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What is the maximum amount of time that Duty Ammo is good for?

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  • What is the maximum amount of time that Duty Ammo is good for?

    .

    There really isn't a place for this question so I'm posting it here. Firstly, I'm not looking for the "Recommended" amount of time you should use duty ammo before you change it out, I'm looking for the maximum amount of time you can use duty ammo before it is changed out.



    I thought that in the right conditions ammo should never break down and can be used forever.



    The reason I'm asking is because we were issued or bought patrol rifles for use on our police department and they issued everyone 60 rounds of ammo. I have a total of 6 mags, which would be 180 rounds. When I asked for more they said no, it wasn't in the budget. I can understand that since our department and almost all other law enforcement departments have had rough times for quite awhile with no end in sight. I was told we need to purchase our own ammo if we want more then what's issued.


    It's Federal LE ammo and fairly expensive. It doesn't help that my room-mate recently lost his job and money has been tight for awhile.


    I would like to buy my own ammo, but will need to keep it as long as possible without replacing it. It will be inside magazines (not the rifle unless I need to chamber a round), which will be in a soft case and either in my locker or trunk of my squad, so the ammo will not be exposed to the elements at all.




    1.) How long can this ammo last without being changed out?




    2.) When should I empty the magazines and let the springs rest and how long do they need to rest for? (ex: Like once a month for 1 day).



    .

  • #2
    I went to the range yesterday to do my HR 218 qual. As a retiree I have to provide my own ammunition. I reached in the closet and pulled out a couple of boxes of ammunition that has been sitting there since 1984. It all shot fine, so we know that Winchester Super X should be good for at least 27 years. <G>
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      Take a paper clip, bend it sharply once, leave it way for 100yrs. Bend it back and forth 100 times and it breaks, load/unload/load/unload is what breaks magazine springs they do not need to rest.

      I am still using magazines that were loaded in VietNam and the ammo and mags feed just fine.

      What you need more ammo for is practice with the weapon platform.

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      • #4
        I have .30-06 ammo stored in sealed "Spam cans" that is 40 years old and all of it has worked so far. You won't want to make it quite that hard to access, but if you load the mags and put them into a GI ammo can with a small desiccant bag, you can probably take them to the range to celebrate your retirement.
        "Son, you are a walkin' violation of the laws of nature...But we don't enforce them laws."

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        But I'd like to ask the Congress, I'd like to ask the President
        "Can ya tell me where all the money went?"
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        • #5
          Originally posted by David Hineline View Post
          Take a paper clip, bend it sharply once, leave it way for 100yrs. Bend it back and forth 100 times and it breaks, load/unload/load/unload is what breaks magazine springs they do not need to rest.

          I am still using magazines that were loaded in VietNam and the ammo and mags feed just fine.

          What you need more ammo for is practice with the weapon platform.
          This is such a succinct and comprehensive answer, I should have it tatooed to my forearm so I can repeat it verbatim whenever this topic comes up.
          There are basically two kinds of people in this world. Those that believe in the moon landing and those that don't.
          http://unistat76.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            We replace the duty ammo for all weapons (pistols, shotguns, rifles) once a year. I have no idea what the actual "shelf life" is of the ammo. I guess the department doesn't feel like finding out either.
            Anything worth shooting is worth shooting 3 or 4 times.

            M-11

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 5031OKC View Post
              We replace the duty ammo for all weapons (pistols, shotguns, rifles) once a year. I have no idea what the actual "shelf life" is of the ammo. I guess the department doesn't feel like finding out either.
              A friend who is with CBP says that when they qualify, they use up the ammo they've been carrying and load new duty ammo at the end. They do quals three or four times a year I think. They're also given a box of ammo a month for practice, the good stuff, not range ammo.
              There are basically two kinds of people in this world. Those that believe in the moon landing and those that don't.
              http://unistat76.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                I used to shoot fifty year old military ball. It will "keep" for decades. That said, there is no reason you can't cycle through it and replace it over several years.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Unistat View Post
                  A friend who is with CBP says that when they qualify, they use up the ammo they've been carrying and load new duty ammo at the end.
                  That's more or less what we do. We qualify twice a year. At one of the qualifications (the fall one I think) we shoot up our duty ammo and are then issued new duty ammo.
                  Anything worth shooting is worth shooting 3 or 4 times.

                  M-11

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Unistat View Post
                    A friend who is with CBP says that when they qualify, they use up the ammo they've been carrying and load new duty ammo at the end. They do quals three or four times a year I think. They're also given a box of ammo a month for practice, the good stuff, not range ammo.


                    That's what we do, sadly though since we are a large department we only qual 1 time a year.




                    I wish we could shoot more, but budget and time are both at a premium.

                    .

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HEDP View Post
                      That's what we do, sadly though since we are a large department we only qual 1 time a year.




                      I wish we could shoot more, but budget and time are both at a premium.

                      .
                      That's the strangest thing I've ever heard. You're a large department and you guys can only qualify once per year? Sounds like someone needs to learn how to manage a schedule up there.
                      Why are there so many babies on O.com? Creole, you and your buddy JPSO Recruit help me out on this one....

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                      • #12
                        I would personally say you need to invest in at least 60 rounds of personal practice every quarter at a minimum. If you're concerned about duty ammo, you can shoot your and this training cycle will replace all your personal duty ammunition every six months. This shouldn't cost you more than about $150 every six months ($25 per month). Kinda like those commercials on TV, "For less than the price of a cup of coffee..."

                        For me, cycling the ammo isn't the issue as much as getting reps on your rifle. If you carry your ammo in a reasonable environment and keep it dry, then its lifespan is years, and you can train with cheaper ammo. This means you could spend less, or shoot more.

                        Also, you don't need to cycle your magazines, the springs don't need to rest. A bunch of physics terms like stored energy, elastic limit, Hooke's Law, and spring tension could explain why, but just trust that a quality magazine spring is made to run loaded. Repeated use over time is much harder on them than leaving them loaded. You're going to have to shoot a lot to load and unload your mags enough that you need to worry about it.
                        "A fanatic is one who won't change his mind, and won't change the subject." -Winston Churchill

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                        • #13
                          The mags are going to be fine without any kind of unloading and loading, the ammo for years unless its sitting in water, or oil. Even wipe it and it'll probably go bang most of the time anyway.
                          "Well, I never had an invisible friend when I was young, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be Constable Smiley."

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                          • #14
                            I shoot the carry ammo I have loaded in my carry gun and spare mags(2) on an annual basis. Without opening up a discussion of bullet setback from constant reloading I'll add this.

                            When I go to the range to practice, I'll leave the chambered round there and insert a mag loaded with ball ammo. that carry round gets fired. when done I'll pull a fresh round out of the box and reload accordingly. I try not to rechamber a round multiple times. Once or twice is enough.

                            As far as letting springs rest or replacing springs. Many schools of thought. I have a two Glock mags that came with my 23 that are still on the original springs and followers. No problems yet with thousands of rounds through them. This is not to say its wise. I just don't carry those mags and could care less. 10 round mags from pre 2004. I would like one of these two mags to fail during a training class or range visit. I'd get real practice clearing a malfunction and getting the gun running again.

                            On a shotgun I know one instructor that suggest replacing that magazine spring annually. Ironically it was his shotgun that had the mag spring break in class one night. We all laughed when he couldn't get a round to chamber and said screw it. Finished the drill with his pistol. Case in point, these things can and will fail.

                            Choose your own interval to perform maintenance on your equipment. You might have a bad spring, you might have a bad magazine body. Magazines and their components are cheap.

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                            • #15
                              Mag spring do not "take a set" as they did 50 years ago. If you want to help your mas, remove 1-2 rounds, to reduce the pressure on the feed lips, as they can slowly bend out of shape.

                              I routinly shoot 50 year old ammo that has been stored 'who knows how' - it all goes bang!
                              "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                              John Stuart Mill

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