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Author Topic: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?  (Read 5394 times)

Outbreak

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Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
« on: July 30, 2013, 01:56:18 am »
I have been buying reloading components as often as I can find them at reasonable prices. I've got quite a bit for the calibers I load. My Dillon 650 eats them up pretty quick. Lately, I've been in conservation mode and not loading as much. At the rate I've been shooting over the last year, I've got a few years worth of components, plus all the loaded ammo.

Components are more versatile. I load all my handgun ammo with W231, and mostly small primer. So those can go to whatever caliber I want. If I load them up, they're fixed. If I load up a ton of .40 and shift into a 9mm mood, I'm kinda screwed.

But I feel loaded ammo is more stable in storage. Powder and primers are supposedly more prone to spoilage. I live in an arid area, so that mitigates the spoilage due to humidity, but I don't want hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of powder and primers to go bad on the shelf.

So what do you guys do?
TexasOutbreak

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #1 on: July 30, 2013, 02:45:14 am »
    I'm not sure "hoard" is the right term but I keep mostly loaded ammo for the reasons you outline.  Having both is doable with the right preparation but climate controlled storage is a bit problematic for large volumes of stuff. 
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    Mississippi556

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #2 on: July 30, 2013, 09:48:42 am »
    I think it is just fine to hoard components too.  While most of my powders and primers are "fresh" I have several canisters of military powder that are over 30 years old.  When I do use that powder it works as well as it it were new.  Chronos the same.  Same accuracy.  No change in load data.  I don't know it this is true, but I've heard that when powder "goes bad" it develops a strong ammonia smell when you open the lid.  Mine does not have that smell.

    I do store powder and primers in a controlled environment cabinet.  That powder is in metal canisters.  I don't know if that makes a difference.

    I do like the idea of using common powders for multiple cartridges and being able to have the flexibility to use it for what I want to shoot at the moment.  Can't do that if you've already turned it into finished ammo.

    Pete
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    freeman1685

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #3 on: July 30, 2013, 10:28:16 am »
    I've been contemplating getting into rolling my own.  I've been looking at some of these threads, and finding more questions than answers.

    I kinda knew about keeping components dry, but I didn't know that temp was an issue.

    So my question is: What is the optimal temp range for storage?
    ArizonaStupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education or by legislation.  Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid.  But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.  RAH

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 10:44:13 am »
    If you have a food saver/vacuum sealer you should be sealing your primers & powder as that eliminates any contamination against moisture & humidity.  If you don't have a sealer then you can store them in 30cal/50cal ammo cans...and I know you can get those.  They are hermetically sealed but you still want to pack them up in a low humidity & cool room and store them as such.
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    Grant

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #5 on: July 30, 2013, 01:43:19 pm »
     I'm not much of a handloader but dad is so we sorta got both ends covered :rotfl   That said, he's used old powder, and it's all stored in a relatively stable room so no real worries on anything going bad.

       For general plinking/practice, yeah maybe load up on components.  However for "true" hoarding as in apocalypse/zombies,etc. I am using factory-loaded ammo.

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    StevenTing

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 01:53:50 pm »
    I've been selling off my new ammo and keeping components.  I just ordered 2000 bullets for .45acp and will be adding more.  I've had powder for 10 years and it still operates fine.  Same thing with primers.  I'm contemplating selling off some of my primers as I don't really need 13K primers right now.  5K will hold me over for a while and I can always buy more in the next year.
    Utah

    scarville

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 02:35:15 pm »
    I guess I "hoard" both. However, most of what I shoot is reloads so, if I had to choose, I would prefer to have more reloading supplies. The training classes hereabouts discourage reloads so I do buy up practice ammo for when I find a good deal.  Sometimes too much: I still have about 6K rounds of 38 spl left from a 10K buy a few years ago.
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #8 on: July 30, 2013, 07:30:49 pm »
    I've been selling off my new ammo and keeping components.  I just ordered 2000 bullets for .45acp and will be adding more.  I've had powder for 10 years and it still operates fine.  Same thing with primers.  I'm contemplating selling off some of my primers as I don't really need 13K primers right now.  5K will hold me over for a while and I can always buy more in the next year.

    I would not be parting with any primers right now. That's the hardest thing to find and if you do, they're $40-50 per thousand. In the height of the panic, they were going for $70, if you could find any.
    TexasOutbreak

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    StevenTing

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #9 on: July 30, 2013, 07:44:44 pm »
    Interesting.  I was seeing primers at the local stores and gun show for $30-$35.  That's why I was thinking of selling since they seem to be available to me. 


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    coelacanth

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #10 on: July 31, 2013, 02:20:02 am »
    I've been contemplating getting into rolling my own.  I've been looking at some of these threads, and finding more questions than answers.

    I kinda knew about keeping components dry, but I didn't know that temp was an issue.

    So my question is: What is the optimal temp range for storage?
    Everything stores better in a cool, dry place.  Loaded ammo is not particularly temperature sensitive-some of the milsurp stuff has been knocking around for years on one pallet or another in all sorts of conditions and still works fine for the most part.  I keep all my components inside the house rather than in a garage or storage shed and haven't had any problems.  Black powder substitutes are probably the most finicky when it comes to storage - they are sensitive to both heat and humidity to a greater degree than most smokeless powders.
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #11 on: July 31, 2013, 02:24:01 am »
    If you have a food saver/vacuum sealer you should be sealing your primers & powder as that eliminates any contamination against moisture & humidity.  If you don't have a sealer then you can store them in 30cal/50cal ammo cans...and I know you can get those.  They are hermetically sealed but you still want to pack them up in a low humidity & cool room and store them as such.

    Isn't a bunch of propellants and explosives inside a sealed metal container basically a bomb?
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    coelacanth

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #12 on: July 31, 2013, 02:26:28 am »
    I know he didn't say it but I was thinking separate ammo boxes for primers and powder .  .   .    .         
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    Outbreak

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 02:30:17 am »
    Either way, I won't be storing powder OR primers in ammo cans. The only difference between a bomb mean for frag and one meant for blast/overpressure is the thickness of the case. Fill a thick metal container (like iron pipe) with gunpowder and you have a crude grenade. Fill a thin metal container (like an ammo can) full of powder or primers, and you have a device that will blow all the doors and windows out of your house.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    coelacanth

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 02:37:39 am »
    I assume you are thinking about a fire?  Otherwise detonation seems like a pretty remote possibility to me.
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    Outbreak

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #15 on: July 31, 2013, 02:42:02 am »
    Yup.
    I've had to use 3 fire extinguishers in anger. I don't take chances with combustibles near or in my house. At least with the factory containers I know they won't explode.
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 02:44:17 am »
    Fair enough.  I haven't seen any data to suggest whether its a good idea or a bad idea one way or the other but you may have a point.
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    freeman1685

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #17 on: July 31, 2013, 03:00:55 am »
    Everything stores better in a cool, dry place.  Loaded ammo is not particularly temperature sensitive-some of the milsurp stuff has been knocking around for years on one pallet or another in all sorts of conditions and still works fine for the most part.  I keep all my components inside the house rather than in a garage or storage shed and haven't had any problems.  Black powder substitutes are probably the most finicky when it comes to storage - they are sensitive to both heat and humidity to a greater degree than most smokeless powders.

    So, would one of those "Dorm Fridges" be alright?  I have a room off of my garage, that is not climate controlled, that I was thinking of turning into my loading room.  It's long and narrow, but I think it might be just right, with a workbench and a stool.

    This is still a ways off, I'm just spitballing.
    ArizonaStupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education or by legislation.  Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid.  But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.  RAH

    coelacanth

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #18 on: July 31, 2013, 03:11:24 am »
    Frankly most anywhere inside your house would do except a bathroom or kitchen because of the humidity.  You could stash a couple thousand primers and three or four pounds of powder in a linen closet or even the bottom drawer of a nightstand.  The open container of powder and the primers you are using as well as your brass and bullets could stay in the reloading area but unless you get into this in a big way we're not talking about a lot of space.  The only problem I see with the 'fridge is condensation when you take the stuff out of it.  Not good.   :shocked  Not to mention there's no sense paying extra to refrigerate something that really doesn't need it.  Are you using an evap cooler on your house?
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    freeman1685

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #19 on: July 31, 2013, 03:17:21 am »
    No, fortunately I've got AC.  I'm so thankful for that, this time of year.  I hate swamp coolers.
    ArizonaStupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education or by legislation.  Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid.  But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.  RAH

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #20 on: July 31, 2013, 03:21:18 am »
    Same here.  I've had them before and they are better than nothing but only slightly.  The only reason I asked was related to the humidity inside the house.  Here in Az. its just not generally a problem that needs to be addressed.
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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #21 on: July 31, 2013, 09:52:36 am »
    Not quite...or I should say not even close.  First off, you can only get 2lbs of powder in a .30 cal can and without any type of ignition source (you shouldn't be storing powder & primers in the same place) the chances of an "explosion" is very remote.  Even though the ammo can seals up pretty good, the steel is soft enough that the can won't frag and also that volume of powder won't burn fast enough to build up enough pressure to blow out a single door much less all the windows in the house.  Even a full can of primers in their factory packaging is very safe against shock so even if the can is dropped off a shelf chances of a single primer going off is slim to none.

    I've built bombs for many years and also bomb technology & whatnot was critical to my promotion testing during my 17+ years in the AF so I have a pretty good idea of what's a safe method of storage and what would destroy my house.  Storing ANY HAZMAT will incur some risk no matter how you choose to keep your powder & primers dry.  As I said, vacuum seal bags are probably your best option against humidity, but if you don't have them then a .30 cal ammo can will suffice and won't be much more dangerous than a powder locker that can hold 10+ pounds of powder.  Your choice, just make sure you separate fact from fiction.

    Either way, I won't be storing powder OR primers in ammo cans. The only difference between a bomb mean for frag and one meant for blast/overpressure is the thickness of the case. Fill a thick metal container (like iron pipe) with gunpowder and you have a crude grenade. Fill a thin metal container (like an ammo can) full of powder or primers, and you have a device that will blow all the doors and windows out of your house.
    North CarolinaMedically retired Air Force (17 years, 7 months & 25 days)

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #22 on: August 01, 2013, 12:29:51 am »
    I think that Matt is right, vacuum seal, or ammo cans if worried about moisture damage.  You can get ammo cans in plastic if you are that worried about fire.   I had to dispose of about 5lb of smokeless a couple of years ago, and I threw it into a fire.  The metal cans, the powder was discolored, I opened them and it did not even blow the ends off the cans.   The cardboard cans, wet and melting cardboard, popped on the sides but no big deal.  A qt of gas in a one gal plastic jug makes a bigger boom.   
    With regards to temperature, cool and stable is best.  Think basement rather than attic.  If your really worried I would use a cooler rather than a fridge.  Try to even out the highs and lows rather than cooling it.   
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    Re: Is It Better to Hoard Components or Loaded Ammo?
    « Reply #23 on: August 11, 2013, 02:48:36 am »
    Keep the powder in the original containers, with the lids sealed tightly in a cool and dry basement room in a corner that sees no sunlight, and it will almost outlive you.  Primers I store in original containers, on a shelf in the gun room.  Similar conditions to powder.  But I don't pack them in close together or in tightly sealed containers.  I don't want to chance a mass detonation.  If you're only storing a few hundred primers, that's not a real big worry, but for those guys that store thousands, it's very definite concern.
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