Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Praxis: Vacuum-packing Ammunition

My thanks to Sipsey Streeter es for forwarding these pics of his packaging of 5.56 NATO (note that it's in bandoleers and stripper clips) for long term storage using food vacuum seal bags. This is an excellent idea, especially for anything you are going to cache underground.

These are the current-issue 4-pocket M16 bandoleers (the white thread you see is a pull string that opens the pocket up, making it deeper so as to accomodate a fully-loaded thirty round magazine). Thus each bandoleer has 120 rounds in it. Or 720 rounds in an M2A1 "fifty cal" can.

Mike
III



"The main point I was getting at was to vacuum pack your ammo to keep air and moisture from getting to it as an extra precaution for long term storage."



"And if you do it, all sharp points have to be covered up because it will poke through the plastic and ruin the seal."



"6 bandoleers can fit in an M2A1 can."

12 comments:

knight_308 said...

Isn't there a danger of unseating the primers if you vacuum seal ammo?

The Trainer said...

No. The vacuum is not strong enough with the best "foodsaver" brand vacuum sealer.

Seal away. I've done this for years.

It works.

Anonymous said...

I have been doing this for years also and it works well. I also have added silicone dessicants and oxygen absorbers depending on how long and under what conditions I planned to store. The foodsaver bags are not an oxygen barrier bag, for this you need to use mylar foil bags.

Also works to keep just a few rounds dry for a day hunt in a wet environment.

Chris said...

Trainer, just to clarify, you have fired that ammo that was sealed? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that vacuum packing your ammo can damage it as the expanding air inside the cartridge can unseat the bullet. Anyone have any evidence of this or heard anything about it? Any independant testing done? I would like to know before I commit my ammo to this process

The Trainer said...

Yes. Bangs every time. I also throw in a pack of dessicant as "Anonymous" the first says...

See, the trick is this. If you have primer pockets that are a tad too big (such as happens when match shooters do too much primer pocket uniforming) this could occur.

However, for all NATO surplus (at least of the 7.62 variety), the primers are not only very snug, they are sealed, which adds another layer of 'pull out' protection.

If you're worried, though, seal 20 rounds, let it set for a month, and then shoot it.

Cheers!

Chris said...

Got you, thanks Trainer.

Mike D. said...

IMHO - for packing underground in PVC or perhaps in your ruck, sealed ammo makes sense. However, if you're packing it in ammo cans and crates (as Mike V. posted previously in "Packaging is Everything") I doubt that sealing the ammo in plastic wrap would make much difference, as long as the ammo cans were clean and in good shape. Make sure the rubber gasket is intact, and you should be fine without "Trojanizing" your ammo.

The Trainer said...

Anonymous says: "I have heard that vacuum packing your ammo can damage it as the expanding air inside the cartridge can unseat the bullet. Anyone have any evidence of this or heard anything about it? Any independant testing done? I would like to know before I commit my ammo to this process."

Think about it. If your ammo is not air tight when the bullet is seated, you have a real problem. How? Humidity. Propellants are a humidity sponge! If your rounds are not air tight, then they have a shelf life. I have WWII vintage ammo that pops first time, every time.

Another trick to help your ammo stay effective: Don't touch the primer with your finger tips. Your finger oil will eventually corrode the primer. Same thing with the casing.

I'm a little obsessive on this one. I don't touch the casing with my hands until I put it in the mag at the range. So, when I'm setting up mags for carry or bandoleers, I use rubber gloves to ensure no corrosive finger oils get on the round anywhere.

Just my .02

Anonymous said...

Good procedure if you're burying ammo.

As for ammo being "air tight", black powder residue is both hygroscopic and corrosive. (which is why you had to wash the barrels out... else the water would collect in the powder residue and corrode the barrel.) Black powder doesn't work when wet (hence, "Keep your powder dry").

However, modern single- and double-base powders isn't prone to moisture absorption. (Okay, if the powder is floating, that might present a problem!) But typical levels of atmospheric moisture present no problem.

Bottom line: ammo packed in an ammo can and stored in a cool place will last decades with ease. (I speak from experience.)

While I have no experience burying ammo (yet), vacuum-packing strikes me as a very reasonable precaution.

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