Long Term Ammunition Storage With Silica Gel
Submitted by Michael Tucker
"Everyone knows you need to keep your powder dry," says Andrew Burr, a firearms owner and shooting sports enthusiast. "But nobody seems to think about how hard it can be to do that."
The long-term storage of ammunition is, of course, a real problem for gun owners. Moisture can ruin ammo in double quick time. It can cause everything from corrosion of the shells to the degradation of the powder. Either way, your ammunition may become as dangerous to you as it is to your target.
"Fortunately," says Andrew, "there's Silica gel."
The secret to long-term storage of ammo, he notes, is in careful planning and preparation. "First, put your ammunition into an ammo can with a rubber seal," he says. "Not just metal to metal. That will help to keep moisture out." If you can't find an ammo can with a rubber seal then you should try sealable plastic storage containers, just like the kind you store leftovers in.
"Second," he continues, "Before you seal that can or container, drop in a few Silica gel packets. They can be a gun-owner's best friend."
Silica gel is a "desiccant," a substance that sucks up water in its environment. There are several different desiccants in the world. Common clay is a desiccant. In fact, clay is the basic ingredient in both industrial oil absorbent powders and also cat box litter. Dry rice isn't a bad desiccant, either.
But Silica gel is one of the best desiccants ever discovered. It will soak up moisture wherever it can and as quickly as it can.
You have probably already seen silica gel. Remember the last time you bought a computer or a TV or other piece of electronics? And you found a little packet full of some sort of grains inside the box it came in? That's silica gel. The packet is in the packaging to keep the electronics moisture-free.
This is why it's also useful for ammo storage. "Before you seal that ammo can, drop in a silica gel packet or two," says Andrew. "They're a quick, cheap, and easy way to protect your investment."
You can buy silica gel packets in a great many places, but it is probably easiest to get them on the Web. SilicaGelPackets.com, for instance, offers a wide range of silica gel products in many different shapes and sizes at quite reasonable prices.
But wherever you get them, include them in your ammo storage. It would also be wise to buy "indicating" silica gel packets. These are packets of gel that will actually change color when they've absorbed as much water as they can and need to be replaced. Usually, they'll go from bright orange to green. That means you can check your ammunition periodically and make certain that your gel packets are still in operation.
Naturally, silica gel isn't the only thing you need to keep your ammunition functional over time. Andrew notes that you need to “pick your storage location with a bit of forethought.” Select a spot in your house or other location where it is naturally somewhat dry and cool. And, of course, always keep your ammunition someplace secure—where other people won't stumble into it. (As an aside, a gun safe is also a great place for a few silica gel packets.)
But, he says, “With some intelligence on your part, plus a little silica gel, you can add years of life to you Ammo.” “It isn't just getting more bang for your buck,” he concludes. "It is making certain that moisture doesn't rob you of any bang at all."