Unheated reloading area in the winter

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Digger

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
33
Location
NE Ohio
I reload in my shop, which is an unheated basement to an addition on my house. It does get some heat (through leaky ducts from the furnace), so it probably hovers around 50 degrees fahrenhiet in there, and maybe 45 during the coldest nights. I normally do my reloading in the spring and summer, when I do the majority of my shooting.

But, I've been pretty bored the past few evenings and would love to get some reloading done. The heating issues aside (I'll get a small radiant heater), are there major concerns to reloading when all my components will be ca. 50 degrees? I know that in the past, some powders were susceptible to temperature and humidity changes (i.e. reloaded at 50 degrees and fired at 90 degrees could lead to major pressure spikes, etc, etc). Is that still true? Of course, the lead and the brass will have contracted a bit from their summer time dimensions, but will that be sufficient to make any significant differences in things like OAL?

Thanks for any input guys. I appreciate the info.

p.s. I am thinking about moving my reloading into our "other basement" which is heated, but has major humidity issues in the summer - very damp. Seems as imperfect as the current setup.
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
Those temps aren't an issue. High humidity will cause more problems than cool temperature.
 

bub

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 28, 2007
Messages
245
Location
NE Ohio
Digger, I reloaded for YEARS in an unheated barn when I lived with my parents, and reload now in an unheated detached garage. Never any trouble. Only things you have to watch out for are condensation on your press/dies from the heater causing rust and leaving the primers/powder in the unheated area. If your temps only get to 45/50 degrees, I doubt you'll ever have any trouble, however, since it's not that big a temp differential. I have a 4 ceramic element propane heater in the garage (and had it in the barn at Mom and Dad's), and every once in a while, if the temps rise too quick when I start the heater up, I have some condensation on the press (cold metal meeting warm air). Not a big deal, but something to be aware of. As Sam said, humidity is a much bigger problem than cold. In fact, when I reload, it's normally during the winter to take advantage of the dry air. I have never had trouble with reloads and humidity so far, but that's the way I normally do it to avoid any trouble. Have at it and enjoy!

Bub
 

Digger

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
33
Location
NE Ohio
That's reassuring, Bub. Thanks. I hadn't thought about the condensation issue, interesting. Maybe I'll just have to rough it out in the cold to avoid that. It does stay pretty dry in my shop all year, so I haven't had a moisture/humidity problem otherwise.

Thanks again.
 

gregs45auto

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Messages
491
Location
utah
What they were refering to. A load worked up and shot in cold temps and showing no signs of being excessive ie blue dot powder. Then shooting the same load in hot temps. :shock: This caused pressures to spike and a warning to be posted. hth greg :)
 

bub

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 28, 2007
Messages
245
Location
NE Ohio
Digger, what I was referring to was heat from the heater causing condensation of cold metal. Keep the heater back from the press or pointed in a different direction so that it isn't blowing directly on the press and you should be OK. It's just the quick temperature differential that causes problems, the same way that taking something metal from the cold outside to the warm inside can cause condensation on the metal from the sudden temp differential. Warm the area up slowly and you should never have any trouble.

The mentioned problem with loads worked up and tested in the winter is a valid one, though. A load worked up and tested when it is 20 degrees out, then shot when it is 100 degrees out can be a problem, if it is a max or near-max load. The atmospheric temp differential can make a BIG difference and make a load that was safe when tested be overloaded when shot in the summer. Milder loads should be OK but will likely show more pressure in the summer as well. If you want to work up max or near max loads, save that for the summer and you should be OK.

Bub
 

slowrider

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 1, 2007
Messages
102
Location
Cen Tex
gregs45auto":3g0vy23f said:
What they were refering to. A load worked up and shot in cold temps and showing no signs of being excessive ie blue dot powder. Then shooting the same load in hot temps. :shock: This caused pressures to spike and a warning to be posted. hth greg :)

Page 719 of my Speer Manual #13 gives some info re: "Variation Of Muzzel Velocity With Powder Temperature".
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
7,337
Location
missouri
High temps and temp change is where the problem lies. I store in old freezers/fridges to slow the rise/fall in temps and use Goldenrods to control moisture and even out the overall temp. All powder and primers are stored in ammo cans with dessicant packs for additional moisture protection. Same with loaded ammo
 

Digger

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
33
Location
NE Ohio
Great. Thanks for all info, guys. I appreciate it. From what I've read, I shouldn't have many problems. I am still fairly new, so I tend so stay away from max loads in anything that would give me problems. I do get near the max for my cowboy loads with Trail Boss, but the pressure should be very low for that to start.

Thanks again, all.
 

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