Sunday, December 23, 2007


We had an early Christmas celebration at my dad's place yesterday. The best thing about this is always, to me, getting a few hours to talk with someone who I'll just call C.

C is not technically related to us, anymore. He was an in-law by his first wife, who passed away when I was a small child. But he has remained very close to us and he is one of my favorite people. I don't make friends easily, and I don't usually sit and talk at length with anyone, but C is different. He is also much older than I, and has so many stories to tell that I'm sure I'll never hear them all.

Anyhow, we share an enthusiasm with guns and shooting. I mentioned to him that I was thinking about getting into reloading, and he said he could probably help me out. First I need to decide where I'm going to put the stuff, and make sure it's a secure place so the kids can't get into it.

We have a small camper-trailer here that is currently just being used for storage. All I need to do is take the stuff out and cram it in our real storage shed, and I'll have a reloading station.

He said he has spare stuff of everything I'll need to get started. All I need to get are the raw materials themselves: brass, primers, powder, bullets (brass is already covered). Also included will be some lessons on proper reloading and a "test" to make sure I'm doing it right before he hands all the stuff over to me.

As I told him, first I just want to reload practice ammo in .38/.357. Then later on, when I've had some experience I'll try loading up some hunting ammo designed just for my .357 rifle.

But I have one question that I forgot to ask. Do powder and primers need to be kept in a tightly climate-controlled environment? I mean, how badly can humidity damage the powder?


  1. I'm not sure about smokeless powder, but I know high humidity really affects black powder. If it's really humid I have to double the charge just to get it *almost* to the same ballistics as normal dry powder. It sounds different, too.
    The humidity doesn't seem to really damage the powder, though, since when the air derys out the powder shoots like normal.

    Humidity doesn't seem to affect my caps at all.

  2. I keep my black powder in the house where the humidity is kept low, also.

  3. Smokeless powder is almost unaffected by humidity. I recall reading about one of the major powder factory's that has a control batch of one of their very popular powders. They store this old powder in water. When they want to test it against a new batch they they fish out a sample, let it dry and test.

    Just keep the powder sealed and you should be OK

  4. smokeless is sold in plastic containers with very tight fitting lids. Modern primers are very hard to kill even when stored out in the open.

    I recently used some powder and primers that had in the bottom of a box in an open storage shed for 20 years. Every reloaded round went off fine.

    I wouldn't worry too much unless the powder gets wet.

    I've been reloading for quite some time as well if you need any further information.

    Also, the powderhorn has a vast amount of reasonably priced components and guides. The main guys there will help you with any questions.

    Have fun!

  5. I's be more concerned about the effects of high temperature (how hot does it get in the camper in the summer?) than about humidity. Well, except to make sure to keep the tools and equipment oiled to prevent rust. One of my first encounters with the demon rust in SC was what it did to an unprotected hammer left in the garage for a couple of weeks.

    Very enlightening.

  6. I keep my powder in the house, too- except when I'm shooting.