If you enjoy hunting and have guns, you will need to store your ammunition correctly. Correctly stored ammunition detonates properly when you shoot, remains safe to shoot and doesn't suffer a decline in performance. Ammunition with brass casings can be particularly vulnerable to degradation and loss of performance if not stored correctly.

Here are a few top tips on how to store your ammo properly.

Keep it cool

In general, factory-loaded ammunition is fabricated to ensure that it works correctly in conditions ranging from very cold to very hot. It should therefore remain usable for anything up to ten years if stored correctly.

Although ammo is quite happy at very low temperatures, the integrity of ammunition begins to break down at anything in excess of 650C.  If possible, you should ideally store your ammunition at room temperature.

The most likely place for the temperature to reach this excess is in the boot of your car, so be very careful not to keep your ammo there if you're out shooting on a very hot day. Ammo stored in extreme heat for long periods sees degradation of the gunpowder and priming mixture, meaning that your shot goes 'click', not 'bang'.

If storing your ammo in a shed or similar environment, make sure that you don't leave the box or container in direct sunlight, where it could overheat on a very hot day.

Keep your powder dry

Another storage no-no is humidity. Damp and humid conditions can cause corrosion of the bullet casings and even of the bullet itself, changing the dimensions of the casing and affecting loading and firing accuracy. Corrosion can also render the bullets unsafe to shoot, meaning that they could explode while still inside the gun.

Store your ammo in a sealed, plastic container and off the ground. If possible, put a dehumidifier near to the ammo store. Ideally, you should purchase a purpose made ammo storage box with a rubber 'O' ring seal to keep moisture out. You can improve the strength of the seal by dressing it with a very light coating of gun oil.

In conclusion

Storing your ammunition correctly can mean that it lasts you for many years without problems. Keep your ammo in a dry environment in temperatures that don't exceed 650C and it should be safe and usable for up to a decade. For more advice on storing your ammunition, ask the guys in your local gun store for more information.