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Friday, March 12, 2010

Long Term Ammo Storage

There has been much debate on what is the best way for long term storage of ammo, and while I can’t say it’s wrong to place your ammo in a bucket and suck out all the air and replace it with nitrogen I can say it is a waste of valuable resources. The rest of us just need to know what is the best way to properly store ammo so that it doesn’t degrade over a period of time and that it functions as designed when put into use. Shelf life refers to how long an item can remain in storage and still be functional. Well all military small arms have an indefinite shelf life. This means as long as it is properly stored it will never go bad.


Military cartridges (bullets, rounds, ammo) are designed so that they can withstand storage temperatures from minus 65 degrees F. to 122 F. They are made for soldiers to use in battlefield conditions under the most horrible conditions conceivable and still function. The manufactures, OLIN, Winchester, and Remington, know this and they also know they will lose a big fat Government contract if they don’t pass this criterion.

Small arms should be good from anywhere from 6 months to 18 months before you need inspect it. If the ammo has some corrosion on it take some copper wool or steel wool and take it off; then it’s good to go unless it is to the stage of pitting then get rid of it. Now most ammo comes in a wooden outer container with metal inner packs that holds the ammo.

We store it on at least two inches off the floor. It is inspected every five years and then only ten percent is checked for defects and then thrown back into storage for another 5 yrs. (if nothing is wrong).

So now what can you do as a civilian to store your ammo? Your number one enemy is moisture; as long as you have a waterproof container you are fine. Try and keep the cartridges in the original packing and try and keep away from metal to metal contact. To ensure that the ammo has no moisture I throw in a couple of dehumidifier packages. This is strictly optional as we don’t even do that in the military. Whether its military ammo you purchased at a gun show or 22 rounds from K-mart…it’s all the same.

Before you store it make sure it’s clean, dry (and wiped off if you touched it) and that’s it! Wow almost too simple. You don’t need to vacuum seal it, and you don’t need to store it at any particular temperature just keep it dry and out of the elements and leave it alone until you are ready to use it.

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