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Proper ammo storage

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by kb58, May 21, 2012.

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  1. kb58

    kb58 Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  2. Kristensdaddy

    Kristensdaddy Member

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    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?
     
  3. kb58

    kb58 Member

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    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.
     
  4. skeeziks

    skeeziks Member

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    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.
     
  5. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    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.
     
  6. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  7. skeeziks

    skeeziks Member

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    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:
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    rc
     
  9. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    My Son-in Law, a paid city fireman says that ammo in fact is no more dangerous than a can of paint.
     
  10. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    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.
     
  11. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I believe a significant amount of black powder is more along the lines of what they are worried about, NOT modern ammunition.
     
  12. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    The paint cans are real bombs.

    The brass will not penetrate turn out gear.
     
  13. medalguy
    • Contributing Member

    medalguy Member

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    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.
     
  14. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "that if you come home and:
    1. Your house is on fire."

    ...keep driving.
     
  15. Jalexander

    Jalexander Member

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    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

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Buck Kramer

    Buck Kramer Member

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    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.
     
  17. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Given the volatile nature of gasoline isn't that a bit misleading?
     
  18. Buck Kramer

    Buck Kramer Member

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    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
     
  19. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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  20. Warp

    Warp Member

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    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
     
  21. kb58

    kb58 Member

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    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.
     
  22. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    I don't think this is out of the realm of possibilities. So saying
    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?
     
  23. SabbathWolf

    SabbathWolf member

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    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


    [​IMG]
     
  24. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Some of the ammo went off with a big bang.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG]

    It was a very interesting day.
     
  25. gfpd707

    gfpd707 Member

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    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.
     
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