Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Storing Ammunition

Someone asked me the other day if I was a Prepper? I wasn’t really sure how to answer that question. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means that there is a culture that goes with a religion. Sometimes it’s typical, most times it’s not. My parents had food storage. We had a pantry full of the basics, sugar, grains, fats, and beans. These are easy to store basic food items. Oddly I don’t remember having much water storage, growing up in Arizona you’d have thought we would have had a 100 gallon tank! Anyway, I do remember my Mom grinding wheat with her grinder and making truly whole wheat bread. They say you marry someone like your parents, my wife makes bread from our wheat all the time. So my wife had food storage when we moved into our first apartment after we were married. We’ve prepared for many things ever since. So am I a prepper? I guess I am. But I’m not sure I’m a prepper by the latest standards for being a prepper though.
So naturally I have a store of ammunition. This is something I’ve always done. I have some put away that I don’t touch, my long term storage. Then I have an “active” storage that I constantly add to and take away from. I’m not a hoarder or a survivalist, I’ve just always thought it was a good idea to have some ammo put aside. I may replace from it from time to time to keep it “fresh” but otherwise I don’t touch it. If I felt I needed it, I’d use it. The other batch is what I train with. I’ve come up with a number of rounds that use a month and I’ve tried to maintain a few months ahead with it. Sometimes it’s almost all depleted, and other times I’m 6 months ahead. Like food, water, and medical supplies, I feel ammunition is something I want to have an abundance of. I don’t expect to fight a war, but I do want enough to defend my family and hunt and train.
If you own a gun, I think you should have ammunition put away. Now the amount is all relative. Survivalists want thousands of rounds, Preppers maybe hundreds, you must decide what you want and need.
The journalist/author Rudyard Kipling said it best-
"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition."
Preparation means before the crisis is on. Whichever scenario you are preparing for you must have an idea of how and where you’ll store your ammo.
Churchill said:
"When the battle drum beats, it is too late to sharpen your sword.”
So preparing is the answer.
I’ve always “hoarded” ammo. It’s not an obscene amount. Just enough to make me feel comfortable for a while. I also have the equipment and components to reload. In 2011 to 2013 there was an ammo shortage. I didn’t have too much of a problem because I already had a store of ammunition. My problem was my active storage. This the ammo I use for training and am constantly replenishing. It was hard to replenish during that time. But I didn’t have to go into my long term storage and things are much better now. Things were a little crazy there for a moment. At one time I bought any .22 I saw for sale. Now I’m just shooting up the stuff I don’t care for, like the lead that has no coating. They dirty up my guns too fast. Once they are gone they would have been replaced with ammo I prefer.
During the ammo shortage a website that really helped me was This site was a lifesaver. This site is great for finding what you need in the area of ammunition, reloading components, and magazines. I like the no nonsense way this site is set up and that they tell you when something is out of stock or not. It also will show you the total price of ammunition but also the price per round. You can set your “good deal” threshold which means you can pick a price per round that you’re looking for and the site will let you know in red letters or a “beep alert” that you can set.
When storing ammo know that there is always a hazard, especially if you have a structure fire.
Ammunition that is stored in the boxes sold by the manufacturer is not dangerous in a fire. If ignited by intense heat, the brass or plastic cartridge will burst. The particles will not travel very far. The protective clothing that firefighters wear will protect them.
However, if ammunition is stored in a metal container such as a GI .50 caliber ammo box, the ammunition can explode under the right conditions.
Loaded firearms in a house fire can "cook off", meaning the round will fire. This is a dangerous situation. The bullet has all the power as if it was fired normally. There was a case where a loaded semi-automatic rifle was in a wall rack during a fire. The heat caused the rifle to go off, and it continued to fire until the magazine was empty. One round hit a fire truck. The firefighters thought they were being shot at, and pulled away from the scene of the fire. The house burned to the ground. But firefighters deal with a lot of things that can explode, propane, paint, varnish, hairspray, gas cans, tires, batteries, refrigerator compressors, solvent, paint stripper, beer kegs, dive tanks, meth labs, rocket motors, fireworks, etc,

Ammunition needs a chamber to actually fire. That doesn’t mean the ammo “explosion” is not dangerous. Shrapnel can be very dangerous. Firefighters have a dangerous job. You should let them know of your ammo and gun storage if they are trying to save your house.
Storing ammunition is a prudent and viable choice. My advice would be to not go crazy with the amount because caring for your ammo is more than just putting it away and forgetting about it.
Procuring a storage of ammo is not a big deal, but you can make it a big deal. Some people, including some law enforcement, get a little nervous when they see a lot of ammo being bought, transported, and stored. I understand why but if you practice on a regular basis, you’ll go through a lot of ammo. The media loves to blow ammo storage out of proportion. There is no law against how much ammo you can store. I believe Massachusetts has a limit in one area but even that is thousands of rounds. The mainstream media (MSM) always has to call several guns and “thousands” of rounds an arsenal. The truth is, gun people usually have several guns. If they happen to compete and train then they will also have thousands of rounds on hand. None of these things are illegal but MSM makes it sound like the “bad guys are even worse than we thought, look at all that ammo!” It doesn’t bother them that having those things is not breaking the law or even that unusual, but anti-gun or just regular citizens who are not into guns get that message as crazy. This is one of my problems with MSM, they lie and mislead and don’t have a problem with it. But that’s a whole other post.
Research the ammunition manufacturers, and keep a running list of price comparisons. In many cases other brands are cheaper, but their standards of manufacture are at the same level as the brand names. Buy some to test in your weapons to see which works the best. You can also buy ammo by phone, or on the internet, and then have it shipped to you by freight. Remember, though, there will always be an address trail through the shipper or the seller that reveals your purchase if you’re worried about that kind of thing.
If you buy your ammunition a little at a time each payday or so, it adds up fast. If you purchase the ammunition at a gun show, shop around for the best price. A lot of times people buy name brands out of habit instead of looking at all of the brands. My wife says I’m paranoid but I like to pay in cash for my ammo.
No matter where you buy ammo from, here are some important things not to do:

Do not buy ammunition that has a box date over 10 years old,
Do not buy if the box or carton is ripped, broken, or the seal is not intact,
Do not buy loose ammunition that you personally have not checked over,
Do not buy any ammunition at a super low discount price because you may be buying ammunition “seconds”, production rejects, or stolen inventory.

Here are some ammunition tips to remember:
Ammunition is cheaper when purchased in bulk. Case-lot prices (typically somewhere from 500 – 1200 rounds per case) is usually at least 10% cheaper than box-lot (typically 50 round boxes) quantities, and sometimes a lot cheaper – and if mail ordering (which is perfectly legal) you can not only get a better cost per hundred/thousand rounds, but might get a break on the freight costs too.
A long weekend shooting, a firearms training course, could see you go through 500 – 1000 rounds; if you and a second family member are both participating, that could be as many as 2000 rounds. When measured by this type of usage, owning thousands of rounds of ammunition does not seem excessive.
Ammo is easy and suitable to store. It takes up little space, and lasts a very long time (decades) when stored in a cool dry place. A thousand rounds of most calibers of ammunition take up no more space than a dozen cans of soda.
Occasionally legislative threats to ammunition purchase, either in the form of ridiculously punitive taxes, or new onerous controls on its purchase, or outright outlawing of ammunition, encourage a prudent person to stock up on ammunition while it remains affordable and freely available. In other words, the gun grabbers’ own actions encourage us to take prudent steps to ensure we have plenty of ammunition.
Ammunition has gone up substantially in price in the past decade or so. Buying ammunition might be a good investment – it will probably never go down in price again and quite likely might continue to increase at a rate greater than that of regular inflation.
If I bought my ammo at a gun show in case lots I may have this problem. The gun show only operates every month or two, and as likely as not, I can’t make it when it is being held, so if I get to visit three times a year, I’m doing well. Quite apart from anything else, that means I need to plan for four months of consumption, plus whatever I want to have as a minimum left over at the end of the four months.
Do it because you can. You don’t need a reason to own multiple DVDs or multiple books, and no-one is going to criticize you if you buy toilet paper rolls in bulk at Costco either. So why should you need a reason for choosing to own a bulk lot of ammunition? Shame on your questioner for asking you a question which is based around an assumption of evil intent.
Storing ammo is not only legal, it makes sense. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s crazy or make you feel like a hoarder. Pick a realistic target amount for your use and slowly accumulate.
Semper Paratus
Check 6