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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings,
I was wondering what a reasonable lifespan of modern ammunition might be. This is lifespan that involves safety as a priority (hang fires, misfires, catastrophic failure, etc.). The ammo in question is a box of fifty rounds of Winchester Super-X .357magnum 145gr Silvertip hollow points. The rounds were purchased around 1987 and have been maintained in a climate-controlled environment.

If the consensus is that it's not worth even trying to use, what would be the best way to dispose of this box? Police department? Fire department? Gun shop?

I've never had this occur before; this ammo turned up during a move. I normally keep all magazines and speed loaders topped up, and always keep around ten or twelve boxes of each calibre on hand. This ammo is never around longer than six or seven months and gets rotated naturally (first in, first out).

Thanks for your thoughts.
:confused:
 

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I would definitely NOT carry it for defense. It may or may not detonate correctly or reliably. You could have some one remove the bullets with a bullet puller, or even shoot the rounds off at the range. My guess is that they will probably go "bang"......

If all else fails, take it to the gun shop-see if they'll dispose of them for you.
 

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I would definitely NOT carry it for defense. It may or may not detonate correctly or reliably. You could have some one remove the bullets with a bullet puller, or even shoot the rounds off at the range. My guess is that they will probably go "bang"......
+1

No reason or excuse to chance using them for self-defense purposes. Not worth the risk and certainly your life is worth the price of a new, fresh box of ammo.

We go to a lot of estate auctions and often get a good price on old ammo or buy it because it's in a box with other stuff that we want. Mostly, I just buy for the brass and shoot the stuff up at the range. Some of it I buy because it, or the box it's in, is collectible. Definitely an iffy thing as to how much of it shoots when I get to the range, given that I have no idea under what conditions it was stored. Overall, I've had the worst luck with the rimfire stuff. Most of the centerfire ammo shoots, but I wouldn't dream of using any of it for SD, hunting or serious target work.

I'd just take that box to the range and use it for practice, always being on the alert for a squibb load, etc. Believe t or not, that's not that old. Probably will shoot just fine - but don't bet your life on it.
 

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- - - Snip - - - I'd just take that box to the range and use it for practice - - - snip - - - Probably will shoot just fine - but don't bet your life on it. Bold italics added.
This would be my opinion too. If it's been stored, as you state, in dry climate controlled conditions, I'm sure it's as good as the day you bought it.

Having said that, as the two previous posters have opined, use it for practice at the range and use your recent stuff for carry.
 

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I had a LEO friend give me a couple of hundred rounds of 9mm that he had from when their dept used in in the very, very early '90s. Included were both premium law enforcement HP and some commercial reloads.

They had been stored in his unheated garage for 20+ years. That meant temps of -20 deg F to over 100 deg with humidity from near 10% to to 90 % over the years.

I took them to the range to use them up. They all fired except for one of the HP.

Shoot the stuff you have, don't save it for SD, etc.
 

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If you hang on to the stuff even longer .... you can sell it at your local gun show. I see vendors there all the time selling ancient stuff:

1. loaded ammunition
2. ancient propellant
3. ancient reloading components

I will not touch the stuff.

Actually, the ammunition is probably OK, if it was properly stored away from moisture. I would NOT touch the reloading components however.
 

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Greetings,

If the consensus is that it's not worth even trying to use, what would be the best way to dispose of this box? Police department? Fire department? Gun shop?
The best, safest way to dispose of it is to bury it in the ground a foot or so deep and let nature take its course. You can also return it to the manufacturer for disposal.

(They cover this in the NRA classes--I took the Basic Pistol course, since one of my grad school profs taught it, and highly recommend even for experienced shooters.)
 

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I've always understood that if stored well, mainly dry and not too hot, ammo keeps indefinitely. Common sense would say not to trust it for SD, though.

I know a guy who got hold of 800 rounds of Korean War surplus .45ACP, dirt cheap, naturally. He said that over the span of a year, every round worked 100%. This was two years ago, so that ammo was roughly 60 years old.
 

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I thought this was an obvious question but do you have a gun that fires that caliber? If so, take it to the range and shoot it.
 

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Last month I decided to use up my ammo from the 1950s.
No misfires out of 500 rounds.
Keep em and shot em or send em to me. lol
 

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The little group of old f++ts that I shoot with, all have WWII and earlier ammo that we shoot almost every week. Occasionally do we get a FTF due to a bad primer, and luckily only had one Jap 6.5 come apart, but those actions were built foolproof, and nobody was hurt. I have personally shot several thousand 8mm Mauser-Turkish ammo dated 1938 to 1942, with only a few primer failures. Considering how this WWII stuff was probably stored over the years, it certainly removes any fear of older ammo. If it looks okay, it will generally go bang. However, it is always a good idea to shoot first in, first out, and will give you some factory ammo to compare your hand loads with.
 

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Interesting question. I just shot up hal a box of Renington-Peters .38 S&W that was at least 60 plus years old. No problems except for smoke and grime. Black Powder? I too shoot WWII 8MM Mauser with maybe 1 dud round in two hundred. I got it years ago in bandoleers on stripper clips for about .02 a round. I've got several thousand rounds I intend to shoot up!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you guys. My initial thought when I ran across the box was wether or not to even try to fire it. It's not that big a deal at 50 rounds. I think I paid around $16.00 or $17.00 when I bought it. If it had been 500 rounds I might approach it differently. I don't think I want to take a chance on shooting any of it for the reasons I stated (or the chance it may damage the firearm). I can get a box of wadcutters for around $20.00 that I'd feel much better about shooting.
I appreciate all your input. Many thanks!
 
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