Ammo Storage

Ammunition stored in ammo crates

Looking for the best ammo storage ideas? Then read on.

We often get asked by our customers about how to store their ammo. After all, it is your hard-earned money that’s going towards an investment when you really think about it. We want to ensure the ammo we have stored is always good to go, whether its several cases or just a few boxes. There are many reasons why having a supply on hand can be a very good thing. We will cover some of the basics to help get you squared away.

How long does ammo last?

                The simple answer is… it depends. There are few factors that go into how long ammunition will last. Most manufacturers will state ammo has a shelf-life of 10 years, provided its left

PMC Battle Pack Image
Want to keep your ammo stored safely? Try purchasing battle packs

in its original packaging and kept in some sort of climate-controlled environment. Some of our more experienced shooters know it can actually last much longer than that, if you are willing to take a few extra steps in storing it. Case in point, we sell military surplus ammunition which is often manufactured between 1960-1990 that performs as good as newly manufactured ammunition if stored properly.

What would make my ammunition go bad?

The main killers of ammo are heat, moisture, and chemicals. Excessive heat will break down both the powder and the primer compound over time, causing erratic ignition and velocities. Moisture will corrode the casings and can also affect the powder and primer if the round isn’t properly sealed. Likewise, oil, powder and copper solvent, cleaners and other gun-related chemicals can penetrate and damage ammo that isn’t sealed properly. Very cold temperatures won’t really affect ammo but temperature changes that can cause condensation are a big no-no. This essentially translates into your ammunition not firing at all, or being so weak its unreliable.

Ideally, you should store ammunition in sealed packages such as ammo cans.
How should I store my ammo?

Ideally, the best method of long-term storage is to use military ammo cans (the big green ones). These are tough, airtight and come in a variety of sizes. A small desiccant pack can be added to remove any excess moisture from the can. Once sealed, the can should remain closed (or the desiccant pack replaced) until the ammo is needed. The sealed ammo can should be stored in a cool, dry place that is not subject to wide swings in temperature over short periods of time (which can cause condensation). Ammo stored this way will last several decades. If you don’t have access to ammo cans, durable airtight containers of any kind can in theory be used just as well. You many want to test your idea first before putting all your “eggs” in one basket so to speak. If you plan on storing ammunition for extended periods of time, we highly recommend purchasing ammunition in spam cans and/or battle packs, these hermetically sealed packages will keep your ammo safe from the elements for decades. Find Battle Packs for Sale Here

Where is the best place to store ammunition?

                As previously stated, we should avoid keeping our ammo in conditions where temperature swings, humidity and chemicals are present for extended periods of time. This means that

Ammunition in Spam Cans
Spam cans are an excellent way to store ammo for extended periods of time.

storing your ammo on a shelf in your garage, backyard shed or in your car are not a good idea. Likewise storing ammo next to your gun cleaning chemicals isn’t a great idea either. Ammo exposed to the elements in some situations can go bad in as little as 72 hours. We suggest a closet inside your home. Wherever you decide to store your ammunition, make sure its dry and cool but not cold or damp. Basements and attics should be avoided unless they are fully built out and insulated. If you don’t like to run your heater in the winter, don’t worry, normal household temperature fluctuations will be fine.

Purchase ammo cans here

This all sounds like my ammo might be pretty sensitive, is it really this serious?

                The importance of ammunition storage is going to depend upon you as an end-user. Some of the more serious folks will take the suggestions listed above more directly than someone who may just occasionally shoot for recreational purposes.

Generally speaking, if you can at least keep your ammo in its packaging, out of direct sunlight and keep it cool and dry – you should be fine.

Some customers have posed the question of whether their ammo will be degraded through the normal shipping process since their package has to travel across the country in a variety of weather conditionsthe answer here is no; your ammo will be just fine. The situations we are discussing involve totally exposed ammunition left in said poor conditions for weeks at a time. Think an almost worst-case scenario.

Realistically, neglect is the biggest enemy of ammunition. Forgetting to put it away properly or removing it from poor conditions seems to be what ruins ammunition for most of us. We’re merely discussing ideal ways to store ammo and therefore protect your investment.

How can I tell if my ammo is bad?
Image of old ammunition
Just because ammunition looks tarnished, doesn’t mean it has gone bad.

                Physical damage to a cartridge such as deep dents or deformity of the round can be indicators that its unsafe to shoot. Heavy corrosion around the case neck or primer can also be indicators something bad has happened. Rust in those same areas may also show ammo was not stored properly. That forgotten box of ammo sitting in the attic or garage that we stumble across on spring cleaning may be suspect as well. Its up to you to inspect it prior to shooting.

Ammunition that looks dirty, or unpolished however isn’t necessarily a concern. Sometimes manufacturers will avoid a final finishing process to save on production time and cost as this doesn’t impact the safe use of ammo. Target/training rounds will sometimes have an “unpolished” appearance because it’s expected that it will be used relatively quickly without concern for duty or self-defense purposes.

What’s the bottom line?

If you can store your ammo in an airtight container, within a climate-controlled environment, and away from moisture and harsh chemicals – it should last you quite a while. Better yet, have two separate ammo stashes. One for long-term storage and another for plinking and training. That way, you can rotate your supplies as needed with fresh ammo and build up your stores for shooting. You can never have enough ammo, right?

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