how long does ammo last????


New member
how often do you cycle your self defense rounds. I heard that the ammunition primer doesnt perform 100% the way it should the older the ammo is, of course i have also heard from handling ammo the oils in our hands can affect the effectiveness of the primer as well. Room temperature and making sure they are kept in a cool/dry place.......WHAT IS THE REAL STRATEGY TO FOLLOW ON CYCLING YOUR AMMO......:laugh:


New member
basically forever

I've also heard all the reasons ammo doesn't last forever. I do change out my carry ammo, every once in a long while. Usually, it's several years between changes.

I'll tell you this. When I shot high power back in Indiana I drew ammo for the matches I shot. The NEWEST ammo I ever drew was around 1973. The oldest was, I believe, 1957. This was surplus .30-06 and every single round went bang the first time. Granted, military ammo has sealed primers but I've shot ammo that was well over 10 years old at the time and have never had a misfire that I believe was caused by ammo age.

Then again, if it worries you, ammo is cheap compared to your life.


New member
I have fired 40 year old ammunition with no problems.


I would only use it in a life or death situation if it was all I had.

I buy fresh Premium Self Defense ammo for carry once or twice a year.

It is my belief that carry ammo will last a lot longer than that but why not replace it once a year. Kinda like my smoke detector's battery.

I also have 3 complete sets of Magazines and an extra set of Magazine Springs so I can rotate them every 8 weeks to relax the Springs.

aj's 40 cal

New member
i change my carry ammo depending on the time of year so the summer carry ammo gets a break ( or shot) and will rotate in winter ammo, then do the same thing over and over again, but if i dont shoot the (last years carry ammo) ill just cycle it back into the rotation. most of the ammo i have isnt that old anyways, maybe 2 years at most.


Just fired a box of ammo 58 years old today, found old box in a dry box in storage looked good tried it out not a single failure.


New member
I rotate my defensive ammo annually. I don't think that there is anything to worry about with the old stuff, but why risk it when I might have to rely on it for my life, or that of my family. I am willing to pay for the peace of mind, plus it gives me an excuse to go shoot 50 rounds (if you need an excuse).


New member
Self defense ammo will last a good long time... The only issue I've ever heard and read related to old carry ammo is the breakdown of the powder to smaller particles due to vibration, making it more volatile.. I emailed Remington, Hornady, and Federal and the response was "yes this could be an issue, but it was a very slight chance of this being a real issue... I had a box of old early 60's 38 special police issue ammo.. All but 1 went bang... I was able to shoot a magazine full of WWII vintage .45acp... Still worked...

Big Gay Al

New member
With magazine springs, it's not being compressed that wears them out, it's being used, the compression and release that causes fatigue. I've left magazines fully loaded for 10 years, and when I went to use them, they worked as though they were brand new.

IF you have a problem from a magazine spring that was left loaded for an extended period, that problem already existed, or was caused by something else.


New member
I, too, agree that magazines tend to wear more from reloading than staying loaded, at least for most magazines.

I was told that carry ammunition can be fine for up to 4 years, with carry conditions such as rainy weather being taken into account. One day soon, I expect to graduate from zip-lock storage bags to large air-tight containers!

Phillip Gain

New member
So as you can see - there's no consensus here. No one has conducted any sort of scientific studies on the matter. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence saying that ammunition lasts a long time. And it generally does, in my experience.

However - with that said, if you were using a knife as your sole means of self-defense...would you rely on one that hasn't been sharpened in 2 years? 5 years? 10+ years? Not likely. You'd sharpen it often, at least once a year even if you don't use it. So I say make it a point to fire off your defense ammunition every year or so. Ammo is cheap compared to a hospital or funeral bill.

Big Gay Al

New member
For target practice only, I've used ammo dating from 1943. But I wouldn't use ammo that old for every day carry.


If properly stored, ammunition can last decades. I've shot .303 ammo that was made for WWI. When we opened the crate, the paper boxes crumbled to dust but every round fired.

I've also used primers made in the '60's for reloading. They went bang every time.


New member
I ran into a couple boxes of 22lr from my wife's grandfather's house...these boxes were slightly molded, and branded with a defunct hardware store name that was barely readable. Most of the ammo had corroded to light green, yet after a quick wipe, they were tried in the Granddad's (now mine) 1890 Winchester. Every round went bang, BUT, most did not go BANG loud enough for my liking, & I was checking the bore a few times when I couldn't see the impact of the round fired. Grandpa also had a box of 38spl and this was also boxed in a moldy cardboard container, and some of the brass was a tad greenish. The 38s went bang just fine. All this ammo was found in his basement under the staircase, as was the Winchester rifle. Years of moisture took its toll on the 22 ammo and discolored the 38spl's (didn't do a lotta good for the Winchester either). I've also used ammo (22longs, 38s & 30-06) just as old, or thereabouts, found stored in a dresser drawer for several mold, no green casings, all shot well. Keep your ammo dry, and your ammo will keep, period.

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