Question of the Day: How Do You Store Your Ammo?

By Tyler Reidhead

Over the years I’ve seen a huge variety of ways and places people store their ammunition. My brother-in-law has a huge (walk-in spacious) safe in his garage big enough for all his guns and ammo. My grandpa keeps his in a drawer in the original boxes, which may or may not adequately protect from swamp cooler-induced humidity. My cousin dumps his into Ziploc bags. I’ve seen dedicated ammo safes, storage lockers, even a specific “gun room” at my buddy’s where his family does all their reloading and storage. My personal (low-budget) choice is military surplus ammo cans – the kind with a rubber gasket seal. How do you stow your stash?


  1. avatar Adam says:

    I also buy the .50 cal ammo cans with desiccant paks for each one.

    1. Same here. I have a plastic ammo can, getting ready to pick up another. I don’t have a need for anything more right now to satisfy my small collection. I only picked up my first firearm 6 months ago, but it’s quickly become a passion and I love your guys’ site, keep up the great work!

  2. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Surplus ammo cans with dessicant packs, primarily. They’re cheap, universally available, don’t add a lot of weight, and stack well.

      1. avatar sdog says:

        +2 i do the same thing, supplemented by the midget cans you get when buying federal 5.56 in the 420 count. I’m a tad jealous of the pic, i’ll be up there in that round count one day!

  3. avatar RKBA says:

    I also use surplus ammo cans. (Metal Only – No Plastic Crap)

    Good enough for the Military, good enough for me 🙂

    And, as Matt in FL pointed out, they stack real nice.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      You know what I like best about surplus cans “stackability?” I have both .50 cal (M2A1) and .30 cal (M19A1) cans, and the smaller .30 cans will stack very nicely on top of the larger .50 cans, if necessary. Almost like they were designed that way.

  4. avatar Angel says:

    I use 30cal ammo cans cause once they’re full, I can still carry them without getting a hernia. I also pack the ammo in small ziplock bags of 50 for 9mm and 100 for 22LR so that it’s much easier to grab what I need when I head to the range.

    1. avatar sdog says:

      +1 i have 30cal can specifically for range trips.

  5. avatar RIGHT! says:

    I live in a low humidity area so a single, bermed and roofed Conex container holds most of my stores.

  6. avatar jwm says:

    combination of surplus ammo cans and those lidded plastic storage bins from wally world. i go through my ammo too quickly to worry about long term storage and the climate in ca makes storing ammo and firearms simpler.

  7. avatar DrewN says:

    40mm cans for me. They hold over 1k rounds of 9mm and are still easy to move and designed to stack.

    1. avatar Derek says:

      Those will hold an ass load more than 1k… like ~+4200. I can fit 2100 in a .50 cal can and those are over twice the interior volume of .50 cal cans. I’m keeping all my 12 gauge in one of those right now lol.

  8. avatar BLAMMO says:

    I don’t usually have it long enough to worry about its storage life.

    But .50 BMG cans for both storage and humping to the range.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    I store it in the same room as my HVAC. It’s warm in winter and cool in summer providing a good climate year round.

  10. avatar Skyler says:

    I recently finished shooting a few hundred rounds of .22LR and .22S that my father bought in the 1950’s. They were kept in their original packaging which were in a small wooden box with the flimsiest lock you can imagine. Only one round failed to operate properly.

  11. avatar Aharon says:

    Surplus and sealed ammo cans with desiccant kept in a cool dry basement. I’m thinking about buying huge quantities of ammo and then re-selling it in ten years when the price has doubled. It’s probably a safer guarantee on my ROI than gambling with Wall Street. I’m sure the initial investment cost will never go down.

  12. avatar RKflorida says:

    .30 cal ammo cans. Small enough to lift with my bad back.

  13. avatar RKflorida says:

    .30 cal ammo can. Small enough to lift with my bad back.

  14. avatar Roll says:

    I have around 1k .223 on stripper clips in a .50 ammo can and am looking on getting more .308. Anyone know where to get stripper clips and guides for an m1a and an ak 47 cheap???

  15. avatar Aharon says:

    My comments aren’t being published. I wonder what I wrote previously to be controlled and get the banned comment 🙁

  16. avatar Peter says:

    Store it in the man-cave closet. Humidity is not a real issue in the Southwest and the A/C keeps it at a pretty constant temp.
    Do keep a few K on strippers in bandoleers, these are in 50 cal ammo cans.

  17. avatar tdiinva says:

    I place all my ammo in its original packaging in a plastic storage container I bought at Target. The room temperature is 72 degrees and low to moderate humidity. I keep 7-10k rounds in stock and pretty much shoot it up over the year.

  18. I’ve got a couple Pelican 1500 cases. Grab and go! That suffices for my current needs. They hold about a thousand rounds each of 7.62×39, 223/556, 22lr, & 9x18mak. I keep one full and the other for the range. When one nears empty, I rotate and refill.

  19. avatar Randy says:

    In zip loc bags (50 to 100 rounds per bag) stored inside new 1 gallon paint cans. Cheaper than ammo cans, stack easy, and hold about 1000 rounds (of 9mm).

    1. avatar Angel says:

      This is what I like to hear, new ideas for storage. Where do you get these new paint cans from? Do they just sell them at Home Depot?

      1. avatar Randy says:

        Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Any home improvement store usually has them.
        They save me alot of space. I can fit 1000 rds of 9mm into a can. Same for 45 Auto. 223 takes up more space. I just label them with a Sharpie and place a piece of tape with the number of rounds I have in the can. As I take rounds out, I write the new amount on the tape so I can tell at a glance when I need to restock.

  20. avatar Dogman says:

    Here, there and everywhere I can find a place. Sometimes in ammo cans, sometimes in original boxes, sometimes in Ziploc baggies.

    As for storage conditions, it’s not much of a concern to me. I grew up in the hot, muggy rural South when no one I knew had air conditioning and everyone had ammo stacked in the closets–some of that ammo was decades old–and all of it worked fine during hunting season. I still have a little ammo on hand, both factory loads and hand loads, dating from the early 1980s that shoots as well as it did even though it was stored most of that time without benefit of air conditioning.

  21. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    I have a four drawer – deep – file cabinet which locks. It is stabile and gives me five feet of vertical space with just a bit of security. If I take something out I use ammo boxes.

  22. avatar The Knight says:

    I found some Remington .22 LR from the `70s, in original boxes, on the bottom of an open top bucket, in my attic last winter. Not one misfire in 500. Makes me think most of my other precautions are overkill. I (sadly) have some version of nearly everything listed above.

    Dogman, I agree with you.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      knight, i have shot ammo that i know was at least 60 years old with very few misfires. the old corrosive primers made cleanup of the weapon more important but those primers lasted forever. that’s why the militaries around the world adopted it. we moderns are overly cautious. unless you store your ammo in the trunk of a car in az for years or in a bucket of salt water you should have no problems with ammo in an american home. when i was young we were still hunting with the old paper shotgun shells that my grandpa bought back when.

      1. avatar The Knight says:

        jwm- I have some paper “cracker shells” around here somewhere… Jeeze, I need to inventory…

        1. avatar jwm says:

          yeah some of those old shells and the boxes they came in have collectible value. we shot all ours away in my misspent youth.

  23. avatar Pascal says:

    Coleman or similar cooler with rubber seal locking latches. I then add some desiccant packages. Holds a ton in original boxes.

    Also, Rubbermaid 35-gallon action packer. it has locking latche as well and seals tight.

    In both cases, they are discreet enough that nobody who walks buy thinks about what may be inside. Versus ammo cans that scream ammo!

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      Hopefully no drunk will ever rob your house and stop to see if there is any beer in your coolers.

      1. avatar APBTFan says:

        Put a few beers on top to fool ’em.

  24. avatar APBTFan says:

    In the spare room of my house, no cans no nothin’. Phoenix is dry enough that humidity isn’t a concern for me. The temperature in the house stays stable all year. Even our “humid” months aren’t really all that humid.

  25. avatar DerryM says:

    The ONLY concern I have about powder and ammo storage is if I ever have a house fire. I expect this stuff would cook-off with disastrous results should the garage be engulfed. Any one else have that concern?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Yes it will cook off, but the only disasterous result is that the fire department might not fight the fire until it stops popping. So they let your garage burn down. And if its attached to your house, could be an issue. Exploding ammo is usually not terribly dangerous; the case ruptures, and the bullet goes nowhere. I’ve read plenty of stories about firecrackerless campers throwing .22s in the campfire. But think of it this way: unless you have a fireproof safe, the issue of fire will never go away for anyone who keeps ammo. And if you keep common household solvents in the garage, like turpentine and gasoline, you have bigger problems to worry about any way.

    2. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Mythbusters did this, just recently, in fact. They weren’t testing house fire specifically, they were testing “bullets thrown into a campfire,” but the results are translatable. They tried everything from .22 up to .50 cartridges. Basically the conclusion they reached was that unrestrained cartridges are not terribly dangerous. The restrictions of the chamber/barrel are what turn bullets into lethal weapons. Without restraint, the brass actually becomes the dangerous part, because the brass explodes outward and being lighter, flies away, while the heavier bullet simply drops to the ground. Even the brass isn’t dangerous outside of a pretty short range.

    3. avatar DerryM says:

      I know that a round or two in a fire will cook off with some danger coming from the exploding brass case…when I was a kid my Boy Scout Troop was camping at a local Marine Reserve and an unnoticed buried round of unknown caliber cooked off in a fire pit causing a gash in a bystander’s lower leg from a piece of brass casing. Nothing serious.
      In the Post’s case I was thinking of the combination of many rounds packed together and cans of powder all cooking off at the same time or nearly so – chain reaction – aggregate of numbers – pyramid effect.
      No matter…just thinking out loud.

  26. avatar KetsugoJohn says:

    40 and 50 cal metal cans (no plastic crap). I live in a dry climate with warm winters and cool summers. They live in my 200 sqft walk in closet.

  27. avatar Daryl Coda says:

    Loose in ammo cans with dessicants:

  28. avatar michael landree says:

    i keep mine in the closet where the water heater is always warm and dry!

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