What Will Happen If Your Ammunition Burns In A House Fire? [Video]

Screenshot of YouTube video.

Any rational person is concerned about fires. Of course, you want to make sure that both you and your family are safe and kept safe, so, you think about the possibility of fires at your home and with preparing for the (thankfully) unlikely case in which that can happen.

But make no mistake, fires do happen, and if you have firearms and ammunition in your home (since you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you have both), then, you’ve probably wondered what will happen to the ammunition that you have stockpiled in your garage, your den, your gun safe, etc.

It’s a good question, and one that you should be thinking about. Not just because you want to make sure that your family is safe from the dangers of the fire itself, but because you own a firearm. And if you own a firearm, then, just like you have a responsibility to be aware of what is around and behind what you are shooting at (because you want to make sure that you don’t injure/damage any unintended targets), you have a responsibility to make sure that your stored ammunition is stored safely and that it won’t cause even more danger in a fire.


Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. A group of firefighters set up situations to test what would happen in those kinds of situations (hat tip to here for the lead). You can watch the video below, queued up to when they burned boxed ammunition, followed immediately after by testing the burning of 18,000 rounds (that’s not a type) of loose ammo.

I don’t know about you, but watching the burns in that video eased my mind about the safety of having ammunition in my home (I was going to have ammunition because I need it for my firearms, but I also want to make sure that my family is safe).

It’s great to know, though, that having ammunition stored at my home isn’t really much of an additional danger in a house fire.

So, I guess there’s only one thing to do: Stock up on more ammunition!



  1. Unfortunately this is bullshit. I had a belt of M-1 rounds around my mounted deer head when my trailer caught fire. Rounds went thru my trailer wall, my neighbors house walls and into interior house walls before stopping. It’s highly dangerous in certain conditions. Depends on how they are stored, sitting upright or on their side. You need to be careful with what you Actually have. Mine Could have killed someone.

  2. Loose or boxed rounds sitting on a shelf is not safe ammo storage. I keep all of my ammo in steel Mil Surplus .30, .50 and 30mm mortar cans. Kept in a cool dry area of my basement, far from the Water Heater and Furnace (the most likely sources of combustion. Plastic and wood boxes are a no go. Plastic melts quickly, and wood just acts as more fuel. In 2012, we had a fire start in the basement, from a faulty power strip. I lost 3 guns (in a wooden cabinet) to the fire, but all of the ammo survived. The cans were scorched and the O-rings had started to melt, but the ammo inside was fine. I still h have some in my current stock, though I did replace all the cans.

  3. Completely wrong!! Have been called on to investigate several such cases, including one in my house and one in my truck. Please stop sharing such false and misleading information. And that includes those that have posted responses.

  4. if ammo is not in a chamber to build pressure it will go POP and not much more. sorry Alan,Bemused and Mike, the most that will happen is the shell will split and the bullet fall out of it. I’ve burned a lot of smokeless powder and without it being under pressure it will just burn. you guys watch way to much TV

  5. As a retired firefighter I must say I am a little surprised at Alan’s comments. Having been in numerous fires with that had ammo in them I have never seen the bullets travel through walls. When the powder ignites the cartridge case will split and might travel a short distance. The bullet being heavier and solid will just drop to the ground. Only one time can I remember being hit by any type of projectile. It was a fire in an old Ford Econoline van. As soon as we opened the side door the fire got to a box of 22’s. I heard a few of them pop off. After the fire I found an exploded piece of brass in a fold of my turnout coat. No damage to me or my coat. It was just setting in a fold.

    A few years ago a friend had several hundred rounds of shotgun, rifle and pistol ammo stored in two large plastic containers in my enclosed cargo trailer. A fast moving California wildfire came through and destroyed the trailer as well as my trees and other property. Later when scrounging through the remains of my fiberglass trailer I started to find damaged brass and metal casings in the corner where his ammo was stored. As I kept digging I found the lead bullets.
    As I stated earlier, I would be very surprised if ammo that was not in a gun exploded in a fire and went through the walls of a trailer and then penetrated into a house.

  6. NOT having ammunition in your home is far more of a risk. I doubt you will see a story like this on CNN!

  7. 20-ish years ago, we experienced a house fire in Cleveland, Ohio… I had about 1,200 rounds of.22lr and a hundred or so rounds of 12-GA in a closet… The FIRST thing, when the Firemen arrived, I told them about all THAT.
    After the fire was out, it was discovered that SOME brave soul, had chopped through the roof, in the corner of the house I’d indicated as containing live ammo. And COPIOUS amounts of water had been pumped into that closet.
    Not 1× round of ammo discharged!!!

  8. I never fail to find amazing the number of folks that will argue against evidence presented before their very eyes. “Scientific evidence” vs “People will believe only what they want to believe” is on full display here. Sad really…

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