I had an interesting exchange at the range this past weekend with another member that caused me to think a little bit. This person saw me loading magazines out of my plastic MTM reloading boxes and asked me if I kept all my ammo in “those”, pointing to my box of reloads. I responded no, I didn’t, I have boxes of factory ammo as well, but store most of my ammo in military ammo cans for long term storage, but keep the ammo in boxes. He said he only keeps his ammo in ammo cans, showing me his .50 cal ammo can full of loose 9mm ammo. I asked him how he knows how many rounds he has on hand, or how many he has shot during a range session. He told me he doesn’t keep track, when he gets “low” he buys more and dumps the boxes into his .50 cal ammo cans. We talked for another minute or so, and I went back to shooting and he walked off…
The exchange got me thinking about other people’s ammo management habits. How do folks store ammo, both for the long term, if that is something that you do, and for practice? I keep a lot of my “stockpile” in military ammo cans. I do, however, keep about 1k – 2k rounds of working ammo in 9mm, .45acp, and .223 on shelves, so I can grab boxes of it to go to the range. I like to know how many rounds I have shot during a given practice session, and bringing it in 20, 50, or 100 round boxes makes that easy for me.
Here in NC, humidity is a real concern, so I do try to keep everything stored in as cool, dark, and dry a place as possible to help prevent breakdown. Unfortunately, for a lot of shooters I know, some ammo ends up being stored in the garage because there just isn’t room in the house. This obviously isn’t ideal, but it is a fact of life for many of us. I have not had an issue with my pistol reloads that I have recently (within about 6-8 months) been keeping in the garage. There does not seem to have been any problems – all fired the first time, but this particular batch of 9mm has not been stored in the garage for what I would call a long time. I cycle through 9mm and .45ACP on a fairly regular basis, so I am not too worried about those practice reloads. I did test out some .223 self-defense ammo (Federal) that I have had stored in the garage since 2007. It all fired with no issues. Maybe I was just lucky there…we will see. All my powder and primers are kept in the house, in an air-conditioned room, and that seems to be a system that is working out well.
There are some good resources on-line for ammo storage. This was not meant to be a “How to” on storing ammo, but more of an inquiry in to how other people approach this. As I mentioned, I keep a certain number of rounds for the calibers I shoot (including .22LR and 12ga) in reserve, and practice from a working inventory that turns over on a fairly regular basis. I also keep track of the number of rounds I shoot per session. I have another shooting buddy who does it almost the same way, but he doesn’t reload – he has a stockpile for a rainy day, and regular practice ammo that he shoots, then replenishes as needed. I know someone else who is lucky to have one or two 50 rounds boxes of 9mm at his house on any given day…he goes to the store the day before we go to the range and hopes for the best…whatever, he’s a big boy and can make his own choices.
What do you do? Do you practice a long-term ammo storage strategy? Do have a climate controlled space for your ammo, or do you take steps to make sure it is as protected as possible? Share your thoughts and let us know – we are interested to see how other people approach this.
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