Do components degrade in cold temperatures?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by CampingJosh, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    I'm still very new to reloading, but I don't remember reading this anywhere.

    My reloading room is set up in an out building that is not generally climate controlled. During the summer, interior temperatures never get past 90*, but the winter gets far more extreme. We will likely have periods of several days where the high temperature won't break 25*.

    I currently have my powders and primers stored in that building, but I don't know if the freezing temperatures will cause any damage to the primers or powder. I don't expect the low temps to be a problem, but it's pretty easy to ask.

    Should I box up my powders and primers and keep them in the house, or will they be fine being stored in the 20* to 40* range for four months?
  2. al45lc

    al45lc Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    colorful colorado
    The biggest problem is humidity. Like many other metal and powder items, as temps swing back and forth along with humidity, the metal and powder attracts moisture and this will degrade the primers and unsealed powders. Stable temps and humidity control are key, and it doesn't sound like you have that.
    Indiana has great humidity swings (born and raised there) and I wouldn't store my stuff in an uncontrolled environment with that kind of humidity.
    I stored mine in sealed cabinets and used dissecant packs when I lived there, I often had to dry them out in the oven (they turned blue when they were heavy with moisture) in the fall and spring. I have primers that are 15 years old that my retired Father gave me from that old cabinet, they work fine, developing very similar loads on the chrony to what I recorded 20 years ago.
    Proper storage is a must.

  3. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

    Jun 21, 2010
    South Alabama
    I recently bought this:

    for storing my powder and primer. It was a little pricey, but it seems to have an airtight seal, and is the perfect size to store several (20 or so 1#) cans of powder and several boxes of primers. It worked perfect for me. I put several dessicant packs in it as well as al45lc suggested. The humidity in lower Alabama is pretty drastic, but so far, so good with this container.

  4. American Leader

    American Leader Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Josh, IMO keep in house. I keep mine in cabinets with dehumidifer in the room as well.
  5. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Humidity is not an issue; I can deal with that very easily.

    All of the storage information I'm finding from SAAMI and the powder manufacturers says to store it in a "cool, dry place." How cool is too cool?
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    room temp Josh.

    Put it all in a box and keep it in the top of your closet and when you reload just grab what you need on the way out to the shed.

    You will want to keep a close eye on your press and dies as well. as they may begin to rust with the temperature fluctuation. Keep them cleaned and well oiled.
  7. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    And remember the LAST thing you want to do is store powder and primers in a tightly sealed box, especially a metal box. In the event of a fire, that box will contain the burning powder and primers, resulting in it becoming a big bomb. Read the SAAMI recommendations for primer and powder storage. They recommend storing them in the original containers and if you have over a minimum quantity, store them in a wooden cabinet with nominal wall thickness of 1 inch (read 3/4 inch plywood box or cabinet) so the burning gasses can easily escape the container.

    Cool weather will not hurt powder or primers at all, and in fact is best for storage. High temperature causes an increase in the rate of degredation of the base chemicals, so keep 'em cool. Freezing temperatures would likely result in an extremely extended shelf life, like with film (rememebr that?) and batteries.
  8. Orin

    Orin Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Florida, USA
    As a custom painter I've learned over the decades to watch out for how chems are sealed & when/where I unseal for any reason. As the sun goes down temps drop. Water falls out of the atmosphere & seeks absorptive materials. Since the coldest time is right at daybrake that's the time moisture is worst. Not good to try unsealing a container of powder & using it when moisture's hunting a new home. Ditto a rainy day. Put your primers in sealable bags with the air sqweezed out.
  9. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

    Oct 24, 2011
    I store my primers in .50 BMG ammo cans with a bag of that moisture absorbing stuff. A .50 BMG can can not sustain the pressure to turn primers into a bomb.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  10. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
  11. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Yeah, I've been reading everything from SAAMI on storage. They all say to avoid heat and moisture; cold doesn't seem to be an issue.

    I'll start checking out info from CIP (Europe's rough equivalent to SAAMI); if they don't say anything about it, then I'll just assume that cold won't be an issue--and I'll report if it ever is!
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