Powder disposal


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Penforhire
May 19, 2003, 06:48 PM
I am doing all my reading and research to start handloading. So far the only thing I bought is the Speer reloading manual but I have a question about powder disposal in the event I spill, mix, un-label or otherwise screw up some powder.

A search on this site revealed a suggestion to fertilize my lawn with it. Is that safe? A lawn mower with a top fuel dragster-like fire or a giant poof underneath comes to mind.

Is typical powder safe to burn loose on an open plate or grill? Or am I risking my eyebrows that way?

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stans
May 19, 2003, 07:15 PM
Hmmm, I never thought of using smokeless powder on the grill. I guess it would certainly get my gas grill lit!!! Seriously, I would not burn the powder on the grill, you might just end up missing your eyebrows. I have burned the remnants of some lots of powder by spreading it out on a metal plate, then using a fuse to ignite the powder. Smokeless powder is not explosive, but it burns rapidly, so don't dump a whole lot in a pyle then stick a match to it, or you will come away missing some arm hair. By the way, burning hair smells real bad, ask me how I know!

The absolute best way I ever destroyed some old powder was with the help of a friend who was into model rocketry. He had an old rocket that he was going to destroy, I had some left over Bullseye; it was a match made in heaven! We put some Bullseye in the tube directly over the ejection charge. The rocket launched and instead of the ejection charge deploying a parachute, it ignited the powder. Nice way to destroy a rocket. By the way, we did this in the middle of a freshly plowed bean field, so there was no danger of launching this thing into a house or destroying anyone's property. We also stood as far away from the launcher as possible.

Sisco
May 19, 2003, 07:18 PM
If you spread in on the lawn or in the garden once it's been watered in it shoudn't pose problem.

Art Eatman
May 19, 2003, 07:27 PM
Agree with Sisco.

Or, just lay it out in a sort of trail and light one end. No big deal of a flame, although it will slightly stain concrete...

Art

Frohickey
May 19, 2003, 09:10 PM
Powder is nitrocellulose based or nitroglycerine based. Plants like nitrogen. Grass is a plant. :D

Or, you can follow stans' example, maybe you can charge admission, rent binoculars for $2. :p

coonan357
May 19, 2003, 09:47 PM
I second the water part if spread on the lawn ( note to self water grass after disposing powder nextime and you won't have to get seed ) Yes my lawn went up thanks to a neighbor who smokes ....:rolleyes:

Jim Watson
May 20, 2003, 12:29 AM
Nitrocellulose is not water soluble, and is not a very available source of nitrogen for plants if at all.

Burn it in a narrow row like Art says.

Neal Bloom
May 20, 2003, 12:31 AM
My gun dealer once told me to pour it on an ant pile. The ants carry some of it down and then you light it, from a distance I would hope. Don't know if this is a myth or not I have not tried it. Don't know why ants would like powder. I just burn it using a trail to light it. Very impressive at night if you have a lot to dispose of.

stans
May 20, 2003, 05:58 AM
I always preferred firecrackers for the ant hills!

Sisco
May 20, 2003, 08:05 AM
When I was a kid an anthill, a bunch of fire crackers and a can of gasoline was just the ticket for some real fun. It's a wonder I'm still alive and in one piece. :D

Edward429451
May 20, 2003, 08:54 AM
Or am I risking my eyebrows that way?

You've never burned any powder. Try it sometime. When you're really unimpressed, go burn some rifle powder.

Its not flash powder.

BobC
May 20, 2003, 01:19 PM
When reloading shotshells, I invariably manage to mess up a shell by dropping shot into the powder without the benefit of a wad between the two.

I've found the easiest way to separate the components is to spread the mixture in a thin but continuous layer on a non-flammable surface (for which a stain is not a problem) and put a match to it. The powder (Red Dot) slowly burns over a period of a second or two and after a few more seconds the shot is cool enough to pick up.

Burn rate increases as pressure increases. In a cartridge, the combustion gases are confined and build up pressure, increasing the burn rate and pressure in a very quick cycle until the pressure launches the bullet. Remember the movie The Alamo? John Wayne lays out a powder trail leading to a full keg of black powder. The trail burns slowly until it enters the keg, then the keg explodes. Important lesson: when burning powder, spread it out and don't confine it.

braindead0
May 20, 2003, 02:12 PM
My gun dealer once told me to pour it on an ant pile. The ants carry some of it down and then you light it, from a distance I would hope. Don't know if this is a myth or not I have not tried it. Don't know why ants would like powder. I just burn it using a trail to light it. Very impressive at night if you have a lot to dispose of.

My grandfather did this with blackpowder (had some property with 100's of red ant hills). I'm not sure about smokeless, but real black powder might be nice and tasty to an ant.. He said he would put a ring around the hill, and by morning it's gone. Some gas and a match and instant roman candle.

Frohickey
May 20, 2003, 02:53 PM
But what happens to the ant hill?

No more ant hill? Or do you just have ants all over the place?

Steve Smith
May 20, 2003, 07:03 PM
Edward is right on...its not flash powder. Just light it up. I intentionally put it in a pile with some unspent primers (I won't use primers that I have to touch). Makes for more of a show since powder alone is so boring.

winwun
May 20, 2003, 07:34 PM
It's nice to help start your campfire. Especially if the wood is damp.

sm
May 20, 2003, 08:03 PM
Like Art and others, pour onto a cleared dirt area and light it.

Exception: Black powder.

Club member passed away, his wife asked about some powder that had been in the attic 20-25 years. Upon inspection we called Fire Dept to retrieve and dispose...numerous kegs of black powder.
:what: <--- Firefighters eyes and expression.

stans
May 21, 2003, 07:05 AM
Black powder is not as stable as smokeless, I can't imagine what 20 years of storage in an attic would do to black powder, but I bet those firefighters were very careful in handling that stuff!

winwun
May 21, 2003, 07:17 AM
Occasionally one reads of Great Grandpa's old Civil War pistol being drug off the top of a dusty shelf and still being able to pop one off. I have some old BP cartridges, corroded and cracked, but still live, I would guess.

I have worried about the friction of the bullet being loaded down the bore in a BP long gun, and have tried, in a controlled experiment to ignite some 4-F in this manner. Unsuccessful. I also have tried putting a small amount on an anvil and hitting it with a hammer to ignite it. Ditto.

Penfor, per your original post, if you are just beginning to load, it will be MANY years before you have to worry about powder disposal, and by that time you will KNOW.

VOD
May 22, 2003, 06:08 PM
It may just be because I live in an apartment, but no one's mentioned the obvious disposal method...flush it. No burn hazard, though just for safety, don't do this around a trip to Taco Bell!

Master Blaster
May 23, 2003, 09:12 AM
Flush it down the toilet.

The other day in the Wilmington De paper the police report carried a story about a man who burned himself when he tried to dispose of some gunpowder by throwing it into his lit fire place!!!:what: :what:

Of course it did not say what kind or how much.:rolleyes:

stans
May 24, 2003, 09:39 AM
The other day in the Wilmington De paper the police report carried a story about a man who burned himself when he tried to dispose of some gunpowder by throwing it into his lit fire place!!!

Oh, that is just brilliant!! Perhaps he is a candidate for the Darwin Award? I have done some stupid things in my life, but I have never dumped gun powder on a fire nor have I shot an arrow straight up and then hoped for the best outcome!

SquirrelNuts
May 31, 2003, 09:52 PM
I have a kinetic bullet puller. I like to pull various rounds just to look at them and compare them. It makes a great visual effect for new shooters to show them what comes out of the barrel. I put the powder on a plank of wood and burn it. I try to guess how fast it will burn, and then check myself.

-SquirrelNuts

Phil in Seattle
June 1, 2003, 08:16 PM
Just be sure of what you are burning.

I had an oops because I thought I was using AA#9, but it was really AA#5.
http://pic5.picturetrail.com/VOL77/858902/2194228/26479679.jpg

Zero
June 2, 2003, 04:36 PM
Just pour your unwanted powder out in a small line, on a non-flammable surface and burn it.

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