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Thread: Vacuum packing powder for storage

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Vacuum packing powder for storage

    Were I would like to store unopened powder cans is temp stable but not humidity controlled room and some of them are metal cans of Win 452AA. The question is there any reason that they canít be vacuum packed to keep the moisture out?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    My impression is that heat is more a concern than humidity (unless your powder storage happens to be in a basement prone to flooding). I don't see any downsides to sealing powder in air and watertight packaging, though.

    I would be inclined to vacuum pack the whole container rather than poured out powder: I'd hate to pull a package out of storage and then not be sure what it is because of poor labeling.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    That's a new idea for me. If you were creative it'd be easy enough to label them. An index card inside the bag with sharpie font would make quick ID. That's what I do for brass and loaded cartridges if I put them in ziploc. Sharpie for the make and model for quick ID and ink for the details so it'll all fit. When you go to open a pack, dump it back into a powder container and tape the card to the outside (if it's not the original container).

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I've done it in years past for long term storage. I sealed up the whole can, not loose powder.
    Some was sealed up for 5-6 years. Never had a problem.

    After a box of them fell, busted open, and scattered out everywhere-- I've also done that with the little flat packs of 100 primers.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    No, I planed on the hole container, some of them are metal (concerned about rusting thru) and with the newer containers, I do not think they seal that good.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    Whenever I open new powder, I immediately add a few silica gel packs. Works great for PC powder too.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Vacuum packed may keep the lid from blowing off sooner. I set off a 1 lb can of IMR to see what happened.

    Spontaneous combustion or spontaneous ignition is a type of combustion which occurs by self-heating, followed by thermal runaway and finally, autoignition.
    This has happened to so 8 pound containers.

    The metal cans may rust from the inside out. Vacuum packaging no help there. My IMR 4895 in can, started inside. Same for IMR 4198.

    Dont buy more powder then you can use in 10 years. Use it or loose it.

    Plastic should be ok, as is.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have some powder stored in large coolers with silica gel and oxygen absorbers. Even have a dozen cans of 452AA. Funny how it seems to be getting mentioned more recently. I don’t know if vacuum is much help, just displacing air with nitrogen might be better.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Smokeless powders are very hydrosorbic, do whatever makes you comfortable but sealed containers of powder are very resistant to humidity if the seals aren't broken. And they're still well sealed after they've been opened IF they've been properly reclosed with a screw on lid.

    Powder is organic but it isn't a living thing so, in spite of what we may read, maintaining a stable/steady storage temp isn't necessary or even helpful; keeping it cool IS helpful. In fact, the colder powder is stored the better it lasts.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Why not a portable cooler with some silica gel packs n a dark cool space,change out the gel packs on a regular basis and you should be fine.
    The cooler should have a friction fit lid not lockable so you don't end up with a giant bomb should a fire happen.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    A hermetically sealed bag would accomplish the mission, (keeping moisture out). Whether it's a vacuum inside or not would make no difference. But if these are new containers, they're already sealed, so why bother?
    Eleutheromaniac

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    The cans are metal and the place I would like to store them can get wet, and was worried about rusting.

  13. #13
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    I would not recommend vacuum sealing loose powder simply for the same reason it used to be strongly recommend to never leave powder in the measures. The chemicals in the plastic and the powder would interact with each other. With the newer plastics currently used in measures it doesn't seem to be an issue and of course the plastic containers used today don't have that issue. I don't have a clue if vacuum seal bags would be an issue or not.
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  14. #14
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    I have quite a bit of powder in metal cans that I bought back in the 1960's. I have some Herters large pistol primers from those years. All of this powder and primers are still good with no special storage. There are some posts on here with much older powder than mine.
    Yes, there are posts about powder going bad, but there are more of it lasting many years without any problems. I wish I had bought more back then when 1 pound cans of IMR powders were $1.61 ea from Herters.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by MEB View Post
    Were I would like to store unopened powder cans is temp stable but not humidity controlled room and some of them are metal cans of Win 452AA. The question is there any reason that they can’t be vacuum packed to keep the moisture out?
    Vacuum packing will keep the cans from rusting. I have never had any problems with powder going "bad" and some is over 20 years old.

    I have considered vacuum packing my stash of primers as they are stored in an unheated garage. I have a 15-20 year supply and worry about them getting oxidized.

    It is cheap to do. I got vacuum bags off Amazon and they are quite a bit less than the Foodsaver brand. I bought "Vacuum Sealers Unlimited" bags but they are currently not available on Amazon. Two 50' rolls were less than $20 delivered.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    This is a subject of interest since I like the idea of being able to long term storage certain items like this. I also wonder how well the newer plastic jugs works to keep out moisture. Everytime I open one of my big jugs I try to make sure the humidity is low in the room before resealing it in hopes it will help keep it longer. No idea if that helps or if the seals really do seal 100% after it's been opened.

    But for what you asked I think a great way to do this would be Mylar bags. I have never used standard food sealer bags like mentioned above and am skeptical on how well the plastic would hold up to creases and sharp spots on the jugs etc. But the Mylar bags should hold up well and you can seal them with a clothes iron. You wouldn't even have to suck the air out of it I wouldn't think just fold up as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it up. That said I probably would toss in a couple O2 absorbers and dessicant just to be safe. But I probably wouldn't toss in enough O2 absorbers to suck the mylar in too tight onto the container because it can seal up very tight. These bags come in all shapes and sizes and you can cut them up yourself and seal the ends. Without looking up current costs I would imagine it to cost about .50c or so a piece.

    Another idea is those anti rust bags, I can't think of what they are called but it's these plastic bags that have some sort of rust inhibitor built into them to keep the items inside from rusting. I doubt they would work as well as the Mylar for sealing up jugs for long term storage but the rust inhibitor items don't just come in plastic bags but also in all kinds of items like paper wrapping and even little chips you can stuff down inside of an item to keep it's contents from rusting. Perhaps some of that paper wrap or the chips could be put in the bag before sealing it up and it should keep the cans from rusting even in a really humid environment.

    For personal experience with powder storage I only have one example since I am new to reloading. It was a can of 4064 my uncle had out in the garage which was not insulated nor heated or cooled so it was probably freezing during winter and over 90 degrees many days in the summer. I know it was out there for at least 30 years and possibly longer. I believe it was made in the late 70's or early 80's. I was curious to how it held up since I was new to reloading and decided to bring it home and open it up last year and the powder inside was perfect and still had a very strong ammonia smell, the same as new powder. There is some rusting on the outside of the can though but I wouldn't have a problem with using it.

    I have heard single based powders hold up better to long term, but at the same time many of the actual experiences I have read seem like the single based powders go bad before the double based ball powders. Powder life has been all over the place from what I have read, but I wish I knew what actually lasted the longest. I have shot plenty of ammo made in the 1930's that was 100%. I have used a lot of surplus ammo from 1930's-present and all of it has been great. I have heard the stick powder in WW2 30-06 tended to go bad though and haven't used any of it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Factoid: A sample of the original Unique was kept immersed on water to preserve it by the factory lab. Every so often they'd take a little bit out, dry it and test it as a baseline for comparison with current production. I read this in the 1970s, at which time the reference batch was over 60 years old.

    Moral: Moisture does no long term damage to smokeless powder. The American Rifleman's "Dope Bag" column specifically recommended against packing in desiccants, because excessively dry powder burns at a higher rate. Look up the moisture content the factories assume when batch testing. I think it's around 3% if memory serves.

    Another factoid: Surplus wartime powder did deteriorate, because in some batches they weren't thorough enough about washing out the acids from the nitrating process. Why should they care? The powder was going to be used with months anyway. That unreclaimed acid was/is also the reason for metal cans rusting inside.
    Eleutheromaniac

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I’ve been using up powder that I have had and my BIL had and gave me that is 25 to 35 years old and is looking and shooting just fine. It’s always been stored in finished and unfinished basements.

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