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Old September 14, 2018, 10:07 PM   #1
mikemyers
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Storing and Carrying Black Powder

Is it safe to store a very small amount of black powder in a small brass powder flask? I have a Ruger Old Army, live in an apartment, and don’t want to keep a full bottle of powder. A friend gives me a small amount at the range, but there is always a small amount left in the powder flask.
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Old September 15, 2018, 02:00 AM   #2
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Generally yes, I think it's relatively safe if stored farthest away from any potential fire hazards such as in a closet.
I would also put the flask in a plastic bag to help protect the powder from moisture and humidity.
Sometimes exposed powders can clump or lose some of its potency over time if exposed to moisture.
If you could transfer it into an air tight plastic container and clearly label the contents, then that might even be better, especially if there was ever a fire.
Then a metal flask would not be able to become shrapnel if the powder were to ever ignite due to excessive heat.
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Old September 15, 2018, 08:15 AM   #3
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If all you have is a small amount of residue in a flask, don't worry about it.

As for storage, keep it away from sparks or flames. I'd keep in mind easy disposal too (you want it to minimize damage if there is a house fire).
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Old September 15, 2018, 08:16 AM   #4
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What do you do in that apartment that you are afraid of gunpowder?
I keep a can on the mantel in my living room as a memento of The Incident that burned my old house. It has scorch marks. If that did not set it off, I don't know what would.
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Old September 15, 2018, 10:22 AM   #5
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Store and protect it properly

The "real" BP is classified as a Class-A explosive. However, it presents little or no danger as long as you store is properly. There are no absolutes but generally you need to protect the powder from what can happen on the outside as opposed to what's going on, inside the flask. ……

I have bought horn and flask and many were shipped by the USPS. More than half contained BP. I confirm that it's BP and the grain and store it in a BP metal container. …..

Great Question and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old September 15, 2018, 10:12 PM   #6
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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If not certain what to do? Always consider using the powders original shipping container for such need.

BTW: I don't own a thin walled work-hardened yellow brass flask. But I do have sturdy powder horns with brass stoppers which are likely filled to capacity.
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Old September 16, 2018, 07:26 AM   #7
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Additionally, There is a school of thought....

....that holds that it is more dangerous to load from a flask to a previously shot revolver. (One that might retain some of the hot residue from the previous shots.) The members of that school feel that one should charge the revolver using a single charge scoop rather than a flask.

Those of you who are long-time contributors to this forum may remember a rather brisk discussion in which I made the obviously incorrect statement that it is no more dangerous to use a flask than a scoop. Whenever I read the words "revolver" and "flask" in the same sentence, I am prompted to recall my embarrassing statement.

It might be worthwhile at this point to mention some precautions when loading whether it be flask or scoop.

I always load my revolvers with the cylinder out of the revolver using a loading press. I never shoot competitively so time is not an issue.

Loading with a press adds to safety in several ways:

1. It increases the time between the last shot and the first charge. So hot stuff in the chamber has a chance to cool.
2. It exposes the chambers to a breeze by removing it from the shelter of the frame.
3. It gives me the opportunity (which I always take) to peer into each chamber to inspect for the stuff that might be left in the chamber after the last shot.

Those who want or need to charge the revolver with the cylinder still in the frame are invited to consider the effect of a hot ember lighting the powder while the chamber is being charged. So the portion of the power charge which is already in the chamber flashes and hence the powder still in the loading device also lights. If the loading device is a scoop which contains logically not more than 40 grains, the shooter gets a surprise and perhaps some singed fingers. If the loading device is a flask containing a quarter pound of powder, the event could be tragic.

I did a little research and was not able to find any instance of a powder flash when loading a previously fired revolver. It happens more often in long arms. In fact one of the posters here witnessed it himself.

However to rest upon the premise that, "It has never happened." sounds like famous last words.
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Old September 16, 2018, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
....that holds that it is more dangerous to load from a flask to a previously shot revolver. (One that might retain some of the hot residue from the previous shots.) The members of that school feel that one should charge the revolver using a single charge scoop rather than a flask.
I use an empty .30-30 case to transfer the powder from a measuring flask to chamber or muzzle of a gun. NMLRA range rules require that powder be kept in closed containers on the loading bench while shooting. Those brass powder flasks satisfy that rule and can be used to dispense powder into a powder measure as well as measuring the powder with a calibrated spout.
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Old September 16, 2018, 09:48 AM   #9
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send me the Ruger and the powder and i risk life and limb and safely store it for you,,,no charge

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Old September 16, 2018, 04:13 PM   #10
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Yes and anyone....

....who has a Spencer rifle that makes them nervous is more than welcome to store it with me.

On the serious side, I should add that I never cap the nipples until the cylinder is returned to the frame.

And I never pinch nipples that are too loose. At least not any more.
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Old September 16, 2018, 04:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
And I never pinch nipples that are too loose. At least not any more.
That comes across as kind of kinky, did you mean to say caps?
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Old September 16, 2018, 05:03 PM   #12
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Yes.....Caps.

I believe that my only chain fire event in my life happened because of pinched caps.
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Old September 16, 2018, 05:43 PM   #13
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At the range I usually use paper cartridges. Make them then store them in a 50 count cartridge box. Have several boxes in the shop.
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Old September 21, 2018, 03:56 PM   #14
mikemyers
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To respond to the above replies....

I don't do anything out the ordinary, other than reloading my other guns. I don't know enough about black powder, but from what you guys have written, it seems to be safe to store a small amount of powder. Powder would be in one of the Powder Flasks purchased from Traditions, and it would most likely be "almost empty".

The powder's original shipping container is a can with a screw-on top as I recall, larger in size than my Flask. The flask is certainly heavier duty than the can.

To 'Doc Hoy': 20 grains of the powder would be "dropped" into the tube on the powder flask, then that small amount would be poured into my Powder Measure. Then I would empty the Powder Measure into just one chamber of the cylinder. For a while I will be using one of the wood stands that holds the gun up on end, making this easy. At some point in the future, I will probably be using a cylinder reloading stand I bought. Regardless, cap(s) will not be placed on the nipple(s) until I'm ready to fire.

'44Dave', I plan to do things exactly as described in the Ruger Old Army manual.


I'd like to do things properly, and have read lots of sometimes contradictory advice about how to do things. Until when/if I find out otherwise, I'll be loading 20 grains of BP, roughly 30 grains of "cream of wheat pellets", followed by a bit of grease and then the ball.
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Old September 21, 2018, 06:13 PM   #15
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For what it's worth, NMLRA range rules prohibit charging a muzzle loader or revolver directly from a powder flask or horn.
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Old September 21, 2018, 06:40 PM   #16
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Under the circumstances.....

If it were up to me, I would write the rules the same way.
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Old September 21, 2018, 09:21 PM   #17
mikemyers
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Once one has enough experience to understand what is going on, that rule seems essential to keep everyone safe. I don't imagine they did it that way "way back then", but we have no way of knowing who got hurt or killed when something set off the whole powder flask.

I know it's tempting - turn the tubular powder flask upside down, press the release button, fill the tapered tube with the right amount of powder, then release the button and drop the powder into the chamber. BUT, if something started to go boom, what's in the rest of the flask would probably go off.


Plan "B" for me is to use Pyrodex, but so many people seem to feel that the real thing is best.
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Old September 22, 2018, 12:24 AM   #18
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It is a matter of "Risk Management"

Everything we do has an (or many) associated risk(s). Many of our decisions result in behaviors which are intended to reduce the risk to a level that we as individuals are willing to accept.

For the guy who mows his lawn with a gas powered mower, he will eventually be faced with the need to put fuel in that mower. So he runs the mower low in gas and grabs the gas can to fill the gas tank. As he begins to pour he realizes that the engine of the mower is still very hot.

So at what temperature will that gas burst into flames?
How long will it take for the engine to cool to a point where I know it won't ignite the gas?
How long do I have before the Eagles meet the Dolphins on Channel 3?
If I wait for the mower to cool, will I miss the game?

Add a confounding factor....My three year old granddaughter is playing nearby.

It is the same way with risk mitigation of charging a revolver.

How hot is the chamber?
Could there be some hot embers remaining?
What is the likelihood that a flash will get past the valve in my flask and into the 1/4 pound of powder in the main vessel?

Add a confounding factor....There are twenty other shooters nearby.

I always shoot alone. The last time I was on a range with any other person was about 25 years ago on active duty in the Navy. I know that two people on a range is more than twice as dangerous as one person shooting alone. I see the mistakes that some very seasoned and very careful shooters make. I know the mistakes that I personally make.

I have learned over the years to decide what is "acceptable (to me) risk".

I haven't killed myself yet.

I would write the rules the same way.
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Old September 22, 2018, 01:22 AM   #19
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Mike Meyers, you can have 50 pounds of black powder in your condo if you want. Put some under the coffee table, some under the sink, put it wherever you want.

20 grains of BP for a charge? I bet that Ruger sounds more like a fart than a pistol when it goes off! Load her up with another 10 grains and have some fun.

As for charging a sixgun from a flask, you can do it all day long and never have happen what these folks keep guessing about. I've rapid fired/reloaded with paper cartridges and it didn't happen and the chambers were full of nitrated paper.

Risk adverse lawyers without horse sense have rewrote most of the rules of firearm safety and have actually made the sport less safe. That being said, following the rules is good manners.

I'm still waiting for those burning embers to get past my Sykes patented valve when loading the doublegun from the flask like our ancestors did.
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Old September 22, 2018, 10:58 AM   #20
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Doing our best, in our own best ways.

Quote:
Risk adverse lawyers without horse sense have rewrote most of the rules of firearm safety and have actually made the sport less safe. That being said, following the rules is good manners.
For the most part, I'd have to agree with this. It's nearly impossible to stand up against "Love" or "Safety".

I teach Hunter Safety M/L classes and have to admit that some of the things I do, I would not teach. By my measure, I never cross the line but understand my limits. I can't speak to what anyone else might do or not do. …..

I also teach and advanced class for new instructors and that is where "We" cover the subject of questionable techniques and Murphy's Law. ….

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 22, 2018, 06:07 PM   #21
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Pahoo

I am in agreement with your sentiments.

I said previously that I would write the rules the same way. And that is true.

But in this case it is not because of anything a lawyer might say.

It is because I could not be certain that everyone on the firing line has the same attitude toward safety, or the same experience avoiding problems. I guess the best way (for me) to put is is that the rules have to be written for the "lowest common denominator".

When teaching in management and business classes, my words to the class followed an incident which I personally witnessed.

I heard the VP of Ops at Virginia's Largest construction company tell one of his minions, "If you fail to listen to the attorney and that gets you in trouble, you will be in trouble with the attorney. But if you listen only to the attorney and that gets you in trouble, you will be in trouble with me!"

Decision makers are permitted to make decisions. And rule writers are aloud to write rules independent of the pronouncements of the lawyers. But if the lawyer makes a recommendation that makes sense from a practical standpoint, might as well pay attention.
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Old September 22, 2018, 06:24 PM   #22
44 Dave
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Patterson flask.JPG

What about a Patterson flask?
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Old September 23, 2018, 03:19 PM   #23
mikemyers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swathdiver View Post
Mike Meyers, you can have 50 pounds of black powder in your condo if you want. Put some under the coffee table, some under the sink, put it wherever you want.

20 grains of BP for a charge? I bet that Ruger sounds more like a fart than a pistol when it goes off! Load her up with another 10 grains and have some fun.

As for charging a sixgun from a flask, you can do it all day long and never have happen what these folks keep guessing about. I've rapid fired/reloaded with paper cartridges and it didn't happen and the chambers were full of nitrated paper.

Risk adverse lawyers without horse sense have rewrote most of the rules of firearm safety and have actually made the sport less safe. That being said, following the rules is good manners.

I'm still waiting for those burning embers to get past my Sykes patented valve when loading the doublegun from the flask like our ancestors did.

Let's put it this way. I'm starting out. I've only shot the gun four times as of today, and will do so again on Tuesday. I wrote up my own routine of what to do, in what order, and it also matches what I am allowed to do at my range. Shooters are specifically told they can NOT load from the flask, so even if I agree with you, nothing is going to change right now.

The fellow who won last year's Black Powder Bullseye championship for the USA uses 25 grains of powder. We had an online discussion of what is most accurate. I'm not really concerned if the gun goes bang or BANG, as long as the grouping is tight, and preferably centered around the bullseye (once I get the sights adjusted some more). According to Ruger, I can fill the chamber full of powder, and the gun will be perfectly safe. However, I've been told that is not good for accuracy.


I'm not asking lawyers, I'm asking the head of the Black Powder group at my range, and other experienced shooters. I'm not experienced. I will follow their advice.

As to how much Black Powder I can keep at home, I'm slowly learning it is much less of an issue than I originally thought.

The reason for posting this thread was for feedback, and I've gotten lots of it by now. I'm starting to enjoy the Ruger and BP shooting more and more.
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Old September 23, 2018, 04:30 PM   #24
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Rare

Quote:
What about a Patterson flask?
Not sure what you are referring to but will give it a shot. I personally do not use a Patterson flask nor the single Patterson spout. However, given on how they where and how they are used used, I see no "personal" problem if someone uses them. If they are not allowed per range rules, so be it. You really don't see that many in use. …

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 23, 2018, 07:29 PM   #25
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Mr. Myers, I remember when you first started asking questions, just trying to be of help. You should follow the rules at your range. There is a low charge and a high charge that will usually deliver the same accuracy. Several years ago I found that out with a couple of my sixguns and they all grouped best with 30 and 35 grain charges, even better than 15 and 20 grain charges. However, for competition, it is much easier on the hand to shoot those powder puff loads for score all day long. I do it too. 35 grains hurts my hands nowadays!

Enjoy your Old Army and someday I hope to meet you at a nearby range.
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