powder and primers in the garage


September 22, 2011, 01:20 PM
was wondering what yalls opinions were on keeping powders and primers in the garage.

i'm in houston which in humid as hell 360 out of 365 days out of the year

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September 22, 2011, 01:26 PM
That's where I keep mine, and we've been known to have a little humidity here on the coast, too. As long as the powder containers are tightly shut, and the temperature swings aren't real radical, you'll be fine.

Hope this helps.


September 22, 2011, 01:30 PM
How much powder and primers and how long will they be out there before you cycle through them? Primers are fairly durable and powders will last a good long time as long as they are kept in the original tightly sealed bottle. For most of us, they won't be out there more than a year or so before we use it up and replace with new stuff. They should be fine for that long even in Houston, assuming some nefarious evil-doer doesn't break into your garage and steal it before you use it up.

Ideally though, I would store it in a closet inside the house. It really doesn't take much space at all to store 15-20 lbs of powder and 10,000 primers. Just one drawer in a dresser can store that much easily. If it came down to it, I would rather have my socks out in the garage and my powder in the house. The real bulky part of storing components is the brass and bullets and they'll do fine in the garage.

September 22, 2011, 01:39 PM
Just "remodeled" our breezeway office/reloading room/storage area. Used several old kitchen cabinets for storage and added shelving between them. Brass in one, boolits in another, primers seperate from the powder in others. Good to have things close by when needed and in some semblance of order.

September 22, 2011, 04:46 PM
It's probably not going to help in avoiding problems, especially with primers. But I once had a bunch of BR primers in just the factory packaging that were stored in a shed in the midwest for almost 10 years, and all of them performed normal. They make them pretty reliable I guess, never had one not go bang, ever!

September 22, 2011, 09:49 PM
The only place I've ever store mine for the last 16 years.

September 22, 2011, 10:38 PM
I've loaded in the garage in San Antonio for years, but I only keep 1K pistol primers and 1# of the powder I'm using in the garage.

Hope "our" walk-in clothes closet doesn't catch fire.

September 22, 2011, 11:17 PM
All of mine are in the garage here in California. Humidity isn't an issue nor are temp swings.

September 22, 2011, 11:23 PM
High humidity is the main enemy of primers and powder. I'm going to buck the trend and say it might not be a good idea unless you use a dehumidifier in the garage.

Arkansas Paul
September 23, 2011, 01:17 AM
Theoretically, it sounds like it should matter. However, I store my powder and primers in a non-climate controlled building and it's seen temperature swings from 10 degrees in the winter to 110 degrees in the summer and I've never had a misfire.

September 23, 2011, 08:58 PM
I would keep them in the house in a humidity and temperature controlled area.

September 23, 2011, 11:21 PM
I have had several reloading setups in outdoor sheds. Yes component storage too. No temperature controls nor humidity controls. Never had any problems. (Except trying to keep me warm when loading in winter) Here in Utah we have hot and cold, but the humidity is usually pretty low compared to some areas.

September 24, 2011, 09:12 AM
I would at least keep the primers in an ammo can.

September 24, 2011, 12:46 PM
My grandfather bought a 38 S&W and black powder ammo for the Alaskan Gold rush.

70 years later, in 1972, I was shooting it, and only half the ammo went off.

It had been in a garage attic for 70 years, and got ~110F every sunny day in the summer.

September 24, 2011, 10:48 PM
Theoretically, it sounds like it should matter. However, I store my powder and primers in a non-climate controlled building and it's seen temperature swings from 10 degrees in the winter to 110 degrees in the summer and I've never had a misfire.
It's the same here in southwest AR too Paul. Mine never give me problems either

September 26, 2011, 03:49 PM
I have always been really picky about storing my rifle reloading components in my house which is about 75 degrees all year long. I haven't been picky though, when storing my shot gun shells and I have several boxes of Winchester XX Magnum turkey loads that were purchased at least 15 years ago and stored in my hunting house where the temperature fluctuates between 30 in the winter and 130 in the summer. They fire every time and will easily kill a turkey at 50 yards. I wonder what Winchester would say about that? BW

Peter M. Eick
September 26, 2011, 04:42 PM
I would not risk it. It was 97 out there today in Katy. Why not put it in your house where the AC is?

As a fellow Houstonite (if that is a word) get the stuff in and out of the heat to avoid any risks.

September 27, 2011, 07:52 AM
Powders these days don't absorb moisture in fact they repel it.

Primers are pretty tolerant too.

A gentleman on Glock talk forum submerged primers in water and in wd-40 overnight. after 14 days of drying he loaded them and shot them. the only difference was the ones soaked in wd-40 crono'd noticeably slowed but all fired.

September 27, 2011, 09:25 AM
wonder what the how hot and humid it is in the semi while being shipped or stored in the warehouse. I guess they used to ship it in climate controlled wagons. When I was military a lot of us stored guns ammo and reloading supplies in rental storage units and never had any problems. I am shooting 700x that has been stored for at least 7 years in a metal detached garage. At the range I worked at the powder/primers were stored in a metal ammo bunker with no problems Randy

September 27, 2011, 09:44 AM
Powders these days don't absorb moisture in fact they repel it.
Not true.
Furthermore, single base powders are more hygroscopic than double base.
In addition, flash suppressants will cause powder to be more hygroscopic.

September 27, 2011, 09:56 AM
I keep all my powder out in the shed (same situation). Primers - I'll keep a few trays out there but my big "stash" I keep in the house.

I do keep the die sets in the house as well and just take those out to the shed as needed. Was leaving them out there once upon a time but I noticed that they were starting to rust so I brought them in.

September 27, 2011, 04:01 PM
Powder, left in the original container, will not absorb moisture if not opened. I store primers in an ammo box with a small amount (5 oz) of Damp Rid. Humidity level remains around 25%, very dry.

September 28, 2011, 02:19 PM
Store powder and primer inside for best practice, and NOT in an ammo can (bomb in case of fire).

September 28, 2011, 05:09 PM

This is the link to Alliant's info page. it has storage info as well as U.S. laws as how to store powder and how to transport it legally.

I didn't realize that 25-50 lbs of powder must be transported in a wooden crate with 1" or thicker walls, and over 20 lbs storage at the house must be in a wooden cabinet or container with 1" or thicker walls.

September 28, 2011, 09:12 PM
I keep my primers and powder stored in a dry box on my back porch(townhouse/enlcosed)

I stopped reloading for a month or so and I accidentally left 100 primers out in the south florida summer in the primer feeder(and powder in the hopper).

I was curious and loaded them up as target ammo anyway and they were 100% and accurate.

September 28, 2011, 10:15 PM
Nitrocellulose has double bonded NO molecules. Ionic compounds will break those double bonds releasing NOx which also degrads the nitrocellulose molecule.

Water is ionic, water evaporating on and off the nitrocellulose molecule accelerates the breakdown of gunpowder.

I would say, based on what I have learned, heat is the main enemy of gunpowder. The breakdown of gunpowder is directly related to heat. Then come the effects of water, ionic chemicals.

Section from the Propellant Management Guide:

Stabilizers are chemical ingredients added to propellant at time of manufacture to
decrease the rate of propellant degradation and reduce the probability of auto ignition during its expected useful life.

As nitrocellulose-based propellants decompose, they release nitrogen oxides. If the nitrogen oxides are left free to react in the propellant, they can react with the nitrate ester, causing further decomposition and additional release of nitrogen oxides. The reaction between the nitrate ester and the nitrogen oxides is exothermic (i.e., the reaction produces heat). Heat increases the rate of propellant decomposition. More importantly, the exothermic nature of the reaction creates a problem if sufficient heat is generated to initiate combustion. Chemical additives, referred to as stabilizers, are added to propellant formulations to react with free nitrogen oxides to prevent their attack on the nitrate esters in the propellant. The stabilizers are scavengers that act rather like sponges, and once they become “saturated” they are no longer able to remove nitrogen oxides from the propellant. Self-heating of the propellant can occur unabated at the “saturation” point without the ameliorating effect of the stabilizer. Once begun, the self-heating may become sufficient to cause auto ignition.

Primers, I have been unable to find information on the shelf life of primers. I know they go bad because I have had some very old ammunition with dud primers. But I think primers are more hardy than gunpowder.

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