I don't want to go boom

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

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  1. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    Smokeless powder is a propellent not an explosive so it don't go BOOM. It goes whoosh. LOL
    But primers on the other hand can & do chain fire. I have had them do it when I was depriming some dropped rounds from the range.
    I store my primer in one end of the large vented metal cabinet & powder at the other with my prepped cases in the middle.
     
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  2. W/Vickers1938

    W/Vickers1938 Member

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    When I resumed reloading(30 year hiatus) I purged my store of powders that had experienced a move from San Diego to Iowa, then subjected to storage in an uninsulated garage, the only powder that appeared to have deteriorated was some Pyrodex Cartridge. Which had clumped into a solid mass. Cardboard cylinders of Hercules Unique, 2400, and Blue Dot poured freely. The only issue was with a 3 LB can of 231 (Purchased in 1978, Target Tossers, Lakeside Cali) I found it necessary to cut the container open, as lid would not unscrew. An unopened can of 700x still smelled sweetly of ether.
    I disposed of by pouring on the ground back in the timber.
    I will endeavor to inspect each and every container prior to use.
    Thank you
     
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  3. WeekendReloader

    WeekendReloader Member

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    The reasons for the wooden magazine are:
    1. If the house catches fire, the 1" thick sides on the wooden magazine will protect the primers and powder long enough from heat for you and your family to get out.
    2. Keeps powder and primers away from children.
    3. It's a safe place to store hazardous materials away from heat or possibly falling off a shelf and spilling on the floor.
    4. It is a non-explosive containment, built to come apart and not contain the pressures (unlike an ammo box or gun cabinet).
     
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  4. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I check my stocks every couple months for heat with my IR setting on my camera. Anything hot shows up fast. About twice a year I open and inspect things. I only load up ammo as I use it so no ruined, stored ammo in boxes. Keep my stocks in a reloading room that is the same temp as the rest of the house and in a wooden chest. I do tend to use up old propellant first then put the empty vintage cans on a shelf for display. Black powder out in the garage though as cold and hot will not hurt it.
     
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  5. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    If that was your takeaway, you weren't reading at all.

    Additionally, you might be excused for not knowing on the basis of being relatively new, but @Slamfire knows more about ammo and powder degradation than almost anyone outside of the industry. You should wonder if the insight you casually blow off is the most informed you'll ever have opportunity to hear.
     
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  6. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    The powder used in battleship 16 inch guns was WW2 vintage. All the BBs are decommissioned now and I don’t know when the powder was last/most recently used, but I do recall the USS Missouri was used in Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. So, big silk bags of 1945ish powder still went boom nearly 50 years later.

    Now you’ll probably tell me it’s a different type of powder...but I just had to mention that info so I’d contribute something:)
     
  7. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I'm shocked Bruce Hodgdon didn't buy them all up and add them to his rail-car warehouses of surplus powders for sale to the public. I guess he couldn't catch 'em all. ;)
     
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  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I read a book about the turret explosion in the battleship Iowa. There were a long chain of events that lead to ignition of a powder bag as it was being rammed. The specific powder lot had been fume tested by the Navy and should not have been a risk. Post turret explosion, Sandia Laboratories were able to demonstrate that arranging some of the powder tubes (looked like pasta tubes) in the trim section (end section) longitudinally with the bag, would cause ignition of the bag when rammed. The first drop test of a bag, with some of the powder tubes arranged longitudinally in the trim section, resulted in the entire test stand destroyed. The book did not say whether age was a contributor, but might have been.

    The Navy still blames the turret explosion as a deliberate suicide of a gay Sailor.

    SAILOR 'PROBABLY' SABOTAGED USS IOWA'S GUN, NAVY FIND
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1989/09/07/sailor-probably-sabotaged-uss-iowas-gun-navy-finds/679b81e9-46d0-4dc5-b626-69d08b1e5fe2/

    I know one retired Navy Civilian who claims that was the cause, so I am quite certain, this is what you have to believe if you want to be in the Navy.

    https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/the-navys-investigation-of-the-uss-iowa-turret-explosion-was-seriously-bungled/

    https://taskandpurpose.com/news/iowa-explosion/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Iowa_turret_explosion
     
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  9. George P

    George P member

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    My primers are stored in their original packaging sitting on a shelf or in a metal ammo can. Powders sit on shelves in the same room; this isn't rocket science. Keep and ABC extinguisher on hand on the wall.
     
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  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Pyrotechnics is its own subset of chemistry and engineering for a good reason. It isn't so much that it's unpredictable - like any other kind of chemical interaction/reaction, the chemistry behind making, storing, and using pyrotechnics are mostly predictable - it's the fact that entropy itself tends to be unpredictable. We really can't predict when what we think of and interpret as being a thriving ecosystem will fail, die, and collapse but, it happens all the time in nature and sometimes we can't even explain it after the fact.

    I'm not going to try to tell anybody checking their powders daily WILL absolutely prevent a terrible accident... because I don't know that it will. But, I will say most of us - me in particular - ought to be a bit more diligent and less sloppy in our storage and handling. I mean, I left a half pound of Unique in the sewing room for a week. Oops! :oops:
     
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  11. George P

    George P member

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    Checking powder daily just exposes the powder to air more frequently which can actually hasten its demise. Keep it in its original container, in a cool dry place, and it will last a long time. I have old DuPont metal cans of 4350, 7828 and 4831 I haven't used since I moved to Florida 20 years ago. Maybe one day I'll reload some 7mag or 7-08 with them. The Nosler bullets are sitting right next to the powders and LR primers on the shelf; primers which are as old as the powder (or older)
     
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  12. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    I get that powder goes "whoosh" but sealed in a 1" thick wooden box would tend to build pressure, like a lot of pressure against 1" oak boards. Isn't that really just a gigantic M80?

    I guess the theory is the wood burns before the powder would ignite? I understand it gives me time to get out but there's still firefighters fighting the fire.

    Again, I'm not worried about random explosions or ignition, I'm thinking more like fully engulfed structure fire. Anyone have any ideas what happens to ammo in an ammo can in a fire?

    I'm not terribly worried, I was curious on what everyone else does? I personally think open air on a shelf is the way to go.
     
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  13. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Lesson here is hoarding or not using powder is false economy. Treat it as like perishable food.
     
  14. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    Well this is listed as "gunpowder", I don't know if its black powder. However it goes boom.

     
  15. PADoubleX

    PADoubleX Member

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    Better yet. Win 296 explodes. Please don't try this stupid ****, that's what's youtube is for, watching idiots. This is just taped up, imagine a large qty contained.

     
  16. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    The only thing it will do is once the pressure builds to the point it can find an outlet, the pressure will bleed off & go "whoosh" it won't explode.

    I was probably 4F black powder it is classified as an explosive because of how fast it burns.
     
  17. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    I was at NAVSEA at that time and remember some of it. Fortunately I was on the John walker damage assessment team which was a recent past crisis and couldn’t be spared for the crisis du hour.
     
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  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I guess this was before your time:


    From The propellant management guide https://www.osmre.gov/resources/blasting/docs/ArmyDemilPropellantUse/ArmyPropellantManagementGuide.pdf

    CHAPTER4 NAVY GUN PROPELLANT SAFETY SURVEILLANCE 4-1.BACKGROUND.


    Technical Manual Safety Surveillance of Navy Gun Propellant, Policy and Procedures,31August1996, is the bes t source for detailed in formation beyond the scope of this chapter.


    a. The history of the Navy propellant surveillance program is very similar to that of the Army. Established at Indian Head, Maryland during the immediate post-World War I period, the Navy program was physically and technically a virtual twin of the Army program, which was begun just months later than that of the Navy in the year 1921. The oldest physical remains of both program's early days, the large, circular propellant heat chambers, appear to be built from the same design, during the same time period (1940-1941). Neither set of chambers at Indian Head nor at Picatinny are the“ original”1920's-vintage structures, which were based on steam heated chambers which proved to be insufficiently reliable.


    b. Auto ignition of propellant in the powder magazines aboard ship has caused the loss of many warships from the navies of various nations, most losses having occurred in the first few decades of the 20th century. The risk of unstable propellant aboard ship was so great that, even after more effective stabilizers were introduced during the second decade of this century, close monitoring of all the fleet stocks was considered essential. In fact, prior to 1963, each activity and ship had its own testing oven and was required to run a 65.50C surveillance test for 60 days each year on every lot of propellant in stock. Propellants in many configurations which would be considered safe for use by the Army (such as propellant loaded into fixed rounds) were and are routinely condemned and destroyed by the Navy as too hazardous to be aboard ship, where even a minor deflagration can cost the lives of the sailors and marines aboard, such as that which occurred in the powder magazine of the USS KEARSARGE, killing 10 sailors.


    c. Information necessary to assure the safety of Navy propellant stocks(and the vessels upon which they are stored) is provided to the fleet as well as storage installations (Navy coastal and SMCA locations) through the monitoring and testing of all existing Navy propellants. The Navy Gun Propellant Safety Surveillance program produces this information through its two programs, the Master Sample Program and the Fleet Return Program.


    Those large capital ships, such as battleships, heavy cruisers, light cruisers,(destroyers and DE's?) had propellant test facilities. But is it not interesting that entire battleships blew to autocombustion of old gunpowder in the magazines, and that the Navy decided it could not afford to lose more expensive ships by allowing old, deteriorated gunpowder to autocombust?

    This, like almost everything gunpowder aging, has been forgotten by the shooting community


    HMS Vanguard http://www.gwpda.org/naval/vanguard.htm


    From Wiki:

    Although the explosion was obviously a detonation of the cordite charges in a main magazine, the reason for it was less clear. There were several theories. The inquiry found that some of the cordite on board, which had been temporarily offloaded in December 1916 and catalogued at that time, was past its stated safe life. The possibility of spontaneous detonation was raised, but could not be proved. It was also noted that a number of ship's boilers were still in use, and some watertight doors, which should have been closed in wartime, were open as the ship was in port. It was suggested that this might have contributed to a dangerously high temperature in the magazines. The final conclusion of the board was that a fire started in a four-inch magazine, perhaps when a raised temperature caused spontaneous ignition of cordite, spreading to one or the other main magazines, which then exploded.


     
  19. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    You betcha...but seems things that go boom are always a problem and have always been a problem.
     
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  20. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I really hope I'm wrong here but it seems the message coming from at least one corner of this discussion is, "gunpowder" - in all it's myriad forms - is simply too dangerous for civilians to own. We ignorant masses just aren't smart enough or conscientious enough to be "allowed" to have such a dangerous combination of chemicals in our homes. Please tell me the "solution" to not knowing how to sniff smokeless "correctly" or keep assiduous inspection records of loaded ammunition is NOT to pack it all up and stop keeping anything loaded with "gunpowder" in our homes. Because, if that is even being hinted at, that person is going on my "ignore" list.
     
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  21. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    proxy-image?piurl=https%3A%2F%2Fencrypted-tbn0.gstatic.jpg
     
  22. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Risk can be managed to an acceptable level if you know what to look for. And as I was taught in my NRA Range Safety class, attitude is the most critical element for safety. Ignorance is dangerous. This is what David Dunning said about ignorance:


    Pacific Standard Dec 2014, Confident Idiots – David Dunning

    http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793/

    An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.

    In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

    Policies and decisions founded on ignorance have a strong tendency, sooner or later, to blow up in ones face.
     
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  23. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Not really. As I was taught in my Risk Management class, as part of my engineering degree program, planning and research are the most critical elements for safely managing risk.

    Know the real risks, know the probable risks, know the possible risks, and know the difference between "preparation" and preparedness. Neither includes obsession. Plan for what's likely and you're on your way to managing real risks properly. Henny Pennys (Chicken Little) are good at screaming in a panic but can't manage risk worth beans - they're too busy worrying about "might" to take care of "is."

    I'm just concerned that this is becoming a discussion about who is "right" and who is "wrong" instead of what to be concerned with as a reloader, gun owner and responsible home owner/renter. Anyone who suggests their way is the only way and everyone else is just wrong, or who wants to lecture like a tyrant, can leave anytime and I won't miss them. :)
     
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  24. ParallelCode

    ParallelCode Member

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    @Slamfire do you have any insights regarding the lifespan and degradation characteristics of primers?
     
  25. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Then you built the box wrong. It's not a strong box, it's a weak, thick box.
     
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