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 Ammo Storage - Temp and Humidity
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/17/2005 5:42:48 AM EST
I just built an insulated, temperature controlled 10x10 closet in my walkup attic to store gun related items, including my ammo. The guest room is no longer my armory/storage area (per the Wife). Anyhow, I'm wondering what the optimal temperature range and humidity levels for the ammunitition storage. I'm estimating a range of 50 to 85 degrees (winter/summer) and humidity in the 50-65% range. I have an outlet for a dehumidifier if required.

Your input on good to go temp and humidity is much appreciated.
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tommygun2000  [Member]
11/17/2005 11:14:03 AM EST
Sounds like it should be ok temp wise, but for the guns, the less humidity the better. I'd put a dehumidifier in the room if it were mine.
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/17/2005 1:41:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By tommygun2000:
Sounds like it should be ok temp wise, but for the guns, the less humidity the better. I'd put a dehumidifier in the room if it were mine.



Yeah, I think so, too. The room is 7x7 so I shouldn't need anything to large. I'm testing out the dessicant cannister I have tonight to see if the digital humidity readout falls.
jlr  [Member]
11/17/2005 6:11:45 PM EST
The closet that my firearms and some ammo are stored in runs a relative humidity of 32-40%.

The long-gun locker has sealed doors though there is still some leakage but has a renewable dehimifying unit in it, the handgun locker has the same.

Temperature is kept at or below 76 degrees (at least that's what it's been). The stored ammo is packed in the same environment after sitting a bit. I put 2 (2 unit) dessicant packs in each can after checking the seals...

That's just me....Maybe a bit much...

357sig  [Team Member]
11/18/2005 2:21:10 AM EST
I once interviewed the manager of the Tooele Army Depot where the Army stores many square miles of munitions and remanufacture 50 cal ammo. He told me that humidity was more important than temperature and that was one of the reasons the Army picks often desert locations. The humidity is naturally in the the 20-30% range. As to temp he said that the temp swings do more damage to ammo i.e. very hot days and cool nights. Any reasonable temp, (between 40-80 ) is fine just keep it stable. Your set up sounds very good.
DukeSnookems  [Member]
11/18/2005 2:44:05 AM EST
Jesus christ, these aren't cigars & wine. Armies have stored these things in the worse condiitons for years and they still go bang. Looking for an "optimal" temp n humidity is just plain silliness.
tommygun2000  [Member]
11/18/2005 3:01:46 AM EST

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:
Jesus christ, these aren't cigars & wine. Armies have stored these things in the worse condiitons for years and they still go bang. Looking for an "optimal" temp n humidity is just plain silliness.




You're right, they're not wine or cigars, but why is it "silliness" when its easily controlled? Why not provide the best conditions possible?

The location of his storage (an attic room) can be very prone to wide swings in temp and humidity. Anything that can be done to stabilize these conditions is a plus.

Even armies provide the best conditions available to them at any given time, otherwise they'd just leave their stuff out in the weather(ands thats done too if conditions dictate). If the best conditions are under ground in a bunker(a place that is usually quite temperature stable), the cans that their ammo is packed in takes care of the barrier against humidity. The packaging and cosmoline that their guns are packed in protects them.
An inventory of frequently used guns and ammo that lacks packaging for long term storage needs to have the conditions controlled for optimal protection against degradation. Sure would suck to go grab a rifle to shoot and find it coated with rust and pits.
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/18/2005 3:04:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By DukeSnookems:
Jesus christ, these aren't cigars & wine. Armies have stored these things in the worse condiitons for years and they still go bang. Looking for an "optimal" temp n humidity is just plain silliness.



I was thinking about my cigars and wine also. The orig. question was not so much on OPTIMAL temp and humidity, although I did use that word, but rather some sort of definition of what the frequently mentioned "cool" and "dry" means for ammo/gun storage. Shit, in NC dry is 60-70%. If 20-30% is what "dry" means then I need to make some adjustments.
Ohio47Woodsman  [Member]
11/18/2005 3:48:09 PM EST
You're right, KnobCreek! Up here in northern Ohio (near Lake Erie), my super-max dehumidifier goes 24/7 at 60% Rel. humidity.

The key to it, as I see it, is avoiding big "swings" of either temp. or humidity.

---Woody---
norwood  [Member]
11/18/2005 8:26:14 PM EST
I'd be more worried about weight. Several thousand pounds of ammo crashing through your ceiling could be dangerous.
JohnLINY  [Team Member]
11/18/2005 8:53:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By norwood:
I'd be more worried about weight. Several thousand pounds of ammo crashing through your ceiling could be dangerous.



Very good point! You should look at beefing up the joists up there and put down 3/4" underlayment plywood. Spread the load evenly. Humidity lower is better. I would look into getting an inexpensive dehumidifier and run a drain hose from it out of the attic.
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/18/2005 9:38:16 PM EST

Originally Posted By norwood:
I'd be more worried about weight. Several thousand pounds of ammo crashing through your ceiling could be dangerous.



It's a walk-up attic (actually an unfinished 3rd floor which are pretty common in NC as basements are rare). Thus, it's been built to sustain significant loads, including a bathroom. Finishing the entire 3rd floor....nope due to insufficient $$$$...so I decided to build a temp controled area for my guns and ammo. It's 25 degrees here tonight and the closet is between 60-65degrees. That should be fine for the winter. The real will be during the summer months.

John, the joist are plenty strong, but I did lay down 3/4 flooring on top of the existing flooring to ensure stability under load.

Woody...went out and bought a dehumidifier this afternoon. I'm hoping to get it down from around 50-60% to somewhere around 25-30%. I'm thinking it should do it easily. Tomorrow is test day.
jaymeister99  [Member]
11/19/2005 7:35:18 AM EST
You guys got to be kidding me, temp and humidity controlled rooms for your ammo???? This is rediculous. Yea you dont want your ammo stored in an environment that runs -20 to +90 like my garage in Vermont. It may (and I stress may) affect your ammo in that environment. As for humidity, yea that will damage ammo. But have you ever heard of anything like vacuum sealing, dessicant, or ammo cans????????

Vacuum seal your ammo, put it in an ammo can, drop a pack of dessicant in, and stick it in your basement. ALL DONE! You dont need a special room to keep your ammo good. Militaries around the world store this in the worst conditions.

Ever been to Guatemala or Turkey? Me neither but I would bet they dont take any special care storing their ammo, and Ive used surplus ammo from both, over 30 years old, works fine. My dad used to store all his ammo in our high 60+ (on a good day) humidity basement on Long Island. No dehumidifier, no ammo cans, no dessicant or any type of humidity or temp control. Just sitting in boxes on shelves. Now 25 years later I am shooting it, not one problem with any of it.
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/19/2005 4:49:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By jaymeister99:
You guys got to be kidding me, temp and humidity controlled rooms for your ammo???? This is rediculous. Yea you dont want your ammo stored in an environment that runs -20 to +90 like my garage in Vermont. It may (and I stress may) affect your ammo in that environment. As for humidity, yea that will damage ammo. But have you ever heard of anything like vacuum sealing, dessicant, or ammo cans????????

Vacuum seal your ammo, put it in an ammo can, drop a pack of dessicant in, and stick it in your basement. ALL DONE! You dont need a special room to keep your ammo good. Militaries around the world store this in the worst conditions.

Ever been to Guatemala or Turkey? Me neither but I would bet they dont take any special care storing their ammo, and Ive used surplus ammo from both, over 30 years old, works fine. My dad used to store all his ammo in our high 60+ (on a good day) humidity basement on Long Island. No dehumidifier, no ammo cans, no dessicant or any type of humidity or temp control. Just sitting in boxes on shelves. Now 25 years later I am shooting it, not one problem with any of it.



Basements in NC are a rarity. Instead, walk-up attics for basement like use. An attic, unlike my basement when I lived in NJ, tend to demonstrate significant temp ranges (10 to 115 degrees). Even in the spring, the temp in the attic in a given day will range from 35 degrees in the morning to 80 in the afternoon. SO, if you want to use the 300-400 square feet of attic storage (or a small part of it) for ammo, you need a temp controlled area up there (ie. run a duct), insulation, and maybe a dehumidifier. The main issue is the huge temp swings. I concur in that my basement in NJ did just fine with ammo storage, only I did use a dehumidifier there.

THIS WILL BE THE LAST HOUSE I EVER OWN W/O A BASEMENT.
corpman  [Member]
11/19/2005 6:27:16 PM EST
Gents: If you don't have a sufficient supply of AMMO (at least 50000 rounds of Match) than, store that crappy Wolf in your closet. Otherwise, a constant, dark, 60 degrees temp and no more than 60 percent humidity has worked for me. Regards
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/20/2005 6:06:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By corpman:
Gents: If you don't have a sufficient supply of AMMO (at least 50000 rounds of Match) than, store that crappy Wolf in your closet. Otherwise, a constant, dark, 60 degrees temp and no more than 60 percent humidity has worked for me. Regards



I agree. I have 15,000+ rounds of .223, 308 and AK ammo. I can't afford, in many ways, to compromise this investment. Thus building this 50 sqft "closet" and my interest in environmental factors. Damn my growing family....evicted from the second floor guest room ("my Armory"). Everythings in place, now I just need to haul this shit up there....DAMN!!!!
tommygun2000  [Member]
11/20/2005 11:31:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By jaymeister99:


Ever been to Guatemala or Turkey? Me neither but I would bet they dont take any special care storing their ammo, and Ive used surplus ammo from both, over 30 years old, works fine.
---------------------------------------------------------

I'll take that bet........

I bet they use the best conditions available to store their ammo and its probably in underground bunkers that are temperature stable in both locations. Its also protected from fire, theft, and incoming, and the surrounding is safer too. They may be thrid world countries but they aren't completely stupid about weapons, ammo or explosives.
jaymeister99  [Member]
11/20/2005 2:28:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By tommygun2000:
Originally Posted By jaymeister99:


Ever been to Guatemala or Turkey? Me neither but I would bet they dont take any special care storing their ammo, and Ive used surplus ammo from both, over 30 years old, works fine.
---------------------------------------------------------

I'll take that bet........

I bet they use the best conditions available to store their ammo and its probably in underground bunkers that are temperature stable in both locations. Its also protected from fire, theft, and incoming, and the surrounding is safer too. They may be thrid world countries but they aren't completely stupid about weapons, ammo or explosives.



I dont think so. I dont think they are completely stupid about weapons, ammo or explosives, but I dont think they have the majority of their ammo stored in temp controlled underground bunkers.

Besides my point is that ammo does not need to be stored in temp/humidity controlled envoronments to be any good. Case in point my dads ammo stored in our basement, usually around 60-70% humidity, 70-90% in the summer. Extremely damp and humid on Long Island. Temperature ranges from low 50s-high 90s in summer, single digits-high 40s in winter. THIS AMMO IS STILL PERFECTLY FINE AFTER 25 YEARS IN THIS ENVIRONMENT.

My old landlord was working on a house two years ago, he found in an old wooden box about 200 rounds of black tip 30-06, dated 1952 in a bag from the 1968 Nixon Election. This was found in the corner of a crawlspace on Long Island, literally 100ft from the bay! And it still works perfectly fine. Apparently 50 year old ammo, and apparently sitting in a damp 90%+ humidity crawlspace, with salt air for at least 30 years!

So anybody who thinks you need to do more than vacuum seal your ammo, or put it in a tight ammo can, or add dessicant to either, is smokin something. Anything more than this is overkill. Of course you should put this in a fairly stable environment, but it isnt necessary, and certainly not necessary to make a temp controlled room, or an underground bunker for it!
Ohio47Woodsman  [Member]
11/21/2005 2:20:21 PM EST
P.S.

Was at my Minerva, Ohio range (humid as hell), and an old white haired gent next to me loads up his Garand, and points to a woodchuck eatin the grass 300 yards off near the butts. I can hardly see the critter, but the oldtimer squints over his iron sights. He squeezes one off: BLAM! That old whistle-pig flies up in the air and hits the ground dead as a mackerel.

"Good shootin'" I tell the feller. "Here," says he,"try some of my ammo." He's got an old pail full of the stuff. Looks real grungy. Tarnished. And he gives me a couple of clips. He said he got the stuff when he was "in basic" in WWII! 1942!

I looked at the headstamp: U.S.C.C.O. 1918 !

Was kind of hesitant, but loaded the clips in my M-!. They shot fine!

"Wow!" I tell the trooper. "Ever had any problem with this stuff?"

"Hell no!" he says. "Why should I?"

Those .30/06's are on my fireplace mantle.
KnobCreek  [Team Member]
11/21/2005 3:00:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ohio47Woodsman:
P.S.

Was at my Minerva, Ohio range (humid as hell), and an old white haired gent next to me loads up his Garand, and points to a woodchuck eatin the grass 300 yards off near the butts. I can hardly see the critter, but the oldtimer squints over his iron sights. He squeezes one off: BLAM! That old whistle-pig flies up in the air and hits the ground dead as a mackerel.

"Good shootin'" I tell the feller. "Here," says he,"try some of my ammo." He's got an old pail full of the stuff. Looks real grungy. Tarnished. And he gives me a couple of clips. He said he got the stuff when he was "in basic" in WWII! 1942!

I looked at the headstamp: U.S.C.C.O. 1918 !

Was kind of hesitant, but loaded the clips in my M-!. They shot fine!

"Wow!" I tell the trooper. "Ever had any problem with this stuff?"

"Hell no!" he says. "Why should I?"

Those .30/06's are on my fireplace mantle.



Cool story
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