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Thread: Home ammunition storage - fire safety?

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    Home ammunition storage - fire safety?

    Gents I have a question about fire safety:

    Some relatives of mine have a couple of thousand rounds of Norinco 7.62 mm ammo they bought on special before the ban. The ammo is in its original container, which is to say, a wooden box.

    Question:
    Does this ammo pose an extra hazard if a fire breaks out at their house?
    What's the best way to store this ammo?

    Thanks.

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    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Gents I have a question about fire safety:

    Some relatives of mine have a couple of thousand rounds of Norinco 7.62 mm ammo they bought on special before the ban. The ammo is in its original container, which is to say, a wooden box.

    Question:
    Does this ammo pose an extra hazard if a fire breaks out at their house?
    What's the best way to store this ammo?

    Thanks.
    I believe it does pose an extra hazard, if the fire sets off the ammunition - I have heard stories of firefighters being menaced by cooking off ammunition
    My best bet would be to store it in a fire safe, in the basement away from combustible materials.
    Perhaps our gun experts could add to or correct this opinion.
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    That is very valuable ammo. While a surplus steel ammo box will not prevent cook-offs, it'll do a better job than a wooden crate. There's a solid chance if the fire department is reasonably fast that the ammo will survive both the fire, AND the water used to put it out. Plus, it'll keep longer.

    If there's a basement, I'd seal it in cans (the 25mm cans are large and stout) and place it there.

    The only real way to safeguard it from fire is a fireproof safe. Expensive, large and heavy, and not something most people do.

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    Yes, any ammo will pose extra fire safety concern. However, you should not store ammo in anything that's sealed or air tight. A wooden box is probably the best container. Why not a sealed container? When it blows, you don't want anything to contain the pressure.

    I do have some ammo in sealed metal ammo boxes. Those are my SHTF emergency bugout bag. A few hundred rounds cooking off in a sealed container is better than a few thousand rounds cooking off.

    By the way, I have the same wooden crate from Norinco. I bought 1000 rounds of M193 for $320 back in 1995 or so. I still have some left.
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Gents I have a question about fire safety:

    Some relatives of mine have a couple of thousand rounds of Norinco 7.62 mm ammo they bought on special before the ban. The ammo is in its original container, which is to say, a wooden box.

    Question:
    Does this ammo pose an extra hazard if a fire breaks out at their house?
    What's the best way to store this ammo?
    Loaded ammo should be stored as you would store guns, locked up in a well secured locked box like a gun safe, at moderate temperatures, and kept dry. Unloaded smokeless propellant should also be kept dry and be stored at moderate temperature in its factory containers in a weakly constructed wooden storage case, made from one inch thick boards for fire protection. Please download the PDF files at the following links for info from SAAMI (Sporting Arms And Manufacturers Institute) which includes info from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

    http://www.saami.org/specifications_...Ammunition.pdf

    http://www.saami.org/specifications_...ess_Powder.pdf

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    I used to put a keg of Red Dot in the safe when I was out of town. Figured if someone ever tried to torch their way into the safe it would take the whole corner of the house, lol. Didn't want anyone using my guns against my neighbors...
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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post
    I used to put a keg of Red Dot in the safe when I was out of town. Figured if someone ever tried to torch their way into the safe it would take the whole corner of the house, lol. Didn't want anyone using my guns against my neighbors...
    Wouldn't it be better if you put it just behind the hinges? It's like a booby trap for the would be thieves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post
    I used to put a keg of Red Dot in the safe when I was out of town. Figured if someone ever tried to torch their way into the safe it would take the whole corner of the house, lol. Didn't want anyone using my guns against my neighbors...
    This works! But you have to have a sign pasted to the safe.

    "Attention scumbag thieves: There are 3 pounds of black powder in the safe. Feel free to torch cut! Enjoy!"

    Something along those lines. And with the sign, you don't even need to actually have the powder in the safe. Another method is to hide the real safe well, but have one of those cheap sheet-metal RIGID safes in open sight, with a Mossberg pump and maybe a Lorcin pistol inside. The crooks will think they scored big, while your collection of Purdey and Kreighoff shotguns remains secure.

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    Fire safes are good idea for ammo, but not likely it will save the ammo unless you have a really good expensive one. It may help contain the projectiles.

    My house catches fire, I'm warning the fire dept and un-assing this grid square. I keep the guns in a fire-safe, but my several pounds of smokeless powder and my "respectable amount" of various loaded ammo, is probably going to make some noise.

    However, there are lots more things in homes that can go boom. One case of ammo, I wouldn't be that concerned about. Besides, your not going to be near it when it finally gets hot enough to cook off.

    Just btw, I am concerned about fire and after weighing the costs, I have decided to install and automatic sprinkler system. Its only cheap because I can install it myself. It should make my 30 minute safes last much longer in a fire.

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    Thanks for the advice everyone! I will pass it along. :cheers:

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    My better half has some concerns about storing ammo safely, particularly in the unlikely event of a house fire. I wouldn't want to see the local fire company responders trying to knockdown a house fire with rounds cooking off.

    Does anyone take any particular precautions for storing ammo? Initially I thought possibly in the safe, but not sure what quantities could be stored. Other suggestions I've had include good old GI ammo cans. I am mainly trying to safely contain the results of cartridges detonating from the heat of a house fire.

    If ammo cans are the ticket, do you have a suggested source?
    Last edited by TopHatter; 01 Sep 12, at 16:59. Reason: Removed Link

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    I like heavy ammo cans, but others have said it becomes shrapnel. I'm thinking otherwise. When ammo cooks off, it's not all going to go at once, it'll be like popcorn, and the first few are going to punch holes in the steel. It'll vent.

    If your wife is concerned, then work at keeping the peace. Do you have any sort of outbuilding at all? That might be an answer, but watch out for temperature. Cool is fine, hot is not and will degrade the ammo. Lacking that, how about a corner of the garage? Use surplus cans, stack them high, in the corner of the garage that is as far from the house as possible, preferably the outside corner. The odds of a fire starting there are very low, and the FD can come fight the fire, and it is unlikely that the flames would reach the ammo.

    I've got ammo, lots of powders, and some scuba tanks. The latter are extremely dangerous in a fire, more than ammo, I'm thinking. It's part of life, I guess. If you want to pursue fun things, there's an associated risk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Safety2go View Post
    My better half has some concerns about storing ammo safely, particularly in the unlikely event of a house fire. I wouldn't want to see the local fire company responders trying to knockdown a house fire with rounds cooking off.

    Does anyone take any particular precautions for storing ammo? Initially I thought possibly in the safe, but not sure what quantities could be stored. Other suggestions I've had include good old GI ammo cans. I am mainly trying to safely contain the results of cartridges detonating from the heat of a house fire.

    If ammo cans are the ticket, do you have a suggested source?
    I'm going on the assumption that you're not a spambot.

    If so, then welcome to forum. Please read the forum guidelines, introduce yourself and finally, please refrain from using this site as an advertising forum for your website.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Safety2go View Post
    My better half has some concerns about storing ammo safely, particularly in the unlikely event of a house fire. I wouldn't want to see the local fire company responders trying to knockdown a house fire with rounds cooking off.

    Does anyone take any particular precautions for storing ammo? Initially I thought possibly in the safe, but not sure what quantities could be stored. Other suggestions I've had include good old GI ammo cans. I am mainly trying to safely contain the results of cartridges detonating from the heat of a house fire.

    If ammo cans are the ticket, do you have a suggested source?


    I am not an expert on the subject of fire protection, instead I put in due dilligence in trying to follow building code, as well as seeking out and relying on information provided by experts that are verifyably both real and credible.

    Up thread, and repeated again here below, I provided links to information from those real and credible experts on the subject of arms, ammunition, and ammunition loading components, SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute), and their recommendations include fire protection code information from experts on that subject, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Aside from fire protection considerations, I'd suggest locking it up to provide some control on access, while also following (not violating) recommendations from SAAMI and NFPA.

    Repeated from earlier post in this thread:
    Loaded ammo should be stored as you would store guns, locked up in a well secured locked box like a gun safe, at moderate temperatures, and kept dry. Unloaded smokeless propellant should also be kept dry and be stored at moderate temperature in its factory containers in a weakly constructed wooden storage case, made from one inch thick boards for fire protection. Please download the PDF files at the following links for info from SAAMI (Sporting Arms And Manufacturers Institute) which includes info from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

    SAAMI - ITEM 202 - Sporting Ammunition (PDF file):
    http://www.saami.org/specifications_...Ammunition.pdf

    SAAMI - ITEM 200 - Smokeless Powder (PDF file):
    http://www.saami.org/specifications_...ess_Powder.pdf

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    At this link, Fire Engineering has a firefighting video produced by SAAMI demonstrating the effects of fire on stored ammunition. The related promo is quoted below.

    Video on Effects of Fire on Stored Ammunition

    01/07/2013

    The Sporting Ammunition & The Fire Fighter video is provided with special permission from the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute. Copyright © 2008, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

    The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) has produced a free 30-minute video showing the effects of fire on stored ammunition. Some structures we may respond to are known to store amounts of ammunition, and it's safe to assume that most residences have some present. The video shows over 400,000 rounds of ammunition being burned, dropped, shot and crushed (under a bulldozer). A simulated gun store with copious cases of ammunition is burned, as is an entire semi-trailer of ammo. You will be surprised at the results!

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    Last edited by JRT; 08 Jan 13, at 15:44.
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