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Old March 5, 2009, 02:02 PM   #1
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Is it okay to store ammo in the cold?

I will be taking a long vacation from my home state and was thinking about getting a small storage unit to keep my firearms/ammo while I am away. The unit, however, would not be heated.

It it a bad idea to keep guns and ammo stored in sub-freezing temperatures? Is there any damage danger? If not, are there special precautions one would recommend in preparation?

These will be stored about 5 months or so, mostly during summer, but it could get cold.

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Old March 5, 2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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ammunition probably wouldn't be much of a problem if in ammo cans... although steel case probably wouldn't like the condensation from temperature shifts.

definitely wouldn't put my firearms in a storage locker like that without some sort of dehumidifier.... I live in El Paso now, so don't have a problem much with this anymore, but even just in the house in San Antonio, rust creeps in.
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Old March 5, 2009, 03:20 PM   #3
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50cal ammo cans and desicant packs should help, just wrap the cans in a blanket to keep them warm and snug
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Old March 5, 2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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and you might want to put them in Ryder or Uhaul boxes so it looks like household stuff not worth breaking in for.
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Old March 5, 2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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No danger whatsoever. Cold air holds less moisture than warmer air*, and moisture is bad for powder, so therefore cold air is good for powder.

One caveat: Don't store the ammo where the temperature may swing from cold to warm relatively quickly. This is a recipe for condensation, which is very bad for the powder. For this reason, I recommend against getting any bright ideas about storing ammo in a freezer because (a) its temperature probably swings during the defrost cycle, and (b) it's a machine, and any machine can fail.

*Footnote for the less nerdy among us: Relative humidity, which is what they talk about on the TV news, is the moisture content of the air compared to what it will theoretically hold at a given temperature. If the temperature of a given mass of air rises as its moisture stays constant, its relative humidity will drop. "Humid" air in January in Alaska may contain less actual moisture than "dry" air in August in Texas.
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Old March 5, 2009, 11:18 PM   #6
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yep, low ambient temp., low humidity
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Old March 6, 2009, 01:13 AM   #7
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I'd go with the dehumidifier packs inside ammo cans... Wrapped in blankets or something to keep things even for longer....... I think that will be fine... also keep the cans on the concrete floor. the ground temperature will change SLIGHTLY but it will be slow.. and probably the best for the ammo... I dont know, this is my theory, but so far no one has suggested anything better to me
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Old March 6, 2009, 01:38 AM   #8
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Freezing will not harm your ammo at all. There is some evidence that repeated freeze / thaw cycles might cause some break down of the powder granules, but this is just hearsay, so far.

I saw some ammo from WWII which had been lost / misplaced in Alaska adn had lived in the permafrost for 20 years. Breaking a couple down showed no deteriation of the powder or cases visible. The rest of them fired just fine.

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Old March 6, 2009, 03:16 AM   #9
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Armed and Safe;
That would definitly be classified as cold
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Old March 6, 2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry TOO much. I had some Bullseye from the 60's I was given and I have had it everywhere from a damp basement to a garage in Tucson that could easily run over 115 degrees. I took no special, if any care about storage of this powder. Last year I decided to use it up as I saw no reason to keep carting it around. The shells I loaded performed as normal and accuracy was fine. I even loaded up the very last of it into some shotgun shells and of course, they worked fine also. I think there is far more concern about gunpowder than needed. In my LONG life of reloading, I have never seen any powder go bad, not once.
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Old March 7, 2009, 12:43 AM   #11
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Get a ammo can and toss a little desi-pack in with the ammo, you shouldnt have any problem. You can get desi-packs almost anywhere and they are very cheap insurance.
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Old March 7, 2009, 01:14 AM   #12
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I have a question on the "wrap in blankets" part.

Wouldn't that build up more mositure? If the blankets get damp, I'd think more mositure would end up being even closer to the boxes. I figured boxes with spacing between them and better yet on some type of mesh shelf in a container that has ventilation so mositure can escape would result in less mositure being around it.

I don't know, it make sense to me. But then, my thoughts are sometimes erronous.
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Old March 7, 2009, 03:00 AM   #13
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Yeah, I guess blankets arnt really necessary. But it shouldent matter anyway since the ammo is all sealed in a can anyway.
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Old March 7, 2009, 07:48 AM   #14
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I really can't see a blanket getting wet in a storage shed. However I do not live in a flood zone.

A blanket will only slow the transfer of heat, it will not keep anything that cannot generate heat warm.

Excess heat concerns me more than the cold.
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Old March 7, 2009, 12:15 PM   #15
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There ya go.... youp said what I think about using a blanket over your cans... just helps keep things even for longer.
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Old March 7, 2009, 12:24 PM   #16
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G'day from down under

Dunno about over your way, but when I go away for a fair while, I get one of my club armourers or one of the local gun shops to store it all for me. At least you know it will be there when you get back (hopefully) and if they get ripped off, its insured. (I dont go away much now, since I have 17 handguns and 5 longarms.... could be a bit pricey now)
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