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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Old ammo, still good?

    I have some old ammo, .38 S&W caliber they look OK except for maybe some darkening on the actual bullet; here is the link. Thanks,

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Use it for target work only. If you get a bunch of failures to fire, stop using it. Once the primer has been hit with a firing pin and it has not discharged then the bullet becomes a safety concern. I have not had that happen in so long a time that I've forgotten the safety drill for that. Someone else will have to chime in.

    But don't carry this for your personal protection. It appears to be FMJ which was not very effective to start with, and reliablity is somewhat suspect.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northwest Washington State
    You say "old." OK, how old?
    It looks as if it could be British military rounds for the .380 Enfield revolver, which is the same as our .38 S&W, but with a heavier bullet.

    Try a few rounds, taken at random from their container. If they go off satisfactorily, the rest of them are probably OK.
    I have .45 ACP rounds I handloaded 30 years ago, and they are still good (and dependable).

    If you experience a "squib" (that is, the primer fires but the powder doesn't) you will probably find the bullet lodged in your pistol's barrel. Stop immediately, unload the gun, and check that the barrel is clear. Do not fire another shot.
    If the bullet is stuck in the barrel, you will need a wooden or brass rod (not steel), and a hammer or mallet to drive it out.
    I suggest that only one "squib" shot would be grounds to get rid of the entire lot, unfired.

    If you experience a misfire (that is, the hammer falls but nothing happens) the drill is to keep the gun pointed downrange and under control for a full minute, before doing anything about it.
    Then unload the pistol and examine the rounds. One's primer should show a "dimple" where it was struck by the firing pin. (If not, the gun is defective.)
    Try firing a different round. If it misfires, discard the lot.
    If it fires, keep the stuff for target practice, but keep your ears tuned-in for squibs and misfires.

    One unattended squib, after which another shot is fired, can ruin your pistol, your hand, and your entire day.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    I have fired some older .38 S&W cartridges, and one of them was a black powder loaded round... Tells you how old they were LOL. Actually I'm going shooting tomorrow and have a handful of old .38 S&W Cartridges that I will attempt to fire. If they are duds, I'll pull the bullet, and reload them.

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