Is old ammo safe? (for the gun)

Discussion in '.22 Rifle/Rimfire Discussion' started by RobertinNJ, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. RobertinNJ

    RobertinNJ New Member

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    Hi,

    I have several bricks of Remington Thunderbolt 22 ammo. It seems pretty accurate in several rifles and a Ruger MKII pistol. Some of the boxes are over ten years old and the bullet heads now have a hard light gray (lead oxide ?) coating on the lead. This coating seems like it could be hard enough to abrade the bore of a gun as it feels little like fine sand. I have never heard of anyone mentioning this problem in the 20 years that I have been interested in shooting. Can anyone tell me if if is indeed going to damage a barrel?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dr. Marneaus

    Dr. Marneaus New Member

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    All I know is that if something had a coating that felt like sand, I wouldnt be running it through my gun.

    .22 is cheap enough to not risk it.
     

  3. jcooper

    jcooper New Member

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    Afriend of mine gave me a Kodiak .22 magnum once and a old box of shells. I think they had a 1 cent stamp on them. the first one I shot blew the case apart and also the ejector off the gun. It never was right again. A bolt action or single shot woyld probably be OK but I wouldnt use them in a semi automatic.
     
  4. 30-30remchester

    30-30remchester New Member

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    Very interesting event you had. It truly surprises me as I have shot 130 year old ammo with no ill effect. The 22 magnun is only 50 years old so the ammo couldnt be older than that. Do you still have the old box? What brand was it? Have any pics of old ammo?
     
  5. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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    I wonder if it is WRF ammo instead of WMR.
     
  6. agoetz2005

    agoetz2005 New Member

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    lead oxide is not harder than steel in any sense.

    It could also be dried lube (wax).

    If you're worried, take some out of the box and rub them on a piece of flat stock. If you get anything that a simple wet rag and maybe some lead remover won't take off then you'll have your answer/
     
  7. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Active Member

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    If it was ME, I'd go ahead and shoot that .22LR ammo. At the most you might have to do a cleaning afterward.
     
  8. agoetz2005

    agoetz2005 New Member

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    Agreed. When we shoot our endfields we shoot ammo headstamped 1898-1903 regularly with no ill effects. Some even have green bullets :)
     
  9. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    With old ammo, the only problem I've had is failure to fire.
    No Biggie, I'll cycle the slide and chamber another.
     
  10. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    I've shot old ammo in many different calibers and never had a problem except the occasional dud, but I can't see why anything other than a thorough cleaning would be required after using this ammo and that's only if its corrosive (soap and water).
     
  11. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I would not sweat it. Oxidized lead is still WAY softer than barrel steel. The main problem w/ old rimfire ammo is the priming compound will dry out and fall away from the rim leading to misfires. Age and vibration are the main culprits here. If it has been simply sitting on a shelf it should not be a huge problem. I would not trust my life with it in a defensive situation, but I would not trust my life to a .22 LR anyway.
     
  12. RobertinNJ

    RobertinNJ New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I did try rubbing it on several types of steel and it did not leave any scratches. I am a chemist by trade but I could not (did not?) think of a good reference for comparing the "hardness" of lead oxide with common steels.

    Throwing it away seemed like a waste, so I was hoping that I could use it in at least one of my guns. (Bolt action or revolver.) Now I will use it in anything that doesn't jam.
     
  13. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    I've used ammo that was over 30 years old, and the lead turned a crusty white. It fired OK.
     
  14. jsid6g

    jsid6g New Member

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    AGE of 22 ammo

    it might not be the most accurate but for knocking a can over, or putting a hole in a pice of paper for fun go for it, next time store in an ammo can, the led will not oxidize as much or as fast the old GI ammo cans are great the longest I have had is about 30 years :)

    SID