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.
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.