Tips on Storing Ammo Over the Long-Term

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A lot of people don’t realize that ammunition needs to be stored properly in order to minimize the chances of degradation over time.  Temperature fluctuations, humidity and moisture can have a destructive impact on any stockpile, and many people may not realize that their ammo is useless until it’s too late.  Let’s take a look at some simple things that we can all do to keep our ammo safe from the elements so that it will be available when we need it the most.

Packaging

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One of the first things that you want to do is to remove ammo from their original packaging.  Cardboard boxes do not provide adequate, long-term protection.  Ideally, you want to keep ammo in sealed containers that can resist moisture.  Ammunition boxes are an excellent choice, and they are cheap and readily available through countless military surplus outlets.  You can also use plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids as an alternative. 

Aside from choosing the right packaging, consider placing some packets of silica gel inside each container.  They are phenomenal when it comes to absorbing moisture and oxygen, and these are the two main culprits that degrade ammunition over time.

Storage

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It’s important that ammunition is stored in places that are as temperature-stable as possible.  Avoid keeping rounds in places like your trunk or in containers that are outdoors and exposed to sunlight.  Metal expands and shrinks as temperatures change, and this can cause rounds to deform and ultimately fail over time.

Humidity

Humidity is an ammo-killer.  Moisture can become trapped and cause components to rust.  It can cause the primer as well the powder to degrade and fail.  If you can’t store your ammo in an environment with minimal humidity, it’s important to periodically inspect your supplies, wipe off excess moisture and let them air out from time to time.  Storing ammo in well-ventilated areas can also help to reduce the buildup of moisture. 

Diversify

Never put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to ammunition.  Try to break up your stockpile and store supplies in at least 3 different locations.  This will give you access to ammo if one of your locations becomes compromised or inaccessible.  It will also give you options if the elements ruin part of your reserves as well. 

On that note, you should also keep a few loaded magazines within arm’s reach just in case you need fast and easy access during an unexpected crisis.  However, it’s important that you do not store your weapon with your ammo.  Not only is this a fundamental safety precaution, but it will reduce the chances of your firearm being damaged if the ammo accidentally goes off while in storage.  This happens more frequently than many people think, particularly in locations that are exposed to high heat or temperature fluctuations. 

Inspect and Test

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Finally, periodically test and inspect your ammunition as a preventive measure.  This may seem like common sense, but it’s really easy to pack rounds away and forget about them.  Spending a few minutes going through your supplies is one of the easiest and most-effective ways to ensure that your ammunition is in good condition, and doing so will help you to avoid encountering unexpected surprises at the worst possible time.

These are just a few examples of simple steps that we can all take in order to maximize the reliability and longevity of our ammunition supplies.  Take some time to learn more about ammo storage and how you can incorporate them into your preparedness efforts. 

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