Static Electricity - Hazard?

Static Electricity - Hazard?

This is a discussion on Static Electricity - Hazard? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; With winter comes the increase of static electricity. Iíve been reloading for many decades and never thought about it before but while reloading recently had ...

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Thread: Static Electricity - Hazard?

  1. #1
    New Member Array tl_3237's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Honey Brook,PA

    Static Electricity - Hazard?

    With winter comes the increase of static electricity. Iíve been reloading for many decades and never thought about it before but while reloading recently had a few static discharge sparks when I touched a grounded outlet. It got me to thinking if there is a potential hazard from static discharge while I am handling powder/primers.

    Iíve never seen anything written in reloading manuals nor have I ever seen any discussions on it.

    Anyone out there take static discharge precautions? Seen any literature on the issue? Heard of any untoward events because of a discharge?

    Does anyone ground their reloading bench? Wear a grounded wristband?

  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Fayetteville, AR
    You know----I've thought about this before, but never heard of any incidents. Static or the build up of charge can be mitigated sometimes by not draggin' your butt on the chair, or not dragging your feet across carpet and such. Discharges generally occur between you and a metal or semi-metallic material. A discharge spark over a 1 inch gap (10,000 volts) is not unheard of and will actually leave a very small burn hole in the skin. Thing about it, there is little heat, and no flame involved. Some day, I might do some tests of my own, but duplicating conditions that favor ESD will be hard to do outside the lab other than dangerous endeavors shorting out capacitor leads or something similar which would not actually duplicate the human possibilities. You can wipe your hands with Bounce sheets, wear Bounce sheets in your shoes, wear gloves, install plastic device covers (switch or receptacle plates){and alot of times the devices in your home are not properly grounded}, etc........
    I'd venture to say that as long as there is no powder in between the two points of difference (the path of discharge), there's likely no chance of ignition.

  3. #3
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    South West PA
    I agree - risk is very small indeed. Static discharge is IMO most likely to cause dangers when occurring within an atmosphere of volatile vapors, whereby the spark temperature can be high enough to ignite things

    What we deal with are solids, albeit too, pretty stable ones. Even a primer ... not only needs impact energy input normally but even if heated (put one in burn barrel!) - it takes a fair rise in temp to get it to go.

    If concerned tho - and having an ''ideal'' combo of rubber soles, acrylic carpet, rubbing hands on polythene or other plastics ..... just a finger contact with the metal of the press etc should be enough to discharge things.

    To me, risk is infinitesimally minute! Still wear eye protection tho - and, have a fire extinguisher in vicinity too.
    Chris - P95
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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    When I used to work on computers we would wear these...

    Anti Static Antistatic Discharge Wrist Strap WristBand

    If you're working on a metal bench this would work.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Vancouver, Canada
    We used to have to very carefully handling electric detonators in the cold because of the static issue, I have heard one person on another forum claim that they had a primer go off due to static, but I am not sure if that was really the case.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    never gave it much time. i guest it could happen, but i have never seen it. don't think it would set off powder and/or primers.
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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    Exclamation BTDT

    A number of years back a friend of mine that owned a gun shop and myself constructed a device to generate a 1" spark (over 100,000 volts) on a test bed. On this test bed we placed various types of powder smokeless and black.

    Short report on the results were that black powder ignited almost instantly every time.

    Smokeless we tried, a sample from every opened can of powder we had available, Unique, red dot, greed dot, 4227, to name a few and after extensive testing we could not get one brand or grade of smokeless powder to ignite, and we gave each sample up to 5 minutes in the arc and I repeat not one would ignite by this method, indicating that smokeless powder is virtually immune to any form of electrical discharge except maybe the most extreme like a full blown lightning bolt.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    There always cautions about loading Black Powder and static charge. That is why the Black Powder reloading tool should not be plastic, such as the powder drop tube. Black Powder is classified as an explosive, Smokeless Powder is not. You can keep a lot of Smokeless Powder stored but are limited by law how much Black Powder you can keep.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Texan in NWFlorida


    Quote Originally Posted by matiki View Post
    When I used to work on computers we would wear these...

    Anti Static Antistatic Discharge Wrist Strap WristBand

    If you're working on a metal bench this would work.

    Make sure you have a good ground on the bench. Then plug this strap in or alligator clip it to the ground. It works!
    We use it when working with sensitive electronics.
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Array bobcat35's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    seems im a better lightning rod than the one on my house and i've yet to have anything blow up on my reloading bench. great now i've just jinxed myself(puts K-pot with riot sheild back on). well back to work this 5.56 ain't gonna reload itself.
    Last edited by bobcat35; February 24th, 2008 at 02:40 AM. Reason: i realy need to get a dictionary to check my spelling.
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  12. #11
    Senior Member
    Array Jeff F's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    South Central Wyoming
    I load a lot of blackpowder (buy it 25lbs at a time), and also smokeless and have never had an issue with static discharge. I do have some plastic loading implements on my loading bench that I use regularly. I have never felt the need to change this. This in no way is recommending that you do the same just saying how I've done it for nearly 30 years. You need to do what you feel comfortable with. Check out the pictures in below link for static discharge tests. Pretty neat stuff.

    Static Electricity and Black Powder
    "Those who would give up essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety" -Benjamin Franklin-
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