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Thread: Safest way to store smokeless gunpowder

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    In the Foothills of the Rockies, Colorado

    Safest way to store smokeless gunpowder

    Hello all,

    I have read to many other bad opinions on this and I wanted to inquire to my best source, Cast Boolits!

    What are the opinions and reasoning for the best way to store smokeless powder?

    Vacuum sealed in the container with a vacuum bag over it?

    In a Safe or fire box?

    with dessicant or dehumidifier?

    Looking to store probably no more than 3 or 4 different types of powder, and not a huge quantity....

    I have to make my wife confident that it is relatively safe, as I told her that it burns at a very high heat without pressure on it.... it doesn't go boom.... it just burns very quickly and very hot.

    Thanks in advance...

    I searched for this and didn't find anything.....

    also, I know primers should be stored seperately, but how and where on them also?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Freightman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Amarillo, Tx
    Well here in the Texas panhandle you do not have to worry about humidity as we haven't had a decent rain, snow ect since October. So I have an old refrigerator that serves as a powder storage, I do not turn it on as I am afraid that the refrigeration would cause a moister problem.It is in an insulated shop and the insulation from the refrigerator keeps it cool in the summer.
    Frank G.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master spqrzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Store them in their original container, in a cool and dry location. Avoid temperature extremes. That's all.

    As for safety, the analogy I use is that a pound of powder is about as dangerous as a quart of gasoline you store for the lawnmower. It should be treated with the equivalent respect but not excessive fear. Its not strictly true, energy wise, but its a rough approximation.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    fecmech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Buffalo NY area
    Humidity is not that big of a deal, blackpowder yes smokeless no. High temps will increase the degradation of smokeless powder, as a previous poster said cool is best. Store smokeless powder in it's original containers and ideally in a wooden box with about 1" thick walls. In the event of a fire yes the wood will burn but the wood will insulate the powder for a long time from the heat. In a metal container the heat will transfer immediately igniting the powder instantaneously. Ammo cans would be the worst thing you could store powder in, you'd be making a bomb! If you have a basement the safest place for powder would be a wooden box located there. The whole idea in the case of a fire is time to escape.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C. S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    nicholst55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Daegu, Korea
    Smokeless powder is considered a flammable solid, not an explosive (unlike black powder). Storing it in a wooden cabinet or box allows for the expanding gases caused by combustion to be (relatively) slowly and evenly vented out the sides, thus preventing rapid and violent expansion of the container and subsequent venting of the gases.

    Also remember that your state Fire Marshall doubtless has a limit on the amount of powder you can legally store without having to construct a powder magazine separate from your dwelling - usually between 5-8 pounds.

    Remember, Google is your friend: SAAMI Guide To Storing Smokeless Powder.
    Boycott YouTube

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Phoenix, Arizona
    The location where your dwelling is located might have requirements for powder storage. The fire dept here likes a wooden container with nominal 1" walls.
    A safe might be sealed so if the temperature built up too high it could be a bomb.

    In my youngest sons hunter safety course the "instructors" poured out #1 can of about 5 powders with different rates on a 2"X 12"X 8'. The wind was up so they used cardboard target backers for wind blocks. Now they were all holding the cardboard except for the guy with the match so were about a foot away from the board. The guy lit the pile on one end, wind blew across the board and set alll the powder off!! The cardboard and grass lit on fire too!!
    My son and I had moved to the top corner of the bleachers when I saw what they were going to do. My son looked at me with amazement and I just shrugged by shoulders and shook my head!
    Interesting end to the course to say the least.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Geraldo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Treasure Coast
    Tell your wife that in my twenty years as a firefighter, unattended cooking oil on the stove was responsible for more residential property damage and burns than anything else.

    Don't overdo it with the wife or you'll be making a lot of changes, but you've got far greater hazards in your house than ammo and powder.
    Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so. -B. Russell

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