Do Shotgun Shells Go Bad? Knowing Shelf Life & What To Do

Do shotgun shells go bad? For many shotgun owners, this is a common question. While there are a few ways to tell if a shotgun shell is past its expiration date. There are some general rules of thumb to consider when determining whether or not your shells are still safe to use. In my article, I’ll discuss what causes shotgun shells to expire, how to tell if they have gone bad, and how to properly store shotgun shells to ensure they stay in good condition.

Does Your Shotgun Ammo Have an Expiration Date?

Yes, most shotgun ammo does have an expiration date. The expiration date is usually printed on the box of ammunition or can be found on the manufacturer’s website. The expiration date is typically two to three years from the date of manufacture. Some manufacturers may list a longer expiration date. It is always good to check with the manufacturer for the exact expiration date for the ammunition you are using.

In addition to the expiration date, you should store and handle ammunition correctly to ensure it is safe and reliable. Ammunition should be stored in a cool, dry place and away from any source of heat or moisture. It should also be kept away from any flammable materials. And don’t forget to check and clean ammunition to ensure it is in good condition and free from any dirt or debris.

How to Tell if Your Shotgun Shells Have Gone Bad?

  1. Check the Expiration Date: Most shotgun shells have an expiration date printed on the back of the box. Make sure to check this date before using the shells. If the date has passed, it is best to discard the shells and not use them.
  2. Inspect the Shells: Pay close attention to the shells and inspect them for any signs of damage or discoloration. If you see any signs of damage, discard the shells and do not use them.
  3. Check the Powder: Take a few of the shotgun shells and open them up. Check the powder inside the shells. If the powder is clumping, discolored, or damaged in any way, discard the shells and do not use them.
  4. Try a Dummy Round: Take one of the shells and load it in your gun. Do not fire the gun, but just see if the shell will chamber properly. If the shell does not chamber properly, discard the shells and do not use them.

Save Money by Knowing When Your Shotgun Shells Go Bad

Many shotgun shells are designed to remain viable for several years, but they do eventually go bad. That means that the powder and other components in the shell can break down over time, resulting in a less effective round. It can be a major problem if you’re relying on the shells to get a clean kill when hunting or in a competition.

Here are a few tips to help you save money by knowing when your shotgun shells go bad.

  1. Know the expiration date. Many shotgun shells come with an expiration date on the label. Make sure you check this date every time you buy new shells, and ensure that you’re not using any that are beyond their expiration date.
  2. Store your shells properly. It’s important to keep your shells in a cool, dry place. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and other environmental factors can all contribute to the breakdown of shotgun shells over time.
  3. Inspect your shells before using them. Always check the shells before using them to make sure they’re intact and not damaged in any way. Make sure the powder is still good and that there are no visible signs of corrosion or other damage.
  4. Test your shells. The only way to truly know if your shells are still good is to test them. This can be done by firing a few rounds and checking the results. If the shells don’t perform as expected, then it’s time to replace them.

Now you can save money by knowing when your shotgun shells go bad by following these tips. It will help ensure you’re always using the best quality ammunition available so that you’re getting the most out of your money.

Here’s How to Know: Is Your Shotgun Shells Stale?

The best way to tell if your shotgun shells are stale is to inspect the brass. Look for any signs of corrosion or discoloration on the brass.

  • If the brass looks tarnished or discolored, the shells may be too old to be reliable.
  • If your shells feel unusually light, it could mean that the powder inside has deteriorated.
  • Finally, if your shells smell musty or have visible condensation, they are definitely stale and should be discarded.

How Long Does Shotgun Shells Last?

The shelf life of shotgun shells can vary depending on the type of shell and the quality of the shell. Generally, high-quality shotshells can last up to 10 years if stored in a cool, dry place.

Store Shotgun Shells to Prolong Their Life

  1. Store in a cool, dry place: Shotgun shells have a tendency to deteriorate if exposed to too much heat and humidity, so it is important to store them in a cool, dry place. This could be a closet, basement, or garage.
  2. Keep away from direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause shotgun shells to change color and also make them more brittle.
  3. Keep away from strong odors: Strong odors, such as those from paint, oil, or other chemicals, can damage the gunpowder inside the shotgun shell and make it less effective.
  4. Store in an airtight container: Storing shotgun shells in an airtight container will help to protect them from moisture and dust. This can help to extend their life and make them more reliable when shooting.
  5. Store in a separate container: If you have multiple types of shotgun shells, it is important to store them separately. Different types of shells can have different levels of moisture, which can cause them to corrode or become less effective.
  6. Rotate your shells: To ensure your shotgun shells last, as long as possible, it is important to rotate them on a regular basis. It will help to prevent them from becoming stale. Moreover, it will also make sure you have a fresh batch for when you need them.

The Hidden Danger of Expired Shotgun Shells

The hidden danger of expired shotgun shells is that they can become much less reliable and potentially dangerous. Over time, the gunpowder in the shells can deteriorate and become less powerful, which can cause a misfire or other malfunction.

  • The shells can also become more vulnerable to moisture and environmental conditions, which can create a risk of a misfire or failure.
  • The components of the shells can become brittle and cracked, increasing the risk of them splitting and causing a muzzle blast that could harm the shooter.
  • The shells can become more susceptible to corrosion, which can cause a malfunction or jam.

Be Prepared: Make Sure Your Shotgun Shells Don’t Go Bad!

  1. Store shells in a cool, dry place. Excessive heat and humidity can cause shells to degrade and become less reliable.
  2. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Just as with heat and humidity, direct sunlight can cause shells to degrade and become less reliable.
  3. Inspect shells before use. Look for signs of rust, dents, or other signs of damage. Discard any shells that appear to have been damaged in any way.
  4. Rotate your shells. The older shells should be used first, and newer shells should be saved for later. This will help ensure that all of your shells are in good working condition.
  5. Use a quality shell lubricant. This will help to protect your shells from corrosion and keep them working reliably.
  6. Clean your shotgun regularly. A clean shotgun will ensure that your shells are firing correctly and safely.

Last Line

Yes, shotgun shells can go bad. The powder and shot inside the shells can become too old to perform reliably over time. Furthermore, the shells may become corroded or otherwise damaged which could affect their performance. For best results, it is recommended that shotgun shells be replaced after two years or less.