Shrink wrapping boxes


#1

Are there any best practices for shrink wrapping ammo boxes?

Are there any stores that do it?

What do you guys normally do?


#2

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1487&hilit=shrink+wrap


#3

hmmm… on that archived topic someone suggested putting it the toaster oven to shrink the wrap!!

There is no way I would try that with a box loaded up with sawdust and sealed in paper! One mistake and there goes $500 or more!

Also like one person mentioned on that thread shrink wrap may not be the best open for some older delicate boxes. I know that my C. D. Leet packet seems to be wrapped like a Christmas present. I really like this.

Shrink wrapping may be better for some tin boxes and ones that are not as delicate or old though.

Another option would be making custom sized acrylic cases for each box so that they can be opened and examined more easily if needed. Anyone do anything like this?


#4

Just my own ignorant farm-boy opinion but, I never wrap any of my boxes, shrink or otherwise. If I buy a box that has been wrapped, removing the wrapping is the first thing I do. I like the look and feel of the original packaging/label, even those that are not in the best shape. If a box is so bad that it cannot be handled safely, it is a candidate for box reconstruction. With a note inside indicating the reconstruction and date.

And, you can’t open a box to disect a cartridge or two if it is wrapped.

If you owned a P-51 Mustang, a 1955 Chevy, a Civil War musket, or a gorgeous wife like my bride, you wouldn’t shrink wrap them would you? Cartridges and their boxes deserve better too.

Ray


#5

[quote=“RayMeketa”]
If you owned a P-51 Mustang, a 1955 Chevy, a Civil War musket, or a gorgeous wife like my bride, you wouldn’t shrink wrap them would you? Cartridges and their boxes deserve better too.

Ray[/quote]
Ray, although not directly ammo related the parallels should be obvious to most people. If I had a 55 Chevy would I drive it? Yes I would !!! Every damn chance I got. And if I had a Civil war musket i would shoot it, and love every minute.
Irreplacable.
Sticking a classic car in a garage and polishing it on a Sunday would be a crime. Ammo, guns,cars, motorcycles, planes or whatever are there to be enjoyed.

My personal interest is the British big game cartridges. Collectors love the unopened boxes but don’t open them because it devalues the content. How could you stand it? I couldn’t.


#6

Ray,

I have a sealed houllier and blanchard cardboard box that is between 138 and 155 years old. I will never ever have a reason to open it as I know what is inside it and have samples of the cartridges.

The box is starting to disenigrate a little bit and touching only makes it worse.

I feel that having it sealed from external stimuli can only help?


#7

I am a proponent of the shrink wrap process, but others are free to disagree. I have not encountered any problems when wrapping full boxes, but empty boxes need some sort of filler so they don’t crush from lack of internal support. I find shrink wrap to be handy, and already have a roll of the shrink wrap material and the heat strip sealer needed and a hot air gun/hair dryer. If you plan on only doing a box or two, it probably is not worth the cost for the gear to get started.

In Aaron’s case, I would suggest the less stressful “Christmas wrap” with a sheet of clear cellophane neatly cut and folded with a bit of tape to hold the ends closed. You can get cellophane wrap in the gift wrap section at office supply places that specialize in paper products, and possibly the Office Max or Staples type places too. Of course, they sell it in rolls that will last a lifetime, but it is not terribly expensive.

As for the inclination to drive one’s collectible cars and shoot old collector guns, I guess we might as well open up those old boxes of ammo and blast away, as that is what they were intended for… At least it will make the “keep it wrapped in the box” ammo a bit scarcer.


#8

Hi Aaron.
I agree with John about wrapping the boxes like a Christmas present. I have seen and heard of a number of shotshell box collectors that ‘shrink wrapped’ their boxes years ago. Since then the ‘shrink wrapping’ has shrunk. When they go to lood at their boxes or pick them up again, they are left with a nice shrink warped pile of cardboard pieces. BEWARE!
If you have a very expenive box and find it reduced to rubble, it doesn’t matter how much you cry over it, your tears won’t act as glue to put it back together again (remember Humpty Dumpty).
Cheers,
Will.


#9

I personally do not wrap my boxes, but for those who wish to do so, cellophane is a much better choice than shrink wrap, as pointed out by Powdertin above. Another source of smaller quantities than a whole roll of cellophane is your local florist shop. Most will sell you however much you want by the foot.

As for empty boxes, just cut a small block of Styrofoam to fill it up and give the box strength.


#10

I don’t know anything about the content of the plastics used in shrink wrap. But harking back to previous posts about storing ammo in plastic bags etc, is there not a danger that something in the plastic might attack the inks?

Expanding on the point about shooting off old ammo (like driving classic cars). A lot of the old British Big game ammunition sold by auction house like Holts is still bought by people intending to use it rather than collect it (despite extortionate prices) because for many of the old calibres there is no other source available to them. I wouldn’t like to say how much of it goes that way but it does happen. I don’t think it gets used for big game hunting, just put through the gun to see what it feels like firing it. I personally can identify with that. Their love is for the gun and the chance to actually fire it, even if only the once, is worth the sacrifice.

I don’t think I would go that far but I would open a box to examine the contents and drool over them for a while. ( i have!) So what if it knocks a bit off the value? Its going to go up anyway and I want to see and hold those big fat beauties. Its still a full box, just not a sealed full box.


#11

[quote=“VinceGreen”]I don’t know anything about the content of the plastics used in shrink wrap. But harking back to previous posts about storing ammo in plastic bags etc, is there not a danger that something in the plastic might attack the inks?

Expanding on the point about shooting off old ammo (like driving classic cars). A lot of the old British Big game ammunition sold by auction house like Holts is still bought by people intending to use it rather than collect it (despite extortionate prices) because for many of the old calibres there is no other source available to them. I wouldn’t like to say how much of it goes that way but it does happen. I don’t think it gets used for big game hunting, just put through the gun to see what it feels like firing it. I personally can identify with that. Their love is for the gun and the chance to actually fire it, even if only the once, is worth the sacrifice.

I don’t think I would go that far but I would open a box to examine the contents and drool over them for a while. ( i have!) So what if it knocks a bit off the value? Its going to go up anyway and I want to see and hold those big fat beauties. Its still a full box, just not a sealed full box.[/quote]

I have been looking, there are archival grades of different cellophane and shrink wrap.

Also, if you already had a cartridge that you know is the same as what is in your sealed box, would you still open the box?


#12

No I probably wouldn’t. What I was trying to point out really is that we don’t all see these things the same way. To me the interest would revolve around the cartridges, the box would not hold the same degree of interest although it is all part of the bigger picture. I can’t imagine I would ever buy a sealed box simply because it was a sealed box.

To a gun collector, and I would suggest there are many times more gun collectors than cartridge collectors, ammunition may still only be "just"a consumable. Even if the ammunition is very old or very scarce.

Not having the the money to indulge my interest in the old double rifles I shoot the British Martinis from time to time in the company of a lot of other more serious enthusiasts. I have known, indeed seen, very old contemporary ammunition being fired and everybody else standing round to watch if it goes off. They really would struggle to understand why anyone else might find that morally wrong.


#13

Aaron–If it is archive wrap you desire, then Mylar is the best, but more expansive and harder to find in small quantity than cellophane. 8 1/2 x11 Mylar Sheet Protectors can be purchased from any office supply store. Just be sure it says it is 100% Mylar. There is probably sources of rolls of Mylar out there, but I don’t know of one myself. You might check for Museum Archival Supply sources.


#14

I get my materials for wrapping boxes and other sensitive collectable from a company called Light Impressions. Their specialty is archival grade packaging. I shrink wrap all my boxes after documenting what is in them. I have found that it is important to support empty boxes with something to prevent them getting mis-shappen by the process. There is no doubt that it is a skill that takes a little bit of practice. You do not have to wrap them very tight, and once you get the feel for it, it works great.

I have never had any problems with shrink wrap of archival quality continuing to tighten up over the years and damaging boxes. I have boxes I wrapped over 20 years ago, and they remain crisp, perfectly shaped and no fading at all. My guess would be that low quality materials, or wrapping them too tight in the first place were the problem.


#15

I am an avid .22 rimfire box collector and will collect any that I can afford to buy. In descending order I prefer to collect: full sealed boxes, full un-sealed boxes, partially filled boxes, empty boxes. I religiously shrink wrap all the boxes. Empty and partially-filled boxes I insert a piece of 1" thick Styrofoam insulation board that I have pre-cut to the correct shape to support the boxes and keep them from deforming. I just trim off what is needed to complete a partial box. This also keeps the partially-filled boxes from damaging the rounds inside by keeping them tightly together. New .22 ammo is cheap to buy so I see no need to shoot the collectible ones.

I use shrink wrap that I purchase from a local craft store that comes in 20’ by 60" double width rolls (the rolls are 30" wide and doubled over). I cut off a 4-5" strip and re-roll it onto a cut down paper towel roll. This makes it easy to unroll just enough to do a box. When that roll is depleted I cut and roll a new strip. I fold them just as you would wrap a Christmas wrapped box and seal the ends with Scotch Transparent Tape. Do not use the Scotch Magic Tape as it won’t shrink with the wrap and is frosted instead of clear. I’ve tried the thick type wrap and the cellophane, but I found it difficult to fold and shrink. Some of my boxes are very old and the paper and labels are flaking so i just want enough protection to keep them together and sealed.

I’ve tried hair dryers but was not satisfied with their performance and they took too long. I believe that I’ve read that a good hair dryer maxes out around 140 degrees. Sometimes I may be wrapping 50 or more boxes at a time so i don’t want to spend too much time waiting for the shrink wrap to shrink. I also tried an inexpensive Harbor Freight (1000-1500 watts, 630-1000 degree) heat gun, but it got way too hot if I was wrapping a lot of boxes. I finally discovered an inexpensive variable temperature 1200 watt (model H0800) heat gun at Grizzley Industrial for $15.95 plus S&H. It works perfect. There’s a large dial at the rear that you can adjust the heat from 120 to 590 degrees. I set the dial about mid way and use the hi-low speed set at high.

After you get the knack for folding and shrinking you can get a very professional looking wrapped box. The thinner shrink wrap will shrink tight without damaging the boxes and sometimes looks like there is no wrapping on the boxes except for the taped ends. It works for me and I’ve been seeking rimfire boxes since 1980.