Primers and powder need to be stored in their original containers, but locked well away from grasping and naive hands. If you have the space and a place to get them from, many reloaders use lockers harvested from a local school. These are about a foot wide and five feet tall, and can be had as singles, pairs and so forth up to just about any width you might want. Each “locker” can be padlocked — and MasterLocks, probably among others, sells them in pairs set to a common key. (Try WalMart, for example.)
But my space was limited. The cabinet needed to fit under the worktable. There was no way a school locker would work.
Lucky for me — and don’t you tell her I said so — after a couple of forced trips to the rat-maze at IKEA with the wife, I had a good feel for the kinds of things they might have and when I started thinking about the under-desk “locker” space, they came to mind. Checking the on-line catalog, I came across a “cabinet on casters”.
It’s $49 (plus tax), fire engine red, has a keyed lock on the front door, and measures about 24″ wide, 16″ deep and 20″ high – with wheels, or about 2″ less without. (2021 update: Sorry but it’s not listed in Ikea’s on-line catalog now. The comparable cabinets from Amazon are all over $100. You might try Craig’s List to find something local.)
The vented front (and round hole at the back of the bottom floor) will, in a fire, not allow pressure to build up inside the storage unit. Your powder will burn and probably melt the unit and worsen the fire, and the primers will probably “cook off” and scare the fire-fighters, but because it allows the pressure to escape, it won’t turn your supplies into something that flattens the block.
Assembly is typical for IKEA. It comes with wordless picture instructions — well, they did slip in “Click!” — and takes only a couple of minutes. There are a couple of tabs to be bent over but anyone with a moderately adequate 1911 grip will be able to bend these and complete the assembly without resorting to tools. (The lid will pinch your finger, however. Don’t ask how I know.)
My wife is very pleased with the look, so much so that we got a second unit and I’ve moved all the loaded ammunition into the second cabinet which probably would be wiser with some help in the form of angle-iron from Home Depot under each shelf but, for now at least, isn’t sagging to any great degree.
These cabinets aren’t adequate for anything needing real protection. A mildly determined individual with a large screwdriver would have the lid off in under a minute. But if the “attacker” doesn’t want to mangle the unit, and doesn’t have access to the key, it should prove to be a reasonably effective deterrent that seems to have all the qualities the powder manufacturers list on their products for safe storage.