Firearm ammo in a house fire.

If you have tried to buy popular types of firearm ammo lately you know it is very hard to get. At Gander Mountain this afternoon they told me that on ammo delivery day there are 60-80 people lined up at the door when they open and it all sells out.
This got me wondering about all these people building huge stockpiles of ammo and what happens when the house burns down. I assume that because there is no barrel for pressure to build in that the bullets don’t go flying at full velocity. What happens? Does the whole shell casing blow up like a firecracker? Do they all go up in a big Hollywood style fireball? If I call the fire department and tell them my house is on fire and I have a couple thousand rounds of rifle ammo in the hall closet, will they respond differently than if I didn’t mention the ammo? My gun safe directions said not to store ammo in the safe but I’m sure people do. Does the extra containment of the safe cause a bigger explosion when it gets hot enough?
Any firefighters out there? Anyone else have first hand experience?

Mythbusters did this one - everything crackled and popped, bullets and bits of brass did fly out in all directions, but (as far as I recall) nothing they considered lethal - I think they concluded that injury was possible if you’re close by, and unlucky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c

long, but an interesting watch. W/o a chamber and barrel to contain the burning propellant, the bullet can’t really gain any dangerous velocity; in fact the bigger risk is fragments from the brass case flying around. Normal protective equipment that firefighters have should be enough.

now, a loaded firearm in a house fire is another story entirely…

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Why on earth would you store a magazine for a glock INSIDE AN OVEN???

Maybe the guy wanted hot loads?

Go ahead, believe that exploding ammo is non-lethal. Try what these 12 former Iraqi soldiers did. http://www.aljazeerah.info/News%20archives/2003%20News%20archives/August/19%20n/12%20Ex-Soldiers%20Dead%20in%20Iraq%20Ammo%20Dump%20Blast.htm

The fact that the ammo dump “blew up” is a sign that there was a bit more there than small arms ammo, I think.

That was the case with the US army dump in Iraq (artillery and tank ammo,) and in Russia (howitzer ammo.) I still wouldn’t bet my skin on small ammo.

Come to think of it, armies sometimes get ammo dumps on fire. No fireman is sent in for as long as explosions are heard.

That is a large explosion at a military ammo dump however and completely different than firearms cartridges or shells stored in any reasonable amount in a home. It doesn’t even say what the ammunition was in the military ammo dump. It could have been thousands of mortar shells and other large ammo for all we know.

I don’t think anyone is saying that exploding firearms cartridges are completely safe but it is the difference between throwing some firecrackers in a camp fire and burning down an entire fireworks factory in terms of scale.

I grew up in an area where people loved guns, drinking, and bonfires and sometimes those would intersect. If you get enough rednecks drunk enough around a bonfire, someone is eventually going to get the bright idea to slip some rifle cartridges or shotgun shells into it as a ‘surprise’. They blow and sometimes people get hit by the fragments but I never saw anyone get especially hurt from it even when they were standing right next to it. The only person who got hurt was the dumbass who did it and scared some crazy guy’s girlfriend.

Again, it is a horrible idea and I am sure you could get seriously hurt or killed under the right circumstances but isn’t the same thing at all as actually shooting the round. Without the gun, the cartridge or shell is basically just a firecracker.

Why on earth would someone cook a waffle in an oven.

But on the gun boards I frequent, the consensus is not to tell firefighters as you are under no obligation too, and they’ll likely stand around watching your house burn down while they call in a hazardous response team. And putting out a warning sign would also make your house a target for burglers.

I store my ammo in the bottom drawer of a fire rated filing cabinet. I bought the filing cabinet to protect my paper documents and old family photos. Seemed like a secure place for ammo too.

Thanks for the replies.

"Why on earth would you store a magazine for a glock INSIDE AN OVEN??? "

Before I got a gun safe my firearm security strategy was disassembling my guns and sticking the parts in places I didn’t think a burglar would check. I didn’t use the oven but can see where someone might go that route.

Ammo laying around, the brass takes off, the lead slug sort of goes nowhere. In a plastic box with individual segments for each round, the shape and composition of the box will change things, but not dramatically. There is always an outside chance that a bullet will find enough containment to eject the slug at higher velocity or that the brass reaches speeds that could cause serious injury, but it’s one-in-a-million.

Ammo dumps not only contain stores of ammo for small arms, but also explosives, fragment explosives like grenades and mines, and possible loaded rifles or pistols. You don’t want to be around any of those things in a fire.

Ya’ might be a redneck if…

Nah, if you’re a redneck you use a .22 shell as a fuse in your rusty pickup.

(bolding mine) Uh oh.

OK, maybe one in a thousand. If your house is on fire, don’t run in to save the ammo.