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This is a discussion on Powder storage within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Over the years I have noticed that a lot of hand loaders tend to store powder above their bench,either directly or off to the side. ...


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Old January 14th, 2017, 01:17 PM   #1
 
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Powder storage

Over the years I have noticed that a lot of hand loaders tend to store powder above their bench,either directly or off to the side. Doesn't the warmer air have an effect on the powder, we're told to store it cool and dry.

I realize this is a bit like Ford v. Chevy but I'm curious as to why?



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Old January 14th, 2017, 01:27 PM   #2
 
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I think it depends on your location (Weather), my father stored a lot of powder in our old basement which was cool but slightly damp. Never had issues, but I have always worried about mine so I store in our house, above the fridge in the cabinets (DW lets me have this space). Our house is cooled in the summer and I add humidity in the winter when too dry. I am sure I am going overboard but never had issues. I reload in the garage and never leave powder in the measure overnight, especially when it is raining outside. I'm not as picky with it as my cigars, but pretty close! ;-)
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Old January 14th, 2017, 03:57 PM   #3
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My reloading bench and related supplies lives in year-round air conditioned comfort (it's south Florida so the AC never gets shut off). I keep the thermostat set at 75 degrees year-round so in my case the temperature and humidity is the same up high or down low. If my bench was in a damp basement I might think about it more but the closest thing we have to basements here are swimming pools.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 05:26 PM   #4
 
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If in doubt, measure the difference. In most homes with standard height ceilings the temperature difference between an under- and over-counter cabinet is very small.

If standing in a room is comfortable for you, then it is likely storing powder in it at any height is just fine.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #5
 
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I have the luxury of a temperature and humidity controlled environment for all my supplies Primers and powder on separate sides of the room. I thought there were some federal guidelines on storing powder but can't remember the details. No reloader I know mentions following any storage guidelines. Does anyone know if this is true?
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Old January 14th, 2017, 07:20 PM   #6
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Just to remind folks of the factory recommended storage issues .... high temperatures accelerate powder aging and break down the chemistry. Room temperature storage is recommended. With the newer powder "jars" made of special plastics, powders don't react with the plastics plus the jars are water proof and air tight. Humidity is NOT an issue when powders are stored in the factory jars .... only when it is exposed to air. Light will also break down the chemicals so again, store your powder in the factory jars and it will last for decades.

The worst thing that ages powder is to leave it in your powder measure. If you see black stains in your powder measure hopper, it is proof that the plastic has reacted with your powder. This will change the powder's burn rate but it won't change it uniformly .... only the powder that touches the plastic hopper gets chemically changed. It's wise to pour the powder back into the factory container immediately after a reloading session.

Here's one of the best recommendations for powder storage, handling, and transportation from Alliant's web site: Alliant Powder - Storage & Handling
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Old January 15th, 2017, 07:01 AM   #7
 
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I once left some Unique in my RCBS powder measure (with the green cylinder) for a few days. It TOTALLY reacted with the plastic, leaving the inside surface severely pitted, and evidently swelled it since I had to break the plastic to get it out of the cast metal base.

RCBS was very kind and sent me a new cylinder at no charge. I got the impression that they had seen the issue at least once or twice before. Great customer service!
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Old January 15th, 2017, 09:03 AM   #8
 
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Store my powder in my basement, above the reloading bench. Year round basement temp is 68-70 degrees. Humidity is around 30%.
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Old January 17th, 2017, 03:18 PM   #9
 
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I store my powders in a thick wooden cabinet indoors. Generally temp is around 77-79 degrees in my home with humidity around 50%.

With that being said. There was a time... way back when, here in south FL, I stored my reloading equipment and some powder in an non-air conditioned storage facility for about a year.

I'm still using some of that same powder today. I honestly have experienced no noticeable issues with those particular powders.

Though I do believe cool and dry is the best advice to store powder for longevity and stability.
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Old January 17th, 2017, 05:15 PM   #10
 
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When my dad moved from the city to the country, about 25 years ago, he never set up his loading equipment again. He stored all that stuff in the attic of the house. Really hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter. Probably 100lbs of powder in total. Its all just fine, even the cans or bottles that had been opened before storage
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 09:03 AM   #11
 
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Thanks everyone for the interesting responses.
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 09:31 AM   #12
 
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I store some in my house and some outside in my shop. I have always tried to bring it in the house during the heat of the summer and such as my shop is not heated or cooled. But I always seem to leave some out in the shop.

It stays out of the sun and direct heat and such. I am actually thinking of putting a temp recorder out there this next summer just to see.

If you think about it though, loaded ammunition isn't always kept in stable temps. Yet unless it is subject to some severe weather, it generally still performs like it should. Whats the difference of powder being stored in original containers vs in brass cases? Notwithstanding the fact that some powders do interact with the brass/steel over time.
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 03:49 PM   #13
 
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By my bench, dry cool basement.
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 09:18 PM   #14
 
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While the comments about powder storage are relavent and focus on quality with storage conditions, there is a minor issue not mentioned -- local fire codes.

There are a few local fire codes that restrict on-site powder storage. Below a certain amount, no problem. Above a certain amount and you are required to have the equivalent of a bomb bunker for powder storage.

So, local fire codes (which insurance companies accept) is a key point to review.
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Old January 24th, 2017, 04:31 AM   #15
 
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This is a link to the SAAMI "suggested" codes/laws for States. I am not sure how this would work with how they are sold in stores, but I think some States do go off this.

My post count is not high enough to include a link, so you'll just have to copy and paste if you want to see it. You'll have to add the "http:" to the front.


.saami.org/specifications_and_information/publications/download/SAAMI_ITEM_200-Smokeless_Powder.pdf
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