View Full Version : Shotgun Shell Shelf Life

June 02, 2012, 10:35
I have overlooked the possibility that shotgun shells may not last as long as cartridges because of not being sealed as well. Any information would be appriciated.

June 02, 2012, 12:01
I would tend to agree.

June 02, 2012, 12:14
they last a long time. I have some ancient paper hulled ammo that will still fire in a pinch.

June 02, 2012, 12:51
I have quite a few loose paper shells from the '50s that belonged to my grandfather, I fire a few every year and they have always seemed to act normal in the Winchester model 1897 that came with them.;)

June 02, 2012, 13:41
Well I feel a little better now as I have taken almost no extra caution with them.
But maby now put the box in a plastic bag with some dessicant?

I got a little concerned when a freind told me that an old (older than us) gunsmith told him they were only good for about seven years. Yeegads!

K. Funk
June 02, 2012, 16:54
I guess a lot depends on how they were stored, if they were handloaded and if so what the condition of the components was. I had some older, as in very old, paper shells that were reloaded at some point. They were basically bloop shells. Pull the trigger and BLOOP, I think it was the primer charge. The shot just rolled out of the barrel. I think one in 10 actually fired. I was careful to make sure the bore was clear between each shot.


June 02, 2012, 17:40
Quality plastic shotgun shells that are kept dry will last as long as metallic cartridges.

Be careful of the cheap shells that have "plated" bases.
The underlying metal will rust easily.
I had some Fiocchi shells that I had to wire-brush the rust off.
I bought them at a gun store, and stored them on a shelf in the factory cardboard boxes for several years before I discovered the rust.

I have some Remington #4 "waterfowl/turkey" loads that have been in-and-out of the magazine of my primary pump-gun for years. The blackish coating on the bases is starting to wear off a bit, but otherwise they look as good as the day I bought them (~10 years ago???)

I like #4's for around-the-back-yard shotgun ammo.
I have a FAL if I need to make deeper holes.

I had a 3" magnum round with #4's that I carried around for years.
Finally let my wife shoot that one from the single-barrel when we were on a date before we were married.
It looked like it kicked about as much as normal.
She didn't think it was much.
So I married her.

June 02, 2012, 19:40
My #4's are Fiocchi's and I have some Italian playthings but serious bucks and slugs are Federals. I think maby I need some more 50cal boxes. Some cheap ones I got had some holes rusted in them.

June 05, 2012, 17:49
Shot a turkey with some old '50's era waxed paper wraps and a damascus barrel baker I got from my dad a few years ago. Everything worked just fine. 'course they never spent anytime in a godforsaken humid place.

Declined to use some modern plastic ammo that has been rattling around in the damp drunk of my car for a year after duck hunting.

storage is everything.

June 05, 2012, 18:17
I'm going to metal ammo cans for everything. Think I shouhd stick in a little dessicant?

June 05, 2012, 19:23
I have an ammo can full of S&B 00 buck that I bought in 1997(no dessicant) that's still good shooting ammo. I also have a few unopened cases of the same ammo acting as 'ballast' in the bottom of my safe, as well. The ammo shoots like a blunderbuss out of my old Mossberg 7-shot, but I keep Winchester #1 buck in/on the gun for "serious" purposes. The S&B is for if/when the balloon goes up/TSHTF/Zombie Apocalypse/etc. and a tighter pattern isn't my primary concern.

Timber Wolf
June 06, 2012, 10:56
Pack ammo (including shotgun shells) during dry weather in a good ammo can. GTG for as long as any of us will care.

June 06, 2012, 16:42
Bought some of the GI Win. 00 buck a couple years ago from CTD or someone & the bases aren't as WEG says brass........They have corroded all to hell, so I have about 100 rounds to blast..