Question: shelf life of 22LR ammo?

I have recently watched or read something, any way it’s in my head, about 22LR ammo storage. Something that suggests they are only good for few years and then go off, I suppose? Maybe moisture gets in them maybe primer compound neutralises, no idea… I usually take these things with a grain (read: very large sack) of salt.

Putting it out to the crowd here, what do you think? What’s a shelf life of 22LR ammo in good, moisture free environment (e.g. jar with desiccant or ammo can or whatever)? Mine doesn’t last that long anyway, but I am interested if there is some truth to that statement?

50+ Years stored well.


I’ve got ammo from when I got my first 22 at 6yr old an old single shot handed down to me at that age I was only allowed to shoot with an adult and you only shot to eat hence I still have bullets although I’ve unloaded quiet a few new 22 's since then so 6yr old to 64yr old =58yrs and my granddaughter fire a couple a few weeks back still good ammo


Awesome. Thanks for clarifications.

@anon19591382, seems like you don’t shoot enough :slight_smile:

No quiet the opposite I do shoot plenty but I have kept 2 boxes of 22 from way back then sentimental thing that’s all they were made to last back then I don’t know how this new stuff would last but I presume if looked after it would be the same of late I haven’t shot much I’ve been fighting a few medical issues but hopefully will be back in full swing soon

Get well!

I must admit, I do have an ammo can of ammo that won’t be shot, I suppose.

Thanks JS means a lot it has been a long 3yrs for me and my family but getting there

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I don’t think it’s a matter of the powder going “off”, but some types of lube (waxes) DO harden and go somewhat “chalky” with age. Exposure to a bit of moderate warming (NOT hot) can reverse that process, but if not, I wouldn’t worry too much.

So, is this suggesting that there might be a difference between the shelf life of rimfire and centrefire ammo???

I’ve got some .310 cadet ammo that dates back to the 50’s that definitely wasn’t stored well. Of the handful I did fire, about half didn’t fire. When I was a kid (late 80’s) we found a stash of WW2 dated surplus 303 ammo and blasted it all off. I don’t recall any “hang fires” or “fail to fires” but it was a long time ago. That ammo was 40 something years old…

I am not making a suggestions, I am asking the question. But the question is exactly that, yes.

Like the others said, good storage and the shelf life can extend to decades. I have several packets of various 22 that I use to find what ammo a new 22 likes, then buy that brand/weight combo and some of it is 10+ years. Some other plinking ammo is ex-comp that is 30+ years old and now and then a mate gives me stuff he finds in old farmhouses he demolishes and the good looking packets can be 50+ and still shoot. Storage is everything, even CF, I shoot 1910 and 1912 dated MkVI 303 in my Martini, only avg 1 in 10 misfires, the 70’s POF crap that was around a few years back wasn’t that good! Perhaps what you have in your head was placed there by a gunshop owner trying to flog you more ammo? Cheers.

I have some paper shotshells from God only knows how long ago (got em in a big box of random when a mate closed his shop) and they worked, well the couple I tried, some were pretty corroded and I didn’t try them.

I go a bit OCD if i’m packing ammo for long term storage, i put everything out in the sun for a bit to ensure there’s no moisture then vac seal it.
Years back i had some ammo for my M1 30 carbine that was stuffed from poor storage, it would’ve been about 10 years old & all went into the bin.
As others have said if you do it right it should last decades.

Nah, it was some YouTube video I was watching (pretty sure), I can’t remember what it was, but it was one of those passing comments. It lingered in the back of my mind, so I thought I’d pop it here.

Not sure why you would want to know about storage of .22’s for, they don’t last long enough at your place to have any left to store…


True… Just a video I watched and wanted to confirm.