Ammo Is One Of The Best Items That You Can Stockpile For A SHTF Situation: 9 Ammo Storage Tips Every Gun Owner Should Know

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If you’re like most preppers, you’re already a stockpiling pro. You’ve got food, supplies, a bugout bag, the perfect weapons, and a great plan. Chances are high that you’ve also begun stockpiling ammunition like a reality TV hoarder. Having a million rounds of ammo is great, but without proper storage those potential projectiles will be nothing more than a heap of brass–or worse, an accident waiting to happen.

Over time, heat, moisture, and corrosion can wreak havoc on an ammunition supply. Cartridges can weaken and break, primers can lose their zing, and bullets can even corrode and lose mass, making them a safety hazard to fire. Avoid all these potential risks by using these 9 tips for storing your ammunition.

1. Buy Proper Ammunition

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. This is certainly the case with proper ammunition storage. Starting out with the right ammo is essential to keeping up your long-term arsenal. There are quality versions and terrible versions of every type of ammunition possible. Avoid buying extremely cheap ammo. You never know the history of the ammo you buy, and there’s a small chance that extremely cheap ammo is a production reject.

In addition, do not buy ammunition that is already old. Any ammo over 10 years old should be avoided, since you can’t guarantee it was stored properly the whole time. Make sure any ammunition you purchase is completely intact, without any broken seals or ripped boxes. As always, don’t store any ammo that hasn’t been personally inspected by you.

2. Label and Rotate

Storing and using your ammo should be like storing and using any stockpiled perishable items. Label your cases of ammunition with the date you bought them and use the oldest dated rounds first. This will ensure that you never leave an old box of ammo in the back for a long of time.

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3. Cool Temperatures

The best way to store ammunition is in plastic bags inside ammunition boxes that have a rubber seal (to keep moisture out), and placed in a cool, dark area. Rounds that have been exposed to heat may be defective, and this is what you’re looking to avoid most. While you probably don’t have to worry about wrecking your ammunition on one hot afternoon–that won’t start to happen until at least 150 degrees–but over time the heat degrades the performance of your rounds. Be sure to find a cool dark place that isn’t also damp, as this defeats the purpose. Humidors are for cigars, dry boxes are for ammo.

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4. The Clay Desiccant

The number one killer of ammunition is humidity. Storing your rounds in a damp environment is a surefire way to cause corrosion and powder damage. Fortunately there are many options for avoiding this fate involving the use of desiccants. A desiccant is anything that absorbs water. Some materials do this chemically, while others do this physically, like the clay desiccant.

Sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite are great clay desiccants that absorb moisture wonderfully. You can purchase these in the form of Desi-Paks, which are safe enough even to use with food. While not the most inexpensive option, clay desiccants are a great way to keep your ammo good to go.

5. Silica Gel Packets

Similar to clay desiccants, and usually even more effective, Silica gel packets also absorb moisture and can be used by dropping packets into your ammo canisters. Silica gel packets can be easily purchased online and are an inexpensive yet reliable way to keep your ammo safe. Another perk of using Silica gel packets is that you can tell when they need to be switched out. You can get packets that change color when they’ve absorbed as much moisture as possible, letting you know when to replace each packet.

6. The Affordable Option

If you’re in a pinch, or don’t have much time to prepare in a doomsday scenario, you can create a great homemade desiccant out of salt and rice. Uncooked rice will keep your ammo dry in the same way that it absorbs moisture in a jar of sugar. Adding the salt will also keep the rice from spoiling as quickly. Simply mix some uncooked rice with some salt and tie it up in tissue or a fine mesh cloth.

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7. Use Vacuum Sealed Bags

An additional tip for making the most out of your moisture defense is to use vacuum sealed bags. While squeezing the air out of plastic bags will work decently, storing ammo in a vacuum sealed bag is the best way to ensure no air–and therefore no moisture–makes it into the presence of your ammunition. This is an especially useful tip if you want to store thousands of rounds in one bag. Simply vacuuming out any air is much easier than trying to squeeze air out of a trash bag-sized storage option.

8. Check for Signs of Corrosion Frequently

Be vigilant about your ammunition storage. After packaging up your ammo nicely in vacuum sealed bags with moisture-wicking materials and placing it in a cool, dry place, don’t simply forget about it and hope it will last 40 years. Schedule ammunition checks to make sure your rounds aren’t corroding or becoming exposed to heat. Using clear plastic in your vacuum sealing is ideal for this, as you don’t have to undo the hard work you did sealing your rounds off from the outside world.

9. Reload Your Ammunition

In reality, the best way to store your ammunition is to avoid it altogether. Using ammo is better than storing ammo, and if you have the know-how and the ability, reloading your ammo is a great way to make sure you always have fresh munitions. If you embark on this endeavor, spare no expense. Learn the metallurgy involved; what makes bullets weak and strong, what makes them fly faster and slower, and the best methods to use for casting them. Purchase as precise a collection of instruments as possible, because even the smallest variations can impact your shooting experience.

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Conclusion

To wrap up, we looked at the 9 major tips for you to be able to store your ammo for decades. Remember that ammo is one of the best items that you can stockpile for a SHTF situation. You want to choose the most popular calibers because that will be the ammo that is in the highest demand.

You also want to make sure that you put your ammo in the right container, and that you can somewhat control the temperature, moisture, and sunlight. By keeping the ammo organized properly, you don’t have to break the seal of your containers too often, and can find what you need easily.

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Just be careful if you start bartering ammo in the SHTF scenario for you have really trust who you give ammo too so they don’t come back and use that ammo on you. No doubt ammo will be valuable and all the points are good in this article.

Desiccant packs and the like do absorb moisture, but I am against using them for long term storage. That moisture does not just escape, it stays in there with your ammo if it’s in a sealed container. Many years ago I bought an unopened sealed can of 30-cal Carbine ammo from WW-II for ten bucks from a gentleman who had had it for more than a few years himself in 1976. I don’t remember one round misfiring when using them in my 30 Cal Carbine Ruger Black Hawk revolver. In other words Air Tight vacuum Sealed containers is the only way to guarantee that your ammo will last with no problems for literally generations. Once it is opened all bets are off unless you reseal it the same way.

On reloading: It is very time consuming esp.if a person works full time, and sometimes primers are hard to get. Husband used to reload rifle and pistol ammo before y2k frenzy, have enough now, so sold reloading equipment. We are now retired. Seems it’s no longer the hobby like it was in late 20th century. The old time reloaders (had a gun license and business), have passed on. I knew a handful. A good business to get into if SHTF, yet risky who you sell to. There will be another ammo and gun buying frenzy if a leftist runs again for POTUS.

If you prefer professionally-manufactured dessicants, you can order a bucket of desiccant packs from U-line (a packaging/shipping supply company).
I did this probably 10 yrs ago and the unused dessicant packs are still in good shape in the sealed bucket. Plus, the packs are big – similar in size to a hand warmer.

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