How long would things last in a PA world?

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Dead Guy, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Honey is one thing. Ham is another.
     
  2. raynor009

    raynor009 Hell yeah!

    252
    Apr 29, 2012
    If everything was crumbled and laid to dust then Fallout wouldn't be a very fun game would it? You could never compare a game to real world.
     
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  3. Dead Guy

    Dead Guy Senate Board Director oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 9, 2008
    Good thing this discussion is about the post apocalyptic setting in general and not Fallout in particular, then.
     
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  4. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    858
    Apr 22, 2016
    From my experience from corrosion control, and ordinance handling from the U.S. Navy. I can say for a fact that ammunition produced 200 years ago would not be in operational condition. However, if those munitions were stored in a climate controlled, and sealed environment they could still technically be viable after 100 years. But not at their designed specifications. Bear in mind I'm talking about military grade munitions in this case. However that is assuming we are using the cordite formula we currently have and that they have not experienced excessive heat or cold. But even with the best case scenario of storage for them in all likely hood the powder contained inside the casings would turn to dust or be rendered inert.

    Commercial munitions on the other hand would have been completely degraded to the point of being unusable at the 40 year mark. Mostly due to how the typical commercial user handles their ammunition, and also to factor in the fact that ammunition produced in this way is in no way comparable to the military graded ordinance. If left exposed to the surroundings for 1 year the casings would be corroded beyond viable usability not to mention the fact the risk of misfires and unusual wear the firearm would experience when trying to cycle those rounds.

    Firearms on the other hand would actually surprise you as they are much more durable than people give them credit for. If the firearm is built using mostly milled or forged metal then there is a very high chance of it surviving for 200 years in a workable service, provided of course the user is familiar with the firearm and its maintenance. Firearms with relatively few moving parts would be the most survivable such as a bolt action or muzzle loader. Military firearms depend, as some are made to be used and recycled, while others are designed to last for centuries much like the .50 cal HMG. Civilian commercially produced firearms on the other hand are more likely to fail since they are not required to be produced to survive "combat" conditions.

    Over all given the nature of current firearms and their associated munitions I could speculate that a majority of firearms would survive 1-5 years with constant use. If sealed and locked away those firearms would be perfectly fine provided of course the user had the required hazmat and know how to bring them back to a serviceable condition.

    So if everything goes to hell expect ammo and guns to be gone down the line.
     
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  5. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hey, there are nearly 150-200 year old firearms that work pretty well even today.
     
  6. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Shit, no equalizers.
     
  7. Dead Guy

    Dead Guy Senate Board Director oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 9, 2008
    I've read accounts, granted as unreliable as any other unsourced internet post:
    Someone firing rounds from 1880 in which case "a reasonable number" of them worked.
    Ammo stored in hot and humid conditions unusable after just a few years.
    Surplus WWII ammo stored in good conditions and all of them fired without trouble.
    Ammo from ~1925 working properly.
    WWI ammo used without problems, near 100 years old at the time of posting.
    Someone using 50-70 bullets from the 1870s that worked properly.

    So stored properly, at least ~90 years if that is to be believed. But I also read accounts of commercial ammo (WinClean) having primers with a shelf life of only 10 years even in perfect conditions. Guess it depends a lot on the make, if the casing is sealed or not, type of primer etc.
     
  8. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Well, it depends also a lot on the properties of the powder. Or at least I would think it does. If the chemical compounds still do what they should after 10, 50 or even 100 years. For example, gasoline can't be stored for very long before it starts to degrade and thus becoming useless as fuel. And I am not surprised that the older the power is, the better it will hold, simply because they had other requirements in the past where you had to store things for years centuries maybe. No clue, I am not an expert. It's just it seems in the past like 200 years ago it was very important that things could last for a very long time, for obvious reasons. Where as today, modern gunpoweder requires different properties.
     
  9. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    858
    Apr 22, 2016
    Modern "smokeless": gunpowder and cordite rely heavily on a catalyst to bind the combustible material into pellets, the specific size of those pellets are very important depending on the round loaded. Lets say if some of those pellets fracture or warp over time they will result in less reliable munitions as well greatly reduced velocities. (Due to an inconsistent burning of the propellant.)

    Black powder on the other hand is well, powder. But the problem with black powder is its sensitivity. Any introduction of a foreign material often results in the reduction of the yield or rendering the propellant inert. Plus over time all forms of propellant revert to a useless dust if allowed to naturally decay over time.

    A lot of people say they have been firing rounds from way back from WW2 or older. I can tell you as a fact that they are, and aren't at the same time. All those rounds are reloads, I would know I have a buddy who runs a range for "antique" firearm shooting, and every so often some joker comes along with dangerous ancient rounds thinking they are going to operate just fine. Believe me, they don't work since the current catalytic agent we currently use wasn't developed until the Vietnam conflict which allows greater retention of form and power. The binding agents they used to use were based on resin and combustible glues that would break down as one would expect they would when adhered to something that is technically an acid.

    On the other hand of the coin is the natural weakening of the binding agent, while the propellant will still be technically viable, the actual efficiency of the round will be greatly reduced.

    I agree that current rounds, if stored properly will last a good deal of time, but in this scenario I don't find that a likely, or reasonable point of debate.
     
  10. BairdEC

    BairdEC It Wandered In From the Wastes

    146
    Jun 21, 2015
    While I don't think ammunition will last forever, I was shooting .50 BMG with a stamp of 43 in 2006. We were not having misfires due to ammo, just headspace and timing. Maybe the rounds weren't moving as fast as they would have been in 1943, but they were still going downrange.
     
  11. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    858
    Apr 22, 2016
    Why were you shooting class H ammo in 2006? Those older rounds did not have the same grain amount as the ones produced today. If someone gave me ammo from 1943, I'd tell them to take it back.

    In the US military all ammo is assigned to a command for a maximum of 10 years (shells included), afterwards they reclassify it H for unusable and damaged due to the high likely hood of those rounds suffering various issues will contained at the command.

    But either way, for the purpose of the discussion its moot. This is supposed to be about post apoc world, chances of there being class H ammo laying around to be scavanged when the crap hits the metaphorical fan are low.
     
  12. BairdEC

    BairdEC It Wandered In From the Wastes

    146
    Jun 21, 2015
    Uncle Sam threw a party, and I was one of the invitees. I imagine the stuff was shipped to Iraq just to get rid of it. The cartridges were in good to respectable condition. Whether it was class H or not, I couldn't tell you. It didn't hurt that I was firing them from the weapon they were designed for. My unit inherited a conex full of .50 BMG, 7.62, and 5.56, some new, some old. It all went "bang" when it was supposed to.
     
  13. Shardik

    Shardik Still Mildly Glowing

    291
    Nov 5, 2015
    Reinforced concrete structures would most likely have almost completely collapsed after 200 years, especially in a humid and/or salt water environment. The steel reinforcing bars corrode from exposure to moisture (and especially salt), and when they do corrode their volume increases, introducing stresses in the concrete surrounding them that causes it to spall, cracking and then falling off the structure in pieces. Once enough of the concrete falls off, then the structure collapses.

    Concrete bridges are typically designed for a 50-year lifespan, and that's assuming regular inspection and maintenance are taking place.
     
  14. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    858
    Apr 22, 2016
    I have to agree with Shardik, while concrete is a great building material, it can't hold a candle to something as long lived as stone masonry. Concrete is very porous which allows it to not only retain a good deal of moisture, but depending on the "concrete" water can even pass through it. Crete's are notorious for being eroded by natural forces, and require regular maintenance.

    However stone masonry on the other hand last for an absurdly long time. If anything was built with stone by a relatively skilled mason that structure (at least the masonry parts) will stand the test of time. Provided of course they aren't toppled by other outside forces.

    They have recently made advances in chemical composition of various Crete's, but since it is more of an emulsion than a solid rock even those will have been rendered by time.
     
  15. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    In 200 years almost everything of modern civilisation will be gone and nowhere to be found ... where as the Pyramids and the great wall in China, will be still standing for thousands of years to come ...
    - The day humanity dissapeared.
     
  16. Shardik

    Shardik Still Mildly Glowing

    291
    Nov 5, 2015
    We're also starting to see more and more designs using non-corrosive reinforcement materials (mostly fiberglass), particularly in marine and other especially harsh environments. The problem, as always, is cost - though their unit cost has been coming down, using fiberglass rebars is still quite a bit more expensive than using steel ones.
     
  17. Operation Wignut

    Operation Wignut USSDF Riot Squad

    176
    Jul 31, 2016
    What is the assumed workings of terminals? Do they use vacuum tubes?
     
  18. Shardik

    Shardik Still Mildly Glowing

    291
    Nov 5, 2015
    I don't know for sure, since I don't think I've ever seen a terminal in the game smashed open so you can see the components. But since all the other electronics in the game seem to pre-date transistors and integrated circuits, I'd guess they probably do use vacuum tubes.
     
  19. Whammytap

    Whammytap First time out of the vault

    53
    Aug 5, 2016
    Yes. Transistors and semiconductors were never invented/discovered in the Fallout universe.
     
  20. Whammytap

    Whammytap First time out of the vault

    53
    Aug 5, 2016
    I don't have any of the technical qualifications the asker was hoping for, but I am one of those squirrely prepper people. There are a lot of great answers here so I'll try not to duplicate.

    In real life, it all depends upon conditions. UV radiation breaks down non-metallic materials badly enough as it is without more ionizing radiation on top of it--I assume we're talking about a nuclear flavor of apocalypse scenario. Unless you found food deep in a bunker, you wouldn't want to eat it; it's irradiated and will kill you. Guns in Cosmolene will be fine. Ammo probably not so much. Of the 8 cases of WWII milsurp rifle ammo I've bought and opened, only two were still hermetically sealed. Buildings with terracotta tile roofs *might* still have roofs. Stone houses away from direct blast zones will probably still have recognizable walls. Most things don't live in "a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight (ie. radiation)," which is how most everything is supposed to be stored.

    My specialty within the prepper community lies in learning and passing on "pioneer" skills of sustainable living. No matter how much food and gasoline and ammo you have stockpiled, you or your progency will eventually run out. So I think after 100-200 years, the people remaining would by then have learned to tan their own leather, grow linseed for oil to make paint and putty and lubricants, to make shoes and rope and dig root cellars to store food over winter without fancy preservation apparatus.

    You know how the American Indians boiled water without pots and pans? They'd heat a stone in the fire and drop it into a water skin. Genius. I think we'd be seeing a lot of low-tech wizardry like that.