You Stocked Up On Ammunition Before the Run…How Are You Storing It?

By Virgil Caldwell

How you store your ammunition is at least as important as properly storing your firearms. After all, the firearm is just a stick or club without functional ammunition. While many of us like to have an adequate supply for a SHTF situation — like now — at isn’t my primary motivation for keeping plenty around. I am more concerned with having an adequate supply of ammunition training and recreation than for possible use in a societal breakdown.

That said, I’ve had to curtail my personal training and firearms classes during times of shortage because I simply could not obtain enough ammunition. Now we find ourselves in another time of ammo scarcity.

I’ve been through these cycles more than once. Finding twenty-nine boxes of ammunition when you really need fifty is discouraging. (Fifty students, fifty rounds each, every class for months.)

What are your needs?

I don’t hoard things for their own sake. I like to always have a few months supply of the ammunition I really need and use on hand. When I taught handgun marksmanship and tactical movement, students seemed never to bring enough ammunition. Some brought gun and ammunition combinations that weren’t proofed and they malfunctioned.

As a result I needed to keep a great deal of 9mm ammunition on hand. I fire my .45 ACP defense guns on a weekly basis, the .357 Magnum and .45 Colt trail guns less often. The .22 gets a lot of use. The .38 Special pocket revolver, not so much. I shoot the .303 British every year or so, the 8mm Mauser about the same.

You get the picture. Over time, figure out the calibers, types and loads you use most often and keep several months worth on hand.

As a result of living through both fat and lean times ammunition-wise, I have learned a bit about the best ways to store it. As an example, I have handloaded my handgun ammunition for more than forty years and can’t recall a misfire due to storage issues.

Ammunition isn’t like quite silver and gold, but is more precious and useful when you really need it. It’s also expensive enough that you should respect the investment and take steps to store it properly.

This becomes more important the greater the amount of ammunition you keep on hand. Some like to burn through their ammunition on the weekend and place an online order on Monday to replace it.

That kind of minimal, just-in-time inventory can work for some of us, but I am not comfortable with that. If that’s how you’d been operating leading up to the current emergency and the run on guns and ammo, you have probably found yourself out of luck. That’s why buying in bulk when you can and keeping an adequate on supply is so important.

If you are in a bad situation, particularly a societal upheaval, the ammunition you have expended in training and what you’ve stored away is one of the best predictors of survival. My goal for ammunition storage is to have a good supply for practice, hunting, and personal defense for myself as well as training family members.

That’s not an insignificant amount and it requires that the ammunition be stored properly.

I store most of my ammunition in its original boxes. Sometimes I simply put it on the shelf in the shipping box in which it arrived (online is so easy!), Unless I’m certain that I am going to the range in the next day or so, I never open the boxes and dump the contents into a metal ammo can.

Sure, having those 500 rounds of 9mm in an ammo can is cool, but they are far more subject to damage from handling and the elements that way. Purchasing large quantities of ammunition – in cases of five hundred to one thousand cartridges – and storing it properly is important.

Ammunition longevity

I have fired ammunition that’s more than fifty years old with good results. On the other hand, during my law enforcement career, I saw ammunition improperly stored in cruiser trunks and in the basement of the PD that became corroded and useless in just a few months.

Proper storage is everything for shelf life. Ammunition manufactured since World War One or so was designed to last for centuries. Winchester was given a military contract in 1916 based on one bad primer in 100,000 and the standard is higher today.

I would never purchase older ammunition save as a lark or to feed some non-critical antique firearm. I don’t trust surplus ammunition. There are too many storage and quality issues, in my experience. Corrosive primers are a bad choice all of the way around for most of us.

Purchasing good quality ammunition — for range use or personal defense — means it will last much longer. Quality case mouth seal and primer seal is important for both long term storage and critical use. My handloads do not have this seal but as I mentioned I have not had misfires, because I store my ammo properly.

The keys are keeping it cool, dry and dark. Stack the original boxes on shelves, on the floor, or in a large MTM plastic box.

Heat itself isn’t that destructive in normal temperature ranges, but it may result in humidity and condensation. We have all had our glasses or cameras fog up when moving from an air conditioned home or car to a hot yard. You don’t want your ammunition supply to be subjected to these highs and lows.

Moisture will attack gun powder. In my experience, far more failures to fire are related to powder contamination than primer failure. (Don’t store solvents and cleaning compounds with ammunition!)

In some instances the cartridge case may become corroded. This is dangerous as they may lose some of their structural integrity. Just remember that moisture and humidity are ammunition’s biggest enemy.

Normal fluctuations in household temperatures are OK, but I would avoid extremes such as in some basements storage or attics. This is especially important with lead bullet loads. Many of them feature a lubricant on the bullet, in grease grooves. This grease will melt out of the grooves into the powder if the ammunition becomes too hot and contaminate the powder.

Get It All In Order

Getting and storing your frequently used ammunition in the proper order is important. It makes things easy to store, rotate and find when you need it.

Keep .22, .38, 9mm, and .45 in order together. Then .223/5.56 and .308 is next. It’s the simplest program I have found. Ammunition that isn’t needed often may be in a corner of the storage safe, box, or closet.

Organization is important. I keep handgun ammunition separated by training and service loads. Lead bullet handloads take up a lot of space as I keep a lot of it on hand. The modern Winchester PDX defense loads are on another shelf.

Shotgun shells are more difficult to store and I don’t have nearly as many. They are in one corner of the designated closet. Fiocchi 12 gauge offering delivered in a Plano box are awfully handy.

Some have large stand-alone safes for storing ammunition. That isn’t a bad choice. I do not store guns and ammunition in the same safe. For the sake of preserving magazine springs I do not store magazines in a loaded condition. Normally the only loaded magazines are the ones in my personal and home defense firearms. Your mileage may vary.

It isn’t that difficult to keep up with and store your ammunition. It just takes a little thought and planning. Damp basements, hot attics, and difficult-to-access under-the-bed storage aren’t ideal. Take some time to figure out what’s best for you, make a plan and then stick to it. That will serve you well in the long run…especially in an emergency.

How do you store your stash of ammunition for times like these?

 

comments

  1. avatar conrad says:

    Anything stacked on a concrete floor should have a barrier of some kind between your box and the concrete, wood is best.

    1. avatar Nunckle says:

      Why is that? I heard other people say that before but never knew the reason.

      1. avatar In for a penny, In for a pound says:

        Concrete is a sponge for moisture.

        1. avatar Jeff says:

          “conrad says:
          April 2, 2020 at 15:07
          Anything stacked on a concrete floor should have a barrier of some kind between your box and the concrete, wood is best.

          Reply
          avatarNunckle says:
          April 2, 2020 at 18:12
          Why is that? I heard other people say that before but never knew the reason.

          Reply
          avatarIn for a penny, In for a pound says:
          April 2, 2020 at 18:43
          Concrete is a sponge for moisture.”

          And wood isn’t?

        2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          The concrete is in contact with the ground. The air, in the basement changes temperatures. The ground doesn’t. The wooden pallet is a buffer. A single pane window always has condensation in the winter. (Speaking as a one who lives in an old house.) Double pane windows rarely do. Your ice cold beer/tea sweats in the summer. Wooden mugs might solve that.

        3. avatar anonymous says:

          I keep my ammo in 50 cal ammo cans and reusable silica gel desiccant inside.

          When I get my hobbist k40 laser, I’ll make paper cut outs for ammo boxes and laser cut styrofoam cut outs for individual bullets.

        4. avatar anonymous says:

          The volume of a 50 cal ammo can is quite small so not a lot of desiccant is needed. I bought used silica gel for almost nothing. I then heated it in the oven at about 250F for one hour. I kept them in small canvas bags called “Aspire 12-Pack Natural Canvas Coin Pouches with Black Zipper DIY Square Bags” at amazon. They are small bags and just about the right size for a 50 cal ammo can.

          When the ammo can is depleted of ammo (and the box has been opened and closed numerous times) I take the silica gel out, pour it out of the canvas bag and reheat it to restore it’s drying capabilities and then pack it in the next ammo can.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Those of us who have had to draw ammunition from military storage. And been inside the facility see’s the wooden cargo pallets that the ammo boxes are resting on. I don’t think I have ever shot ammo in the army that was not at least ten years old in storage by the date stamped on the ammo box labels. In the 1980s the army 2 1/2 ton truck I drove had a manufacture date stamped 1968.

        Upon opening the boxes of ammo it always free of any corrosion or any damage. The ammo shot wonderfully. The ammo is stored in cardboard boxes. Just like the boxes you buy at a civilian store. Those boxes are in turn in the familiar ammo metal cans. And finally the cans in storage in wooden crates.

        If your ammo is not stored in a waterproof container you are really playing with losing your ammo in a flood. That is what happened in Texas three years ago after the Hurricane.

        1. avatar Ron says:

          I read recently, I think it was on TFB, that it took until the later stages of the Iraq war before we finally used up the .50 BMG ammo produced during WW2.

    2. avatar Kappa says:

      I just leave it on the original pallets. Newest pallets go in the back. Never more than three pallets high, (forklift wobbles when I do that.) Carry on.

  2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    If you find that you cannot store ammo properly or that you have *gasp* too much, please ship all your surplus ammo to me and I will take care of it for you.

    Respectfully submitted,

    OGiM

    1. avatar Von says:

      Does that include weekly function testing?

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Yes Sir!

        I will personally function test every firearm I own weekly to ensure that your stored ammo is still GTG. You will receive an Excel spreadsheet (monthly) showing how much ammo you have on reserve , quantity used for periodic QC and when to replenish supplies I’m storing for you.

        I understand that this service is not inexpensive, but, it ensures that I always you always have fresh ammunition available.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Such a generous man. 🙂

        2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          Aw, shucks, twarn’t nothing.

  3. avatar Ransom says:

    MTM Casegard cases from amazon. 1 for each caliber. With bulk desiccant poured into socks and knotted off. 2k+ 5.56, 1.6k+ 9mm, 700+ 300blk, 300+ 380, 400+00buck, 7k+22Lr, 300- 22wmr, a few 9×18, 308 and 10mm.
    Once Trump was in office prices dropped, availability increased and I tried to 2x whatever I sent downrange. Hooked some friends up and am watching Johnny come Latelys paying twice what I did.

  4. avatar Aven says:

    I don’t stock up because I keep what I consider an adequate supply all the time. I go by the boy scout motto of “Be Prepared”. I buy a box or two as time goes on to replenish what I have used. Some calibers, I have a few hundred and I keep a few thousand on what I use the most (22lr and 9mm). I keep my ammo in a file cabinet in my office that is heated and air conditioned year round. It still looks new regardless of how old it is.

  5. avatar Rgallagher says:

    My 59k are in surplus cans along with desiccant. Once every 5 months I take the desiccant and dry it haven’t had a problem in 30 years

  6. avatar Jeff says:

    It just occurred to me that those silica desiccant packs are probably a good idea.

    Also, keep stuff off the ground. Water, cleaners, etc. all spill sometimes. It gets on stuff on the ground, and you might not even notice. If it’s higher up then whatever it is probably drips away, or at least doesn’t pool. I have no idea why “on the floor” was a suggestion.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “It just occurred to me that those silica desiccant packs are probably a good idea.”

      Silica gel can be ‘renewed’ by baking it in an oven set to at least 105C. (Just above water’s boiling point)

      After cooling off, into a zip-loc style bag.

      You can buy silica gel that changes color from blue to pink when it’s saturated. Bake it at 105C until it turns pink again.

      I like using that stuff in zip-loc freezer bags that I have perforated numerous times with a needle. A quick glance tells me if it is still good.

      Don’t use it to store foods, what gives it the blue color (Cobalt) is toxic…

      https://www.deltaadsorbents.com/Blog/Post/15/what-is-the-difference-between-white-blue-and

      I got an education on desiccants from my analytical chemistry days…

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        Here’s a bunch of it on eBay :

        https://www.ebay.com/b/Color-Changing-Desiccants-Absorbers/180006/bn_15941794

  7. avatar Scooter says:

    FMJ range/fun/practice ammo is in its original cardboard in ammo cans by caliber for easy retrieval or moving. HP “good stuff” is in the lockup. FMJ stacks up as I find deals, then I replace what’s used before the well runs dry. Defensive stuff I find deals on gets “hoarded” I suppose, after chewing through some to make sure the gun and I like it well enough. I don’t worry about ammo age so much, as it keeps very well if stored properly. Also, in times like these, I know we’ve got enough defensive ammo to load all the mags for anything tool we might use for serious “social work.”

  8. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    .30 and .50 caliber ammo cans, MTM plastic cans…original spam cans that the ammo came in and original wooden crates that the ammo came in

  9. avatar jeff says:

    Ammo in the cardboxes it came in inside of 50 caliber ammunition cans with desiccant. Training and self defense ammo all stored this way on a pallet.

  10. avatar possum says:

    I’ve got three Winchester Wildcat 22Lr”s in my pocket. One of them should go off.

  11. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    All ammo removed from their original boxes, re-packed in “snack size” ziploc baggies in quantities of 50s or 100s, with the caliber, brand, bullet grain, and year of purchase written for reference. Then packed to the max within metal ammo cans, and a shop towel lightly sprayed with a spritz of WD-40 thrown in before sealing the can. Then catalogued in my inventory spreadsheet and stacked in a cool, dry place. Split up into two locations several miles apart.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Why wd40? Is that a good idea?

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        WD-40 evaporates slowly over time, and while misting/wiping ammo directly with the stuff isn’t recommended, a slight spritz on a paper towel is often *just* enough to evaporate and re-settle onto everything, including the interior walls of the can, with an ultra-thin layer. But remember…the ammo in my cans is Ziploc bagged anyhow for extra protection from ambient moisture. I’ve done this for many years, and when you open the can several years later to access the ammo, it’s rust/tarnish free and basically “dry”. I’ve never experienced any issues with this method. I tried desiccants in the past and they work okay (I have a huge one hanging inside my gun safe to protect the guns), but I prefer this method for the ammo.

        But it’s admittedly my own preference. TEHO.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      What is the WD-40 supposed to do?

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        it displaces moisture from the rags.

        1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          into your ammo?

          I’m inclined to be cautious about light oily substances near ammo, it has a tendency to migrate into primers, ruining them…

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          directly.

    3. avatar Anymouse says:

      What’s the purpose of WD-40 sitting on a shop towel?

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        you try to yank the towel out from underneath it without upsetting the can.
        or is that bone china and leaded crystal on linen?

        1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          If any ammo of his hits the floor, can I keep it? 🙂

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          only the .218bee.

    4. avatar S says:

      I use Zerust Plastabs (around since the 1950’s) as a rust inhibitor for small enclosed spaces such as ammo cans and gun cases. They work great. Just keep them in a sealed plastic bag until needed.

  12. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    80% of mine is in component form in unopened packages.

    1. avatar Ferg in Tahoe says:

      Ditto on that. I’m bad since I do store in a dedicated safe (because of S-heads in the area). All categorized on dedicated shelves. 22lr, .45 & 9mm, 5.56, .308 and last shelf 12ga. Majority is in original packing along with loaded mags.

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    Mine is out in the garage in a cabinet four feet off the floor in its original packaging, except for the thousand rounds of .223 in an ammo can. Moisture is not problem in my area. A bunch of other stuff is upstairs in my office, probably 400 rounds of 45 ACP and Colt and most of the HPs. I have never seen a corroded case. (My guns don’t rust either.) I need a safe, but gun buys have always seemed more important.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      have you ever seen a rusty schrade?

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        No, but I did see a rusty Kershaw once. I “lost” it outside and found it about a year later sitting on the side of a fountain in the back yard. It cleaned up amazingly well.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          resurrected. good job.

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    Most of my ammo is in original boxes. Some greentip is in a plastic container and some in a bag. 6 AR mags are fully loaded as are my hand guns mags. My guns are loaded & chambered all on “safe”. No little kid’s. It’s getting a mite creepy around here…tons of (affordable!)ammo at Blythes,Griffith,IN right now. FWI

  15. avatar CCityGuy says:

    All my ammo is loose packed in .30 and .50 cal ammo cans. Color changing moisture absorber in each can, redry them every 5-6 months or so. All cans are loaded into a 84 gun safe with a large goldenrod. Safe is in my non temperature controlled shop. Never had an issue. Outside temp range from 0 to 85 degrees but the safe stay more stable inside. I had *heard* that storing ammo in the original cardboard boxes can be bad due to the cardboard absorbing moisture and causing steel ammo to rust potentially. I don’t buy a lot of steel ammo so, dunno about that. After seeing how the military stores it on location in war…….my way seems downright overdone.

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Ammo cans. Lots of ammo cans.
    Lots and lots of ammo cans.
    Great for storing primers too.

  17. avatar SoCalJack says:

    Each 50 cal ammo can are filled with a little bit of each, 308 win, 5.56, 9mm, 380, .22LR and desicant packets. So I can grab and go with a can. Each 30 Cal can is filled with 1000 rds of 9mm or 160 rds of 6.5 CM (in original boxes). Most of these cans are stored in a large tool chest. All AR and glock mags are loaded up in main gun safe with a large desicant can, humidity not an issue where I live.

    1. avatar Mark_PAV says:

      “…Each 30 Cal can is filled with 1000 rds of 9mm or 160 rds of 6.5 CM (in original boxes)…”

      You fit 1000 rounds of 9mm in 30 caliber ammo cans (20 x 50 round boxes) ? Maybe I’ve been buying the wrong size 30 cal ammo cans.

      1. avatar Jim Bob says:

        1000 rounds of 9mm loose, yes. In boxes, no.

  18. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Most of my serious ammo (read 5.56, 7.62 NATO and 7.62X39 is still sealed in the original cases. Oh, M-2 ball also. Danish 5 rd stripper clips for my ’03A3. You do have an ’03A3 don’t you? All commercial ammo is in GI ammo cans. Climate control. In the late ’80s I bought 900 rds of M-2 AP in en block clips. Non-corrosive. Korean War vintage. Shot like a house of fire. You could smell the inert gas it was stored in when you opened a can. I think it was ether.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      If I remember my HS chemistry correctly inert gasses do not have any odor…that “ether” smell is probably the nitrocellulose / nitroglycerine propellants deteriorating.

      A few years ago I picked up a bunch of Greek manufactured surplus M2 ball…good stuff.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Old, wasn’t anything deteriorating in this batch of ammo. At 100 yards it would drill a a hole through the plate that lies between a railroad tie and the rail. Like a laser. Inert gas may not have an odor. Defer to your expertise. It did smell like starter fluid when you opened a can. Ammo was bright and shiny as the day it was packed. I do know oxygen will cause deterioration in practically everything from steel to food. There was none. Even on the clips.

        1. avatar Someone says:

          Ether can be called a lot of things, but inert it is not.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      i knew a danish stripper named ether ore.
      she gave me an 03a3 and then i had to take some pills.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        And you loved every minute of it, didn’t you?

        What you get for hanging around Ralph… 😉

        1. avatar jwm says:

          If I get a stripper and a rifle for hanging out with Ralph I’m there.

          My luck the stripper will be the former Olga, from tractor factory 19, and the rifle would be a cosmo’d moist nugget.

          On second thought, I’m not going to hang with Ralph. I’m too old for that hassle.

  19. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    90% of mine is stored in original boxes then inside appropriate ammo cans labeled with type and amount. The rest is in the gun safe for weekly use. The ammo cans are then put in a couple large plastic containers in my basement that is below ground where the temp/humidity varies very little over the seasons. I also have desiccant in the large containers and keep Humidity/Temperature monitors in the area. If I need to do anything different it’s to put the large containers on wood blocks off the floor in the event of a water main break or some unlikely weather event that would flood my basement. I also keep two containers of 15 magazines each loaded with 5.56 ammo ready for bug out.

    Why does the site not save my name, email even though I put it in here every time and check the box to save it.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Are you running your browser in Incognito or Private mode?

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I’ve got a stock ipad.
        I’ve had to type my name and address n the fields since that “upgrade” a couple years ago. The only time I don’t have to is if I comment on my own comment.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          you can’t just double click for a dropdown?

  20. avatar Gliderguy says:

    To the guy who stores the ammo (in baggies) in the same container with a WD40 moistened rag, I have had failures of ammo that got exposed to WD40. it is a penetrant by nature and primers really don’t like it. I think I would switch to desiccant packs or somethings besides a penetrating/water displacement oil. The baggies should protect the ammo, but if one of the bags gets torn, there is some risk of fouling a primer, perhaps greater than the risk of rust inside the box.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      I agree. And WD40 is vastly over rated crap.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        i knew you were a pb’laster.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      That’s me, and you’re correct that too much isn’t good. That’s why it’s only a small spritz on a small portion of shop towel. Never had any issues with this method in 30 years of ammo. I’ve seen “spam cans” of surplus military ammo opened up with packing “grease” inside that didn’t harm the ammo after 50+ years of storage, and all the cartridges shot just fine.

      But desiccants are excellent as well. I use both methods for various reasons.

      As I said in my earlier comment above, TEHO. It’s all good.

  21. avatar jwm says:

    Factory boxes that are placed whole in plastic storage tubs. Unless you store your ammo in buckets of salt water not much more is needed.

    1. avatar Rab says:

      I used to do that. Then the F5 came. Lost two cases of 8mm Mauser ammo because the lids cracked and those plastic containers filled up with rain water soaking the ammo.
      FWIW, the military ammo boxes (mostly 40mm cans) survived the tornado quite well, exteriors were a little beat up, but contents unharmed and dry. Guess what most of my ammo is stored in now?

  22. avatar neiowa says:

    What is a good source or bulk dessicant (and don’t say Amazon).

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      large industrial components are usually packed with big pillows of drisorb. ask your pal in receiving to save them.

    2. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “What is a good source or bulk dessicant (and don’t say Amazon).”

      OK, I won’t say Amazon :

      https://www.ebay.com/b/Color-Changing-Desiccants-Absorbers/180006/bn_15941794

      (Yeah, I’m a smartass…)

      1. avatar jwm says:

        No shit. 🙂

    3. avatar BASHer says:

      Kitty Litter is a cheap desiccant for something that is going to stay sealed until use. Just put some in paper bag and put the bag inside a sock.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        interesting!

    4. avatar TommyJay says:

      by Dry & Dry
      1 Quart Premium Blue Indicating Silica Gel Beads(Industry Standard 2-4 mm) – 2 LBS Reusable.

      Yup, on Amazon. I hate it too. Go ahead and try to find something similar elsewhere. Please!

      I also bought a dozen or more pancake tins with screw top lids and punched a couple dozen holes in each lid using a med. small nail and the end of sawed off tree branch as support. Fill with gel beads. I recharge them all in the kitchen oven once a year.
      ____

      I like the bigger Flambeau ammo boxes, but a few of those are not enough. Then I added an 11 gallon kitchen garbage bag. If you’ve ever had your house fumigated, they have a special way to really seal the top of a big bag. I do that.

  23. avatar Noah says:

    Author states that you should not store ammo in magazines due to longevity of the magazine. This is untrue. Cycling of the magazine spring is what reduces life, not storing it loaded.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      ^^THIS^^

    2. avatar TommyJay says:

      Sorry. Not so. IF, you have a mag. spring made out of very high quality steel, neither cycling or storing mags loaded will cause any problems. However, if the spring steel is decent but not great quality, then cycling is not a problem. Decent steel will cycle billions of times.

      The problem is called “cold creep.” Such a spring under tension will very slowly and permanently release that tension over time. The amount of creep per month or year depends on the steel quality, the amount of tension it is loaded with, and temperature.

      Removing one or two rounds out of a 15 round mag. helps a little but not a lot. Lowering the storage temperature 10 deg. F helps a little but not a lot. Be aware and buy new springs if needed.

  24. avatar Son Of Alan says:

    You can make your own desiccant packs with coffee filter, silica kitty litter and a glue stick. I use either the Plano plastic ammo cans or the harbor freight knockoffs they are sometimes available with coupon for $2.99 each.

  25. avatar IAmNotTheHulk says:

    Sadly, before I leaned propper storage practices, I kept it all in ammo cans on the boat, until the accident. Barely got to shore myself…
    Brother, can you spare a brick? I’ll gladly pay you on Thursday for a gross today.

  26. avatar grumpster says:

    I keep ammo in the original cardboard box from the manufacturer stored in climate controlled basement on racks off the floor and at least a few inches away from concrete wall. Never a problem in decades. Humidity almost never goes above 50 percent in the house and usually below 45.

  27. avatar Pete says:

    I’ve been selling off ammo and a few select firearms.

  28. avatar Kendahl says:

    In a lockable trunk in the walk closet off the master bedroom. It’s dry and shirtsleeve temperature. I figure it will last several generations unless I shoot it off myself. My last batch was fine after 30 years in a tool box in the basement.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Factory boxes, packed in well sealed ammo cans. Also, some stored in loaded mags and in boxes.

  29. avatar Darkman says:

    Cached is several locations. Much of which is stored loose in ammo cans sealed with cosmoline and buried in sealed 55 and 30 gallon drums with desiccant. Which I check once a year. Some is in it’s own built in safe. In original packaging. Also stored in several preloaded mags/clips. Kinda lost count on total quantity. I do know it’s over 30,000 rds. You can NEVER have to much ammo. I could probably get rich now but, being a Gunaholic. I can’t part with it unless I’m sending it down range.

  30. avatar Specialist38 says:

    What ammo? I dont have any ammo.

    If I did though……I’d store it in a cabinet with some desiccant.

    I would never store near solvents or oil as they can ruin ammo faster than water.

    Ammo ordered in case quantities would probably be stored as received.

    If I were to reload ammo, I would probably load 1000 round of a caliber and store it in recycled ammo boxes and those in ammo cans with some desiccant .

    If I had any ammo…..or guns.

  31. avatar guy says:

    I keep mine in mylar sealed with silica packets

  32. avatar Andrew lias says:

    These days I am using apple sauce jars for pistol ammo and loading the rifle stuff into boxes factory or otherwise.

  33. avatar The Rookie says:

    I keep everything in the box (I hate loose ammo) and the boxes in ammo cans. I have used a dessicant packet yet, but that’s now at the top of my gun to-do list.

    I am sort of, semi-organized with my storage. 9mm, .38 SPL, and .40 all get shoved into the same general cans. .22 has its own cans, as does .32 ACP (I have what most would see as an unnatural amount of .32 on hand. What can I say? I freakin’ love that round!).

    Probably gonna have to pick up a couple of cans for when my new (well, new to me, if not anyone else!) purchase gets here next week. (I wonder how much 7.62×39 fits in an ammo can….?)

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Which ammo can are you talking about?

      Your typical plastic shipping can from Federal (looks like this https://bid.sslfirearms.com/lots/373461) , marked for 312 rounds of 5.56×45, will hold 500 rounds of 7.62×39 plus 50 loose strippers almost perfectly if that ammo is boxed in the 20 round “cubes” from a company like Herter’s, Wolf, Tula etc. Other ammo packages with excessive packing material, like Remington and that can will hold 240 rounds.

      For 7.62×39 I don’t use 5.56 mil cans. They’re a good volume but the wrong internal dimensions so they waste a lot of space for 7.62×39 ammo unless you have it loose. A .50 cal can will hold, IIRC without running downstairs to look, 800 rounds worth of the “cubes” plus strippers.

      Those are the only ones I use. In my experience the larger, plastic boxes, if really jammed full, weigh enough that if you use the handle to pick it up you’ll temporarily warp the top and break the seal on them. Same if you stack them they’re full, which is worse. ( These or similar, even the thicker, harder plastic starts to flex when you really fill them up https://www.cabelas.com/product/shooting/ammunition/ammunition-boxes/pc/104792580/c/104691780/sc/522363780/cabelas-green-dry-storage-ammunition-box/705904.uts?slotId=0 )

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Note: When I say strippers, I mean SKS stripper clips and when I say “loose” I mean stacked up lying on the back of the strippers and taking up a bit of space at the front or back of the can. You can put them in a ziplock bag if you like, that will still fit.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          you had me at loose strippers.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Loose strippers are the best kind.

      2. avatar The Rookie says:

        Wow! Thanks for the info! I’m using steel “.50 cal” type ammo cans (Wally world brand mostly, not actually milsurp). – 11.88 x 6.50 x 7.50 Inches according to the label.

        Speaking of stripper clips – the rifle I’m getting is a Chinese SKS. I’ve read a lot of commercially available non-milsurp stripper clips can be kind of crappy. Any suggestions on brand or where to find “the good stuff”?

        (Thanks again!)

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          The best luck I’ve had is Russian or Yugo milsurp. They’re black but usually (not always) with a notably higher polish than the cheaper ones. They tend to hold rounds 1 & 10 on the ends of the stripper better and feed into the gun’s guide.

          Most of the good ones I’ve personally amassed came from Yugoslavian M-67 ammo that came on strips but I’ve had friends who had good luck with the strippers from spam cans of Chicom ammo that came on strips. They key seems to be getting milsurp strippers rather than aftermarket.

          Something like this:
          https://www.gunbroker.com/item/864006435

  34. avatar JimK says:

    In military surplus ammo cans, of course! Also got a few wheeled tool chests with extendable handles full up. Some SHTF for each gun in the safe, as well. The ammo cans are hidden in a dry place.

  35. avatar strych9 says:

    Ammo cans stored in a dry location to prevent rust on the cans.

    The rubber gaskets get a light coating of food-grade silicon before being closed.

  36. avatar Will Drider says:

    Spam cans stay sealed until needed by rotation. Every other factory ammo package is dated with a Sharpie and placed in various size surplus GI ammo cans (size uniformity aids stacking). Check the Seals for pliability, cracks and gaps. I don’t but cans with “rusty” interoir, fix minor external rust. Make a non-wicking barrier/spacer: cut from 3/4 styrofoam or two layers of bubble wrap (1/2 inch bubble). This barrier/spacer goes over the TOP lever of ammo. Why? is below.

    I put a square of masking tape on the “viewing side” of the can, with a Sharpie, write the Cans Number/Letter (1, 2, 2A, 2B, 3) on the tape and underline it (important as you will see). Even Spam Cans get Marking too! The number corresponds to Index Card (for each Can) which will list, Caliber and Date of Mgr, Mfr/Reload, Quantity, Type, projectile wgt, velocity and Notes: use (Range/Defence), restrictions (8mmJS ONLY)(FTF Kimber, others good), problems: (very hard primers). Add or Pull: you update the Inventory Cards.
    Once I pulled it, it stays out until used except hunting ammo or other seldom used caliber.

    Stack your Cans UPSIDE DOWN! (This is why we underline the Number, dont want a 6 to look like a 9 or sloppy 4 or 1L like a 71). We’ve got good seals so we don’t care about the dge flaps being inverted. Don’t worry about a little stack wobble from the can handles or cut some stats for them. What we worry about is being submerged. Old or tiny seal imperfections can seep air/water, being upside down creates and holds an air pocket and the non-wicking spacer/barrier will keep your internal boxes from direct contact with any slight seepage. Once a Spam can is opened, the unneeded ammo goes into a GI Can and Index Cards adjusted.

    Since the GI Cans only have a Index Number, anybody looking for specific ammo will have to go fishing for it. You, on the other hand; will know know exactly what you on hand to meet you various Training, hunting, fun and “Critical Reserves”
    Other that my normal Range Bag mix, I have two SHTF Grab and Go Cans: A is preloaded R/P mags and B is ammo resupply for mags R 85% & P 15%. There’s a C can with .22LR and 12ga. but that’s just an add on option.

    Don’t be that guy that finds a dozen boxes of ammo for gun that was sold 15 years go. Lol
    Do be the guy that still has good ammo after the flood!

  37. avatar Mark in Indy says:

    Unfortunately, not an insignificant amount of mine is stored disassembled. Bullets are being stored in a berm, cases are being stored in buckets, and powder…hell I don’t know where it went. But, I guess they’ll make more. They always do.

  38. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Thinks putting ammo in a can will damage it. Yeah you never got your thrown from a helo onto the side of a mountain and used it with no issue.
    I’ve seen a lot of ammo destroyed or put into question during floods and tornados EXCEPT the stuff that’s in a can

  39. avatar Tom in PA says:

    Uh, in boxes?

  40. avatar Joseph says:

    How do you figure that ammo stored in it’s original cardboard boxes is less prone to damage from the elements than those stored in their individual boxes in ammo cans? It’s just the opposite.

  41. avatar ApocalypseNow says:

    I was able to covert a storage closet in our house into my “ammo bunker.” I put in rows of raised shelving and keep my ammo in 30 and 50 cal ammo cans with dessicant packs in each can. The space is sealed when the door closes and I have a golden rode and dehumidifier running in it constantly. I have a minimum of 10,000 rounds for each caliber I shoot. I never let the supply dip below that. I have more for SD 9mm, 12 guage LEO ammo, and 5.56.

    I’m good.

  42. avatar Don from CT says:

    This is way overthinking a non-problem.

    Store the ammo in the climate controlled part of your house and stop worrying. It will last 100 years there with minimal effort.

    The only exception might be unairconditioned spaces in the SouthEastern part of the country.

    1. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

      Except when Hurricane Sandy comes in taking out your buddies supply in cardboard boxes on a shelf. CANS

  43. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Dryboxes…sorted by caliber, labeled…cool dry space…

  44. avatar Greg says:

    I store it in my cheeks like a squirrel.

  45. avatar Courthe says:

    I was able to covert a storage closet in our house into my “ammo bunker.” I put in rows of raised shelving and keep my ammo in 30 and 50 cal ammo cans with dessicant packs in each can. The space is sealed when the door closes and I have a golden rode and dehumidifier running in it constantly. I have a minimum of 10,000 rounds for each caliber I shoot. I never let the supply dip below that. I have more for SD 9mm, 12 guage LEO ammo, and 5.56.www.self21.com

  46. avatar SGT HULKA says:

    Nearby.

  47. avatar Flyboyx says:

    Well literally not a single comment here addresses how I store my ammo, and specifically how I protect it from all moisture s d contamination, and since none of you are the wiser, I’m not gonna go and rock the boat.

  48. avatar craig yeargin says:

    Once I purchase the ammo I remove it from the cardboard box. Paper is pulp which is acidic and will attack the brass. I place the ammo in Berry’s plastic ammo box’s. Then there place in metal ammo cans with dry silicone packs ( med. to large size ). Make sure your cans have good seals. Have been doing it this way for year’s. I’m still shooting ammo from the 70s with no problems.

  49. avatar Thomas Kurys says:

    I store mine in vacuum packed bags which I get from Cabela’s. I bought a 12″ vacuum machine from Cabela’s years ago…definitely worth the cost! I also Vpack my meat before I put it in the freezer. Lasts a long time.

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