Dr. John Woods 03.05.18
For most the term cartouche applies to a small tablet or piece of ornamental jewelry with a tiny inscription with a person’s initials or perhaps a short message. For those of us in the favor of shooting guns, prepping and survival weapons, the same term means a heavy paper cartridge case.
Today, that concept has gone far beyond the simple paper or card stock boxes that most brands of ammunition are packaged in for retail sale. The question is are these factory ammo paper boxes the best way to keep ammo in long term storage or are there other options to protect and keep ammo viable and safe from a variety of elements? What are the options?
If you have a safe, environmentally controlled area in a house or building with temperature and humidity control, then storage of ammo in the factory paper boxes is probably fine. Today’s modern factory ammo is manufactured to last a long time with reasonable care under controlled conditions. If you store your ammo out in the garage or outside storage shed, then problems might crop up.
Moisture, unusual temperatures, and humidity are the devils that can cause ammunition to deteriorate over time. If you shoot all your ammo stocks within a year of purchase then you are probably going to be ok. But, if you want to house ammo for the long term in case of future SHTF events, say ten years or more, then you might want to take more precautions to protect your valuable inventory.
Some cases or boxes are better than others. Some factory cases such as wooden crates, or even lead sealed ammo boxes aka military ammo are designed for longer term storage. Even then though, all ammo should be kept under atmospherically controlled conditions. Ideally this would be inside a structure where air conditioning, heat and humidity are maintained.
What about Bug Out storage where those conditions might not be ideal? Then you want sealed boxes or storage cases that are dust free and waterproof. Store these in dark, cool spots out of direct sunlight. Protect against excessive heat and cold. Throw a dark, waterproof tarp over the ammo cases. Be sure to re-seal boxes and cover back up after collecting ammo for use.
Also be aware of the ammo you buy. The primers should be lacquer sealed as well as the bullets sealed in the brass cartridge cases. General everyday use hunting ammo may not be sealed, so use it sooner or use more care in storage. Be sure the cartouches you pick are designed for long term storage in controlled conditions.