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Reloading - Stored as separate Components or Loaded?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Mule, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Mule

    Mule Monkey++

    If you had just enough primers/powder/cases/bullets would you store the separate components and leave them as such or go ahead and assemble and store as loaded ammo. Any positive/negatives on either case would be greatly appreciated


  2. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Even though I have enough stored powder, primers, and bulltes, the one thing that most of us will never have is enough brass, but the one reloading component that can be used over again to a certain limit is cartridge brass. Case in point, I have enough powder, primers, and lead bullets to reload around 15,000 38spl./45ACP cartridges, but I have about 1000 pieces of brass each for 38spl./45ACP cartridges which can be reloaded quite a few times. Buying all the brass to reload 15,000 cartridges would be quite expensive, and even more so for rile cartridges.

    I generally keep around 200 rounds of 38/45/308 loaded at all times. Even though it would be quite heavy to carry all at once, which is another negative. A lot of socalled preppers would like to carry 1000 rds of 5.56/7.62x39 as a base combat load, and that would be on top of what else is in their BOB/Backpack or whatever.

    I basically reload for what I need for any given situation or range session.
  3. brotherpoop

    brotherpoop Monkey+++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    I've had powder go bad in one tin and heard of primers being stored poorly being affected. If you do load them they are pretty much sealed at that point.

    I do have lots of 7.62x54R manf. date of 1954 and it all goes boom.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    -Done and ready to shoot if something comes along.
    -Will store longer than an open powder canister.

    -It's ready to shoot, so you will. (You do need to practice, don't you?)

    Over all, I'd say assemble it, that way you can hit the road/trail without hauling the loading gear if it comes to that.

  5. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Powder and primers go bad when exposed to oxygen. Best place to keep them for long term storage? Inside a cartridge.
  6. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Before you ask I have vacuum pumps. Would ammo and components last longer in a container that has the air sucked out of it? Would the air inside loaded ammo expand pushing the bullet out?
  7. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Where did you get such info. I have primers and propellants that have been on my self since the late 80's. What will degrde propellants over time is heat, or direct sunlight(left my powder charger full once, set in direct sunlight, really weird velocity variation). As for primers, the only thing on this planet that will deactivate them is penatrating fluid. I rember back during the Clinton years when certain anti-gunners wanted a primer with a few year self life. The industry simply said it was impossible.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Component powder, maybe. (I'll let someone else make a definitive statement on that since I imagine the chemistry would make a difference.) Hull, bullets, and primers would probably make no difference. Yes, you can pull bullets with vacuum storage, too many variables to predict the effects on any given cartridge.
  9. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    I used to do a lot of reloading. I had some powder I stored in a dark, cool cabinet that I took out after a couple of years. It had a really strange smell; I reloaded a few pistol cartridges with it and got 2 hangfires (!) out of six. I read somewhere that smokeless powder is unstable over long periods of time because of a minute residue of acid which reacts with oxygen.

    I had some reloaded .44 specials that I fired after 10 years; no problems. I always put a very light coat of nail polish around the primer on a reloaded round to seal out oxygen.

    Anyone here familiar with powder chemistry?
  10. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Monkey++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Not much reason to leave cases empty. I leave about 100 cases empty just in case I want to experiment on the spur of the moment. But I have standard loads for each caliber I like and I just load up the majority of cases. iu like to have about 1,000 rounds loaded for pistols and 500 for revolvers, plyus extra components.

    Since .40S&W is my primary pistol cartridge I have 1,500 loaded most of the time, about 100 empty cases and 3K -5K worth of components (minus brass). Slightly less components for .45 and 9mm.

    revolvers like .38 I have 500 loaded rounds and 1,00 worth of components.

    Bullets are always my least quantity of extra components on hand. I ahve way more primers and powder than extra bullets. Getting close to considering casting my own.
  11. NVBeav

    NVBeav Monkey+++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    I think there are two situations concerning reloading components: the first is where you are reloading only for yourself -- you may as well put them all together in case you need them (especially if you have all the variables set for your equipment -- powder grains, etc).

    The second situation is if you have tools and dies to make quite a number of different cartridges (or specialized loads), then you might want to keep spare components for such a demand (which might be a good business to run if you need work).

    An example would be your neighbor bringing over his Swedish Mauser or .270 brass, and you just happen to have that primer, bullet, and die on the shelf... Although the reloading tools are somewhat expensive if you purchase all at one time, individual pieces aren't that bad (e.g. Hornady .308 die is less than $40). A steady, methodical buildup of your equipment could be food on the table later on.
  12. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    I have recently loaded a shit-box full of .308 with some IMR that I had setting on the shelf for at least 20 years and it seems to burn clean and hot. I am getting fps right out of the manual with impressive consistency.
  13. nugafonos

    nugafonos Monkey++

    Re: As Components or Loaded??

    Answer is simple: depends on how soon (or the urgency) you intend to use!

    Sooner? Load now.

    Later? Doen't matter as long as components are stored properly - follow generally accepted (or manufacturers)recommendations..."dry & cool is the rule".

    OP: Just curious; why are you asking?
  14. w9vhe

    w9vhe Monkey+

    time is now

    Loading them instead of storing the components, you have time to load them now, instead of later when you really need more ammo. Kinda like splitting wood when you seem to have plenty.
  15. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Sulfur can oxidize, thus degrading the mixture. The main reason why gunpowder degrades, as the dioxide of sulfur readily converts to the trioxide and neither are as combustible as elemental sulfur.

    Potassium Nitrate is in the highest oxidation state so no worry about oxidation. Acids degrade nitrates to nitrites and all the way to nitrous oxide or ammonia gas.

    Charcoal is pretty stable.

    Conclusion, Prevent oxidation of your sulfur. Keep your mixture dry and away from heat, and copper and Iron, which all accelerate oxidation.

    It would be hard, but possible to separate the 3 way mix and then re purify the ingredients then re-mix, but would it be worth it? Maybe in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

    p.s. once sulfur is oxidized to SO2, it becomes a good reducing agent which will then destroy your nitrate.

    one way to reduce SO2 back to elemental Sulfur

    2SO2 + CH4 2H2O + CO2 + S2


    Wether or not the links are copyrighted. IDC and IDK. I am merely passing on information that these folks freely published on the internet as public domain that can be found with a simple internet search.
  16. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I would load them and then seal the necks and primers with finger nail polish.
    I have had powder go somatic bad that was stored next to an outside wall of my house, I think the hot /cold change created or drew moister it would still burn but not like the loads before storage.
    I always burn a teaspoon of old powder to make sure it will burn before loading.
    Also if you look at the granules you will seem some yellow and some gray, I would watch that batch.
    It will either go bang or not, but the thing is an under charge is as bad if not worse than a over change or pressure.
    I vacuum seal all of my storage ammo. [rockon]
  17. oscar615

    oscar615 Monkey+

    For me the problem is opposite. I have thousands of rounds of brass, Just can't afford the bullets and powders to go in them.
  18. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Load every piece of brass possible.

    1) Loaded components are far less susceptible to change in atmospheric conditions.
    2) Loaded ammo is useful in a pinch.
  19. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I take a combined approach. Just before and on up to after The Immaculate Deception of 2008, I loaded up a .50cal can of each of 5.56X45, 7.62X51 and .45ACP, and a .30cal can each of .38Special and .357Magnum.
    That and a pair of .50cal cans of 12 gauge bought some years back is my 'combat stash'.
    I also stocked powder, primers and powder to keep me reloading through the next election or other political crises.
    I keep ALL brass for my milsurps loaded - don't have nearly as much - trying to keep at least a couple hundred rounds per rifle stored.
  20. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    Does anybody remember the old western movie "The Unforgiven"?
    The one starring Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, and Doug McClure?
    In one scene, the Indians are all around the cabin and Burt's character is inside melting toy lead soldiers and molding bullets.
    When the cabin is about to be overrun, it's too late to be loading your ammo.
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