I was picking up some ammo today at my favorite gunstore and was talking to the owner about storage. he was telling me that ammo should never be stored in the cardboard boxes that they come in. The ammo should be removed and stored loose in airtight metal boxes like ammo cans. His belief is that the cardboard boxes has chemicals which will cause damage to the cases over the long term. I have been shooting and reloading for long time and never heard this before.
Has anyone else heard this line?
I have 50 year old ammo in it's original box that works as good today as 50 years back.
I call baloney on that story.
Ammo does not have an unlimited shelf life. Old or damp ammo can misfire. Storage canisters are suitable if you intend to stock large amounts of ammunition. Normally, however you probably purchase 100 - 200 rounds at a time.
Like everything else these days, all packaging manufactures are either aware or bound by law to package their products with Ink printing and adhesives that contain low or no VOC's. In a nutshell VOC's is the industry term for volatile organic chemicals. Most states now require printing inks to be made water based or soy based rather than with heavy solvent based materials. The same is true for packaging adhesives. Many packaging manufactures have made serious steps to eliminate formaldehyde. Although while not added in the manufacturing process, some trace amounts of formaldehyde naturally exist even in recycled cardboard packaging materials.
The plastic cartridge holders in the ammo box, usually a polyethylene material, can and will react with brass casings over an extended period of time (5-10 years) and is likely to cause corrosion to brass or copper.
I would seriously doubt that off gassing of any packaging materials would be the cause of ammo failure.
Unlike food, Ammo does not have an expires on date on it.
It would be much more likely that you are being sold old ammo if you have misfire than to suspect the packaging materials.
I would worry more about the temperature and a dry place to store ammo then storing it in it's original card board box. From years of reloading I have found that some powders tend to lose some of their potency due to the way it is stored and age.
Some people at LGS's have wierd ideas, sorta like Mrs. Clean:aargh4:
I have used ammo stored in cardboard boxes that is 35 - 40 years old. I have not had problems with factory ammo.
I once fired some 35 year old handloaded rifle ammo. The pressure was high, and I had a leaking primer. I knew what I had used in the way of loading data.
I decided to pull some bullets to see if I had loaded too much powder. When I was attempting to pull the bullet I noticed that I had great difficulty in doing so. When I used the seating die to move the bullet I heard a pop.
The bullet and case had almost welded together due to the residue in the neck of the case. I took my seating die, and lowered it just enough to move the bullet on each round. You could feel and hear the "pop." After that the ammo was OK.
Subsequently, if I have reloaded rifle ammo that is over a year old, I do the same thing.
Just a heads up for reloaders who may have old reloads. I did not find the problem with new cases, and it probably would not be a problem with cases which had the inside of the necks cleaned well.
I store my ammo in U.S. Army surplus, airtight ammo containers. They are very inexpensive. I just put the ammo in these containers as originally packed by manufacturer. Never had any problems.
I have a military surplus ammo box I bought that is just the right size for storing the 300-400 rounds of each caliber I shoot. I store the store cardboard bozes of ammo in the ammo box. When I go to the range I take the oldest ammo for practice that day. I replenish the ammo box with newer ammo when I get down to 100 or 200 rounds in any one caliber. Ammo is never around too long to cause a problem. The ammo box protects the bullets from moisture which is my biggest concern.
Yes, more specifically I use Army surplus metal box made originally for 50 caliber M-1A1 rounds. It has a rubber seal and accomodates my ammo boxes which I also just put into the storage container including their original packaging.
These surplus boxes run about $7 to $10 each.
I have humidity problems in my area, especially in summer months and these surplus containers protect my ammo quite well.
Ammo keeps pretty well.
About 18 years ago I found and purchased some 7x57 Mauser ammo that had been manufactured for use in the Mexican 'Rurales' Rolling Block Remington rifle. (I had a Rolling Block in that caliber.) The ammo had been stored poorly and was discolored and the original boxes were gone. It was dated early 20th Century, around 1910 or so. It was cheap and if nothing else, I wanted the bullets.
About 40 % of them fired. Think how well they would have done had they been stored properly?
Years before, I had a stash of .45 ACP ammo dated "2-16" (February 1916.) A friend had found them in the attic of the old house in which he lived. I shot them - all - in 1966 or so.
Even temperatures, low humidity. You might also want to check with fire codes about storage regulations and how much ammo you may have at any one time. No point in getting in trouble accidentally.