How long do reloads last? A long time on the shelf,..

How long do reloads last? A long time on the shelf,..

Postby M1A4ME » Mon, 11 Mar 2013 06:01:05

You see this question all the time on the internet.

How long do reloads last?

Well, this weekend I took my oldest son and a friend of his shooting. He wanted to shoot the old Ruger Speed Six revolver I gave him several years ago so I dug up some .38 special reloads and some .357 magnum factory loads.

The .38 special reloads were 148 grain hollow base wadcutters loaded backwards over 3.2 grains of bullseye powder. At the time the reverse loaded HB wadcutters sounded like a good idea (anyone who remembers this may remember how far back the idea and the reports in the gun magazines goes). In reality many of them begin to tumble not far out of the barrel and the range is probably pretty limited. No doubt, at 10 yds., a sideways .38 special wadcutter would make a nasty hole in someone.

Anyway, the friend had never before shot a gun, of any kind. My oldest son had not shot his revolver in 10 or 12 years and rarely shoots at all.

At 10 yds. all but a couple of shots where in the black of a standard 25 yd. pistol target (sold at Walmart). They each shot a 50 round box of the .38's and then a cylinder full of the 125 grain .357 magnum hollow points for a comparison of .38 to .357 recoil for them.

Now, how long do reloads last? I didn't find out, exactly. We shot them on Saturday, March 9, 2013. The tag on the boxes said the .38 specials were reloaded on March 8, 1982. So they had been on the shelf (attic/bedroom closet/garage) for 31 years and one day. They lasted much longer on the shelf than at the range :roll:

Every one went bang and every one would have been a hit on a torso at 10 yds.

The .357 magnum ammo was from the same time period as I have not bought any .357 magnum ammo since I moved to VA in 1985.

Ammo lasts a long time if you keep it dry and inside.


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Re: How long do reloads last? A long time on the shelf,..

Postby Utah » Mon, 11 Mar 2013 06:56:15

Well I think I have you beat...my father reloaded since he was able to stand I think. Anyway, he used to shoot bullseye in the late 60's and 70's and loaded his own 45 200gr SWC. When he passed away couple years ago I got all his reloading stuff, including couple thousand of his bullseye reloads. Oldest box is dated 1967, they look like heck...no tumbler, but everyone of them go off. I shoot 10 rounds through his Gold Cup National Match on his birthday and the day he passed every year.

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Re: How long do reloads last? A long time on the shelf,..

Postby jdonovan » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 09:14:45

ammo, stored properly, even reloads, effectively has an unlimited shelf life.

store it in a warm, damp place and get the cases to start to corrode... well there is the end of your storage life.


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Re: How long do reloads last? A long time on the shelf,..

Postby spatcher » Sun, 17 Mar 2013 17:28:54

I really appreciate your posting this as I finally got around to replacing some ammo in my ammo box. Ive got a little over 550 rds (125Gr - 3.5 grs Bullseye) of 9mm that I have no further use for that were reloaded in march of 1988 so will be trying to get rid of them shortly.
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