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Thread: Storage life.

  1. #1

    Default Storage life.

    In searching the forum, I have found several threads on powder storage. I am wandering how long you can keep reloaded ammo. Has anybody had some go bad or do you shoot it up too quick to find out.
    How would be the best way for any long term storage. Would there be any difference in the storage life of cast ammo and jacketed.
    Just some dumb questions I have been wandering about.

  2. #2

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    Once assembled from quality components that have been cared for, I doubt there's much of a loss if the reloads are cared for too.

    I'm working on the last 20 pounds from 200 pounds of surplus 4831 I bought in 100# kegs in 1966 (35 cents a pound BTW, IIRC!). I've kept temp and humidity constant all those years, and transferred powder to smaller sealed containers with dessicant each time I broke open a keg. It's still going strong, and I recently shot handloads I loaded with it close to 30 years ago. No sweat. But if I hadn't cared for both, I doubt that would have been the case.

  3. #3
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    My experiences are much the same as BrownBear's. In addition after I got out of school and was working all over. I had left some supplies at a buddy's house boxed up. His wife accidently put them in cold storage (outside in the shed here in Alaska). All the cans had been used a little bit, in other words the factory seals were not intact. Over the last couple of years I have shot all that powder and primer at the practice range with no issues. This represents a case of how NOT to store components and ammo. My take on storage is that if you use dessicant and keep an even heat on it the sky is the limit.

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    I shot a few original Kynoch 9x57mm Mauser rounds in my Guild rifle to find the velocity. They had lost only 100 fps from listed 1920's velocity.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Heat and moisture are your enemies. If kept cool and dry, components and loaded ammo have an indefinite shelf life. I'm sure powder will break down over time, but if properly stored, it should outlast the owner. I shot some World War one vintage 30-06 ammo out of a browning 1919 machine gun about 15 years ago, there was the occaisional dud primer, but 99% fired just fine. That stuff had been stored who knows how over the prior 80+ years. Moisture and excess heat will accellerate the chemical decomposition of your components.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    I shot a few original Kynoch 9x57mm Mauser rounds in my Guild rifle to find the velocity. They had lost only 100 fps from listed 1920's velocity.
    I was wondering how they would have measured velocity back in 1920. Turns out some French guy invented a chronograph back in 1804.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_chronograph

  7. #7
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    Default Ammo lifespan

    Temperature is the big enemy all things considered. The rule of thumb in chemistry is that the speed of a chemical reaction doubles for every 10 deg C increase in temperature. For powder and ammo that translates to doubling the life for every 10 deg C you lower the temperature.

    I've had a bunch of FN ammo in 9mm and 45 ACP that was 100% duds - stuff was manufactured in the 50s. I've had 8mm ammo manufactured in Germany before WWII that was 100% reliable. When you are buying old or surplus stuff you just don't know the history.

    I had some .375 H&H ammo I had loaded in the 80s or 90s that almost damaged my gun recently. When I pulled it apart the powder had fused into a hard mass and some of the rounds had corroded the cases and base of the bullets. Also have some 8mm ammo I had reloaded in the 80s that had corroded badly - I haven't pulled it apart yet.

    Then I have some .30-06 tracer ammo from WWI "For aircraft use only" in which the cases are crumbling and the bullets have split open. Powder however looks as good as new however even exposed to the air for years.

    Bottom line: look for signs of corrosion or deteriaration and pull a few round of any old ammo before you fire it. Odds however - anything you buy and keep cool in Alaska will outlast you.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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  8. #8

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    Brownbear that is what I was looking for with the thirty year hand loads still working. I knew the old powder if stored right lasted years.
    Military ammo is still going strong from many countries and probably some has just been in a barn for years, but I think some of that may be differant components than we use handloading.

  9. #9

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    I had some .375 H&H ammo I had loaded in the 80s or 90s that almost damaged my gun recently. When I pulled it apart the powder had fused into a hard mass and some of the rounds had corroded the cases and base of the bullets. Also have some 8mm ammo I had reloaded in the 80s that had corroded badly - I haven't pulled it apart yet.

    Then I have some .30-06 tracer ammo from WWI "For aircraft use only" in which the cases are crumbling and the bullets have split open. Powder however looks as good as new however even exposed to the air for years.

    Very strange occurrances I think. I don't see how "modern" powder from that time period would become solid mass like old black powder would or how powder exposed to air for years would still be like "new."
    Tracer ammo with phosphorous content would ultimately ruin cases, but "split bullets?"

  10. #10

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    This makes me wander if some powders are better than others to use if the ammo is going to be stored long.

  11. #11
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    Default Best components for long life.

    It is probably not as significant now that surplus powder sources have about dried up but I would stick to new commerical powders that have a proved track life. I had several cans of various surplus powders go bad but I don't recall any new commerical stuff going that way.

    I haven't ever heard of any bullseye or unique going bad and 4895 seems to last forever in military loads. Others may be as good or better - I just don't have any data.

    As for primers - I haven't hear of any issues with any commerical ones. A friend found some he had laid back on a shelf some 30 years ago in his unheated garage and they all fired off O.K.

    If there is any test data out there I would love to see it.


    Quote Originally Posted by starmac View Post
    This makes me wander if some powders are better than others to use if the ammo is going to be stored long.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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