Storage problem- humidity!


Unlike Ray, I live in a part of the world where humidity, in the air, rules! My collection is in an air conditioned out-building but last summer I had a terrible problem with mildew on many of my paper shells! Because there are many other things in there that don’t like water (moisture), I thought a dehumidifier would be the way to go so I bought one.

This thing will suck the water out of the air at a steady flow (couple of gallons in 24hrs) but it is not energy efficient and the power bill is taking a noticeable rise! (The dehumidifier generates heat and the AC then has to work harder to offset the rise in heat!) I’m keeping the humidity level at less than 50% (45-47%) and there is no mildew growing but is that too low? Can I run the humidity level higher and hence save money on power? Just where should the humidity level be for storing paper shells without mildew issues?

Comments and suggestions will be appreciated. (Except I’m not moving in with Ray!) Experimentation to see at what level the mildew will begin to grow is not desired. Cleaning several hundred shells is not good on my nerves or the shells.


I had to look up that word - humidity - cause I’d never seen it or used it in a sentence. Wow! How do you guys live with that stuff?? Water in the air? Really? Out here it’s all underground where it belongs. If God had intended for there to be water on top, she would have made lakes and rivers and stuff like that.

Anyway, how about dessicants in the drawers and cabinets? Would that be cheaper than electricity? Old Ammo Guy must know some secrets.



I clicked off of this thread and over to ebarf where I immediately encountered the following listing on one of their usually horribly off-target You might also be interested in… … 5150047645

Having moved from the Arizona desert (not up in the cool, damp, lake-studded mountains where Ray is [;>) to gawdfersakenarkinsaw where just as the ending “w” is written but not pronounced, the first four syllables are usually pronounced but not written, I can sympathize with learning to deal with horrible humidity. Four hundred+ gallons of aquariums and 150 or so house plants don’t help. I’ve run a dehumidifier 24/7/365 along with the air conditioning for years. This usually keeps the humidity levels down to about 47% (as opposed to the 84% outside right now) and I’ve had no mildew problems. Any way that you can get it down to that level should serve your purpose.


Rich - Shhhhhh. The AZ mountains are a secret. We can’t have everyone moving up here. It’s OK to move to Prescott or Flagstaff, but not Linden. It’s a terrible place. You would not like it.



Ray, and from what I recall of having also lived in both Prescott and Flagstaff, while Eloy and Casa Grande are great spots because century-old spent cases at worst lay merely a bit darkened by the passage of time, Greer and Hawley Lake are overgrown mosquito infested weed pits to be avoided at all costs!


What I recommend is keeping all the cartridges in whatever storage device they are in, inside another large chest, vault or closet that is sealed with weatherstripping or whatever. Then, you can use a 900 gram desiccant pack in there that can be recharged by baking it after the indicator turns pink. I use one each in my large trunk, and vault:

My huge trunk & vault are in my basement, and in the summer I run a dehumidifier for a few hours a day and I have to recharge the desiccants every other week. In the winter, fall and early spring when there is no humidity, I only have to recharge the desiccant packs every other month.


AshFlat AR. Right now. 94% Humidity. Yea. Arkinsaw.
It’s a wet heat.


You’re a better man than I. What with the effort and all at keeping your powder dry. I’m just hopin’ mine goes bang when needed.


The larger problem may not be the humidity but temperature swings. I live on an island but my cartridges are stored in a spare bedroom whose temperature does not vary more than 20 degrees all year. I have had no problem with any of my shot shells. If you control the temp you can control the humidity with the dry packs as mentioned.


I am big on air-tight containers, any, military or not. Toss one bag of descicant in and no problems forever, anywhere (even in Linden).


If you have enough barriers to act as insulators then the sudden temperature changes wont cause condensation on the ammo. I have all my ammo in .50cal rubber gasketted ammo cans, and the cans are inside the vault & trunk which is sealed and which has the big desiccant boxes grabbing the moisture before it has a chance to get near the seals on the cans. Of course I have little tiny desiccant packets in the cans too that I change once a year. I keep the individual cartridges from the collection in blueprint file drawers that I tried to seal as best I could, and I put moisture absorbers like this in it:

It’s all worth it. I probably spend $30.00 a year on various moisture fighting stuff like this, plus maybe $20.00 extra a month in electricity for 3 months in the summer for the dehumidifier, but that helps protect everything in the basement.


As Ray suggests, humidity is a bit of an issue here in Tallahassee. I put each of my cartridges in a small zip lock bag. 25 of these are packed in a zip lock sandwich bag. These go into the metal military ammo cans. As a result, I laugh in the face of humidity. Ha! I do have to admit that my method of storing, while providing good protection to the cartridges, is at the bottom end of the scale in regards to presentation - all those ammo cans make for a rather boring display.

Unfortunately, the ammo cans are getting expensive, so my method is not without its costs. I have in excess of 100 of them they hold my singles collection and my boxes. My widow will probably cash in on the cans at $8 to $10 each, and throw the contents in for free. Needless to say, she doesn’t share my enthusiasm for old ammo.

And on a related note, there may be a good side to the BP oil gusher (why, pray tell, do they continue to call it a spill). I’m anticipating an increase in the petroleum content of our humidity, which should negate some of its negative effects on things that tend to rust, corrode or swell due to moisture. ;-)



Now that you have made fun at the expense of those impacted by the gusher, I feel a little more comfortable making tiny jokes about it. If we didn’t laugh, just a little, we’d go nuts. I can only imagine the anxiety of the Gulf residents. Here’s hoping the latest “fix” is one that actually solves a part of the problem.