DIY powder storage

Rangemaster

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I built this for less then thirty dollars and it is lined with 1/2” hardy back and has doors on both sides with two layers of hardy back in the middle. All the wood was from jobsite pickup, only things I bought as the hidges, caster wheels and hardy back board.
 

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Strykervet

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I was using a Stack-On locker until I filled it with ammo, now it's all in the closet. I'd like another stack on though and plan to go back to doing it that way. The actual listed lockers for this stuff aren't much different.
 

Jackomason

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When I worked at cabelas in highschool back in Canada, I seem to remember that the feds didn't want them storing powder in a metal cabinet. The idea is that wood doesnt build pressure like metal does.. anyway all this to say that this is a great idea!
 

Eric_F

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Looks really nice! Lots of reloaders don't think a flammable cabinet is needed at all, but after years in chemistry labs it just feels wrong to me. There are some YouTube videos demonstrating wood flammable cabinets perform impressively. So I found these plans, and built a couple versions. http://finishing.tips/wooden-flammable-storage-cabinets/

A 1“ nominal thick wall wood cabinet is actually required by NFPA for >20 lbs powder. Not sure for who/when that would apply, but it makes me feel better.

First I built a mini version for primers, just cheap poplar though. Latch is only as a pull, it only seals from spring pressure on the hinge. Then I built a larger version for powder, from solid red oak. I don't have my plans handy, but it's the depth of a 12" nominal board and 16" tall, I think about 18" wide.
 

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Sean the Nailer

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The thing is, just to cloud the discussion,,,, is the focus on "storage in case of fire" OR "storage in case of burglary/theft?"

Those would be two totally different parameters, no? So how does one prevent access AND fire, efficiently?
 

Eric_F

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The thing is, just to cloud the discussion,,,, is the focus on "storage in case of fire" OR "storage in case of burglary/theft?"

Those would be two totally different parameters, no? So how does one prevent access AND fire, efficiently?
Who are you concerned about stealing your gunpowder? I would only worry about my kids, and I just have the powder cabinets on high shelves and a (normal) lock on the door for that.
 
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woogie_man

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Now that is impressive!! Just noticed the left side of the picture under the table....with all the turrets loaded up.

Very nice
 

DarinC

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Dear lord. That room is the dream! Well played sir. Well played.
 

Eric_F

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That's quite the effective demo, especially since you can tell that vividly all these years later.

I'm conscious of not wanting to build up pressure (also since I was in Boston for the marathon attack, that's always what it reminds me of) so neither of my cabinets above have latches, it's just the hinge spring pressure holding the door shut. They wouldn't be effective at stopping burning for long, but it could slow a small fire and it's definitely better than nothing.
 

Sean the Nailer

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Excellent write-up Greg, and Thank You for that. I truly didn't know that the typical 'ammo can' was designed to burst as such. That really puts a different lite on my own view of personal ammunition storage.

My whole life growing up, my father was a fireman. We all know that firemen (firepeople?) die at work fighting fires every year. The last thing I want to do is create a scenario where there is further endangerment. The conflict that I also have, is 'petty theft' and B&E's happen a LOT more now than they did 20-30 years ago. Add to that the cost of powder AS WELL AS the limited availability of it (too often) and that stuff is precious. So access prevention is paramount, too.

It's a balancing act. As far as I'm concerned, electrified razor-wire and minefields are your friend. (I hate thieves).

But yeah, the 'bursting' ammo can really helps with the ammo storage conundrum. Cool.

It ain't so easy being a 'responsible' adult, is it?
 

Eric_F

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A great friend, now long deceased, was quite the handloader. His basement had a concrete block enclosure in the corner 's what prompted me to look into safe storage, codes, etc., surrounding ammunition fabrication. While they may vary in small part with locale, they all usually follow nationally recognized standards, and all (once the details are understood) make excellent sense.
Okay, you prompted me to look up my state code. Nothing local I found, but MN state code matches the NFPA code for personal use. I'm guessing that if you had a house fire, your home insurance could come back and say you were breaking state law which contributed to the fire and refuse to pay?
 

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Rangemaster

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Okay, you prompted me to look up my state code. Nothing local I found, but MN state code matches the NFPA code for personal use. I'm guessing that if you had a house fire, your home insurance could come back and say you were breaking state law which contributed to the fire and refuse to pay?
That is why I made a wooden box. Its setup on rollers or wheels to quickly be moved.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Guess all you want.

Posts deleted. Anyone looking for advice on storing powder and ammo won't be reading about it from me, ever again.

Brought this up once before, and the trolls came out to prove how much wiser they are than I.

Wood's legal, OK. Consider the wisdom of encasing flammable goods within a flammable box.

Your choice.

Greg
 
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Greg Langelius *

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Back on topic, That really is a very impressive shop; I only wish I could do the deed that extensively.

My bench and such was already a medium blue when I arrived and mounted up the old Dillon RL550b.

But the shop area got a bunch of stuff moved in, and about half of it is still in the moving boxes (I have two avocations, the guns, and stick & tissue rubber powered free flight model aircraft). The model aircraft stuff is what's still in the boxes.

The model stuff was going to go into the spare bedroom - AKA my Day Room.

Then the rest of the family began moving in. Now, we have three times as many folks living here, and it's been a scramble, and not to mention, very expensive. Several are finding residences elsewhere, but I'll still have all the bedrooms occupied when that's all over and done with.

I may not live long enough to actually get that Day Room back...

Family...

Greg
 

Rlandry

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Good idea for powder storage if you are concerned about explosions. All of my powder and primers are stored on shelves in a wal-in closet in the room that triples as reloading, office, and junk storage. I won't say how much I have, just that I won't be inviting the Fire Marshall over for pie and coffee. LOL
 

CATM15

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Do you have some kind of system in place to combat moisture? I have my “cave” in the basement and it’s like a sauna down there in the summer time.
 

Geno C.

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Do you have some kind of system in place to combat moisture? I have my “cave” in the basement and it’s like a sauna down there in the summer time.
Close off the powder/gun area and run a dehumidifier
 

CATM15

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Close off the powder/gun area and run a dehumidifier
Yeah I’ll be getting a dehumidifier soon. The problem is all the water pipes for my unit run through the ceiling of my basement and create a ton of moisture so idk how effective it will be
 

Geno C.

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Insulating the pipes will cut down on the water that condenses on them. Running the humidity level down helps stop them from sweating too
 
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Sean the Nailer

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Insulating the pipes will cut down on the water that condenses on them. Running the humidity level down helps stop them from sweating too
This is very true. The less moisture in the air, the less will condensate on the cold water pipe. No need to insulate the hot water pipes, really.

Walling in the area and 'dehumidifying' it is the key. That's how we roll here. We have 1 dehumidifier IN the room, and another OUTSIDE the room. Just to ensure balance, redundancy, and peace-of-mind.
 

Swaim13

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I see the code sections regarding the wooden box but based on what I do, I wanted to build something that has a fire rating to prevent a fire from catching the powder on fire but still be capable of venting should the powder burn in the box.

I was thinking of building a concrete box with a 2 to 4 hour fire rating and then either placing a concrete lid on top with intumescent lining or building a horizontal assembly from type x gypsum and using that as a lid. The concrete box would be made with casters on the bottom and metal handles on the sides to allow for movement and handle the weight. I figured on lining the interior to the box with gyp and placing a package dehumidifier in the box to prevent moisture build up. I figure the intumescent seal will help keep the fire out if it is applied to the box only and the lid can blow off if need be for pressure relief.

Have I missed anything in my thought process? I have been pondering this for a little if you cannot tell.

Your thoughts would be appreciated. Sorry for the thread Jack but wasnt sure where else to post.
 

hermosabeach

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Thoughts on 2 layers of 5/8" drywall on the outside for fire resistance?

Does Hardibacker have moisture? I know cement takes a while to release all of its moisture. Is hardy something that needs to age before using it in a box?
 

Jackomason

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How much powder are you guys talking? I really dont think 10-15lbs is going to drastically change the outcome of a house fire unless the fire starts near by. I guess what I'm saying is it may be worth protecting but I probably wouldn't go as far as to make a concrete box.

I think drywall/ hardy board would work just fine and if you needed an extra layer of protection you can mix up a fire retardant and apply it to the wood on the outside of the box.

The biggest thing is where you store it long term. And knowing your basic fire hazards around the house. If its away from the origin of the fire but still manages to catch.. well you've got bigger problems.
 
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Sean the Nailer

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Thoughts on 2 layers of 5/8" drywall on the outside for fire resistance?

Does Hardibacker have moisture? I know cement takes a while to release all of its moisture. Is hardy something that needs to age before using it in a box?
A few thoughts:
Regarding the 2 layers of 5/8" thick drywall/firewall/sheetrock/cieilingboard/gypsum/whateveryoucallitlocally.... the stuff I'm speaking of SPECIFICALLY is called "Fireboard" here in my area. I specify this, because I've learned over the years that each regional locale seems to have a different name for the same item. Regular wallboard is 1/2" thick, paper on both sides, and solid gypsum (and binder) inside.

Whereas the 5/8" thick "Fire Guard Stuff" is slightly different. If you were to look carefully, when you cut it, you would see a layer (possibly two) of actual Fibreglas strands sticking out of the edge. Closer to the 'surface' than the back of the board. There may be a different additive in the gypsum as well, but I'm not sure so follow up on that on your own. But here's my point of all this:

Years ago, I was told of 'how good that stuff is in preventing the spread of fire' and of the fact that 'gun safes are lined with 2 layers of this stuff, to protect your fireams/valuables in event of a house fire. So I'm thinking to myself, 'wonderful'... right?

My Lady and I built a cerakote oven here, using items/materials that we had at hand, (mostly) and purchased as little as possible due to the fact that we were hit financially in a massive way. So we DID use 2 layers of the Firewall. All around, and including the door. All 6 surfaces. Let me tell you what a mistake that was.

When we first fired up the oven, to about 325 degrees, it was only 'warm' on the outside surface. As per the thread here that I'd made in the DIY Forum (many years ago) regarding said 'oven build' we had used some school lockers. Short version is though, sheet-steel inner and outer, with the 2 layers of Firewall in between. The longer we ran the oven (PID controlled) the hotter the outside got. It did get to the point where it was getting too hot to touch the outside. I won't deny that that point was about an hour or so, of constant running. But the whole point of my blathering diatribe is the fact that that SHIT is no good for an insulating medium, AT ALL.

We have since learned that "Rock-Wool" or something of that sort is a much better medium to use. It's just that with all else that is going on around here, and has had for a few years now,,, the complete disassembly of that which we built, and then replacing said stuff, and then re-build everything again...... just hasn't taken place yet.

(when I become Emperor of the Universe, the first thing I shall do is to make 720 hour days, and 1080 day weeks. Then and only then will humans have enough time to accomplish all that they are responsible for, and STILL have time to have for themselves, too. ;) )

How much powder are you guys talking? I really dont think 10-15lbs is going to drastically change the outcome of a house fire unless the fire starts near by. I guess what I'm saying is it may be worth protecting but I probably wouldn't go as far as to make a concrete box.

I think drywall/ hardy board would work just fine and if you needed an extra layer of protection you can mix up a fire retardant and apply it to the wood on the outside of the box.

The biggest thing is where you store it long term. And knowing your basic fire hazards around the house. If its away from the origin of the fire but still manages to catch.. well you've got bigger problems.
On a completely different note, and I've explained this previous in other threads and in other ways,,,, but I am an advocate of a 5 gallon water bottle stored above the powder magazine. Firstly, everyone should always have an 'emergency store' of potable water on hand, for one never knows when you need it until you don't have it. Secondly, it is of MINIMAL value yet HUGE return as a fire-protectant for the local fire department. They are the ones that you'd be aiding/saving because if things were already bad enough for them to be involved, then you've bigger issues.

I say this because, as a test, I once dropped about 1/4 of a can of Bullseye into a concrete fire-pit whilst we were enjoying/celebrating Guy Fawkes night. (Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November,,,,, And The Gunpowder Plot) This took place back in the early 90's. Everyone knew about it, and all present wanted to see the effects. The can was dropped in, landed on its side, and sat there 'in the fire' for a moment or two. Then the insides ignited, the plastic top 'flew off' and the output of a Saturn 5 Rocket spewed forth from said nozzle (orifice) until the contents were consumed.

Now let me tell you about this fire pit. It was an easy 8' long, and it was about 3 1/2' wide. It was also almost 4' deep. There were previous coals from previous fires, as well as the coals and wood on the bottom for that night's festivities. The fire jet EASILY reached from one end to the other, as well as deflected up into the air. We were all waiting for that can to burst. But it didn't. That was ONE FEROCIOUS EVENT. And it was wide-open to atmosphere.

Just think if that same can, were in an enclosed (metal?) container? Just think if it were full. Just think if there were more than one. Just think if they were ALL on fire, at the same time.

If it were in a vault, or even just a room stored with other items, then ALL of those items are going to MASSIVELY exceed the temperature tolerance and render everything 'scrap'. But also, if said facility were 'enclosed' or even 'reinforced' in some way.... there WOULD be catastrophic results. Chances are, it is your local FD..... and they aren't anyone I'd want to harm.

So, just in case anyone here actually owns more than (say..?) 3 pounds of powder.... how best to store it?

Some might even have a powder that isn't easy to acquire, so they want to protect it from that local menace known as "methfingers"....

But what is the 'best' method of storage?
 

Jackomason

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No doubt, any stash of gunpowder going up is bad news. And I'm still a firm believer that storage location is probably the biggest factor. Both to prevent a fire and also to limit risk to fire fighters. Ideally, your powder shouldnt be stored in main passage ways or near bedrooms.

This doesnt negate the need/interest in safe powder storage. So the question still stands...

The only industrial powder storage I've seen was away from the public with hinges that had no exposed screws and a pad lock.it was constructed out of 3/8" plywood and 2x4s and held maybe #200 of powder.

If you wanted to be innovative you could desinge a box that would maintain a good fire rating while not allowing any pressure to build. That may mean leaving a week spot in the box much like the lid on the bottle in the story above or a way to defuse the flame as it exits the box through some sort of friction loss.

Anybody feel like playing with fire? I mean testing with fire? I'm kinda curious.
 

Swaim13

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This has been interesting me for a while which is why I have been debating going over the top with a concrete box with a blow off method. Sadly, I dont know of a good location in my area where I would be able to light it off other than a few labs which I cant afford.
 

Sean the Nailer

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Not to drone on about the subject, I just want to add/exemplify a few points:

That fire pit I described above, was a former concrete structure of some-sort. Not unlike a 'pit' for working on vehicles. Just a 'shallow one' in comparison.

The 'fire' that came out of the powder can (it was a typical 1 lb can) was VERY ferocious.
That in itself is going to make any structure fire 'worse' and 'more involved'.

The exhaust gasses of said powder combustion is very high in oxygen, so any OTHER fire going on at the moment is going to be aided hugely by an influx of said oxygen.

The HEAT given off was immediately noticeable. I didn't have a thermocouple handy to measure the difference, but when everybody stepped back at the same time, simply because of the heat-wave/heat-front,,,, you know there's something there.

Now, practically everybody wants to keep their powder stores secure, and away from 'sticky fingers' as well as 'inquisitive children'. Both of these points are for 'security' but two completely different tangents. So they/we put powder and primers in some sort of 'security/access-restriction location.' Would that happen to be in the same area where your firearms are? Reloading equipment? Household security DVR?

Is that in a separate container, in a separate location, with adequate venting and 'burst protection'? Or is it just in the reloading room, under the main bench so that way your prized rifles can adorn the walls above said bench for both easy access and ornamental adoration? (little humor there, but who doesn't like to see their own wares?)

Point of all this, and ask ANY fireman, is that the vast majority of damage caused in ANY house fire, is what they call "smoke damage". It will take perfectly viable items, and render them useless simply because of the 'smoke buildup' on them. But when you also incorporate numerous different 'synthetic stocks', all different types of glass lenses, let alone the various actions and barrels.... then all the different reloading components......

Without the 'powder going up' most of that usually can/would be saved, salvaged, re-used, or even "kept safe" with proper fire protection procedures incorporated.

But if you were to have your powder in the same spot, and it goes off,,, then you're simply creating your own "easy-bake-oven" times ELEVENTY BAZILLION. Rendering absolutely everything useless. The only other question is, was said storage facility 'reinforced' and/or 'barricaded' to prevent unauthorized access? Did that in and of itself create a 'bomb' so-to-speak? Because I'm sure, you want to AVOID that at all costs.

Headline I don't want to see, is "Fire Brigade Maimed Due To Home Explosion"....... leave that for the gas-line-monkeys.

I do know that the easiest answer to this whole dilemma is for everyone, everywhere, to hang burglars. As soon as that problem is dealt with, then there's no issue just leaving things on top shelves away from short children. But them thieves though..... Broken Windows......
 

Eric_F

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The conflict that I also have, is 'petty theft' and B&E's happen a LOT more now than they did 20-30 years ago. Add to that the cost of powder AS WELL AS the limited availability of it (too often) and that stuff is precious. So access prevention is paramount, too.

It's a balancing act. As far as I'm concerned, electrified razor-wire and minefields are your friend. (I hate thieves).
Now, practically everybody wants to keep their powder stores secure, and away from 'sticky fingers' as well as 'inquisitive children'. Both of these points are for 'security' but two completely different tangents. So they/we put powder and primers in some sort of 'security/access-restriction location.' Would that happen to be in the same area where your firearms are? Reloading equipment? Household security DVR?
I'm also concerned with home security, but we're nowhere near the 80's / 90's crime wave. See attached national burglary data or make your own table for your state (unfortunately only to 2014 though): https://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/RunCrimeTrendsInOneVar.cfm

To your question, I've got mine in a reasonably secured room with a security system and cameras (I like the Wyze cameras), in a solid wood cabinet. I like the suggestion of a 5 gallon water jug above it, I'll be adding that soon. The rock wool insulation would be a good addition but I'm space constrained already. I don't keep more than 15 lbs anyway so I personally don't think more would be worthwhile.
 

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Rangemaster

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The whole powder storage thing is to keep the powder from catching on fire. The powder is slow burning, so the whole idea is to contain it just incase its on fire.

 

Sean the Nailer

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The whole powder storage thing is to keep the powder from catching on fire. The powder is slow burning, so the whole idea is to contain it just incase its on fire.

yeah. While what you are saying is 'for the most part' somewhat accurate,,,, the actual conversation is about "something completely different"

You have a good day, and thanks for the addition.
 

bornhunter04

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I found this the code listed on alliants site.

But got to thinking, would it make sense to sandwhich fireboard between a couple pieces of plywood, all the way around to improve the resistance to fire?
 

Sean the Nailer

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I found this the code listed on alliants site.

But got to thinking, would it make sense to sandwhich fireboard between a couple pieces of plywood, all the way around to improve the resistance to fire?
This has been brought up before, hence why I explained our experiences with it (posted above)....

If anyone were to look at insulating any kind of powder magazine, I would HIGHLY recommend something gooder, such as "RockWool" or something like that. This Fireboard would be about the worstest thing that could be used. In reality.

Written down, on paper, by an engineer would look probably fabulous. But then the real world happens, all all that goes out the window.
 

bornhunter04

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Tha ks for the reply. Ive used some fireproof batten behind my wood stove. That would make more sense. Guess the box will just be thicker with batten.