How to Store Ammo – Ammo Storage Tips

Curious how to store ammo to make it last? You’ve landed in the right spot. If you’re a gun owner that shoots on a regular basis, you’re likely to have spare ammo hanging around. After all, it’s more affordable to buy ammo in bulk.

Just like we want to store our guns safely, we want to store ammo safely as well. That’s why today we’re covering the best ways to store ammo.

How to Store Ammo – What’s Important

loose .223 ammo in an ammo can

Ammo is an investment that we want to keep in good, useable condition over long periods of storage. Let’s take a look at how to store ammo for the long term.

Store Ammo Somewhere Dry

Humidity is the primary issue shooters have with ammo storage. Humidity can cause corrosion of your ammo, potentially making it unusable. To prevent this, it’s best to store in a dry area. 

Many shooters opt to store ammo in their basement or garage for convenience. Depending on where you live, these parts of the house can be extra humid. You’ll want to be sure you have your ammo sealed away in an ammo can and you’ll likely want to have a dehumidifier running. My gun room is in my basement. Early on, I learned that because the room is underground, the humidity would destroy my guns and ammo if I didn’t get it under control. I now run a dehumidifier at all times to preserve all my gun stuff.

It is also a good idea to keep your ammo stored on shelves off the ground, especially if in a basement. Learn from my mistake — a pipe burst in my basement, flooding it a couple inches. I had a couple cases of 9mm ammo that were unfortunately soaked because I hadn’t yet put them away. 

Keep Your Ammo Away from Heat

Next you want to keep your ammo away from extreme heat and out of the sun. That’s because extreme heat can damage the gunpowder and priming compounds inside of ammo. This can affect the pressure of the rounds, resulting in dangerous, unreliable, or inert ammo.

It’s best to store ammo somewhere cool that does not experience major temperature fluctuations. A cool and dry, climate controlled environment will prolong your ammo’s lifespan.

Keep Ammo Inaccessible to Others

Just like with our guns, we want to keep ammo out of the hands of those that shouldn’t have it. This could mean kids in your home, unauthorized people, or intruders. 

At the minimum, you should keep your ammo stored somewhere lockable. This could be a gun safe, a special gun room, or a locking cabinet.

How to Store Ammo – Practical Ammo Storage Tips

a bin full of loose rounds of different calibers

Now that we know the best conditions to keep ammo stored in, let’s look at how to store and organize your rounds.

Use Ammo Cans

five 50 cal ammo cans and two 30 cal ammo cans stacked against a wall
Ammo cans are a great way to store ammo, keeping your rounds dry and organized.

A great way to store ammo is with ammo cans. Quality ammo cans, like our 50 Cal Ammo Cans, are made of steel and seals shut to keep out moisture and dirt. They have a handle so you can easily transport your rounds to the range – just be prepared for some heavy lifting.

With an ammo can, you can store rounds in their original boxes in the can, or store loose ammo. Be sure that you stick with a single caliber for each ammo can if you’re storing loose rounds.

Keep Your Calibers Separated and Organized

an ammo can labeled with the caliber .22 magnum
In a pinch, some tape and a sharpie can help you label your rounds to stay organized.

If you’re storing many different calibers of ammo, you’ll want to be sure you keep your rounds organized. Accidentally mixing up calibers can result in a damaged or destroyed gun. 

To keep things organized, we offer ammo label stickers. Stick them on your ammo cans or other storage containers to keep your rounds properly sorted.

Here at Target Barn, we offer the following ammo labels:

Storing Loaded Magazines

four ar-15 magazines loaded with rounds for storage

There’s a great debate about storing your magazines loaded with ammo. 

Storing ammo in your magazines is great for a couple of reasons. First, it means you’re ready for your next range day and you won’t have to do the work of loading rounds at the range. It also frees up space because you’re reducing the amount of ammo boxes you have to store.

However, some say that keeping your magazines loaded long term can degrade the magazine springs, resulting in feeding issues. The truth is, as long as you’re using quality magazines, keeping your magazines loaded with the springs fully compressed won’t put too much wear on them. What wears the magazine spring is expansion and compression cycles, i.e. the continual loading and unloading of the magazine.

Ammo Storage Final Thoughts

two disorganized shelves filled with ammo boxes
If your ammo storage looks like this, it’s probably time to implement some organization.

Ultimately, keeping your ammo somewhere cool, dry, and inaccessible to unauthorized people are the most important aspects of ammo storage. Finding a system that keeps your ammo organized and accessible will keep your sanity when it comes time to head to the range.

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