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Old June 6, 2012, 06:53 PM   #1
bmjp
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Vacuum packing Ammo. Any thoughts?

I vacuum package all my venison so I have a food saver and thought about packaging up some reloads in 50 round packs. Tried one to see if it would work layed all flat and fits well this way in 50 size ammo cans. Anyone else do this. Thoughts?
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Old June 6, 2012, 07:10 PM   #2
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There's no real advantage to that (storage wise) unless your ammo for some reason would be subject to moisture. A GI can in even fair condition covers that issue. The bigger thing to control is extreme temperature variations.

But there really isn't much of a down side to doing it either.

The one advantage is if you are talking about unboxed ammo, you at least have a convenient way to transport it to your favorite shooting area in less than can quantities.
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Old June 6, 2012, 09:14 PM   #3
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The lifetime of ammunition is determined by the lifetime of the gunpowder inside.

A rule of thumb is 20 years for double based and 45 years for single based.

Temperature is the worst enemy of gunpowder.

Heat accelerates the deterioration/decomposition of powder and the rate is directly proportional to the Arrhenius equation. If you read in the Insensitive munitions literature, you will see that they use high temperature to accelerate aging of smokeless propellants.

ROLE OF DIPHENYLAMINE AS A STABILIZER IN PROPELLANTS;
ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY OF DIPHENYLAMINE IN PROPELLANTS

Quote:
Nitrocellulose-base propellants are essentially unstable materials
that decompose on aging with the evolution of oxides of nitrogen. The
decomposition is autocatalytic and can lead to failure of the ammunition or disastrous explosions.
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/783499.pdf

Heat, as you can see in the report, will age gunpowder



Keeping moisture away from gunpowder is good as water is a polar molecule and interacts with the double bonds on the nitrocellulose molecule.

Just keep the stuff cool and dry. As best you can.
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Old June 6, 2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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I can't say for certain, but I would attest that it is the fluctuation of temperature and the moisture level that will damage your ammo. If in a controlled environment, I'd say 100 years may be max. I know from electronics testing, 140F is exponentially harsher than 70F. If at 70F, 100 years and I'd bet it is fine. I am currently shooting 1953 Bulgarian 7.62x25mm ammo that is very consistently shooting 1880 fps on my chronograph out of my 1952 Polish Tokarev. It was stored in a sealed, or looks to be soldered, air tight container.

I keep my ammo inside the house, stored in a wooden cabinet with a quart sized can of desiccant to absorb moisture. I'd say vacuum packed is better.
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Old June 6, 2012, 10:21 PM   #5
bmjp
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Was more of a "Better utilization of space" type of issue with a bonus to keep it dry, etc..
Takes up way less space than putting them in ammo boxes. Either plastic 50rd, 100 rd or factory cardboard boxes. I keep all my ammo in ammo cans anyway, just thought I could fit more in a can that way. When I head to range I can throw a couple packs of each caliber in range bag or empty ammo can and roll. I could of course just load em up and store them bulk wise in ammo can but I am not to wild about that idea.
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Old June 6, 2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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I have started vac packing mine... I like to keep mine in lots of 100 anyway, and once you grab a ziplock by the bottom and suddenly have 100 rounds on the ground, you start looking for options.... They are easier to grab too...
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Old June 7, 2012, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
I could of course just load em up and store them bulk wise in ammo can but I am not to wild about that idea.
Why not? As long as they're all loaded the same and you keep a note in there with the load data I don't see a problem. I keep bulk ammo in plastic joint compound buckets this way. When I'm headed to the range I just transfer what I want to smaller containers.
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Old June 7, 2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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You can do that, but you can't count on it dry anything out unless the vacuum is below the vapor pressure of water in air; about 20 mm or 0.8 in of mercury. Vacuum drying consists of pumping down below the vapor pressure and pulling the water out with the pump. It can mean running a pump a long time.

The sealed bag with a desiccant pouch is probably best, but not too much vacuum. I say that because if you have cartridges without bullet sealant, you want the moisture to have an unobstructed path to the desiccant. If the cartridges have sealant, it matters much more that you desiccated the powder before loading it, as bone dry powder will tend to act as its own desiccant inside the cartridge case.
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Old June 7, 2012, 04:38 PM   #9
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Food Saver bags are mediocre for long term storage...better to use Mylar with an oxygen absorber (the same thing a MRE is packaged in).

Unclenick, sounds like you've worked in HVAC/refrigeration before.
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Old June 7, 2012, 05:10 PM   #10
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it will not work, it can not be done, you are wasting your time etc., etc..



You have a 50 Cal ammo can? Why not vacuminize it, just add a fitting, attach a vacuum pump with an in-line gage and drop the pressure, just make sure the can does not collapse your can, or, place the ammo can on a hot range then before it has time to cool, load what ever you do not want to rust in it and close the lid, then there is the inert gases that are dry, fill the can with the heavier than air gas, close the lid.



I have freon recovery systems, I can not begin to tell you the number of times I have been told I can not pull the perfect vacuum, boring, I simply respond with 'OH YEAH' watch this, then I hit the coils, accumulator etc., with the torch and say "Listen" did you hear all those drops of water explodong!



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Old June 7, 2012, 06:01 PM   #11
bmjp
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Wasn't trying to get to technical about it. Like I stated it was more of a space saver, easy storage and access.......
Thanks for the thoughts and replies.
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Old June 7, 2012, 06:53 PM   #12
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You can not pull a perfect vacuum.....not by a longshot. I say this having several years in thermal vacuum testing of space flight hardware under my belt. The chambers I worked with pull 10E-6 to 10E-7 torr; far more than a recovery system vacuum pump is capable of. A recovery system only operates in the med. end of at best ie millitorr or 10E-3.

To UncleNick's statement...sort of true. If you are only at those pressures, you will be pumping for a VERY LONG TIME. We would be outgassing stuff in the 10E-4 range for over a week and still pulling water out of the system. When we use our ace in the hole to get past the outgassing range, we would have ice in the system that would blow off when we were coming back out of vacuum.

Also, as you reduce pressure , you need to be concerned that your crimp is up to the task of holding the bullet in. If you have 14.7 psi inside the round and .7 psi outside you have a 14 psi differential pressure. You can hold the pressure in, leak it out slowly, or the bullet pull and crimp (or primer) are overcome and the bullet starts working its way out of the brass. for a .355 diameter bullet the surface area is .099 sq. in. That 14 psi differential becomes a steady 1.4 lbs of pull on the bullet.

Fortunately, food sealers only operate in low vacuum so many of the more interesting aspects of material behaviors in vacuum won't be seen or experienced.
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Old June 7, 2012, 09:15 PM   #13
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For organizing? Sounds like a great way to store reloads without having to do any more thinking than "grab X number of packs" to get the amount of ammo you want for a range.

As far as for "preservation" it isn't any worse than any other method out there, as long as you store in a cool place your ammo should last decades.

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Old June 7, 2012, 09:33 PM   #14
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Fiocchi supplies various types of ammo in pop-top cans , 45acp, 9mm, shotguns slugs etc .That should last a long time if kept away from heat !
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Old June 7, 2012, 09:34 PM   #15
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I don't think there's much advantage to packing them with your foodsaver. I do have some packed that way still, but just a couple bags that have retained their vacuum over the past year or so. You can't stack them too much or they leak right away, so I find it more efficient storage wise to just keep them loose. When going to the range I just fill my tupperware containers that contain about 300 9mm each when filled to the brim.
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Old June 7, 2012, 10:54 PM   #16
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Oh I dont vac-pac mine to "keep them fresh"... I do it simply because zip locks are a hassle, pick it up wrong and you have ammo on the ground. vacuum packed you can throw them in a bag and then open one up when you are ready. I keep mine in lots of 100 in an ammo can....

Though, in a flood or if you have them in your pack and get caught in a rainstorm.... could be a lifesaver.... I figure when you store ANYTHING, the more watertight you can make it the better.....

While vacuum packing might not have a real upside, there is also no downside.....
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Old June 7, 2012, 11:09 PM   #17
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Since nobody suggested it yet … pump it down to 28" or so, flush with nitrogen, and pump it again … ought to get things pretty dry.
I have the stuff, but I ain’t goin to the trouble

but the idea of flat-packed ammo sounds pretty good to me...but the wife doesn't let me play with kitchen appliances anymore, tho
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Old June 8, 2012, 10:40 AM   #18
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I agree, it can be done, when advising want to be astronauts I always advise/caution them to watch for snags as anything that could puncture a space suit. Back to a vacuum, and always the “you can not obtain a perfect vacuum”, for those that can get past the anxiety of pumping and pumping for hours on end with little or no return or their effort, a reloader that is curious about sealed primers and necks can check for leaks by changing atmospheric pressure, fill one gallon jar? with water, place loaded/suspect ammo in jar then place a vacuum on the jug, bubbles escaping from the primer and or from around the bullet/neck area indicate unsealed ammo.

And that is nice to know, as atmospheric pressure changes so does the humidity, sealed ammo last longer on the shelf than ammo that is loaded in such a way to as to allow leakage, remember, powder is dry, when exposed to humidity, the powder absorbs it.

And I like the ideal water boils at (or about or near) 0 degree Fahrenheit, or 32 degree below freezing.

Pushing a bullet out or creating a vacuum inside the case that causes the bullet to move in or out only effect those that strive for neck tension, I am the fan of bullet hold, I can measure bullet hold.

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Old June 8, 2012, 02:38 PM   #19
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This has nothing to do with perfect vacuums or ammo longevity, but...there is one more thing to think about if you transport it somewhere.

A neighbor of mine, who hunts Africa several times a decade, took his brother, on his last trip. The brother does not reload....nor is he particularly big into guns, hunting, etc. But he had a great idea. He "modified" his premium ammo (bought by his gun nut brother) by removing it from the factory boxes and vacuum-packing it in single layers, thinking to protect it and make it take up less room. At customs it was confiscated and he got to Africa with no ammo. It seems that customs regulations requires ammo to be stored as it comes from the factory, in approved containers (factory boxes being one). Oops. They had to pay premium prices indeed for the ammo the outfitter kept on hand for such occasions, once they arrived in Africa.

I don't know if domestic airline flights have similar regulations.

Last edited by GWS; June 8, 2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:30 PM   #20
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Every airline to my knowledge requires that ammo be packaged so that they aren't touching each other. It doesn't have to be original commercial packaging. I guess this prevents them hitting each other when knocked around during turbulence or whatever (and heavens knows that's gonna cause an explosion and take the plane down! ). Of course if they were vacuum packed they wouldn't jiggle around or hit each other either, but I don't think the airlines are ready for that... hence the blanket policy.
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:38 PM   #21
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My wife has a Dyson. It's not a perfect vacuum but it works pretty good. As far as storing ammo all my ammo goes into ammo cans loose. When I go to the range I grab the ammo cans for the calibers I will be shooting. Works for me. Food save vacuum bags seem too expensive to me.
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Old June 9, 2012, 11:04 AM   #22
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Traveling to Africa with ammunition is different than taking domestic air flights. A fellow on another board who's been lucky enough to make several trips said they require original commercial packaging and check the headstamp on every round to see that it matches or they confiscate it. They inspect and count every round you bring in and require you to account for the disposition of every round when you leave, so I presume you need to pick up your empties and put them back in the box (I don't recall him mentioning that detail). He said the same thing happens at border crossings between African countries, though you can't always count on the border guards to be able to count past ten, or at least that they won't pretend to be unable to count past ten, so that bribes are required before they OK what you've got.
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Old June 9, 2012, 02:25 PM   #23
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I wouldnt waste my time vacuming.
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Old June 9, 2012, 04:33 PM   #24
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Unclenick, that would mean everyone who shot in the 2002 IPSC world shoot shot commercial ammo? This makes me wonder what the heck Eric Grauffel and Brodie McIntosh were shooting then, considering there aren't a lot of commercial sources for major 9mm

Africa is a big continent with a lot of countries.. perhaps it's not a continent-wide policy...
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Old June 9, 2012, 07:29 PM   #25
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I don't know how they handle Olympic shooting or other international competitive shooting events. I can't see competitive shooters from any country settling for ammo they weren't used to practicing with. Lots of countries with tight gun laws have to make accommodations when they host Olympics or the Palma match or some other international shooting event, though.
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