If you’re like most gun owners, you may be buying your ammo in bulk and then stockpiling it somewhere. That’s because it’s almost always cheaper to buy in bulk compared to individual boxes, even if you aren’t going to use the ammo immediately. I consider purchasing ammo in bulk as an investment. But how do you safeguard your investment? We’ll run you through the basics of protecting your ammo.
Yes, ammunition DOES have a shelf while. While not as short as bread or bananas, which are measured in days, it does have a ticking timer. If you maintain your ammo then you don’t have to stress too hard but it’s still wise to keep an eye on your investment. No, you don’t have to burn through your ammo every month to rotate your stock but ammo will not last forever either.
Depending on how you maintain it, it could be years, decades or in perfect conditions – possibly centuries. Properly stored ammo will easily last for decades, especially since the modernization of ammo manufacturing helped improve the longevity of ammo.
Moisture: Your Number One Enemy
Moisture is the biggest enemy of ammunition. Once your ammo is affected by moisture, it begins to corrode. The casing will begin to change color until it’s green and it doesn’t stop there. It’s possible to sand off the rust on ammo that’s just beginning to corrode but there’s no way of telling if the corrosion will affect the performance of that particular round.
The metal will warp which renders the bullet useless in the “best” case scenario, or dangerous and unstable in the worst case scenario. The best thing you can do is keep your ammo stored in a low-moisture location.
Basements can be good or bad for storage, depending on how it’s maintained. If your basement is subject to high humidity and flooding, it’s probably not a good place to store ammo unless you invest in something like a dehumidifier and store your ammo high on a shelf.
Extreme Heat: Enemy Number Two
Extreme heat will also degrade ammo, but usually you need temperatures of at least 145° or 150° for it to begin to effect ammo. That’s why storing ammo in your car is a huge no no. Please don’t do this, it’s not good in the least for your ammo. It affects the chemical makeup of the inner parts of the bullets, which can turn the ammo into complete duds.
Locations in the house that typically get really warm, especially in the summer, such as the attic or garage, aren’t recommended. Typically, they receive a decent amount of sunlight and little to no air ventilation which is a recipe for very hot area.
How Do You Keep Your Ammo Safe?
Keeping them stored in a cool, dry place is the biggest, most important step you can take towards keeping your surplus protected. A room that doesn’t reach high temperatures and is well-ventilated is perfect.
Ammo cans with an intact gasket are the next best thing you can do to preserve ammo, we HIGHLY recommend these ammo cans. They keep your ammo dry and out of potential sunlight which can also reduce the quality of your stockpile. These have the added benefit of being easy to transport to the range or a new location due to the handle. Labeling your ammo cans by caliber type and date (more on this later) is ideal. You can grab customized ammo can decals on our sister website HERE.
Throw a desiccant in each ammo can to ensure that they stay dry, and you’re on your way to keeping them in good condition for decades. A desiccant such as the HYDROSORBENT OSG-40 is perfect since it can be reused simply by heating in the oven at 300° for 3 hours. It has an orange indicator to let you know that it’s working, once it turns clear then it’s time to bake the moisture out of the desiccant. This can be done an unlimited amount of times which is perfect. You can also fill a sock with silica-based kitty litter and it’ll do the same job.
Rotating your ammo stock is another thing you can do to make sure you always have good condition ammo in circulation. Label your ammo cans with the purchase date so you can differentiate between the old and new ammo. Rotate your stock so the oldest ammo is always available first so you can get rid of those to keep your stock as “fresh” as possible.
That’s all you have to do to ensure your ammo is in top condition. Do you have any more suggestions or ideas? Drop them in the comments below!
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