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Powder storage in safe with goldenrod

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by thub, Sep 26, 2011.

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  1. thub

    thub Member

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    I have kept my reloading powder and other reloading supplies in a gun safe for the last several years with a goldenrod dehumdifier on. Does any one else do this and how safe do you think this is.
     
  2. kutter

    kutter Member

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    How warm does it get inside your safe with the dehumidifier on? I seem to recall that when we stored ammunition on the ship so long as it was under like 120F then it was not a big deal.
     
  3. hoghunting

    hoghunting Member

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    Storing powder in a gun safe is not recommended by any of the powder manufacturers. If the powder were to ignite, the pressure would be contained in the safe until the pressure exceeds the limit of the safe. Then you have a very large grenade.

    Go to the manufacturer's site and read their powder storage recommendations.
     
  4. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Don't do it. Any reloading manual will also give you the rules and regs on powder storage. As others have said you could create that "big boom".
     
  5. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Why would yo do the one thing that could increase the danger of smokeless powder burning by enclosing it in a strong enclosure?
     
  6. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Oh? So just how is that powder going to ignite? Unless it's a wally world sheet metal safe, it will never reach ignition temps in any house fire. Most safes are pretty much fireproof. At least mine is.

    IF a safe is packed full of powder, then it ALL ignites at once, yeah that's a labomba. Smokeless powder is NOT an explosive. It has to be tightly confined to make an explosive device.

    Everybody gets their panties in a knot about powder. As far as storing it in a gunsafe, WHY? Who's being kept out? If you're worried about deterioration, if it's inside a house, it's fine. Extreme hot temps are to be avoided. If kept tightly sealed, it's fine as long as it doesn't get hot. My powder is stored in my house, wherever I have shelf space for it. Don't worry about excess humidity.
     
  7. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    As several have already stated, that is not a safe practice at all ... and it has nothing to do with the Goldenrod heater. But, the heater does add even more to the unsafe side of the practice.

    If your local fire department ever learned that you are doing that, your house would burn to the ground before they would approach it. Seriously.


    [Edit]
    snuffy, I disagree totally with your take on this particular one (as does any FD and SAAMI), and that's a rarity.
     
  8. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Snuffy:
    Consider an electrical short or a sparking wire from that Goldenrod dehumidifier with all the WD-40 fumes in an enclosed space. It's a long shot but since I worked for 38 years as a Chemical Engineer, 12 years in explosives manufacturing, I have seen many strange and unique occurrences happen without any logical explanation for them. Don't laugh off storing powder in a gun safe with an electrical outlet(s) and an accelerator present like WD40. All I'm stating is read the regs on storing smokeless powde and be safe.
    LR
     
  9. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

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    As stated previously, numerous times, storing pwder in a safe is considered bad practice. Whether it IS safe or not, I don't choose to debate.
    Instead, I would suggest that if the standard practices say don't do it, and you do have an "incident", you could be risking voiding your insurance, or at least having difficulties collecting from them. On another note, why would you want to waste valuable safe space storing cheap powder? Buy more guns and fill that safe up.
    For what it's worth, I've stored my powders in interior closets for the last few decades with no ill effects, and even some in the garage at times. Tightly sealed containers and no excessive heat are the keys.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The thing is, you buy a fire safe to protect your firearms from a fire.

    Then why fill it with highly flammable powder that is also an oxidizer.
    Meaning it doesn't need oxygen to burn very very hot.

    If it catches on fire, and even if it doesn't blow the safe door through the living room wall?

    Everything inside the fire safe is going to be a Crispy Critter when it cools off!

    rc
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The official recommendation for powder storage is a wooden case or cabinet. Plain old solid wood will take longer to burn through or let the interior reach ignition temperature than you might think.

    A friend goes one step farther... maybe. He keeps his powder in a heavily insulated document box. With the lid NOT locked, just in case.
     
  12. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Bovine scatology.

    If you have a significant fie all the guns will be ruined anyway.

    A hot steam bath from the gypsum liner is NOT good for firearms.
     
  13. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    All I can say is...WHY?

    I'm going to completely disregard the controversial issue of whether it is safe, or a hazard.

    All I can say, is WHY? I would leave it out of the safe for the same reason I don't put my ketchup, or my toilet paper, or my boots in the safe.

    A safe is for protecting items of value. Relative to items one traditionally finds in a safe, powder is, by comparsion, approximately worthless. Seriously, at about $15/lb, it is worth about twice as much as an equivalent poundage of T-bone steaks. Why not put your steaks in the safe, and your powder in the freezer?
     
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Snuffy is correct; there is no rational way for any powder ignition to occur inside a safe, GoldenRod or not. "WD-40" vapors sure won't do it either. The only way the powder could be ingnited would be if the residence burns and the safe became red hot. But, why put powder in a safe anyway?

    The 'heat' from a gun safe warmer is quite low but powder keeps MUCH better at low temps; heat always accelerates chemical breakdown, cold always retards it. And the factory containers control any humidity absorbtion quite well, after all it's designed to do exactly that. Thus, I can see no benefit to storing powder in a safe.
     
  15. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    If you are comfortable in your house then your powder is comfortable too. No need to lower its relative humidity by heating the air around it.

    My powder happily sets on the shelf in my bedroom closet.
     
  16. RalphS

    RalphS Member

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    Give your local fire department a call and ask them what they think about it

    Or wait until there's a fire and inform them when they show up that you have gunpowder stored in a metal safe. Then watch them back up 1000 yards and wait until the fire has finished burning your house down.
     
  17. Otto

    Otto Member

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    Visualize a burglar with an acetylene torch.
     
  18. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Member

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    So, to add fuel to the fire (no pun intended, okay, yes, it is intended ;0), if you have 20 or 30 or 40 lbs of powder stored outside of a gun safe, and you tell the fire department about it, do you think they would back up 1000 yards and watch it burn or immediately attack the fire...by the way, does anyone store rounds of ammunition in their safe? Does that present a major issue as well. I store ammo in my safe simply because I only have the safe half full of rifles, and the extra space in the safe is better used for that than left empty and all my ammo sitting around the closet, bedroom, etc.
     
  19. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    No, storing ammo in a gun safe is not very hazardous. There is little chance of it going off all at once.
     
  20. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    You should look at the NFPA (National Fire Protection Act) for that. I remember coming across it studying for fire alarm certificates. I know it has powder storage in there, and the storage methods change for different amounts, but I don't remember what it was. That is where to find out the "proper" way to store powder and such if you care to know.

    There is a store here that sells a lot of powder. They keep a bunch of it under the counter like a normal store shelf. Then they have a safe on the floor with the shotgun powders in it and it has the door open. There is some documentation from the local FD on it, so they blessed off on it. I would imagine the door is never fully closed.

    I also recall seeing powder stored this way and a test. The idea is that when it blows, the blast is directed in on direction --make sure way is safest, say not towards a bedroom. If you close the door, it will blow the door off one way and the safe the other and the blast is much greater. You make a bomb essentially, and a very powerful one, because having the space only partially filled with powder in a heavy enclosure magnifies the blast considerably, vs. having the door all the way open or off altogether.

    You can also get powder storage cabinets from industrial safety companies. These are basically red painted metal cabinets and they are assembled and tested such that they are listed for this. The closest thing to them are the stackon gun cabinets with the door unlocked.

    Whatever you do, don't use anything electric that could short or cause a spark in there with the powder, and don't lock the door for sure, and definitely don't do the two at the same time. If you close the door, it should be ajar, and the door should face a safe direction.
     
  21. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    It can easily get above the ignition temperature of powder inside a safe in a major fire.
     
  22. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    One of the gunpowder stability tests is putting gunpowder in a 65 C (150 F) oven and seeing if it fumes in 30 days. If it does the lot is tested for stabilizer content. If the content is low, and that is likely because the powder fumed, the lot is scrapped.

    The Navy is particularly diligent in its powder tests. The Army somewhat less. When ammunition and shells go off on land, a lots of soldiers get killed, but all you really have is a big divot in the ground. When gunpowder auto ignites in a ship, while it will kill a lot of sailors, the part that bothers the Navy the most is that they may lose a capital ship. Capital ships are real expensive. And it is hard to hide the loss of one of them.

    Powder can and does ignite from auto ignition.

    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.


    Perhaps the memory has been forgotten, but Civil War era shells were big thick things stuffed with black powder. Black powder produces lower pressures than smokeless, but even so, when the shell burst, fragments of which killed a lot of people.

    Just imagine the fun when your safe goes off.
     
  23. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    1700+ degrees is pretty hot, and no, most Residential Security Containers only have a few pieces of drywall in them - not exactly fire proof.

    Powder magazines are typically made of wood, not welded steel. If the powder catches fire it will burn, not explode - unless the pressure builds up too much
     
  24. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    I'd say that the best powder storage container short of a full-blown magazine is an old freezer. Don't bother plugging it in, just use it as an insulated container.
     
  25. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    As long as it is new enough to use a magnetic catch and not a mechanical catch.

    A magnetic catch (often built into the gasket) will open before pressures get very high, a mechanical catch will not.


    Black powder is a different animal.
    It CAN explode (detonate) in even small quantities without any confinement (though an outright explosion (detonation) is more likely with larger amounts).
     
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