If and when the SHTF you won’t have time to buy ammunition. In 2012 in the face of pending gun control ammunition dried up for over a year. Imagine if there was a real long term survival situation? Even if it was a gradual shift into a bad situation the ammunition supply would be one of the first things to go. Factor in that no one would be producing ammunition anytime soon and ammunition would be gone, completely and totally.
Like food, and water, ammunition should be something that is prepared for beforehand. People should store and purchase ammunition in advance just in case of a bad situation. Purchasing ammunition is easy, storing it for long term might be a little more difficult. So how, and where do you store your bulk ammunition?
Where To Store
This is the million dollar question. Where do we store ammunition for it to be both secure, and safe? A lot of this will have to do with the amount of ammunition you plan to store, but in general there is a simple set of guidelines you can follow.
First and foremost safety is always a priority. Regardless of where you decide to store your ammunition it needs to be in a safe location.
For some this means out of the reach of children. Ammunition is certainly a choking hazard, and its flammable, and of course toxic in many cases. So young kids and ammo never mix.
There is also some minor concerns if you have a dog that likes to chew. If you expect to use plastic containers or cardboard be aware that if your pup is a chewer he may enjoy the wrong snack.
In general ammunition should be stored away from from anywhere that has an open flame, but that is just common sense.
Ammunition is a great investment, it rarely loses value, and when ammo crisis hit hit they hit hard and fast. Ammo prices skyrocket, and in a seriously SHTF situation ammo will be more valuable than gold. Security is key to protecting your preparations. Security in ammo goes a few different ways.
First and foremost I suggest keeping a combat load ready in magazines at all times. This is just in case things happen faster than you can predict. A combat load is at least 6 magazines for a rifle and 3 magazines for a handgun.
These should be locked away in a safe preferably. This ammunition should also be cycled out and shot at the first sign of deterioration. When storing ammunition it may get to the point where you have too much to effectively hide in one location.
Related: Awesome Places to Hide Your Guns
So do not be afraid to store ammunition in multiple locations. I also recommend keeping it under lock and key if possible.
What to Watch when Buying Ammo For Long Term Storage
First and foremost when buying ammo to store long term be prepared to replace the box it comes in. Cardboard boxes suck at keeping moisture out so they should not be the primary storage option.
Loose ammo is also a no go. Unless you are planning to store it primarily short term I suggest finding an alternative.
The reason being is that you never know how long that ammo has been loose and rattling around it may not be reliable, or may have already be exposed to moisture.
Some ammunition comes pre packaged in waterproof, moisture proof containers. Ammunition coming out of Russia and the Eastern Bloc in general is often stored in metal tin canisters that are completely moisture resistant as long as they are sealed.
Same goes for ammunition in NATO battle packages. A common theme among ammunition made for the military is often made waterproof.
Humidity is a killer of ammunition. It can rust the case, deteriorate the primer, and ruin the powder. Preventing humidity is the most important step in preserving ammo for the long term.
While the tactic of hiding ammunition in multiple locations is a good one, it is usually best to find the room with the lowest possible humidity and store your ammo there, you can focus on hiding after the ball drops.
Monitoring humidity isn’t too difficult. You can purchase test strips for about a buck apiece to give you an idea of the humidity in the area you store your ammunition. I would advise putting them in your actual ammo boxes. You can find these commonly in stores that sell wooden instruments.
If humidity is a problem, consider a room sized dehumidifier. This can solve quite a few problems if you live in a humid environment, and hey, it is good for the air in your house.
Proper containers are a must have for storing ammunition. The box ammunition comes in is rarely suitable for long term storage. Proper containers include waterproof, sealed ammo boxes. Military surplus cans are an excellent start. In my time in the Marine Corps I saw those basic ammo cans sit through torrential downpours for weeks at a time and never spring a leak.
They can’t be submersed but they can resist moisture at almost any other level. Alternatively, plastic ammo cans with rubber seals are also excellent to store ammunition, and incredibly cheap. Lastly there is always tupperware, it’s waterproof and works wonderfully.
Invest in Silica
Silica gel packs are these tiny little packets that absorb moisture and prevent it from gathering in your ammo can. These packets are quite affordable, easy to find, and work wonders. If you’ve ever bought a new pair of shoes they’ve probably had these packets in them. Silica is a desiccant, that means it absorbs water.
Long term ammo storage isn’t difficult. All it takes is an ounce of preparation to prevent a pound of pain. Being prepared is critical to survival and success, but sometimes looking after your preps is just as important as prepping. Long term ammunition storage is one of those preparations for your preparations.
Update: One of our subscribers, Randy, suggested that is not a good idea to keep your ammo alongside your gun within a gun safe. He learned it the hard way as he lost 24 guns in a Cannon Gun Safe. The ammo stored exploded, broke the firewall and allowed the safe to overheat.
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