Proper ammo storage


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kb58
May 21, 2012, 11:01 AM
I've seen a number of threads on this but none touch on the issue of fire.

I was told - may be a myth, maybe not - that if you come home and:
1. Your house is on fire.
2. The firemen ask you if you have ammo in the house.
3. You answer "yes."
4. They'll let the house burn.

Anyone know if this is true? I guess if I was a fireman I can see how that's reasonable - no point getting injured trying to save someone's home (though I realize the velocity of said rounds would be low, but still.)

Can ex-Mil ammo cases handle the round cooking-off in a fire?

What creative solutions have you guys come up with to handle this possibility?

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Kristensdaddy
May 21, 2012, 01:13 PM
Rounds do not "shoot" if they are just sitting in a box, pile, or bag. They just burn. What do they do if you do not come home? Let it burn?

kb58
May 21, 2012, 01:45 PM
When I was a kid I put a live .22 round in a fire "just to see what would happen." It definitely made a very loud bang and I close enough that my ears rang for quite a while. While I'm sure the resulting bullet velocity was low, I can understand the relunctance to wanting to be around the stuff.

skeeziks
May 21, 2012, 03:30 PM
There is no "Velocity" involved here.... Either the case simply ruptures...or the brass goes flying out a bit.
For a bullet to "fire" the round has to be in an enclosed chamber; the chamber is the only thing preventing the expanding gas from blowing out thru the side of the case.

MutinousDoug
May 21, 2012, 03:47 PM
It is a simple matter to call your local fire dept and ask the legal limits and legal requirements for storage of ammunition and components. They can direct you to local statutes. If you are storing illegally and a first responder in injured thereby, you will be held liable. The same is true of gasoline, propane and flammable solvents.
Loaded ammunition (in reasonable quantity) is not particularly dangerous.

coolluke01
May 21, 2012, 03:54 PM
There is no "Velocity" involved here....

This is not true!! A rifle round can have a great deal of force.

My younger brother took a target box of mine that I had a box of live 30-30 shells in. They threw it on a bonfire. We were all in the backyard when the rounds started to go off. We dove behind trees and rounds exploded and we could hear bullets hitting brush and trees. After the fire died down we found many cases that were undamaged with no bullet. There were also a bunch of rounds that didn't go off. A old van was parked about 30' from the fire pit and there was a hole in the side where a bullet had penetrated the steel.

There is velocity. I'm sure it's no where near what you would get normally but I would consider it to be deadly.

In the same fire pit someone threw a AA battery in the fire. One of my younger brothers was running across the yard when the battery exploded and shot out of the fire. It hit him at a dead run at 50 feet! The base of the battery was flared out. It hit him with enough force and was so hot that it burnt a hole in his jeans and left a huge mark.

skeeziks
May 21, 2012, 04:33 PM
A 30-30 round is laying on the hot ashes of a bonfire...the powder ignites and the expanding gas has to go somewhere. On 1 side, the gas is pushing against a 150-gr. piece of lead. On the other it is pushing against the brass casing that weighs alot less. Unless that brass casing has something to butt up against, the bullet is going nowhere. It's simple physics.

Then I guess I won't correct what I said.....:cool:

rcmodel
May 21, 2012, 04:39 PM
Here is what happens in a fire.

The primer is the most dangerous, followed by light cases like .22 RF, followed by case shrapnel from handgun rounds loaded with fast burning powder.

The rifle round in the photo blew the primer and the slow burning powder burned out through the flash hole.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/AmmoFire4.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/AmmoFire3.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/AmmoFire2.jpg

rc

Zeke/PA
May 21, 2012, 04:40 PM
My Son-in Law, a paid city fireman says that ammo in fact is no more dangerous than a can of paint.

Deus Machina
May 21, 2012, 04:43 PM
A single round is going to send the brass flying. It might sting, but it won't cause serious harm.

Rounds in a box or a can have something to back up against. Low velocity, but the bullet will launch instead of the brass presses against another box or the side of a can.

This is barring case rupture, of course, or the sides of the can holding out and just blowing the lid off.

Warp
May 21, 2012, 05:29 PM
I believe a significant amount of black powder is more along the lines of what they are worried about, NOT modern ammunition.

brickeyee
May 21, 2012, 05:35 PM
My Son-in Law, a paid city fireman says that ammo in fact is no more dangerous than a can of paint.

The paint cans are real bombs.

The brass will not penetrate turn out gear.

medalguy
May 21, 2012, 05:40 PM
I've seen a number of pictures of military ammo cans that held ammo that have been involved in a fire, and all of them withstood the fire, blown primers, and whatever else happened. I store all my ammo in .30 and .50 cal cans and I'm not concerned with containment.

JohnBT
May 21, 2012, 05:48 PM
"that if you come home and:
1. Your house is on fire."

...keep driving.

Jalexander
May 21, 2012, 05:53 PM
This can was full of 7.62x54R and 12 gauge rounds, and went through a fire that completely destroyed the house. There were two very small holes in the side where a couple of #7 pellets got out, but that was it. It definitely made me a believer in keeping everything in ammo cans.

James

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/292749_10150329326016505_589471504_7732668_1105683472_n.jpg

Buck Kramer
May 21, 2012, 05:58 PM
1 sq/ft of couch cushion burns with the same BTU as a gallon of gas, I'm more worried about 2 family rooms. I've been in one fire that got just hot enough to bend a bunch of 20 gauge slugs into a "U" shape, but not fire, and that house was a total loss.

1)Do us a favor and put them in a steel ammo can to contain the primers/casings from flying out.

2)Keep powder/paint/and anything alcohol based in a steel cabinet.

3)And let us know where it is.

Warp
May 21, 2012, 06:25 PM
1 sq/ft of couch cushion burns with the same BTU as a gallon of gas

Given the volatile nature of gasoline isn't that a bit misleading?

Buck Kramer
May 21, 2012, 06:39 PM
BTU's are a little different than the true danger of something. You would be correct to say that if you throw a match at a couch, and a gallon of gas, I would be immediately worried about the gas, not so much the couch. The gas will flash, and then go out, the couch will burn long and hot giving off the same amount of BTUs before the fire decays. Slightly misleading, it has more to due with the overall heat given off, not the immediate explosion.

Back on topic.........

Jalexander, that is and awesome pic

Hunterdad
May 21, 2012, 06:51 PM
There was a fire locally that had a good amount of ammunition in a back room. All they did was pull the fireman out of the house and battled the blaze from a distance.

http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=732468#.T7q4ehpul5s

Warp
May 21, 2012, 06:53 PM
I think this is of much more concern than the ammunition.

""To make matters worse we knew there were handguns in the house, that were loaded, and in the vicinity of the fire"

If a round cooks off while in a gun, you could have a serious problem

kb58
May 21, 2012, 07:23 PM
Ah, yes, wouldn't blame the firemen staying across the street and behind the truck if they knew there were loaded guns in the house... who knows which way they're pointing.

Anyhow, as far as the loose ammo goes, thanks for the input. Looks like even 0.050" thick steel will be enough to contain them cooking-off. The paint can storage idea in another thread is attractive but may be a bit iffy in the thickness department.

coolluke01
May 21, 2012, 11:07 PM
Unless that brass casing has something to butt up against, the bullet is going nowhere. It's simple physics.

I don't think this is out of the realm of possibilities. So saying There is no "Velocity" involved here.... is inaccurate.

RC that is an interesting test. How thick was that steel? How many rounds did you test like this? or was it just on of each shown?

SabbathWolf
May 21, 2012, 11:21 PM
I keep all my ammo in clearly marked cans like this, and have a volunteer fire department kitty to watch over it. That's the best I can do.
Dunno what else to say here.
:D


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/Swampdragon/5293f38b.jpg

M2 Carbine
May 21, 2012, 11:54 PM
First thing is, don't take as absolute fact what anyone says as to how ammo reacts in a fire.

My gun shop burned to the ground in 1995.
It contained 23,000 rounds of handgun and rifle ammo. There was also thousands of primers and at least 15 pounds of gun powder.

In short here is some of the things that took place.

Most of the ammo was in military steel ammo cans. This means that any bullet that put a hole in something had to already have gone through at least a steel ammo can, like these.
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Carb3.jpg

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/C1.jpg


Some of the ammo went off with a big bang.
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/CP2.jpg

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/CP1.jpg


Even this box of 9mm that wasn't in the fire but close enough to cook off about 30 rounds (in plastic boxes) had a fist size hole blown in the bottom.
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/FRockchuckerand9mm.jpg


This is some of the gunpowder cans. The blown up ones are black powder and WD40.
Note the bullet holes in a couple cans. Those bullets had already gone through at least a steel ammo can.
There were also some bullet holes in the shop's metal walls.
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Fpowdercans.jpg

It was a very interesting day.

gfpd707
May 22, 2012, 12:35 AM
I have been a firefighter for 10 years. I have yet to ask about ammo or seen anyone else ask the homeowner. We have had more trouble with peoples collection of half filled gallons of paint and wood stain. Or the most recent one with 7 20 lb cylinders of propane.

SabbathWolf
May 22, 2012, 12:42 AM
I have been a firefighter for 10 years. I have yet to ask about ammo or seen anyone else ask the homeowner. We have had more trouble with peoples collection of half filled gallons of paint and wood stain. Or the most recent one with 7 20 lb cylinders of propane.


I do a lot of wood working.
I've got stain and polyurethane all over the place.
Better just let my place burn and I'll collect the insurance instead.
:D

skeeziks
May 22, 2012, 01:13 AM
So, all these "bullet holes" in the walls....were they concentric, or were they key-holed?

gfpd707
May 22, 2012, 10:18 AM
Last year we had a house that had a small kitchen fire that was easily put out. While cleaning up one of our guy went in the basement and discovered a pallet and a half of various wood stains. The home owner was advised it might be best to store it somewhere else and not within 5 feet of his furnace. To keep this post firearm related I recently went on an accident rollover. The guy had a ammo box full of 223. The field looked like gliter with all the rounds in the dirt.

Steve H
May 22, 2012, 10:51 AM
I have been a firefighter for 10 years. I have yet to ask about ammo or seen anyone else ask the homeowner. We have had more trouble with peoples collection of half filled gallons of paint and wood stain. Or the most recent one with 7 20 lb cylinders of propane.

Same here except I've been in the business for 40 years. Never have had an ammo problem. Paint, solvents and PROPANE cylinders are what scares me.

heeler
May 22, 2012, 12:22 PM
All very interesting.
Currently the majority of my ammo,which tally's a bit of money,is locked up in the safe with of course the guns.
I personally worry far more about theft by burglars than I do fire and statistics as well as my past bad luck say I am correct on this.
I would like to get the ammo out of the safe and have considered the ammo cans but in a burglary they will rapidly vacate the home I am sure.
I have also considered a smaller Knaack type of contractors box but the smallest at Home Depot cost around $200.00 including tax.
I do need to come up with something that is steel,fairly heavy,and can be secured.

M2 Carbine
May 23, 2012, 10:53 AM
So, all these "bullet holes" in the walls....were they concentric, or were they key-holed?
There weren't "all these" bullet holes in the walls. Probably no more than 10.
As I recall, the holes were normal looking bullet holes, like the ones in the gunpowder cans.

There were also a lot of split cases flying around to. My Wife was about 30 yards away and a M1 Carbine case hit her in the face causing a crescent shaped bruise.

The cases had such force flying back wards that they put their head stamp in the ammo can metal and some cases tore through the steel cans.

Interesting that one 50 cal can that contained 7.62x39 ammo was expanded like a balloon and beat to heck but it contained all the ammo. There was not a single hole in that can.

One bullet hit my house roof, about 40 yards away.
A couple days after the fire a mark in a shingle caught my eye as I was looking for damage.
The bullet, M1 Carbine as I remember, hit the shingle on the lower edge. It cut the shingle almost in half and buried in the half inch plywood.


So, like I said, don't put all your faith in such as, "ammo is no problem in a fire because it just mildly bursts".
Up until that fire I believed the same thing.

303tom
May 23, 2012, 11:47 AM
I keep all my Ammo in ammo cans & in a metal locker, I feel inside two steel containers is better than one..............Granted they are just gym lockers.

skeeziks
May 23, 2012, 12:20 PM
Qoute= "As I recall, the holes were normal looking bullet holes, like the ones in the gunpowder cans."

So if the bullets that made these holes were not fired thru a rifled barrel, how do you suppose they made such a "normal looking" hole in the wall?

kb58
May 23, 2012, 12:32 PM
A 30-30 round is laying on the hot ashes of a bonfire...the powder ignites and the expanding gas has to go somewhere. On 1 side, the gas is pushing against a 150-gr. piece of lead. On the other it is pushing against the brass casing that weighs alot less. Unless that brass casing has something to butt up against, the bullet is going nowhere. It's simple physics.

And simple physics says that the round has X amount of contained energy. When it cooks-off, that energy goes into making pressure, which is vented off in any one of about a million different ways. Related to your scenareo above, say that the bullet is resting against something, which would cause the much-lighter case to go flying off at potentially significant velocity. I agree that since the round isn't in a barrel and the expanding gases aren't contained, that the resulting velocity will be lower than it would be, but it could still be enough to be an issue, as noted in the above posts.

I'm considering either buying or making a much more substantial enclosure, one with maybe 1/8" thick steel. Or just man-up and get a proper enclosure, one used for paint and other flammable materials.

Jim NE
May 23, 2012, 12:38 PM
I don't know about safety of live rounds in a fire, but I generally don't worry about loaded ammo. If my family and I aren't out of the house by the time the ammo gets hot enough to ignite, I'd say we were history by then, anyway. One thing I WON'T keep around or near my house is black powder. To me that's about like keeping gas cans in the basement.

As far as firefighters being reluctant to go into a house that has ammo in it, well, I'd never suggest that another man is required to UNDULY risk his life to save my property. On the other hand, if there are 300 million guns in the US, then there are at least that many rounds of ammo. And they're probably mostly in people's houses. I would hope it's a situation that firefighters have prepared for.

Have there ever been recommendations on how to store ammo to minimize risk during a fire?

M2 Carbine
May 23, 2012, 05:10 PM
So if the bullets that made these holes were not fired thru a rifled barrel, how do you suppose they made such a "normal looking" hole in the wall?
Now I'm going from memory of an exciting day years ago, so I wouldn't swear (and I doubt) all the holes were perfect bullet holes. Some were. In any case the important thing is there were bullet holes in things, including the metal walls, caused by fairly high speed bullets

Whether the bullets made a clean hole, like in the center lower can, or more of a keyhole, like in other cans and stuff, really doesn't matter.
The fact that bullets were moving with such force that they went through several layers of metal, etc, was an eye opener.

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Fpowdercans.jpg

heeler
May 23, 2012, 08:55 PM
After reading many of M2 Carbine's past post I am willing to take his word on this issue as he has always comes across very straight forth.
Which also makes me ever more consider only using some sort of locked reasonably thick gauge steel as the containment vessel for bulk ammo even if it's a cheapo second safe.
Anyone know the gauge thickness of ammo cans as I see them on sale at every gun show??

skeeziks
May 23, 2012, 09:20 PM
I'm sorry, I misunderstood.... I was under the impression that the bullets flew for some distance accross the room before putting holes in your shop wall. I didn't realize that the rounds were stored so close to the wall.

franx1911a
May 23, 2012, 10:11 PM
Heeler my company sells Knaack boxes. Don't let that sheet metal fool you, there is a reason they are expensive. I used to keep most of my guns in one of the big 2472 boxes bolted to the garage floor. We had a break in while away from home, but when we got back we found the box mangled, twisted where they tried to pry it from the floor, full of holes where it was drilled, even some marks from a skill saw I had in the garage... box was trashed... guns were all still inside it. Had a he l l of a time getting it open to retrieve guns. Neighbors said they called the cops when they heard all the racket in the garage.

heeler
May 23, 2012, 11:06 PM
Franx1911,I have said before in a few other gun safe threads here that during a construction build out in a commercial building I operated as a building engineer(aka maintenance mule) we had a building burglary in which the contractor stored his high priced power tools in a contractors job box in which the thieves went to work on with a sledgehammer and trashed the box but did not gain entry.
Understand people that most if not all of these job boxes are 16 gauge steel which is not even as thick as most cheapo gun safes at 12 gauge steel,but none the less it held up.
The way they lock on each end vs the cheapo composite doors of most low end safes utilize I believe was the big difference on not gaining entrance.

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