Thursday, May 26, 2016
Ammunition, and the storage thereof
I've been having a couple of interesting days sorting through my ammo stash, re-inventorying and re-packing everything so I know where I stand. I've been astonished by how much I've accumulated in certain calibers and cartridges, particularly the ones I used to use to train disabled and handicapped shooters. I won't have to buy ammo in those calibers for a few years, I should think. Still, it's nice to have a decent-size reserve on hand, particularly if another 'ammo panic' follows the Presidential elections later this year.
I have to give a shout-out to a couple of suppliers (and no, they're not offering me any inducement, incentive or payment to mention them). I needed more .30-caliber ammo cans, which I find very useful for storing smaller quantities of quality ammo, as well as practice ammo in bulk (putting the latter in .50-caliber cans can make them very heavy indeed - too much so for my fused spine's load limit). After much shopping around the Internet and in local stores, I found the best current value for money came from AmmunitionStore.com in Ohio. They offered brand-new .30-caliber metal cans for only $8.99 apiece. Including shipping to Texas, they worked out to $13.51 each, which is only a couple of dollars more than the price of used, rusty and battered ammo cans at a local store. I was happy to pay the difference to get factory-new production cans. They arrived today, and are exactly as described - brand-new and unused, in perfect condition, and well packed against damage in transit. I'll be buying from AmmunitionStore.com again.
When it comes to storing ammunition in bulk in ammo cans (i.e. not in the original boxes), I've found the anti-corrosion bags from ZCORR to be very useful indeed. I bought 10 more of their .30-caliber ammo can liners this week, and have already filled more than half of them. Each, inserted in the can empty, then filled, will hold 1,000 rounds of 9mm. ammo, or 750 rounds of .40 S&W, or comparable quantities of other calibers and cartridges, depending on size. I also toss in a few silica gel desiccant bags. They seal water- and air-tight, so even if the seal on your ammo can is old and worn, its contents will still be protected. They're very useful, and I highly recommend them from my own experience.
There are conflicting approaches to the conditions under which ammo should be stored. Some (including myself) prefer to keep it in climate-controlled conditions, so that it doesn't get too hot, too cold or too humid/damp/moist/whatever. Others argue this isn't necessary unless you're planning to keep it in stock for years, even decades, because quality ammo should be able to take normal summer and winter temperatures for a decade or more without degrading. They point to military ammo storage in containers, in the middle of desert heat in Iraq and Afghanistan, as proof of that. I'm not so sure. I've known ammo to 'go bad' in very hot conditions during my previous military service. Furthermore, degraded propellant can produce dangerously high or low pressures (high in that it can burst the breech; low in that it can lodge a bullet in the barrel, a so-called 'squib load', which makes the next round you fire . . . interesting.) I guess, if you plan to use it within five years, it probably doesn't matter much; but I'll continue to store mine in the house, rather than in the heat/cold/whatever of the garage. I just feel safer that way.
I'd dearly love to know, however, why I've ended up with odds and ends of ammo. How did I come to have 37 rounds of 7.62x54R - a cartridge I haven't shot in years, and for which I don't currently have a rifle in my collection? (Time to get one, maybe? Ducks hurriedly to avoid swat from wife.) And why 79 rounds of 8mm. Mauser, when I sold my rifle in that caliber even before my 2004 injury? As for the half-box of 7mm. Remington Magnum, I've never owned a firearm chambered for it! How on earth did it get into my stash? Oh, well . . . I guess friends who shoot those cartridges and calibers are about to get lucky.