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Thread: How long can ammo be stored and how?

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    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    I have a "fair" amount of .40 ammo, but I always hear about how your supposed to rotate your ammo, and so on. I havent been going to the range due to the cost of ammo and have been sitting on it. The question of the hour is how long can ammo sit, is there a danger to older ammo and is there a speicific way I should store it?



    I am also in the process if obtaining more 7.62x39. Iwas toldthat some Wolf ammo is already on the older side, should I avoid this?
    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    bigdaddy1 wrote:
    I have a "fair" amount of .40 ammo, but I always hear about how your supposed to rotate your ammo, and so on. I havent been going to the range due to the cost of ammo and have been sitting on it. The question of the hour is how long can ammo sit, is there a danger to older ammo and is there a speicific way I should store it?



    I am also in the process if obtaining more 7.62x39. Iwas toldthat some Wolf ammo is already on the older side, should I avoid this?
    You should rotate the ammo is your carry weapons on some reasonable schedule that is comfortable for you. In my case I change out every 30 days in my daily carry piece. YMMV

    As for long term storage ammo will keep for a very long time with a minimum of care as to conditions. I have pre WWII ammo that works just fine and probably will for another 50 years. But for all practical purposes if you keep your stocks in a climate controlled place, keep it away from penetrating oils, and keep it dry it will last a very long time. The best storage method usually includes (wait for it) Military style ammo cans. :what:

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    FWIW, my advice is keep it cool and dry. A good sealing military ammo can and some dessicant packets work very well for long term storage.

    As an example, I have some Turkish 8mm made in 1939. It shoots perfectly. I have some old British .303 from the 50's, some Russian 7.62x54R from the 70s and 80s, some Yugo 8mm made in Dec of 1955. All of which shoot great as long as they were kept cool and dry.

    Usually you do want to rotate your carry ammo due to the exposure to the elements and you own "personal essences". My FHS rounds tend to tarnish after a couple months so I burn them up at the range and reload with fresh ammo.

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    Ammo will last a ling time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    I like the container marked "odds and ends."



    -Gruu

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    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Thanks for reminding me of how much ammo I have, need to get, and don't have.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

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    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    I checked my carry ammo (in the magazine) and it hasnt discolored or corroded on the brass. I dont handle them often, one stays in the pistol and the other one stays in the mag holder in my holster. I always felt that the less I handle the ammo the less acidic oil will get on them. I used to only load up a mag when I was going to carry, thought the spring in the mag would get too weak if kept loaded. Then I heard that wasn't necessary. If I'm not handleing the ammo it should keep longer.

    Right?
    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    protias wrote:
    Thanks for reminding me of how much ammo I have, need to get, and don't have.
    sorry

    when I look at this guys ammo stocks I feel the same way.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Store in a cool, dry place with little temperature change. Best in steel military ammo boxes (check for the rubber seals) and a dessicant bag or dry rice. Best if kept in the original boxes, strippersor packets sealed.When properly stored... most small arms ammo willremain effective longer than you will.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I've read extreme heat can destroy ammo. 6 of the hottest months of the year I spent in Phoenix I left some ammo in my trunk, and not one round failed to fire.

    Nor have I ever had problems with excess oiling, as many claim you would. I sometimes use primer sealent on my carry ammo, but I've never found it necessary.

    For the extra peace of mind with long term storage ammo, get surplus ammo cans, pour some high quality silica gel based cat litter in the bottom, fill it with ammo, close the lid, and quit worrying about it.
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    Regular Member lil_freak_66's Avatar
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    Glock34 wrote:
    Ammo will last a ling time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    can i change my shtf/bugout spot fromthe hiawatha nat'l forest(in the UP)to your basement???

    you seem more prepared for any kind of invading force.

    im great with kids,cats and other small animal friendly,not a picky eater,am easy to please,dont have smelly farts,dont require a leash,not gun shyand best of all....

    i am potty trained!

    but i dont play fetch,and im not good at retrieving ducks,and i wont sleep on the foot of your bed.
    not a lawyer, dont take anything i say as legal advice.


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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    lil_freak_66 wrote:
    Glock34 wrote:
    Ammo will last a ling time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    can i change my shtf/bugout spot fromthe hiawatha nat'l forest(in the UP)to your basement???

    you seem more prepared for any kind of invading force.

    im great with kids,cats and other small animal friendly,not a picky eater,am easy to please,dont have smelly farts,dont require a leash,not gun shyand best of all....

    i am potty trained!

    but i dont play fetch,and im not good at retrieving ducks,and i wont sleep on the foot of your bed.
    lol, bring your own preps, food, water, toilet paper & i guess we can share my dwelling. I have to be over prepped because I live in town & have no BO location anyways the roads & highways will be jammed with fleeing sheeple. , going to be lot's of hungry Zombies / thugs/ unprepared families out to feed themselves no matter what the cost. I can see my front yard will be a cemetery before to long, gotta bury them otherwise they stink and breed nasty pathogens , that or burn the rotting corpses. I will survive.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    bigdaddy1 wrote:
    I checked my carry ammo (in the magazine) and it hasnt discolored or corroded on the brass. I dont handle them often, one stays in the pistol and the other one stays in the mag holder in my holster. I always felt that the less I handle the ammo the less acidic oil will get on them. I used to only load up a mag when I was going to carry, thought the spring in the mag would get too weak if kept loaded. Then I heard that wasn't necessary. If I'm not handleing the ammo it should keep longer.

    Right?
    Keeping a mag loaded isn't what weakens the spring. It's the constant unloading and loading of a magazine that really kills the spring. I just keep all my mags loaded at about 90-95% capacity and they're just fine.

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    Ian wrote:
    bigdaddy1 wrote:
    I checked my carry ammo (in the magazine) and it hasnt discolored or corroded on the brass. I dont handle them often, one stays in the pistol and the other one stays in the mag holder in my holster. I always felt that the less I handle the ammo the less acidic oil will get on them. I used to only load up a mag when I was going to carry, thought the spring in the mag would get too weak if kept loaded. Then I heard that wasn't necessary. If I'm not handleing the ammo it should keep longer.

    Right?
    Keeping a mag loaded isn't what weakens the spring. It's the constant unloading and loading of a magazine that really kills the spring. I just keep all my mags loaded at about 90-95% capacity and they're just fine.
    I have 4 - 30 round AR15 mags loaded all the time with Horandy TAP ammo. the rest of the 100 - 30 round mags I have are unloaded until such time as they need to be loaded.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    bigdaddy1 wrote:
    I used to only load up a mag when I was going to carry, thought the spring in the mag would get too weak if kept loaded. Then I heard that wasn't necessary.

    Right?
    No.

    Think of all the springs in your life and that you use constantly everyday, how many have end-of-life warnings attached? Valve springs in your car, watch springs, tuning forks, et cetera.

    In general a ferrous metal that is not taken through zero stress, on its stress strain curve, accumulates no fatigue.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_(device)#Popular_mechanics

    Popular mechanics Contrary to popular belief, springs do not appreciably "creep" or get "tired" with age alone.[citation needed][/sup] Spring steel has a very high resistance to creep under normal loads. For instance, in a car engine, valve springs typically undergo about a quarter billion cycles of compression-decompression over the engine's life time and exhibit no noticeable change in length or loss of strength. But for good measure, springs can be replaced when doing a valve job. The sag observed in some older automobiles suspension is usually due to the springs being occasionally compressed beyond their yield point, causing plastic deformation. This can happen when the vehicle hits a large bump or pothole, especially when heavily loaded. Most vehicles will accumulate a number of such impacts over their working life, leading to a lower ride height and eventual bottoming-out of the suspension. In addition, frequent exposure to road salt accelerates corrosion, leading to premature failure of the springs in the car's suspension. Weakening of a spring is usually an indication that it is close to complete failure.


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    Glock34 wrote:
    Ammo will last a long time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    +1 Another poster stated he changes his carry ammo every 30 days....I can only say that I've carried the same ammo for 8 years (duty ammo). We also tested some ammo that was over 20 years old and it all went off. This stuff wasn't stored in any ammo can, so if you do as Glock34 says....that stuff will be around for sometime.

    Also, my duty mags, stayed loaded, unless at the range. Make sure you seat the bullet correctly (all the way back) and use factory mags and you should not have any problems. Google it and S&W has an article on it I believe.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Shawn wrote:
    Glock34 wrote:
    Ammo will last a long time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    +1 Another poster stated he changes his carry ammo every 30 days....I can only say that I've carried the same ammo for 8 years (duty ammo). We also tested some ammo that was over 20 years old and it all went off. This stuff wasn't stored in any ammo can, so if you do as Glock34 says....that stuff will be around for sometime.

    Also, my duty mags, stayed loaded, unless at the range. Make sure you seat the bullet correctly (all the way back) and use factory mags and you should not have any problems. Google it and S&W has an article on it I believe.
    Yea that would be me. There are two very good reasons to refresh your ammo on a regular basis. The first is that the best way to get rid of the old ammo is to shoot it. This encourages practice with the same ammo you plan to carry. The second is that while some people are willing to bet their life that the ammo in their carry weapons will last indefinitely and still go BANG when they see the elephant, I am not. Assuming you properly maintain your carry weapon, you are regularly cleaning it, oiling it, unloading it, dry firing it, reloading it and carrying it under all kinds of conditions. The ammo is EXPENDABLE, and should be treated as such.

    And as to the OPs question about lengthing the time between refresh of ammo. Simply handling the ammo is not the issue and generally handling is not harmful. Exposure to penetrating oils and the possibility of either damage to the primer or powder charge is the concern. In fact teh round that is kept in the chamber is of the most concern because it will be exposed to a new set of cleaning solvents each time the weapon is cleaned and reloaded.

    YMMV
    So now people will chimme in to talk a bout how the oild has never damaged theuir ammo. To that I say are you willing to bet your life on that conclusion to save a $.50 cartridge? I am not, and the practice gained in burning it up is always welcome.
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    Regular Member lil_freak_66's Avatar
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    Glock34 wrote:
    lil_freak_66 wrote:
    Glock34 wrote:
    Ammo will last a ling time. just store it correctly. Inside of 30 cal - 50 cal - 20 mm ammo cans , with those bags of desicent, absorbs any moisture in the can. I have 20 K rounds in the basement. , more coming soon ( another 6 k ) Buy it cheap & stack it deep.
    can i change my shtf/bugout spot fromthe hiawatha nat'l forest(in the UP)to your basement???

    you seem more prepared for any kind of invading force.

    im great with kids,cats and other small animal friendly,not a picky eater,am easy to please,dont have smelly farts,dont require a leash,not gun shyand best of all....

    i am potty trained!

    but i dont play fetch,and im not good at retrieving ducks,and i wont sleep on the foot of your bed.
    lol, bring your own preps, food, water, toilet paper & i guess we can share my dwelling. I have to be over prepped because I live in town & have no BO location anyways the roads & highways will be jammed with fleeing sheeple. , going to be lot's of hungry Zombies / thugs/ unprepared families out to feed themselves no matter what the cost. I can see my front yard will be a cemetery before to long, gotta bury them otherwise they stink and breed nasty pathogens , that or burn the rotting corpses. I will survive.
    ill bring my book on imrpovised munitions,we can figure a good way to rid ourselves of the dead sheep!

    not a lawyer, dont take anything i say as legal advice.


  19. #19
    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    What about vacuum packing the ammo? Moisture litterally boils out in a vacuum. They have those food storage machines that are relativly cheap.
    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    bigdaddy1 wrote:
    What about vacuum packing the ammo? Moisture litterally boils out in a vacuum. They have those food storage machines that are relativly cheap.
    Yes, that would work just fine. those food vacuum packing machine have lots of uses, I want one.
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

    Please support your local,county, state & Federal Law enforcement agencies, right ???

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    The vacuum will quickly fail - pressurize - due, first, to volatiles expanding and the permeability of the plastic leaking air and volatiles like water. Exhaust an ammo can and keep it that way for a while and pack a silica gel-pack and you might get somewhere.

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    To the original question,I remember shooting WWII vintage ammo in the 80s and it was fine. Our only concern was some of it still had corrosive primers.Well made, well stored ammo can last a true lifetime. Temperature and humidity are your enemies, keep them at bay and you win.
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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    The vacuum will quickly fail - pressurize - due, first, to volatiles expanding and the permeability of the plastic leaking air and volatiles like water. Exhaust an ammo can and keep it that way for a while and pack a silica gel-pack and you might get somewhere.
    I disagree. I vacuum packed some loose ammo in foodsaver bags several years ago and it's just as airtight as the day I sealed it.

    I like your idea of using silica gel dessicant though, so maybe next time I vacuum pack ammo I'll toss a dessicant bag in with it.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    OC-Glock19 wrote:
    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    The vacuum will quickly fail - pressurize - due, first, to volatiles expanding and the permeability of the plastic leaking air and volatiles like water.* Exhaust an ammo can and keep it that way for a while and pack a silica gel-pack and you might get somewhere.
    I disagree.* I vacuum packed some loose ammo in foodsaver bags several years ago and it's just as airtight as the day I sealed it.*

    I like your idea of using silica gel dessicant though, so maybe next time I vacuum pack ammo I'll toss a dessicant bag in with it.
    I am afraid I have to agree with Doug on this one.

    Your plastic bags lasting a few years shows us nothing. I have some .30-06 ammo that was packed before WWI (Note the 06 in .30-06 stands for 1906) Plastic bags were not even a twinkle in somebody's eye when this was packed and it was packed before by FATHER was born. That stuff looks and shoots like brand new factory ammo from the local store. It was packed stripper clips, inside cardboard boxes, inside a STEEL AMMO CAN WITH A RUBBER SEAL. Heck this stuff did not even have a desiccant in the can. After over 100 years the can stills seals airtight. Try that with a plastic bag. The can also protects the ammo in a lot of other ways. Just how long do you need to store your ammo anyway?

    Just buy some ammo cans, put the ammo in with some gel sacks close the lid and keep the stuff in your basement. This is not rocket science. Why do you think these steel cans are called AMMO CANS!
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
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    If stored right it will last for a very long time. I use air tight cans and tuff boxes that seal all air and water out. I use uncooked dried rice in a dress sock and change them out every few months.
    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
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