I don't want to go boom

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by PADoubleX, May 14, 2021.

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  1. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    In another thread I made a comment about purchasing a large quantity of primers. It got me to thinking, "how and where will I store them"

    Powder I know the whole wooden magazine 1" thick walls. It also dawned on me that 16lb cases available doesn't take long to be over 50lbs. I've read on other forums that "20 lbs is a lot of powder" I routinely have well in excess of 20 lbs.

    How do you guys store powder and primers? Separate magazines? I'm a belt and suspender kinda guy, I store them in separate magazines in separate rooms on the highest floor of my house. My rationale is "in the event of a disaster I want the least amount of compression"

    Loaded rounds I keep in ammo cans. Again, I'm not quite certain what happens when 500 rounds of 9mm heat up to like 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. I hope I never find out.

    I'm not really inclined on calling up my local fire chief and say "Hey I have a question..." cause I'm pretty sure his response will be, "you have a problem..." and then every letter of the alphabet visits.
     
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  2. Archie

    Archie Member

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    For primers, I made - isn't hard, all straight lines - wooden boxes to store limits of primers.
    Universal Fire Codes (which are not law in all jurisdictions, but seemingly not objected either) recommends (mandates?) one inch walled wooden boxes, designed to fail gently instead of being a bomb with a certain maximum number of primers per container.
    Powder is similar. Wooden one inch walled 'containers' and limits on how much per container. Not hermetically sealed so pressure doesn't build up. (Not a bomb.)

    I used a double layer of half inch plywood glued together. Local fire codes may dictate 'maximum' levels of both items. However, I've never (either in PDSR Cal or Nebraska) had a Fire Marshall or other official demand to check my house for reloading components. Be responsible and do not let your house catch fire. That's two different directives.
     
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  3. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    My neighbor stores small amounts in separate rooms in his house and the bulk in the air conditioned area in his shed. Once I get power run to my shed, I plan to do the same. For now, I keep as much as I can stored in a storage cabinet in the garage against the interior wall. Although the garage isn't climate controlled, the cabinet being against an interior wall keeps temperature swings relatively controlled.

    If you don't have a shed or detached garage, I would just suggest spreading things out.
     
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  4. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    Garage attached. Shed not climate controlled. I'm here in the NorthEast, our weather can easily swing 75 degrees season to season, and its damp. So storing outside isn't viable for me.
     
  5. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I keep mine on shelves in the loading room (6x6). Powder and primers ain't going to explode. Keep the primers in their sleeves. The powder in it's cans. I have more than what the fire code says is acceptable, but that piddly of an amount won't see you through 2 years drought.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
  6. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    I have a couple of rentals—think I’ll slip some stuff in the basements in between tenants.
     
  7. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    In all likelihood, completely wrong. I keep my opened powders, some loaded ammo, and bricks of primers in an old Steelcase locking cabinet. It is metal, not fire-proofed, and built like a safe with front-opening, locking double-doors, four shelves and a light kit. I doesn't seal but it is solid. My unopened powders I keep in a wooden bookshelf with my reference library and mystery books collection. I think there may be one or three carved books with guns and ammo "hidden" in them. Opened primer packs I keep in a plastic carry-box (one of the old blue Smith&Wesson lunch-pale/ammo-packs) which - last I saw it - was in the lower shelf of the lathe stand - and I keep some partial primer packs in the steel cabinet.. some are also in my workbench, a few are in my desk... and I think I have a couple of bricks in the roll-around tool box. And in with my die sets, probably. Possibly there is an opened pound of Unique powder and a few SPP primer packs in my wife's sewing room, too. I think maybe that's where I left them when I was reloading .38Spl while she was working on a quilt.

    Basically, I have powder, ammo, primers, and reloading "stuff" strewn all over the house and storage shed/out-building. Don't do what I do.
     
  8. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I store everything in my reloading room which is a spot in the unfinished side of my basement. I keep powder in the original containers and primers in the original sleeve/boxes. Loaded ammo in ammo boxes. Not sure what the fire code is here but I have/had more than 20# of powder and agree it's pretty easy to surpass that. I've not had issues, but I have not been reloading as long as some here.

    -Jeff
     
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  9. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    I keep it all on a shelf in my basement. As I understand it, the black powder (technically an explosive) needs special precautions for large amounts and might go boom in a fire. Bad idea to store this in a locked metal cabinet. The smokeless should burn rather than explode in a fire (same with loaded rounds.) Primers i’d imagine are similar.
     
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  10. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I guess I'm a kinda "show me" guy. I have stored a few thousand primers, in their original containers in an "under the bed" plastic box with a snug fit (roughly 8' high and 18"x30"). I keep this container in my shop, a plain, 18x24 stick built wooden "Tough Shed", no A/C. My powder is kept in the original containers in a steel cabinet with my bullet stash. Primers have been stores like this for over 20 years an I've never had a misfire from a "contaminated", old primer. Before the "what if guys" chime in I have never known, read a factual report, or witnessed a home/shop fire that exploded any primers or powder. I'm not cavalier about my components but there are more dangerous chemicals and containers under my kitchen sink and in the laundry room. I know one reloader that has made wooden storage cabinets but he is also an amateur cabinet maker/wood worker and I met one reloader that had a bright yellow, steel Flammable Liquid cabinet.

    I have been looking for a video showing the "results" of burning a pallet of primers, shooting into a container of primers and loaded ammo, burning containers of powders, etc., done by a Fire Department in a controlled, safe manner. If someone remembers it and can post a like, I think it would be appropriate here...
     
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Good gunpowder should have a 20 shelf life, but it is not as simple as that, Armies would not be spending money having Ammunition Specialists go through their munitions and culling out the rounds that are going bad.

    this is from a 1969 Insensitive Munitions presentation

    056KrAU.jpg

    more recent

    qTKdEtd.jpg

    Gunpowder has a "unknown" lifetime. That is, it goes bad, and the only way to find out if it is bad, is through inspection.

    You know, none of the people in my gun club, noticed these warnings. Or understood their significance. These lots went bad, and probably burnt a few houses down. And it was not simply because the powder was "bad", it was because the powders went bad.

    1TwgGSB.jpg

    Break the seals and inspect your stocks when you think of it. You don't want this:

    OSW5VUq.jpg

    you don't want this

    Z03JC41.jpg

    this happens

    KYSquJE.jpg

    and this happens

    gYgK0S0.jpg

    this was very bad and it was lucky none of these tins autocombusted

    SONQaMa.jpg

    My advice, break the seal, and sniff. This is not 100% perfect, but lacking a gas chromatography machine, it is what you have. If the powder smells bitter in the slightest, get rid of it. It is not perfect because I have had powder that cracked case necks within months of being loaded, and the stuff had no foul smell. Still poured it out. But if you ever sniff a foul, bitter odor, pour the stuff out. If you ever run across something like this:

    p3BUwl9.jpg

    Get it out of the house immediately. If you sniff, that red stuff is nitrogen dioxide, and it will rip the tissue out of your nose. And, what you don't see, is nitric acid gas that is created when NO2 bumps into a water molecules. Molecules are very tiny, by the way. Incredibly tiny. The combination of the two may cause damage to your lungs. A sniff will knock your socks offs.

    When powder has gotten to this state, it is ready to autocombust. It is very dangerous. Surveillance of your gunpowder stocks is important, if you are concerned about waking up dead.

    You will find a lot of misinformed shooters who think if they never break the seal, the gunpowder will somehow last forever. They are wrong. Some of these guys are proud to share pictures of their WW2 era powders, sold by Hodgdon.

    8kBGxXg.jpg

    7iewHbH.jpg

    They have no idea the state of that powder, and you know, stuff that old is dangerous to store in the house.

    By the way, these are various tests the Army was using back in the 1960's, to determine the remaining shelf life of gunpowder.

    HgPaI1J.jpg

    The shooting community does not want to know this. The eraser of this knowledge, that gunpowder, and thus, ammunition does not last forever, has been willingly and deliberately erased from the shooting community. I think it is due to hoarding behavior, and the delusion of immortality. Everyone thinks they are going to live forever, therefore it only makes sense, that your hoard of gunpowder and ammunition lasts forever. Since you are going to be around forever. Totally delusion and irrational, but that is my guess. I have had very angry, insulting reactions when I tell shooters that their powder has gone bad. I think the angry push back is because, if their powder is not immortal, then in some way, I have taken the re loader's immorality away too. In a way, I have murdered them. Not a way to make friends! Whatever is behind this, the shooting community wants to be stupid, and industry is happy to keep us stupid. It is a win-win for them. They don't make money telling us what not to buy. And, a stupid shooting community is not going to be picky about the age of ammunition or gunpowder. Ignorance is strength, from the industries viewpoint.
     
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  12. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    Primers and powder in a metal hazmat storage locker I got from DRMO years ago. Not much to it really. I cycle my powders as I replenish. Newest to the back, oldest up front just like your grocery store does....lol
     
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  13. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    I'm not concerned really about the powder or primers self combusting. I'm thinking more of in the event of a fire. Perfect world I'd want to plastic container to catch fire and the powder to burn like a ground pyrotechnic. Worse case 50# of powder detonating in a 1" thick wooden box with thousands of rounds exiting the house through the walls.

    I'm sure there's a whole lot of physics involved in why the powder in the wooden magazine is a better idea than containers lined up on an open shelf.
     
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  14. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    The fundamentals of Smokeless Powder are:
    - protect the material from ignition
    - don't store in a container that will build pressure

    Powder burning in the open is boring; the same powder burning in a container that will build pressure (even briefly) is an explosion. A proper magazine igniting is a fiery belch, not an explosion.

    Primers are harder, as they are actually explosive. The only approach is to spread them out.

    My approach is thick but weak-sided wooden magazines, each of <50# total, on the floor in the basement. They're spread out to avoid a chain. In the sort of house fire I'm used to seeing, by the time it's getting hot on the basement floor, there won't be a structure remaining above it to be in.
     
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  15. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Just wait for the law to require you to build a bomb. Got kids some think that means everything belongs in the safe... that's just going to end ugly. I store everything in wood cabinets. My powder is upstairs in a big igloo ice chest.
     
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  16. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Other than keeping it away from ignition sources and inclement environments, I follow few safety storage protocols. Mine are stored open air in a dedicated room. My biggest safety method is rotation of stock. New cans are dated with a sharpie, and I am careful to use oldest first, and burn up unknown lots from sales, auction, etc rapidly in frequently expended plinker ammo. Military surplus ammo of questionable provenance is stored in an auxiliary outbuilding that wouldn't break my heart if it had an accident.
     
  17. AgPilot

    AgPilot Member

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    Powder is the cabinet above My loading gear. Primers are about 4-5 feet away on top of My safe. I guess I figured if the houses catches fire the last thing I’m worried about is what is going on with those things. I’m going to be more of get the Dogs out and then Holla at My Wife:neener: and tell Her to get Out!!!!
     
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  18. Phantom 309
    • Contributing Member

    Phantom 309 Contributing Member

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    Here's the SAAMI video linked in the library of wisdom sticky. Don't know if this is the one you were thinking of as they are dealing with complete cartridges and not components, but interesting anyways for anyone that hasn't watched it. They burn, smash, blast, shoot, and drop a huge amount of ammo for educational purposes.
     
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  19. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    Definitely don't store primers in a mason jar.
     
  20. T_Bone

    T_Bone Member

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    I live in Phoenix so storing things in the garage in summertime is not a good idea. I do keep powders and primers in garage in cooler months, but move them to an inside storage for summer.
    I don’t have huge hoards, less than 10 lbs of powder and less than 7,000 primers total.

    I do store them separately. After reading some posts here, I will be building some small wood boxes for storing them.
     
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  21. Dale Alan

    Dale Alan Member

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    I agree, makes those 100 dollar bills smell funny .
     
  22. Dale Alan

    Dale Alan Member

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    You wrote all that just so you could call people stupid ?
     
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  23. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    Under the bed, in a closet and on the shelf above the bench in their original containers. Climate controlled no worries. I do check my powders before use. I've still got powder that was given to me in cardboard containers that is still good. It all has to do with how it is stored...ymmv...
     
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  24. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I have stored all my powder and primers in the living room for 30+ years. The powder inside my loading bench and the primers on a shelf above it. Never a problem.
     
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  25. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I store both my powder and primers in my loading room, on shelves, out of the direct sunlight and in the original containers. The room is environmentally controlled.
     
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