The Soviet-Afghan War was a ten-year conflict between Afghan insurgent groups and the Soviet Union.
The insurgents were backed by countries including the U.S., Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Kingdom.
It’s estimated that between 500,000 and 2 million Afghans were killed in the fighting. Millions more fled the country.
Some historians believe that the war was one of the contributing factors that led to the fall of the Soviet Union.
An interesting story from the war that most people aren’t familiar with was about Russian soldiers boiling their ammo in water.
The Soviet government sent a lot of money and supplies to soldiers in Afghanistan, but corrupt military officers would sell off anything they could to make extra money.
For example, food shipments often arrived smaller than anticipated because corrupt officers sold off some of the food before it reached the intended soldiers.
While officers made extra money, the soldiers on the battlefield were underfed and lacked basic goods.
This left the soldiers with no other choice but to sell the things they had for food and other necessities.
And one thing they had plenty of was bullets. The Soviet Union wasn’t going to undersupply their soldiers when it came to ammo.
Plus, it was one supply that wasn’t tracked.
No one counted how many rounds were fired, so no one would know if the soldiers used the ammo on the battlefield or if they had sold it off.
But, a concern with the Soviet soldiers selling their ammo to Afghan merchants was that the merchants would turn around and sell the ammo to insurgents.
The Soviet soldiers were selling ammo that would likely be used against them, which meant they could be killed by their own bullet.
To solve this problem, Soviet soldiers decided to boil their ammo in water before selling it. The Soviets would boil the ammo in water for about four hours.
The idea was that boiling the ammo in water would cause the ammo to fail, but it would appear normal when they sold it.
It’s hard to say how many rounds they boiled, or how often this was done.
These days modern ammo can hold up a little better than the Soviet ammo from the 1980s. But prolonged exposure to water can still damage ammo.
Considering this, here are a few things you can do to protect your ammo stockpile from water damage.
Keep ammo high:
Most people keep their ammo stockpile in the basement. But basements can be damp, and prone to flooding.
To avoid it being damaged even with minor flooding, you should store your ammo on shelves or racks that are off the ground.
Also, you want to keep the racks or shelves away from the walls. Basement walls can often be damp, which could introduce moisture into ammo.
Ideally, you should use free-standing shelves that don’t need to be supported by walls.
If you have no choice but to put the ammo near a wall, try to leave at least a little space between the wall and the ammo. Don’t let them touch.
Seal the bullets:
If moisture or water is a constant battle where you live, another option is to add a sealant to your ammo.
Military ammo has a ring of waterproof lacquer around the primer to protect the rounds from water.
Most civilian ammo does not have this. But you can add it. Adding a sealant will prevent moisture from getting into the primer or neck of the bullet.
The drawback to this is that it’s time-consuming. If you have an ammo stockpile of 2,000 rounds it will take a lot of time and sealant to protect them all.
I would start with a small amount. You could start with the ammo you keep in your bug-out bag.
If this interests you, consider X-Sealant or Markron Sealer.
Heat sealed bags:
Heat-sealed bags are like vacuum-sealed bags but are better for ammo long-term.
Instead of using the vacuum-seal method, push all the air out of the bag before heat sealing it, and you can also add a moisture-absorbing packet.
If you heat-seal the bags with a moisture pack the little amount of air shouldn’t be enough to damage the rounds, and heat sealing will ensure no more air gets in.
Once you heat-seal the ammo bag, I would add another layer of protection by storing the bags in ammo cans.
These are made of durable steel and the lids close tightly. Also, a quality ammo can has a rubber seal to prevent water from getting in.
The cans will be easier to grab and go than the bags. Plus, there is less worry about the bags opening or falling apart.
Modern ammo is pretty tough, but the biggest issue most gun owners face is moisture getting into their ammo.
Once moisture gets inside your bullets it can degrade the components.
Ammo that has been exposed to moisture for a long time might not fire. And even if it does fire, it could be weak and inaccurate.
Keep these tips in mind next time you check on your ammo stockpile.