Proper Ammo Storage
What is the best way to properly store ammo for the long term?
What is the best way to properly store ammo so that it doesn’t degrade over a period of time? And how do you keep it in proper condition so that when you finally put it to use, it functions as it was designed to? Perhaps we can take some tips from the military and the way that they 17 wsm ammo treat their munitions.
Military cartridges are designed to be stored at temperatures ranging from minus 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. They were created for soldiers to use under the worst conditions imaginable. These same cartridges also have an indefinite shelf life. The term shelf life refers to how long an item can remain in storage and still be functional.
The companies that manufacture military ammo are well aware of their requirements and specifications. They are also well aware that if they do not meet the criteria, they will lose a rather large contract with the US Government. The interesting thing to note is that the same companies that create and sell ammunition to the government are the same folks that make most of the stuff we civilians use. The same guys that create the 5.56mm for the military change the label, call it a 223, and sell it to civilians! When it comes right down to it, there is little to no difference in the ammunition common to civilians and to military. Therefore, it is generally safe to use similar procedures in storage methods and practices.
Most ammo comes in a wooden outer container with metal inner packs that actually hold the ammo. The military stores theirs at least two inches off the ground and makes sure that it is inspected every five years. Standard procedure is to actually look at just ten percent of all the ammunition to see if any defects have developed. They are then placed back in storage for another five years. If any corrosion has developed on the ammo, copper or steel wool is used to scrub and scrape it off.
The number one adversary of ammunition is moisture. As long as your container is waterproof, you should not expect any problems. Another common military tactic is to include dehumidifier packages in the ammo containers to suck up any surplus moister that may have gathered.
Our basic conclusion is this: before you store your ammunition, make sure it is clean and dry. That’s all! There is no need to store at a specific temperature, there is no need to vacuum seal anything. Just keep ammunition protected and dry and then let it be.