When is Ammo Too Old? – Prepper Ammo Storage

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. swabbie Robbie says:

    Mybest friend who is a passionate target shooter has been shooting a lot of WWII eastern European ammo to good results.

  2. swabbie Robbie says:

    For my part, I shoot a lot of black powder. What goes bad is old pyrodex and other synthetic black powders. I have taken to only buying a package of those powders at a time, saving real black powder for longer term storage.

    • Robbie, I think a lot of the problem with storing powders is moisture (of course it is, DUH! OK, color me being silly). My point is that I’ve been shooting Pyrodex since it came out, have a good supply of the original blend (before the factory burned down and the mixture had to be reinvented). So far, no ignition problems whatever with it. I’ll also add that since vacuum sealers became popular, I now use mine to pack/seal my powders, primers, #9 caps, for further protection.

  3. According to my son (former USAF AMMO troop) humidity is the biggest enemy of munitions in general, followed by huge temp swings. The main thing is to keep ammo dry, an inside closet usually maintains a consistent temp.

  4. I have collected mainly military ammo for decades, and have done pull down’s and firings on ammo ranging from the 1870’s -1960’s. Black powder ammo loaded over corrosive priming seems to last almost forever in dry storage. Smokeless military ammo with corrosive priming seems to last as long as the powder. Which seems to start to deteriorate at about 80 years. I regularly shoot M2 and M2AP from WW2 and the 1950’s without problems. BUT: Quality is a “must” if the ammo is corroded I just break it down for cases and bullets. The burn rate on the powder’s made before 1942 is unpredictable and probably dangerous from chemical deterioration of the IMR type powders .So the early stuff gets a VERY close inspection before use. “How long will ammo last”? It is just “IMO” but after 35 years of recorded date I think about 75 -80 years is the upper limit for US smokeless ammo. For Non US and black powder ammo G_D knows. I don’t.

  5. Chuck Findlay says:

    Didn’t watch the video yet, I’ll watch it tonight.

    In the mid 1990’s I cleared out my grandmas house and garage. The garage had one-side open to the weather for years. (The side of the garage had fallen down years before.) And on the work bench was a tin can with about 200 22 long rifle bullets. They were there since WWII era. I took them out and shot them and they all went BOOM and grouped as good as any new ammo.

    So I don’t know that old ammo is the problem some say it is.

    And old ammo is not that easy to find so I don’t ever see it being a big thing.

    Just test fire it and see how it works…

    • Ive rarely had problems with storing ammo. I live in a dry climate, and store it consistent temps and with silica/watertight.

      I love old deep freezers for ammo storage. Add a new seal/use car gasket sealants if you stress the gaskets…it works!

    • Chuck, I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve been shooting some of my ‘old stock’ .22, that’s almost 30 years old. So far, no problems with ignition or accuracy. It’s all in how the ammunition is produced and stored– always keep it dry, in low humidity areas. Not too certain about keeping it in a freezer- that cold attracts moisture– unless the freezer is not turned on.

      Just remembered some Remington my dad had… that stuff was green as the Remington packaging! but it shot just fine.

  6. Chuck Findlay says:

    Just watched the video, I’m always impressed with Paul’s shooting skill. He misses every so often, but over all he’s a very good shot.

    Good video to have on a prepper site MD.

  7. I used to use old ww2 06 ammo and it went boom and grouped as well as I could group. that was 50 year old at the time. I just cleaned them
    up well after shooting in case it was corrosive.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!