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Storing Bulk Ammo Safely


Storing bulk ammo safely is a concern for many gun owners. With increasing ammunition costs, ever tightening ammo legislation and current global and domestic turmoil, the American citizen has a right - and depending on who you ask, a responsibility - to be adequately prepared to defend himself and his fellow citizens. But as we build up our personal inventories of ammunition and reloading supplies, how can we make sure we are doing so in a responsible and safe manner?

Most people build up their inventories a little bit at a time, buying a case here and a case there and adding it to their bulk ammo storage location. However, it is important to know the do's and don't of ammo storage, primarily for the safety of you and your loved ones. Plus, you want to make sure your ammunition lasts for years and years (decades, if stored correctly) so that you are prepared for anyone or anything that comes your way.

Ammo cans are one of the most effective ways to store bulk ammo. Your typical 50 cal ammo can could hold up to 1000 rounds of centerfire, depending on the caliber of ammunition you are storing. You may be able to fit even more rounds depending on the caliber.

The thing to keep in mind with ammunition cans is that many are leftover military surplus. These ammo cans are great as long as the seal is in tact. Even if it looks like it was dragged behind an M60 tank, as long as it still has its seal intact, you can safely preserve your ammunition in it.

Many people are concerned with temperature and wonder what would happen to their ammunition stockpile in the event of a fire. There are many warnings on the internet to avoid storing ammunition in a safe because in the event of a fire, the safe could essentially become a pressurized bomb. While high temperatures certainly can be troublesome for ammunition, this video released by SAAMI sheds some interesting light on how high temperatures and ammunition react. You might actually be surprised by the results! Warning: if you watch this video you will see a lot of ammunition destroyed, which we understand is for the sake of science but is still tough to witness.

Follow these guidelines when storing your bulk ammo:

  • Temperature - Store in a cool and dry place, free of drastic shifts in temperature. Avoid heat, especially extreme heat which can cause some ammunition or reloading supplies to explode. If nothing else, high temperatures can cause your ammunition to expire prematurely, which is exactly what we don't want to happen.
  • Accessibility - You want your bulk ammo inventory to be readily available to you, but no one else. You don't necessarily need to hide your bulk ammo, but also don't exactly want to put a neon sign advertising where you keep your ammo. If children will be in your house, make sure that they do not have access to your ammunition.
  • Packaging - For manufactured ammunition, if you plan on storing it for a long period of time, it can be a good idea to keep it in its original packaging. This way, if there is any sort of recall you will be able to refer to your packaging to see if you are affected. Also, you will be able to prove that you are entitled to a refund by the manufacturer.
  • Humidity - Maintain a low humidity environment when storing your ammunition and powder. Humidity leads to corrosion of casings (most notably, brass) and sometimes even the bullet. Even if you're ammo is just mildly affected, it can slightly alter your ammo's dimensions leading to the ammo possibly not firing correctly. Again, misfired ammo is not the goal of storing your bulk ammo safely.
  • However you choose to store your bulk ammo, if you keep a dry, cool environment that is inaccessible to others(especially children), your bulk ammo selection might last you a lifetime. According to Rick Patterson of SAAMI, “In fact as long as your ammunition is stored at normal room temperatures with low humidity, it can function reliably for decades.”

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