USMC, Amphibious Assault-1990-1994 1 deployment to Somalia.
2nd Ranger BN, 75th Ranger Regiment
8 deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Horn of Africa
Ammunition Storage .... How, Where, and Why
Put your trust in God boys but mind to keep your powder dry.” Colonel Oliver Cromwell is believed to have coined the phrase in a speech to his troop in 1642 at the battle of Edgehill during the English Civil War. But what does it mean? It can and frankly has been used, throughout history. It is a simple reference to remain faithful in emergency situations, however, always be prepared for the worst and if needed, maintain the ability to act accordingly. It’s more modern usage, mainly post 1800s, has been just “keep your powder dry”, but it still holds the same meaning. It is a basic and to the point phrase which can be applied to many facets of life but today we will focus on the simplicity of its origins……Ammunition storage.
There are many reasons to store ammunition and to store it in bulk. It must be stored reliably, safely, and efficiently; it must always be at the ready in a manner that allows it to perform as intended. Before we dive into the how, where, and why of ammunition storage lets dissect what we are storing. The ammunition we are referring to is made up of four distinct items. They are simple as stand-alone items but when manufactured, they provide us with a tool that when used with our beloved firearms, afford opportunity ranging from sport to hunting and even personal protection.
These parts are as follows:
- Primer – The primer acts as a small explosive charge which ignites the powder. This is the part of the ammunition that the firing pin of your weapon strikes to initiate the explosive charge which sends the projectile to its intended target.
- Case (shell) – The case holds everything together. Usually made of brass or steel, most are reloadable, some are not.
- Propellant (gunpowder) – The powder is the main combustible which, once ignited by the primer, provides the acceleration of the projectile.
- Projectile - The projectile is the “all business” portion of the ammunition. It is what is propelled when the gunpowder is ignited and what strikes the intended target.
Now, armed with a basic understanding of the anatomy of ammunition, we can have a greater appreciation of how to store it, and store it properly. While there is no definite timetable for the appropriate length of time that ammunition can be stored, it is safe to say that under ideal conditions, it should safely store for many years. While ammunition will not deteriorate like perishable food and rot, there are many conditions which can negatively affect the outcome and degrade the performance of your ammunition. Let’s dive into some of the most common environmental conditions which can negatively affect your ammunition and how it performs:
- Moisture – Each of the four components of ammunition do not play well with moisture. Whether the types of metal used in ammunition or the fact that two of the components involve small explosions, bottom line is moisture and ammunition do not mix well. Storing ammunition off the ground, on an elevated surface, inside, not in an area prone to flooding, and not against walls which contain plumbing is best. If the area you intend to store ammunition is musty, contains mildew or is excessively humid, you should try to find a better storage area. Remember, the dryer the better.
- Heat – Heat can also negatively affect ammunition. While ammunition will perform well in hot conditions (See the Iraq and Afghanistan wars), it is possible to store ammunition in areas which rise well beyond the ambient temperature. Think how hot your car or trunk is on a 100 plus day after you are done shooting some of the great Project War Path ammunition you recently purchased. Garages, storage sheds, etc., just like your car, can yield temperatures much greater than ambient. Excessive heat degrades ammunition at a faster rate and should be avoided. Bottom line the closer to a cool, dry, and dark place the better for all your ammunition storage needs.
- Light – Just like heat, light in excess can lead to premature ammunition degradation. It should be avoided, and ammunition storage areas should be cool, dark, and dry. Whether it is faded paint on automobiles, a cracked dashboard, or excessively dry and cracked leather seats in your car, most everyone has seen examples of what excessive light especially when combined with excessive heat can do. Avoid it, and remember a cool, dark, and dry place is best for ammunition storage.
So now that we have discussed the anatomy of ammunition and how environmental conditions can negatively affect ammunition, we can get on to recommendations. We recommend a two-part process for ammunition storage.
- Location – Store it in a cool, dry, and dark location. A location like an interior closet, in a locked safe, in a climate-controlled environment would be ideal. This is the easier consideration regarding ammunition storage.
- Amounts – In today’s political environment you must consider the unfortunate reality that ammunition may become quite expensive or a lot harder to purchase with nothing more than the stroke of an overzealous politician’s pen. Considering that fact, we feel it is ideal to purchase larger amounts of ammunition. Having a large amount of on hand ammunition affords you the comfort of knowing you have enough if it becomes harder to acquire and, most importantly, not feeling like you don’t have enough to train consistently; shooting is a very perishable skill, never forget that fact.
Considering location and amounts, we recommend that you store whatever amount of ammunition you have in areas described above and maintain an on-hand amount which is high. This allows you to train enough to hone your skillset and feel comfortable in knowing you can do so if pending legislation makes acquiring more ammunition more difficult. We recommend that using your older stock for training and replenishing it with newer stock is best. Your ammunition never sits long enough to degrade, and you continually train and perfect your skill. These methods adhere to Colonel Cromwell’s advice “Put your trust in God boys but mind to keep your powder dry.”
DOWNSIDE OF AN OFF-THE-SHELF RIFLE
While it's great to save some time and money by going to the gun store for your Ar-15 or AR-15 style rifle, but you are getting the same thing everyone else has. The same accuracy and the same capabilities from the same semi-automatic rifle. For someone who wants the best, a manufactured AR-15 just won't cut it. There are manufacturers and custom shops that sell premium AR-15 style rifles but at a hefty cost. You are essentially paying for them to acquire high-quality parts, assemble the rifle, and then some extra for their service. Qualities vary based on the manufacturer, but many options that are substantially better cost a lot more.
USING AFTERMARKET PARTS FOR YOUR SEMI-AUTO RIFLE
Modern sporting rifles are impressive on their own, with more power and accuracy than anyone could have imagined a century ago, but aftermarket parts can make them even better. One of the biggest advantages of the AR-15 is that you can completely disassemble the rifle and reassemble with enhanced components.
This is true for many firearms today, but AR-15 style rifles are the best example of a weapon with interchangeable components. Don't like the handguard on your rifle? Change it out with an aftermarket handguard that suits you. Prefer a shorter barrel length? replace your barrel with a tactical one. There are endless configurations that you can achieve with your rifle, and you are only limited by your funds and local laws in your area.
Customizing your AR-15 rifle does a lot more than making it your own. While there are subtle enhancements that you can make, such as extending your magazine release, major upgrades, like an upper receiver replacement are also available to truly upgrade your shooting experience. The importance of available upgrades will depend on your preference, but you can start with upgraded parts like this Odin compensator, which will reduce your muzzle rise and felt recoil.
Many gun owners prefer to enhance their AR-15 firearms with aftermarket components to achieve the highest performance level and build a weapon that can be depended on in any situation. You can't always trust a mass-produced product, but upgrading key components will improve your shooting and increase your firearm's reliability. For those that shoot for more than practice, a subtle enhancement can be game (or life) changing.
ENHANCE YOUR AR-15 WITH THESE TOP-QUALITY RIFLE COMPONENTS
BUILDING YOUR AR-15 FROM SCRATCH
Semi-automatic rifles that are built from the ground up are a true work of art, but you better find some great deals to make it affordable. From scratch means acquiring every component, from the upper and lower receiver to the barrel and stock, and while parts may be bundled together in some cases, you will still need a decent understanding of the AR-15 system to build your own.
Assuming you have that understanding, there is little stopping you from ordering every part needed to assemble an AR-15 style rifle yourself. Granted, depending on your area you may need to order through an FFL ( Federal Firearms License) dealer or store, but the only component that you will typically need to do that with is a completed lower receiver.
The best thing about building an AR-15 from scratch is knowing that every part was hand-selected by you, and the rifle is completely your own. Whether you are gearing up for hunting or personal defense, or just want the baddest gun at the range, you won't be disappointed with the outcome as long as you are purchasing the right components.
Steering clear of stock products is great, but be prepared to pay a premium on every gun part. The price of semi-auto rifles is rising, and so is the price of parts. Choosing to build your rifle from scratch gives you the most freedom, but it can cost the most as well. You can achieve a low-recoil, accurate shot that from a firearm that feels like it was fitted to you though, so many marksmen are happy to pay for the premium.
The ammunition that you send through your guns matters, and can make a huge difference in hunting or home defense. Find great deals on top-quality ammo from brands including Remington, PMC, Speer, and more with Project War Path. Explore .223, 5.56, 300 Blackout and other cartridges with PWP and save on premium ammunition.
IS IT WORTH BUYING AN AR-15?
AR-15 rifles are a great purchase for anyone who enjoys hinting, wants a home defense weapon, or likes shooting at the range. AR-15's may not be the cheapest firearms on the market, but a lower price would also give you a lower-quality firearm. If you don't mind having a basic rifle, there is a large selection of stock rifles at a lower price.
To the avid marksmen, however, the real question is whether you should purchase your AR-15 from the generic manufacturers and upgrade the rifle yourself, piece it together, or leave it stock. You don't have to break the bank to get your hands on an AR-15, or even to upgrade it when you shop around for great deals on semi-auto rifle parts.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND ON AN AR-15?
There is a broad range of price and quality when it comes to firearms, and your purchase should be made depending on your intentions. Do you intend to trust the firearm with your life? If so, spending extra to get a higher-quality rifle model may be a smart choice. Rifles jam, malfunction, and let you down, but quality firearms do so far less often.
If you are looking at or already own a stock AR-15, there is plenty that you can do to upgrade the quality and function of your rifle. Simple upgrades like rebuilding your lower receiver with an enhanced parts kit can give you a smoother trigger pull and functioning of your rifle. Purchasing a less expensive rifle can help you get started, and the aftermarket components will be ready for you when it's time to upgrade.
DOES THE MILITARY STILL USE AR-15 STYLE RIFLES?
Ever since Colt acquired the AR-15 Armalite rifle, the model has been used by the U.S military. A lot of improvements have been made to the original configuration of AR-15 rifles, but the same design has stood up to the top firearms since the late 50s. The M-16, M-4, HK416 are evolutions of the original AR-15.
HOW ACCURATE ARE AR-15S?
There is no cut and dry answer to this question because different AR-15s will have various quality levels and, therefore, different accuracies. Various configurations can increase your accuracy, though, and with a few adjustments, you can improve the accuracy of your rifle. Match grade barrels, free floating barrels, changing barrel lengths, AR bipods, buying enhanced telescopic and red dot sights, and using premium match grade ammo can help you achieve the best accuracy. There is a standard of accuracy across AR-15s, but any improvement to your shooting is appreciated when hunting, competing, or defending your home. Find other accessories to help you build the most accurate shot here.
With AR-15s, you have an effective firing range of 550 yards and beyond with upgraded components, accurate on-target shots are doable for decent marksmen with decent sights at that range. Not too many other weapons are capable of shooting over that kind of distance and still be incredibly versatile. Any rifle that sends bullets downrange accurately at 500 yards should be sufficient for any hunting, shooting, competition or self-defense you have planned.
CAN I LEGALLY CARRY AN AR-15?
The legality of carrying firearms varies widely based on local laws. While some states let you open carry AR-15s and other rifles while other states make it hard to even hunt. Before purchasing guns or accessories, it's important to check all local regulations to ensure that you are within your rights. To legally walk around with a semi-auto rifle, you would need to reside in an area that allows for the open carry of guns, and those areas are limited. You can, however, use these weapons for home defense, hunting, and range practice according to your area. Several states monitor everything down to your magazine capacity, so you may also encounter issues when shipping certain parts to locations with these restrictions.