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IS YOUR GUN SAFE A BOMB?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by billcoe, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    This came up on the Canon Safe for sale at Costco thread and I figured that discussion should be elsewhere. I do want any links or evidence to this. I chucked some ammo in the bottom of my safe (not any powder, but I could see someone doing so) so as to keep it from easily walking off in case of a break in and too keep better in a climate controlled state. (I have both a Goldenrod and an electronic desiccant device inside).

    Thinking of a fire, Capn Jack said:

    I relied that I would think that ammo cans would be little mini bombs in that kind of state, but if true, why would the worlds military use the steel? Certainly during the havoc of war, fires and explosions are not uncommon, so why have lil mini bombs right next to your personnel?
     
  2. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I would never store powder in the house...or any other explosive for that matter. I do not like to even keep aerosol cans in the house. My aunt lost her home once when a small fire started in her garage (started by her husdand drilling out an old car fender). The fire was small and contained to small table he was working on at the time. Her husband was putting it out just as the heat ignited some old aerosol cans. Luckily he wasn't injured too badly, but it turned a probable few hundred dollars in damages into a total home loss. Also, another guy I know just got severely injured when his welding touch sent a spark in the wrong direction in his garage and ignited some flameable materials. If I was a reloader my supplies would be stored in external storage. Sheds are cheap and easy to build.
     
  3. moose

    moose northwet coast Well-Known Member

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    I bought some 2 foot square metal ammo containers a while back (I think they were used by the navy to store arty fuses) and I store my powder in several of those. Primers, by flavor, are stored seperately and go into 30 and 50 cans. None of it is in my house.
     
  4. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Well let make this simple, smokeless powers is NOT an explosive, it is a propellent. It will NOT explode. It burns creating a high pressure gas that propels the bullet. Think of it like a burning fuel can, they dont explode (other then on TV) but they do burn very quickly.

    Now with all that said it will increase the amount of fire, it is highly combustible, it does need to be stored properly to be safest. I dont know how big of safes you guys have or how small of powder/gun collections you have but there is no way I could even come close to storing even a fraction of my ammo/powder/primes in my safes.

    Black powder IS an explosive (low) and acts different. It will explode but a good heavy safe should stop any of that.

    Here are the storage specs right from the ATF, ATF Online - Explosives - How To - Explosives Storage Requirements
     
  5. Jerry

    Jerry Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    About 12 years ago, or so, I read an article in one of the NRA magazines discussing safes and storing ammo in them. My recollection was that most of the fireproof rated safes had an internal temperature that was much less than would cause the powder in a cartridge to ignite. I'm thinking that the article stated that it would take a temperature in excess of 650 F to cause the powder to ignite.

    Jerry
     
  6. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    IIRC ammo cans are designed to blow out the seal to avoid excessive pressure and rounds cooking off inside one (even though that would be extremely difficult to do unless you threw it in a hot fire and let it sit for a very long time) would be contained by the can.
    Safes are not airtight either so they would vent pressure as well if powder ignited inside, although it would take someone more versed in physics than I to determine how much powder it would take to turn a safe into a bomb. I'd hate to think what several pounds of burning powder would do to your poor guns inside the safe though.
     
  7. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Been reloading since I was 11 (with my dad of course) Been storing powder both Black and Gun in their original containers (1 lbs units) in my home since 1981 and will continue to do the same. If the 87 year old wood house I live in catches fire and having seen the way Silvertons Fire Dept responds to a house fire. I have no doubt I will be buying all new stuff with insurance money. I'm not worried.
     
  8. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    This! If the temps inside a safe reach high enough temps to ignite smokeless or black powder you have a bigger problem than a minor explosion in your safe.
     
    tlfreek, Trlsmn, nwo and 3 others like this.
  9. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Thanks for the reassurance. I too, have a fire safe, bolted onto a concrete floor. By the time it got hot enough to even think of starting to be cooking something off, I suspect that the stick home it's in would be charcoal and it would be time to start roastin the marshmallows and borrowing the neighbors tent to sleep in the park. If anything, the water from the fire hoses may be a larger concern for anything not in a firesafe (think of all your pictures, paper files in file cabinets, computers, electronics and furniture) I would suppose.
     
  10. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    Right. So it seems to me that if for some crazy reason the fire originated from inside the safe, it wouldn't burn long (in a decent safe) because of oxygen deprivation. Between the smoke and limited ways for oxygen to get in how would there be enough oxygen to keep it going?

    If the fire began outside the safe, then just as folks have said, you have a much bigger problem.

    That said, I wonder what a fire department's reaction would be if you said, "btw, I have a safe full of ammo in that burning building?"
     
  11. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Check with your local fire dept it will be in there SOP/SOG. The only time ammo really becomes a problem in a fire is then the rounds are in the chamber or in the cylinders of revolvers. Loose ammo or ammo in ammo cans is of VERY minimal danger to FF. Unless ammo is contained somehow the case will fail causing a fire cracker like pop. The bullet is heavier then the case so it will stay put and if any part of the case does "fly though the air" there is so little mass it does little. I have been on house fires like that.

    One neighbor had lots of ammo and both smokeless and black powder in his house that caught on fire. Ammo makes nice little popping noises. Smokeless makes a jet engine kinda sound and generates a lot of heat. The black powder makes a very nice boom, this is a big danger to FF.
     
  12. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    Good info. Thanks!
     
  13. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

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    For ammo to even generate a pressure spike, it would have to all ignite at once, which is highly unlikely.
     
  14. Wood Worker

    Wood Worker Linn County Oregon Active Member

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    My safes do have 50cal cans of shells in the bottom to add some weight, because I was not sure that lagg bolts into the floor were enough.

    I keep my reloading powder in a locking crate that I made which is really 4 layers thick of alternating plywood and half inch drywall, and in the right side against the floor I have a piece of 2" diameter steel pipe that has screen across it on the inside, to keep mice from making a home there.
     
  15. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    [video=youtube;nfoJAwlUopI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfoJAwlUopI [/video]

    [video=youtube;7BX1kvJVrjc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BX1kvJVrjc[/video]
     
  16. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    FYI, do not trust fire safe ratings. They are total bunk. A friend of mine is an ex-fire marshal turned insurance investigator and he will tell you that they never do what they claim they can do. Those ratings are pretty much just purchased these days because many manufacturers are allowed to do their own testing (working on the honor system) and obtain their rating for a fee.