View Full Version : New Guy Question, so go lightly

June 2, 2010, 09:05 PM
Recently bought black powder (1lb) and then aquired another 1.5lbs at a recent re-enactment. So my question relates to storage.

The powder is currently stored in a lunch box size igloo cooler, in my plastic storage unit in my garage. here in central (HOT) Texas. Even though my garage is insulated the crawl space above the garage keeps the garage around 80 degrees during the hot afternoons.:(

So my question is, how bad a situation is this and what would be a more appropiate solution. Like I said, somewhat new here, so go a little lighytly, and yes I have googled many articles relating to this question.

I am going to assume at least some sort of metal container, but really interested in the heat factor. Obviously I should not store this in the house.

TIA, Tom in Temple, TX

June 2, 2010, 09:49 PM
The temperature in the container will end up being the same as the temperature outside the container, regardless of the material. A "cooler" will not keep the powder cooler than the outside temperature just beacuse it is a "cooler". OTOH, an insulated container will help smooth out the temperature extremes. The temperature inside will not quite reach the maximum temperature before the outside temperature starts to drop, and will not reach the coldest temperature before the outside temperature starts to rise again the next day. Think of the insulation as a buffer zone. But, leave the "cooler" in a spot that is 100 degrees for several hours, and eventually the temperature in the "cooler" will also be 100 degrees.

Aside from all this, I have never found storage temperature to affect BP as long as it is kept dry.

As for a proper BP storage vessel, everyone will have their own opinions on that.

June 2, 2010, 09:51 PM
The ignition temperature of black powder is about 450 deg F. Your storage system is not unsafe.

June 2, 2010, 10:37 PM
I definitely wouldn't advocate this as a storage system, but my grandfather kept some black powder in a big tobacco tin. When he died in 1969, my dad put the tin out back of the house in the barn. It sat there until around 1990 when they sold the place. Then he kept it in the garage in the new house up in the mountains.

I shot the last of it last year.

This is the same guy who used to shoot the crows from the deck of his condominium with a Winchester 1906 and .22 shotshells. There is a golf course behind the trees.

I've got the guns now. The golfers are safe.

Anyway, I guess that my point is that your storage system seems pretty safe to me. It can get up to 110 degrees here in sunny southern Idaho in the summer and the barn neither blew up nor burnt down (God knows why, though...)

June 3, 2010, 02:21 AM
The prime safety concern when storing black powder isn't protecting it from the daily and seasonal extremes in temperature; but, to isolate it from a structure borne fire. Typically, magazine requirements for the storage of powder include solid wood partitions between relatively small quantities of BP. The solid wood serves to insulate the storage area as well as impede flame spread. The object being to delay the progress of the fire so the building can be evacuated and the fire suppressed before it ignites the powder.

June 3, 2010, 02:32 AM
The one BIG safety concern I can add is that the container must not be securely closed, especially if it is a hard-sided container (metal, wood, etc.). The lid or door must be designed to easily blow open, rather than the whole container which would be like a bomb.

Doc Hoy
June 3, 2010, 06:18 AM
I think you are right to be concerned about the storage of your powder but I would venture to say that most accidents happen during handling.

The words of the other guys should instill a healthy respect for the dangers involved. Since you raised the issue it seems as though you already share those concerns and respect.

Maybe some would also care to contribute their thoughts on loading, transporting and handling powder.

A conversation about safety is always valuable.

June 3, 2010, 08:54 AM
I keep mine in the house, why not?
I have a pound of fffg in a tackle box for my pistols, and a pound of ffg in a big tackle box for my rifles.
I have been doing this for 40 years, so far so good.

June 3, 2010, 04:05 PM
I think you are right to be concerned about the storage of your powder but I would venture to say that most accidents happen during handling.
I've witnessed only two incidents: one where a flint shooter didn't recap his tin of BP and a spark lit it off and the other involved a wildfire that burned out the neighborhood. As far as storage and handling precautions are concerned, at this forum I think we're preaching to the choir --- otherwise we wouldn't be here. Most reloading guides include the NFPA recommendations for storage and transportation of smokeless powder but don't mention black powder. I suspect the typical prudent BP shooter uses the smokeless guide as a reference.

Doc Hoy
June 3, 2010, 04:22 PM
Probably right. The City of Norfolk, VA has some crazy rules for BP storage (I am told by the gunshop guy down the street.) that raise the ante on BP storage.

Unfortunately logical behavior and careful practices do not alway ensure zero accidents as your post reveals. (Talking about the fire, not the open container too close to the flash pan...That was neither logical nor practical).

A new guy is well advised to use the search function on this forum to get some anecdotal info on storage, loading, transporting, and such.

I still believe that frequent discussions here about safety are worth their weight in blood. I am one member of the choir who needs frequent preaching.:)

June 3, 2010, 08:23 PM
In reference to the storage of BP . . . I'll share a little story with you all. Everyone has different situations of their own in regards to "where to store it" so let me mention this. I am a former firefighter and one time we called to a housefire that was on the first floor of an old two story farmhouse. The main seat of the fire was in the living room and when we arrived on the scene, it looked like it was going to be a real "worker". Fortunately, we were able to get in and get it knocked down in a hurry but since the house was the older "balloon frame" construction, there was some fire spread up through the partitions to the second floor and attic. The owner was on the scene and AFTER working our butts off for over two hours getting the hot spots put out, he came up and casually mentioned that we might want to be careful as he had five pounds of black powder stored in the attic!! Why he would put it up there is beyond me but we all looked at each other and said a little prayer as it could have turned into a very dangerous and possibly, fatal situation for us. My point is this . . . . wherever you store powder or ammunition, keep in mind that while you may feel safe and secure with where you have it, situations such as fires do occur. You may not be home at the time to get it out or warn the emergency responders and it can be a fatal hazard to those entering the house to extinguish the fire if it is a serious one. All the more reason to have some type of clearly marked sign or container to warn emergency workers that there is a potential hazard. Sometimes we don't give those things a thought as "it will never happen to me" . . . trust me, it can. Storage is something that each shooter needs to work out for themselves depending upon their circumstances. Myself, I store mine in a barn that is about 80 feet from my house where it is cool and dry. I don't keep large quantities and I have made sure that the local fire dept. is aware of the potential hazard should the barn ever catch on fire. Just my 2 cents worth and an experience, one of many, that I've had in regards to fire and gunpowder or ammunition. :)

June 3, 2010, 08:48 PM
CAn relate to that, as a volunteer fireman.

Had occassion to work a garage fire, and we found out the hard way, that the owner had ammo stored in the garage, and we had to wait a while before we could get in there and drown the cabinet in qiuestion.