storing bulk ammo in safe


January 18, 2013, 01:14 PM
I'm having a hard time finding any info on this subject. Lots of "opinions" and "here is what I do" but little data available.

I would never store my powder or primers in a gun safe but I have been storing my ammunition in 30 and 50 cal USGI ammo cans and putting these inside a dedicated gun safe (no guns stored). From what little data I can find it appears this is safe as the cartridges would rupture under high temps and ignition of the primer would be unlikely. It appears that a projectile could gain very little velocity unless it is in the chamber of a gun.

I would appreciate it if anyone can direct me towards info on this subject.

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January 18, 2013, 01:23 PM
Well, if the cartridges would rupture under high temps?
You can bet the farm the primers are sure as heck doing to go off too.

Ammo in GI ammo cans will contain all the bullets, cases & primers.
They will vent pressure so the whole can doesn't go off like a pipe bomb.

But I can't say the same for the safe if enough ammo lights off faster then the pressure can leak out of a tight fitting door.

Here is what happens to ammo in a fire.

As you can see, flying primers present the most danger.
Followed by flying rim-fire cases.
Followed by shrapnel from exploding handgun cases.

The bullets themselves present very little danger at all.


January 18, 2013, 02:18 PM
I store primers and ammo in several ways. Most important is to split locations. Store most at home but have enough at work if home were to burn would not be completely out of either. Same with all components, some extra die sets and have one of my gun vaults at work. Have a smaller vault at parents home with a few guns and ammo to support them but no reloading stuff. At home and work my guns are in high quality fireproof gun vaults along with most of my magazines. The bulk of loaded ammo, bullets, primers and powder is stored in OSHA approved flammable liquids cabinets. They are fire rated to a lesser degree, double walled and vented so as to be explosion proof. The vents will not allow enough pressure to build up inside the cabinet to cause an explosion. Mine are larger than the supplied link and best solution I have found. I have five of these that are about 4 ft wide, 3 ft deep & 7 ft tall. They are about $900 retail but all mine have come from auctions of body shops and other paint facilities going out of business or Craigslist. Buying from distressed sellers I have been paying $75 to $150 each. Worth every dime knowing if house catches fire you won't blow some firefighter into the afterlife.

January 18, 2013, 02:35 PM
Back in my college days, I lived in an apartment. I had a loading bench in my living room, with a couple thousand primers, several hundred loaded rounds, and 5+ lbs of powder on open shelves.

Neighbor accidently started a fire, which spread to my unit. I was not home, but talked with the fire captain when I arrived. He said it got very hot for a few seconds, and come cases flew around - no real danger to them. He also said to never store reloading components in a safe, as it becomes a bomb when the powder cooks off.

January 18, 2013, 02:54 PM
Ammo in tight cans, inside a tightly sealed safe? IF they go, it becomes a bomb, as the expanding gasses have no way to release and dissipate like they would in a campfire.

January 18, 2013, 04:27 PM
oneounceload: The GI ammo cans are more tightly sealed than a gun safe. Are you saying is it OK to store ammo in these, but then not put the GI cans in a safe?

Which is it, the ammo cans or the quantity of them in a safe?

By the way, my OP was not regarding storing primers/powder I need info on ammo storage.

January 18, 2013, 04:31 PM
here ya go.
Video done by saami and the fire department

January 18, 2013, 04:44 PM
Are you saying is it OK to store ammo in these, but then not put the GI cans in a safe?Thats what I was saying.

A fire hot enough to cook off ammo will melt the seal & spring the latch on GI ammo cans to release pressure before they can possibly explode. All the while retaining the shrapnel & primers.

Thats what they were designed to do.

A locked safe door, not so much.


January 18, 2013, 04:51 PM
I keep it all on shelves in my storage/reloading room adjacent to my garage. My safe is full of guns.

January 18, 2013, 06:05 PM
Like I said in my 1st post to this thread it is hard to beat a OSHA approved explosion proof paint locker. Double metal wall designed to protect contents from some heat with vents to keep it from building enough pressure to pop. They all have lever handles with cheesy wafer locks but adding a "puck" lock w proper shackle makes it reasonably secure. Now the fire issue is best addressed by stopping it before it gets out of control. Most home fires start in garage or kitchen. Our range has a small commercial fire suppression vent hood. Added a whopping 500 bucks to the bill when we remodeling the house. Since the garage always has either had vintage Mopars and/or Harleys, I installed a true Halon fire suppression system. Cheaper than just the engine on one of the motorcycles. Now for my reloading area. Check these units out....

I have one mounts over each vault, over each flammables locker and three over my benches. Add to this in my garage are two Dupont FE-36 clean agent fire extinguishers. I have one in the kitchen and one mounted at each end of the reloading bench. I almost rather watch my stuff burn than spray it with a standard ABC chemical fire extinguisher. The chemicals in those will screw stuff up as bad as a fire. So stop it before it gets out of hand is what I say. Not to mention the monitored alarm and fire station 4 miles from the house. We had a small fire once, wife popped it with a 2 pound Halon unit mounted to the frame of one of our motorcycles which squashed it fast but the alarm system called 911 without any input from her and the F.D. was there in less than seven minutes. Us freaks will pay a couple grand for on rifle not counting glass on it, bullets and other stuff. Why not a few nice fire extinguishers. Check these out. Total of eight of these in strategic locations around the homestead. About $300 each in quantity.


January 18, 2013, 06:26 PM
Fetch: video was great. Wish they would have covered ammunition in confined areas such as steel cases, cans, gun safes, etc.

January 18, 2013, 06:27 PM
I keep it all on shelves in my storage/reloading room adjacent to my garage. My safe is full of guns.

Same here except I have it stored in somewhat small quantities in multiple locations. I don't understand the need or want to store it in a safe. If its to prevent theft you'd be amazed at what tight stud spacing covered by 5/8 drywall backed by 3/4 plywood will prevent. Just put a steel security door on the room and you're done. A RSC prevents smash and grab theft just like the room I described would.

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