Guns, Ammo, and Moisture
On The Battlefield and At Home
Throughout the Vietnam War, numerous soldiers encountered problems with the M16 Rifle, particularly experiencing a high frequency of misfires. The following insights shed light on this issue: The elevated rain and humidity prevalent in the Vietnamese environment often led to complications such as jamming, primarily stemming from insufficient rifle maintenance. This lack of cleaning allowed gunpowder residue to accumulate, which, in turn, could result in bullets becoming lodged within the rifle's mechanism.
“The gun was designed to fire a high-velocity cartridge at a fast rate, but Vietnam battlefield conditions were far from ideal. The hot, humid air caused inaccurate shooting and increased jamming rates.”
-M16 Rifle During the Vietnam War: A History - Alt Gov
My father, a Vietnam veteran, once shared with me that during his service in the Army, he frequently encountered issues with jammed guns. Since my father's passing in 2011, these memories have remained neatly stored in the recesses of my mind, ready for me to draw upon. Over the years, I've become a gun owner, and it's become paramount to me to ensure that my firearms are securely stored, and my ammunition remains in optimal condition. When it comes to storing ammunition, the key is safeguarding your firearms and rounds against moisture.
Image Credit: National Geographic Society
I also have a step-son who participates in gun competitions. Given my lack of expertise in firearms, I've asked him a lot of questions regarding the proper methods and materials for ammunition storage. His advice to vacuum seal bullets and other gun-related items has proven invaluable. Furthermore, my husband possesses a collection of family guns, including a flint handgun. Understanding the most effective way to store bullets for long-term use has become a significant priority for me, as I firmly believe in the importance of being well-prepared.
Long Term Effects From Humidity
Ensuring the proper maintenance of ammunition is absolutely crucial. Just as with food storage, maintaining the dryness and protection of your ammunition is of utmost significance. Oxidation doesn't solely impact food items; it also affects metals and specialized items like bullets. Knowing how to appropriately store your ammunition isn't just essential, it can mean the difference between being able to effectively hit your target and facing potential gun malfunctions.
It's not just the weather that impacts bullet performance; storing bullets in high humidity conditions can lead to the corrosion of your metalized bullet sleeves. Humidity represents just one of the factors at play, as oxidation in brass not only changes its color to greenish but also induces corrosion.
In severe instances, corrosive damage can extensively affect the priming compound and the casing's upper section. When the primer cap incurs damage, it is imperative to discard the bullet safely without attempting to fire it. Excessive primer damage can result in the bullet not firing, firing at reduced velocities, or igniting only the primer without the powder.
A bullet that ignites slowly and becomes stuck in the barrel, commonly referred to as a squib, are extreme hazards. If the powder has lost its effectiveness, the round may fire at diminished speeds and become lodged in the barrel, leading to a squib round. In such cases, firing the next round can cause substantial barrel damage, potentially resulting in the barrel rupturing and causing harm to the shooter. When signs of corrosion are evident on the round, the safest course of action is to properly dispose of the round.
Given the rising costs of ammunition, making a wise investment in proper storage solutions is crucial to prevent not only your ammo, but also your money from going to waste.
Tips For Storing Ammo
- Desiccants - If storing your packs of bullets in enclosed containers or buckets like a 1-5 gallon bucket, adding a desiccant to keep moisture at bay works great. Desiccants will pull out the moisture that is in the air within the bucket. Be sure to always keep the container lid closed whenever you're not using your ammo to limit the exposure to moisture in the air.
The chart below will help you choose what amount of desiccants you need for the container or bag of your choice.
For additional uses for desiccants check out our other blog post: Desiccants: Moisture Absorbers
- Vacuum Sealing - Utilizing a vacuum sealer is a convenient and easy method for storing your ammunition, whether it's loose or still in its original boxes. By placing your ammo in a high-quality vacuum sealer bag and removing the air, you can further enhance preservation. Including a desiccant in the sealed bag is also recommended. Personally, this is my preferred method for safeguarding my ammunition.
Check out this Tik Tok Short regarding vacuum sealing: TQT Protect your Ammo
PackFreshUSA's vacuum sealer bags are notable for their 4-mil thickness and proudly being manufactured in the United States. These bags offer superior protection against moisture, ensuring the long-term safety and integrity of your bullets for years to come. We offer vacuum sealer bags in three different size, Pints, Quarts, and Gallons, to best suit your needs.
- Mylar Bags - Another good way is to use Mylar bags as a great moisture protection. Just like food, this option is ideal for long-term moisture protection. You create a moisture barrier with the Mylar and with the added protection of a desiccant you can feel safe that your ammunition will work when you need it to.
Storing Other Gun Parts
It isn’t just ammunition that can benefit from using desiccants and vacuum sealing, other gun parts like magazines work great for this method. Barrels of guns can also be stored or the guns or rifles.
Using our larger 5-Gallon Mylar bags would be ideal for smaller rifles and barrels.
Gun Safety With Kids: An Additional Reminder
Always remember as a gun owner, practicing good gun safety is the most important rule.
Storing your gun and its related equipment in a securely locked location like a gun safe is a must, even if you have it sealed inside a vacuum or Mylar bag. Do not give your child or teen the passcode or keys to get the gun out. Teach your child or teen to assume a gun is loaded and never to point a gun at someone. Set a good example with your own safe gun handling practices.
Like many good gun owning parents, I have taught my children the importance of gun safety. I believe in age appropriate teaching. I waited til my kids were teens to show them hands-on gun training. I took them shooting several times at approved shooting ranges, which is always a great bonding time for us.
These following pictures were from several years ago, and I know my youngest son will cherish these memories.
Employing these straightforward methods guarantees that your ammunition stockpile remains prepared for your use. You can have peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that your gear is shielded from moisture and consistently in prime condition, ensuring it's always ready for whenever it's needed.
Happy prepping and much love,
Ola Dee Griffin
Long-Term Food Storage Expert
Customer Service Dept.
Safeguard Brands, Inc., DBA - PackFreshUSA.com
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