Will Ammo deteriorate if stockpiled?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Doug.38PR, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

    Oct 21, 2008
    North Louisiana
    with ammo costs going up, I usually buy 150 rounds for every 50 rounds that I shoot and occasionally buy large bulk of ammo and keep it in my safe or closet. Some people have told me that ammunition (the powder within) will deteriorate in time. (some have even told me that modern ammunition is specifically designed like that by government regulation so that people can't stockpile) Is this true? False? Anything that can be done?
  2. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    While I know this isn't exactly a scientific answer, here's what I know...

    Cases of military surplus ammo are sold all the time, and much of it is rather old (20+ years). It always seems to fire consistently for me, so I'm guessing that it's not too much of a problem.
    If the bullets are 50 years old? Then maybe they'd start having some problems, but even then you might be OK. I've heard of stories where old gunpowder--Civil War relics lost in the ground for 140 years--would still ignite and explode if not treated carefully, and our modern powder is much better than they used then.

    More important than age is the way you store your ammo. If it's kept in a humid area, you run the risk of ruining it. One of our former members, whose opinions I always took as solid gold, once told that he kept a special refrigerator in which to store his ammo so that humidity was controlled and the lube on the bullets didn't disappear. He also specified that it was one of those old-time fridges that never ran a defrost cycle, which lets moisture back into everything inside. I haven't tried it myself, but I wouldn't hesitate to use this method to stockpile.

    So if you take care of your stockpile, I wouldn't worry too much about it deteriorating on you.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008

  3. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Pacific NorthWest
    I've been shooting some old surplus Mosin Nagant ammo


    These things are dated from the 1950's and they still shoot well.
    Every round fired.

    These were rapped in brown paper and then stored in spam-can style
    casing though, so it really depends again, as in previous post, on how
    you store your ammunition.

    I've been keeping mine in my garage. I live in washington state, and the
    humidity does not change a whole lot from summer thru winter.
    And the temperature does not undergo huge changes.

    I think the garage temp ranges anywhere from 40-ish degrees to 80-ish
    during the summer/winter time.

    I would highly recommend looking into reloading. It's MUCH more economical
    and if they start taxing ammo crazily, as mentioned in some of the other posts
    reloading components usually bypass those taxing. Powder may run a little
    higher, and the bullets a little higher, but not too likely.

    So while everyones paying higher for loaded ammo, you can sit back and
    load your own, save money, and know you're making good ammo!
  4. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    as noted the key is how is it stored. the mil surplus for the most part was/is stored in sealed tins so they stay fresh and dry. now for a "old school" reloaders trick. seal the primer and where the lead / copper etc bullet is seated in the case with a clear nail polish . but the best way to stockpile is keep it in a climate controlled space such as a gun safe with a humidity control device.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    According to a magazine article I once read, the manufacturer of Bullseye powder keeps a supply of it for comparison testing to modern lots. That Bullseye powder is over 100 years old!

    it is not uncommon for surplus ammo sold in the market place today to be 50 years old and still be fine. I personally have reloads that I loaded at least 10 years ago that are fine. My ammo is stored in my heated and cooled house and that helps significantly.

  6. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    not sure how it was stored but i'm sure it wasn't done correctly. i was given 100 rounds of 357 most of the cases green . and being a cheap nitwit i tried to use it. a few went bang but i had 2 squibs. that i fired back to back. after the flame from the second round nearly blinded me i stopped shooting. the first "squib" didn't make it through the barrel, the second shot jammed into the first "blockage and bulged the barrel so bad it had to be replaced. lucky i was injuried and lucky for me it was a dan wesson and all i had to do was unscrew the barrel tube and replace it. beside being a case of being foolish it was a case of improperly stored ammo. lesson learned. reloads i seal with clear nail polish, factory stuff i keep in the safe climate controlled, and mil surplus i keep my 308 in the factory "battle packs" seal from the elements.
  7. doug66

    doug66 Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Your grandkids will be able to shoot it, if kept cool and dry.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    stockpile away brother, just pack it in some water tight mil-surp ammo cans with a dessicant and rest assured you will pass away warm in your bed at a ripe old age while your great grand children shoot grampaws old ammunition.
  9. draynes

    draynes New Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    The bit about modern ammo being loaded with powder that goes bad in a few months or years is 10,000% Urban Myth, a total lie. There's an incredible amount of stupid gun and ammo related stuff spouted at gun counters, gun shows, and at the range, and 99% of the people spouting it refuse to listen to facts or use any kind of logic and reason on whatever the subject is.

    Before passing on urban legends yourself, do a lot of reading at all the gun boards that interest you. Some of the best threads around are titled something like "Post stupid things heard at a gun counter.....". It's very entertaining, and very discouraging, to find out what idiotic things people believe.

  10. If kept in even reasonably good storage conditions, you really needn't worry about deterioration. As a matter of fact, just last weekend I went out to the range with several boxes of .44, .45 and .38 ammo I had reloaded over 14 years ago. I took it along mostly on impulse simply because I was curious to see if it would still function properly. Not one single round failed to perform properly.
  11. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

    Oct 21, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Oh I've heard PLENTY of dumb things over the counter. Here's one: "Most Police Departments won't let you carry a Python because it will lock up if you fall in a struggle and land on your holster" (????? 75 years worth of policemen have been carrying the Colt Official Police, the predecessor to the Python considering it things like "the finest service gun evermade" etc.)...and a good many more well to do ones had been carrying the Python from the 1950s well into the 90s),

    I have heard from several friends that Obama Bin Laden and other liberals want to pass legislation that will require private ammo to be made with such type of powder so as to prevent people from stockpileing.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  12. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Not sure what they would do to the powder that would make it deteriorate like that and how they would differentiate between ammo for the military or police and the unwashed masses. What they will do is raise the taxes so we can no longer afford to purchase either ammo or components.
  13. Laufer

    Laufer Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    West TN.
    It is probably best to keep it in the original sealed cans if not needing it for a while isn't it?

    Or do any of the old dusty Bulgarian cans ever have a tiny leak that are impossible to see?
    I would have buried some pvc pipe (with ammo) in the backyard but the roots make digging very, very difficult.
    Not enough spinach in the diet?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  14. jdunmyer

    jdunmyer New Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    FWIW: I had a 30 year hiatus from shooting, and had several boxes of my reloads, both .38 Special and .45 ACP laying around. The ammo was stored in my shop, which is heated and air-conditioned, but not to the comfort level of the average home.

    All of it kept just fine, and went "Bang!" when fired.

    Bullets were my own, cast from wheelweights, powder was BullsEye.
  15. vytoland

    vytoland New Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    I usually buy 150 rounds

    :confused:.........you got to up that times 10......minimum
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