Cartridges / Shells / Ammo kept in a safe for 20 years

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I was replying to a thread earlier and had a thought cross my mind tonight - something I hadn't thought of since departing my homeland many, many moons ago. That thought was about ammunition I put in a safe, along with a revolver I own.

    I am considering a trip back to the US, probably later this year. After I arrive, one of the first things I will want to do is to go to a gun range. But, prior to doing so, I need to either make sure my stored ammunition is still in good shape. Or, will I need to head to a gun shop to buy fresh rounds?

    So, my question for the gurus here is, how may I check the ammunition to see if it can still be safely used in a hand gun? This was something I never had to concern myself with, when I lived in the US all those years ago.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    If it isn't corroded, it will more than likely go bang. If it doesn't, be sure to check for a squib before pulling the trigger again. I never throw away old ammo, I recently shot a five gallon bucket full of .357 that was corroded green, white oxide on the lead, and some needed a buffing with steel wool to chamber in a revolver but all but a hand-full went bang.
    Tempstar, Ura-Ki, Brokor and 2 others like this.
  3. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I can't believe I am saying this. But, I had to look up "squib", as I had never heard it before.
    Thanks for the advice.
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  4. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Are firearms highly restricted where you are?
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  5. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Here in Cambodia? YES, very much so.

    With that said, my wife - although I don't understand this much, is part of some government organization. Due to being part of that, she may own a firearm, or possibly firearms, if she chooses? I haven't addressed that with her, as I want to do some more research regarding it, prior to attempting to buy any gun here. Regardless, I know that, as a foreigner, I can never legally own a firearm here. I've had a number of foreigners and Khmers, offer some for me to buy, though. So, there is definitely an illegal trade of them in country. Not something I ever wish to be part of, honestly.

    If this is allowed, though, I would like to buy a shotgun, possibly a double-barreled shotgun, to keep at the farm. Would be really sweet if we could own a short barreled double-barreled shotgun. They may only have two shots. But, they are as intimidating as hell. That is one weapon I would NEVER want to be up close and personal with, on the wrong end.
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  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    As long as the ammunition wasn't stored open too long in a high humid or wet environment, it should work. I still use some Lake City match from the 1970's from time to time, stored only in the cardboard box and it always fires. Best places to spot check are the primer and the neck, and test according to your preferences and level of safety. Properly stored ammo can last pretty much forever, at least compared to the life span of a human or three.
    Asia-Off-Grid and Ura-Ki like this.
  7. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I own over a hundred firearms, many with historical significance, some just for fun, some for defense, but I can't imagine living outside the gun culture I grew up in. I have worked and lived in many different countries but always when I came home, could burn some powder with friends and relieve a little stress. Most ports I worked as a salvage-master, since I was captain of our vessel, we had arms aboard. Some places made us secure them in a locker with a customs seal until we left port but I always had my side-arm that I kept in my safe.

    I am shooting some WW ll surplus .30-06 regularly and some .45 acp that has a 1942 mfg date, not had any problems with those at all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2018
  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    Just uncoverd a stash that had been burried under water for the last 70 years! All but one went bang! Don't know exactly how the Germans built that ammo to remain sealed even when wet, but they did! Ammo was recovere from a sunken Panther Tank, and even some of the Tanks 76mm ammo was still possibly good! That stuff had to be carefully dissemvle, and we lit the powder off in a big pile!
    I find that as long as ammo hasn't been exposed to excessive heat, it will likeli hold up! Same with wet conditions, although the Tank was a surprise, I guess it all depends on how it' manufactured! Like Seacowboys, I have a bunch of old .30/06 machine gun ammo that I have been shooting over the years, all dates pre 1945!!!
    Gator 45/70 and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  9. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Dude @Ura-Ki, I don't know what your job is. But, it has to be way cool.
    Gator 45/70 and Ura-Ki like this.
  10. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    I belong to the Vintage Military Vehicle preservation society and also to the Vintage Armor society, so i get to play with some kool stuff now and then! I have a few rigs my self, two Dodge PowerWagon and a 46 Willies Jeep! Working on my stamps for a Tank, still waiting on the trust and the certification prosess before I can move forward! Helping restore an anti aircraft version of the White Halftrack with 37mm gun! Pretty sweet rig! My Tank will be much more better, when I finally get it!
  11. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    [winkthumb] [winkthumb] [winkthumb]
    I remember the Power Wagon in Simon & Simon. And, I was a big jeep fan before moving abroad. Wish I had brought mine with me, honestly, when I first left the US.

    You will have to be a Colorado resident, won't you, to get a tank? Definitely a conversation piece, eh @Ura-Ki? :D
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Load that old stuff and bang away. Odds are, it's still just fine. Beware of hangfires and squibs, but you should be fine. Buy one box of new before you hit the range, just in case you find the old stuff is unreliable.
    Asia-Off-Grid and Ura-Ki like this.
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I have and use ammo produced around world War 2.
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  14. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    In the 1940's I fired a Civil War rifle that my great grand father had brought back from the war, gramps let each of us kids fire 1 shot of original mine ball ammo, paper cartridges, and caps, that had brought back in 1865 or 1866. Worked fine but rifle was very heavy, very awkward, made a big cloud of smoke that stunk, and kicked hard enough that I didn't want to fire it again, but part of that was being 7 or 8 years old at the time. Ammo was stored in the wood shed and worked fine even if about 80 years old. I shot surplus Turkish WW1 ammo in the 1970's, corrosive as heck, some would take a fraction of a second to go off, but it all seemed to work ok. Was told that the WW1 ammo stored in buried bunkers was fine, but if stored above ground with large temp variations, it was no good, so always bought a small amount of the 8 mm and if it was good, would buy a few hundred rounds at about 5 cents a round as I remember it. Had to clean the weapon at once and it kicked like a mule, but it was accurate and would knock huge holes out of a fence post. Da**ed woodpeckers you know.. LOL
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  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    If you have corrosive ammo shoot 3 to 5 rounds of modern commercial ammo last.
    That will blow away about 95% of the corrosive stuff.
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  16. Tempstar

    Tempstar Monkey+++

    1939 dated 7.62x54 and 1921 commercial .45 acp have shot well for me, the .45 just used up last weekend. If it ain't green, it should do fine.
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  17. Lone Gunman

    Lone Gunman Draw Varmint!

    The correct answer is, 'It depends!' Did you store ammunition with asphalt-sealed case mouths, and primer pockets? If you did, then, there's a much higher probability that it will still fire with a loss of no more than 8 to 12 percent of its original charge strength.

    Brass cases are known to show corrosion from exposure to air and varied temperatures much more readily than nickel plated ammo will. I've read a number of government-sponsored reports which have convinced me that if I were going to store ammunition then the bullets and primers would have to be set in asphalt sealant; and the ammo would be stored in an inside environment that had controlled humidity, and regulated temperature.

    This is how the Army and Navy stored their ammunition between the First, and Second World Wars. What happened? Well, according to documents I've also read, the first several years of World War Two were fought with small arms ammunition that was manufactured during and immediately after World War One.

    In the 20 + years between these wars the particular loss in the velocity of stored 30-06 cartridges was recorded at and around 8 percent. (Which was considered to be no big deal by the US government; and it still dropped enemy combatants just fine!)
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  18. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Interesting conversation.

    A couple of years ago an old timer (meaning, an older timer than myself) gave me close to 1000 rds of MilSurp '06 ammo, about half of it in Garand clips, with mid 30s to mid 40s head stamps. Brass is a bit tarnished but no visible corrosion. Was wondering if I should try to shoot it. Looks like that's a resounding "Yes".

    When I was a kid my dad used to buy MilSurp '06 ammo from his favorite gun shop. I shot a little of it in an old re-barreled k98 Mauser that I had picked up for 30 bucks or so. My father warned me that any MilSurp ammo manufactured before 1953 used corrosive priming. Don't know if someone was pulling his leg. Still, I cleaned the rifle after every session.
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  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Got some 06 surplus ammo and no 06 to spend it .
    I plan to use my kinetic bullet puller and recycle the rounds into other useful ammo .
    A sample of each round is set aside and tested before it is combined together . It would be handy to know what the manufacture designation is for that vintage powder, but for what I do with it , target practice ,I never push charging limits any way.
    Hunting or home defense I load factory ammo .
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  20. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I didn't. Was this available 20 years ago? Even as a gun owner back then, I feel I left a sheltered life. Thank God for this forum and its members.

    EDIT: I can't remember, as it has been far too many years ago. But, I probably put some sort of moisture absorbent material in the safe.

    If I recall correctly, it was hydra shock ammo? That is the type of ammo that I kept my pistols loaded with, back then. So, I would say that is probably what I put in the safe, along with the pistol. Several boxes of that and ball ammo, I should say. Too many years ago.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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