Do bullets ever get old or expire? How often should you rotate?
I ask the question, because I have boxes of ammo purchased several years ago, and I want to make sure they can be relied on for self defense if I need to use them. Do the police or army have any guidelines for how long you can keep bullets around before they might get old and undependable? How often should you buy new bullets for your gun?
Well, if your life depends on it, its better to have newer stuff you know has been kept well.
If its kept in a CCW that goes everywhere with you year round, I suggest rotating it every year or so.
Ammo does have an indefinite shelf life, but why test it? Besides, you should practice, practice, practice anyway - so burn it up once in a while and keep the stock fresh.
Just make sure you keep them dry, and away from heat (this can cause the shells to expand). If you do that, they should keep fairly well. Keep your weapons clean and oiled.
what dkiller88 said
Properly stored, ammunition has an indefinite shelf life. Your number one problem is moisture, and the corrosion it might cause.
Visually inspect a sample of your ammunition. If you don't see any corrosion or pitting, it's fine. Put it back in storage for another several years.
If stored properly, ammunition has a very long shelf life. You should try your best to fire off the oldest first. Take that half full box to the range and get rid of it. Your newest ammo should allways be at the back of the shelf.
In your case, for rounds that have laid dormant for a few years, visually inspect them for any inperfections. Take alittle time and check to make sure projectiles are not loose and do not spin. If you have 1000's of rounds to inspect, break them down by lot numbers and inspect small ammounts. If you bought a few boxes at the same time, there is the possibility that there lot numbers are the same. If you only by a partiular brand, and only shoot a specific load, you might figure out the specific lot numbers enough to use it as an aging tool. This could help you in getting rid of the old or broken up lots first.
Remember, having the same lot number only means that they were produced at the same time.
Never dispose of ammunition unless there is visually something wrong with it, or some part of it is loose or missing. If you want new ammo, buy it, but save it and practice with the oldest ammo you have.
MOS 2311, Ammunition Tech
United States Marine Corps 97'-05'
Moisture is ammo's enemy. If you have kepr the ammo in a dry place and there is no sign of any external corrosion, you should be good to go.
Take out a few and thet them just to be sure.
If you live in a very humid climate, it's best to staore in a sealed container with some of those silica gel packs to keep the moistur down.
I collect and shoot old military rifles from the early 20th century (WWI) and have ammo that's 75+ years old that's still good and fires every time.
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