Long Term Storage on Bullets

Discussion in 'Lube' started by Josh, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Josh

    Josh Well-Known Member

    I have come to a fork in the road that needs the guidance of the "Lube Masters Guild" I will soon be loading up some pistol ammunition for long term storage, my problem is the bullet itself. I can not go down the road of jacketed or plated bullets for cost consideration, but they are by far the easiest to store in the long term.

    So, the question is: Do I powder coat the bullets meant for storage on a 5 year rotation or will conventional lubricant not contaminate the powder in this time? I lube all my bullets now with Lamar's Simple Lube, it seems to stay put very well, but with any semi liquid (including glass) it will move or weep over long periods of time. How long have some of you guys kept loaded cast bullet ammunition and still had a 100% fire rate and the lube still did it's job (no leading on a properly sized bullet)
  2. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    Powder coat or tumble lube with Ben's liquid stuff. Fiver just mentioned Titegroup softening PC so watch out for that. Most of your conventional lubes will not contaminate powder IF the ammo isn't stored in hot conditions. Something like Lar's BAC and Felix lube is pretty storage-friendly if you don't let it get over about 80°F for weeks on end. I've stored ammo for years that was lubed with beeswax/Alox and it did fine, even in 100+ storage conditions.
  3. Josh

    Josh Well-Known Member

    I never thought of BLL, I do have a metric ton of the Johnson liquid wax. So that stuff will not react in any way to the powder? That is so easy I didn't think of it.
  4. RicinYakima

    RicinYakima Well-Known Member

    " I've stored ammo for years that was lubed with beeswax/Alox and it did fine, even in 100+ storage conditions."

    About four years ago, I found a partial 3 pound coffee can of 38 Special WC's loaded over 25 years prior. Load was 2.7 grains of Bullseye with #358495 lubed with NRA formula alox. They were just dumped into the can, as my family shot them by the thousands when the kids were little. They were under the work bench on a concrete floor in an unheated and uncooled shop. All 200+ shot just fine. As long as the lube doesn't have xylene, acetone or MEK they should last at least one lifetime stored away from moisture that could corrode the brass cases.
  5. fiver

    fiver Well-Known Member

    this is the long term storage process I wish I would have implemented long ago.
    take the cast boolits and coat them with HI-TEK. [storage without being loaded]
    then lube size with a normal lube as needed.
    the coating will keep the boolit and any exposed lead from oxidizing in a loaded round.

    that normal bees-wax lube is gonna last 5-6 years no problem.
    a micro-wax type lube will just sit there for [well I don't know how long but I have shot some well over 15 years old]
    unfortunately it's not a very good lube to begin with.
    so you have to look at how it's gonna be stored and the temperature swings, humidity and handling it's gonna see during that period.
    being loaded will keep a bees-wax based lube from drying out for a long, long time.
    an air tight container will help extend the length of time too.
    but neither one will protect the lube from being hot or cold or swings between the two.
    fortunately when you fire the round the bees-wax will still work as intended especially if it's placed in a hot gun and is allowed to warm up a bit first.
    where the HI-TEK comes into play here is it's a lube also so even if the regular lube is on the poor side from time and exposure you still have it to back up the gaps.

    right now I'm loading a 5 gallon bucket full of 9mm brass or 10-k whichever comes first.
    I'm using a little softer lube than I normally do and will store them in some air tight containers just in case I don't get them all shot in the next 20 years.
    their base is a whole bunch of waxes and oils that can't be duplicated [mainly cause I could only guess at the exact content] but it hasn't even tried to harden up in the last 2 years sitting in the bucket in the garage.
    I generally dust the boolits with MICA to keep everything in the lube grooves and to provide a little bit of oxidization retardation.
    the MICA is my old school way of providing the covering without cooking.
  6. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    I've taken to vacuum sealing bare castings over the past couple years to retard oxidation. Before that it was ziplocks purged with CO2 from canned duster "air". Now I'm thinking about coating everything in BLL from the get-go and filling the grooves later if needed.

    The solvents in BLL will be all gone a few hours after application, so I wouldn't worry about it hurting powder.
  7. Josh

    Josh Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the input guys, I was more concerned with the lube creeping down into the powder column and contaminating it. I never thought to do BLL or Hitek, both are pretty easy, now I wonder if you can hitek rifle bullets and maintain the same accuracy as regular naked stuff.
  8. Brad

    Brad Moderator Staff Member

    Hi tek is something I have tried very little in rifles. It is good in a pistol cartridge levergun, I know that for certain.
    It would work well for long term storage, no oxidation to fear.
    BLL would work too. It has one big advantage-no hearing required. That means I can heat treat a bullet and coat it with BLL without baking it and screwing up the hardness.
  9. Josh

    Josh Well-Known Member

    That is a valid point about Hitek and why I have never tried to do the PC thing either, I normally water drop everything and adjust my alloy for that variable. Knowing Ben's results with the BLL overcoat I am partial to that option, I think stored in my basement inside ammo cans with a few desiccant packs will keep the ammo fresh for years to come. I hope to keep everything in a 5 year rotation but lord knows it may be 7-10 years before I get to it.

    Thanks for the input guys, this has helped me decide how to move forward.
  10. KHornet

    KHornet Well-Known Member

    Am now overcoating everything I lube with BLL, and the issue of oxidation is eliminated. Regarding BLL, it becomes IMO an encapsalent coating the entire bullet. Years ago, somebody gave me a small cardboard box with 50 or so 500gr 45's. The front half of the bullets were pretty well oxidized, but the bottom half was not. However, the lube on the bases had dried out and would flake off. I did some research back then, and came up with some information that said, lubed cast bullets should never be stored for any appreciable time in wooden or cardboard boxes, and the materials stored in same promoted oxidation. At that point, plastic cartridge boxes were becoming available (still have 8-10 Herters pistol ctg boxes) from back then, and I started putting all of my bullets sized and lubed or loaded in plastic boxes with tops that more or less sealed them. That was back about 50 years or so. I have for many years now weighed and sorted most of my small cal bullets, and store them in the plastic compartmented craft boxes with lids that close fairly tightly, that you get at Hobby Lobby, for a couple of bucks. Pistol bullets I store in plastic containers with lids that powdered drink mixes come in. I have never had any of my loaded ammo or my stored bullets oxidize on me. Came across a box of 38 Spec that I had loaded in a Herters box over 10 yrs ago, and no oxidation, and they all went bang. As to bases and contamination, now with BLL, covering the whole bullet including the bases think there is no problem. Before BLL came along, I wiped the bases of my bullets on my pant leg. Always wore and still do, wear old jeans, and what I rubbed on the leg washed off. Over the years, I bought many plastic ctg boxes preferably the slip on rather than the hinged top ones usually in quantities of 8-12 at a time, and preferably when they are on sale. Have somewhere in excess of 100 of them and have no idea of the number in excess. A lot of my loaded ammo is kept in GI Ammo cans, and it is all stored in an area which if fairly cool year round.
  11. Josh

    Josh Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that information KHornet, I was concerned about what seems to be a moot point, now to start casting up a metric arseload of these bullets...
  12. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

    I finally finished shooting up a giant batch of 45acp that was loaded with bullets tumbled with LLA. They were either loaded in 1989 or 1990 and they had been stored in a variety of barns, sheds and garages since they were loaded. At no point were they ever in climate controlled conditions.

    Every single one went bang and their performance was exactly the same as the ones I shot 25 years ago. So you can consider me convinced regarding tumble lube for long-term storage.
    Josh likes this.
  13. Hawk

    Hawk Active Member

    I want to PC hand gun boolits and load them for long term storage in my brothers barn in the country. This is the SHTF rendezvous point my family and friends.

    223 will be loaded with J-word boolits, but handgun ammo will be loaded with cast.

    I know certain powders react with PC coating and am currently running tests with a few fast pistol powders in glass jars with PC coated boolits.
    Old cans of Red Dot, Green Dot, Unique (I've got a ton of these three) and A1680 have had no reaction, so far, but Longshot is eating the bejeezus out of the coating after only a couple of weeks. I'll post pics later.

    I'm thinking about working up loads in 9mm, .38 Spl and .357 Magnum with PB PC coated boolits and using homemade plain base aluminum GCs.

    My question is: has anyone vacuum sealed loaded ammo for long term storage? What effect would vacuum sealing loaded ammo have on the ammo. Would I be better just sealing the ammo without applying a vacuum?

    I'm thinking vacuum packed and sealed using a home food sealer, then stored in ammo cans with good seals would help preserve the ammo for long term storage.

    Am I waaaay overthinking this?
    My wife says I'm analytical and OCD and overthink everything. I told her I'd have to study the ramifications of my response and get back to her on that.
  14. Winelover

    Winelover Well-Known Member

    I have hundreds of 9mm cast bullets that I loaded, prior to Y2K, nose down in MTM boxes......RCBS 125 RN (conventional lube) over 5.0 grains of Unique. Still going bang. BTW, I have bullets, lubed and sized, that have been around much longer than that. No oxidation and no special treatment. Conventional lube (NRA 50-50) and stored in one pound metal coffee cans.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  15. Brad

    Brad Moderator Staff Member

    Vacuum sealing won't get you a lot over a simple air tight seal. Keep moisture out and a cool storage location and ammo should last quite a while.
    A home food sealer would make for good long term storage. Cost is minimal.

    I would look at Hi-Tek as an alternative to PC if you want to use powders that eat the PC.

    My personnel opinion is that the PC issue is more than just the nitroglycerin. I think the differences in flake/stick vs ball powder manufacture plays a role. Notice that the biggest offenders are ball powders? I haven't noticed any complaints about Bullseye yet nobody calls it a low nitroglycerin powder.
    Ian likes this.
  16. Pistolero

    Pistolero Well-Known Member

    I have shot .44 Mag ammo that I loaded with 429421 and NRA 50 50 in the early 80s in the last few years,
    no issues whatsoever.

    Non issue, IMO. Store ammon in ammo cans. Cheap air and water tight, strong. Ideal for ammo, amazingly.

  17. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    You have a point about Bullseye, Brad.

    If you want a good cache of shtf ammo, load conventional lubricated cast or plated, or heaven forbid copper jacketed.
    RicinYakima likes this.
  18. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    Hawk, keep us posted on your tests, I'm VERY interested.

    Here's another idea: One coat of BLL over the PC. Adds lube, seals the surface, what's not to like?
  19. Eutectic

    Eutectic Active Member

    One thing we are not thinking about....... A well cast, well sized, carefully lubed with conventional lube in grooves and NO lube on the bullet base.... loaded into well sized (I'm talking smooth with no internal scoring) and then well seated has actually made a gasket of sorts for our lube:eek:
    And lead alloys and brass are both great gaskets. So ammo loaded with care this way should last for decades. (if not longer)
    I would trust my 'stashed' stuff even if it got warm enough to liquefy the lube over short periods...... Why not? That cast bullet into a tensioned brass neck is a great seal! A split neck over many years may hurt you though...

    I've shot my Dad's stuff that was loaded before I left home! That beats any years I've seen so far... I even remembered it's smell from W A Y back with the Oil Dag in it!

  20. Hawk

    Hawk Active Member

    Only problem is copper jacketed cost money. Besides, I trust the performance of the boolits I'm casting over jacketed any day in a pistol!

    I only load jacketed in the HV rifles I hunt with and the .223, because we bought a bijillion before the panic hit years ago.

    I've got 52 gr. Hornady Match HP that Dad and I bought for $65.00/1000 and 55 gr. Winchester SP that we paid $50.00/1000 for (Dad really stocked up and they were passed on to me). Now they're about $175.00 per thousand at the gun shows for the SP and $190.00 for the HP.

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