Why Ammo Storage is MORE Important than You Might Think

    ammo storage

    Photo Credit: Liberty Safe Presidential Series

    Most firearm aficionados and gun gurus know that it is important to safely store their prized possessions. More importantly, if you have the space necessary and can afford it, it is a great investment to get a fire-rated safe that can store all of your gun related items. This should most certainly include your ammunition. Now you might be thinking… “But I have pallets of ammo, I can’t stick all of that in a safe!” First off, bravo! Secondly, I can understand where you are coming from, but there are several reasons why you might want to pony up for more ammo storage to protect both your firearms and your ammunition.

    Longevity: Ammo Storage

    When it comes to ammunition there is a misunderstanding as to its “shelf life” and what that loaded phrase even means. Some people are under the misconception that ammo lasts forever. It has magical properties that make it impervious to aging. The other end of the spectrum of shooters are those who believe ammunition has to be shot within a month of purchasing it because it is going to spoil like a loaf of bread.

    The reality is the shelf life of ammunition falls somewhere in the middle. When ammunition ages, it does not have a mystical date where all of the sudden it becomes worthless or it spoils. In actuality, ammo is very similar to medicine. As medicine ages, for most powdered drugs (capsules, tablets, powders, etc.), it loses potency over time. If you pull some Advil out of the cupboard that is 5 years old it is not “bad,” but it might not do much for you either. Over time it has lost its original potency. Ammo, similarly, loses potency (velocity, Ft-Lbs of energy, etc.) as it ages. So if you find some of grandpa’s old shotgun shells in the back of the closet, you are fine to shoot them, just do not expect them to knock the socks off of whatever you are shooting at.

    So how do we curb against this loss of potency if we have ammo hoarding tendencies? Well, we cannot defeat father time. It is inevitable. What we can do is store our ammunition in a controlled environment where it does not age or lose its potency any faster than it normally would. By storing your ammunition in a safe with a dehumidifier, a safe room that is dry with low humidity or sealing it in gasket sealed ammo cans, we can prevent moisture and extreme temperature fluctuations from burning out the potency any faster than would be expected.

    Proper ammo storage will not increase the lifespan and potency of your ammunition, but it will help you get the most out of it.

    Fire Hazard: Ammo storage

    Another important reason to store your ammunition in a safe as opposed to loose piles in your garage is to not create a fire hazard. If you have a small stockpile of ammunition in your garage and it begins to go up in flames, it is dangerous for you and firefighters, but generally not for the reason you may think. You will probably not witness a catastrophically epic explosion worthy of a couple million YouTube views.

    When gunpowder, primers, and loaded ammunition get set ablaze, an extremely hot fire occurs. If you could safely view what happens (I am in NO way suggesting to light stuff on fire and watch it), what occurs is the ammo pops and explodes (like extremely loud and slightly more dangerous firecrackers). For you, the homeowner or apartment dweller, this creates a fire that is even hotter than before. It is too dangerous for firefighters to be near if a rescue of any kind needs to occur. So a trapped pet can become truly lost if it necessitates a firefighter crossing an area where your ammunition reserves are crackling like a bowl of Rice Krispies.

    ammo storage

    Photo Credit: Browning Safes

    A fire-rated safe becomes invaluable by not allowing the ammo to get hot enough to ignite. If all of your ammunition is stored inside of a good fire safe, the internal temperature of the safe should never exceed roughly 200 – 300 degrees. While that is hot enough to bake some cookies, it is not hot enough to ignite your ammunition inside the safe. Much of the ammo could be potentially ruined. Primer cups damaged, components becoming inert or extreme loss of potency.

    In the previous section, I mentioned storing ammo in gasket sealed ammo cans.  If your ammo can is a surplus metal can, there is the potential for more danger.  If the ammo can is NOT in a fire rated safe  (keeping the ammo from igniting), and the ammo does ignite, it could potentially generate enough gases to “explode” the can itself.  Another point of real danger is rounds chambered inside the gun, which, if ignited, could send the projectile down the barrel.

    What the take-home message though is you and your family are safer by having proper ammo storage in the event of a fire. The fire will not burn any hotter than it would have by itself and no increased danger due to ammo is presented to the first responders.

    Theft Deterrent: Ammo storage

    Another reason to store your ammunition in a safe is it is a theft deterrent. Wherever you end up storing your safe, be it in your garage, living room, basement, cabin or any other place, you are creating a hardened target. In the unlikely, and unfortunate, event that someone tries to rob your home, a safe is a very strong barrier to a criminal getting your valuables.

    To play devil’s advocate, when a criminal is looting someone’s home a safe takes too much time when they want to get in and out as fast as possible. If all of your firearms, ammunition and related valuables are stored in a safe, a crook has no idea what valuables you have. If your home does not have firearms strewn about or a bunch of ammo laying around to indicate you own a lot of firearms, they may leave your house more quickly. Unless your Facebook, or social media page, has made it glaringly obvious you are going to be in Barbados for 2 weeks, most criminals do not want to take up residence in your home. If there are no signs or reasons for them to hunt for valuables that have not been found it is more likely they will move on.

    ammo storage

    As in many scenarios, it is important to make yourself a hardened and protected target. Keep your ammo and firearms in a safe. This will hedge against worse fires, protect the longevity of your ammo and deter potential thefts.

    So with all of that being said, what safe brands do guys and gals own?… Liberty?… Browning?… Stack-On?… Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below on what would be the PREMIER safe someone could invest in to protect all of their investments.

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