When the hunting season winds down, the time comes to think about preparing and storing your favorite rifles for next year. What about the ammunition, though? Are you concerned with how to store your ammunition throughout these long periods? Perhaps you should be.
Even though modern ammunition does not require too much care to ensure it continues to function as it did the day you bought it, you should still take measures to ensure it remains effective. The two main enemies are high heat and moisture.
Keeping that in mind, here are some important things to consider when storing ammunition in the off-season.
1. Store Only What You Need
In general, you should avoid hoarding things purely for the sake of having them on hand. Try to aim for an ammo supply that will last no longer than a couple of months. That goes for shotgun shells as well as other types of ammo. If you’re interested in shotgun ammunition’s longevity and other characteristics, you can learn more here.
Many people enjoy burning their ammunition over the weekend and replacing it on Monday. That said, you shouldn’t be afraid to buy ammunition in bulk and store it for future use. You may be able to keep the cost down by purchasing bulk ammunition, especially if you are a savvy shopper.
On the other hand, while we certainly hope that we will not need a bountiful supply of ammunition in the future due to some sort of social upheaval, it will be your training that determines your chances of survival rather than how much ammo you have stored.
In other words, you should aim to have a good stock of ammunition for practicing, hunting, and training your family members, as well as to prepare for emergency situations.
2. Stay Organized
Suppose your ammunition is not in its original packaging with the proper load, gauge, and caliber information. In that case, you should store it in plastic ammo boxes designed for shotgun shells or rifle/handgun cartridges. Make sure you mark the boxes, so you know what is inside.
Keep ammo away from jacket pockets and backpacks during the offseason. This way, shotgun shells can lose their identifying lettering, bullets can become deformed, and ammo generally gets more exposed to the elements, which leads us to our next point.
3. Do Not Expose Your Ammo to Heat
Gunpowder’s potency erodes at high temperatures, usually between 150- and 160-degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t store anything in your attic, car trunk, or even inside your car during the summer months.
It would be best if you also avoided wide temperature fluctuations. This means that, most optimally, your shotgun ammo storage area should be inside your home, where temperature and humidity can be controlled.
4. Make Sure It Stays Dry
Water seepage, such as in some basements and garages, can be an issue that requires immediate attention, particularly when moisture is allowed to pass into boxes and soak into primers, cartridges, and the brass used for shotgun shells.
Upon rapid corrosion, shells can become unusable and even dangerous to fire as the walls of the shells/cartridges or the edges of primers can weaken.
Make sure ammunition is stored off the ground, on shelves, or in waterproof ammo boxes.
If the humidity in the area is an issue, such as in a basement or garage, you may consider using a dehumidifier or refillable moisture-absorbing products in cabinets. Make sure that these are checked often and changed if necessary.