Why is it bad to store ammo in a safe?


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Bill2e
September 30, 2008, 07:46 PM
I herd Tom Gresham say on GUNTALK not to store ammo in your safe. My question is why & where should you store it?

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RobNDenver
September 30, 2008, 07:53 PM
I am not sure why it would be bad to store ammo in your safe, but I don't have room for it. I store my ammunition in a metal cabinet separate from my firearms. Both safe and cabinet are in the basement but are about 15 feet apart.

I keep a loaded .380 just inside the door of my safe, as a last resort weapon, but I don't expect to have to employ it.

I am interested in the answers that you get to this question.

rcmodel
September 30, 2008, 07:54 PM
Well, if Tom Gresham said it, it must be true! :scrutiny:

But quite honestly, I can't think of a better place to store it.
(Except in GI ammo boxs on heavy duty shelving in the basement, because it won't all fit in the safe.)

In steel ammo cans, or in the safe would be the safest possible place for it in the event of a house fire.

If it was me, I'd keep at least some ammo in the safe for every gun in the safe!

rcmodel

Geno
September 30, 2008, 07:55 PM
It depends on the type of ammo. Some ammos are sealed, and so it won't harm them. I would not want to store .22LR in a vault due to the moisture, and the fact that many .22LR do not have a particularly tight seal between the projectile and brass. That could compromise the power.

Sunray
September 30, 2008, 07:56 PM
"...I herd(sic)..." Gresham may have been pontificating about a thief being handed both the firearm and ammo at once in the event you become the victim of a crime. Mind you, opening a gun safe is usually too much like work for a criminal. Otherwise there's no reason not to. Except that it'll get in the way. Any, preferably lockable, cabinet will do nicely.

highorder
September 30, 2008, 07:56 PM
PM Tom here (http://thehighroad.org/member.php?u=3185) and ask him what he meant.

everallm
September 30, 2008, 08:02 PM
Ammo not a practical problem, reloading supplies like powder maybe more of an issue in case of fire.....?

OOOXOOO
September 30, 2008, 08:02 PM
I can't store all my ammo and guns in the safe, so all the guns are loaded and the extra ammo is in sealed ammo cans.

Pure Kustom
September 30, 2008, 08:03 PM
I leave my ammo in the safe for safety reasons. If I had a fire. I don't think the ammo will go through a 1/2 plate door or 2" double walled concrete. Plus I have a dog that likes chewing on shiney objects:eek:

I also heard if you ever have a fire and the fire dept hears rounds going off. They will not fight the fire. The only reason I have heard that can damage guns and ammo is if you live in a humid climate and close the door for months or years. You might be surprised what you might find after awhile. The fix for that is putting safe dry pack in there. They will suck up the moisture. But you should check them from time to time.

Charles Foxtrot
September 30, 2008, 08:05 PM
.
The MythBusters found that ammo will cook-off at about 500 F. At that temp, the metal parts of the guns should still be fine. But -- not if the ammo starts to burn. In addition, the safe is a sealed box. If the ammo burns, the safe has been converted to a pretty big pipe bomb: dangerous for the firefighters.

My guesses -- I'd love to read some actual facts.

Tom Gresham posts to this board under GunTalk. Ask him?

I'll be moving ammo out of the safe.

Bill2e
September 30, 2008, 08:11 PM
Foxtrot, the pipe bomb thing was all I could think of. but wouldn't 50cal ammo can's make a lot of little pipe bombs?

Charles Foxtrot
September 30, 2008, 08:15 PM
B2E -- yes, they would.

Reloading powder canisters are designed to easily vent in case of a fire. Maybe our ammo carriers too?

Pure Kustom
September 30, 2008, 08:16 PM
The MythBusters found that ammo will cook-off at about 500 F. At that temp, the metal parts of the guns should still be fine. But -- not if the ammo starts to burn. In addition, the safe is a sealed box. If the ammo burns, the safe has been converted to a pretty big pipe bomb: dangerous for the firefighters.

My guesses -- I'd love to read some actual facts.

Tom Gresham posts to this board under GunTalk. Ask him?

I'll be moving ammo out of the safe.

naaa I 'll keep them where they are. I thought about that before I placed the safe in the house. Corner of the house window on the side. Not alot to burn around it. and if there was a fire. I know where to put the water:D Also a pipe bomb has to be packed tight.

MinnMooney
September 30, 2008, 08:21 PM
Why? Because it takes up room that should be used by MORE GUNS!:what:
That's why.:)

Kind of Blued
September 30, 2008, 08:21 PM
I think he might tell you that's it's more of a disclaimer/safety matter in regard to young kids.

All a kid has to know is that if you poke the back of the boolits hard enough they go bang and he/she could theoretically poke them with a nail or something.

I hope he chimes in, however, as he occasionally does. :)

benEzra
September 30, 2008, 09:38 PM
I don't know if oil/solvent vapors can deactivate primers or not, but if so then that could be a reason.

06
September 30, 2008, 09:49 PM
I keep a couple of sardine cans in the safe but the rest is in ammo boxes. My converted "breezeway" has concrete floor and brick walls. Adding thick sheetrock asap to the ceiling so the room will be virtually fireproof except for contents. Any powder is near a "blowout" area in case of fire. Cannot understand why ammo should not be kept in a safe other than it taking up valuable space, wc

Jst1mr
September 30, 2008, 09:59 PM
Foxtrot, the pipe bomb thing was all I could think of. but wouldn't 50cal ammo can's make a lot of little pipe bombs?

Nope....ammo in cans has been shown to cook off without breaching the can...without the confines of a chamber, ammo is not a directed explosive.

Walkalong
September 30, 2008, 11:23 PM
If it was me, I'd keep at least some ammo in the safe for every gun in the safe!I do that. A couple of guns are loaded, and marked as such. ;)

ArfinGreebly
September 30, 2008, 11:29 PM
My primary reason for not storing more than a couple of boxes of each calibre in the safe?

No room.

I can store the guns in there, or I can store the ammo in there.

Ain't room for both.

jeepmor
September 30, 2008, 11:35 PM
Whatever, my house is small, I store things where I can.

My safe is 25% dedicated to ammo, range bag and other shooting accoutrements. Did I spell that right?

Case in point, I need to buy more firearms and fill up my safe. That's why I bought a biggish safe. 34 gun safe. Not with scopes its not.

I do keep a large bag of dessicant in the safe. I'll be particularly watchful this PNW winter as my safe is close to an outside wall. But it's also right to a heating vent. I just purchased the safe this summer due to starting a family, a boy no less. Yep, already bought him a 22. :)

Ethereal
October 1, 2008, 12:09 AM
I'd say why not store it in your safe? My thinking is what's the point of keeping the guns safe and out of reach if you have nothing to shoot out of them. Granted I only keep a couple hundred rounds of 5.56 or 7.62 in there with the carry ammo for the pistols and maybe some shells, but I'd rather have something immediately available for my safe guns instead of hitting two spots in the house for a load out.

VegasOPM
October 1, 2008, 12:16 AM
I live in Vegas- no moisture here. I keep some ammo in the safes, which are bolted to the floor, the walls and each other- so you would need to be highly motivated to take them all at once. The rest of the ammo is kept in my safe room, in ammo cans or factory boxes. I don't have kids and no kids are ever left unsupervised in my house, so safety is not a worry.

I keep loaded mags for my HK91, AR-15 and all the pistols in my safe, just in case. If I need to lock myself and my wife in the safe room, I don't want to go searching for the HK mag.

akodo
October 1, 2008, 01:24 AM
here is my speculation

safes can be quite high in the moisture content of the air. I believe this is related to the fire retardant material that is inside coupled with the near total seal of air you get in the safe.

That's why people put 'golden rods' in their gun safes.

We all know high humidity and moisture is bad for ammo, hence most people store ammo in a sealed can often with some 'dessicant' packs thrown in.

Why put ammo some place that is more humid than average if you don't have to?

Loomis
October 1, 2008, 01:29 AM
If there's that much moisture in there, then it aint fit for your guns either. Me thinks the moisture theory don't hold water...hehe, couldn't resist

Pure Kustom
October 1, 2008, 02:15 AM
If there's that much moisture in there, then it aint fit for your guns either. Me thinks the moisture theory don't hold water...hehe, couldn't resist

http://www.klubkustoms.com/cms/smf/Smileys/default/yim_rolling_on_the_floor.gif

PTK
October 1, 2008, 02:19 AM
I have two primary safes. One is for my guns, one is full of loaded mags. :)

I see no reason to worry about ammo in a safe.

eflatminor
October 1, 2008, 02:28 AM
Then you need more guns!

JohnKSa
October 1, 2008, 02:32 AM
The reason I try to avoid putting ammo in my safe is because I don't want it cooking off in there and ruining my guns.

Fireproof safes aren't really fireproof, it will still get plenty hot inside there. If you have ammunition in there it will very likely cook off which will NOT be good for your guns or anything else you have stored in there.

heeler
October 1, 2008, 10:55 AM
A friend of mine went out and bought an aluminim truck toolbox on sale along with several dessicant packs to store his ammo,which consists mostly of shotgun shells.
He also put two hasps with matching key locks on the boxes for a little extra security.
A cheaper alternative for sure.

22-rimfire
October 1, 2008, 12:08 PM
Nothing wrong with storing ammo in a safe if that is what you want to do. I believe the idea is to keep flamable materials out of a safe due to a fire (ie destroying your firearms) and ammo in a safe is not easily accessible.

I have a metal cabinet for ammo. That is only the stuff I use. Quite a bit is stored in metal ammo cans. I tend to forget about it and run onto another can full of something when I'm cleaning up. You know.... another 500-1000 rounds of this or that I forgot about.

zoom6zoom
October 1, 2008, 01:44 PM
If you look at designs for dedicated ammo magazines, they all have blowout panels and pressure relief provisions. You won't find that in the average gun safe.

FW
October 1, 2008, 05:31 PM
There are two possiblities:

It is a well known fact that two guns in a safe will reproduce. Reproduction occurs as exponential rates. What starts as two becomes four, then eight, then sixteen, etc. Soon that "18" gun safe that had plenty of room when purchased is full and a new and/or bigger safe has to be purchased. Some how, guns confined in a safe are stimulated to multiply by the safe. It is assumed the safe might have the same effect on ammo. Starting with a few hundred or a few thousand round of ammo store in a safe, exponential increase of numbers would get out of control. The safe would burst in a short period of time.

Or.....

It is known that guns that are loaded and not locked up will spontaneously cause death and destruction. They will grow legs, run to the local school yard, and all by themselves cause mayhem. As a result, brilliant politicians who were too intelligent to be employed by NASA try to introduce legislation requiring guns to be locked up. Puting these guns in the solitary confinement of a safe agitates them. They get angry from being cramped in a dark place. Putting ammunition in the same confined space will cause them to spontaneosly load themselves and shoot someone when the door is opened.

.....it's just "common sense" gun safety.

feedthehogs
October 1, 2008, 06:02 PM
To the guys who think that the moisture content in the safe is unsafe for ammo, but okay for guns is just silly.

You think all the ammo that everyone buys is manufactured and stored in air conditioned buildings?

I'm sure the 30 year old military surplus has been stored in air conditioning also, right?

Come on people, use your brains and think.

JohnBT
October 1, 2008, 06:11 PM
"coupled with the near total seal of air you get in the safe."

I've never seen a gun safe that was airtight. The door seals don't expand until the heat from the fire hits them. Try an experiment. Close the safe door on a dollar bill and lock it. Now, gently pull the bill out. It's not airtight. Even if the gap is only a fraction of an inch, that gap is as long as the four sides of the door. The opening could easily total 2 or 3 square inches or more.

If they were airtight a GoldenRod wouldn't work.

John

akodo
October 1, 2008, 11:19 PM
"coupled with the near total seal of air you get in the safe."

okay, that may be a bit too stongly stated on my part. Still, take a bathroom and something bad smelling happens inside, and the culprit closes a tight fitting door behind him. It is not air tight, but the smell will linger in that confined space for a LONG time before it diffuses out the crack at the bottom and all the tiny little pours in the wall.

Same with a safe, while it is not air tight, if you locked a dog in there I'd expect it to not survive the night due to lack of oxygen.

But besides, if moisture WASN'T a problem in gun safes, why are there so many dessicant packages sold for safes, and so many 'golden rod' dehumidifiers?

Guns can get pretty good protection from a coat of oil, but adding a dehumindifier is even better. I don't coat my ammo with oil, so it is already down one less layer of protection

blkbrd666
October 1, 2008, 11:30 PM
If safes are too humid for ammo, I'm taking my guns out now and storing them in the bathroom!!!

offroaddiver
October 2, 2008, 01:06 AM
I think I have more money invested in guns than what I have in ammo. So let the ammo go pop in ammo cans and lockers/toolboxes. Same with the reloading powder. I also don't store cleaning materials near the guns incase the oil or cleaner drips on scopes or wood stocks.

cpaspr
October 2, 2008, 01:46 AM
akodo - But besides, if moisture WASN'T a problem in gun safes, why are there so many dessicant packages sold for safes, and so many 'golden rod' dehumidifiers?


One reason, is that many "safes" aren't true safes at all, but are actually fire-resistant RSCs. Residential Security Containers. "Fire-resistant" means they actually have moistened, or moisture-retaining, material built right in.

That's why people often need golden rods and dessicant packs in their gun "safes".

Pure Kustom
October 2, 2008, 02:24 AM
I've never seen a gun safe that was airtight.

Graffunder, Might be the only one. I will have to check. It is very tight. also on of the most expensive safes.:eek:


One reason, is that many "safes" aren't true safes at all, but are actually fire-resistant RSCs. Residential Security Containers. "Fire-resistant" means they actually have moistened, or moisture-retaining, material built right in.

That's why people often need golden rods and dessicant packs in their gun "safes".

I think you are misinformed. No safe is fire resistant. They have a fire rating. The rating states how long and how hot the safe will get inside. Mine I think is 350 for 90 minutes. Which means that it will not get hotter than that for up to 90 minutes after that, it is all over. I actually have 4 safes in my safe. Because what most people forget is that paper will be burned at 350 degrees. So I put important documents in the cheap sentry fire rated safes at Walmart. :D

a1abdj
October 2, 2008, 03:05 AM
Safes are not suitable for ammo storage because they will not properly vent an explosion. It is OK to store small quantities of ammo in the safe, just don't pack it full.

Most safes are not air tight, and there have been numerous reports of children that got locked inside of them without suffocation. A truely air tight safe would have a compression system mounted on the door. You see this most often on older bank vault doors.

If you are storing loaded weapons inside the safe, make sure they are pointed in a safe direction. In a fire, a gun could discharge due to the heat. The steel in most gun safes is so then, it would penetrate easily.

Graffunder, Might be the only one. I will have to check. It is very tight. also on of the most expensive safes.


Graffunder makes some nice safes, but they top out in the $15,000 range. We sell freestanding safes (some of them the size of your night stand) that sell in the $100,000 to $300,000 range.

springmom
October 2, 2008, 10:51 AM
I barely have room for the guns and the mags, plus a few things that I own that live in the safe because, well, it's a safe....like our passports. Beyond that, there is no room in that inn. The ammo has to shift for itself on shelves.

But I'm curious to see what Tom has to say. Did anybody PM him?

Springmom

RPCVYemen
October 2, 2008, 12:33 PM
Foxtrot, the pipe bomb thing was all I could think of. but wouldn't 50cal ammo can's make a lot of little pipe bombs?

Actually, no. If you watch the Mythbusters show, what happened is pretty much what you would expect to happen - when a round cooked off, the hot gasses pushed the brass and the bullet apart. But since those gasses weren't constrained - brass is pretty malleable when it's unsupported - the gasses just expanded inside the oven.

I think that they were using .223 rounds (I don't recall the show exactly, maybe they did use one 50 BMG). As I recall, none of the rounds even made it though the glass in the oven door.

I suspect the major reason for avoiding putting ammo in a safe is that in the case of a fire hot enough to start cooking off rounds - you have in fact created a pipe bomb (maybe a big square boxy one).

I read some set of gunpowder shipping/storage regulations a while back, and as I recall, for large amount of gunpowder were supposed to be stored in wooden boxes just for this reason - the wood will shatter while gasses inside are at relatively low pressures.

Mike

Acera
October 2, 2008, 01:06 PM
As I recall, none of the rounds even made it though the glass in the oven door.

Thanks RPCVYemen, I am currently moving all my ammo to a new storage location.............Hopefully I will remember to take it out before I preheat the oven for a pizza :)

ilbob
October 2, 2008, 01:57 PM
my ammo is mostly in ammo cans stored in a wooden cabinet. it has a lock, but its there mostly to keep out any curious passers by as opposed to a serious security effort.

SAWBONES
October 2, 2008, 10:51 PM
There's nothing specifically wrong with storing modest amounts of ammunition in a "safe" or lockable storage cabinet, as far as I can see.

Storing your guns in the same cabinet as the ammunition? Why not?

Personally, I don't have room for both in my safe, so they're stored separately.

Firethorn
October 2, 2008, 11:21 PM
From what I remember, milspec ammo cans are designed to keep their contents reasonably contained in the event of a cook off to prevent them from being a larger hazard. IE it'll vent, but catch the bullets/fragments.

During a cook off the metal will bend enough to vent while still keeping all/most of the metal inside.

edit - looks like I was right: http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/MarApr06/ammo_readines.html

Man, ammo cans are more complicated than I thought!

Back on the topic - I figure it's the generic 'keep guns and ammo separate' spiel we hear all the time.

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