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Thread: Storage of Propellants (and primers) - a Suggestion:

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Storage of Propellants (and primers) - a Suggestion:

    I have been making Surplus 20mm Ammo Cans into 'legal' storage containers for my Propellants here in California.

    I have been using 1/2" nominal Marine Plywood to add two layers of fire resistant liner to the inside of the 20mm Ammo cans. This leaves room for at least 5, one pound powder canisters standing in the bottom an one or two laying on top of those in each modified Ammo can.
    Also one pound Black Powder rectangular canisters fit three abrest across th enarrow inside dimension and three rows along the longer dimension with some room left over for another canister at the end and space above them for a few others laying on their sides.
    Here in my City, County, and State the Home storage limit is about 25lb of Black Powder and some similar limit for Smokeless Propellants when stored in fire resistant containers.
    I also store primers separately in a plywood lined 'Fat 50 cal' Ammo can.

    These containers are NOT Stored inside my Home, but are secured in a separate shed in my yard.

    Chev. William

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    7/8" fire resistant sheet rock might get ya where you want to go and would be a lot easier to cut & fit.

    The 'fire liner' inside common retail sales gun safes is 1/2" sheet rock behind the velvet cloth you see on the inside of them.
    Along with a special tape that expands & seals the door when it get hot-- They're rated for 90 minutes in a (normal) home fire.

    I wouldn't think you'd want bulk powder in a ammo can that can contain it if or when it cooks off, causing it to explode.
    The latch on them may be a spec. where they'll pop open and vent-- I don't know.
    Even the old metal retail sales powder containers were made to burst open easily in the event of a fire
    so it burns off like when you light a pile of it on the ground.

    I don't worry about loaded ammo in them.
    When it starts cooking off, they won't go all at once.
    When a few pop, the latch on the can should fail and let them out to cook off/pop without making a bomb.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 10-03-2019 at 12:06 AM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    For the Record, every City, County, and State Fire Marshall (and Homeowner's Insurance Policy) will defer to the "Quantities" standard specification in accordance with the National Fire Prevention Act (NFPA) 495-40, Explosive Materials Code (as below):

    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    The uncontrolled temperatures that result from storage outside of a temperature controlled environment will degrade and damage smokeless propellants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chev. William View Post
    These containers are NOT Stored inside my Home, but are secured in a separate shed in my yard.

    Chev. William
    EDG

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Well I'm out of compliance. I have most of the 1 lb containers of powder stored in a flip top container. It holds quite a few, and if one caught on fire would not turn into a bomb. Top can open freely, plastic sides will melt and vent.

    The one thing you do not want to do is tightly enclose it, turn it into a bomb.

    Primers go in a pair of ammo cans, one old .50 cal steel, and one new same size in plastic. Idea there being more about keeping them out of weather extreme's and keeping ignition sources from access to primers.

    But I am probably over the 50lb limit at this point. 98% of what I load these days is moderate loads of Red Dot.
    So that is what I have stashed the most of.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    What is the definition of a residence? Virtually all of my "stuff" is stored in my work shop. A building that is over a hundred feet from the house. Heated in the winter. Never gets bellow 40 degrees, I turn the heat down when I'm not in the building. Is that considered a residence?

    Powder is in a home made wood box sitting on the floor. I made it out of 1" chipboard with a lid that just sits on top.

    Primers are sitting on a shelf.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Probably close to the limit but for storage have an old wood box from artillery simulators and another smaller one that I don't recall what it was for. Both have hinged lids and handles. The larger one I screwed to a 3/4 plywood base with rollers so that I can move it out of the way. The smaller box sits on top. The bigger box gets the 8 and 4/5 pound jugs and a few one pounders, the smaller gets the one pounders that I use most frequently. BP is in original cans in a cardboard box in the file drawer of one of desks on my reloading room. I have enough of a stash that it should last as long as I need it. Primers are stored in 50 cal cans, each will hold 10K and also stored in file drawers in the desks.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    It is not too expensive to build a small shed under a tree to store powder and primers. It is rare for us to get over 90* anyway and heat is my only concern wrt powder degradation. Not too costly to insulate it if need be.

    I do not store much in the house to stay within code in case of a fire. Not worried about the "danger" but the insurance company denying a claim.

    10k primers is not very much and I have to believe most people here will have a problem with that one.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Smokeless gun powers are organic chemicals and organic chemicals degrade over time. Low temps retard chemical changes and heat accelerates it. Meaning low temp storage doesn't harm powders at all but heat certainly does. If your storage place is hot enough to make you uncomfortable it's not a good place to keep gun powders.

    Take all of that into consideration when you store your powder stash.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I now have six each 20mm ammo cans with the plywood liners and oone 50 caliber ammo can also plywood lined to hold my primers.
    These are stored outside my home in a northern exposure and shaded shed so they keep reasonably cool even in our Southern California Summers.


    Chev. William

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quickly read the info Land Owner posted (Thanks LO). My storage area is in my shop (a stick built large shed/small house, ?). Although it is only a few feet from my home (residence) it seems like most of those regulations do not apply to me as nothing is stored in my residence. But I'll ask the "Safety Storage Inspectors" next time they visit...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    I store my components in my climate-controlled basement. The quantities I own are no one's business but my own.

    The OP's problems are one one many reasons I would never live or even visit that state.
    Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, Varmint Hunter's Assn, ARTCA, American Legion, & the West Branch Gun Club.

    Caveat Emptor: Do not trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz from Clayton, NC. He will rip you off.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    I believe the regulations are national standards with states having the ability to make stricter. I leave everything in it's original container. Wonder if a closet would count as a storage container?

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Stewbaby's Avatar
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    None of the government’s business in my opinion. Next they’ll have us putting NFPA fire diamonds on our homes.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I store my powder in individual brass containers with airtight lead caps.


    Steve in N CA

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I don't remember any "laws" pertaining to gun powder storage in CA. There is CA Fire Codes, but I was not going to read the whole thing to find any penalties/charges for "breaking" the code. I admit I didn't read the whole thing. But there is a section, #452, of the CA Penal Code that states it's a crime if a person recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property or causing a fire that causes great bodily injury is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four or six years (arson?). So a lawyer can spin that to mean if you have gunpowder stored that does not meet CA Fire Code, and if there is a fire, and if there is property damage or "bodily injury" you might be liable or punished. In CA I believe lawsuits would be common in the case of a fire and it could be proved gunpowder was present. Hmm, forgot where all this is going (not finished my first cup of coffee yet). Perhaps if I had a fire in my shop where gunpowder is stored, and if it's storage did not comply with established Fire Codes, and if the gunpowder burned, and if there is property or personal damage, I might be liable. But I escaped CA 10 years ago and am convinced that was one of my best decisions, ever...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I store my powder and primers in their original containers on shelves in my loading room. My loading room is in my house where the temperature is controlled. The shelves are not exposed to sunlight.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I would read the first one as having a 21 lb container is a no no but having a number of smaller quantities like 21 x 1 lb containers is. Nice how they wrote that....

    No more than 10,000 primers...that’s funny, If you just have one case of small/large rifle and pistol that’s twice as many as that paper would allow and you’d still have no magnum primers.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    A tray is 100 primers. Ten (10) trays to a sleeve is 1000. Five sleeves(?) to a case is 5,000.

    You proposed:
    1 case of Lg. Rifle
    1 case of Sm. Rifle
    1 case of Lg. Pistol
    1 case of sm. pistol
    4 cases @ 5k/case = 20000 primers

    Do not underestimate the power of the NFPA. They are the Code adopted by most Building Codes. Insurance defers to the NFPA in their underwriting. Your home owner's insurance is more than likely underwritten by that code. If there is any discrepancy, you can bet that your insurance will pull out every code ever written to claim they are not responsible for a payment to you in the event of a loss.
    Last edited by Land Owner; 03-28-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Well, a lot of discussion on laws, regulations, should, shouldn't, etc. I have been storing my powder in two places. Most extra one pounders and 8 lb jugs go in a steel cabinet, nuttin' special, and the often used one pound jugs go in a plastic 2 drawer cabinet under the bench (maybe 6 or 8 different partial jugs). My primers go in a plastic "under the bed" type container (maybe 8x12x36 with snap on lid.) on the opposite side, under the bench. Extra primers are stored in a plastic bag with desiccant, sealed and on the bottom shelf of another steel cabinet. I have been doing this for over 30 years and maybe I'm being cavalier, but I have never had a house/shed fire, none of my primers nave gone bad, and all my powders, some approaching 30 years old, have never soured.

    I am familiar with all the "laws and regulations" concerning life in today's society, but many (most?) are just words to give a "standard" but never enforced except as an excuse to prosecute someone (if a fire marshal came into my shop, he may warn me and if my storage was grossly negligent and dangerous, he might give me a ticket). But in an "after the fact" situation, a fire and extra damage can be blamed on my storage, then I have committed a crime. So, having said all that I will continue to store my components in a common sense manner and not worry about "what if" thinking (which is different than "precaution")...

    BTW, I wonder if some of the folks that build special containers for their gun powder also have "fire cabinets" in their homes for all the spray cans and toxic cleaners common in a household, or do they just shove them under the kitchen sink or on a shelf in the laundry room?

    Not intended to step on any toes, but just early and 1/2 cup of coffee down and nuttin' else to do...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check