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Old February 26, 2006, 07:26 AM   #1
randleland
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Smokeless powder storage

What's a "smart" way to store smokeless powder, in my reloading space? I'm considering using a surplus gym locker (as they're steel and not air tight). Is that overkill? Or, is just letting it sit out, on a shelf, okay? Thanks, -r
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Old February 26, 2006, 08:50 AM   #2
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Depends. The laws governing powder storage nationally state that if you're going to store over 20 lbs of powder for your personal use in a residence, you need a wooden box or cabinet with a nominal thickness of no less than 1 inch. Storing more than 50 lbs of powder in your residence is in violation of the law.
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Old February 26, 2006, 09:16 AM   #3
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Found some more.
http://mlagb.com/legislation/mser2005.htm

I had no idea that the boxes HAD to store 550 grams or less per container, and that if there were going to be more than 1 container per box then the box has to have compartments made of wood.

Do not use steel containers. Containers must be made of wood.
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Old February 26, 2006, 10:05 AM   #4
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The above link is to Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain. While their regulations may be similiar, does anyone have a source for construction of a storage box that is in compliance here (USA)?
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Old February 26, 2006, 10:27 AM   #5
randleland
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Is the requirement for wood a precaution against sparks?
(I'd assumed that steel, being fire resistant, would be the way to go)

Cabela's sells a pricey magazine (steel, by the way). Now I'm really confused!
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Old February 26, 2006, 10:58 AM   #6
Mal H
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I think the steel gym locker would be ok. They usually have ventilation holes and are of a relatively thin gauge steel. If you leave the door unlatched or closed with a magnetic latch only, it would be even better. If the idea is to keep little hands out of the powder, then it may not be ideal since it would have to be locked.

The concept of the box is that it should not be able to withstand much pressure before it opens; that's why a wooden box is desirable. If there is a fire, what does it matter if the box burns or not? The idea is that, if there is a fire, the powder storage box won't become a bomb.

SAAMI is the US authority on such matters. Here is what they have to say:
Quote:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STORAGE OF
SMOKELESS POWDER

STORE IN A COOL, DRY PLACE. Be sure the storage area selected is free from any possible sources of excess heat and is isolated from open flame, furnaces, hot water heaters, etc. Do not store smokeless powder where it will be exposed to the sun's rays. Avoid storage in ares where mechanical or electrical equipment is in operation. restrict from the storage areas heat or sparks which may result from improper, defective or overloaded electrical circuits.

DO NOT STORE SMOKELESS POWDER IN THE SAME AREA WITH SOLVENTS, FLAMMABLE GASES OR HIGHLY COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS.

STORE ONLY IN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION APPROVED CONTAINERS. Do not transfer the powder from an approved container into one which is not approved.

DO NOT SMOKE IN AREAS WHERE POWDER IS STORED OR USED. Place appropriate "No Smoking" signs in these areas.

DO NOT SUBJECT THE STORAGE CABINETS TO CLOSE CONFINEMENT.

STORAGE CABINETS SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED OF INSULATING MATERIALS WITH A WEAK WALL, SEAMS OR JOINTS TO PROVIDE AN EASY MEANS OF SELF-VENTING.

DO NOT KEEP OLD OR SALVAGED POWDERS. Check old powders for deterioration regularly. Destroy deteriorated powders immediately.

OBEY ALL REGULATIONS REGARDING QUANTITY AND METHODS OF STORING. Do not store all your powders in one place. If you can, maintain separate storage locations. Many small containers are safer than one or more large containers.

KEEP YOUR STORAGE AND USE AREA CLEAN. Clean up spilled powder promptly. Make sure the surrounding area is free of trash or other readily combustible materials.


SAAMI
SPORTING ARMS AND AMMUNITION MANUFACTURER'S INSTITUTE, INC.
P.O. BOX 218 - WALLINGFORD, CT 06492
Note that they do not specify the material for the storage cabinet only that it should be insulating and relatively weak.
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Old February 26, 2006, 03:08 PM   #7
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I think the problem with steel is that is conducts heat really well, and could cook off primer or powder much earlier than wood, for instance.
The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (SI Number 2005/1082) came into force on 26 April 2005.
It has very specific guidelines as to what's ok, and what's not.
I was very surprised as to some of the new requirements.
I'm confused as to magazines being made of metal too, but I think metal is ok in commercial applications because of additional requirements, (like it has to be against a cement wall, and there can be nothing within 6 feet of it), wood is much preferred in residential settings.
I know people who use old fridges for this, I don't see a problem with that personally, but they wouldn't be in compliance with the 2005 update if they had over 20 pounds of powder in their fridge.

The regulations at SAAMI are for under 20 pounds, once you get over 20 pounds, there are additional requirements.
It's really easy to accidentally get over 20 pounds and it's just easier to overbuild when you start, so you won't have to start all over if you want to buy in bulk.
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Old February 26, 2006, 07:24 PM   #8
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Steel would react more like a bomb if it did go off
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Old February 27, 2006, 05:59 PM   #9
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Magazine is as I understand it is for made up ammo which would send bullets/ missiles all over if burnt, so steel would be better, but for powder wood or plastic is preferred, because if powder is not confined it just burns quickly and doesnt explode. All makers are now changing to plastic containers insted of steel cans for the same reason. A wood or ply cupboard should be fine so long as it meets any local regulation.
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Last edited by Foxman; February 27, 2006 at 06:00 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old February 28, 2006, 01:03 PM   #10
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caz223, Do you guys have to follow United Kingdom law there in Michigan?
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Old February 28, 2006, 01:24 PM   #11
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Yes, I don't see of what possible importance laws or regulations about powder storage in the UK could be to any of us on this thread, since no one shows a location outside the US. I think if there were any such thing here in IL I would have heard of it, and we've got a $%^load of regulations in this state, believe me. Any sheet-metal locker should be fine. The important thing is the "cool, dry" part, and that the powders, primers, etc. should not be contained in anything that would enable pressure to build to the point where the storage container would become a bomb. Most household storage containers, cabinets, closets, etc., should be fine. I wouldn't store the stuff in a gun safe, though....
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Old March 1, 2006, 02:06 PM   #12
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Living right on top of San Andreas fault, I took an old wooden GI ammo crate, drilled some 1 in. holes in it and locked it with a padlock. I store it under my rather massive reloading bench in the garage, just in case the roof comes down after an earthquake. Two further safety precautions I take: I store the primers seperately from the powder; and when I am reloading in the garage, I take the car out (gives me more space, too).
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Old March 1, 2006, 03:06 PM   #13
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Ya got me.
I got a 1" thick wooden storage box I keep my powder in.
(I was all ready to build compartmentalized storage.) Thanks for saving me some grief!
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Old March 1, 2006, 06:53 PM   #14
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Powder storage

I also us an old GI wooden ammo box, works great.
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Old March 4, 2006, 10:15 PM   #15
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randleland

If you live near a military base they usually get rid of their old wooden wall lockers!
I got a nice oak one that had a three draw chest in it. Perfect for powder storage.
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Old April 6, 2011, 07:34 AM   #16
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Powder, not in the House

This just came to my attention about Powder Storage, per the BATFE.

http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulin...ng-2002-3.html

So where do I keep it?
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:36 AM   #17
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^^^

That regulation is in regards to a "storage magazine". If you're powder is sitting on a shelf, it's not in a "storage magazine".


Here is the pertinent regulation:

10-3.7 Smokeless propellants intended for personal use in quantities not exceeding 20 lb (9.1 kg) may be stored in original containers in residences. Quantities exceeding 20 lb (9.1 kg), but not exceeding 50 lb (22.7 kg), may be stored in residences if kept in a wooden box or cabinet having walls or at least 1-inc. (25.4-mm) nominal thickness.
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:54 AM   #18
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Since the storage of powder in my own home for personal use does not involve interstate commerce the federal government has jurisdiction under what consitutional law?
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:14 AM   #19
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Just how much powder was the OP talking about storing? Sounds to me that if he will be storing less than 20 lbs, then the elaborate spec. containers are a moot point. I'm storing about 8 lbs total at this point, I just use a wooden kitchen cabinet I picked up at a yard sale.
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Old April 6, 2011, 03:07 PM   #20
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An old thread, but caz223's statement is still true:
Quote:
Depends. The laws governing powder storage nationally state that if you're going to store over 20 lbs of powder for your personal use in a residence, you need a wooden box or cabinet with a nominal thickness of no less than 1 inch. Storing more than 50 lbs of powder in your residence is in violation of the law.
Metal powder magazines are prohibited (even for smaller quantities of powder).

Local and State laws can be even more restrictive.
When I lived in a Rochester, NY suburb, I could NOT legally possess primers in that city; and I could not possess or store more than 2 containers, or 2 lbs of smokeless powder. Black Powder was not allowed, at all.

Here, in Utah, my current residence falls under a country ordinance of a maximum of 16 lbs of smokeless powder; and anything over 8 lbs requires a powder magazine made of "disintegrating, flammable wood, of one inch or greater wall thickness" (particle board, or OSB).

My previous residence had an additional city ordinance that limited metallic cartridge primers to 2,000 of any kind, total aggregate; and shotgun primers to 200. And, they limited smokeless powder storage to 8 lbs total in single-family dwellings, or 3 lbs total in multi-family dwellings (condos, townhouses, apartments, etc).

Quote:
Sounds to me that if he will be storing less than 20 lbs, then the elaborate spec. containers are a moot point.
They're not elaborate. Build a wooden box or cabinet with a wall thickness of 1". That's it. You don't even have to hinge the door or top. It can just sit on top of the box.



The ATF's regs are very simple to understand:
Up to 20 lbs of powder can be openly stored in original containers.
Up to 50 lbs of powder can be stored in an appropriate powder magazine.
You cannot legally store more than 50 lbs of powder in a residence.

It's the local regs that can be a bit more confusing, and much more restrictive. Check into your State, County, and City regulations and ordinances. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines, and/or jail time in some areas (should you be inspected by your local fire department, or actually have a fire).



Quote:
Since the storage of powder in my own home for personal use does not involve interstate commerce the federal government has jurisdiction under what consitutional law?
This isn't the political forum. For starters, your powder likely crossed state lines, getting shipped to you. Bingo! Interstate commerce.

Secondly... The ATF (and the rest of the Federal Government) believes they have the right to regulate anything within the United States. Until you become the test case, to prove their stance unconstitutional (good luck), you have to deal with it.
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Old April 6, 2011, 03:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
This just came to my attention about Powder Storage, per the BATFE.

http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulin...ng-2002-3.html

So where do I keep it?
Smokeless powder is not regulated as an explosive in the quantities used by reloaders.

Quote:
The laws governing powder storage nationally...
There are no such laws in the US.

The SAAMI has RECOMENDATIONS as does the NFPA.

The recommendations need to be adopted by a state/municipality to have the force of law.

Just like plumbing codes, electric codes, building codes, etc. you have to look to your state (and possibly sub-municipalities).

Tha SAAMI wood 'magazine' is intended to allow easy removal of the powder in the event of a fire, delay heating of the powder if a fire is near the container, and provide a weak container that cannot contain pressure if the powder is ignited.

Smokeless powder will not explode if ignited.
Unless it is contained so tightly the pressure can rise as the powder burns it just fizzles and burns rapidly.

If it IS contained tightly enough to create pressure it makes a pressure bursting failure, still a far cry from an actual explosion with shock waves.
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Old April 6, 2011, 05:18 PM   #22
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I got mine in a closet. Course I only have a couple of pounds.
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Old April 7, 2011, 09:54 AM   #23
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Powder storage rules

Remember the ATF says NO MORE THAN 20 POUNDS of smokeless powder at any location/home/shop.
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Old April 7, 2011, 12:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Remember the ATF says NO MORE THAN 20 POUNDS of smokeless powder at any location/home/shop.
Incorrect.
http://www.saami.org/specifications_...ess_Powder.pdf
11-3.7 Smokeless propellants intended for personal use in quantities
not exceeding 20 lb. (9.1 kg) shall be permitted to be stored in original
containers in residences. Quantities exceeding 20 lb. (9.1 kg), but not
exceeding 50 lb. (22.7 kg), shall be permitted to be stored in residences
where kept in a wooden box or cabinet having walls of at least
1 in. (25.4 mm) nominal thickness.

Buy a cheapo 'put-it-together-yourself' wooden cabinet from a big box store and line it with enough plywood to bring the minimum thickness up to 1" and you'll be fine up to 50lbs.
Some localities do have orndinances against ordnances that are more restrictive however.
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Old April 7, 2011, 12:58 PM   #25
brickeyee
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SAAMI is NOT the BATFE.

BATFE regulates commercial powder storage, not home powder storage.

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 27, Volume 3]
[Revised as of April 1, 2007]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 27CFR555.141]

[Page 158]

TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, AND FIREARMS

CHAPTER II--BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

PART 555_COMMERCE IN EXPLOSIVES--Table of Contents

Subpart H_Exemptions

Sec. 555.141 Exemptions.


(a) General. Except for the provisions of Sec. Sec. 555.180 and
555.181, this part does not apply to:

(4) Small arms ammunition and components of small arms ammunition.
intended to be used solely for sporting, recreational, or cultural
purposes in antique firearms, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(16) or
antique devices, as exempted from the term ``destructive devices'' in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(4).


[emphasis added]

Last edited by brickeyee; April 7, 2011 at 01:20 PM.
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