dispose of it safely for you!

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  19. #19
    Instructor
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    Bearco's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave328 View Post
    NO!!!
    This ammo is unsafe. Send it to me and I'll dispose of it safely for you!

    As I was reading through the thread, I decided I should post one of those "I can't believe it has not been said yet" posts. Then, I came to the last post
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  20. #20
    Hk fingerbanger Dave328's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BearIT View Post
    As I was reading through the thread, I decided I should post one of those "I can't believe it has not been said yet" posts. Then, I came to the last post
    LOL!
    I thought the same thing. People are slacking off up in here!!
    Champions: The breakfast of Chuck Norris!

    "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy" - J. Wales

    Have a koch and a smile!!

    "Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15th."-- Ronald Reagan

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