If you own firearms, you know the importance of having some rounds of ammunition at home. You need to grab your ammo anytime and go for your training or use recreational purposes. But having ammo available at home also means you’re going to consider their storage needs.
You have to ensure your ammo is safe in its storage location, whether for short or long-term storage. You don’t want to store them where children or any other person who’s not authorized can access them. You also need to consider the temperature storage conditions so your ammo can retain its potent quality. It’s also important to keep them away from heat or ignition.
If you’re new in the firearm world and have no idea how to store your ammo, we’re here to help you out. Here is your complete guide to storing ammo at home.
Determine Your Ammo Needs
Many people buy rounds of ammo because they heard that there might be a shortage. But sometimes, you might find yourself storing more than you need and give yourself a hard time. Make sure you only store the ammo that you use on your gun to avoid malfunctions.
While many people prefer to use up all their ammo on the weekend and buy new ones when the week starts, it’s not a bad idea to keep some in store for future use. Buying in bulk ensures you get plenty of them during a shortage. You can also save a lot when the costs go down. You need a good supply of ammo for your practice sessions. Remember that no one knows when danger may strike, so you need some stocked up for self-defense.
Get Organized with Your Ammo
The best way to storing your ammo at home is to ensure you’re properly organized. You need to know where to pick and go when an emergency arises quickly. If you have different ammo types, the organization will be very important because you need to pick and go easily. But that won’t be possible if you mix different types.
You won’t have enough time to prepare in a life-and-death situation when your ammo is scattered everywhere. You have high chances of picking the wrong type and ending up useless in an emergency. Here are different ways to organize your ammo in storage and give yourself an easy time picking the right type.
- Store Ammo in Their Original Boxes
The boxes that your ammo is sold on providing appropriate storage at home. It’s easy to sort everything out when they’re in their appropriate boxes. If you store them in their original boxes, you’ll know which ammo is in what box. You’ll know when you bought a specific one and can use the oldest first. You won’t bang them by dumping them in a different container.
- Use Military Style Cans
Military ammo storage containers are usually designed for long-term storage. This means your ammo will be in safe hands even if you don’t use them for the longest time. Another good thing about military-style storage cans is that they’re usually designed for outdoor storage. You can even take them to the garage if you don’t have enough storage space indoors. The cans can persevere extreme heat, snore, downpours, and different weather changes.
Choose a Good Storage Location for Your Ammo
The location where you choose to store your ammo has a lot to do with how long they’ll last. Choose a dry, cool, and dark place for your ammo storage if you want to protect them. Stay away from the garage or attic when storing your ammo because those places are prone to temperature fluctuations. The temperature fluctuations can give rise to condensation, which in turn corrodes your ammo.
If you choose the basement, you’ll manage to protect your ammo from extreme temperature changes because the area is below the ground. But you should not forget that the basement is exposed to moisture which is another great enemy of your bullet. When you expose your ammo to moisture, it’ll rust over time and become useless.
A great location you can choose for your ammo storage is the cabinet or closet in your bedroom. These places usually experience little temperature changes. The location also means your ammo will be within reach; hence you can get it easily when you need to use it.
Keep Security in Mind
Storing your ammo is not all about keeping them for future use. It also involves securing them from damage or misuse. This is a big investment, and you never want them to get in harm’s way. Sometimes ammunition prices can go up due to shortage, and if you have some stored, it can be a lucrative business opportunity. That means you must properly secure those you have in store if you want to reap huge rewards when the value goes up.
The best way to keep your ammo safe is to keep them out of reach of any other person apart from you. Make sure children or other family members can’t get access without your permission. Also, consider storing them in different locations. Use a lock and key to secure them and keep unauthorized persons away.
Consider the Right Temperature for Ammo Storage
Extreme temperature changes can pose a great danger to your ammunition. Extreme cold or extremely hot temperatures tend to affect the nitrocellulose in your gun powder. Very high temperatures cause the ammunition to perspire, and the nitrocellulose inside forms gas. When the temperatures rise to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, the gas will begin to seep out of the cartridge. This gas causes unevenness inside the ammo and interferes with the pressure in the gun chamber.
Freezing temperatures may not cause as severe effects as high temperatures, but cold is also not too friendly to your ammo. They may not cause loss of powder but will interfere with ballistic bullet performance.
To be on the safe side, make sure you store your ammo at room temperature. If you have a large amount of ammo, get storage containers. Here are three different conditions that are perfect for ammo storage.
- Store Ammo in a Dry Place
Moisture is the biggest enemy of your ammo. Ammo is made of metal, and we’ll know that all kinds of metal corrode due to moisture exposure. At first, you’ll only notice surface rust which you can sand off and assume all is well. But even the smallest amount of rust can interfere with the accuracy of your ammo. If the rusting continues to the point where you can’t simply sand off the surface, your ammunition will be useless.
You need to keep your precious ammo away from any moisture exposure. Avoid storing your ammo in the basement. If that’s the only storage space, make sure there’s no moisture accumulation. Don’t set your ammo on the floor. Use racks and cabinets, so the ammo remains above the water level. Use a dehumidifier to keep the storage free from moisture.
- Keep them Cool
If you’re storing your ammo, you need to avoid heat at all costs. Ensure your ammo gets a cool storage location with some constant warmth. Make sure they don’t undergo extreme temperature swings, as that can be a real concern.
If you expose your ammo to extreme temperature changes, you’ll expose it to humidity which is a great danger. You don’t have to worry about seasonal changes because ammo has a good shelf life. But you should watch out not to expose them to extreme temperatures for many years as they’ll go bad with time.
- Keep Ammo in the Dark
Another thing you’ll want to keep away from your ammo is UV light. The sun rays are very harmful to your ammo over long-term exposure. Ensure your storage area is protected from the sun rays and the inside of your ammo dark enough. Your ammo should be as far away from the window if you want to preserve their shelf life.
Important Ammo Storage Supplies to Have
Apart from storage containers of the right temperatures, there are many supplies you need to have for ammo storage. You can use many things to keep your ammo secured and prolong its quality for many years. Here are some of the supplies you must have with you when you think of long-term ammo storage.
- Waterproof Ziploc Bags
Apart from containers, waterproof Ziploc bags provide a perfect way to organize your ammo. Ensure you get the bags with a marker pen to know which ammo type is in what box. The bags are also waterproof hence provide a perfect way to protect your ammo from moisture.
You should never forget to store your ammo with a desiccant even if you’re only going to store for a short time. Every container or bag containing ammo needs a few packets of desiccant to keep the content safe. These substances help to chemically reduce condensation and moisture that can attack your ammo in storage.
- Silica Gel
Like desiccants, silica gel also makes the perfect product for moisture absorption that you can drop in your ammo containers to preserve their shelf life. You can purchase packets of silica gel online and get a cheap way to keep your ammo safe for a long time.
- Pull Cart
If you don’t want to strain your back lifting boxes of ammo, then you’ll need a pull cart to make your work easier. A pull cart or a wheeled bed can be of great help if you need to keep moving heavy boxes of ammo from one point to another. A good cart should also come with a pole or extension to help you raise the boxes.
Store Ammo Where You Have Access
When storing your ammo, remember that usage is more important than storage. You don’t want to store your ammo where you’ll end up having a very hard time gaining access. You also don’t want to store them in a place where they can end up in the hands of the wrong people.
A safe or gun cabinet can make perfect storage for your ammo. This storage space keeps your ammo safe and only gives you access. You can avoid accidents at home that happen due to misuse of your precious weapon. The safe also provides a perfect combination of cool, dry, and dark environments perfect for keeping your ammo safe.
How Much Ammo Can You Store?
Before you embark on your ammo storage journey, it’s good that you understand how much ammo you can comfortably store and for how long. Well, a few months to a year worth of ammunition will be very easy to store. This period allows you to rotate and shoot your ammo while keeping everything fresh.
If you’re going to face an extended disaster period or nearing a hunting season, you need to preserve as much as you can. You also need to store each type so you’ll have an unlimited supply of handgun ammo. You need to have rounds of handgun ammo, shotgun, and rifle ammo.
The amount of ammo you’ll have in your store will depend on your needs and what you’ll use them for. If you’re a hunting enthusiast, you know your hunting capacity and the amount you’re going to need throughout the period.
If you’re an ammo hoarder or want to buy in bulk to prepare for an apocalypse, you need to prepare yourself with the right long-term storage needs. First, make sure you have the right containers that can keep things secure. You’ll then need to label the containers appropriately. Label them with the date you bought them so that you know which one to use first.
Make sure you never return rounds of ammo that are already exposed to moisture or other weather elements. Avoid such mistakes if you want to preserve and shield the life of all the ammo types.
Check Your Ammo Frequently
It doesn’t matter how careful you are with your ammo storage. If you don’t check them regularly, you won’t notice any impending problems and solve them before they cause damage. After packing and organizing your ammo correctly, make sure you still check them from time to time. This way, you’ll easily notice if your ammo has moisture damage or is corroding.
You’ll also ensure your rounds aren’t exposed to heat, and if they are, you can solve the problem immediately. When checking your ammo, you don’t want to undo the packing work you did and remove all the seals. Using a clear plastic or a vacuum seal can do the work perfectly.
Checking every six months or a year is ideal. You can take the opportunity to test for humidity and temperature levels. The humidity levels should always remain below 30%. You can use a humidity sensor card for the test. This is also the perfect time to change the desiccants or the silica gel with new packets.
Buy High-Quality Ammo
If you need to store ammo the right way and get them in good condition after a long storage period, you should make sure you buy the right type. You don’t expect to buy low-quality ammo because you’re lured by the low price factor and expect it to serve you well after a year in storage.
Cheap ammo might contain old products that the seller is looking to expose or ammo with manufacturing defects. If you get ammo with such problems, storing them will also be hard. Don’t buy old ammo if you intend to store them for some time because they’ll already be nearing their shelf life.
When you go to the sellers to buy your ammo, make sure they’re intact and stored in highly sealed containers. Don’t forget to check their manufacturing date to access their shelf life. Also, avoid storing your ammo in old containers or dented magazines, as that will mean doing zero work.
Rotate Your Ammo
Another biggest storage factor you shouldn’t forget is rotating your ammo. This means you should label the storage boxes and containers carefully, so you know which one to pick first when you finally want to use them. Always pick the oldest first before the new ammo. You must always ensure you have the newest ammo in your stock. This way, you avoid any chances of your ammo getting damaged or reaching its shelf life before you can use it.
Buying ammunition is very costly, and you should know how to protect the expensive investment. Proper ammunition storage means protecting your family members, especially children, so they don’t reach it without your supervision. It also means keeping your precious belongings away from thieves and protecting them from bad weather.
If you’re going to keep your ammunition for long-term storage, you have to be very choosy on the location, storage containers and watch on the weather changes. Don’t just store them and hope that they’ll stay safe for the next couple of years. Regular inspection is necessary to ensure they’re not exposed to too much heat or moisture.
With good storage tips in your mind, you rest assured your ammo will stay safe in storage for decades. Always remember three storage conditions; dry, cool, and dark. Don’t forget security and ease of access.