Safe storage of ammunition?


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Cryogaijin
March 21, 2013, 07:35 AM
Greetings Highroaders! Today I must ask about something I am woefully ignorant about. Safe storage of ammunition. The question is simple: what is the safest way to store ammunition in case of fire?

I've heard contradictory things on the subject. On one hand I have heard that storing it in its factory boxes or plastic boxes is best because while the fire will burn away the cardboard/plastic, when the ammo cooks off there won't be a chamber to funnel the gasses, and you essentially end up with a *pop* and small quantity of low velocity shrapnel that is unlikely to leave the room it is in.

On another hand I have heard that storing ammo in milsurp .50 tins makes it unlikely that the ammo will ever get above the ~730 odd degrees F needed for it to autoignite. However if it does, it is more likely to cause a major problem as the tin is a sealed container, and will hold the pressure until it physically fails, resulting in high velocity shrapnel.

On the gripping hand, I have heard that storing ammo in one's gun safe is best, as it ALSO makes it unlikely that it will get hot enough inside to cause the ammo to pop, and even if it does, there is enough volume inside the safe to contain the expanding gasses. OTOH, there are all different sizes and strengths of safes, from your cheap sheetmetal locking guncabinet style all the way up to the Fort Knox premium safes.

What say you HR?

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kyhunter
March 21, 2013, 07:42 AM
I store mine in a gun safe. I like to have it locked up as of lately, and its where all of my guns but 2 are kept. If they cook off in the safe chances are everything inside the safe would be damaged by fire anyways. As well as anything outside the safe id worry about the ammunition hurting.

As far as cardboard boxes goes ive threw a hand ful of old corrosive .30-06 in a fire and it just popped like a .22 and burnt like a little jet engine ofr a second or so. I doubt the bullet had much energy and the case just flipped a few inches in the air.

dragon813gt
March 21, 2013, 07:46 AM
Straight from SAAMI.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c&feature=youtube_gdata_player


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Cryogaijin
March 21, 2013, 07:53 AM
. . . can't watch gun videos at work, sadly.

btg3
March 21, 2013, 08:43 AM
^^^but they do pay you to post on Internet forums???

shafter
March 21, 2013, 08:51 AM
. . . can't watch gun videos at work, sadly.

I think made in America also means made with one eye on youtube.

wgaynor
March 21, 2013, 09:31 AM
I tend to not over think it. If my house is on fire, my ammo storage (while vast) is the least of my problem. Mine is stored in ammo cans. Most are in containers that I've "reclaimed" at the gun range (picture dumpster diving). These ammo cans are in my closets and under my bed... funny how many can fit under a bed without the wife knowing :)

So... if it's that big of a deal and my house is on fire, you'll hear about it on the news I'm sure. In the meantime, I highly recommend smoke detectors, fresh batteries, multiple fire extinguishers, a Bible, and a good set of knees for praying.... After all, none of us is getting out of this world alive.

towerdog
March 21, 2013, 09:59 AM
During this ammo shortage that video may cause some people cry watching all of that ammo being destroyed. :what: very informative video though.

I store almost all of my ammo in a safe and also a couple of heavy gauge steel cabinets for security, but all reloading powders are stored on an open shelf or in a wood cabinet so that there can be no compression in case of a fire.

Queen_of_Thunder
March 21, 2013, 10:52 AM
In regards to the video may I suggest you mail it to your local fire chief.

As far as storage goes store it as low to the floor as possible but not on the floor.

rcmodel
March 21, 2013, 01:00 PM
milsurp .50 tins makes it unlikely that the ammo will ever get above the ~730 odd degrees F needed for it to autoignite. However if it does, it is more likely to cause a major problem as the tin is a sealed container, and will hold the pressure until it physically fails, resulting in high velocity shrapnel.Wrong on both counts.
Do you think GI steel ammo cans were designed to be unsafe & explode in a fire??

Certainly not.

First, the steel ammo can has no insulating value, and the ammo will most certainly get hot enough to cook off.

Second, before that happens, the rubber lid seal will melt, and the spring lid latch will relax enough to release all the pressure.

But the ammo can will safely contain all the flying primers and brass shards.

Here is a test I did some time ago to show what happens to ammo in a fire.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7001165&postcount=15

rc

dragon813gt
March 21, 2013, 07:07 PM
I would not say they will safely contain everything. They definitely contain most of it. But in a fire the cans will most likely end up with holes from fired rounds in them. And the surrounding walls will end up with debris embedded in them. Will anything that penetrates them be fatal if it hits you? Most likely not. But the cans will not completely contain everything. I have pics, that I will try to find, of a house fire where the owner had ammo cans stored in a first floor closet. The aftermath pics show exactly what I was talking about.


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alsaqr
March 21, 2013, 07:13 PM
I would not say they will safely contain everything. They definitely contain most of it. But in a fire the cans will most likely end up with holes from fired rounds in them.

i've burned millions of rounds of US military 5.56mm, 7.62mm an 30 caliber ammo in its cans. The cans have have dents from the bullets but seldom does a bullet escape.

clutch
March 21, 2013, 07:23 PM
I

i've burned millions of rounds of US military 5.56mm, 7.62mm an 30 caliber ammo in its cans. The cans have have dents from the bullets but seldom does a bullet escape.

Why isn't that ammo being broken down to retrieve as much money out of it as possible? Recycling is the way of the future.

I hope my government isn't paying to destroy things of value just because shooters might buy it and use it.

dragon813gt
March 21, 2013, 10:19 PM
I

i've burned millions of rounds of US military 5.56mm, 7.62mm an 30 caliber ammo in its cans. The cans have have dents from the bullets but seldom does a bullet escape.

So you're telling me that what I personally witnessed is wrong? There are plenty of pictures online showing the same thing. While they do a very good job of containing the ammo. They don't contain all of it. And the chances of anything penetrating the can being lethal is slim. That being said there is no way I'd store ammo in a living space that's used often. Especially in a bedroom.


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Shimitup
March 22, 2013, 12:55 AM
I'm not the least bit concerned about ammo in any living space because if I'm in that space by the time the ammo cooks off I'm long since not living.

NavyLCDR
March 22, 2013, 01:30 AM
I would not say they will safely contain everything. They definitely contain most of it. But in a fire the cans will most likely end up with holes from fired rounds in them. And the surrounding walls will end up with debris embedded in them. Will anything that penetrates them be fatal if it hits you? Most likely not. But the cans will not completely contain everything. I have pics, that I will try to find, of a house fire where the owner had ammo cans stored in a first floor closet. The aftermath pics show exactly what I was talking about.

Rounds of ammunition don't "fire" due to the heat from a fire. There is no steel chamber around the brass to contain the pressure. An ammo can may be sealed sufficiently that the increase in pressure inside the can due to the expansion of the air inside the can due to the increased heat may cause the can itself to rupture. When ammo cooks off due to heat outside a gun, it is the brass case that ruptures first. Pieces of the brass case may be propelled as shrapnel, but the heavy bullet will not travel with any force nor any distance at all and certainly not penetrate anything.

So you're telling me that what I personally witnessed is wrong? There are plenty of pictures online showing the same thing.

Why don't you post them? Click this icon: http://images.thehighroad.org/editor/insertimage.gif at the top of the box for a new post and enter the URL of the photo.

Mobuck
March 22, 2013, 07:55 AM
A relative told of destroying truck loads of small arms ammo in Iraq because it was deemed "ineffective cost wise" to ship the ammo back to the US and retest it for reissue. Due to paperwork constraints, it was also not transferable to other units unless both were in a combat situation. Maybe this was something to do with NG units vs regular Army units but I kind of teared up listening to the story.

alsaqr
March 22, 2013, 10:25 AM
Cartridge cases, bullets, primers and fragments of small arms ammunition burned in the open seldom travel more that 20 feet when burned in open pits.

Steel case ammunition, especially 12.7mm and 14.5mm steel case ammunition is more dangerous when burned.

This open pit contained about 10 million rounds of small arms ammo; mostly 5.56mm and 7.62mm:

http://i.imgur.com/Av2v9l.jpg

Ehtereon11B
March 22, 2013, 10:28 AM
A relative told of destroying truck loads of small arms ammo in Iraq because it was deemed "ineffective cost wise" to ship the ammo back to the US and retest it for reissue. Due to paperwork constraints, it was also not transferable to other units unless both were in a combat situation. Maybe this was something to do with NG units vs regular Army units but I kind of teared up listening to the story.

Unusual to say the least. When NG deploy they are set to "Active" status and the differences really fade after that. We never had any issue transferring ammo to the relief unit. Give an accurate count minus travel ammo and hand it over. My "room" was practically an ammo point, had a live AT4 as a doorstop.

I don't have a whole lot of ammo. Between all the calibers, target vs carry ammo I probably have around 5000 rounds. I store it all in a Stack-On ammo bunker inside my RSC. Little bit added fire protection/cookoff protection. And another layer of security separating firearm from ammunition.

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