Looking to store some buck long term.

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Mar 24, 2009
Basically I'm looking to stack and store the ammo I don't plan on shooting up long term. Here's my criteria :

I want something in which the ammo is snug...doesn't rattle around and bang against the sides of the container or other ammo inside. Can be stacked and positioned fairly snug with a half inch or less of leeway.

I want something weather resistant, airtight and waterproof as much as possible. This is stash and forget type of deal. No use finding something that doesn't provide as much longevity as possible...why store it if that was the case?

I want something durable. Won't break or splinter under impact or fall apart. Something that doesn't have to be babied or rested upon silk sheets.

There are a variety of ways to do this. I haven't been able to size the different cans. I remember people seeming to like the .50 cal ammo cans. How snug are the 5 round boxes inside? There are also "dry boxes". And also 25 rd MTM case gard shell boxes that theoretically could be filled and stacked inside the cans...

what do you think? I'm also open to ways of utilizing silica gel. I know "ammo storage" has been asked alot, but specifically this is regarding 5-rd boxes of 12 gauge buckshot and slug ammo, american crimp.

A .50 can with a good seal is the best answer I've found so far. Depending on small differences in the sizes of 5-round boxes from different manufacturers, they will stack full enough not to move around and still not waste space. A .50 can will hold about 190 rounds in 5-round boxes. And a full .50 can is about all you will want to have to move around, though the wider M249 SAW can might be manageable for you too since you're young and feisty :D.

I've tried Mk19 40mm cans, which look like smaller 20mm cans, and they get to be a bit much to move around pretty quickly. 20mm cans, you can forget for ammo, unless you have a dolly to move them with.

See http://www.armysurplusworld.com/display.asp?subDepartmentID=118 for pictures and dimensions... shop around for best prices, though.

oneounce, I think you may be referring to the mg34 maybe?


These look like they'd hold less than the .50, but possibly do it snugger? The cans are a couple dollars cheaper as well. But without knowing so far the 50 cal sound the best.....
Have never seen those - look good, I was talking about thin cans - the ones I have are labeled to hold 200 7.62 cartridges.....when full of lead in one form or another, they are easier to handle the the larger .50 cans
I have a few 30 Caliber ammo cans... they came full of 30-06! :^)

Seriously, in addition to CMP ammo, some website had 10 cans shipped for a good price a bit back and I wish I had bought twice as many.
I was shooting GI issue 00 buck for Unkle Sugers Army in 1969 that came loose packed/stacked in green .50 cal ammo cans.

I seem to recall they used a couple of corrugated cardboard spacers in between the two rows of shells to take up the excess room in the can and prevent rattle.

I seem to recall some discussion a few years back about the change in primer formulation and the possibility that new primers would not store as well the old formulation. (I have ammo from the 1930s that goes 'bang' on demand every time.) I assume it's too early to have learned anything more about this, but just in case - has there been any new knowledge on "less toxic" primers and long-term storage?
The military does NOT put silica gel in their ammo cans.

Are you saying a desiccant pack in an ammo can is "bad", or simply "unnecessary"... ?

cheap insurance to collect all the little packs that come in many of the things you buy. I throw them all over the place, from ammo cans to tool boxes.
Just for clarity, I'm not saying it's a problem - but it was a topic of discussion a few years ago and I don't recall seeing any follow-up one way or the other.

If you don't re-dehydrate them, are you sure you're not adding moisture rather than absorbing it?
Interesting topic. I just bought $120 worth of fancy dancy 00, and would like to store it safely for a long while as well (my SHTF supply). The "can" I bought was a plastic Plano one:


I'd been wondering if I was over-thinking this desiccant issue, but it appears others have the same thought. If those little packs have already been "hydrated" ... I wonder what else might do the trick. The issue isn't moisture getting into the can, it's the moisture that was in the air when I closed it up. Maybe just close the can on a relatively dry day to help ensure not much water vapor is trapped?
Scatter the packets in the sun on a dry, hot day, and I figure that does the trick.

It may be because I've never lived in a humid location, but I suspect some people make more of a deal out of moisture than others.
Unless you live in the tropics or seal the can when the humidity is really high, I suspect temperature matters more than humidity. I suppose if you really wanted to go to town, you could add oxygen absorbers? I think these are...overkill? ;)
Dessicant packets are good. I save them and prior to using them I heat the kitchen oven up to about 200 degrees. Once it's hit 200 I shut it off. I have the dessicant packets laid out on a rack, better than a pan because the heat surrounds the packet 360 degrees and let them sit in the heated over for a couple of hours or until the oven cools. This dries them out completely! Then toss them into whatever it is you're packing away and things should stay pretty dry.
At a gun show I bought some of that dessicant in an aluminum packet. It's reusable and gets heated in the over when it's become saturated with moisture. Pretty handy window shows redish purplish color when wet and black when dry. I bought 5 at 5.00 each. Best money I ever spent other than what I spent on those precious items they help keep dry that is.
One of the few (and I mean few) benefits to working retail. I come home with pocketfuls of dissecant packs all the time. I must have a few hundred of them by now. Not sure I'd want to put the paper/plastic ones in the oven, though. Might try it just to see what happens.

You guys who dry them out in the oven... you're not talking paper dissicant packs, are you?

Sorry for the thread drift. OP: You won't do better than ammo cans. This question gets asked a lot. Maybe someday there will be something cheaper and better, but that day is not today.
I suppose one of the most important parts to keeping moisture out would be to package the stuff up how you decide you want to, then leave it. Don't open it every so often to admire it, just tuck it away.
Hello all. First post, thought I would jump in and get my feet wet. I store my buck in .50 cans. 12 pack from armygear.net is a great deal, and the cans are in excellent shape. As to dessicant, I use silica gel cat litter from Wallyworld, called Mimi Cat, $4 a sack, put it in some 4 cup coffee filters, staple, throw it in the can, and forget about it.
I guess I'm just behind the times... most of my shotgun ammo just sits in boxes on the basement shelves. Some of it is over thirty years old and has worked fine.
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