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Old November 13, 2011, 07:10 PM   #51
Mike Irwin
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"Not with any fire extinguisher in existence."

Maybe that's why I said this...

"Takes a ferocious amount of water to do it, though, and involves not only cooling the powder but also using water to force separation between the granules before they can ignite each other."

Let's also consider just how much powder we're talking about.

Now I might be a little different from most handloaders in that I keep 100,000 pounds of powder sitting around in open containers and use drip torches to illuminate my stash, so I might well be screwed.

But most people don't keep all that much powder on hand.

So, while a fire extinguisher might well not put out that 1 pound can of Bullseye that's sitting there sputtering and glowing like a nookulur gopher, that fire extinguisher may well keep other stuff around the powder from catching fire.
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Old November 13, 2011, 10:05 PM   #52
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Nookulur gopher. I like that. I don't necessarily agree that a powder fire would be hard to put out, as it really takes very little water to keep powder from igniting. Try it someday, toss a loose pile of powder onto the ground, ignite with a fuse, and hit it with a heavy mist. The small amount of heat generated by small amounts of powder is very easily absorbed, and it takes a pretty large amount of energy to ignite loose powder.

The sprinkler is simple. Buy a head, wherever you can find it, and tap into water wherever you can do it. lead the water out to the sprinkler with freeze proof plastic tubing, and switch to either copper or galvanized for the last 10 feet or so. Get your sprinkler head with a very low temp of actuation, and with a very low tolerance, so that even a small fire will trigger it, rather than requiring a big burst of flame.
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Old November 14, 2011, 09:05 AM   #53
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A good ABC will keep fires other than powder & primer based ones from spreading to those fuels, but IMHO that's about it.

This thread has focused heavily on powder & primers as the source, but it's not a bad idea to be prepared for other fires, like electrical, to stop them spreading to the volatiles.
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Old November 14, 2011, 10:07 AM   #54
Mike Irwin
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"lead the water out to the sprinkler with freeze proof plastic tubing, and switch to either copper or galvanized for the last 10 feet or so."

Uhm... why?

I can't see any reason for going from copper to plastic back to copper. The plastic buys you absolutely nothing and the unions are generally a pain in the ass to work with compared to a straight run of copper.

Or, make one union and go all plastic.

The "copper to galvanized to stainless, to bronze, to plastic, to carbon nanotubes, to PVC to CPVC to ABS to copper" doesn't make a lot of sense.
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Old November 14, 2011, 10:53 AM   #55
federali
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An overlooked fire hazard.

Many indoor shooting ranges put carpeting down to help absorb gunfire noise. When firing, not all powder is consumed and it blows out and becomes trapped in the rug fibers. I was shooting at a major gunmaker's range when someone firing a revolver in prone position, ignited this accumulated powder with either the flame from the cylinder gap or muzzle flash. The fire was impossible to put out and a similar range fire in the 80s cost an employee his life, also at the range of a major manufacturer. I don't remember what the range staff used to extinguish the fire I witnessed.

My point is, don't have any carpeting at your reloading bench. You must be able to clean up any occasional spillage and we all spill some powder from time to time. I know, you don't shoot prone at your reloading bench but any ignition source such as an electrical spark or a dropped cigarette is all it takes. Besides a hot flame, the synthetic rug fibers emit poisonous gasses and you won't have much time to get out and call for help.
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Old November 14, 2011, 11:02 AM   #56
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Mike, simplicity. In my case, a cast iron line going to an outdoor faucet goes right over my bench. pulling a single section of pipe, replacing it with two and a sprinkler head would be a 2-3 hour project. Depending on where the water is in another persons house, it might go from a simple tap in, like mine did, to a complicated session of pipe fitting that may run as far as 30 feet.

Flexible plastic tubing can be run anywhere. use clamps to hold it in place. You want to run the last 10 feet or so with metal, because plastic is not heat resistant.

i've done enough pipefitting with both copper pipe and galvanized that if I ever had to run anything but a straight perfect line, I'm going to go with flex tube. As it is, this 89 year old house does need some replacement, and that will be the way I go.
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Old November 14, 2011, 11:24 AM   #57
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Quote:
Try it someday, toss a loose pile of powder onto the ground, ignite with a fuse, and hit it with a heavy mist.
It is not hard tp prevent powder from igniting.

It is very hard to put out ignited powder.

You will need a pretty large pile to even have enough time to get any water on top the powder after it has ignited.
It burns rather quickly.
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Old November 14, 2011, 01:06 PM   #58
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Yep, there's one by my bench. I didn't put it there intentionally, my gun bench is in my utility room/shop which already had a fire extinguisher in it. I have them all over the house, one in the utility room, one near the kitchen, one in the back hall, one upstairs in the MBR, two in the garage (1 on each end, not that I'm paranoid but I do a lot of car and shop work ... been fortunate enough to never have a fire but I've seen it happen plenty, bad wiring, fuel spills, sh** happens so be prepared).
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Old November 14, 2011, 01:37 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg
Keep in mind that halon or CO2 will not do a bit of good against powder/primers. they will just blow it into a big cloud of flame that will eat you alive. Get a powder or water based extinguisher, water preferred. Nothing is smarter than putting a sprinkler over the bench that can saturate the area.
I don't know what type of smokeless powder, or what quantities you anticipate dealing with ....but I've burned plenty of smokeless powder in my time. I have never encountered a situation where scattering the fire posed the risk of creating a situation that would "eat me alive" (even with multiple pounds of powder in the hot seat).


And, while water may be the best option for fire suppression and control... That choice has to be made by each reloader. Some people just don't want to spray water all over their home or reloading equipment. And I have a different reason for avoiding it.

Due to the way my house is laid out and the location of my powder and primer storage; if I can't get the fire out as soon as it starts, I might as well just let it burn. Any use of water would cause an almost immediate loss of about $5k worth of electronics, and an additional $10k-15k worth of firearms and other high-value items. If the fire spread beyond those walls, there will be significant damage to the structure. The way my home owner's insurance policy is written allows the insurance company to refuse to cover that damage. It is considered "flood damage", if the water is handled by me. But, if the Fire Department has to come in, and put out the fire... it's "water damage caused by fire-fighting measures", and everything is covered. (It's all covered, so long as my storage methods and quantities are within legal limits, that is.)

Pick your poison.
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Old November 14, 2011, 02:28 PM   #60
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That really depends on how much has been ignited. If you have a small pile, I agree that it's most likely to burn out before you even get to the thing and pull the key.

let an opened can, measure, or plate full of powder for dipping charges, you may have a lot of powder ignited and going when you hit it with the high pressure propellant. That's going to be dangerous. for a time, I kept my supply in another room, but I eventually realized that the safest place for it was far away from the cans of mineral spirits, stripper, water heater, etc. The second extinguisher is a powder.


Lemme mention a huge mistake I made once. I was working at my bench. I had a steel wool pad on my bench behind and to the right of my grinder. I used the grinder, went about my business, and almost ten minutes later went back to find that steel wool pad still smoldering. that could have erupted into flame.

You really can't be too careful.
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Old November 14, 2011, 03:15 PM   #61
Mike Irwin
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I'd much rather spray water around than monoamonium phosphate or Purple K.
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Old November 29, 2011, 03:10 PM   #62
henry-ctc
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In some countries it´s a must when you get the reloading permit. I´ve got a small one.
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