Ammo Storage Ideas: Best Methods to Store Ammunition

According to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute, a firearms industry group, you should store ammo in a cold, dry place. You must keep ammo away from open flames, heat sources, and solvents. Here let’s explore some ammo storage ideas that will help you to store it properly.

Various ammunition manufacturers recommend storing ammunition in its original packaging. If this is not possible, use a specially designed package.

Ammo Storage Ideas
Ammo Storage Ideas

Storing ammo this way avoids confusion on the type of vintage, load, and caliber the ammo is. Some people have different ammunition storage ideas, where they keep their ammo in a box with factory headstamps that help them verify the ammo before using it.

However, keeping your ammo in its original box is a better way of storage. In terms of safety, it is best practice to keep ammunition stored separately from firearms that aren’t in use. They should be stored securely as this helps prevent unauthorized access to any loaded guns.

Factors to Consider When Developing Ammo Storage Ideas

It is important to store ammunition in a cool and dry place. To this end, you can use metal ammo cans purchased from the Navy/Army surplus store.

Factors to Consider When Developing Ammo Storage Ideas
Factors to Consider When Developing Ammo Storage Ideas

Stay organized

If the ammunition you are storing is different from the original markings on the can, you need to label each container to avoid confusion in the future. Additionally, it helps if you store different caliber cartridges separately. Never mix shells of different sizes.

Furthermore, always rotate your stock. You can do this by labeling your ammo containers with the purchased date. Use the oldest rounds first, and you should keep your most recently purchased rounds for later. Think of the first in, first out rotation system.

Ammo container or can

Using an original ammo container to store your ammunition is one of the best ammo storage ideas. There is no better place to store your ammo as the original box keeps your rounds close together.

Restricting movement that could cause them to become dinged, dented, or scratched. Additionally, original containers have labels, ensuring you know the number of rounds in each container.

On the one hand, this is the perfect situation. On the other, you don’t always purchase ammo in its original container or new. In this case, buy an ammunition container to ensure your ammo remains unexposed, secure, and safe.

Moisture and humidity

Keep moisture and humidity away from your ammunition supply. When cartridges are continuously exposed to high humidity levels and moisture, the chances of corrosion increase. Corrosion significantly affects brass casing cartridges.

When the cartridges corrode, they might not fit when chambered into the firearm. As soon as this happens, you have no choice but to discard all the corroded cartridges. You can also add silica packets to your ammo storage container to help prevent this.

Temperature range

Consider the appropriate temperature range for storing your ammunition. Temperatures can wildly move from one extreme to another in the summer and winter months, negatively affecting the nitrocellulose found in the gunpowder.

If it gets too hot where you store your ammo, the ammunition will sweat. At this point, the nitrocellulose will begin to form into a gas.

This gas generally begins seeping out of the cartridge once temperatures reach 125 F. The gas leakage can create an imbalance in the ammo by altering the pressure in a gun’s chamber. The imbalance can result in substantial inaccuracy once you fire the weapon.

While the outside temperature might not be that high, areas inside your vehicle, gun locker, or house where your ammo is stored can potentially reach that temperature.

Freezing temperatures might not lead to power loss in your cartridge; however, there is a significant possibility of low temperatures affecting how your bullets perform and significantly impacting the accuracy of long-range ammo.

For this reason, experts recommend you store your ammo at room temperature when possible. To do this, use a supply ammo storage container. Metal ammo cans help reduce the risk of stored ammunition being susceptible to extreme temps.

Ammo Storage Ideas: Places You Should Never Store Ammunition

When it comes to intelligent ammo storage ideas, keep your rounds away from wet or hot areas. You shouldn’t store your ammo in non-climate controlled spaces, such as outbuildings, barns, or garages.

They also should not be stored anywhere that places them in direct sunlight. The drier and cooler your ammo is, the better.

For ammo storage ideas, you can, for instance, place your ammo in a central closet in your home. The closet shouldn’t share a wall with any HVAC or water heater components. It should also not share a wall with any of the pipes.

When storing your ammo, the last place you should store it is in vintage boxes. While vintage boxes are aesthetically pleasing and great collectibles, they are prone to air leaks, providing little to no protection for your investment.

Can Ammunition Go Bad?

With all this focus on proper storage, you might wonder if your ammo might go bad or “expire” if left in long term storage for a while. Don’t worry. Ammo going bad is not a thing; you don’t have to worry about a putrid smell greeting you when you open up your ammo box.

Can Ammunition Go Bad?
Can Ammunition Go Bad?

Nevertheless, over time, the propellants and primers used to manufacture the ammunition can break down. The timeline at which this happens typically depends on a host of factors. Some ammunition manufacturers claim that if the ammunition is appropriately stored, it can last for up to 10 years.

There is plenty of evidence to show that ammunition can last much longer than that, especially with military surplus loads stored for generations to come.

Ammo Storage Ideas: Tips to remember

Before you use any ammunition, ensure that you inspect it thoroughly for signs of physical damage. Damage can include significant discoloration, corrosion, heavy scratches, and dents.

You should never use shotgun shells or a cartridge with clear signs of splits or swelling, and steer clear of any ammunition that feels different. When using stored ammunition, always rotate your stock, using up your oldest stock before opening new ones.

Remember, the worst place you can store your ammo is on the floor or in a damp basement. These areas can cause your cartridges to become susceptible to moisture and unexpected leaks.

If you don’t have a dry storage box, you can create a temporary solution by storing your ammo on wooden pallets or high shelves. Doing this helps prevent any exposure to spills or getting knocked to the ground.

The most effective place for ammo storage ideas is in a water-tight, air-tight ammo can or ammo container. Remember, you can also put silica gel packs into the ammunition cans to remove any additional moisture within.

What is the best place to store ammunition?

You should always try to store the ammo in its original container or can with which these come. There are some reasons behind it. We are addressing some of them below. There are fewer chances of movement when your ammunition is within its ordinal container. And we all know that the cartridges become dented, scratched, and sometimes damaged with movement. 

Secondly, the original containers have separate labels for various chambers. So, you can easily and quickly find the ammunition you are searching for. And you can easily detect the number of bullets left inside.

If your original ammo container gets damaged or you want to keep them more secure, then you can go with an ammo container that you will easily find on Amazon or other e-commerce sites.

These containers come with a separate volt for guns too. So, if you don’t need your gun immediately, you can store it inside. These containers keep the temperature within a limit and the humidity away, which is also good for any gun. 

We are attaching the buying links for some such ammo containers. If you are in a hurry or don’t want to do proper research, then choose any of these three.

  1. .50 Cal Military Surplus Ammo can
  2. Forest Green 50 Caliber Ammo Storage Can 
  3. Solid Tactical Metal Ammo Can 

Is it better to store ammo in the box or loose?

From a safety perspective, ammo should always be kept in a container. By doing so, you can keep it away from the reach of children and pets. Any casualty can bring fatal consequences. And we all know that children are too curious about arms and ammunition. 

Is it better to store ammo in the box or loose

If we consider the life of the ammo, a container is a better option. The ammo container always keeps the ammunition intact. It prevents humidity. These containers maintain a certain temperature and keep humidity away, which are good for the health of the ammo.

Another advantage of keeping the ammo in a box is that you can easily count the number of bullets. It is almost impossible when you keep them loose. From all perspectives, a box or container is always better to store the ammo.

How long will ammo last if stored properly?

The shelf life of the ammunition mainly depends upon its storing conditions. Most renowned manufacturers say that their ammunition can last approximately 10 years. But with proper storing conditions, you can expand it easily. For example, you can consider the surplus ammo of the armed forces. In any emergency, this surplus ammo is used, and that is long after (over a decade) it was manufactured. So a proper storing method is a crucial thing here.

Should I store ammo in a gun safe?

No, this is a very dangerous decision to keep the ammo inside a gun for a long time. ‘Storing temperature is one of the most crucial aspects while storing ammo. The bullets are very temperature sensitive.

And the gun’s metal and butter’s metal react differently with temperature. So, there is a high chance of getting the ammo damaged. There is also a high chance of facing fatal casualties. So the experts always advise storing the bullets externally.

For safety purposes, it is also too dangerous. By chance, if any innocent child gets access to your gun, then any fatal incident can occur.

You May Also Find Useful: Hidden Gun Storage Ideas

Can I store ammo in ziplock bags?

Ziplock bags can’t keep the moisture out effectively. So, you must avoid ziplock bags for storing ammo for a long time. But if you don’t have an option, you can use them as a temporary storage unit. But here, you also have to use a desiccant to keep the humidity away. Original ammo containers are the best option. By chance, if you don’t have it, please purchase an ammo can. You can easily find them on any e-commerce site.

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