AMMO in a SAFE during a Fire


August 6, 2009, 05:46 PM
It's been said that Fire is much more likely to take your firearms than burgulary. For that reason I bought a fire rated safe... Anyone with any experience on ammo in a military metal ammo can in a fire rated safe.
I have aquired quite a bit of ammo and want it protected too, but not at the expense of my firearms.

Any experience with housefires and safes and ammo????

If you enjoyed reading about "AMMO in a SAFE during a Fire" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
August 6, 2009, 05:52 PM
If it gets hot enough for the ammo to cook off in the safe, you will have a far bigger fire in the safe then if it wasn't in there with your guns.

Smokeless powder makes it's own oxygen when it burns, so the GI ammo can would contain the shrapnel, but not the huge fire from the powder burning.

Without the powder supplying the oxygen rich fire, the guns might get charred, but they would not have enough oxygen in the safe to burn completely up.

If the safe were sealed tight enough, and you had enough ammo stored in it, you could even have an explosion!


August 6, 2009, 07:33 PM
Yes; I've heard it's better to keep ammo outside of the safe. Ammo that just "cooks off" outside of a chamber and barrel isn't too much of a threat, except for some shrapnel for anyone super nearby.

If you put it in a strong metal box like a safe, you're going to drastically build up the pressure inside. Either something is going to break off or the whole thing is going to explode, which will DEFINITELY cause injuries to responding firefighters.

If you want to keep it in some sort of locking thing, I'd recommend one of those simple wooden cabinets. Not the most secure thing, sure, but at least you won't have too many pressure issues, really. Plus, better they steal your ammo than your guns (if they take anything).

August 6, 2009, 09:38 PM
I'm going to go against the grain on this and say that depending on how long a fire were to last and where your safe were located, you wouldn't be risking much at all. Several articles that speak about averages in terms of duration and temperature of fire make survival of both paper documents and even bullets or gun powder a very plausible reality. Here's one I found in 5 seconds, though I've read many more that support this claim.

The average metropolitan house fire in the United States is 1100-1200 degrees for about 27-30 minutes. With this in mind, understand that average means some fires are out in 5 minutes and some are out in 1 hour.

So just how much is enough? If the average is about 30 minutes and the high side of the average house fire is 1 hour then most people looking to at least cover their bases would want a 1 hour or better fire rated safe at a minimum test temperature of 1200 degrees. Gun Safes can be found with 1200 degrees/20 minute fire ratings all the way up to 1850 degrees/2 hour fire certifications with many certifications in between.

Though I would never store plain old gun powder in my safe I wouldn't rule out storing ammunition. Don't know about you, but I've spent more money on ammunition and components to make ammunition than I have on all of my guns. However, most of my ammo is kept outside the safe in GI containers since my safe is nowhere near big enough to keep guns, valuables, documents, along with my entire cache of ammunition. Someday though......;)

August 6, 2009, 10:59 PM
I considered the masses of lead which would resist heating up in a safe, and perhaps help keep the temperature down in a safe.

The safe is currently in the corner of a basement... hopefully using the earth and cinderblock as a heat sink. I thought of making a small block enclosure under the staircase (in the opposite corner) to hold ammo and hopefully buffer heat in case of a fire.

Oh the scenarios...

August 7, 2009, 01:33 AM
Don't keep large amounts of ammo in a safe. If you want to lock it up, buy a sheetmetal cabinet.

Safes are not designed to vent pressure, and if the ammo starts to cook off in bulk, it will vent your safe on its own. Will it cook off in a safe? It will. Even good fire rated safes will allow the interior temperatures to reach 350 degrees. Most gun safes will get warmer regardless of what the manufacturer says.

Small quantities OK. Large quantities and you're asking for trouble.

August 7, 2009, 02:14 AM
What about a steel gun "security" cabinet? I have a 14 rifle and rack fire "resistant" Sentry Safe but would like to put a couple cans with ammo in my old Sentinel,now Stack-On?, green steel 8 gun cabinet to help weight down the little .22lr and .410 i have in there until i decide where i want to bolt it down.

August 7, 2009, 01:35 PM
A1abdj Thank you for your reply.

Adam, I considered a steel gun case too, but couldnt think of any benefit beyond the ammo cans

August 7, 2009, 05:36 PM
One thing to consider is storing ammo AWAY from where the your guns are stored. Even if a fire is small, NO fireman is going to enter a dwelling where ammo is "cooking off". A perfectly fine ammo storage container can be made
from a mil-surp single or double door sheet metal wall-locker lined with layers of sheet rock (gypsum board) which BTW is the same material used as an insulator in many gun safes. This is by no means "fire-proof" but will provide a certain amount of insulation to retard cook-off time. Metal footlockers can be modified similarly.


August 7, 2009, 11:19 PM
<<"NO fireman is going to enter a dwelling where ammo is "cooking off".">>
That's not true at all. I spent 33 years as a firefighter in Miami, Florida. Ammo cooking off is only considered a minor hazard. If ammo did start cooking off we would just cool it down with the hose line, end of problem. Ammo cooking off is not much different than a firecracker going off, a lot of noise but no real danger.

If you enjoyed reading about "AMMO in a SAFE during a Fire" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!