Ammo Questions


Verified Military
Aug 14, 2007
Hello gents,

Ammo is getting expensive as ****, so I'm a little more conscious about shot placement, and I do an extra few rounds of dry firing, to conserve it.

This led me to a few questions I have not been able to find conclusive answers to:

1.) What is the ideal "shelf life" for typical ammunition? (Specifically, rifle and pistol ammo of various calibers) I know some people use and sell "old" ammo, but for absolute reliability, when does ammo start to degrade, or produce a greater number of hangfires/misfires, etc.

2.) Given the option,when (or how frequently) would you start to rotate ammo stores?

3.) What is the best way to store ammunition, to preserve its firing properties and reliability?
Great questions! I hope we get some clear answers.

Maybe we can each pick an Ammo Manufacturer and hit them with an email asking those questions? Then share the details back here!

I will email Winchester today!

As far as rotating my stock goes! I always put a date of purchase on each box of ammo and I always shoot the oldest first! Just seems like a good practice for me!

When it comes to my home defense rounds I shoot what is in the weapons/mags off about every 6 months. I replace it with the newest in my inventory at that time!

Lets face it the rounds we use for defense are typically premium ammo and the cost is prohibitive to shoot at the range all the time. However I always finish up my range time with my Defense Loads. I typically use 9mm ball ammo at the range but use a premium hollow point for defesne. My typical round is Corbon +P's with the Hornady XPS bullet.
Winchester has some FAQ's: is the best way to store ammunition?&history=1&searchby=0&sortby=0&category=2

Question: What is the shelf life of ammunition and how should it be disposed of?

Answer: The shelf life of ammunition is indefinite, greatly depending on the storage conditions. Ammunition that has been stored in a cool, dry area, free of contaminates may very well last 30 years or beyond. The best method of disposing of ammunition is by an incineration facility.
Here is the reply from Hornady:

-----Original Message-----
From: tech []
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: Technical Inquiries

08Steeda, As with anything ammunition can deteriorate to the point that it
either fails to fire or becomes unsafe. Because we can not control how
ammo is stored we say ammo should last 10 years. If the ammo is sealed
from moisture, kept cool, and dry, the ammo should last much longer than
that. I see ammo from the Korean war still being sold and shot. Thanks

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:44 AM
To: tech
Subject: Technical Inquiries

Subject: Technical Inquiries

12345 Someplace Road

Bumville XX 99999

What is the best way to store ammunition?

How long can you safely store ammunition before it becomes unsafe?

Can ammunition degrade over time even if stored properly?

How old is too old for ammunition?

Thank you!

Great idea, Steeda. I just emailed Federal the above questions. They might even stop in on the forums. It would be nice to get a vetted, legit expert in ammunition on here.
Probably with all the ammo that is made and all the variables in how they stored, etc the Ammo manufacturers are reluctant to make a definitive statement. Litigation is a big concern.

This even goes with cleaning older ammo.

There are people out there that should not be allowed to handle anything that could be harmful.