Is 35-Year-Old Ammunition Still Good?

Can you imagine purchasing a .38 Special revolver, loading it with 6 rounds of ammunition and putting it on your night stand hoping you never had to use it?

I’m sure you can.

Now imagine that 35 years LATER, having never fired the gun or checked the ammunition, an intruder crashes through your bedroom window in the middle of the night, so you grab your gun, point and press the trigger …

What do you think is going to happen?

See the news story below to find out what happened to a Crest Hill, Illinois, man who did exactly that …

Herald News


October 10, 2008
From Staff Reports

CREST HILL — The same six bullets sat in the cylinder of the man’s .38 special for 35 years until he fired four of them at someone who crashed through his bedroom window Wednesday.

I often wondered if I could pick it up and pull the trigger, the shaken and emotional man said Thursday morning, hours after he gunned down an intruder in his basement apartment.

The apparent housebreaker, 34-year-old Demetrious Groves, a downstate man who moved a block away from the apartment about three months ago, was taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center. He died about an hour after he arrived.

The apartment’s resident, a 68-year-old man, said he was watching the news on television when he got up and went into his bedroom about 6 p.m.
Because the man has not been charged with any crime, The Herald News is not identifying him.

When I got to the door, I heard a loud thump at my window, said the retired electronic technician who served aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War.

I took a few steps to my window, and this big black guy threw himself through my window, he said.

The intruder hit the floor, he said, rolled and popped up. The resident grabbed the .38 from his night table and squeezed off four shots.

I think the last shot, I must have hit him pretty good and he fell down, he said. He was talking to me. He said, ’A black guy was chasing me so I went through your window.’ I said, ’Why did you go through my window? Why didn’t you go around the building?’

Police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson said detectives were still investigating all facets of the case. If Groves was being chased, his pursuers have not been identified.

The resident called the police. When they arrived, he was ordered to the ground, handcuffed and taken to the police station. A detective interviewed him before he returned home.

Before I left, they told me he had died, he said of Groves. Investigation continues.

Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for State’s Attorney James Glasgow, said the incident remains under investigation and noted that the resident was cooperating with the police.

The man said he did not know where the bullets hit Groves. Deputy Coroner Bob Brenczewski said his office would not release that information. Coroner Patrick O’Neil said only that Groves suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The man said he bought the never-before-fired gun for protection decades ago.

I live here by myself in a garden apartment, and the neighborhood down the street’s getting kind of rough, he explained.

He called his reaction to the man coming through his window instinct.

I don’t know what else to call it, just instinct, he said. I’ve had the gun sitting on my night stand for years, loaded. I didn’t want to shoot anybody. I was hoping I’d never have to use it.

The morning after Groves’ death, he said he was visited by a man who asked, Did you shoot my brother?

He was nice, the resident said. He wasn’t agitated or mad or anything. He said he wanted to see where he was shot.

He said he brought the man into his bedroom, which was splattered with Groves’ blood.

I told him I was sorry, he said. He just shook my hand or hugged me, or whatever. He cried a little bit, and he left.

The title of the news story is completely inaccurate. This gun owner was not prepared. He was lucky, dumb lucky.

After 35 years of never firing or checking his weapon or ammunition, he is lucky the mechanism of the revolver had not rusted or the ammunition corroded — especially in the extremely humid summers and freezing winters of Illinois!

Still, it certainly proves that ANY gun (and ammo) is better than no gun at all.

It also proves that a lethal confrontation can happen to anyone, at any time, and if you do not have a gun, you may be out of luck.

In this case Lady Luck was sitting on this gun owner’s night stand.

But PLEASE, don’t bet your life or the lives of your loved ones on a gun and ammunition you have not shot for 35 years!


Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Front Sight Founder and Director
Four-Weapons Combat Master
Your host of Front Sight Challenge Reality TV Series

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