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Old 04-24-2012, 02:36 PM   #1
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Cool Ammunition Storage and Rotation

Please read as it will save you some money!!

I will address here what should be common knowledge on proper storage of ammunition in the home. It seems from reading various forums that some folks have been given the wrong information, or haven't given much thought as to how to store their ammunition. This will also give some ideas about proper rotation of ammunition that is used on an everyday basis.

OK, before I get started, a little about my background. I have served as a military and civilian Quality Assurance and Surviellance specialist for ammunition and explosives. I have over 20+ years in this field. I don't claim to be the worlds expert at this, but feel that the knowledge I have may benefit some here.

First we will start off with classification of small arms, powders, and components.
1. Small arms ammunition using smokeless powders are classed as a 1.4 fire hazard, which means that even contained inside a ammo can will be very unlikely to explode when exposed to fire. Proper storage inside a home should be someplace away from direct heat, yet stored in such a way to provide air to circulate, one inch or so around large containers is deemed sufficiant. Try not to dogpile your stock.
2. Powder. Smokeless powder that is lose(not loaded) is classed as a 1.3 class. Usually it will not explode but burn. Try to store it seperate from all other components, primers, heat source, and such. If your powders can be contained inside of ammocans ensure you place dessicant bags in the can to help with humidity issues.
2a. BlackPowder. I don't care what you've been told, it is and always has been classed as an explosive, doesn't matter the amount. Its classed as a Low Explosive, and carries the hazard class of 1.1. This if possible should be stored outside of the home. If not possible try to store it somewhere its the least likely to come into contact with a heat source, and where its the least likely to do the most damage to the home(like your garage, place it near the farthest wall from the inside of the home). It should be stored in its own container, in some type of ammocan and should have some type of barracade around it. As little as five pounds can do alot of damage to a house.
3. Primers. Primers rate a 1.4 class as do small arms. Storage should be the same as your ammo, and use dessicant if possible.

Rotation! OK, the majority of your ammunition doesn't need to be rotated every month, six months, or even a year!! Remember these companies for the most part produce ammunition for the military. This ammo sits for years before use, and its always the policy to use the oldest first. The military doesn't store their ammo in nice warm/air conditioned homes, its sits in warehouses, magazines, and outdoor storage, or issued to troops where its exposed to some of the worst extreams known, and it works! So your ammo is going to last along time, even what you have in your carrygun/HD gun, at the worst, unless your standing outside everyday allday, is only going to be in the element for a very short period. Its not going to go bad over night, or in six months. At the least rotate every year, yet you could go longer! I've seen and inspected ammunition/small arms thats been sitting in bunkers/magazines and other places thats older than most people on this board, and its still looks like the day it left the factory. Remember too this was made on the lowest bid, not your top dollar defensive ammo.

P.S. If a moderator feels it needs to be stickied, please do so!!
Thank you

P.S.S. I will to the best of my ability answer any and all questions anyone may have about storage/rotation of small arms ammunition.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:18 PM   #2
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Thanks for the informative post.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:50 PM   #3
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A Sticky it is ... you didn't even have to suggest it. Thanks for taking the time; this is good material and a great discussion point.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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You may not be aware of this issue but it is a real one. Rifle powders in large caliber guns is almost all stick powder. The Professional Hunters (PH or guides) in Africa have had guns blow up from over pressure for years. Turns out that the questionable ammo was left as a tip from a client years before. It has ridden around in the Toyota's glove box for 4 or more years. Well, with all the bouncing around off road, the powder has broken down from a stick powder to a flake powder, drastically changing the burn rate. Now it burns 300% faster sending pressure over 150,000PSI. Kaboom goes your custom Holland & Holland!!
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:46 PM   #5
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I have fired some truly ancient ammo before without issue. A few years ago we replaced the cabinets in my long-deceased grandfathers camp in Canada, and when we pulled them from the walls a small mouse-chewed box of .22 shorts fell to the floor. They were behind those cabinets for at least 60 years and who knows how old they were when he bought them. The brass cases were green with age, and the lead bullets were flaky white with corrosion. My uncle Jean-Yves (who had a couple of beers in him) took them outside and loaded them up into an even more-ancient bolt-action rifle and took aim at some cans.

They all went "crack!" Every single one of those old cartridges fired in spite of the fact they'd been through decades worth of freeze-thaw cycles and humidity extremes. I suspect most ammunition lasts a lot longer than many of our lives.

I know guns will fire under water. I wonder if they would fire in the vacuum of space... without an oxygenated atmosphere to complete the combustion triangle? Or do propellants contain their own oxidizer?

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Old 05-11-2012, 02:17 AM   #6
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Steve, you're talking about the fire tetrahedron, like the fire triangle (heat, fuel & oxygen) but, with the tetrahedron you have a forth side, chemical chain fraction. The chemical chain fraction creates it's own oxygen. That's how magnesium, or most of the "ium" metals, can burn under water. one of the weirdest things I've ever seen was a VW Bug burning & bubbling at the bottom of a 10 foot pond. I don't know if propellants contain their own oxidizers though.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:51 PM   #7
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Gunpowder, nitrocellulose, and modern powders all contain their own oxidizers. They'd work fine in outerspace, assuming they were confined in a cartridge/gun. Matchlocks wouldn't, and I'm not sure about a flintlock...
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:08 AM   #8
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The term 'dogpile' I take it means stacking ammo cans right next to each other and one atop another. It is apparent from their design that military ammo cans were designed to be stacked. If this is not the best way to store them would it be better to stack then an inch apart and staggered like bricks?
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_E_ View Post
You may not be aware of this issue but it is a real one. Rifle powders in large caliber guns is almost all stick powder. The Professional Hunters (PH or guides) in Africa have had guns blow up from over pressure for years. Turns out that the questionable ammo was left as a tip from a client years before. It has ridden around in the Toyota's glove box for 4 or more years. Well, with all the bouncing around off road, the powder has broken down from a stick powder to a flake powder, drastically changing the burn rate. Now it burns 300% faster sending pressure over 150,000PSI. Kaboom goes your custom Holland & Holland!!
I have heard this story before in many different variations. One said that ammo in military trucks that was "bounced around" during wartime changed it's configuration. Another was the above one that described "Professional Hunters (for more legitimacy?) having this happen to them. And yet another was a guy that kept ammo loose in an ammo can in the back of his pickup truck and it changed it's properties. They all make for interesting theories, but I have yet to see any definitive proof of any of them. I DO know that ammo DOES get some heavy use and mistreatment during wartime. Bouncing around in a glove box is peanuts compared to ammo that is shipped from the USA to combat zones, then loaded into trucks, then loaded into helicopters, and then finally carried and used by the troops. IF there was a danger of ammo changing it's properties during transport or riding in a glove box, I think lawsuit-sensitive ammo companies would have warnings all over the ammo boxes warning about rough treatment and to "handle with extreme care". I am throwing the flag until someone can PROVE this theory.

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Old 05-25-2012, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deputy View Post
I have heard this story before in many different variations. One said that ammo in military trucks that was "bounced around" during wartime changed it's configuration. Another was the above one that described "Professional Hunters (for more legitimacy?) having this happen to them. And yet another was a guy that kept ammo loose in an ammo can in the back of his pickup truck and it changed it's properties. They all make for interesting theories, but I have yet to see any definitive proof of any of them. I DO know that ammo DOES get some heavy use and mistreatment during wartime. Bouncing around in a glove box is peanuts compared to ammo that is shipped from the USA to combat zones, then loaded into trucks, then loaded into helicopters, and then finally carried and used by the troops. IF there was a danger of ammo changing it's properties during transport or riding in a glove box, I think lawsuit-sensitive ammo companies would have warnings all over the ammo boxes warning about rough treatment and to "handle with extreme care". I am throwing the flag until someone can PROVE this theory.

Dep
Here is what YOU have overlooked. Military powder is either flake or ball, not stick powders. There is also a difference in riding the "Red Ball Express" across Europe for perhaps no more than 1,000 miles and ammo riding around for 20,000+ miles in PH's Toyota for 5 or 6 years. The hunting ammo ALL has stick powder in it.

Better yet, call the ammo manufactures if you insist on throwing a BS flag. I happen to know that it is true. Know any African PH's?

Well, contact ANY PH in Africa. That should tell you something.
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