If you're putting your shotgun cartridges away how can you keep them in good condition?

Shotgun cartridges do not have the same legal requirements as shotguns. In fact you don’t have to store shotgun cartridges in a gun cabinet or locked away if you are an ordinary shotgun certificate holder (and not a shotgun cartridge dealer).

However, you do need to act as a responsible shooter so make sure that your ammunition is stored safely, out of the reach of children. Keep your cartridges out of sight of visitors and those passing the house as it will alert them to the likelihood of a shotgun being stored in the property.

You should also store shotgun cartridges somewhere dry, away from damp and excesses of temperature. If you have room in it, your gun safe is a good place.

How many shotgun cartridges can you store at home?

We asked Charles Bull of Just Cartridges who replied: ” It depends on the weight or load of the cartridge as it relates to the Net Explosive Quantity (NEQ) but in broad terms, under a normal shotgun certificate, an individual can store up to about 10,000 cartridges. After about 10,000 you would need an Explosives Licence from the police to store more.”

shotgun cartridges

Can I store shotgun cartridges in the attic?

Q: Due to storage and security considerations I am planning on keeping my shotgun cartridges in the attic. The temperature there never goes below freezing but it does get a bit damp at times. I am not planning on keeping the ammunition there for years, just for the next few months. Is this a practical idea?

A: I am aware of the problems involved in storing large numbers of shotgun cartridges in the average house.

I find the best plan is to pack cartridges in airtight containers. I have some big plastic boxes with lids that seal tightly, although I suppose you could use well sealed polythene bags. The important thing is to pack the cartridges in a dry, warm atmosphere before you seal them up, so that you don’t trap moisture in with them.

Don’t spray cartridge heads with rust repellents like WD40. Evidence from America suggests that it can penetrate the primers and make them unreliable.

There seems to be some disagreement about the shelf-life of plastic-cased cartridges, so all I can say is that I have some which are around 15 years old, and they still shoot perfectly.