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Secure storage for smokeless powder/loaded ammo?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SWDoc, May 23, 2011.

  1. SWDoc

    SWDoc Well-Known Member

    As I understand it, storing smokeless powder or loaded ammo in a semi-airtight enclosure is potentially bad. If it burns, the pressure can build to the point that it is explosive (as it is is designed to do). Is this correct, and does anyone MAKE secured and vented storage for this purpose?

  2. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    I've never heard that before. Where did you? I have a hard time believing that notion though.

    I store my ammo in my safe with my guns. I store my smokeless powder on a shelf, in my reloading cabinet.
  3. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    SAAMI has some publications on their site about storing smokeless powder and primers. Loosly put; they say somkeless powder should be stored in an inclosure that will come apart, rather than build a lot of preasure. For primers, they say to store in something thick that will slow down flames/sparks.
  4. SWDoc

    SWDoc Well-Known Member

    I have seen the SAAMI info, but I had heard that before some time ago. I reload, and kept my powder just on top of the safe, but have a friend who is now accumulating a pretty good stock of powder and loaded ammo. His plan was to keep in in a safe, and when I remembered the whole smokeless powder/ burn/ pressure buildup in enclosed environment = pressure spike = kerblooey I thought I'd check here. Seems I had heard of purpose-built storage lockers that were well vented to avoid that. It's all about the pressure. Maybe gunsafes are loosed enough not to pose a problem. Looking for expertise.....

    Ring a bell w/ anyone?

  5. RugerBob

    RugerBob Well-Known Member

    I have an old heavy duty 4 drawer file cabinet. Lag bolted to the wall and a steel bar that also locks for extra measure. Store my ammo and powder in seperate drawers with the bottom drawer for misc stuff. $20 yard sale.
  6. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    I keep my powder in a fiberboard cabinet. It has doors that swing out and lock, BUT one wall is not glued and is only held in place with a couple of tiny nails. You could knock it out from the inside with your hand. If there's ever an untoward event with the powder, the wall will blow out long before any pressure can build.

    Don't let a flash fire turn into an explosion.
  7. gbw

    gbw Well-Known Member

    If you have room for it try an old refridgerator.
  8. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    You are correct - in terms of fire safety, you should not store ammo or powder in containers that will not easily come apart at moderate pressures. The rationale for this is to keep the pressures released by the powder/ammo during a fire from building up to the point where the storage container becomes a grenade or alters the normal oxidation characteristics of the compounds. In fact, the recommended enclosure for storing smokeless powder or similar chemicals has historically been a wooden cabinet specifically because it'll blow apart at relatively low pressures and the splinter radius will be relatively small compared to metal cabinetry bits.

    Storing ammo in a RSC is a good idea from a security perspective but can be a momumentally bad idea from a fire perspective.


    ETA - some reading:


    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published a Explosive Materials Code (#495) back in the early twentieth century. That publication has formed the basis for most local fire codes on the subject, and is referenced within the SAAMI guidelines:


    It includes the following:


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