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Dusty Sometimes

Reloading question for Southern shooters?

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I live in hot, muggy and humid Baton Rouge, Louisiana and my reloading shop in my backyard is not air conditioned until I turn the AC window units on whenever I'm reloading or doing projects. I do run a plug-in dehumidifier unit to deter rust on my tools and things inside and I run a Dillon reloader.

 

I shoot 2-3 times a month and reload once a month. I empty the Dillon of my Trail Boss powder after each reloading session because of my concerns of the humidity ruining my powder. 

 

Question: In my humid environment, controlled a little with a dehumidifier, is it safe to keep and store my powder in the Dillon all the time or is it best to empty it between sessions? I normally store my jugs of powder inside an airtight container that keeps humidity at bay. 

 

What do others Southern reloaders do?  Empty after each session or keep your powder tubes always full? 

Dusty Sometimes

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It is never safe in any environment to keep your powder in the hopper. Always empty at the end of every session if you want to avoid problems like undercharges from weighing the humidity instead of the go fast chemicals in the powder.

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I’m in Slidell, La but I do my reloading inside the house so sorry I can’t give any good pointers. 

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Ditto El Cubano's recommendations.   Some powders are really quite eager to absorb moisture from the air.  ALL the powder manufacturers have in their loading data a recommendation to return powder back to the factory bottle at the end of loading sessions.

 

What specific problems have I seen by disregarding these guidelines?

 

I ran into problems with TiteGroup powder left in a Dillon measure.  Didn't return the powder back to factory bottle.  About a week later, tried to continue loading.  Got light and inconsistent powder drops.   Powder had formed lumps in not-very-high humidity of my garage in semi-desert New Mexico.  Those lumps partially clogged the measure.  TiteGroup has a very high nitroglycerin content (it's a double base powder - as a lot of powders are today).

 

I also ran into problems with the high nitroglycerin content of Winchester Super Handicap causing powder to attach to an RCBS shotshell loader powder hopper.  Left powder in hopper for a few days, continued loading later, and powder had dissolved part of the plastic walls of the hopper, the hopper walls were rough and powder encrusted.  Took a ton of cleanup and buffing to get the hopper cleaned up, and what powder was in there was tossed out as contaminated by the plastic that dissolved.

 

Also, if you load more than one powder, have only one bottle out of storage at a time, so that returning powder to the correct bottle is impossible to screw up, and you never forget what powder was left in the measure.   Both of which can be costly and dangerous mistakes!

 

Be safe and be good to your powder - don't leave it in your measures!

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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For safety I never leave powder in the hopper when not in use.  relying on memory as to what powder is in the hopper is a recipe for disaster.  Plus, humidity is not your powder's friend.

 

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I live in Atlanta, so we do get humidity, though not as much as you.  I don’t have the experience that some who have replied do, but I’ve been reloading for 8 years now, 38 Special and 32 H&R magnum. I only use Clays so I don’t need to worry about mixing my powders up. I load about 1,500-2,000 rounds a month. My Dillon 650 is inside, climate controlled, and I never empty the hopper, maybe I should. So far I’ve never had a problem. No squibs, no light/heavy charges. I’m not recommending you do that, but that’s been my experience.

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Empty the powder after each loading session and return it to the factory container.  It's not really difficult to do on a 650.

Blackfoot

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Posted (edited)

When I loaded in an unheated and un-air conditioned garage I only had one powder out of the a.c. long enough to do the reloading, then empty the hopper back into the original container and store it back in the a.c. seemed to work ok for me.

 

Imis  Tn gets some humidity

Edited by Imis Twohofon,SASS # 46646
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I would think keeping the powder in the hopper, with the cap on would be better that transferring it back and forth between the hopper and the original bottle. I understand if the cap was left off the hopper, but the cap on my 550 hopper fits pretty snugly. I have loaded for years with a Lee single stage and the factory Lee powder measure with a cap that just sits on top(not sealed) and NEVER had problem with any powder I've used. Why would you want to continually expose your powder to humidity by transferring it back and forth?

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The hopper is not air tight, both the cap & shuttle have clearances that allow them to move, and air molecules, even humid air, is ever so much smaller than those tolerances.   Moving the powder from jar to hopper back to jar even one round trip per reloading session is exposing the powder to far less moisture than letting it sit in the hopper for even 24 hours... let alone between once monthly reloading sessions.

 

2ndly, just how sure are you that the powder in the hopper is what you think it is,   Putting it back in its original container is a much recommended safety practice.  AND for very good reason.  There are far too many reported cases of suspected squibs and double charges for some of them not to be simply incorrectly identified powder.  Surely you don't mean to imply that we all have 100% recall?  The WTC posts are ample proof that's not the case.:ph34r:

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For a practical matter, I buy my powder in the largest size available... but this wasn't always the case, nor is it when testing a new (to me), powder.  But, I've kept those 1 lb. cans,  topping them off from my larger stash, and use the 1 lb. size to move powder to and from the hopper... keeps spillage down.

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I'll leave it overnight in the middle of a 'run'.

But not otherwise........

OLG

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Similar situation in Tennessee except I have no AC in the shed.  Hence I never leave powder in the hopper and always store my powder, primers and lubed bullets in the house.

 

That shed can easily hit 100 degrees in the summer - especially since I sealed it up to deter snakes and such - so why risk it?

 

I was advised not to shoot the snakes while reloading, sage advice.  :)

 

 

Sheriff Langston. 

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52 minutes ago, Griff said:

2ndly, just how sure are you that the powder in the hopper is what you think it is,   Putting it back in its original container is a much recommended safety practice.  AND for very good reason.  There are far too many reported cases of suspected squibs and double charges for some of them not to be simply incorrectly identified powder.  Surely you don't mean to imply that we all have 100% recall?  The WTC posts are ample proof that's not the case.:ph34r:

Only use Trailboss for Cowboy loads (what's loaded on the 550) and if I can't tell Trailboss apart from other powders, I have no business reloading.

I'm not arguing the point of putting it back in the bottles, just inquiring about why. I do see the merits, particularly the humidity issue.

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Posted (edited)

American rifleman I believe did a report on it. Powder is actually designed at a very specific humidity level for consistent performance. I'm assuming you reload in doors so your powder is constantly climate controlled even in the hopper (which is definitely not air tight since if it was the powder wouldn't drop).

 

While you can probably get away with it because your house stays at a consistently low humidity level thanks to AC, many reload in a garage which has inconsistent temperature and high relative humidity. The powder gladly sucks this up and will literally change weight just like a soaked towel. That powder will A) have ignition issues leading to less consistent burns, and B} give you inconsistent charges because the humidity will be weighed as well as the powder.

Edited by El Cubano

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I reload after every match, so that's at least once a week, sometimes I do it all in one run, more often two thirty minute runs per week.  That's a lot of pouring powder back and forth.  When we get back from a match I clean the brass and usually the next day I start reloading.  If I'm feeling spry I reload it all. I use all the brass until there are five pieces on the shell plate, top off the powder, top off the primer tubes and I'm ready for when I have fresh brass to dump in the hopper the next weekend. 

 

It takes me just under an hour to reload the 400-500 rounds we go through each week.  One hour is about the max I like to work a reloader, much more than that and my shoulder will give me problems afterwards.  No way I'm going to do it once a month and have to reload 2,000 rounds in one sitting. 

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I'm wondering that after reloading in Georgia for 15 years, this is the first I've ever heard mention of how much humidity affects the powder in the hopper.

Hmmmmm

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The humidity can affect both powder and primers. I reload inside the house so it doesn't really really matter. I always empty the powder out into a 1 lb container of the same brand just because it's a good safety practice.

 

One simple, although more expensive, remedy would be to leave the window ac on 85 degrees. Wouldn't cool your shop all that much but it will reduce the humidity.......after all, that's the main purpose of ac.

 

If you store your primers/powder inside the house, it may be prudent to let them "adjust" to the humidity and temperature difference when you take them out of the house to the shop.

 

YMMV

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there is a vendor over on Cast Boolits that sells a quick disconnect for Dillon powder measures both 550/650 and SDB.

 

I got to be Beta tester for SDBs

 

for me it's a great way to connect and reattach the powder measure without having to use a screwdriver

 

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?370225-VS-Dillon-Powder-feed-quick-disconnect&highlight=dillon+disconnect

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There are two moisture issues to consider. Hygroscopic absorption of water vapor into the powder (simply exposing it to humid air) and  condensation of water vapor of the air space in the containers. If you move your powder in and out of a conditioned space in the summer, you are subject to a much larger abouts of moisture issues than if you leave it in humid but stable air (that remains above the dew point of the ambient air).

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This little item from Uniquetek makes draining powder on a Dillon easy as well.

 

http://www.uniquetek.com/product/T1347

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1 hour ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

I'm wondering that after reloading in Georgia for 15 years, this is the first I've ever heard mention of how much humidity affects the powder in the hopper.

Hmmmmm

Yep.  I'm certainly not advocating anyone else do it the way I do, but I generally don't mess with things that are working for me and this has worked for over 100,000 rounds, so I'll probably stick to it.

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Been reloading for 30 years never leave powder in the hopper goes back in the jug it came from.   I want to know where everything is in case of a fire. 

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21 minutes ago, dannyd said:

Been reloading for 30 years never leave powder in the hopper goes back in the jug it came from.   I want to know where everything is in case of a fire. 

Whether in the hopper or a bottle, there's less than five feet distance.

 

In case of fire - RUN.

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Now Chief after being on the boat you should know your fire safety.  Keep the powder in wooden magazines and primers too.   My first ship was built in 1943 by the 1970's it was having problems.  If a day went by without a fire we thought something was wrong. ;)

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15 hours ago, Dusty Sometimes said:

I live in hot, muggy and humid Baton Rouge, Louisiana and my reloading shop in my backyard is not air conditioned until I turn the AC window units on whenever I'm reloading or doing projects. I do run a plug-in dehumidifier unit to deter rust on my tools and things inside and I run a Dillon reloader.

 

I shoot 2-3 times a month and reload once a month. I empty the Dillon of my Trail Boss powder after each reloading session because of my concerns of the humidity ruining my powder. 

 

Question: In my humid environment, controlled a little with a dehumidifier, is it safe to keep and store my powder in the Dillon all the time or is it best to empty it between sessions? I normally store my jugs of powder inside an airtight container that keeps humidity at bay. 

 

What do others Southern reloaders do?  Empty after each session or keep your powder tubes always full? 

Dusty Sometimes

 

 

Dusty - My reloading is out in the shed too.  If I don't have the window A/C on I leave the dehumidifier on.  I keep all my supplies in the shed the only thing I did was buy a bunch of the rechargeable desiccant packs, I put packs in the containers with clean brass, the drawer with primers and any open powder containers.  I check the packs every so often and change as needed.  So far so good I haven't had any primer or powder issues with this routine.  

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2 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

Whether in the hopper or a bottle, there's less than five feet distance.

 

In case of fire - RUN.

Yep!  Run!

 

Where are you on the GC Chief?  Most of my family is from Pass Christian.

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5 hours ago, dannyd said:

Now Chief after being on the boat you should know your fire safety.  Keep the powder in wooden magazines and primers too.   My first ship was built in 1943 by the 1970's it was having problems.  If a day went by without a fire we thought something was wrong. ;)

Fire safety - don't start a fire in the house.

 

In case of fire - RUN.

 

The only wood on any of my ships were pallets that brought on supplies and they didn't stay on too long.

 

Even the minesweeper I was on didn't have a wood frame - all fiberglass.

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3 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Yep!  Run!

 

Where are you on the GC Chief?  Most of my family is from Pass Christian.

Pascagoula area.

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6 minutes ago, Chief Rick said:

Pascagoula area.

Know it well.  I used to drive through there quite a bit before I10 was finished.  Worked putting insulation into fishing boats there too.

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I leave the powder in the hopper all the time. It's in the basement so it's pretty cool and somewhat dry. I've never had a problem with it on my 550 or when I had a SDB. 20 years and counting................

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To sorta answer the OPs question - I keep my powder in the hopper (550), but my reloading room is in the house.

 

The hoppers have a piece of blue painters tape with the type of powder and the charge weight written on it.

 

Before a reloading session I'll throw a couple of charges into a case, throw that back into the hopper, and then throw a few more and measure them to ensure I'm getting the right load.

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8 minutes ago, Chief Rick said:

To sorta answer the OPs question - I keep my powder in the hopper (550), but my reloading room is in the house.

 

The hoppers have a piece of blue painters tape with the type of powder and the charge weight written on it.

 

Before a reloading session I'll throw a couple of charges into a case, throw that back into the hopper, and then throw a few more and measure them to ensure I'm getting the right load.

this is good, very good advice

 

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