Waterproofing and Long Term Storage of Small Arms Ammunition

Security is absolutely a top priority when it comes to prepping, and you can be sure that includes storing a number of guns that you will need for defensive and hunting purposes. Most survival experts agree that the top five most important guns to have for prepping are as follows: handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle, semi-automatic military-style rifle, and a longer range bolt action rifle.

But something that many preppers forget about when it comes to guns for survival is that they are useless without ammunition. And even preppers who don’t forget about stockpiling ammunition and stockpile enough of it to ward off a small army will commonly forget about the process of storing ammo. In case you didn’t know, you can’t just store all of your ammunition however you want and call it good.

Just as you have to store your food and water under the right conditions, so you have to store your ammunition as well. Ammunition will go bad and corrode if stored in high humid or wet environments for example, and must be protected from these kinds of conditions.

Even though you can generally store ammunition in the original boxes that they came in, what matters is where you store those boxes, and how long you store them for without rotating them out. In this article, we are going to cover the top three priorities that you should have for waterproofing and storing your small arms ammunition for the long term.

Store Ammunition In Cool And Dry Locations

The number one enemy of your ammunition is moisture. If too much humidity and moisture gets on your ammunition for too long, it will corrode your ammo. And when your ammunition has become corroded, it is simply dangerous to fire. Plain and simple.


Storing your ammunition in a non-humid or non-moisture location may not be an issue for you. Simply store your boxes in your safe or basement and call it good, right? For some people that will work, but for those who lives in humid or moist locations (such as in the Southeast United States), this will present a more interesting challenge when you are naturally living in a moist environment.

A solution that can ensure your ammo is kept dry, regardless of what location you live in, is to store them inside military grade ammo cans. Ammo cans, which usually come in olive drab or dark green colors, are extremely durable and ones in good condition are even capable of keeping whatever is inside completely dry when stored underneath a running stream. You don’t even have to store your ammunition in boxes when you keep them in ammo cans. You can store your ammunition completely loose if you want to.

For extra protection for the ammunition in your cans from moisture, you can also put 2-3 desiccant packs per can into the cans. These packs will remove any humidity that becomes trapped inside of your cans. Once you have your ammunition in the cans with the desiccant packs on top, and once you have confirmed that all of your ammunition is clean and not already corroding, you can then shut your ammo cans and store them literally wherever you want. Like we mentioned earlier, you could store these under a stream and they would still keep your ammunition sealed off from water and moisture (but only when the cans are in good condition).

Ammo cans are certainly a better option than things such as cardboard boxes, which provide virtually no protection from moisture and humidity whatsoever, or from just storing your ammunition boxes out in the open.

Check Up On Your Ammunition At Regular Intervals


It never hurts to check up on your ammo regularly. The purpose of this is just to make sure that there is no corrosion and that all are in the exact same condition as they were when you left them. Plus, checking up on your ammunition does not need to be done repeatedly nor is it time consuming.

At the very least, all you need to do is check on your ammo once every six months to a year. Insert a humidity sensor card into the can and check to confirm that the humidity is at twenty five percent or less. It’s also a good idea to swap out your desiccant packs when checking up on your ammunition, to ensure that the humidity levels stay fully low. Recycled desiccant packs may also work well for this purpose.

Rotate Your Ammunition


Under the right conditions, you can store your ammunition for ten to fifteen years, if not longer. Nonetheless, it never hurts to rotate your ammunition at earlier intervals than that.

Most preppers like to keep their storage and shooting ammo separate, so they always know that they have ammo ready to shoot for target practice and ammo ready to access in an emergency. What you can do is, when your shooting ammo stockpile is running low, transfer ammunition from your storage stockpile over to the shooting stockpile. Then, buy new ammo and have it replace the ammo that you took out of your storage stockpile.

Yes, like we said, your ammunition can last you for literally decades, but there’s still no harm no foul in rotating out your ammo in this manner. It simply confirms for you that the ammo in your storage stockpile will always be ready for use with minimal danger of it being corroded.

To check to see how long your ammunition has been stored for, it’s a good idea to use a marker or a sharpie to mark the month and date on the boxes that you first stored them. Pull ammunition that’s been stored for around five years out of the storage stockpile and transfer those rounds to the shooting stockpile, and then replace those rounds that you removed.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

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