Ammo Storage Question


#1

Hi all,

Just had a cabinet built to store my paper shot shells. I had 1" and 3/4" fluted inserts made to go in the drawers. The inserts are made of maple and are varnished. Should I put acid free paper in the flutes?

Rookie


#2

Rookie; I’m a rookie too. In the old days of cartridge collecting, people loved to use antique oak sewing thread spool cabinets, which looked really neat and were built as if they had been designed just for cartridges. However, the unsealed oak had chemicals that outgassed and attacked metal. Collectors began sealing the wood with varnish or whatever, and that seemed to help a lot. Some wood is worse than others. Oak is terrible. I suspect that if your cabinet’s wood is completely sealed - the cabinet itself in addition to your inserts - you will probably be OK. But you will need to check frequently to be sure.

I doubt that lining your inserts with acid-free paper would do any good because the paper is porous and will allow the gasses, if any, to go right through to the shotshells.

The best solution is a metal cabinet with thin drawers, such as a blueprint file. However, these are extremely expensive, even used ones. But they sure are nice, and cartridge collectors are always looking for a deal on one.

Another great solution is to put your shotshells in “Durphy” tubes. Durphy is the brand name for just one of many brands of clear plastic tubes sealed at one end and open at the other. They can easily be trimmed to length, and they come with a polyethylene cap that seems to be air tight. With the base of the shotshell or cartridge inserted in the tube first so that it’s against the sealed end, you can read the headstamp clearly. With the tube capped, no gas will get in, and you can write identifying information, inventory numbers, etc. on the tube without ruining the shotshell or cartridge by writing on it with a Sharpie pen. The tubes come in many different diameters and lengths. They tend to be a bit pricey, but those of us who use them, love them. See www.durphypkg.com or call them at (215) 674-1260.

Good luck. Let us know how your project works out.

Mel


Cartridge Tube
#3

Mel–You said “The best solution is a metal cabinet with thin drawers, such as a blueprint file. However, these are extremely expensive, even used ones. But they sure are nice, and cartridge collectors are always looking for a deal on one.”

I will have to question the “Extremely expansive”. Actually, for an equal amount of storage space I do not think you can make a wooden cabinet for less money. Almost all companies that used these blueprint files have switched to digital files and no longer need the metal files. I bought 5 of the 48" x 24" x 1 1/2" 5-drawer units for $50.00 each on Crag’s List 2 years ago. These were bought from 2 companies, 2 from one and 3 from another and the company I bought the 3 units from even delivered them free (15 miles away) and the delivery man helped me get them into my house.

The one thing you do want to be careful of is to make sure the drawers have ball-bearing slides. Not all do. One of my units does not and it is difficult to pull the drawers open with any amount of cartridges in it.


#4

[quote=“Mel”]Rookie;Another great solution is to put your shotshells in “Durphy” tubes. Durphy is the brand name for just one of many brands of clear plastic tubes sealed at one end and open at the other. They can easily be trimmed to length, and they come with a polyethylene cap that seems to be air tight.
[color=#FF0000]With the tube capped, no gas will get in,[/color]and you can write identifying information, inventory numbers, etc. on the tube without ruining the shotshell or cartridge by writing on it with a Sharpie pen. Mel[/quote]

Hello Mel

Putting ctges in such a closed container where no gas can enter is sometime good but sometime the worst thing you can do to destroy a ctge very very quickly.

[color=#FF0000]Indeed if no gas can get in means also no gas can get out.[/color]

And if there is some chemical reaction due to air with the powder, or the plastic, aso, the gas cannot go out and therefore the reaction will increase dramatically and destroy your ctge very quickly.

This happened to me one day when I stored some experimental WWII german 7.92 ctges in such tubes because they were breakable.

There was no primer, no powder, only one plastic case and one ordinary bullet in each tube.
There were different chemical composition plastic cases, meaning different ctges.

One day I wanted to take some pictures and I discovered the plastic had melted !!

And after a few months there was only a residue at the bottom and no more case !!

This happened because the cases were made of the first plastics (some were acetate cellulose some were nylon).

Surely this will not happen with the new plastics but be carefull

Even with after wwII ctges (shotshells for exemple) the plastic is not chemically steady during the time

JP


#5

I had a cabinet built by a professional cabinet shop with the repeatedly stated understanding that every stick of wood in the cabinet was to be thoroughly sealed. I had absolutely no problems for ten years or so during which I was in and out of the drawers at least weekly if not multiple times daily. I haven’t been into the cabinet nearly so frequently in the past two years and am starting to see some lead oxidation. I assume that not opening the drawers frequently allowed gases to build up that otherwise were being vented each time I opened things up. My solution was to install cabinet fans like these acinfinity.com/quiet-cabinet-fans/ in the back to keep a constant stream of air venting any gases out of the cabinet. Now we’ll see what happens over the next couple of years.


#6

Thanks for all the info. I knew not to use oak and specified that to the builder. Cabinet is pine/spruce but the drawer bottoms, sides and inserts are maple. Everything appears to be sealed. Like the fan idea and have checked the site. All my paper shot shells are currently piled in plastic containers. Some sealed and some not. Have to address the problem across the board.

Rookie


#7

You might also consider Trespa as a cabinet material. It’s less expensive than metal, easier to process than metal, lighter, more durable (no oxidation) and does not release any gaseous chemicals. Trespa is basically compressed paper bonded with phenolic resin. I’ve used it to construct an ajustable shelf system in a gun safe to make it useable for ammunition storage and I’m very satisfied about the result.


#8

Most of my collection is shotgun shells and I use a mechanics tool chest (metal) for my singles. The drawers have a rubber matt on the bottom that works well enough for holding the shells in one place.
The problems I have had are degredation from the propellants, from the inside out, with the older, black powder shells, mold and insects. I’ve beat the mold with a dehumidifier but then some sort of moth laid it’s eggs on the top wad of one of my favorite shells and chewed all the markings off of it! Now my collection smells of mothballs.
Regular, visual inspection is essential, IMO, to keeping any collection, stored anywhere, safe and sound.


#9

I have been moving my collection from a wood cabinet to the plastic Plano boxes they are the thin adjustable tackle storage boxes I HOPE this is not a problem? Vic


#10

I use coin storage tubes for smaller paper and fagile cartridges. They come in 5 different sizes, purchase them from the local coin dealer. Have my bullet and primer collection in watch makers parts cases. These are aluminum cups with a glass window top there are about 5 sizes of them from 30 to 60 mm in diameter. They come in aluminum hinged cases 11 x 6 1/2. 40 of the small ones and 15 of the large fit in a case. Both the glass tops and the cases can be written on I actually engrave the glass tops with index numbers and enter the index numbers in my data base.
Gourd


#11

Don’t you encounter any problems with contact corrosion between the aluminium cups and metal (brass) contents?


#12

Sorry Thijs have not been on for several days too many friends passing away. No have not seen any problems with the aluminum cups. Figure my primer collection would be the first to show any problems. Have had them for at least 8 or 10 years. Had to look up my envoices as could not remember where I pruchased them. They were bought from Lee Valley Tools a Canadian company. Just went to their site and clicked on small parts storage. See the largest cans are atcually 70 mm. Lee Valley also sells metal screw top plastic tubes from 3/8" (10mm) to 1 3/8" (35 mm) diameter. Up to 4" long (100 mm). Many watch parts are brass and was told about the cans by a watch maker I know who restors old watches. His minium price just to look at a watch is $150.
Gourd