Newbie questions - shelf-life, etc.....

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by mwsfarm, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. mwsfarm

    mwsfarm New Member

    Always been a gun owner, on-off hunter, been getting into buying/hunting a lot more the last year. Have some questions for the experts:

    1. If ammunition is kept in gov't surplus ammo boxes, what is the shelf life?
    2. If ammunition is kept in a climate controlled building, like a house, which
      would have changing humidity, is the shelf life compromised?
    3. how about if it is kept in an unheated shop or barn, exposed to heat/freezing temps over time?
    4. Where would you start if you were just going to start reloading, had not purchased any equipment yet?

    Thanks for the info
  2. 1hole

    1hole New Member

    Questions 1, 2, 3: I still have a few rounds of GI surplus 30-06 from '43 that shoots as well as ever. It has been kept in my non-climate controlled garage for the last 21 years.

    Question 4: Get a good loading manual and read the portions on loading carefully. I believe the Lyman manual is perhaps the best for starting and for a long time afterwards. It will tell you what tools you need and the general instructions on how to use them. Understand that reloading ain't rocket science or few of us could do it, just read until you understand basically what the book is saying and do it. And come here when you get stuck and need help.

    It will increase your intitial confidence a lot if you can find someone to walk you through the steps at least once before you start.

    Get a few mail order catalogs, on the net, such as from MidwayUSA, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Graf and Sons, Natchez, etc. to find prices on the tools and components. (You will want to buy powder and primers locally if possible to avoid the high shipping fees)

    Don't fall into newbie's temptation and start with a progressive press. Even a turret press adds little more than cost to reloading but that's up to you. My old turret press is rarely used. After some 45 years of loading, my single stage is all I use for most chores. If you do get into shooting large volumes of ammo later, your own experiece will guide you then and you will still have at least occasional need of a single stage press so it won't be a waste.

    Kits are good to start but none is complete and some varity in the tools is often better than the pre-packed items. And don't buy into the idea that any single brand of tools is "best", they are all good tools and any maker's stuff will do you a fine job so nothing you can buy is junk,no matter what some may say. I never see those who condemn any specific brand say how much better their ammo shoots when made with their favorite tools!

    Ignore anything digital for now, meaning scales or powder despenser systems. Just get a standard powder measure plus a trickler and a beam scale to start with. In fact, most people happily stay with that for the rest of their life!

    Enjoy your new hobby!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    agree with all of the foregoing post. Would make my first purchase a copy of "The ABCS of Reloading". In paperback, fairly cheap. Then get a good powder/bullet company reloading manual. Lyman is good. Read first, then- Keep it simple- start with a single stage press, take your time. warning- can be addicting. But where else do I get 180 gr 357 magnums?
  4. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

    I am still shooting spome of my inventory of ammo that I loaded as far back as 1984. FMJ rounds all look good after 24 years in storage (indoor climate controlled). Lead tipped bulltes have a bit of oxidation on them after 24 years. However, they all shoot just fine.

    I can't respond on ammo leaft in an uncontrolled environemnet, but empty brass I have had in storage looked pretty bad after 20+ years if it was not in a sealed container. Polished brass kept in sealed coffee cans was still bright and shiny after 20 years.

    As far as starting out on reloading, I'd suggest that you purchase a combo kit from Lymans or RCBS that will have everything you need to get started. If you choose RCBS (which I have), also buy the Lymans loading manual - it is a great source of information, and it has a better section on how to do reloading.

    Things you will want to get after you get started are a case trimmer and a brass tumbler/polisher.

  5. matt g

    matt g Guest

    Keep ammo dry, cool and out of light and it'll last indefinitely. A good way to store it is in a closet, indoors, inside of a GI ammo can or something similar. Also, be sure to use desiccant packs inside the cans.
  6. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    You have gotten some good advice so I`ll just add get a good heavy press like an RCBS Rock Chucker or a Lyman Orange Crusher, stay away from the lite weight cheap ones. Get in a starter kit, if your buying it new. I you know a reloader that has been in it for a long while you could get him to go to afew Gun Shows and help you pick up what you need to start. I also agree with 1hole about the Lyman manual being the best starter manual. Good luck and be safe.
  7. mwsfarm

    mwsfarm New Member

    Thanks guys

    appreciate the responses.
  8. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    Where would I start right here with this nice article written by a long time relaoder.