Does Ammunition Have an Expiration Date?

Ammunition doesn’t really “expire” in the same way as batteries or other things with more specific functional life spans do. But it’s possible for gunpowder to have a loss of potency over time, which could present some potential risks if you use older ammo. Below, the firearms safety education professionals from Gun Safety Training Pros, your premier choice if you’re looking for a high-quality handgun safety class online, explore what can happen as ammunition ages and what to do if you have older ammo.

Why Ammo Has No Predictable Expiration Date

Typically, there’s no expiration date on currently manufactured gunpowder products. This is because ammunition has the potential to have an unlimited life span when it’s properly stored. Also, the length of time ammo will retain its full consistency and firing ability will depend on how well it was manufactured and other factors related to quality. What’s more, the way you store your ammo over time will affect how well it works as it ages. For instance, if it’s randomly moved and kept in different locations, the box may become damaged enough to affect quality.

Risks of Using Older Ammo

Failure to fire is one potential risk associated with ammunition that’s been sitting around for a while. However, the biggest possible risk is lack of momentum. This can result in the bullet not having enough force to leave the chamber. Should this happen, the bullet that didn’t fire could block the next one, which could damage your firearm or cause personal harm. Minimize this risk by taking the following actions if your shot sounds unusual or behaves in an unexpected way:

• Don’t fire the gun again right away
• Safely unload your firearm
• Run a rod down the barrel to determine if the bullet is still in there
• Dislodge the bullet if there’s one stuck in the barrel
• Check the rest of the ammo or replace it entirely with new ammo

Even if old ammo does leave the barrel, it may peter out and miss its intended target. This can be a serious problem if you’re in a situation where you need to fire your gun for personal safety reasons.

Keeping Ammo Safe & in Good Condition

The general recommendation with ammunition is to store it in a cool, dry place. Ideally, this should also be a place without exposure to direct sunlight. It’s also better for ammo not to be exposed to drastic temperature changes where it’s stored. Keep your ammunition safe and in good condition by:

• Not storing your ammo near oils, solvents, or anything else that could leak
• Not putting your ammo in a hot car trunk or similar location for long periods
• Putting your ammo in an airtight canister if it’s in a place where humidity levels are high
• Using what you stored first to prevent any one box from sitting around unused for too long 

If you’re a gun owner, safety should be your top priority, and that includes knowing the proper way to handle, store, and use ammo. If you’d like to learn more about gun safety, call on the experts at Gun Safety Training Pros. We’re committed to providing the finest firearms training available. If you’re looking for a superior online gun safety class, we have everything you need. Contact us today at [email protected].

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