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Old November 26, 2013, 12:32 AM   #1
AL45
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storing reloads

Currently I store reloads and brass in MTM plastic storage containers. As a woodworker, I thought it would be fun to build some 50 round, 100 round or larger capacity boxes out of wood. I'm not talking about a box to put the plastic boxes in, I'm talking about boxes designed to hold the individual cartridges. Would there be any kind of reaction with the wood and brass that would cause the ammunition to degrade?
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Old November 26, 2013, 01:45 AM   #2
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This is two major questions.
a design question,

how do you plan on doing it? get a 12 b 12 by 2 inch thick piece of wood and drill 100 holes sized to fit 9mm cartridges?
big waste of wood and time.

you can go online and look at auction photos of fitted gun cases from the late 1800s that have cartridge blocks installed. the cartridges inside are old, yes, that affects the appearance, but they always seem to have more corrosion to the brass then the ones that were left in the original cartridge boxes.

some wood will react to brass/copper.
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Old November 26, 2013, 03:01 AM   #3
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I'm going to tag this so I can check back and see what others have to say .

For me , I'd think storing them in or on anything the can absorb and release moisture would be a bad idea . Ok maybe not bad but not the best for sure .

For me and long term storage ( years ) I use old factory boxes or I bought some Ammo Boxes with Styrofoam Trays from midway and put those in ammo cans with silica packs http://www.midwayusa.com/product/613...hite-box-of-25 And for cartridges that don't have soft lead tips or I'm not worried about bullet set back . I put them in a zip lock bag in ammo can with silica packs .

For ammo that I plan to shoot soon-ish I store in plastic 50 round ammo boxes in 50cal ammo cans

All the above are Hand loads . For factory ammo , I leave in original containers and store in ammo cans
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Old November 26, 2013, 05:16 AM   #4
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While there are certainly some hardwoods that would make up very attractive boxes, and are probably hard enough to get the drilling done with extreme care, all wood contains moisture which will eventually contaminate the brass. Some woods are more acidic than others which will also contribute to this.

If you were considering simply making something like a presentation type box I wouldn't see that as much of an issue especially if you waxed the brass with a good carnuba or other type of hard wax, prior to putting them in. However even this will eventually start to show some tarnishing.
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Old November 26, 2013, 05:39 AM   #5
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I reload in bulk and fill all of my blue plastic ammo boxes first. Of those, some go behind glass in my reloading cabinet for use next range visit, some go into ammo boxes, the rest are loose and get placed in plastic bags and sealed in 2 gallon buckets with a silica gel pack. I realize some people might be concerned about unintentionally setting them off but I'm convinced they are safe since they are clearly marked and the buckets only get moved be me to have the contents cycled into my range ammo. When reloading a few thousand rounds the added bulk of packaging really starts to add up quickly.

I don't see any problem with storing them in unsealed wood for a short period of time prior to firing. If you properly seal the wood, I don't think there will be any issue for months or even years as long as the environment is cool and dry. Some varnish or other type of wood sealer inside and out should do the trick. Putting some velvet on the top inside of the case and some brass fittings and you'll have a really fancy ammo box... Good luck keeping it shut though
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Old November 26, 2013, 05:48 AM   #6
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Also I wouldn't go with drilling. Too tedious and just one goof or blemish and you'll have to start over. Also too close of a fit and you'll amplify the effect of moisture since it won't be able to move past.
It would be way easier and cleaner to measure and cut slats and notch them half way through and mate them together to form the same type of square grid you find in the plastic boxes you are already using.
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Old November 26, 2013, 06:18 AM   #7
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Old November 26, 2013, 07:59 AM   #8
dahermit
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Would there be any kind of reaction with the wood and brass that would cause the ammunition to degrade?
There could very well be. For instance, Red Oak and other woods will have residual Tannic Acid present. A simple loading block would be one thing, but long term storage...?
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Old November 26, 2013, 08:27 AM   #9
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I can't help but wonder how wood could be so much worse than factory cardboard boxes which used to be filled with cardboard dividers, or those loosely packed in a cardboard box that slides into an outer carboard box just like .22 rimfire. I don't know how ammo factories store cases of ammo, but I'm guessing its not in a vacuum vault.

I don't know your definition of "storage", but I'm sure much factory sees months or years pass before it goes from factory to wharehouse, to store shelf, to gun.

I've got 8mm Mauser rounds that were stored in cardboard boxes with cardboard dividers (that are falling apart), that were received in wooden ammo crates of 1940's and 1950's vintage from which I've never had a misfire or seen case corrosion or failure.

I've got some old ammo stored in factory cardboard boxes in a wooden ammo crate that I loaded in the 80's that I've recently finished off with no issues.

I really think that if you want to make some fancy wooden ammo boxes for your ammo, and you store it in a dry place above ground, it will probably survive for a considerable length of time. Use untreated wood without finish on the inside.

I think I'm going store some ammo in a sealed container with a wet sponge just to test the limits of ammo storage. I think people often find creative ways to worry.
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Old November 26, 2013, 09:23 AM   #10
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I think people often find creative ways to worry.
There are those that go far off the beaten path seeking things to worry about. They can get so hung up on these things that they often forget the way back to the path.
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Old November 26, 2013, 10:39 AM   #11
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I think people often find creative ways to worry.
Awesome. So true.
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Old November 26, 2013, 10:47 AM   #12
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Interesting thread. I have two 50 Cal ammo cans that I filled with ammo when Obutthead took office. I put the ammo in zip-lock baggies then in the can. They look as pristine today as they did the day I put them in storage. I think the plastic ammo boxes by MTM and others are hard to beat but you need a lot of them for any quantity of storage.
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Old November 26, 2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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A couple of thoughts...

a. wood boxes would be a lot heavier than the typical plastic 50 rd storage boxes. If you go to the range, with a full range bag, and 6 or 8 boxes of ammo...it'll get pretty heavy. I have some 100 rd plastic storage boxes...they're a little clumsier to deal with on a shooting bench - at a range/ where you might not have a lot of room. Wood boxes are great looking ...but they'll scratch - if you nest them together ...especially in a range bag.

b. If the wood is dry ...it shouldn't attract any more moisture than a cardboard box with a foam insert in it....and storing ammo in a dry and heated area ( where temps don't go up and down a lot - so you don't get any condensation) is pretty important.

c. I make a lot of "fancy" boxes....as a woodworker and I use a lot of exotic wood species ( Cocobolo, Tulip Wood, Purple Heart -- and some Cherry, maple, black walnut ) ...and its fun (jewelry boxes, recipe boxes, pencil boxes for desks, etc../ and as far as drilling the holes, that's no big deal...just make a template - and lay it out / use a drill press ( set depth ) with a good forstner bit so you get flat holes.

For hidden hinges on boxes .. I use a small arbor saw blade that has a 1/64" kerf...and saw is about 3" across...it mounts in its own arbor....and you put it in a router - in a router table ...to cut a tiny slot in top and back side of box ....so you can drop a hinge in ...and hide it. Look at boxes at a local craft fair ...they have other ideas to hold on lids.

as a note: watch the weight of the lid, so when you open the lid, if box is empty, the box doesn't tip over ( I made a cherry box about 4" X 10" and put a cherry lid with a big insert of purple heart in it ...)...and it tips over, when box is empty, if you're not careful to hang onto lid as you open it../ you can put weight in box base, etc...but its a screw up I haven't made twice..

Is making boxes worth it ...sure if you want to do it / are they practical, no probably not....but so what...

you can do sliding top boxes with dovetails... / band saw boxes - where box lids rotate side to side ...../ or any number of things ( you could even use a plastic insert from a mfg's box ...and just make a nice box to put the plastic insert in -- lots of boxes and inserts get thrown out at my local ranges.

domestic hardwood would be my choice...cherry or maple ...with a quick finish like Watco's Danish oil ....and then spray 3 or 4 coats of clear lacquer on it. I'd probably buy 4/4 stock and resaw and plane it ...but if you don't have a good bandsaw...you can buy craft - dimensional wood in cherry, maple or black walnut in a lot of the better lumber yards...so I'd use that. In my opinion... 3/8" is thick enough. For the center of the box / where you're going to drill out for the ammo ...I'd probably use some poplar or something cheap and laminate cherry to it - if you want "appearance grade" wood on the top where its seen ...( you don't want to buy 2" think cherry and waste a lot of it by drilling holes...)....if you can get some off-cuts of cherry ....say 3/4" scraps..and a lot of cabinet shops have cutoffs up to 12" long or so / just fine for boxes.....you can then glue up a block with 2 or 3 pieces of cherry ..and maybe the top piece of Paduak or Black Walnut ...to get a block that is 10" X 5" X 3" or whatever you want - sand one short side flat with a good stationary sander ( and then trim the edges square with a tablesaw or cutoff saw ) --the contrast of the cherry on the bottom and Paduak or Black Walnut makes a real nice box...( resaw about half of the top plank off ) as part of the last piece on top to form the lid ...the Paduak or Black Walnut )....bevel the edges, or whatever....

guess I made this a woodworking lesson...but I hope you give it a shot.../ let us know how you do...

Last edited by BigJimP; November 26, 2013 at 01:14 PM.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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well there is a reason that the soviet surplus i see after about 1954 uses acid free paper... and them boys were steel cased.
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Old November 26, 2013, 12:58 PM   #15
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Oddly enough, I've got a couple of rifles that actually have some wood in their stocks. Revolvers as well. In no case have I ever found any corrosion where the wood is in contact with the steel.

In all seriousness, I always thought brass was a very stable metal--after all, I believe boats use it all the time for through-hull fittings, and if anything was going to corrode I would think a salt water environment would encourage that hugely. I'm no metallurgist, so I could certainly be wrong.
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Old November 26, 2013, 01:42 PM   #16
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Oddly enough, I've got a couple of rifles that actually have some wood in their stocks. Revolvers as well. In no case have I ever found any corrosion where the wood is in contact with the steel.

I was thinking of those commemorative edition guns that are always in a wooden display case.
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Old November 26, 2013, 02:28 PM   #17
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If you finish the wood so it is sealed, including the spaces for each cartridge, you won't have any problems greater than the fact that the box isn't air tight, so outside moisture will be inside moisture as well.

Wooden chests for storage of ammo look classy and do as fine a job as any wooden box. I have one I use for my shotgun shells. Nice interlocked corners, sturdy, with a inked game scene on it. Holds over a dozen boxes of 12ga. Just wish it had better handles.....
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Old November 26, 2013, 06:35 PM   #18
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Tight grained hardwood would likely be a better choice than softwood; walnut, cherry, maple, etc. Holes can be closer with hardwood; thereby, avoiding tearout. Hope you have a drill press and a set of Forstner bits. Brad points will work and are quicker; however, you will need to be careful of the tearout bugbear. It is rather dishearting to knock a chunk out on hole number 48 of 50. A good template and double sided tape will help.

Use a finish which will fully cure to avoid problems with off gassing of finish solvents. I would think unfinished wood wouldn't work as well since the wood will try to match the surrounding mosture content, but I must confess my unfinished loading blocks haven't seemed to effect the brass to date.

Post pictures if you make some boxes.

Me? - I like Ziplocs for storage.
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Old November 26, 2013, 09:55 PM   #19
AL45
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Thanks for all your replies. I wasn't looking to build anything fancy although I do have maple, walnut, cherry, alder and pine scraps. I just want to keep the brass in something besides plastic folger coffee cans so I can sort it and keep track of the number of reloads. I like MTM boxes but there is not a good source locally and I hate to pay 15.00 freight on 30.00 worth of boxes.
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Old November 26, 2013, 11:23 PM   #20
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I used the 50 round MTM boxes for years and was delighted when they started making the 100 round. Now, however, I am going back to 50 round because I have trouble handling the weight of the 100's, particularly the 45's.
To me adding the weight of a wood block would make them unmanageable.
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