New to relaoding, some Q's

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by rentalguy1, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. rentalguy1

    rentalguy1 Former Guest

    New to the site, and new to reloading, so I have a quick question or two.

    I live in NE TN, and I want to start reloading in my basement. The possible problem is that my basement, like 99% of them in my area, is underground. This makes it very humid. I do not know the exact humidity level, but I am buying a gauge today to find out. It is a constant 65* year round, and I know that is good, so my questions are:

    1. What is the max humidity that would be acceptable for a reloading space?

    2. I have read that if you are reloading in a humid area, you should store only ammunition that is already loaded, because the primer and powder are sealed from the atmosphere. Is this true, or should loaded ammo be stored in air-tight containers (TupperWare, rubbermaid, etc.)?

    3. If I wanted to store reloading components in this humid area, would it be acceptable to keep them in separate, air-tight containers as well?

    4. I have been storing all of my firearms in a closet that is upstairs in a non-humid part of the house. I have recently outgrown this area, and I have at least another five guns on my list to purchase over the next few months. If I am ok to to set up a reloading rig in the humid basement I was planning on building a locker to store everything in (reloading components, finished ammo, and firearms). That way everything is in one place, safe and secured. My question is, what would be considered too humid to store my guns? I want to avoid any rusting, of course.

    5. Is there a way to get around any humidity issues that I have? I have a dehumidifier downstairs, but it is a PITA, because it has to be emptied daily and it's very noisy. Should I get a new one that is quiet and that can have a hose attached so that it never needs to be emptied, or is there some kind a large desiccant apparatus that I could put in the locker to beat the humidity?

    I know that's a lot of questions, and I apologize. I just want to be sure and get this right, because I don't want to damage what I already have, and I don't want to waste money on reloading components that are in short supply. That would be stupid on my part, and unfair to the rest of you guys who reload.
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    1- Not sure if there is a "set" humidity level, but having a background in enviromental controls, I'd say that 25-35 would probably be ideal and anything over 60% may need to be addressed. I tend to think that overall, humidity is not a huge issue when actually reloading. As far as storing equipment and preserving it, it is a concern. Several members here reload in areas of high humidity; coastal Texas, Louisiana and such, with a little care, it's very do-able.

    2 - Ammo IMO should always be stored in an appropriate container; an ammo can. Designed, built and years of tested performance, doesn't get any easier than that. Surplus 30 cal is my choice, I tend to not like the weight of fully loaded 50 cal cans.

    3 - I keep all my components in sealed storage, if for nothing else than to keep it organized and seperated so that I don't mix any components. different primers and bullets are kept in their own rubbermaid containers, so when I reload one caliber, that is all that i have out.

    4 - You would be fine storing your guns in a cabinet, with a dessicant unit and a dehumidifying rod, your guns are protected. Of course the biggest assest to protecting your guns is going to be keeping them cleaned and a light coat of oil on a regular basis. I've seen plenty of cases where guns were stored in a cabinet in a "safe dry area" and then left for years, only to come out covered in rust. Had the cabinet been opened, guns wiped down and a few minutes of time put into them, they would be in excellent condition. All comes down to how you care for them. In high humidity months here in central Tx, I always give them a little extra attention.

    5 - Depending on what your relative humidity reading is, I think the best solution may be to seal the concrete, if you have access to it, not sure if you've got framed walls or what your situation is. If you have a window, you could install a window a/c unit. AC units remove a significant amount of moisture so long as they're sized to the space. I personally hate dehumidifier units, they're breeding grounds for everything bad. 99% of people do not clean them according to directions, this leads to mold and all kinds of stuff growing on the insides of them. Not air that i want to be breathing.

    Hope this helps, I'm sure you'll get a few other perspectives also. All are good, find what works for you.


  3. Lost One

    Lost One New Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    SLC, Ut.
    The previous post covered it pretty well.

    If there is no walls built there you could build a small room and put in a vapor barrier to help keep the humidity out then run the dehumidifier in there until the humidity levels are down to what you want. Also if emptying the pan is a problem then you could get a condensate pump and have it drain into that and it will come on when needed and pump the condensate out so you dont have to deal with it.

    Home depot sells this one but you can go to a Johnstones or some other HVAC supply and get it cheaper.
  4. rentalguy1

    rentalguy1 Former Guest

    funny you mention it. Right now it is a unfinished space. Just nbare concrete block walls. I had considered finishing a portion of it for this purpose. I hadn't thought of a vapor barrier. I think this is the route I will take. Thanks for everyone's reply.
  5. Lost One

    Lost One New Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    SLC, Ut.
    You will have to remember that this is a short term solution by using a vapor barrier and woolleyworm is correct about having the basement sealed. Eventually if the moisture in the basement stays high mold and fungus will start to grow and is VERY unhealthy to be around and if there is a return air in the basement it will circulate the air through the rest of the house.
  6. rentalguy1

    rentalguy1 Former Guest

    I actually already have two gallons of sealer in the basement right now. I have just been putting it off for some reason.
  7. Lotsdragon

    Lotsdragon New Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Potosi, Mo
    Welcome Rentalguy!You already have the advice you need, just remember its to have fun, be safe!
  8. Suwannee Tim

    Suwannee Tim New Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    There is a good chance that the moisture will take your sealer right off the wall, the water moves by capillary action and will just pry the paint right off. A dehumidifier is the best solution and you can get a small pump to send the water away. Air conditioning is a possibility, look at a ductless split system. Neither ammo nor components are particularly sensitive to humidity but you don't want moisture (condensed humidity), if you are very humid, condensation is likely. Your reloading tools are going to be rusted by high humidity.
  9. 38 special

    38 special New Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    I have reloaded in my basement for 30 years. I have never had a problem with powder or primers. I DO run a dehumidifier in the summer. I empty the bucket every day when its humid. In the winter or when its 60 degrees or less I rarely have any water to empty in the dehumidifier. I have powder that is from the 1960's that is still fine and I'm still using it.
    I store the powder in it's original cardboard cylinders on the basement floor primers are in a file cabinet. I do not know what humidity level is acceptable but as long as you dont have mold and mildew you should be ok.
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    The less moisture in the air the better. If you are concerned about humidity run a dehumidifier, or keep dessicants in the room. Indoor 'livingroom' conditions are ideal for reloading and storage of components.
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