Shooting 80 year old ammo from the uss indianapolis - will it fire?

When people ask you “how long will ammo store?” and “can you store your mags loaded?”
Show them this video. :thinking:


Ive fired some 1901 30-40 Krag ammo some 20 years ago which would make it 100 year old ammo at that time. Still have 50 or 60 rounds left. Have no doubt it would fire today.

That said it is corrosive ammo due to the powder and primers and recommend a thorough scrub down for at least 3 days following to maintain the bore. Old school ammo requires old school treatment.

I have 1970’s M-16 mags loaded with 5.56 that still operate, fire and function just fine as well as more than a few 1960’s loaded M-14 mags that are also battle ready. Then there are the cans of 1944 M1 Garand clips still in the bandoliers that seem to work just fine anytime i use them.

I’m sorry was there a question here?



  1. If you’re going to fire ammo from the Indianapolis, it should be used on sharks.

  2. I’ve had to fire some old Army ammo before. It was much less than 80 years old and had been stored in a dry warehouse. The stuff was awful. A lot of it fell apart before it could even be loaded. I would never even think to fire ammo from WWII.


There is a reason why the DOD has technicians that oversee munition storage and destroy old ammo stocks deemed subpar and dangerous----because it is!
Aside from corrosion, chemical changes can lower pressure causing squibs, or raise pressure to dangerous levels when fired. It can even cause spontaneous combustion which was well documents at military armories post-WW1 before inspections were common.
I have a few old rounds from the 1880s and 1920s and of the few I’ve played with, some will fire, and a few wouldn’t, One actually destroyed my grandfather’s top break S&W :unamused:
But they are what they are—curiosities—not range ammo and certainly not defensive ammo.
Be safe friends,


There are a lot of news stories floating around about the Army limping by with old FA munitions, because we shipped all the good stuff to Ukraine. The Army only has one factory that makes field artillery munitions, due to the base closings and consolidation back in the 1990s. The one remaining factory can’t keep up with demand, and they won’t let the Army expand it because it’s a historic building.

I know this sounds like satire, but unfortunately it’s real life.


I try to ‘do it right’
Keep the weapons clean,
Ammo rotated,
Have more than enough on hand?
(But what’s enough these days?) the number keeps growing!
Keep rotating/emptying mags frequently , rest the springs (thanx Leo)
But if the SHTF, all bets are off. I will use whatever I have to
to stay alive and keep my people breathing.
I will end THEM and take their ammo.
Hopefully they have taken care about their stocks, weapons, mags etc
My real goal if things go south is to Krav Maga some and save @ least my
last bullet for me. I trained in hands, knives, end tables!
I’ll go out on my terms, not theirs. I’ve always felt that in my bones.
Especially in the many different sandbox’s I played in. Brutal places.
No one’s going to torture me… not going to happen.
The last round WILL NOT be the enemies
But then again, There’s dead and then there’s dead.
And if you are knock, knock, knockin’ on heavens door?
What difference does it make who fired it.
No worries after that.

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I’ve fired a lot of “old stuff” made in the USA including a bunch of 5.56 I have from a supply I got in the 80. All of it has been flawless. Plenty of 60s and 70s 7.62 and 30-06 stored in old M1 clips.

The only stuff that has ever given me heartburn was some ancient Brit .303 because of hangfires but it still went bang. And I try not to play with ammo from before the 50s because of the potential for corrosive primers, especially the foreign stuff.


That’s not the Army I served!
Providing troops with the best possible munitions was taken very seriously.


I don’t think it’s the Army that’s the problem.

Right there with you, Brother. Elbow to Elbow.

Back to the story at hand…

I have used modern and ancient ammo for my .303 No.5 mk1 and I have to say the ancient ammo was better than the newer because it was what the rifle was built to use. It is a 174 grain copper jacketed spire point boat tail. The individual I got the old stuff from stripped it off belts from WW1 and WW2. Only have a few rounds left, comparatively, maybe 50 or so. Lots of newer stuff. Remington makes a 150 grain soft lead and I think Federal makes a 210 grain soft lead. Hornady used to make a 174 grain Vintage Match round equivalent to the OE rounds. Expensive and hard to get.

The take away from this is to know what you have. Boxer primers are generally non corrosive and are 1950’s or later. Berdan primers from any age are considered corrosive to and include Greek 30-06 and a great amount of 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R, they will require additional attention. After that I’d send it and forget it especially if yo are reloading with modern components. Any ammo that requires you to wipe the “mung” off the joint between the case and boolit should be tossed.

OBTW NEVER, EVER take unknown hand loads and use them.




I once had 300 rds of Remington Parabellum circa 1950s.
The first 100 couldn’t cycle my pistol.
The next 200 I pulled apart for the components.

An officer I knew rather famously got shot after responding to a burglary back in the early 1960s when his 1911, loaded with surplus ball from the Korean War, FTF. He survived, but using surplus ammo was forbidden by his department after that.

Always stack the deck in your favor—at least don’t handicap yourself with potential problems.


DOD then.