Colorado Springs

Fort Collins

Bill Peterson

Bill Peterson

Since 2006, I've instructed classes for shooters of all levels on proper gun handling, safety, storage, and marksmanship techniques.

What to Know About Storing Ammunition

A picture of ammo and a blog title that reads, "What to Know About Storing Ammunition"

One of the most important aspects of being a responsible gun owner is properly storing your ammunition. Did you know that ammunition is classified as an explosive by the Hazardous Material Safety Administration? Sadly, poorly stored ammunition has led to mass casualties at various munition sites across the globe. Even though it’s on a smaller scale, it’s just as important to make sure you store your ammunition properly at home to prevent harm to you and your loved ones. Properly storing ammunition also ensures it lasts as long as possible.

The experts at Colorado Handgun Safety are here to help you learn how to safely and properly store your ammunition. As a Colorado firearms training school, we are here to teach you everything about firearms and ammo. Our instructors are passionately committed to ensuring you have the knowledge and confidence to handle your firearms safely.

Below, you’ll learn the best tips when it comes to storing ammunition, including the best locations, ideal storage temperatures, and what to do with your ammunition in case of a fire.


A picture of ammo

Where to Store Ammo

In order to make sure your ammunition lasts its lifespan, there are some storage guidelines you need to follow. For example, ammo should always be stored somewhere cool, dry, and dark.

There have even been records of ammunition lasting for centuries when it’s stored under these conditions. To extend the lifespan of your ammunition, follow the following tips:

Store In A Cool Location

When temperature drastically changes, it affects the integrity of the ammunition’s primer. The primer will begin to absorb moisture, which eventually will render your ammunition useless.

It’s important to keep your ammunition somewhere cool, but not somewhere too cold. According to SAAMI, the ideal temperature for ammunition storage is between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use An Ammo Container

To help keep your ammunition dry, use an ammo container. Ammo containers, also known as ammo cans, have an air- and water-resistant seal that ensures your ammunition is kept dry.

Another benefit of storing your ammunition in an ammo container is that it’s kept stagnant. This will help prevent your ammunition from being damaged, scratched, or dented. 

Store In A Dark Location

When it comes to ammunition, one of the most destructive elements is UV light. When ammunition is exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, it risks being damaged. When choosing where to store your ammunition, always choose a location indoors that is protected from windows and sunlight exposure.

Ammunition is manufactured to function in extreme weather conditions, no matter the temperature or level of humidity. So, as long as you store your ammunition somewhere where it’s protected from extreme weather fluctuations, it should last you at least 10 years. It’s best to store ammunition in locations that are room temperature and have low humidity levels. 

Make sure to be extra careful during summer and winter months, when the weather is more likely to be extreme. Hot weather conditions can cause one of the elements in gunpowder — nitrocellulose — to begin to take on a gas form. This happens when the ammunition becomes too hot and begins to sweat.

A picture of a case of ammo

How to Store Ammo For A Long Time

The more organized your ammunition storage, the better. Keeping an organized storage system will allow you to know where everything is and help you keep track of how much ammunition you have on hand. To optimize your ammunition storage system, use the following tips:

Label Your Ammunition Storage Containers

Labeling your ammo storage containers will enable you to know where everything is, which is especially helpful during emergencies. Say there was an intruder in your home and you needed to load your gun. You obviously wouldn’t want to waste time having to rummage through your ammunition to find the right bullets for your handgun. 

Keep Out Moisture With Clay Desiccant

Clay desiccants are non-hazardous materials that act as dehumidifiers and help control the temperature of environments. Even with the use of a clay desiccant, it’s important to regularly check your ammunition to make sure it’s holding up properly. It’s helpful to use transparent plastic when you seal your ammunition, so you can check for signs of corrosion without having to undo the seal.

Keep Kids Away From Your Ammunition

Remember, always keep your ammunition somewhere where children can’t access it. Lock your ammunition away to prevent any danger that may occur when a child or inexperienced shooter handles ammunition. It’s always a good idea to store your handguns and ammunition in two different places. That way, if a child somehow gains access to one, they won’t be able to accidentally cause any harm.

A picture of a case of ammo

How To Store Ammo In Case Of Fire

The heat produced from a fire can cause ammunition to explode, which fuels the fire. The higher the caliber of ammunition, the higher its explosion potential. If you ever have a fire at your home, call the bomb squad or police department immediately and inform them there is ammunition that needs to be properly disposed of.

Although it seems counter-productive, the best place to store ammo in case of a fire is in a wooden box. Wood doesn’t conduct heat as well as the metal of ammo containers. If there is a fire, and you can do so safely, carefully transfer your ammunition to a wooden box and place it as far away from the fire in a dry location.

Storing Ammo FAQs

  1. Where to store ammo at home safely?

    The best place to store ammo at home is somewhere secure, away from windows and sunlight exposure. Always make sure to use a locking system when storing your ammunition, as this will ensure only authorized personnel has access.


  2. Can ammo go bad? 

    Yes, ammo can go bad. It is best to store ammo in a cool, dry, and dark location. If the ammunition gets too hot or the primer gets damaged, it could start to corrode. Check your ammunition regularly, making sure there are no signs of corrosion and the primers are still intact.


  3. How to dispose of old ammunition?

    If you have old or damaged ammunition that is no longer usable, the best way to dispose of it is to bring it to a local police department. They will handle the disposal and ensure it is done safely.


  4. How long can ammo be stored?

    With the proper storage and handling, ammo can last for many years. However, if you want to ensure your ammo stays in optimal condition, it is best to use it within two years of purchase. No matter what type of ammunition you’re storing, the most important thing is safety.


  5. Can ammo freeze?

    Yes, ammunition can freeze if exposed to low temperatures and moisture. If you live in an area where temperatures drop too low, it’s best to store your ammunition in an environment-controlled space.


If you want to ensure your ammo is stored safely and securely, follow the tips mentioned above. With these guidelines, you can rest assured that your ammunition will last for years to come.

Always remember that safety is key when it comes to handling and storing ammunition. Use caution when loading, transporting, and storing your ammunition. Follow all local laws regarding the storage of firearms and ammo. By doing so, you can help keep yourself and those around you safe.

A picture of a handgun and ammo

Learn How To Properly Store Ammunition With Colorado Handgun Safety

By taking care of your ammunition and ensuring it’s stored correctly, you’ll extend the lifespan of your ammunition. Proper storage also equips you to be able to easily access your ammo in the event of an emergency when you need to protect yourself and your family. If you’d feel more comfortable keeping the majority of your ammunition elsewhere, you can always speak with a dealer or your local police station and inquire about their ammo storage options.

At Colorado Handgun Safety, we’re dedicated to helping you become the most informed, safest gun owner possible. A major aspect of being a responsible gun owner is understanding how to safely store your ammunition. If you’d like to learn more about your ammo storage options or have any other handgun safety concerns, please contact our team today!

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