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Old January 20, 2006, 02:34 PM   #1
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reloading in the cold

Can you reload all year long in a non-insulated building. I have a metal shed in the back of my yard. I reload shotshells year round. Can I do the same for metallic cartridges? How about a electronic scale subjected to these temperature changes? I do not want to bring reloading equipment and materials into my house. After all this stuff is Haz-Mat.
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Old January 20, 2006, 02:47 PM   #2
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relaoding in the cold

I have a Lyman DPS 1200 electronic outfit and the book that came with it only says it is very sensative to temperature changes and further that even a drafty area can affect it. I used to reload in an out building but finally found the room to move my stuff inside. I left my case tumbler and some rarely used stuff out in the building but I do most of my work inside now. Sure beats the heck out of freezing/sweating in the building.

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Old January 20, 2006, 03:13 PM   #3
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The electronic scales are sensitive to temperature in a couple of ways. The displays are probably only narrow temperature band devices and will become difficult to read at low temperature. The strain gauge load cell is sensitive to changes in temperature, so the readings will drift as temperature changes. You can constantly recalibrate in an unstble temperature environment, but it is a nuisance. Some of the electronics may use the consumer grade specification of, which stops at the freezing point of water. They may work below that point, but it isn't guaranteed. The adhesives that attach the gauges to the load cell may embrittle if they get too cold, which endangers the scale as well as affecting its readings.

I would expect you may enounter embrittlement of various plastic parts. Unplasticized polypropylene, for example, has a glass transition point of somewhere around 40°F. Styrenes need plasticizers to survive low temperatures, too. I would watch out for powder hoppers and Lee die boxes to crack in the cold.

Beyond that, I don't know of a problem. Press lubrication will get stiff, so you need to watch that you can feel problems, like primer jamb-ups? Case lube may get stiffer, too, so make sure you don't get a case stuck.

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Old January 20, 2006, 03:42 PM   #4
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I keep my reloading supplies inside a semi-heated garage. The temperature stays above 50 degrees Farenheit typically. When I bring my stuff in the house to reload I try to at least let my supplies warm up to room temperature for at least 10-20 mins. Go get a glass of tea turn on the TV etc. When we measure 1/10 of a grain of powder that is 1/70000 of a pound. Measurements this small are extremely sensitive to temperature, humidity, and drafts. At the very least I make sure my powder measuring pan is warm. Hot/cold differences in temperature do affect the weight. Sounds kind of hokey I know but it is true. Heat does not affect the weighing of metal, but 1/70000 of a pound is very sensitive to it.
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Old January 20, 2006, 03:46 PM   #5
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Due to circumstances, I have no where to reload except in my very large attic. Temperatures here ( Birmingham, AL) rarely reach below 30 degrees, and it is warm to hot most of the year. I to have a Lyman DPS 1200II, and I keep it in the attic, as the temperature up there changes slowly, and as I read it, only extreme changes in temperature have adverse effects on the unit. I leave all of my primers and powders in a safe in our spare bedroom, and take them up only when I will be loading. I have using this system for about 3-4 months now and I have had no troubles. I know it will be a hot summer up there though!!! ( Hoping to move soon!!!)
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Old January 20, 2006, 03:52 PM   #6
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A metal building can get awful hot in summer and awful cold in winter. You do not say where you live but you probably would not want to be in the shed for a while in either hot or cold weather. Powder will deteriorate in hot sheds, and probably primers also. I can imagine what would happen to lubricated bullets in a very hot shed in July, what a mess.

I don't know what you mean by the statement "Haz-mat". I keep powder and primers and all of my stuff in my house and have been over 30 years. Powder is not explosive, and will only burn. It is kept in flimsy containers for a reason, so if they are burning the pressure will blead off, and not go bang. Primers are explosive, but are kept in the container they were bought in. Kept in this way, a chain reaction shouldn't happen. If there is a fire, you won't have enough primers to have a serious explosion. If you smoke, while reloading or have faulty electrical wiring, you will burn just as hot with the small amounts of reloading stuff, as without it.

You are in much more danger from the truly explosive substance you keep in your garage, GASOLINE. Gas is very explosive, and you have it in a plastic container and your vehicle's gas tanks.

Store the stuff safely in your house, and enjoy the reloading hobby and more shooting.
The shortest distance between two politicians is through your wallet.

Don N.
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Old January 20, 2006, 04:26 PM   #7
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I would let that stuff warm up two or three hours. Particularly the powder and primers. You don't want any moisture condensation on them.

I wasn't clear about the load cells in the scale. The strain gauges are foil resistors whose value changes as they stretch or compress. This resistance is what is measured to indicate strain. The metal part of the cell they are mounted upon deflects under load, like a stiff spring, but that amount of stretch elongates (or compresses-actually both, since some gauges are on top and some are underneath the load cell flex points) the gauge foil enough to change the reading.

As you might imagine, the load cell metal (usually aluminum on a sensitive scale) and the resistance metal foil in the gauge (I believe it is a Nickel alloy) and the plastic film it is encapsulated in and the gauge glue all have different linear coefficients of expansion. The result is a change in temperature can stretch or compress the resistance foil just as weighing something would do. Hence the reading shift (like changing the tare) and the sensitivity to temperature.

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Old January 20, 2006, 06:31 PM   #8
k in AR
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Just a couple of thoughts,
1) Most Powder MFG want their powder kept at about the same temp and conditions we like. Heat is exsp. bad.
2) in very cold weather I would be very worried about static sparks. That and powder would not be good.
3) if you keep your powder in a proper cabinet, the house is a perfect place for it. Just store the primers in a different place.
4) and finally, I just think better when I'm comfortable, and I sure want to think clearly when reloading.
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Old January 20, 2006, 08:16 PM   #9
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Reloading is no fun when you are uncomfortable from extreme heat/cold. That is when you get careless and do not so wise things.
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Old January 20, 2006, 09:44 PM   #10
Join Date: January 18, 2006
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First...Hey Shooter_john, it's nice to have another B'ham person here on the boards. You are the first one I have noticed.

Haz-Mat?? thats just for the shipping company to make more money

The only thing that can be hazardous about loading in the house is making the wife mad.....Others have already mentioned all of the safety stuff. Get comfortable and enjoy the hobby.
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