Firearms owners who have seen their stored ammunition submerged by floodwaters in areas across the US probably wonder if such ammunition can be salvaged and safely used. The answer, according to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), is to err on the side of caution and safety and not attempt to salvage or use ammunition that has been submerged.
To help firearms owners determine what to do with ammunition affected by water and moisture, SAAMI has created a helpful document, Guidance on Ammunition That Has Been Submerged In Water.
According to SAAMI, look at the situation from two perspectives: First, ammunition that has been exposed to rain or moisture as could be normally encountered when hunting or shooting, and secondly, ammunition that has been totally submerged for any length of time. Centerfire rifle, handgun and shotshell ammunition is reasonably tolerant of exposure to light rain or dropping in the snow or on damp ground as long as the exposure is limited and the cartridges are wiped dry immediately. Ammunition should not be carried or stored in any manner that may collect and trap water, further increasing the exposure of the ammunition to moisture.
Rimfire ammunition is much more susceptible than other...