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Need some advice about transferring gunpowder :)


DefiantMenace
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Hello everyone! I need to draw some information from the collective mind.

This may not be the right area for this, so if it needs to be moved I apologize. I have a bunch of the old 15 pound paper kegs of red dot and the paper is starting to deteriorate and the powder needs to be put in a new container. I was thinking the black(light proof) buckets that are sold at home depot, I looked and they appear to be made from the same plastic that new powder comes in(HDPE 2).

Supplementary information, yes the powder is good, no bad smells and I shoot with it regularly. It is the containers that have gone bad nothing more. I have read people using milk jugs or bleach bottles, however I have way way way too much powder to be messing around with jugs.

I was worried about possible static issues with the plastic container, and transferring it from keg to bucket, however after a lot of reading it appears modern gunpowder is not effected by static like the old black powder.

So my question is, has anyone stored gunpowder in polyethylene buckets? Were there any problems? I don't see any issue with a reaction to the plastic since it appears its the same plastic that my new powder uses. If anyone has done or is currently doing this please let me know. Help is greatly appreciated. I went ahead and purchased 20 buckets and 20 gamma lids to get the process started. Fingers crossed!

Thanks guys and gals!

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Well, what I am doing is taking the HDPE buckets, putting in a large paper bag that fills most of the bucket, pouring the powder inside, 3/4 of the paper bag, then folding the paper closed, throwing in 2 home made silica desiccant packs, putting on the gamma lid and calling it a day. Fingers crossed :-P

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Hmmm no replies, well i think I have it pretty much handled(famous last words), besides I don't mind being the vanguard on this one. I will report back periodically if there are any issues.

So far.....I got all 20 buckets done, no issues with static, however after reading up on it I didn't suspect I would have any. For those interested the bucket method, the gamma lid is fantastic. The gamma lids have a ring with a rubber seal that snaps onto the rim of the bucket, then the lid screws right onto it. I have labeled the outside of the bucket with a silver paint marker the powder type and my load data(for instance Red Dot-9mm-124g fmj-4.1 grain &OAL) for the particular powder. I have done this a second time on the interior of the lid. How I put them together--- 1 bucket(black light proof) which is HDPE #2, then I have 3 paper bags, the first two are doubled up and placed in the bucket, then filled with powder and the third is made into a cap of sorts, then toss in 2 desiccant packs and screw on the gamma lid.

I don't suspect at this time there will be any issues, however if I encounter any I will report back............. unless I am dead LOL

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I'm just in awe of how much powder you have.

I have really been scouring the internet since i started reloading, places like backpage, craigslist and even yard-sales have been invaluable (if you don't mind putting in a little legwork and some of your time). Probably the best scores have come simply by accident, I was driving and hitting yard-sales on the weekend and saw a giant sign that said divorce sale and I knew it was going to be good(divorce sales are the best! LOL). I bought 40 pounds of pistol powder, a bunch of ammo cans full of various bullet types, a box of old powder tins, 2 big cardboard boxes filled with small and large pistol primers, and a whole bunch of black powder stuff for 425$ :) Thats just one deal! Plus I live close to sun city here in AZ so there are always estate sales going on. Its a lot of work sometimes, but now finding powder and reloading stuff is a hobby, its almost as fun as reloading and shooting itself :-P

Edited by DefiantMenace
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I really don't know the answer so I hesitate to even bring it up. However, the desiccant packs may or may not be a good idea. Modern smokeless powder contains some moisture by design to provide the proper burn. If the powder becomes too dry bad things can happen. Since you live in a dry climate you might want to talk to Alliant and get their opinion on the packs. If you can get to the right guy Alliant is usually quite helpful.

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You could probably use almost any kind of jug or container for this. I wonder if gallon Zipper Lock bags would work for long term? You might also want to start taking bags of powder to matches and selling them because it sounds like you have more powder than you would ever use and you can't buy beer with gunpowder - at least not now.

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Don't put the powder in anything too strong. The factory containers are designed to fail at a certain pressure. If you end up with a house fire you want the container to fail before they become a bomb and a hazard to the firefighters (who may just decide to watch your house burn rather than risk saving it).

I think you should call Alliant and talk to them about this. Ask if they can send you some empty 8# jugs they use for other powder now. Surely they'll have some on hand. If that doesn't work, then post on the classifieds seeking empty powder jugs.

Personally, I would leave them as is long before I'd put them in those HD paint buckets.

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I really don't know the answer so I hesitate to even bring it up. However, the desiccant packs may or may not be a good idea. Modern smokeless powder contains some moisture by design to provide the proper burn. If the powder becomes too dry bad things can happen. Since you live in a dry climate you might want to talk to Alliant and get their opinion on the packs. If you can get to the right guy Alliant is usually quite helpful.

This would be my advice! And also I would heed the advice to store that much powder away from my living area. With the rubber seal and screw on lids ,You may just have a few bombs on your hands. Call Aliant and get advice from experts in powder handling.

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If the HD buckets are HDPE2 he's good to go (and probably better off without the paper) - that's what current powder bottles are made of.

Powder stored in a plastic container will not explode - plastic does not have sufficient tensile strength and and would need to be melted for the powder to light off.

As another poster mentioned, the correct NFPA storage method is in a 1" nominal wooden chest or cabinet.

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I once got a couple of pounds of Ramshot TAC in a butter bowl. It was from a friend and he's trustworthy. Within a day it was welding itself to the plastic of the bowl. So check the specific plastic material which sounds like has been done and you'll be fine.

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Just a quick update, the storage is working out great. It is so convenient to just screw off, or spin off rather the 5 gallon bucket lid and scoop out a funnel full of powder in one go! This also makes dumping the powder out of the powder funnel very easy should u want to change powders. I really think the paper bag route inside the bucket is the way to go as it keeps the powder from touching the HDPE plastic. I don't think the powder would start to break down the HDPE plastic, as that is the type of plastic powder comes in today.......but it costs nothing and it just adds another layer of protection for the powder itself(which I will be storing for a long period of time). Thank you very much for all of the replies and if you need to store powder in something other than what it came in.......5 gallon black light proof HDPE 2 buckets are a big win.

Oh for those of you thinking it could potentially be a bomb....well I was curious as well, and like my static test(will a static charge ignite red dot, spoiler alert it would not, for me at least) I got a smaller bucket and put in just over a pound of powder, went quite a ways from the house and under controlled conditions using gasoline I burned the bucket. It did not explode, the plastic melted, caught fire and then immediately was followed by a large flash but no explosion. I am not a professional/expert by any means, but I believe......... and this is just my opinion that in the case of a house fire by the time the HDPE gets to the point where the sealed bucket catches fire the plastic is so soft it doesn't provide the strength to build pressure, therefore no bomb. As I said I am not a professional by any means, I am just trying to add to the knowledge base here and give back to my fellow reloaders.

Hope everyone is having a great memorial day weekend! :)

Edited by DefiantMenace
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You can't say that and not post the video. You just can't.

Hahahaa, then the next thing you know I am joining facebook and pinterest, then I have to buy a smart phone so I can text people, sounds like a slippery slope. All joking aside it never crossed my mind, maybe next time.

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