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Thread: Here is (probably) another dumb question from a novice...

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Here is (probably) another dumb question from a novice...

    ... Is it OK, or is it too dangerous to vacuum up small amounts of spilled gunpowder from my reloading bench?

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I use a damp paper towel wipe it up and dispose of it in the garbage. Static electricity can set off gun powder, and the dust in the vaccum could add to the bang.

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    Now that I think abut it I probably am sucking up a little bit of powder everytime I vac the garage, but I mostly sweep with a broom.

    Visible amounts of powder, though blessedly rare, I sweep or mop up by hand and then deliver to the nearest bowl of water with a flush handle on it.

    Interesting question, I really have no idea how risky it would be.

    EDIT: If I am taking loaded rounds apart I usually burn the few hundred grains of powder I get back in a tin can way out in the driveway away from the house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ... Is it OK, or is it too dangerous to vacuum up small amounts of spilled gunpowder from my reloading bench?
    Great question, i've wondered the same thing. I've been sweeping mine up and putting it in the trash can outside, never figured there was enough there to matter but i like the mop idea, i'm working in a garage so that should work well.

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    I been sucking up powder for years and years without issue. I couldnít tell you how safe it is for sure but I doubt the amounts I suck up would do more than blow dust back out the vacuum even if it did light off. Like I say been doing a very long time without issue, first started when I got a Dust Buster for Christmas about 1980 and now I use a 15 gallon shop vac that I keep set up for lathe chips and what not. Now some vacuums run the stuff through the impellor and they may be more likely to light it but I only use the type with the impellor after the trap and filter.

    When I disassemble ammo or have powder to dispose of I also head outside with a match, I use a pie tin though. Itís fun to burn it and you can learn a little about powders too.
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    Don't vacuum up large rifle primers with a beater brush vacuum. Ever....

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Don't vacuum up large rifle primers with a beater brush vacuum. Ever....
    The voice of experience?
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    From personal experience I can tell you it is not a good idea to vacuum up spilled powder. Several years ago I watched my brother vacuum up about a hlaf cup of powder he had spilled. An hour later we noticed smoke rolling out of the vacuum bag! The static electricity generated by the vacuum had ignited the powder in the bag full of dust and the vacuum was burning from the inside out. That particular vacuum ended up in a snow bank out back LOL, you can imagine how funny it was to watch him explain that to his new wife when she got home. Thankfully I learned from his mistake and have not repeated it at my house!

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    Yea I never used the house vacuum, just my dedicated guy vacuums. See when we was first married we bought a house, the power wasnít on yet so I wired my generator into the panel so we could go about fixing up the place. The wife plugs in her fancy vacuum, turns it on, it runs about 40,000rpm and bursts into flames! I had wired one of the 220 hot legs into the neutral bar, it didnít like 220V much. Iím not allowed to touch ďherĒ house vacuum anymore so I figure it all worked out.
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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    The voice of experience?
    1987 - Shag carpet. Entire tray. 50% detonation. $1200 Vacuum. Several burn marks on carpet. Dogs lost their minds.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    1987 - Shag carpet. Entire tray. 50% detonation. $1200 Vacuum. Several burn marks on carpet. Dogs lost their minds.
    Am not sure which is worse; being, uh, 'creative' enough in the first place to think that was in any way a good idea; or actually admitting to it, even 25 years later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Am not sure which is worse; being, uh, 'creative' enough in the first place to think that was in any way a good idea; or actually admitting to it, even 25 years later.
    Never let your buddy use your reloading bench unsupervised. I didn't drop them..... but I sure found them. It was a surprise.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Never let your buddy use your reloading bench unsupervised. I didn't drop them..... but I sure found them. It was a surprise.
    Nice save.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I'll probably wet the excess with a spray bottle and suck it up. I have a little 4 gal wet/dry vac. It's kind hard to sweep around all the bolt-ons on the bench, so that's why I asked.

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    Static electricity gets blames a lot, but it rarely sets off anything- the energy just isn't there under normal circumstances.

    There are some interesting posts on the web of people trying to set off black powder with static electricity- they just couldn't do it!


    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    I use a damp paper towel wipe it up and dispose of it in the garbage. Static electricity can set off gun powder, and the dust in the vaccum could add to the bang.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    It's kind hard to sweep around all the bolt-ons on the bench, so that's why I asked.
    Zactley why I do it too, I also keep caned-air handy to get it from the real tight spots it gets into.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Static electricity gets blames a lot, but it rarely sets off anything- the energy just isn't there under normal circumstances.

    There are some interesting posts on the web of people trying to set off black powder with static electricity- they just couldn't do it!
    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Here is all anyone needs to know about black powder and static electricity.
    ...........
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Static electricity gets blames a lot, but it rarely sets off anything- the energy just isn't there under normal circumstances.

    There are some interesting posts on the web of people trying to set off black powder with static electricity- they just couldn't do it!
    Yup, them Mythbuster guys spent weeks each time trying to light all kinds of stuff with static and never have yet, itís possible but not at all likely. Now beating up live primers in a power broom do seem a bad idea but not for static, ever seen the nicks they make all over coins banging around in there!
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    I have used a shop vac for years without problems. If you are at all worried just don't latch the top down. I would NOT use SWMBOs vaccuum in my man cave EVER. I have two shop vacs. One set up dry the other wet. The wet one should be extra safe if you're worried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    1987 - Shag carpet. Entire tray. 50% detonation. $1200 Vacuum. Several burn marks on carpet. Dogs lost their minds.
    Ahhh, Kirby bit the dust eh? Bet it was pretty wild for a little bit.
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