Ammunition is an investment. And just like any investment, you need to take steps to protect it. The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to make sure that your ammo lasts for as long as possible. One of these strategies is vacuum sealing.
So, can you vacuum seal ammunition? Vacuum sealing ammo is a common practice among firearms enthusiasts and survivalists as it helps protect the ammunition from moisture, rust, and corrosion.
However…it’s important to follow certain safety guidelines when vacuum sealing ammo to avoid accidents. For example:
- Make sure the ammo is completely dry before sealing
- Avoid vacuum sealing live rounds
- Store the vacuum-sealed ammo in a cool, dry, and secure location
Contrary to what many people believe, ammunition has a definite shelf life. Most modern-day ammo manufacturers today claim that their ammo will last for over a decade, and there are many stories of old boxes of military surplus ammunition produced many decades ago that are still safe to shoot today.
All of this is only possible, however, if you store your ammo under optimal storage conditions. If you fail to protect your ammunition against moisture and corrosion, it won’t take long for rust and corrosion to set in and completely ruin it.
Let’s dig deeper into vacuum sealing ammo…
What Is Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing is a term you may have heard before in regards to storing food.
The concept of vacuum sealing is very simple: you remove all the oxygen from a storage bag or container, and create an airtight seal that protects food inside from bacteria and freezer burn, thus greatly prolonging the shelf life of the food.
This is because limiting the exposure of food to oxygen limits its exposure to moisture that could cause spoilage.
The exact same logic is used for ammunition. Limiting the exposure of ammunition to oxygen reduces the chances of it becoming exposed to oxidation forces that can cause it to rust or corrode.
So long as the container or storage bag is completely lacking of air, oxygen, and moisture, the integrity of the ammunition should be kept excellent over many years, if not decades.
That being said, vacuum sealing is hardly the only ammo storage method designed to ensure the integrity of ammunition over the long term. So what are the specific benefits of vacuum sealing that make it one of the best ammo storage strategies out there?
We’ll address this next…
3 Main Benefits of Vacuum Sealing Ammunition
There are multiple reasons why vacuum sealing is an excellent method for storing ammunition over the long term (as long as it’s done properly):
1. Complete Protection Against Moisture and Oxidation
The biggest benefit to vacuum sealing ammunition is that it offers nothing short of complete protection against moisture and humidity.
The cardboard boxes your ammunition usually comes in offers very poor protection against the moisture and humidity that can seep into your home, garage, or storage shed (the three most common places where ammunition is stored).
Since the vacuum sealer removes all air out of the bag or container, the ammunition stored internally is kept completely free of moisture, ensuring the ammunition will be safe to shoot when you reopen the airtight package.
2. Extended Shelf Life
Vacuum sealing is one of the best strategies to use to extend the shelf life of your ammunition.
Ammunition is manufactured to be good for at least ten years, when stored in normal conditions (i.e. dry conditions at normal room temperature).
But vacuum sealing your ammunition will extend its shelf life beyond this to many decades.
3. Vacuum Packaging is Unreactive To Lead
The vacuum bags used for vacuum stealing ammunition are designed to be unreactive with the chemicals that are included in the lead and brass casings.
Furthermore, vacuum bags are purposefully designed so they cannot conduct electricity. As a result, there will be no kind of chemical reaction that can spoil the gunpowder, the lead, or the shell casing.
Are There Any Negatives to Vacuum Sealing Ammo?
For all its many benefits, are there any cons or disadvantages to vacuum sealing your ammunition?
The short answer is yes, there are. Here are a couple:
1. It’s Time Consuming
Vacuum sealing ammunition requires a considerable amount of time with the planning and preparation in comparison to other ammo storage methods.
We’ll walk through the step-by-step process for vacuum sealing ammo in a bit, but for now, just know:
Vacuum sealing ammunition will require a few hours of dedication on your part because the process involves carefully inspecting each round you store and being very careful when you actually vacuum seal each bag.
2. It Takes Up Space
Vacuum sealing means you have to store your ammunition in a large-sized bag, and normally, only around twenty to forty rounds are stored per bag (depending on the caliber and the size of the bag).
It will take a lot of bags for you to store a considerable amount of ammunition, and that requires a lot of space.
How Do You Vacuum Seal Ammo? (4 Steps)
The big question: how do you properly vacuum seal your ammo?
Follow this step-by-step procedure…
1. Make Sure Your Vacuum Bags are High Quality
There are specific ‘vacuum bags’ that are made specifically for the purpose of vacuum sealing your ammunition. These are the bags that you will want to use.
Using just any plastic bag for vacuum sealing your ammunition will be a big mistake because they are not made for the purpose and can rip open easily.
Vacuum bags are made to a higher level where they are more resistant to ripping and wear and tear.
2. Make Sure Your Ammunition is Good Quality
Next, make sure the ammunition you store is high quality as well. Visually inspect each round to make sure there is no sign of corrosion or discoloration in the lead or in the casing, and then clean the round with anti-corrosion grease.
Alternatively, you can swipe the interior of the bag with the anti-corrosion grease instead before you place the rounds inside.
3. Use a Vacuum Sealer to Seal the Bag
Vacuum sealing the ammunition is accomplished via vacuum sealer, which you should be able to buy online via sites such as Amazon.
The purpose of the vacuum sealer is to do two things:
- To remove the oxygen from the bag
- To seal the bag shut so all oxygen stays out of the bag
Place your rounds in the bag next to each other in a horizontal fashion, and then close the seal of the bag tightly.
The specific vacuum sealer you use will come with directions on how to use it, but in general, the process is as follows:
- Place the closed seal of the bag into the vacuum sealer
- Make sure the ports on the vacuum pump’s side have been shut
- Tighten the valve on the vacuum sealer
- Use the vacuum sealer as directed to shut the seal of the bag
Just like that, the vacuum bag should be sealed shut with the oxygen in the bag removed.
For the sake of organization, only store one caliber of ammunition per vacuum bag.
On the outside of the bag, label the caliber of ammunition being stored in the bag and the date it was stored. The easiest way to do this is to tape a notecard or a piece of paper upon which you write to the outside of the bag.
How Do You Maintain Your Vacuum Sealed Ammo?
After vacuum sealing the bag, the first thing you need to do is check the bag’s seal. Make sure that the seal shows no signs of damage or holes that could allow air to leak into.
Note that after vacuum sealing your ammunition, you might notice a purple-colored tint that becomes visible on the ammunition. You can eliminate this by leaving the bag outside under the sun for a few hours.
At this point, the only thing left to do is to decide where to store your vacuum-sealed bags.
Rather than store the bags out in the open, store them in military-grade ammo cans or ammo-storage containers that come with airtight lids. This will further reduce the amount of air that can get to the cans, and it also offers an extra degree of protection.
Furthermore, storing your vacuum bags in ammo cans is good for organization and storage. You can label the caliber(s) of ammunition stored in the ammo can, and you can stack cans over one another to help save space.
Check upon your bags at regular intervals, such as every six months, to make sure the ammunition inside still looks good quality and doesn’t show signs of discoloration or corrosion.
Conclusion: Vacuum Sealing Ammo
In short, vacuum sealing ammunition is one of the most effective ammo storage methods out there.
It will require you to take a fair amount of time to do (especially if you plan on vacuum sealing a significant amount of ammunition), but when completed properly, it will ensure that your ammunition can last in good condition for decades.