How to Store Bulk Ammo
So why are we rehashing this subject? Because storing bulk ammo is different from storing regular ammo — it differs from regular ammo storage in that you'll need more space by default.
In addition, there's the necessity of taking precautions about temperature control and moisture control. While these are issues with standard ammo storage, they're amplified with bulk ammo. If you're going to invest in a lot of ammo, you should take the time to learn how to store and protect it below.
What Is Bulk Ammo?
Bulk ammunition is ammunition you buy in a larger round count than you get with typical boxes of ammo at your sporting goods store. These bulk boxes tend to be over 100 rounds but often contain 250 rounds or so. Anything from one ammo can to a pallet of boxes could be considered bulk ammunition and require storage considerations different from those relevant to standard boxes that you can throw onto a shelf.
For starters, you're going to need a space capable of handling bulk ammunition. Whether that's a closet, a room or a garage, you need enough space to hold the amount of ammo you intend to purchase.
Where Shouldn't You Store Bulk Ammo
Obviously, you don't want to store it in a damp basement. Similarly, you wouldn't want to store it in an attic. Simply put, you don't want to store ammo anywhere that gets extremely hot or cold. Warm and cool are fine; cold and hot are not. It's the extremes that are a killer here.
Keep in mind that you don't want to store ammo somewhere that you can't easily keep an eye on it, either. You want to keep it protected and hidden from potential malefactors (or your buddy that never wants to buy and shoot his own ammo), but you also want to have easy access to it should you need it and the ability to keep a watchful eye on it to check for problems. That means storing ammo somewhere like a storage facility is probably not a viable option.
Even if you find a 24-hour storage facility, there might be times that you can't have access to your ammo, and that's less than optimal to say the least. Your individual situation might be an exception, but a storage unit should be low on your list of choices. Lastly, under no circumstances should you ever attempt to store any amount of ammo in any type of vehicle.
Considerations for Storage
Some of the things that we discussed in the previous blog about storing your ammo still absolutely apply. Those main considerations include extremes in temperature, flooding danger and humidity concerns. But you also need to consider the weight and the space.
Since we're talking about bulk ammo, weight is going to be a serious consideration.
Yet again, this likely rules out an attic. Aside from being typically too hot for ammo storage, you don't want all that weight above your head just waiting for a leak to weaken the ceiling. That's a definite no-go.
Your basement or garage flooring won't have those problems, but if you plan on having ammo on shelving or storing it in any way that doesn't involve stacking boxes on top of boxes, weight is something to consider. Your shelves or cabinets will need to hold up to some hefty load requirements.
Since you're dealing with bulk ammunition, you'll need more space. More rounds means bigger boxes, and bigger boxes take up more area. It's simple geometry: You'll need a fairly large open area to store bulk ammunition.
Another consideration that often goes overlooked regarding space is maneuverability. You'll still need room to maneuver around and access the ammunition you buy, and that's especially true if you're buying bulk of more than one caliber. What do you do if you want to shoot your AR but all the 5.56 and .223 are blocked by your 9mm ammo? See the issue?
If you simply stack it all in front of each other, you may bury something you want to access, and getting to it would be a nightmare. So make sure you have enough room to store it and to get to your ammo.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but temperature control is unquestionably vital. You have to keep in mind that, since you're buying in bulk, there's the likelihood that you'll have this ammunition longer. That means it will be exposed to any negatives (like extreme temperatures) for longer periods of time. While you can get away with a storage space for your ammo that gets extremely hot and cold for short periods if you're only storing a few small boxes for short amounts of time, you absolutely cannot with long-term bulk storage.
Storage of bulk ammunition requires that you be in control of the temperature of the ammo at all times. If you're using your garage or a finished basement that's guaranteed not to flood, then you're golden. Both of those are going to have at least some connection to your home's heating and cooling, so temperature control is not a concern.
If you don't have room for that, perhaps you can build yourself a man-cave or she-shed that connects to your HVAC system. If that's the case, then you, my friend, are living the dream. If not, and you still want to use some kind of outside building, at least consider adding some insulation to it and a portable heating and cooling solution. Keep in mind that space heaters and anything with an open flame are a huge risk around ammo.
This is probably the biggest killer for ammunition regardless of standard sizes or bulk, especially if you're buying in boxes. Moisture tends to find its way into cardboard and turns it into a soggy mess, which only makes the problem worse. All it takes is for one box to go damp, and the next thing you know, it's all of them.
To deal with moisture for bulk ammunition, it's a good idea to distribute moisture absorbers throughout the storage area and to use a dehumidifier. Every measure of fighting moisture that you can spare should be used. While boxes can become dry and brittle without enough moisture, these conditions will really only ruin the boxes — far better than the alternative.
Other Considerations When Storing Bulk Ammo
Something to keep in mind about bulk ammunition is that you might want to consider removing it from the boxes and storing it in cans. Some bulk comes in cans, but if what you buy shows up in a box, the best move may be to transfer it to a can yourself.
You can find cans in both metal and plastic, and both of those solutions are far superior to cardboard boxes. Even if you don't want to dump the loose ammo in the cans, smaller boxes of ammo can be placed into cans for safe keeping. Cans are fairly inexpensive, so this tends to be an economical solution, providing increased protection and extending the life of the ammo inside.
Even the best cans of ammunition can have labels that eventually become obscured or wear off, so it's a good practice to take the extra step of labeling your ammo. You can invest in a label maker if you’d like a nice, clean-looking product. But simply writing your labels on a piece of paper does the job well; just be sure to completely cover the label with clear tape to prevent any moisture or scuffing that would remove the information. Labeling the cans isn't a must, but you'll be glad you did.
When it comes to bulk ammunition, the main things to keep in mind are longevity and storage space. If you bear those concerns in mind, then any bulk ammo stored in keeping with the usual golden rules should have a good, long shelf-life.