Hmmm......News to Me-Shelf life in afghanistqan

Any thoughts on this? … fghanistan

After training or an operation some of your carry ammo could be damaged and unsuitable for use, but I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about here.

“We can’t do that because ammo has a shelf life of just six months,” explained Captain Evans.”

I can hardly believe what I am reading here.

It sounds like he means that ammo once issued to the field which is being carried in magazines and belt boxes aboard vehicles has a shelf life of 6 months. Cartridges then are much more stressed than ammo in storage, means seals are cracking, temperature is changing and all materials are subject to temperature related expansion and shrinking what definately is reducing the expected life time.
More complicated weapon systems like missiles etc. are subject to very tight surveilance once they have been moved from one climate zone to another. A couple of such “switches” may end up in a complete overhaul or even disposal of the item in question.

Aircrafts which take off with life ammo for their aircraft guns will be unloaded when they return and this ammo will not be used again. Here too the pyhsical stress and temperature changes do not allow to use it a second time.

Some spec ops units do not even reuse the cartrdiges (unless for training) which they bring back from a mission. Means once loaded into a magazine and carried around for even only hours will disqualify the rounds from being used on a second mission. Having this in mind 6 months sound like a long time…

And added to EOD’s observations above there is a strictly enforced rule namely that ‘used’ military ammo will not ever be sold off as surplus because the british authorities are scared yellow it will enter the illegal market if it is not destroyed. The transport to and from the sandbox is not reliable when it comes to security.
In my experience such ammunition is not suitable for training or competitive shooting, since you never know what it has been through temperature-wise etc.
When surplussed from stocks in Blighty, 5,56 mm (L21A1 for example) is sold throught the normal channels for surplus gear and ammo. Have shot a bit of L21 (made by RUAG) and it is very good for Parctical rifle or Civilian Service rifle disciplines.

Small mixed lots of swedish made 5,56 mm have been sold on the danish market. Although obvious range pickup material, I have never heard of any complaints, but wouldn’t shoot it myself.

I wonder if they are using lead-free non-toxic primers which have a relatively shorter shelf-life (for function guarantee on par with traditional primers) and they just don’t mention it? Still… 6 mos is pretty low.

I have some 5.56 R.O.R.G. from the 90’s which is bulk packed and it has been the best performing ammo I have used in that caliber (better than factory-new Winchester) - and it is clearly roughed up and older…


I would hope not. My personal experience and what the industry has said about ‘green’ primers is that their failure rate is higher. ATK does not use them in LE duty ammo for this reason and I think it’d be just a critical for .mil. Then again, weirder things have happened…

One of the problems expressed regarding lead-free primers is that the impact-sensitive material, Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP), loses its sensitivity at very low temperatures (below -20 degrees F.), whereas lead styphnate does not. That seemed to be the major military concern regarding their use in service ammunition. For ammunition used for training purposes, there is no such concern. I still have a great amount of “green primer” ammunition from the late 1990s, and it still seems to work 100%. I fired some several weeks ago. DDNP-containing primers were used in considerable amounts during WWII and I do not remember anything about their unreliability at that time.

Bundeswehr and German police have switched to non-toxic primers (Sintox) many years ago and I never have heard any complaints. I myself have fired several hundred 7.62 mm DM111 produced in the early nineties -nearly twenty years old now- without failure in any of my rifles.

It’s not that the ammunition has a 6 month shelf life. We have all fired ammunition that was 50-60 years old… What I am hearing is that their POLICY is to rotate out ammunition after 6 months. Ammunition is an expendable or consumable item in the military mindset, just like food and fuel. If a soldier takes out 300 rounds of 5.56 ammunition on a mission, that ammunition is expended wether he fired it or not. When you are in combat and your fate is dancing on the tip of a needle, you want the newest and freshest ammunition possible just to be on the safe side… I’m sure every country has specific policies regarding this practice, but the idea is essentially the same. When my unit returned to Saudi Arabia from Kuwait at the end of operation Desert Storm, we turned in all of our un-expended ammunition. It was all dumped into an empty 55 gallon oil drum and buried out in the desert somewhere. It could have been used for training, but it was considered “expended” and thus had no value. I think this particular case in the linked article is to the extreme, driven by a gun and ammunition phobic government, which is incredibly odd in a war zone…