Old/Questionable Ammo

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by UnderFire, May 10, 2009.

  1. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

    Hey All-
    Although I've owned rifles,handguns & been a woodsman for over 20 yrs, I'm a novice compared to many on this forum. I mostly read & learn here, chime in when I can.

    I was reading the debate in the topic "tumbling live ammo".
    I was surprised to read that some would use old/questionable ammo.
    I'm always the type because of my inexperience with ammo that if it was old/questionable; Stay Away From It!! Am I wrong in this belief?

    I've heard people talk at gun ranges, gun shows, etc., that they have 20 yr. old ammo at home. When I ask them "You really trust 20 year old ammo?" They answer with no great concern. When I've been offered corroded ammo, I've refused it. Tarnished is one thing,but corroded is another.

    My Questions;
    1. With ammo becoming harder to find, am I wrong in my assumptions?
    2. Also how can one check if old ammo is safe to use?
    3. If ammo is corroded can it be cleaned safely?

    sorry for all the noob questions,
    your friend, UnderFire
  2. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Old ammo is not necessarily bad ammo. If it was kept under good conditions it will be good for 100 + years. If it was not kept under good conditions, the worst it will do is fail to fire (maybe squib). The primer is the component that is most succeptable to degredation. If the primer degrades, it simply will not go bang.

    Corroded ammo is another thing entirely. The corosion will weaken the case and make it more likely to fail. Chances are if the case is badly corroded, the primer is bad anyway.

    I never look a gift horse in the mouth. Free ammo is free components. The worst ammo will still yield useable bullets and fertilizer + scrap brass for the recycle bucket.

  3. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    Old ammo with no visible signs of degradation is fine. Older ammo doesn't get any more powerful if that's your concern, if anything it would be less powerful. Other than visible inspection for things like case corrosion, dents, or deformation there is no test for ammo other than to use it. Corroded ammo can be cleaned by hand with a metal polish like Noxon, or even steel wool, but NEVER tumble it! Sometimes brass which has been in constant contact with leather (ammo belt loops) develops a green corrosion which can eat through the brass case. Any corrosion which has started to attack the brass should be discarded. This type of corosion can cause case failure in the chamber and send gasses back at your face/eyes.