Storing Primers Outdoors


September 18, 2010, 05:32 PM
I find I have more primers than allowed for storage inside my house according to the standards set by the International Fire Code, which my municipality has adopted. I'm not so much concerned about the fire marshal as by my insurance company, which may resist paying a claim if I have excess quantities of hazardous materials that contribute to damage. Anyway, I have an outdoor shed away from the house and am thinking of putting the excess primers out there, along with the excess gasoline (I also have a generator, for which I keep a couple of days' worth of gas.)

The shed roof is NOT particularly water tight, but the gas is in plastic containers and I plan to use a Pelican case for the primers. That is supposedly air tight, so I presume it would reduce or eliminate concerns about humidity. (I will pack the primers in the case and close it up indoors, where it's air conditioned, and where they have otherwise been sitting for, in some cases, lo these many years.)

But I'm wondering if I should have any concerns about primers stored in a sealed environment? The shed is under a tree but will get some direct sun light on one side for a few hours each day, so it may get warm inside, and of course it will be cold during midwestern winters. Should I use a desiccant inside the case? Or can primers get too dry?

Thoughts appreciated.

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September 18, 2010, 05:38 PM
SO, you are the one who bought up all the primers so nobody else can find any!!!

Seriously, while not ideal, the storage method in the water-proof case in the shed should be fine.

Ever worked in a military ammo storage bunker in August loading out 2 1/2 ton trucks?
It's hotter then you know what in there!


September 18, 2010, 07:34 PM
No, I only bought what I could find after everybody ELSE bought up all the primers. But I've still ended up with more than 10,000, which is the residential limit.

Thanks for the thoughts on storage. (I was an AF lawyer so have no ammo bunker experience - all the bunkers I knew of on our base were full of nukes, and I never had a reason or excuse to get inside one of 'em.) I know that loaded ammunition can survive a lot more heat than my primers are likely to face in the shed. I am only concerned that "unloaded" primers may react differently than after they're sealed up in a cartridge case.

September 18, 2010, 11:50 PM
You might also consider putting those pelican containers in a cooler or old refrigerator to temper the day/night temperature swings in that shed.

September 18, 2010, 11:57 PM
I store mine in the basement in surplus ammo cans with a dessicant and haven't had any issues. I don't have that many, though.

Surplus ammo cans are cheap.

September 19, 2010, 12:02 AM
You could also put them in Zip-loc bags inside the case. This would help keep them at the same humidity level they are at now. A sealed ammo can may be a good bet also. I keep my primers in an ammo can in a safe in my garage. The safe isn't humidity or temperature controlled, and I have not had any issues with them.

September 19, 2010, 12:16 AM
I think primers are much more resistant to heat and humidity than we give them credit for. I've seen primers stored in unheated open buildings loaded into ammo and it all went boom as far as I know. I myself have stored primers in my garage for about 20 years in south Texas at one point when I was not reloading and then when I started up again they all worked just fine. I do know that the explosive compound in primers does not detonate when the absorbed moisture is somewhere over 20% but once they dry out to less than that they work fine.

I wouldn't worry too much about storage of primers as long as they are safely stored away from open flame or extreme heat (over 150 degrees?), and they are stored where someone can't get to them. I'd worry more about that.

10,000 is the max your city will allow? Really? Sure glad I don't live there. I'd have a big problem. :rolleyes:

September 19, 2010, 09:48 AM
Bought just over 3,000 primers at an estate sale several years ago. All had obviously been wet at some point in their past. This influenced the sales price which if I remember was about $2 per thousand. Took them home, removed the trays from the cardboard covers, and just let them air dry for about a month in my basement which I heat in the wintertime. I then loaded them into "practice" range ammo in 308, 223, 9mm, and 45 ACP. Every single one went boom when used.

September 19, 2010, 10:15 AM
I store my primers in the garage, which is as hot as blazes in the Florida summers. No failures. Also we had a pipe break right above my primers storage and they sat in 6 inch of water all night. I let them dry and a couple of months later I was hard up for primers so I tried them. Not a failure in the bunch. I don't know what they use to seal 'em, but I'm now really sure that it's water proof!
Primers seem to be one thing that the manufacturers make rather well.

Leaky Waders
September 19, 2010, 10:16 AM
If you put them in brass would they still count against your 10k count? In other words, just prime your brass...not totally relaod it?

September 19, 2010, 10:16 AM
I store my extra powder and primers in my shed, in an old dorm room sized refrigerator. I set the thermostat to the highest setting, this keeps an average temp of 78 deg. in the summer and about 60 in the winter. Primers are sealed in vacuum bags w/ a desicant pack so humidity is not an issue. 1k primers per bag and the powder in their sealed containers.

Just remember to take them out at least a day before you want to use them, so the temperature can equalize to your ambient reload area temp.

September 19, 2010, 01:40 PM
Where is that information about the 10,000 limit written? I bet a lot of people are above the limit.

September 19, 2010, 01:59 PM
Mr Watcher -
While a Pelican case will certainly do the job for you, in this case it is overkill. If you have one on hand then go ahead, but the ones I'm familiar with start at about $300. As others have said, you can do the same thing with zip-lock bags, those you-do-it vacuum food sealers, military ammo cans, etc.

My thought is that you could probably do a pretty good job with an old refrigerator set to 60F. Set it to 50F and you could keep your beer in there too. That way if there was a fire, the beer would explode and put the fire out.


Better check though. The national fire code probably prevents you from having more than 10,000 bottles of beer in one home too.


September 19, 2010, 01:59 PM
Check with the company that writes the fire insurance on the house. And your local Fire Marshall as well. Then you'll know what your limit is. It's generally pretty liberal.

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