Letter Re: Advice on Storing Ammunition in Stripper Clips

Shalom Jim:
I have a quick question for you that is probably not the most profound one you’ve ever heard. Recently I purchased some 7.62mm NATO Ball from Southern Ohio Gun, and it came in a metal box loaded on stripper clips with five cartridges per clip. Do you recommend keeping the cartridges on the clips or would you remove them and pack them loosely in the metal box? Also, what is the reasoning behind your answer? Thanks, – Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S

JWR Replies: Unless the stripper clips are rusty (which could induce sympathetic corrosion on the cartridge brass), then I recommend leaving the cartridges on the stripper clips. Here is my reasoning:
1.) Wear and tear during transport (e.g. dented cartridges) is essentially the same whether ammo is off or on strippers. (And in fact it is even less for ammo on stripper clips that are packed in cloth bandoleers.)
2.) The ammo will be quicker to load into magazines when needed.
3.) There is no conclusive evidence that stripper clip springs weaken with time.
4.) With the exception of 8 round en bloc M1 Garand clips, in some localities ammo in stripper or en bloc clips does not legally contribute to the definition of a “loaded weapon” in a motor vehicle. (In my personal experience gained when I previously lived in California, many law enforcement officers mistakenly deem a loaded clip or magazine carried in the same vehicle with an unloaded gun as the same as a “loaded gun”. Yes, this is a misinterpretation of the California Penal Code, but I know of two individuals that had to hire attorneys to extricate themselves from this bogus charge. (What a Mickey Mouse state!)

So, all in all, in my opinion it is best to store cartridges on the stripper clips.