Ammo: Long-Term Storage Tips

It pays tp store your ammo right. Gun Digest ammo storage tips.
“I do not recommend removing powder from the original packing cans but storing these cans in a wooden cabinet where the temperature and humidity are regulated will guarantee usable and reliable powder for long periods of time.”

We’ve seen prices on ammo and components rise, supply shrink, and the ever-present threat of some type of government clamp-down on firearms-related products; serious shooters, hunters and ordinary gun-owning citizens need to protect their stocks of these items.  With the current political situation in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your handloads and other ammunition safe and reliable.

I am not an alarmist nor do I consider myself paranoid but with all the political insanity that is coming out of Washington I can’t see the liberals holding off on the gun issue much longer, certainly they are mad after the recent court decision on the Chicago gun ban.  Actually I’m surprised, given the government-sponsored multi-faceted attack on individual and states’ rights, that some form of attack on firearms ownership has not taken place already.  With the administration holding the door open in the Southwest for illegal immigration and given the number of weapons caches uncovered in the Arizona desert, I think it might be a good idea to get the house in order.

Modern primers and gun powder, if properly stored, have a nearly infinite shelf life.  Indeed, even the older smokeless powders and black powder can last centuries and still be perfectly usable if they have been stored with care.  I have some DuPont black powder made in 1920 that is still as potent and reliable as it was the day it was packaged and some factory ammunition from the very first days of smokeless powder that will still perform.  These items have been stored with the three watchwords of care; cool, dry and dark.

By cool we mean stable temperature in the 50 to 80 degree range.  Extreme high temperature can cause the deterioration of gun powders over long exposure; we’ve seen it time and again, ammo left on the dashboard and heated to extreme temperatures or frozen and re-heated.  The gun won’t work without ammunition; find a place in the home where the temperature is stabilized and you have a good start on proper storage.


  1. Hunter

    I was looking at this article in the same respect. To further my current storage ideas. Try this….I use a chemical safety storage cabinet. It’s double wall steel construction keeps contents temperature stable ‘enough’ especially in the garage and keeps it safe from damage. I put a locking bar across its doors using 1/4 inch steel plate on the ends and a beefy length of steel angle across its doors with locks at each end to keep it secure. Drop a moving blanket over it and it looks like an old piece of furniture. But don’t buy a new one, they’re high priced. Look for a desired size at company surplus sales or local craigslist ads. Internally all the ammo is stored in 50 cal ammo boxes with each box containing dessicant. This ought to last me for decades. Look at McMaster Carr for the various sizes.

  2. I`d like to see a piece discussing the SECURE storage of large quantities of ammo. I don`t have room in the gun safe to store ammo, and would love to figure out a cost-effective way to store all my ammo in such a way that it couldn`t easily be taken. I can`t afford to purchase a second gun sage just for ammo storage, but worry about the security of my ammo in the event of a fire or break-in.

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