Your Complete Guide to Properly Storing, Handling, and Maintaining Ammo

As a gun owner, you know that the performance of your firearm heavily depends on the quality of ammunition you use. Whether you’re an amateur or seasoned shooter, it’s vital to understand how to store, handle, and maintain your ammo to ensure its longevity, reliability, and effectiveness. From the materials used to build the ammunition to the environmental factors that influence its degradation, this guide covers everything you need to know about preserving the quality of your ammo. Let’s dive in!

Proper Storage

The way you store your ammo affects its shelf life dramatically. If you ignore the proper storage guidelines, you may end up with ammo that doesn’t fire, or worse, leads to unwanted accidents. To prevent this from happening, store your ammo in a cool, dry, and dark place, preferably in a metal ammo can or a sealed container. Avoid exposing your ammo to direct sunlight or high temperatures, as these can cause the ammunition to degrade quickly. Store your ammo away from any moisture-prone areas, such as basements or humid environments. A simple moisture absorber can help remove any additional moisture from the storage area.

Proper Handling

Once you’ve stored your ammo safely, it’s essential to handle it with care, ensuring the rounds don’t end up mishandled or damaged before use. Be mindful of the cartridges, and never drop your ammo on hard surfaces such as concrete or steel. Keep the ammo box and your gun magazines clean and free of debris, as any dirt or grime can interfere with how well your firearm functions. Always avoid touching the ammunition’s primer as it’s highly sensitive and can accidentally set off the round.

Proper Maintenance

Just like the gun that holds it, ammo requires essential maintenance to ensure it performs optimally. Before loading your gun with bullets, inspect each round to make sure there are no visual defects such as dents or marks. Additionally, regularly clean your gun barrels to remove any corrosive materials that may interfere with the bullet’s trajectory and accuracy. Lastly, take note of the ammo’s expiration date, as it loses its effectiveness over time. Dispose of any expired rounds safely, ideally by returning them to the manufacturer.

Your Ammo Materials

Manufacturers use different bullet materials such as lead, copper, and nickel. The type of material used on your ammunition will affect the shelf life and how well it performs. Copper, for instance, is known to deform less than lead, so it’s recommended for rifles and shotguns. Nickel-plated shells are more durable and more resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which prolongs their shelf life.

Environmental Factors

Animal fat from your hands, temperature, and humidity can negatively impact the quality of your ammo. For example, handling your ammo with your bare hands can expose them to natural oils and moisture, significantly reducing their life span. Additionally, high temperatures cause ammunition to expand, increasing pressure and leading to mechanical failure once fired. That’s why it’s essential to follow the storage and handling guidelines.


Properly preserving your ammunition is essential to the longevity, reliability, and effectiveness of your firearm. By understanding how to store, handle, and maintain your ammo, you not only ensure maximum performance but also secure the safety of yourself and others. Remember to inspect your ammo for visual defects, store it properly, handle it with care, and be mindful of the materials used. With these tips in mind, you’re now equipped to enjoy the best of what your ammo has to offer. Stay safe and happy shooting!

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