How to Build Shelves for Ammo Storage

Ammo storage is as individual as the person who uses it. Below are some ideas and suggestions that may help you build ammo storage shelves if you’re just getting started.

Simple Shelves

It is not difficult to build shelves for ammo storage. The simplest form of a shelf is probably what you have at home or have seen in someone else’s house: a single wall-mounted board with some brackets to support the ends of boxes. It’s not very strong and can flex even under moderate weight, so it shouldn’t be in use for more than a few boxes in most cases.

However, adding one or more vertical boards to the back of a simple shelf can make for a stronger unit that doesn’t sag under even heavy loads. If you’re building two large shelves, you could construct them identically with just one difference: on one, screw the verticals only halfway into the board so that they project about an inch. This will give you a place to attach the shelf supports later.

On smaller shelves, simply screw or nail the verticals into place and then go ahead and install the shelf brackets as usual. However, if you want to make your ammo storage shelves even more solid and durable, consider adding plywood backing boards (1/4- to 1/2-inch thick depending on shelf size) that are similar in size to the front boards. Not only will they provide additional support, but you can attach all kinds of other items to them with screws or nails, including extra shelves for even more storage space.

Step 1 : Materials and Tools Required To Build Ammo Storage Shelves

  • Plywood or particle board. At a minimum, you should have enough for the shelves themselves plus a few inches on each side so that there’s a space to attach the verticals. But if possible, buy a full 4 x 8 sheet of 3/4-inch thick material so that you’ll have enough to use more than one shelf.
  • Screws or nails for attaching plywood and other materials. Most shelves will need at least two screws per side, but more might be necessary depending on the size of the ammo storage shelves and weight of the contents.
  • Hardware for attaching shelves to walls. Assuming you’re mounting the shelves on drywall, toggle bolts are probably your best choice since they can handle more weight than other types of wall anchors. If you want the shelf brackets to be flush with the wall, use cup hooks.

Step 2: Plan Your Shelves

The first step in building ammo storage shelves is to decide the size, strength, and number of shelves you want. Will they be on walls or other objects? What will they hold – boxes of shotgun shells, rifle rounds, or handguns? How many colors of ammunition do you plan on storing? And so on.

So it’s best to sit down and make a list of all the ammo storage items you plan on putting on your new shelves. Then, decide what size boards or other materials you need. A unit 8-feet long and 18 inches deep, for example, usually has room for dozens of boxes and hundreds of loose rounds within easy reach.

Step 3: Mark the Location of Each Vertical Board

Once you know how much shelf space you need, it’s time to mark the location for each vertical board. In most cases, this is pretty straightforward: simply find a stud in the wall and drive a screw through it.

Mark the center point of the stud with a pencil and then use a level to figure out where you need to attach the vertical.

Make sure that you pre-drill into the stud every time before screwing in the shelf brackets or other materials. This not only helps prevent cracking but will also make it easier to get the screws in straight.

Step 4: Install Vertical Boards Into Wall

Put the shelf brackets on the back of each vertical board and then push them into place. Drive screws or nails through the shelf bracket holes into the studs to attach them tightly. This secures the boards in place and provides a solid surface for mounting other materials. If you need more than one person to get everything mounted securely, so much the better. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Step 5: Attach Shelf Supports to Vertical Boards

Most shelf supports can have screws and brackets. However, some use pegs, dowels, and other types of hardware to ensure a tight connection. As long as it’s not too difficult or time-consuming to put the support on the back of each vertical board, go for it. It’ll make your shelves stronger and more stable.

In the case of pegs or other non-standard mounting hardware, drill a hole in each vertical board at the point where you want to attach the support. Remember to pre-drill your holes and use a countersink bit if you need to make a raised surface. Once that’s done, you’re ready for step six.

Step 6: Mount Brackets to Vertical Boards

Most brackets can each be on vertical boards using screws or nails. But some may require you to use glue, dowel pins, or other hardware for an extra-secure hold.

Don’t worry about making your shelves give under the weight of ammunition boxes – most support materials are pretty strong and usually have a rated weight capacity. It’s just a good idea to be thorough when it comes to mounting brackets, especially, if they’re not self-explanatory in terms of installation.

In the case of brackets that require glue or dowel pins, simply drill a hole in each vertical board at the point where you want to attach the bracket. Don’t forget to pre-drill the holes and use a counter sink bit if needed.

Step 7: Mount Support Brackets on Shelf Supports

Once you mount all your vertical boards, it’s time to attach shelf brackets. Since they’re going to be supporting a load from above, make sure you use a good strong bracket instead of a flimsy one.

Measure the width and depth of each shelf you plan to put in, then buy brackets that are slightly larger than your measurements. That way, even if your ammo boxes extend beyond the edges of your shelves, they’ll still be in place.

You can attach them with screws or nails, but it’s recommended to use glue or other hardware if the brackets are small or flimsy. It’s like making sure you’ve got a fire extinguisher handy in case your ammo storage gets out of control.

Step 8: Mount Shelf Supports to Vertical Boards

Once you attach all your bracket support pieces to your shelf brackets, you’re ready to mount them on the backs of each vertical board. Screw or nail them into place and ensure they’re secure and tight before adding ammo boxes

Step 9: Start Adding Ammo Boxes

You can use either cardboard boxes or plastic storage containers for ammo storage. The ammo storage shelves installation should be an easy process.


With the above steps you should know how to build shelves for ammo storage. For those who prefer to buy vs. build, there are a lot of ammo storage cabinets out there. Either way you decide to go, organized ammo storage is a must have (and fun project to take on).

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