Ammo age

10 yr old 12 ga ammo stored in a cool dry place with desiccant packs in the case. No visible signs of degradation. When in Air Force in the late 60s, was always told 10 yrs was the safe limit. With modern materials tho , isnt the safe life longer ? Hate to have to discard. Opinions plz.


Welcome aboard KEN49!
The military has different protocols than what a civilian may have. Military ammo may not have the advantage of being stored in a cool dry location, either.

I would not discard or pull down 10 year old ammunition, or even 20 year old ammunition without some indication of degradation or other trouble (corrosion, squibs, etc…) but I wouldn’t count on it for SD/HD either.
Plastic cased shotgun cartridges seem to be very long lived—a few years back I took a class and brought along a few boxes of 40 year old promotional Federals—no misfires and the instructors wanted my empty boxes for their collections.

I’d give them at visual inspection, then cut open a shell and see if the powder still looked good and smelled like it should (NOT clumpy/stinky/odd color) , then fire a sample at the range to see if it still goes bang. If good, save them for range ammo


John292 Excellent feedback! Thanks


I always use older ammo for target practice, newer ammo for self defense…you can keep cycling your ammo this way as new ammo comes in, old goes out.


The military destroys a lot of ammo for very good reasons. Old ammo can loose it’s strength or become dangerous. Have an armory blow up and well, that’s not a good thing and it does happen!
Age does strange things to gunpowder, especially double base powder since Nitroglycerin doesn’t like pretending it’s stable.

Thing is, we hear about using old ammo all the time and that it works just dandy, but we don’t hear of old ammo that doesn’t work because it’s old and is simply regarded as having lost performance and discarded,

I personally know of a handful of incidents due to deteriorated ammo.
The cost of a box of fresh carry ammo is cheap insurance.
Unlike our wealthy Uncle, we don’t have highly trained Ordnance technicians to routinely inspect our supplies or even highly conservative protocols like the Air Force ten year safe date.

I still have plenty of 40 year old ammo. It still looks good and shoots fine enough for range fodder,
Right now with the shortage that’s a pretty good feeling but it belies the fact that I just don’t get out to shoot enough to turn over my supply with regularity.

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Join a Summer trap or skeet league and you’ll burn through that old ammo fast enough! :+1:

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Me either… Haven’t been to the range since last fall. The 10 yo 12 ga is my oldest stock… Have some 9mm that’s 7 or 8 but most of my stock is newer. Can’t find 9mm at any of my usual suppliers near or far so I’m not pitching anything!! Got a few new crimson trace lasers havnt even tried out yet!!!

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welcome to the family and you are blessed to be here.

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Used to go to the nationals in Vandalia north of Dayton OH… Been quite a while tho

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