First keep your ammunition in a location that is DRY, COOL & DARK.
There is a right and wrong way to store ammunition? Some people may put their ammo in a car trunk or closet. However, this can lead to reliability and performance issues.
If your ammo is intended for personal protection, you most certainly want it to be 100% reliable and function properly. By following the proper storage procedures, it will help to insure your ammo functions reliably & correctly.
Following are steps regarding the dos and don’ts of storing ammo. If you deem it necessary to have loaded firearms for personal protection around it is best to fire and replace this ammo at reasonable intervals, not over a year being ideal.
After all, periodic practice will keep you proficient & improve marksmanship
Place It in a Secure Container
Safe ammunition home storage is every gun owner responsibility. Some military surplus ammo is available in vacuum packed sealed steel cans which open like a sardine can. Ammo stored like this in reasonable climatical conditions can last for many years. Even second world war ammo will fire if stored properly.
There are many convenient U.S. military surplus ammo cans available. Typically, these have a rubber gasket and camming lever which securely compress the seal when closed. Common sizes are 5.56mm, 7.62. (.30 Cal), .50 cal. plus some larger ones for mortar rounds etc. These U.S. surplus ammo cans provide a durable, moisture resistant barrier that helps to keep your ammo safe and protected from the elements. It is felt these U.S. cans are great storage receptacle, if kept in reasonable climatic conditions.
There are some cheap Chinese knock off ammo cans on the market, far too much China stuff is junk, let the buyer beware, you get what you pay for. If small children have access to areas of ammo storage it is best to have the containers locked up or at least un-accessible.
Obviously unless ammo cans are under lock and key, they aren’t burglar proof. You must determine convenient access and security measures for your situation.
There are quite a few commercial plastic ammo boxes available, used often by those reloading ammo. Typically, these are available to hold 20, 50 and even 100 rounds. While these are excellent for organization, they are not air tight. In most climates this won’t affect ammo performance for reasonable periods.
That said if you live in a high humidity area opt for the U.S. Ammo cans for the outer container and if desired smaller boxes for ammo inside. If factory ammo, the heavy card stock boxes as purchased are good just put them inside the steel ammo cans.
Also have some form of desiccant inside the metal box. Those storing guns in a safe may also want some or most of their ammo secured inside, desiccants will benefit both firearms and ammo
Excessive humidity can cause ammunition corrosion, or misfires. High humidity over time if it migrates inside the ammo can cause the powder to become clumpy resulting in squib or misfires.
It is best to maintain a reasonably consistent humidity level when storing ammunition. Low humidity helps prevent corrosion of the bullets, casing or shell.
Properly stored you can be sure ammo will be in optimal condition when needed.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Ammunition is sensitive to extreme temperature variations. Heat can cause nitrocellulose &/or nitroglycerine, the bang agent(s), in ammo to deteriorate again possibly resulting in squib or misfires. Keeping your ammunition away from extreme temperatures will help to prolong its shelf life. Avoid storing ammo in an area that experiences extreme heat, high humidity, or temperature fluctuations. These conditions cause deterioration.
The ideal temperature for ammo storage is between 55-60° F. this perfect temperature is not feasible for most. In storing ammo inside the house, year-round climate control HVAC will certainly be a benefit.
Keeping your ammo near a consistent temperature will certainly help prevent degradation of the powder & primer. If you must ever use your ammo for the worst-case scenario of self-defense you must have perfect function.
ABSOLUTELY AVOID OIL, WD-40 SPRAY OR LIQUID
The above will KILL ammo. “Sam” spent a good sum to go on a big game hunt. Fortunately, his hunting partner, “Bill” was a gun guy, they met up at the hunting camp. “Sam” opened the trunk of his car, scoured around for his ammo. To the horror of “Bill”, “Sam’s” ammo was loose & covered with spilled motor oil. “Bill” wiped it clean as best he could and informed “Sam” the bad news “this stuff might or might not go bang”.
No one would want to risk their hunt on ammo that might not fire. Just think, you have a good Elk in your sights for a fine trophy, good meat and hear, CLICK. This followed by rapid hoof beats on the turf. In a separate instance my friend Luther an officer & firearms instructor with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (State Police) years back saw many officers vigorously spraying their .357 Mag. revolvers with WD-40, they didn’t want them to rust. This stuff is a degreaser and penetrant, it’s terrific for proper applications, but an ammo KILLER.
Luther took some factory ammo, boxed it with some bullet up, some primer up. He sprayed them vigorously once daily for a week, when tested not one would fire. Consider for a moment some troopers were betting their life on this ammo! The conclusion is oil, or a penetrant spray is most certainly risking failed ammo.
Those of us who reload ammunition have a few extra safety & storage procedures to follow. All ammo storage procedures apply to powder and primers. Always store these in the original packaging/container as received.
Primers are very powerful and must be kept in the small tray packages provided. Only have one variety of primers on your bench at a time. If you placed some large pistol primers into a large rifle primer box when finished it is hazardous. If pistol primers are used in rifle cases, they can blow out releasing high pressure gas damage rifle and possibly the shooter.
Powder must be kept in original container for correct identification. Another critical safety practice is to have only ONE powder container on your reloading bench at a time, this can’t be stated strongly enough. If two or more powder container are present its inviting disaster, it could cost your life, this has happened. Grab 572 instead of 784, put a charge of this into a rifle case and you will have a catastrophic failure.
Sadly, a reloader did put pistol powder into rifle cases. The rifle with ammo were sold, the purchaser let another shooter at the range fire the first shot, the rifle blew the bolt into his head, he died.
Reloading is safe, just follow all safety procedures.
Store your ammunition safely and securely. Follow the guidelines outlined so you’ll have ammo in good reliable condition. For those reloading the Anneal-Rite system is the best option for annealing your brass cartridge case necks.
The Anneal-Rite is efficient, accurate & reasonably priced. Just follow the simple instructions furnish and get guaranteed perfect results every time. It comes with money back guarantee, thousands sold worldwide.
If you have any questions call us (479) 629-5566, Mon ~ Sat 9am to 9pm