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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of making a box just for storing gunpowder(and primers),and maybe another one just for loaded ammo. I am thinking about making one out of solid 2x4's and lining the outside AND inside with 5/8"firerated drywall. I could put a hinged lid of same construction on top with a little padlock. Right now I have it in the bootm drawer of a metal file cabinet. If there was a fire it of course would burn pretty quick and make quite a fire of its own.
I figure the box described above might keep the powder from burning or certainly delay that possibility and if it did reach flash point, it wouldnt explode the box as the hinged lid would be the weak link and it would pop ouff with any pressure build up. The padlock is just to keep kids out or small time smash and grap thieves.
Im thinking this would also be good for storing ammo. I dont particularly like having ammo in gun safe as the flashpint of gun powder is supposedly around 200 and some degrees which is well below what most internal temps gun safes are rated for-Most say 350 degrees after a half hour or 3/4 hour or maybe the real good ones 1 hr.
What do youall think about this box construction idea?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A1A, i had not seen that particular discussion,but it does tend to confirm that powder and ammo will cookoff at something less than 300 degrees. Thanks for that discussion -very interesting. That's why Im thinking of using 2 layers of 5/8 sheetrock over the 2X wood box AND with a hinged lid. I think it should be better at least than keeping the powder (and ammo) in a thin sheet metal steel file cabinet. Also the box will be on the concrete floor slab so it will be as low as it can get as suggested by the discussion. Good read -seems to confirm my box idea.
 

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Maybe some fiberglass insulation between those layers of sheetrock. Gun safes also have a heat reactant seal on the door. I think it is called Palusol? Some of that around the lid perhaps.
 

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If you can dig a hole, line it well or insert a good fifty five Gallon Drum with a usual Detachable Ring-Latch Lid, and have a Hatch Cover above that...it is a lot better to have these things undertground a little ways...and, that way, a Fire above ground will not bother them at all.
 

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If you enclose powder and primer in the same sealed fire resistant box or drum aren't you maybe building a bomb in your house?
 

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I like your idea of a powder box Here is how I would make it:

I would use 1-1/8" flooring instead of 2x4s. Much easier to work with in constructing a box. I like the idea of sheetrock on the inside but not out.

Put a piano hinge on the lid and then take the box to your local tin bender and have them wrap it in tight fitting galvy sheet metal. This would keep the size down from the outside sheetrock and probably be just as effective.
 

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Well, Smokeless Powder does not explode in a Fire, it just goes 'Whooosh!' The Containers it typically comes in can not restrain the pressure enough to itself occasion an explosion, since the container would simply split or tear open prior to any meaningful amount of internal pressure.


Primers can or would explode, but they are so small it would not amount to much under the circumstances...other than lots of little 'Pops', and, it is not likely they would or could all pop at once anyway.


Look where any large Bon Fire has been, when made on the Ground, and, if you dig down just a few inches, you find it never got hot at all as far as under the Soil a little ways. Hence, to my mind, if I wanted a true 'Fire Safe', I would have it below Ground, and, insulate between it and the floor with Sheetrock and an ample Air Gap...or Sheetrock and Sand or Soil for a mediating 'Lid'.

Same when Houses or Buildings burn down...dig down a little ways, and the Soils never got hot at all.


Inconvenient to do of course if one is a second story appartment, or, if renting a home.

But, if one owns a Home, it would be easy enough to do.


It is not all that hard to cut an opening in a Slab, and or to then frame and Pour a Concrete Vault, or to set a 55 Gallon Drum...nor especially difficult to frame a vault ( or a poured Concrete Vault ) down a ways, with a Pier and Beam Foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for your comments. I must find some of that heat reactive sealer for the lid. Piano hinge sounds good. The more I think about the sheetrock on outside, I reralize it would probably get bumped into and wouldnt be very durable. With some sheet metal around it that would take care of the problem. Yes putting it under the floor is ideal-it would be a good bit more work but I dont have a high water table here (Im on a hill) so it would work.
Good ideas.
 

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Use metal studs intead of wood. They will not combust. In theory the wooden studs could combust, igniting the powder, whereas if they didn' burn the powder wouldn't ignite.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Use metal studs intead of wood. They will not combust. In theory the wooden studs could combust, igniting the powder, whereas if they didn' burn the powder wouldn't ignite.
Yes, that's why I thought I'd put fire rated gyp board on both sides. But probably steel studs with fire rated rock on both sides would probably be better.
 

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Aren't you missing one piece of the puzzle?

What's the average temperature in a housefire?
That 300 degrees Fahrenheit. That's nothing.
Really. If you wanna build a fireproof box your gonna need to go way beyond that.

Just a hint. Your average flashover reaches temperatures of 1000 Fahrenheit and beyond.
 

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Aren't you missing one piece of the puzzle?

What's the average temperature in a housefire?
That 300 degrees Fahrenheit. That's nothing.
Really. If you wanna build a fireproof box your gonna need to go way beyond that.

Just a hint. Your average flashover reaches temperatures of 1000 Fahrenheit and beyond.

And or much higher if there's a good Breeze...maybe twice that even.


If an interior of a Box reaches temps where Wood begins to chemically decompose and to offgas and the Gasses to combust as they stream out, any Powder or Primers or Guns in the Box, will be in a lot of trouble.


Unlike most relatively 'passive' Camp Fires or even Bon Fires, House Fires have enough physical containment of sorts to end up like a Poor Man's Blast Furnace, drawing Air in quite powerfully, often aided by Wind or strong Breezes, but even if not, they make their own 'Draft'...and pouring their combustion by-products out the top or side, and, can get quite hot indeed. Not hot enough to melt Steel, but hot enough to fuse or even sometimes puddle traditional Copper Pennies anyway, which is well into the mid teens.

Fire Safes were best when used in 'Fireproof' Buildings...where no elements of the Building's Construction were/are flamible/combustable...and it was only Office Furnishings and so on which could combust.

Usually, any 1940s or 1950s era Refrigerator will function as a quite good Fire Safe, as far as protecting the contents from most lighter to medium kinds of short-term House or Office Fires.

Past that though, and it is pretty difficult to expect any sort of 'Box' to protect the contents from potentially an hour or more of 500-ish to easily 800 to even 1500 degree heat...depending on conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, That's why I said fire Resistant not fire proof. I am looking for something that has a" pretty good" fire resistance . For instance my fireresistant gun safe specs say the safe will sustain a fire of 1250 degrees for 1 hr and the interior temp will not go above 340 degrees. Another safe says it will take a 1200 degreee fire for 3/4 hr and the inside temp wont go above 314 degrees. These are pretty typical for gun safes . there are 20 minute, 1/2 hr rated,3/4 hr rated and1 hr rated safes maybe even higher ratings but you pay for what you get- the higher the rating the more money you pay-for the same size safe. Most all of them mention a fire with temps 1200 degress or more and inside temps of 300+ degrees. So even putting the gunpowder in a fire rate safe doesnt mean it wont burn inside IF the fire is hot enough long enough.
Having the gunpwder in its carboard container or tin can siting in a file cabinet or on the floor does not seem quite fire resitant enough for me,however. ANY fire would set it off and then the powder burning, would make that fire even worse . So that's why Im thinking of making something a little more resistant maybe something on the order of the gun safe. Doesnt mean the powder wont burn just means itll take a good bit more heat and then ther is a much better chance that it wont add fuel to the fire.
Its more a judgement call on how much protection is enough and everybody has ther own opinion on that.
 

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Metal Studs, two layers of 5/8ths Sheetrock outer, one layer inner...Sheetrock screwed on, mud-n-tape all inside and outside Corners...top and bottom the same construction,though Botom could skip the Studs and just be a layer or two of Sheetrock, since being a Bottom it is already greatly more protected from Heat than the rest of it is... bottom being fixed, top could be a lift-out which fits merely snugly, rests on a little ledger inside, has a Handle...and uses Kaowool for a side-seal...low and wide would be better than tallish.

That, would do pretty darned well I think...but would not be waterproof. Top could hav e an over-hanging Sheet Metal cover, which would prevent Water from getting in through the Top.


In my mind, I would not care if my maybe seven or eight small usual-size Containers of Smokeless Powder were to 'whoosh' in a House Fire, and or a case or two or three of Primers to go Pop-Corning-away...it is not going to add enough to the Fire to matter, and, it is not going to harm anything in a situation where a Fire has progressed far enough to get them going.

I would instead be concerned about protecting my small little medley of Old Hand Guns...which could easily be ruined by a House Fire or get buried in fallen debris and end up being Wet and damaged that way, before I could get them extracted and dried off and so on.


If one keeps one's Powders and Primers on the Floor, in a ex-Military sort of Rubber Gasket Seal Steel Footlocker or Field Case or similar, this would in itself lessen greatly the possibility of them being combusted in a usual brief and soon put out sort of House Fire scenario, where, usually, the Fire does not get to consume everything and the Fire Department shows up and puts it out with lots of Water and so on.

Low, on the Floor, means it gets less heat, or gets it later, than things which are middling height or higher.

A good sealing ( Rubber Gasket type ) usually ex Uncle Sam or Military Steel Footlocker-like Box, will contain and protect and keep Water out.

If things do get hot enough to cause the Powder and Primers inside to go off, they will merely blow the Lid open or bulge things a little and by then, who cares.

Such cases are available for very reasonable prices.
 

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I think some regulations on powder storage exist. In addition most storage methods suggest one inch of wood with a door that is not sealed and weak walls in order to release the rapidly expanding gasses in the event of a fire. No effort should be made to hold in this pressure. Next time you are at a place selling powder or primer I think you will find they will not be enclosed in a tight container.
 

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Here is a link, I hope, refering to smokeless powder storage. Alliant Powder - Storage & Handling . here is another short article on primer storage, Primer Storage.

I don't see what quanties you are needing to store. But seperate storage for powder & primers is important. Mine are kept in orginal containers with a 3x5 card taped to it showing when purchased, how much used by date, etc. Same same for primers of all sizes. Kept in wooden boxes of nominal 1" thickness.

You might also get guidance from your Fire Station/Marshall.
 

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I shoot black powder. In MA, the rule is none can be sent by mail, UNLESS YOU ORDER A DOZEN POUNDS. yeah,,so I did.
idiot politicians. So, I have enough black to relocate my house. I built a one inch solid pine box, with brass hinges and lock, and keep it IN THE SHED OUT BACK, NOT IN THE HOUSE.. I put all my smokeless out there too. not the primers, they will draw moisture. so..just in case it goes up, and you see my shed passing over your house, let me know where it went.
Safe method, is to store excess powder outside, not in the garage, but away from the house. be safe....Ken
 

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[snip]

I don't see what quanties you are needing to store. But seperate storage for powder & primers is important. [snip]

You might also get guidance from your Fire Station/Marshall.
I was just speaking with an acquaintance, a fireman, about this recently. His guidance matched what I've read elsewhere. Do not store your primers and your powder together in the same container. Also, do not store them so that the pressure is contained - meaning, don't store them in a box with a lid that's latched. Modern powders are packaged so that if they combust, the pressure will not be contained and the powder will simply flare off. Given that a fire warm enough to cause the powder to burn in the first place is such that a bit more propellent burning will likely not make a difference. Primers especially should not be stored in a sealed box. If several thousand primers cook off at once, the box (metal, wood, whatever) they are contained in will become shrapnel.
 
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