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Water... sigh.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Trent, Jan 3, 2013.

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  1. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    So my kitchen sink leaked a couple months back, didn't think much of it (leaky drain that I fixed the night my wife noticed it).

    Was going through my ammo tonight...

    ... know where this is going?

    Yup, ran down the wall on to the shelves where my ammo is stored. Boxes noticeably water damaged (had to tear some open to inspect). About 500 rounds of 9mm in their original paperboard boxes (S&B RangeSafe) soaked thoroughly, some other stuff (mostly the bottom row of each pistol caliber on my pistol caliber shelf...). Probably 40 boxes of pistol ammo in all soaked up water.

    The S&B looks the worst, by far.. noticeable corrosion around the case heads. The ammo which is packed with more "air space" (winchester white box, remington, etc) were fine.

    The worst of it was 200 rounds of 7.5 swiss (reloadable) which were soaked. Those were packed 20 per box with cardboard spacers, got nice and fugly.

    I'm sure it'll all still shoot; even the S&B which took the worst hit are sealed with red sealant. Looks like crap, though.

    Don't really have another spot to put my ammo, but I'm rigging up a catch basin where the pipes are so if it leaks again in the future, it'll run harmlessly down to the floor.
     
  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Also, get some metal ammo cans or plastic boxes that are water proof to store the ammunition in.

    Water leaks are the pits.
     
  3. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    All of the ammo that was stored in plastic MTM boxes (my reloads) and 50 cal ammo cans was fine. Some rust spots on the floor where the 50 cal cans were. Everything inside was pristine.

    The only ammo affected was factory ammo in original packaging. Stuff that was double boxed (unopened cases of ammo in the heavy cardboard shipping boxes) wasn't really affected; the outer cardboard worked as a "sponge" and spread it out, where it apparently dried out before soaking the inner boxes.

    It only hit the ammo in the back corner where I can't see the damn stuff. I was rearranging my ammo tonight (by ascending caliber power factor.. I'm bored) when I found boxes sticking to the 3/4" plywood shelves I built.

    I could park a car on those shelves, they show some signs of water damage but otherwise are still holding up to 4,000 pounds of ammunition just fine.

    Figures, though, I take the time to build these kick ass shelves 5 years ago to keep my ammo up off the basement floor and it still gets wet. :(
     
  4. ChefJeff1

    ChefJeff1 Member

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    I washed a speed strip full of 38 specials. They all fired fine, but I wouldn't use them as carry ammo.
     
  5. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    You need to:

    A- fire up the tumbler to make those rounds pretty again

    B- shoot more(visit your ammo stash weekly)
     
  6. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    Sorry for your loss in ammo. Its always a good feeling when you make the ammo, then it stinks when you go for the ammo and you didn't realize you shot it all up, or water damage happens. Its always the pits.
     
  7. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    I doubt that the ammo is a loss from water dripping on it.
    If it were submerged the concern would be greater.
    As someone mentioned above all he needs to do is fire up the vibratory tumbler if he has one.
    If he doesn't then it gives him an excuse to go buy one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  8. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I've got two tumblers. :)

    And yes, I need to shoot more. Problem is with a stressful job and 5 children it's tough to find time.

    On the bright side, I found some 50 BMG I didn't know I had. The 50 cal can was labeled 223, but opened it up to find 40 brown tip tracers, 18 spotter tracer, and 4 blue tip incendiary. :)

    (Of course with today's market I'd rather it was packed full of 223..)
     
  9. myg30

    myg30 Member

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    Ammo cans or plastic tubber ware containers. Packed full they might be to heavy to lift without breaking but for shelf storage you cant beat em. The shoe box size worked well for me to keep handy. Not water tight if submerged but rain proof.
    Hope your ammo survived ! I hate plumbing !

    Mike
     
  10. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    The most embarrassing thing is this is the THIRD time I've had water hit those shelves.

    First, was when the junction of the sink drain meets the drain from the washer & dryer failed. Whoever originally ran the plumbing didn't use enough glue or something. That was pretty mild, had it repaired (my hands were too big to fit in there to repair it myself, had to call a plumber.)

    Second water incident was after a subsequent leak formed on the hot water pipe where it goes through the floor. There was no visible signs of leakage and my ammo didn't get wet this time, as my kitchen floor absorbed all of the water from the leak and heaved. I noticed ripples in the linoleum one night, got curious, and cut the linoleum open with a knife - to find soaked floorboards. NO visible signs of water damage prior to that.

    Insurance wouldn't cover it (gotta love State Farm), and it cost me $14,000 to have my floors in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room torn up. Scrapped the linoleum and went with Italian porcelain tile and this concrete composite subflooring. Hey, if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it the way I want!

    The flooring job went off without a hitch.. however the water incident occurred while the contractor was doing the grout. He dumped water on the floor to start sponging the grout... and it ran right down the cut drain hole where the kitchen sink used to be, and saturated my ammo a second time.

    So this is the THIRD time it's happened. This time my installation of the kitchen sink was to blame; after the flooring job was completed I rebuilt the kitchen cabinets and installed a new sink. The sink drain I installed worked it's way loose at the S pipe (boxes of cleaning crap under the sink kept bumping the thing when my wife would get them out). Anyway, after 8 months it finally worked it's way loose. Wife drained the sink after doing dishes and ... ammo got wet again.

    I fixed the drain but didn't even think of checking the ammo, since it didn't appear any water had got through the floor and she was quick to throw a towel down where the pipe meets the floor. I didn't even think that it might have been leaking slowly every time she drained the sink for awhile; the amount of water damage I saw indicated it was NOT a single-time occurence....

    Anyway, I should have learned my lesson the FIRST time.. now that it's happened THREE times.. I really feel like an idiot. :)

    Anyway I'm installing gutters under ALL of the drain and water pipes with 1/2" plastic hose ran down to strategic points on the floor, so any FUTURE water leaks will be noticeable by safe puddles in the middle of the floor, instead of raining down on stuff I'm storing.

    In addition I'm hardening the ammo a little better than before. Any bulk ammo will be wrapped in seran wrap to give it a barrier layer of plastic. Not water PROOF but surely splash resistant, and quick to do. Also will allow a visual count of ammo without having to open or move containers individually.

    (Thankfully it hit the ammo, which was resilient, and not something like my AK-47 / G3 / Sten parts kits, which would have rusted to oblivion)
     
  11. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Sorry for your luck. I use shower pan vinyl as a floor pan folded up the sides and set Water Alarms under the sinks. There alarms put out a very loud 100db noise. So you will hear them when the cabinet doors are closed.

    ZipLoc Freezer bags work good to seal ammo in.
     
  12. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    Metal ammo cans are a pain in the butt, for some of the reasons you've just discovered and a lot more (they may scratch, dent and rust, but at least they're heavy).

    I swear by these things. They're strong, light, and seal with a rubber gasket. And they're bigger than most GI metal cans. Store your boxed ammo in these babies, and you'll find it floating in the next flood.

    http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/2-pk-mtm-ammo-cans.aspx?a=506871
     
  13. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've used both type and the Mil Ammo cans are the one with the best seal. The plastic cans use a foam seal which does not hold up over time. But I dought that the water will get high enough to flood the boxes, if so the Metal cans will be the ones that don't leak.
     
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I like the .50 cal and larger GI cans. The plastic ones have the seal deteriorate and the wire-type closing clamp loosens and opens when you don't want it to.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    In the top right of the pic you can see where the "splash" of water dripping stained the wall. I've rearranged the ammo but still need to add a gutter so it redirects any water away from the ammo.

    Note, I only put steel cases (or crates containing metal sealed tins) directly on the floor. Due to the design of our home it's impossible for more than 2" of water to accumulate in the basement (flush grade on back).

    5PC9t.jpg
     
  16. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    I accidentally washed a 38 Spl round 3 times.

    I was sick & washed a load of clothes.
    I didn't get it in the dryer right away, so I washed them a 2nd time - still ill - so they ended up getting washed a 3rd time.
    Finally got them in the dryer & that's where I heard the tell-tale knock, knock, knock.

    Pulled the round out of the dryer, let it sit for 3 or 4 days.
    Then I got to the range & it went BANG just like all the other rounds.

    This was a reload, & had no sealant.

    So even though ammo gets wet on the outside, doesn't mean it's bad.
     
  17. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    So far, I've had one dud on a box of S&B 9mm on the "worst" looking box I could find. On those the head of the cases were corroded fairly bad.

    Could be coincidence, but I've shot a lot of S&B 9mm and hadn't ever had a dud until now.

    Guess it'll give me some failure to fire practice if it keeps up. :)
     
  18. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Nice storage area. I converted to storing everything in plastic containers just in case of problems such as you had. I stayed away from metal as I didn't want to deal with rust related issues.
     
  19. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Watch that drain hose for spiders. I had a similar arrangement in my attic for the AC evaporator coil, to drain condensate away. Problem came when I really did need the drain and spiders had build nests inside the drain pipe and completely clogged it. :fire:
     
  20. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Yeah, the floor under my ammo cans is stained now from rust.

    Regarding the spider thing, rubber band and cheesecloth on the ends of the drain hose should solve that.
     
  21. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Oh, and the storage area was "I have 7 2x4's in the garage that are warped, one sheet of 3/4" particle board, and a box of screws. Let's build something that'll hold 2,000+ pounds of ammo."

    Minimalistic design. :)
     
  22. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    That is an impressive stockpile sir.
     
  23. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    At a major federal law enforcement training center I attended, we wore issued tactical-type pants with the typical large pockets along the sides of the legs. As is customary, we would dump boxes of pistol rounds into these pockets, then load mags on the fly from the pockets.

    At the end of the day, it was a mandatory exercise to empty these pockets of all ammo, then thoroughly inspect the bottom corners for stray rounds. It was explained to us that the ladies who ran the laundry were accustomed to hitting the deck when the heat from their industrial dryers touched off rounds left in the pockets...rounds that had already survived a trip through the washer.
     
  24. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    You should see the other side of the room. :D
     
  25. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

    Looking at your pictures, and the obvious weight involved, I'm assuming your shelving is screwed together. You could take it down and make some slight modifications to mitigate future water damage, as well.

    Remove the shelves, rip them down about 1/4 to 1/2 inch narrower.

    While the shelves are still out, remove the wood blocks screwed to the wall studs. Run them through a table saw to cut a 45 degree beveled edge along the top, back edge of each block and both back, side edges (the side that is mounted to the walls). You could also rip some 1/8 inch verticle grooves every few inches on the back.

    When you put the shelves back together, offset the shelves from the wall by about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (the amount you ripped them down by) and caulk the seam between the shelves and the blocks mounted on the walls.

    Offsetting the shelves from the walls will allow water running down the walls not to accumulate on the shelves. Caulking the shelves where they rest on the blocks will prevent water from wicking along the bottom of a shelf from the wall mounted blocks and then dripping down on the shelf below it. Beveling and grooving the wall blocks will give the water running down the wall some troughs and grooves to channel it further down the walls and away from the shelves.

    None of this will work for water drippage from the ceiling, though. For that you need to provide some kind of drip cover which will channel any water dripping from the ceiling away from your shelves.

    In the meantime, I hope your water logged ammunition turns out to be functional.
     
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