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Vacuuming spilled powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dustinthewind, Jul 28, 2007.

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  1. Dustinthewind

    Dustinthewind Member

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    I just caught my wife vacuuming spilled powder off my reloading bench. My question is will her vacuum blow up?
     
  2. WSM MAGNUM

    WSM MAGNUM Member

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    What kind of vacuum was she using? If it was a home carpet/furniture vacuum, the powder should not blow back out the exhaust like a shop vac would. Some shop vacs do not trap fine stuff like drywall dust or powder and get blown back out near the motor. If powder blows out, it could start throwing a sparking shower out the exhaust. There are bags for shop vacs to trap fine particles. I use a shop vac with bags sucking up powder that just gets scattered a little. I don`t see a major hazard in sucking up powder if you are not sucking up a whole lot at once.
     
  3. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    I've been known to vacuum the small handful of powder flakes that collect around the base of my reloader after reloading several boxes of shotgun shells. But it's a very tiny quantity and I wouldn't vacuum anything larger. For a larger quantity, wet it with 409 and wipe it up with a paper towel.
     
  4. Dustinthewind

    Dustinthewind Member

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    I'ts a bagless house vac. The reason I was concearned is that I have heard of this happening on a radio talk show but I don't know what kind of vacuum they were using.
     
  5. esheato

    esheato Member

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    I think the bigger question is whether it was smokeless or black? :eek:

    If smokeless and you don't smell smoke yet, then I wouldn't worry about it. Would I do it all the time? Probably not.

    Ed
     
  6. Dustinthewind

    Dustinthewind Member

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    The powder is smokeless H335. I do shoot muzzleloaders but I only load them outdoors. I learned to respect black powder the hard way. And yes it involved a trip to the E.R.
     
  7. CMcDermott

    CMcDermott Member

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    With that kind of vacuum, the powder has already gone past the electric motor, so unless you have a fire inside the dirt collection container you won't have any problems. If it's just dirt & dust in with the powder, just empty the container out onto your lawn and the powder will fertilize your grass.
    I use a shop-vac with a HEPA filter to do my clean up - this setup prevents the powder from going through the motor so there aren't any problems.
     
  8. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    Personally, I would be very leery of doing that, or at least I would use a Dustbuster type of vacuum. You ought to empty out the vac now and caution her not to do it again. Dust itself can be explosive under the right circumstances, so the smokeless powder could be the spark needed to make an even bigger problem inside the vac.
     
  9. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    It is not the type of vacuum that matters, but whether or not vacuuming with your particular vacuum creates static electricity (moving air at a faster than normal rate over a convoluted piece of plastic - sound like a familiar part of a vacuum cleaner?) or if your outlets are not truly grounded.

    I would NOT recommend the practice.
     
  10. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    For spills I put use a ladies knee-high nylon hose (comes in a small plastic egg for $.33 at WalMart in a variety of fashionable colors :D), in the wand extension of the hose to catch all the powder (and shot, since I reload mostly for shotgun) before it goes in the vacuum cleaner. I do this so just incase there's one primer that I dropped and that I didn't find/didn't see/missed/forgot about.

    Primer + Vacuum cleaner + Dust + Powder = Dead Vacuum Cleaner, Big Mess, and Extremely PO'd Mrs Scout.

    Don't ask me how I know.
     
  11. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    don't do it again if you can avoid it. no sense risking a blown up vacuum or injury.
     
  12. SR_

    SR_ Member

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    Scout, great tip.

    Thought you'd enjoy knowing I read both your response and signature line to my wife. We both got a kick out the way you presented this info.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Hmmmm..... I have vacuumed up plenty over the years. It has always been very small amounts though. Just cleaning up tiny spills. (You know, like the ones were no case is there :uhoh: )
     
  14. Linear Thinker

    Linear Thinker Member

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    I've been using a bag-type whole house vacuum to clean up powder spills for many years, never an issue. Once, after going through the full vac bag contents (was looking for missing Lego pieces - first place to look when the kids complain)
    I tried setting the mess on fire, to no avail. There was probably a tenth of a pound of Bullseye in there - the old cardboard container separated as I was trying to pull the spout out, and made a mess all over my reloading room.

    So, I will continue using the whole-house vac to clean up powder spills. If you have a Rainbow or somesuch water based vacuum, you will definitely be safe. If you have a bagless vac, don't take chances.
    LT
     
  15. pdowg881

    pdowg881 Member

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    I had a shop vac that broke because sparks started flying out of the motor and it started smoking. If I was vaccuming gunpowder instead of sawdust I might have had a problem.
     
  16. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    Why are you guys spilling powder anyway?
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    We are just clumsy I guess. :neener:
     
  18. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Member

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    I blew up a vacuum once doing it. I'd do it again too. It was a lot of fun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  19. koja48

    koja48 member

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    scout26

    Great idea & I won't ask . . .
     
  20. Navy_Guns

    Navy_Guns Member

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    Not a good idea...

    I'd keep the vac AWAY from the loading bench! You de-prime and resize cases on that bench, right? What about the residues containing mercury and lead? You get that stuff in your vacuum and every time you turn it on you'll be putting particles in the air that you don't want to breathe. Except now you've spread them all over your house.

    Just noticed your handle is "Dustinthewind"... Ain't that a coincidence!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  21. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

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    change the bag, start sweeping your bench more so your wife doesn't accidently vaccuum up something important, like a small very hard to find part for one of your firearms.
     
  22. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Hmmmm..... I have vacuumed up plenty over the years. It has always been very small amounts though. Just cleaning up tiny spills. (You know, like the ones were no case is there ) ----

    Or, there is no primer in the case, sometimes with, or without the bullet :scrutiny:
     
  23. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Yeah Navy Lieutenant...Ask my wife about vacuuming up that pesky live primer...She refuses to clean my Gun/loading room anymore...
     
  24. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    How do you know?:D
    I use one of those carpet flickers.
     
  25. Sheldon J

    Sheldon J Member

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    It's a myth

    A vacuum cleaner cannot ignite smokeless powder, now black is a totally different issue.:what:
     
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