How Old Is This Ammo?

I think sometimes guys at my club still have ammo in their closets that they stockpiled from the Nixon Administration.  Last week when I was at the range, snooping in the brass bucket for goodies, I found 9mm brass with S&W head stamp on it.  At first I thought they were .40 S&W, and was ready to leave them, but then I saw they did indeed say 9mm on them.  But wait, I’ve never heard of Smith & Wesson ammo.  Then I found this box in the trash:

This box lacks all the lead warning labels of modern ammunition. Also no warning about children. Clearly this box heralds from a bygone era when lead was considered an essential component of healthy nutrition, and no one would dream of suing the ammo maker if Junior found grandpa’s war bring back in the closet, and wasn’t careful enough with his muzzle and trigger discipline.

The question is, would this ammo have been worth anything to a collector? I wonder how much money this guy blew by shooting this ammo.

UPDATE: Someone pointed out the box says Keep away from children. Somehow I didn’t see that.

10 thoughts on “How Old Is This Ammo?”

  1. I pulled a couple .50 cal ammo cans full of S&W branded .45 ACP out of my grandfather’s “survival” stash a couple years ago. The boxes looked identical to the one pictured but were .45 ACP.

    I’m reasonably positive the shed was built close to 1980 and all the supplies were stocked shortly there after. I’d say probably around 1982 for the stuff I found. I’d imagine the vintage of that 9mm to be similar.

    Since the stuff I found was stored well and didn’t show any signs of corrosion or other issues, I shot it up. It worked like a champ and I’m still reloading the brass.

    The beans he had stashed in a drum did not hold up as well.

  2. I just checked my reloading bench and found a couple of the old boxes. Price tag says $16.42. It certainly wasn’t cheap ammo for the time. Boxes are just like that one, no lead warning, no child warning, just ammo.

  3. Oh yeah, I’m still shooting WW2 AP – it was first loaded in 1943 (headstamp), and it was repacked in 1946. I just threw away the huge wooden box w/steel liner that the ammo was shipped in. Works fine.

  4. “…Also no warning about children…”

    On the box: “Keep out of reach of children.” Or are you thinking of something else?

  5. I’d guess those came from the 70s. My uncle had some old S&W branded ammo. Box was a little different. They were Nyclad .38s which Federal eventually bought out.

  6. When I was younger and just getting into shooting, my grandmother gave me a box of assorted ammo that belonged to my grandfather. All kinds of assorted stuff, mostly from the 60’s. A brick of Remington .22 Long Rifle “Klean Bore”, some 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer (without a rifle, unfortunately), old .32 and .380 ACP, etc. I wondered if any of it was worth any money, and the conclusion I came to was “Yeah, you can shoot it in a gun!” So, whenever I got a firearm in that caliber, I shot it off. There was some 1944 .45 ACP which I shot off to compare it to current production for accuracy which I kinda wish I had kept until I had a chronograph, but common calibers aren’t really worth a lot unless they’re really unique, such as the steel cased .45 ACP from WWII (which isn’t what mine was).

    Just make sure you clean your bore with the old stuff. Non-corrosive primers weren’t common until the 60’s.

  7. “Uh…
    On the box: “Keep out of reach of children.” Or are you thinking of something else?”

    Doh! I guess I should have my eyes checked. I went straight for the fine print on the back of the box and never bothered to check any of the other sides.

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