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Old 12-09-2011, 23:47   #1
chemcmndr
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Storing Loaded Magazines in a Gun Safe

When I look at threads of what people have inside their safes, I sometimes see a shelf dedicated to loaded magazines. Now, I know that most safes are fire rated, but the interior temperature still gets pretty warm (somewhere below the 450 deg F autoignition point of paper). I'm wondering if loaded ammunition in magazines would run the risk of auto igniting while in the safe and potentially damaging the contents as well. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-09-2011, 23:50   #2
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What's the difference between ammo loaded in a mag vs ammo stored in the box? Are you saying that no ammo should be in the safe at all?
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Old 12-09-2011, 23:57   #3
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meh, hard to say. as soon as the bullet leaves the case it's going to lose a ton of its energy as the gases aren't focused and pushing the bullet down a barrel. And I think you'd only have to worry about the top round anyway I doubt it would have enough energy to penetrate a magazine, especially a metal lined one. Lay a piece of plate steel down and put the mags on top?
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraph1926 View Post
meh, hard to say. as soon as the bullet leaves the case it's going to lose a ton of its energy as the gases aren't focused and pushing the bullet down a barrel. And I think you'd only have to worry about the top round anyway I doubt it would have enough energy to penetrate a magazine, especially a metal lined one. Lay a piece of plate steel down and put the mags on top?
I agree with that, but if the ammo did ignite, it would cause a fire inside the safe, no?

I leave ammo in my safe and take my chances. My papers (DD-214, things like that) are in a smaller fire safe within my safe.
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:26   #5
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I agree with that, but if the ammo did ignite, it would cause a fire inside the safe, no?

I leave ammo in my safe and take my chances. My papers (DD-214, things like that) are in a smaller fire safe within my safe.
Fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat. There will be plenty of heat. Fuel may be negligible, I don't know at what temperature that carpet etc will ignite if at all. I don't think a safe is going to have a whole lot of oxygen to begin with. And if you have those little packets (which are iron shavings from what i've been told) they allow the iron to oxidize (rust) consuming oxygen I don't think there's going to be enough oxygen for a fire to really work with. A bullet may spark as it bounces off stuff but I would say the risk of a fire inside of a safe is pretty low.
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:40   #6
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Ammunition discharged by heat and flame has almost no projectile force. That is why the barrel of a gun is an important part of ballistic equations. Or so I have read, this does not come from experience. LOL
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:42   #7
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When a round of ammunition detonates outside of the chamber of a weapon, physics states that the brass case is what will be sent flying rather than the bullet, since the case is far lighter. I'm not terribly worried about brass sparking when it is thrown into the rear of the mag.

The explosion would temporarily increase local temperature, which may or may not be enough to set off other rounds in the mag. And even if it does, the worst that would happen is that more brass would get thrown into aluminum/polymer. The brass on the round or two at the top of the mag would likely get blown out the top of the mag, but then you just have brass striking carpeting in the safe - again, not a huge deal. I can't see the brass being hot enough to light carpet on fire from momentary contact.

For anyone who still hasn't seen the Mythbusters when they put live ammo in an oven:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BX1kvJVrjc
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Last edited by srwm4; 12-10-2011 at 00:44..
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraph1926 View Post
Fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat. There will be plenty of heat. Fuel may be negligible, I don't know at what temperature that carpet etc will ignite if at all. I don't think a safe is going to have a whole lot of oxygen to begin with. And if you have those little packets (which are iron shavings from what i've been told) they allow the iron to oxidize (rust) consuming oxygen I don't think there's going to be enough oxygen for a fire to really work with. A bullet may spark as it bounces off stuff but I would say the risk of a fire inside of a safe is pretty low.
Good point
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:56   #9
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Buddy of mine who is a FF has been hit by slugs and pistol projectiles during fires. Apparently if they aren't loaded in a firearm they won't even go through turnout gear. 22lr may be a different case due to it's design, but I don't recall.
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Old 12-10-2011, 13:38   #10
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Man I saw someones photo of about a hundred AK mags loaded and stacked in a safe. I thought the guy was a bit paranoid.
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Old 12-10-2011, 13:42   #11
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Man I saw someones photo of about a hundred AK mags loaded and stacked in a safe. I thought the guy was a bit paranoid.
Well just who do you think is gonna protect the kids when the zombies come?

Zombies!!

Please, think of the children...
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Old 12-10-2011, 19:20   #12
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Quote:
I doubt it would have enough energy to penetrate a magazine, especially a metal lined one.
Quote:
Apparently if they aren't loaded in a firearm they won't even go through turnout gear.
My gun shop burned to the ground in 1995. 23,000 rounds of ammo, mostly in steel ammo cans.
Don't believe everything you hear about ammo in a fire.

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Note the bullet holes in the cans. These bullets had to have aleady gone through a steel 50 cal ammo can.
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Old 12-10-2011, 19:32   #13
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Sorry I wasn't clear enough at first. By "damaging the contents in the safe" I meant from a fire/smolder perspective, not a projectile one. While oxygen absorbers would deplete the level of oxygen in the safe, the oxygen in the cartridge is enough to cause combustion (firing guns underwater will prove this point).

I keep all of my NFA documentation in the gun safe in a binder which is too large to put inside the smaller firebox that I have in the safe. I guess it really doesn't hurt to leave the loaded mags out of the safe. More room for guns anyway...
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Old 12-10-2011, 19:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chemcmndr View Post

I keep all of my NFA documentation in the gun safe in a binder which is too large to put inside the smaller firebox that I have in the safe. I guess it really doesn't hurt to leave the loaded mags out of the safe. More room for guns anyway...
I'd suggest you get a safe deposit box and put your NFA (sorry I don't know what that is) there. I just moved to a larger SD box at $30.00/year. Good enough for me. I have loaded mags/weapons in my safe however my bulk ammunition is not stored there.
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Old 12-10-2011, 20:22   #15
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Only ammo in my safe is whats is loaded in the mags of guns I carry, I don't have room for all the ammo and guns in my safe. If something happens and the house burns down I am not to worried if the ammo is in safe or 5 feet away.
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Old 12-10-2011, 20:54   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrenrj1 View Post
I'd suggest you get a safe deposit box and put your NFA (sorry I don't know what that is) there. I just moved to a larger SD box at $30.00/year. Good enough for me. I have loaded mags/weapons in my safe however my bulk ammunition is not stored there.
My NFA documents are the tax stamps for the short barrel rifles and suppressors I own. I'd rather not leave the originals in the hands of a bank.
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Old 12-10-2011, 21:01   #17
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I keep my NFA docs in one of those small personal fire-resistant safes inside of my big safe.

I don't know know if the documents would survive a raging inferno in there any better than they would if kept loose in the safe, but it makes me feel better.

My ammo is in a locking cabinet next to the safe.
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Old 12-10-2011, 22:00   #18
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Not a safe.

But my brothers house partially burnt down a few years ago with many thousands of rounds of ammo and quite a bit of black powder, stored in his workshop. The workshop was where the fire started and where it was the hottest. That end of the house was totally destroyed. The rest of the 'L' shaped house (about 2/3) was 'saved.' A lot of the ammo was in 50 cal ammo cans, a lot of it was just stacked in the factory boxes. The black powder was all just stored in factory one pound cans.

He informed the firefighters of the ammo and powder immediately upon arrival. They fought the fire while ammo was detonating all over the place. They put the fire out and no one was hurt, although many thousands of rounds of ammo were detonated along with a lot of the black powder.

I helped him go through the remains, looking for salvageable items. Amazingly we found cans of black powder that were just singed and we found lots of ammo that was still shootable. We also found spent brass and bullets all over the place.
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Old 12-11-2011, 00:55   #19
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The only time you have too much ammo








is when your house is on fire.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:20   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srwm4 View Post
When a round of ammunition detonates outside of the chamber of a weapon, physics states that the brass case is what will be sent flying rather than the bullet, since the case is far lighter. I'm not terribly worried about brass sparking when it is thrown into the rear of the mag.

The explosion would temporarily increase local temperature, which may or may not be enough to set off other rounds in the mag. And even if it does, the worst that would happen is that more brass would get thrown into aluminum/polymer. The brass on the round or two at the top of the mag would likely get blown out the top of the mag, but then you just have brass striking carpeting in the safe - again, not a huge deal. I can't see the brass being hot enough to light carpet on fire from momentary contact.

For anyone who still hasn't seen the Mythbusters when they put live ammo in an oven:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BX1kvJVrjc

+1 That Mythbusters segment is great -- definately recommended viewing.
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