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Thread: long term storage of ammo

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    Default long term storage of ammo

    I was just wondering if anybody had any thoughts on long term storage of ammo or components, whats the best way to do it? vacuum seal it? just store it in a dry place? has anybody had any bad experiences with old ammo? thanks for any input.

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    Keep your ammo in a cool, dry place, and it will last many, many years. I have a couple of boxes of original DWM 9x57mm ammo from the '20's I bought specifically to get a real-world velocity for my Guild rifle. These rounds were roughly 50fps slower than published loads in Ackley's books. From everything I've read, this loss in velocity is just about dead-on. Vacuum packing the ammo seems like a great idea to me. But then I shoot it up too fast.

    I am sure you've seen military surplus ammo for sale in crates? That stuff is from the '50's, and it shoots great.
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    Moisture is the enemy. Just keep em dry and you will be fine.

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    Military ammo cans. Tried, tested, and proven to work for decades. Just keep it dry and at a constant temperature. Cool or warm isn't as big a deal as a lack of temperature cycling. Toss a desiccant packet in the can, fill with ammo, and close it up tight.
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    Stable temps, too. Unless the air around it is completely dry, fluctuating temps cause condensation from the air, and bad things follow sooner or later. Ziplocs are fine for ammo and unopened new cans of powder, but ammo cans are better. If you've opened a powder can, keep it handy so you can go ahead and use it up. I'd certainly vacuum seal primers since they're the most sensitive to moisture condensing from the air.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Some of the best 30/06 match ammo you can get today was made in the fifties. Once we improved on Cordite things got better
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    Thanks for the input guys, I was wondering about keeping it outside and the temperature cycling but I guess I'll keep it stashed away inside with a constant temp.

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    I don't have anything to base this on, but I wouldn't vacuum pack ammo. It could possibly draw out chemicals (what is it called? Going from solid to gas?) Anyway, I second putting it in a surplus GI ammo can with a pack of dessicant. I've shot 30 yr old ammo that has had nothing special done to it.

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    I wouldn't worry too much about it frankly... cool and dry is the rule and anything approaching indoor storage is A-OK.

    I've shot 30-30 ammo stored for 75 years in a barn, in the humid SE U.S.- it worked fine. You can get some weird looking patina on the brass and any exposed lead but it didn't matter- it shot fine. I've also shot ammo out of sealed crates that were from the early 1910s- again no issues. I've also shot 50 year old surplus .308 that was sealed in heavy plastic bags at the armory- looked new when I opened it. Coming from down south you can find some dang OLD ammo lying about- In the sleeve my .30-30 was stored in was several boxes of "new" 1930s vintage Winchester ammo- it looks and shoots fine.

    Believe it or not- modern factory ammo is something without a real shelf life.

    I've got ammo in my stash that is approaching 20 years old and it works fine too... stored in ammo cans with no other precautions at all.

    IMHO vacuum sealing is a really not required, nor are a lot of other gyrations. Ammo can and at most a simple dessicant pack is all you need to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GD Yankee View Post
    I don't have anything to base this on, but I wouldn't vacuum pack ammo. It could possibly draw out chemicals (what is it called? Going from solid to gas?)
    It's called sublimation.

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    What about the cache out in the woods, down in a hole in a seald can with some stay dry stuff. Any worries about detirioration of that kinda stuff? Guess I should add in south central so guys in alabama arn't fielding this one
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    The only thing to be aware of with GI ammo cans is to keep them off the ground or concrete floor. I've seen a number of them rust through the bottoms over the years. If you can, stack them on a shelf, pallet, or piece of wood off the floor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    What about the cache out in the woods, down in a hole in a seald can with some stay dry stuff. Any worries about detirioration of that kinda stuff? Guess I should add in south central so guys in alabama arn't fielding this one
    you need find a 15 gallon sized food grade barrels with a screw on -off top set up for use as a buried cache set up this are some of the best barrels for doing this type of cache

    before put the ammo into a g.i. ammo can after light prep of sanding of the can along with a good allweather spraypaint on the can ..

    then also make sure the rubber seal is good . then put a small dab of vasline on your fringer and run it around rubber seal to make sure it flexable and will seal up right ..

    then before packing the ammo into the can make sure all the ammo is clean and no oils is put onto the cartridges along keeping the ammo in the orignal boxs to protect it .. wear old dishwashing rubber gloves for this chore..

    then pack the ammo into a zip lock plastic bag and do a light vacuming of the bag to get a good basic seal around the ammo box

    then pack the ammo into the g.i ammo can toss in about 4 packs of dessicant packs into the can then seal the can up.this ensures the all the mositure that happens is draw out of the cans for long term stowage of ammo ..

    then make the sure the cans are packed into the opentop round screw top barrel with a packing a packing of the cans inside the barrel as many as you can ..also pack into the barrel diff items also like cleaning supplies and other items inside the barrel ..you can vacum packed this items also ..

    before packing the cans into the barrel ..clean the barrel threads with a regular cleaning of dishing washing soap rag then a clean wet rag to make sure there are no left over oils on the threads

    then screw the top on and run a small bead of all weather sealant on the bottom of the last screw thread to seal up the barrel from the weather and ground effects of the beening buried ..this is done to completely seal up the barrel before it put into the ground

    burie the unit below the fost line to make it can weather the changes of ground temp..

    i did this with a few items after liveing in tornado alley you learned a thing or two about makeing sure that the if the house was gone you had clothing and supplies to make it though a rough couple of weeks intill things where started on right path back to rebuilding your life.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Way too much effort with little added return. Do you know how deep "frost line" is in Alaska? Folks would have to rent a backhoe to cache and then retrieve their ammo. If you need to do a buried, long-term ammo cache for whatever reason, just check your surplus ammo cans for rust and wire brush it off if you find some. Give them a few good coats of spray paint to renew the corrosion resistance. Then dig your hole, put a Rubbermaid storage tote in the hole, fill it with your ammo cans, put a silicone caulking bead all the way around the lid and snap it on tight. Lay a piece of plywood over the tote that extends several inches beyond all sides of the tote. Bury it, seed it, and leave it.
    Winter is Coming...

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    So we're talking a SHTF scenario, remote storage, or what? I'm with JOAT, but still that seems like you're not gaining much...

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    my buddy has a cabin up the river and wants to cache some stuff there, somewhere the theives won't locate his goodies, a SHTF scenario never
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    the whole thing behind dureing it my way of burieing the items in the ground i done for a long term stowage of items in the ground where we where dealing with tornados and the effects on the area ..i basically buried them down about 1 ft down into the ground from the top of the barrel ..


    it might not work for you but it works for me ..

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    Quote Originally Posted by henry2 View Post
    then also make sure the rubber seal is good . then put a small dab of vasline on your fringer and run it around rubber seal to make sure it flexable and will seal up right


    Just one problem (on top of the "over kill" of the rest of your reply ) Vaseline will eat the rubber seal over time, it is a petroleum product.
    but for real... your method of long term storage would be great if you wanted to leave ammo for your great grand kids.
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  19. #19

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    we pulled up ammo from the 60s that was still good useing that method of long term stowage of ammo.. it just a little more work than the person might want to do ..

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    Here's a way that worked for my grandfather:

    Leave 4 boxes of 30-06, and 2 boxes of 30-30 in the original boxes. Then, take about 50-60 WWII surplus 45 ACP in a metal tin. Put it all in a metal toolbox, and leave it in the damp, leaky woodshed at the hunting cabin. 40 years later, have your grandson make it all the way into camp realizing that he forgot all the 30-06 ammo at the truck 6 hours away. Said grandson shoots 3 rounds from a box and finds them to all hold excellent groups, additionally, a magazine of 45 fired like they were made yesterday.

    Worked for me (I mean Grampa )

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