Burying Guns & Ammo with MonoVault Burial Tubes

Whenever the headlines carry news of a new law that limits our 2nd Amendment rights, conversations will often come around to Best way to bury gunsthe subject of burying guns or creating a survival cache of some sorts.  If not firearms, people talk about burying silver and gold, ammunition, cash, important documents, even caching food storage or fuel on the path to a bug out location.  I even know of people who bury gear at their bug out location in the event it is compromised before they reach it.

By Joe Nobody

The Law

While I know of no law that would prevent someone from stashing stacks of canned beans and birth certificates, one must be fully aware of the laws in his/her own locale when it comes to burying guns or ammunition. Take the state of Massachusetts, for example:  The law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner.  All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use. Penalties are assessed even if no underage person obtains access (source).

Also Read: “Holding Your Ground” Book Review 

I’m no lawyer, but it’d seem to me that you’d be violating the law if you’re burying guns in Massachusetts.  So – stay mindful of the laws in your area if you’re seriously considering the subterranean storage of guns or ammunition. Even if you find it is legal – is it safe or wise to do so? ­What if a stranger discovers to tomb? Could children? Those are questions for you to answer. Stay legal. Stay safe.

Guns, ammo, gear, precious metals, and most anything you deem necessary can be buried in a variety of different containers, the Survival Cache Burial Vaultextent to which goes beyond the scope of this post. Here we’re focusing on one type of container, the Mono Vault.  The Mono Vault is a ready-to-bury storage tube. Constructed of a one-piece molded body, there are no joints along the sides or on the bottom that could leak.

This type of product represents the simplest, fastest, most convenient way to get your goods safely in the ground. Looking like a large PVC pipe with sealed ends, it functions in much the same way. While the tubes do not come cheap, once one goes about pricing similarly-sized PVC pipes, and factors in the value of one’s time, there’s a new appreciation and understanding of the pricing, and the product itself.  The tubes come in a variety of different sizes, and all function in the same manner, but for purposes of this post, we’ll be looking at three in particular: the 110s, 130s, and 248s. Each has similar construction, coming in either black or olive drab. The “s” denotes standard wall construction of 1/4”. The top of the containers have a large-mouth spin-on lid with o-ring seal, and atop that sits another cover, the “Burial Shield,” that looks much like the top of a landmine.

Also Read: Implementing A Secondary Survival Cache

The 110s has an inside diameter of 9 3/4” and an inside depth of 7 1/2”. The 130s has a diameter of 9 3/4” and a depth of 23 3/8”. Survival Cache PVC PipeThe Mono Vault 248 has a whopping diameter of 12 1/4” and a depth of 45”!  Dimensions, diameter, and depth – blah, blah, blah. The real question here is – how much stuff can you cram into these things? Well, we found out.  This is the Mono Vault 248 with everything we crammed into it:

  1. A mid-length AR with collapsible stock, five 30-round magazines, and 1,075 rounds of 5.56,
  2. A Ruger 10/22 and 1,275 rounds of .22lr,
  3. A Remington 870 shotgun and eighty 12-gauge shotgun shells,
  4. A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
  5. A crank-powered radio,
  6. A large survival knife,
  7. Small pair of binoculars,
  8. A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
  9. Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
  10. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

Look into the top with all of this gear, there’s still room for more. If we’d been more careful with the packing, made boxed ammo PVC Survival Cacheinto loose ammo, we could have easily double the amount of ammo and packed another 45 servings of freeze dried chocolate drink.  For the 130s, we packed what you see pictured:

  1. A mid-length AR with collapsible stock (upper separated from lower), five 30-round magazines, and 925 rounds of 5.56,
  2. A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
  3. A crank-powered radio,
  4. A large survival knife,
  5. Small pair of binoculars,
  6. A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
  7. Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
  8. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

For the Mono Vault 110, we packed what you see pictured:Survival Cache PVC Pipe

  1. a S&W Shield with spare magazine and 100 rounds of 9mm, and best of all,
  2. #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.

Burying Your Mono Vault!

Bury your tube before filling it, or you may be carrying a very heavy tube.  The makers of the Mono Vault write: “Your Mono Vault will float. While this is great on the water, it is not so good in burial applications. Clay soils of an excavated hole can inhibit drainage of any water that may collect. Water collected in the hole can impart tremendous floating forces on your Mono Vault, driving it to the surface and then some. It is advisable to anchor your vault effectively with appropriate compaction or the addition of hardening or sealing agents. A few sacks of concrete in the clean bottom of your backfill can serve to anchor the vault to the bottom of the hole. Use caution with concrete in the vicinity of the lid as most concretes will shrink as they cure and may cause some distortion of the vault and critical sealing surfaces. Choose your site carefully to avoid natural drainages that may direct water to your vault. Slightly sloped or cresting locations may be best.”

Surround the tube with crushed stone before back filling it could offer additional protection.  If you’re concerned about the possibility of someone hunting for your cache with a metal detector, you can always throw rusty, scrap metal (old nails, cans, etc.) around the site to help throw people off.

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The manufacturer also writes:  “In high frost areas where the ground freezes deeper than the cover soil, it may be advisable to cover your Mono Vault with a piece of foam insulation below the cover soil and extending a couple of feet out from the perimeter of the vault. This insulation can reduce freezing of the soils around the neck of the Mono Vault and the resulting pressures and possible distortion. Be aware that such insulation can also slow snow melt so don’t use a square piece that will leave an unnatural looking residual snow pile.

The landmine-looking Burial Shield will help direct water away from the lid, and it protects against possible shovel damage as it is being recovered. The shield will keep the lid area clear of dust and dirt that could otherwise enter the tube when you open it, potentially compromising the unit when it’s resealed.

How Are You Going To Mark Your Site?

Are you going to be able to find it when it’s time? You can identify the site by remembering natural landmarks, making note of Best way to bury a riflethem, or by using a portable GPS—just make sure you have good satellite reception. A 10’ difference could mean a whole lot of digging in search for it.  There are additional products you can buy to protect the contents.  “NoRust” storage bags are available for guns, and your standard desiccants will work wonders for sealing moisture out. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could always use cosmoline on your guns.  And remember—never whisper about the location of your cache!  What would YOU bury? How would you bury it?  I welcome your comments.

About the author: The Joe Nobody library of books includes apocalyptic novels, science fiction, political thrillers, children’s books, and instruction manuals.

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4 comments… add one
  • Roger September 11, 2016, 9:31 pm

    I prefer 6-gallon food-grade lidded buckets for caches, much more economical (about $10 each) and can hold most of the things I want to hide/store except long arms and I have some 22-gallon (ex-pickle) barrels that will hold any firearm I have! One of my favorite places to hide is under cut-down tree stumps, specifically ones that were left about two feet high. Some wood cutters (including me) like to leave one or two stumps this high to use as make-shift tables or saw horses. While pretty visible, few would think to check under them for a 6-gallon bucket cache! As far as Massachusetts laws, in case of SHTF no one will know or care. Make sure to ‘sanitize’ the container and it’s contents if you’re worried about it; wiping them down for prints and leaving no personal info in/on it as well! #10 cans of FD foods are great for this type of caches! GLAHP!

  • Joel @ SurvivalCache.com September 12, 2016, 6:20 pm

    Great read Joe Nobody – I have been a huge fan of the Mono Vault ever since I ran across them 6 years ago. Looking forward to reading the book on caches now. I may or may not own one of these…..

  • Drew September 14, 2016, 12:52 pm

    Great info here. I’ve been wondering about the feasibility of something like a MonoVault vs. PVC; this definitely answered some questions. Thanks for the article!

  • Bob Boyington September 19, 2016, 9:58 am

    I prefer 6 inch pvc pipe. For about $120 you can build three 40″ long survival caches. I have tested these for the last 4 years and have experienced no leaks despite the burial being only 12 inches under ground. (Frost line here is 42 inches). One end of the tube uses a pvc cap and the other end allows for a screw in plug. Do not use any type of thread sealer as this will make the cap removal extremely difficult. The use of teflon tape will seal the end that screws in and still give a good seal. Its a good idea to leave tools with the burial so that the cap can be removed. With a little work you can build makeshift tools in your home shop to remove the cap. All small items in the tube are enclosed in baggies (secondary protection). Rifles and shotguns are put into large industrial grade garbage bags with a couple of packs of moisture absorbers. Rifles and shotguns with have to be partially disassembled to fit but will leave plenty of room for ammo, survival bars and misc supplies. AR’s will fit but it is necessary to remove the scope, buttstock and pistol grip. I only store weapons this way dues to cost. For food and misc items that you wish to hide I agree with the reader who uses 6 gallon buckets Large storage capacity at a reasonable price. Once again use double lock baggies (they are cheap), expensive items should be double bagged.


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