Keeping Your Powder Dry!

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Most of us have lived through the “Dark Days” – The Great Ammo Shortage of ’08 – ’13. Dark days, indeed. If you were like me, your days alternated between agonizing mental arithmetic and staking out the ammo counter at the local Walmart from across the aisle in the automotive section, waiting for the next shipment to arrive. Cabala’s used to advertise that ammo deliveries would make it to the display floor just before opening on Thursdays, there was always a line waiting for the opening Thursdays.

Many days I found myself wanting to train, wishing I had paid more attention to the proverb of the ant who “provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest”. Deciding between saving and training will always be hard for those of us short on cash. Plain and simple. However, having the proper storage system in place can alleviate some of the burden of storing ammunition for the long-term and at least give us the sense that we have done all in our power to preserve its integrity.

The Perfect Container for Ammunition Storage

The perfect container for ammunition storage can lock out air and humidity, while providing protection against extreme heat. Surplus military ammo cans have been a prepping staple for years, however, these cans rely on an o-ring around the edge to keep out humidity and air. The downside is those seals can go bad. If you have these you should lubricate the o-rings on a regular basis. Any true mountaineer treats his/her waterproof boots with a bees-wax coating at the end of the winter to keep them from cracking over the summer and at the beginning of the winter in preparation for the coming snows. This same product is used to preserve the o-rings on swimming pool equipment and is available at any pool supply store as well as Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes. A thin coating is all that is required. WD40 also works but can break down in high heat and, yes, even the ArmorAll you use on your car can work. – an aside as this should always be used on the rubber seals of your vehicles doors, all of them, as well as your hood, and trunk, if you have one, to keep them from cracking as well.

 

In 2017 you should pass on nostalgia and macho and consider purchasing one of the newer plastic ammo cans which do look “tacticool”! These are less likely to conduct heat, and with proper care, can retain their air tight features longer. Using any of the o-ring treatments above on these storage containers o-ring can prolong the life of the seal. These plastic ammo cans are a great investment, especially when you purchase the stack-able kind. I have them and they have yet to let me down. I label them by caliber of the ammo stored in each. One note, I have one very large one, 20″ x 24″ x 9″ and it stores so much ammo that where it sits now determines where I will have to make my last stand with its contents! Smaller and more are the way to go.

If you want to take it a step further, consider some “add-ons”. The zcorr anti corrosion bags are air and water tight. They also come with a humidity test card. Or, you could purchase a BluGuard .30 cal ammo can liner. When all else fails, silica gel packs endure. Consider stocking up on these.

Remember, airtight and watertight ammunition storage is a MUST.

The Do’s and Do Not’s of Ammunition Storage

Do seek to store your ammunition in a dry, cool, location. Do not store your ammunition in hot or humid locations. If you must store ammunition in a humid environment, use a dehumidifier. Don’t rely on older surplus ammo storage cans. Do choose your ammunition storage container wisely. Don’t plan on keeping the factory ammunition box. Do research your ammunition’s components before you purchase and never buy ammunition with a box date older than 10 years.

Final Thoughts

In my many years of managing a firearms store, the most successful preppers seemed to be the ones who consistently bought extra ammo. An extra box of ammo every two weeks can add up. Spreading your purchases out also offsets the financial burden. Having ample supplies of ammunition is a prepping must, as is not neglecting to protect your investment. Keeping your powder dry is a valuable lesson learned.

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A former rocket scientist (really) who has traveled the world, father, freedom lover, hates to stay indoors, and loves wild places, people and things. PC challenged, irreverent but always relevant and always looking to learn new things.

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27 Comments on "Keeping Your Powder Dry!"

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Robert Thompson
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What happened to all the regular authors?

Cody
Admin

Hi Robert. Hoping nothing happened to them. Pat Henry did sell the site and we are hoping they will keep submitting articles.

equippedcat
Guest

Bill, do you know how to contact the new owners? They already have part 5 of my “ar-15 building series” and the last part is ready for them.

John D
Guest
I mean no offense Wild Bill, but I miss the regular, and guest contributors. Contributions from regulars, like R. Ann Parris, helped make me a better gardener, and provided valuable food preservation tips. John Herting provided a wealth of information concerning firearms. Guest contributors provided a wide range of useful prepper information, and are perhaps the most interesting thing about this site. The diversity of authors and topics is one thing that, in my opinion, made TPJ great. We don’t always agree, but that makes for lively discussions, via comments. Please tell me that TPJ will be as good, if… Read more »
equippedcat
Guest

Thanks John D. If TPJ does not print them any more, you can see my future articles or at least links to them on my personal blog, equippedcat.wordpress.com

John Hertig

Robert Thompson
Guest

Yes. I came here regularly to read articles by Pat Henry, R. Ann Parris, and the other regular contributors. I assume Wild Bill is the new site owner. If so, he needs to get these people posting articles regularly again or much of his audience will disappear.

R. Ann
Guest

Thank you for he compliment – I’m glad you found some of the articles helpful.

>>” We don’t always agree, but that makes for lively discussions, via comments.” – I love this perspective.
I agree totally. Too, hearing other’s opinions, pro or con, allows us to reevaluate. Whether we change our minds or not, the evaluation – with as much information and theory as possible, even to research later – allows us to improve.

Cheers!
R. Ann

equippedcat
Guest

I don’t know if I would use WD-40 (or any petroleum product) on my ammo can gaskets. Much as ammo doesn’t like heat or moisture, it dislikes petroleum or its vapors more.

the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille

I definitely wouldn’t use any petro based products – they all “creep” through very small spaces, including the bullet-casing interface, and will result in misfires eventually.
A silicone based light grease such as that used for o-ring seals would be better.

As regards the queries I’ve noted about the regular contributors – I too miss reading their contributions. That said I myself just see something “different” about the site now. Aside from the non-Disqus comments section, something just seems amiss.

R. Ann
Guest

Not just the ammo.
Most rubber doesn’t actually like petroleum products, either.
That’s why we use silicone grease on the o rings of airguns that we want to actually hold pressure.

Cheers,
Rebecca Ann

Simon
Guest

Quick point about humidity around ammunition. I’ve been using compact car dehumidifiers in the box that I store ammunition just as a precaution. You can pick these up pretty cheap on Amazon and will likely last you for ages.

Ben Leucking
Guest
I would like to see some hard information on how effective plastic ammo cans are at keeping out moisture. Based on my limited experience with the plastic versions, I would not rate them nearly as effective as military grade metal cans. Second, does anyone have a link to replacement gaskets for metal cans? I’ve never had a problem with them, but I’d like to have a source for gaskets in case the cans ever loose integrity. A side note: I never buy used (metal) ammo cans because I don’t know how old or viable the gasket might be. I’d rather… Read more »
equippedcat
Guest

For that matter, does the plastic give off any petrochemical fumes? Ammo would really hate that.

R. Ann
Guest
Finding replacement gaskets for ammo cans is the holy grail. Every rare once in a while, somebody does apparently get them (varies) but this is one of the ongoing quests pretty much everywhere – the forums at the AK files, S&W, CMP, AR15.com, M14 forum. At one point we were able to contact Plano directly and they sent us somewhere where we could order them – could HAVE, if we wanted to spend as much as we had on the boxes just about (I don’t remember if that was before or after shipping, it was a few years ago). If… Read more »
R. Ann
Guest
Just a handful of thoughts here: – Know your environment. Some may really and truly need some waterproof storage. Most of us don’t need zero-contact, zero-humidity. (Central AL river valley; pretty darn humid – recently went to go use up some of grandpa’s old ammo, averaging 35-45 y/o; one box that had been sitting in a drawer had about a 5-10% combined failure to fire rate … and, the Old Man snookered me good by arranging my nephew’s gun so about every 3-4 shots was a low-powder wadcutter not the .357 and .38 spl of the rest of the loads;… Read more »
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
R.A. Wish we could up-vote… But anyways – that white plumbers tape is actually Teflon, and I use it to make “custom” seals on my tired ammo cans quite often. You can also buy the stuff in wider rolls, or even sheets for oddball forms. Even cyano-acrylates, (super glue) won’t stick to it… If your mating surfaces to be sealed are very accurate, machined surfaces and the like, such that the sealing gap is less than ~ .005 inches, you can use the tape directly, although I still smear a film of silicone goop on both surfaces, just because…. And… Read more »
R. Ann
Guest
Cool, thank you for the name again! (One day…) 😀 >>”Quiz: why would I go to such lengths…..” Guesses: – with the exception of me abusing tools of all sorts, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. – especially if the overlaps don’t line up, you’re covered even if there’s a point of failure and there are theoretical models and beliefs out there that suggest EMP or EMP-type damages come in a wide spectrum, which some barriers won’t cover. – if there’s a gap, current will follow, especially if there’s also a moisture factor. – the more… Read more »
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
I should probably do an article, and there is a ton of publicly available info, but in brief…. A Coronal Mass Ejection, (CME), eg; a Carrington Event, is pretty much equivalent to the E3 component of a nuke EMP, (below). It kills power systems and anything connected to the system as well as anything with antennas or other long conductors attached. I will NOT kill non-connected electronic devices.so your cell phones, unplugged radios, TVs, and microwaves, will all be fine except there won’t be any utility provided AC power for them. A nuke-EMP is much more damaging, and is usually… Read more »
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Edit: The E1 portion of an N-EMP is produced LOCALLY relative to the earths surface, so the intensity, KV/m, does NOT degrade with distance. This is the result of the pulse being generated by the gamma ray particles produced by the nuke detonation knocking loose electrons from the gases in the mid-level atmosphere. So it is not an electromagnetic effect generated by the nuke itself, it’s the result of the gamma rays messing with the atoms that make up the atmosphere over your head. The intensity of the total effect may degrade with distance, but the potential type of damage… Read more »
equippedcat
Guest

CD, do you have any opinion on “sol-ark.us”, who claim to have “EMP hardened” solar systems? Are they blowing smoke or might their stuff actually survive an EMP?

the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
I took a quick look at their video and some of the written material: the EMP generating stuff looks like a large scale pulse generator hooked up to some tesla coils, and the protection device is pretty much a special spark-gap lightning protection device typically seen on commercial AC distribution sites. I could be wrong since I can’t touch & tinker, let alone look at the design specs. But: per the IEC, (International Electrotechnical Commission), criteria, the E1 phase of an EMP reaches max potential about 5 nanoseconds into the pulse, and is gone by 1 microsecond. So to accurately… Read more »
John D
Guest

I’ve been thinking of some worst-case scenarios as well, and it occurs to me I could get by without a charge controller. My system is 12v solar, 12v battery bank, and 12v inverter. I could connect the solar array directly to the battery array, and manually disconnect when they’re nearly fully charged. I would need a good DVM. I would have trouble living without an inverter though, but I have EMP-protected spares.

the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
Guest
the Deplorabel Cruella DeVille
The charge controller is nice to automate things somewhat, and mine all have USB and 5VDC outputs as well. The manual hookup though is exactly what I started with, primarily as a keeper for the tractor and such. it just evolved… Spares for the inverter are easily found at electronic junk, and flea markets: Old UPS systems pretty much all use 12VDC as the battery source, and these can be hooked up to any 12 VDC supply. Also note: your DVM is susceptible to an EMP event along with all the other semiconductor based devices… The generic automotive analog meters… Read more »
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