safe storage of black powder


May 30, 2012, 09:10 PM
what's the safest place for me to store from 3-5 1 lb cans of goex black powder?

my options are as follows....

2nd floor spare bedroom that's currently my "gear closet". it's temp stable, dry, away from ignition sources, with the exception of live modern ammo stored there as well. one wall away from the master bedroom.

basement. cool year round and dry, gas hotwater heater in a semi partitioned off other area, tools, sometimes used to work in, so may occasionally cause the errant spark.

out building. separate from the house, metal building ( garden shed type). no control over temp, can be stored off the concrete pad and kept dry, other flamables including about 30 gallons of gas, lawnmawer, stringtrimmer, etc., door padlocked, but wouldn't take much to get in if someone wanted to.

would a large mil-surp ammo can be a wise idea for putting the cans in?
any thoughts or ideas?

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May 30, 2012, 10:55 PM
I would use the spare bedroom. DO NOT use the metal ammo can for storage unless you remove the lid. A wooden box, well vented to reduce pressure buildup, and having a loose fitting lid (maybe a child's toy box with venting holes?) is best.

While you can't fix stupid, you CAN vote it out of office.

May 30, 2012, 11:37 PM
I don't think that there's a wrong answer. But I do think that the safest place would be in the shed. Every house has ignition sources that can cause a fire even if they're only electrical wires.
If a bolt of lightning were to hit either the house or the shed, then I think that either way, you would better off if it were stored in the shed. That way your house and your family would be better protected.
I don't think that the temperature will harm the sealed powder, and the least of your concerns should be if someone were to steal it. That's secondary to the safety of your family and home.
I personally wouldn't care if it were stored under my mattress. Then if there was a fire, at least I'd be certain to wake up before the powder could burn. In the end it all comes down to the personal preference of the home owner. After all, who could predict all of the potential hazards of any storage area? :)

May 31, 2012, 08:43 AM
I agree with arcticap about the shed. Ambient temperature is not an issue. I would not and do not store powder in the house; the concern about the possibly larger number of ignition sources is a valid consideration, but frankly the possible consequences of an event in the house are much more catastrophic than those of such an event in an outbuilding, and that outweighs the 'possible sources' criteria.

The ammo can is fine.

May 31, 2012, 01:04 PM
I'd suggest a wood box instead of the ammo can. There was a very good reason why the powder magazines in the old days did not allow ANY iron or steel to enter the magazine room. I know that modern steels are far less prone to sparking than in days of old. But why take the chance?

The box doesn't need to be anything super fancy. Simply make one out of plywood that you glue and screw together would be fine. But since the hinges are going to be exposed I'd see if you can find genuine brass hinges. Use a magnet to test the metal as there's no lack of brass plated steel hinges. Or even make your own wooden hinges that use a brass rod pin.

I find it a little odd that the powder comes in tin plated cans. That alone suggests to me that the sparking isn't a big worry. But I have to admit to a touch of concern every time I screw the cap open or closed.

May 31, 2012, 01:37 PM
New, it is purchased in plastic container with a tight sealing lid. I would assume this is the proper container to use for storage of BP.

May 31, 2012, 03:27 PM
Bedroom closet. Its cooler dry and nothing else around it other than shoes maybe. been there for years without any problem.

May 31, 2012, 10:01 PM
thanks for the replies so far. i'm leaning towards the closet or the shed at this point. the basement is out. it'll be kept in original containers and i could build a wooden box for it.

i've heard of powder lockers being lined with copper. anyone know more about this? how thick should the copper be?

May 31, 2012, 11:32 PM
I've read that one of the main reasons why some of the old sailing ships had the interior of their magazine lined with copper was to prevent moisture in the form of condensation from entering the room. This may have been important at the time because the bulk powder was stored in wooden kegs.
If its purpose is to prevent condensation then I don't know how important the thickness of the copper lining would be.

June 1, 2012, 12:23 AM
Articap is correct. See video below.
Copper was lined to keep moisture out

June 3, 2012, 01:18 AM
Yep, since your house isn't a boat you don't need to worry about copper lining.

And be it the tin cans or the new anti static plastic bottles the containers themselves are sufficient for shielding the powder inside from any outside source of static sparks.

Foto Joe
June 3, 2012, 10:13 AM
Normally I store all of my powder (smokeless and the real stuff) in my detached garage at home. The main reason is that that's where my loading bench is, I wouldn't have any problem storing it in the house although I probably wouldn't put it in the cabinet over the stove or on top of the boiler down in the basement.

That's "normally", right now we're still in our 5th wheel and we're in Arizona, not exactly a "User Friendly" state this time of year, so.....

Currently I've got both my smokeless and Black Powder stored in an ammo can so that it can be kept in the air-conditioned part of the 5th wheel instead of the garage (5th wheel is a toy-hauler). Also it allows me to move the powder inventory into the air-conditioned cab of the truck when we're going down the road as the 5th wheel will/does turn into an oven in this weather.

I'm not so much worried about sparks in the ammo can but I do realize that it would make a pretty good BOOM should we have a fire but given the circumstances I think it's safer than being stored someplace where the temperature can and will reach in excess of 120 degrees.

If we did have a fire I'd make an attempt to grab the can and get it out along with myself but if I failed I'd put a good distance between myself and the 5th wheel quickly.

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