Any case on record of a safe exploding, because it stored ammo

This is a discussion on Any case on record of a safe exploding, because it stored ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am posting this in it's own thread because it was a little off topic in the other thread. I wonder... Has ANY gun safe ...

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Thread: Any case on record of a safe exploding, because it stored ammo

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    Any case on record of a safe exploding, because it stored ammo

    I am posting this in it's own thread because it was a little off topic in the other thread.

    I wonder... Has ANY gun safe ever exploded, from containing ammo, in a house fire?

    I have heard a lot of people say why it's a bad idea to store ammo in a gun safe but ZERO evidence that a safe has ever exploded for this reason. I'm not referring to anything related to showing internal damage. That's not what I'm interested in. I'm interested in the claims that a safe will be a gigantic pipe bomb or bomb of any kind. And I'm referring to loaded ammo and not smokeless or black powder itself. Just loaded rounds, kept in a safe.

    And for the sake of this question, I'm wondering about good fire rated safes. I know some safes are nothing more than a wall locker with a little thicher wall but some safes have hours long capability to keep fire temps below 350 degrees. But even so, I can't find any documentation or web sites that suggest a safe ever exploded, due to ammo contents.

    I have two safes and keep all my ammo in them, along with guns. I'm looking for any proof that this isn't a good idea. My safe is rated for 2.5 hours at 1200 degrees.

    Does anyone have any link to a story that documents a fire-rated safe exploding, due to ammo?
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    Member Array Grandpagus's Avatar
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    Call your local fire department, or better yet, visit them with you concerns.
    They can offer what temps are generated in the construction of a similarly built home.
    Most home fires generate in excess of 1200 degrees, so it might be best to ask questions of them.
    I bought a 90 minute at 1500 degree and that was on the low side of the fire departments assessment.
    Here's hoping you find what you are looking for.. TKH in Lebanon, Oregon

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    When unloaded ammo cooks off, since it's not contained, the shell casing blows in the opposite direction of the bullet, dramatically reducing the velocity of both objects. I can conceive a hot safe working like a popcorn popper, but unless there's a big bucket of powder in there, there's no way it would explode.
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    I don't know of any occurrence of this, but that's just me. So these are just musings.

    I guess my take is, it depends on what temperature the interior of the safe gets to over that 2.5 hours. I believe they also rate them with a maximum internal temperature reached? If that's below the temperature at which the ammo cooks off, then I imagine it's not an issue, and ammo has to get pretty hot (though I suppose it varies).

    Another things to consider is that it's likely the rounds would detonate individually, which would greatly reduce the odds of a catastrophic failure - if there is some way for the expanding gases to escape the safe. If the safe is truly airtight, though, then pressure could build gradually until it finds a way out. Then the question is, how would it get out? The weak point is likely the door, and I imagine the door would blow open before the walls ruptured.

    With powder it's a different story.
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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    This might help answer your question:

    http://www.saami.org/specifications_...tion_Fires.pdf

    It doesn't specifically address ammunition in a safe, but it does include some data about a test of a large quantity of ammo in a relatively confined space. The explosion hazard appears to be a non-issue.

    I'd be more concerned about damage to guns, if they're in the same safe.
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    VIP Member Array OutWestSystems's Avatar
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    Cause a safe to explode? Not going to happen. Safes are not air or water tight. You are not going to get the kinds of pressures you need to get an explosion.
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    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutWestSystems View Post
    Cause a safe to explode? Not going to happen. Safes are not air or water tight. You are not going to get the kinds of pressures you need to get an explosion.
    This video will demonstrate what happens to ammo when it's set on fire.

    http://youtu.be/3SlOXowwC4c

    Now, consider how hot and how long a fire would have to burn around your safe before ammunition inside it will even be affected. When it is affected, there's just going to be a lot of popping as the cartridges burst and go nowhere.

    Unless you're housing something more than just ammo in your safe that you're not telling us about, your safe is not going to explode.


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    VIP Member Array OutWestSystems's Avatar
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    People don't realize that gun powder needs high pressures before it because somewhat explosives, since each cartridge is separate you are not going to get those pressure from each one going off individually.

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    I don't like/keep ammo in my safe anymore. Yeah, maybe a few loaded mags, but no large quantity of ammo anymore, keep it locked up and in another location, preferably not in your house. I have first-hand experience in it how bad an idea it is for ammo to be in a safe; and I don't intend to learn that lesson again.

    I wouldn't worry about a safe exploding, I can't see it happening, the ammo sort of goes off like popcorn cooking. Even if it all went off at one time, I don't think it could generate enough pressure to burst the safe. Mine had a lot of ammo and it did not explode.

    Keep this in mind, if your ammo cooks off in your safe, it will raise the internal temperature of the very safe you bought to protect your guns from a fire, but with the ammo cooking off inside, you've essentially nullified the fire resistence of your safe. Secondly the guns, if they survive will be gunked up extra due to the thick smoke/residue from the ammo bonding to the heated gun metal and wood. The wooden stocks were permenently tinged with soot that only replacement or extreme sanding would solve.

    Sleepless night after the fire......

    How well will your contents survive a gun safe fire?
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    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    I don't like/keep ammo in my safe anymore. Yeah, maybe a few loaded mags, but no large quantity of ammo anymore, keep it locked up and in another location, preferably not in your house. I have first-hand experience in it how bad an idea it is for ammo to be in a safe; and I don't intend to learn that lesson again.

    I wouldn't worry about a safe exploding, I can't see it happening, the ammo sort of goes off like popcorn cooking. Even if it all went off at one time, I don't think it could generate enough pressure to burst the safe. Mine had a lot of ammo and it did not explode.

    Keep this in mind, if your ammo cooks off in your safe, it will raise the internal temperature of the very safe you bought to protect your guns from a fire, but with the ammo cooking off inside, you've essentially nullified the fire resistence of your safe. Secondly the guns, if they survive will be gunked up extra due to the thick smoke/residue from the ammo bonding to the heated gun metal and wood. The wooden stocks were permenently tinged with soot that only replacement or extreme sanding would solve.

    Sleepless night after the fire......

    How well will your contents survive a gun safe fire?
    I'd say damage to your firearms is a much great concern than your safe becoming a bomb.
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    I have to agree with WHEC, it would be like popcorn. The don't all pop at once and blow up your microwave
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    I have to agree with WHEC, it would be like popcorn. ...
    I know it pains you, and that makes me happy.
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    I was a firefighter for 31 years and ammo is not a threat to firefighters, except the round in a loaded gun. Typically the brass goes flying as it is so much lighter than the bullet. FF gear easily stops the brass.

    Also in a safe it will likely never get hot enough to cook off. Have been on many house fires where you could hear ammo cooking off it the fire had progressed far enough. Had some .303 shells cook off right over my head (top shelf of an open closet) and though it got our attention, the only damage was to the tidy whities.

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    Loose ammo or ammo in magazines are not a serious fire issue when stored in a safe. Ammo cooking off in the chamber of a gun would be worst case. Ammo cooking off in a rifle going straight up would be the biggest issue. I don't store my big bore hunting rifles with one in the chamber in my fire rated safe.
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    I worry more about gun theft than ammo theft. I don't have kids in the house to worry about, and if the ammo gets ripped off, I can buy more with the insurance check.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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