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Does 22 rimfire ammo have a shelf life?

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Old 12-12-2009, 04:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Joe M View Post
I've shot the old Winchester Super X .22LR ammo that was at least 20+ years old with no issues whatsoever. Matter of fact the stuff grouped pretty darn good. Went with the newer stuff (Winchester Super X - X22LR) and it did not perform as good as the old stuff did.
I'll 2nd that,had the same problem.
Had some Super-x sitting at a buddys camp for 10 or so years and he said he found it in the shedand it was too old to shoot,loaded it up and had 2 FTF from the 1/2 brick that was there.
compared to the 25+ from the brick of Super-x I purchased the week before.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:48 AM   #12
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I don´t know if the ammo manufacturers states a shelf life for the .22 but 2 years ago in my 40th birthday my father gave me a brick of SuperX he found in his gun cabinet and it dates from 1968 it was in a bag with a newspaper talking about the Olimpic Games in México the year I was born, an my son happily ended the 500 rounds with only 2 misfires this year, maybe its all about proper storage
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:41 AM   #13
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It is about who the manufacturer was, what formula they used for the primer compound, what formula for the powder, how they handled the case while making the cartridge, and how it was stored divided by time.

About 5 years ago out of curiosity I dug out an old spur trigger .32 RF revolver (Patriot variant) and some old ammo for it my Grampa had left me and successfully fired off 5 rounds of Short (still have some) and the remaining 4 rounds of Long with no problems at all. When did anyone last load that stuff? This was Union metallic ammo with the old fulminate of mercury primers (you can tell because about a week after firing little globs of mercury will appear at the bottom of the case), so what am I saying, 1922?

Alternatively I had a cardboard box of .22 RF Winchester ammo in my pocket once which went into a river with me back in the 1970s when a canoe overturned. A year later I tried the ammo and about 60% misfires resulted. I think getting wet is what caused that.

On the other end of the spectrum in the mid 80s I fired two 20 round boxes of WRA 17 headstamped ammo someone gave me once through my .45 with only about 3 misfires.

OTH, in the same time frame lots of shooters learned the hard way that WD 40 and ammo should never be allowed to approach each other. Other newer oils sometimes are equally deadly to ammo if placed on a gun.

There is no hard and fast rule as all manufacturers try to cut costs and change formulations as supply sources change from time to time, so try to rotate everything every 4 or 5 years, but don't assume old ammo kept in good storage conditions is all duds.

Last edited by superc; 06-18-2010 at 03:55 AM. Reason: added a comment
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:04 PM   #14
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Running a range in the early 90's, the .22 ammo was stored in a lockable cooler during the off season and then transported to the range in June- all 432,000 rounds of it. It appeared that the jostling as the ammo was moved back and forth was the primary cause of the disintegration of the primers.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by canebrake View Post
Back in the dark corners of my safe I found some LR ammo from ~ 1973. I know this because it had a price sticker from a store that closed that year in my home town.

All 50 rounds managed to punch holes in my targets!

Unless you're storing your ammo at the bottom of your fish tank, I'm pretty sure you are GTG.
I think your ammo must have been bad from the start. I have a case of Reminton "clean bore' ammo from 1968, and it shoots fine.
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:00 PM   #16
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YEP - a very short 'shelf life'..... it's so fun to shoot, it just doesn't seem to stay on the shelf long.

I too have shot 20 to 30 year old .22LR, and it shot well! A co-worker gave me her deceased Dad's old ammo - no idea as to age, but the boxes were the style of the 70's at latest. Stuff shoots fine. Mostly Winchester and Federal.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:31 PM   #17
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One way I know to REALLY shorten shelf life is spraying the ammo with WD40 to keep the cases from corroding. It will definitely penetrate into the casing and cause FTF.

That was a foolish mistake of mine I don't remember how many years ago. I have ammo dating from the 70s and 80s that shoots just fine. I also have shot shells dating back to the 1950's that are as good as they ever were. Dry storage in a more or less stable climate and it will last a lonnnnnnnnngggggg time. DF
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