One night a few years ago my Canadian friend Grant Kuypers returned home to find his shop and man cave engulfed in flames. By the time the fire department got there, everything was gone—Grant’s truck, ATVs, 70 game cameras, all his hunting clothes and dozens of guns in a safe…
Grant said most of his stored hunting ammo had simply burned up; a few cartridges had exploded, as evidenced by holes and dents in the gun safe’s walls. The photo here of burned ammo is from the fire at Grant’s.
Turns out, this is typical of what happens to ammunition in a house fire.
According to this KRCR News report, fire officials say that burning ammo is not as dangerous as you might think. The popping noise people hear when ammo is burning is not the bullet flying away from the casing with any force, regardless of what you may have seen in the movies.
“It’s like an aerosol can going off,” a fire expert said. “Of course it’s a flying hazard, but it’s nothing that we have to take shelter from.”
The way you store ammunition also has a lot to do with how dangerous it could be in a fire. “Metal containers (for ammo) are typically not ideal,”a fire expert said. ” …when ammunition gets super-heated to ignite, if it’s stored in a steel container, that can create quite an explosion within the steel container.”
He says the best place to store ammo is in a dry spot and in a wooden container.