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View Full Version : How long is powder good?


just4fun63
12-09-2006, 5:34 AM
I put some powder in my 550 and was reloading some .40 for pratice went in for the night with plans to return in the morning to finnish up this batch.
Well a family health emergency came up and I have'nt been back to the reloader in a few months. The powder is in the plastic hopper with the low powder sensor setting on top of it. It's a darn good seal and I think it has less exposure than if I had put it back in a half empty bottle. What do you reloaders think? chuck it? pratice rounds? ?????? :confused:

50 Shooter
12-09-2006, 6:28 AM
Dump it, it can't be that much and it will keep you from having a headache later if the rounds have problems. Spread it over your grass, it's a good fertilizer.:)

Fjold
12-09-2006, 7:41 AM
I dunno, the half empty cans that I bought in 1983 still work fine.

Rule .308
12-09-2006, 9:08 AM
I have been given powder that was sealed in its container but I know for a fact that it was 30+ years old. I just reduced the loads by 10% and used it for simple blasting loads. Stuff worked fine. Most of the manuals will tell you what to look for in old powder, like an acid smell or if it leaves a powder residue on your hands. You can also make a small trail of it a light the stuff and see if it burns consistently. Chances are that if you had the lid on it the stuff is just fine especially if you are going to use it for simple blasting rounds.

50 Shooter
12-09-2006, 9:28 AM
I just don't consider a powder hopper as air tight as the original container and that's why I would dump it. If you do use it mark the box that you put it in, that way if you have a problem with it you know where all of it is.

Nothing is worse then having to break down more ammo then you have to because of a mistake.

prob
12-09-2006, 11:25 AM
It's fine. Go ahead and use it. Unless subjected to harsh environments powder will last a very long time.

ivanimal
12-09-2006, 2:51 PM
I have done the same with no ill affects to the rounds it was making. This was for 357 mag using hi-skor 700X I mixed a cylinder with every other one the exposed powder and POI was similar. Use it.

Sheldon
12-09-2006, 3:11 PM
I would keep the powder and use it. I have done/do the same and have not had any issues.

sargenv
12-09-2006, 4:58 PM
I've left powder, rifle, pistol, or shotshell in the powder hopper for months, sat back down to the press, checked my drop weight and started loading where I left off weeks or months before and got the same load as I had previously. Powder is very stable so long as it is kept cool, dry, and confined in some sort of container. I'd check the powder weights thrown, and if all is satisfactory, continue where I left off.

Vince

anyracoon
12-10-2006, 7:06 AM
At work I was told that back in the 50s & 60s thay used to load shot shells with rock salt with Unique. Was moving some cabinets a couple of years ago when I found a 8# cardboard keg of Unique. We tried it out and compared it with some fresh stuff. All chronied within 25 FPS. And yes I did find rock salt in the same cabinet!

x-ring
12-12-2006, 1:26 PM
Not scientific, but in the USN we'd sometimes come across old powder stores...and the standard "ordie" test was to take about a tablespoon full, get it to a SAFE area and light it with a long (fireplace type) match. If it burned clean and evenly...good to go. Good powder doesn't burn as quickly as you might think when it's in an open space.

In any case...It's pretty obvious if it's bad...multi colored and spits and spats.

On the other hand as my skipper used to say: If there's ANY doubt...there's NO doubt"...in other words...toss it if you even THINK it might be bad. There's no downside but losing a few $$$ as opposed to a few fingers, etc.

just4fun63
12-12-2006, 5:23 PM
Thanks for the info everyone

rla_2000
01-11-2007, 7:12 AM
Well my father reloads for his .40 and .45 and he sometimes has left-over powder sit for over a year! He keeps his garage cool and dry and hasn't had any problems (Except for one time he let some sit for about 2 years and didn't seal it properly!) In that case it had a weid smell to it so on the 4th of july we poured it in designs in the road and lit it!!!! It sure made the mosquitos go away!!!!!

Ninja45
01-13-2007, 11:06 AM
You can do a few test loads (reduced loads) and compare them with ones you load with "fresh" powder.

I try and put back to its original container unused powder in the hopper. Just for my own peace of mind.

You may want to report back the result of your little experiment.

Thanks.

Ninja45

pksman
01-13-2007, 12:37 PM
Pobably ok. Although I would probably toss it.

OldLandParkPat
01-16-2007, 7:49 PM
Heat is the problem for stored powder. If it's kept cool it's good to go for years and years. There's nothing wrong with the powder in the hopper, cept for possible staining the hopper.

cali-man
01-18-2007, 2:44 PM
I had 4 lbs. of Unique that I got for real cheap. I was kind of unsure if I can use it due to it being real old. It's in the old carboard looking round containers. They are all sealed up just collecting dust. I guess I can load it up.

Californio
01-18-2007, 3:00 PM
I had 4 lbs. of Unique that I got for real cheap. I was kind of unsure if I can use it due to it being real old. It's in the old carboard looking round containers. They are all sealed up just collecting dust. I guess I can load it up.

Open the container and smell it. Powder undergoing deterioration has an irritating acidic odor. Source: Hodgdon Basic Reloaders Manual 2005

grammaton76
01-18-2007, 3:18 PM
Heat is the problem for stored powder. If it's kept cool it's good to go for years and years. There's nothing wrong with the powder in the hopper, cept for possible staining the hopper.

How hot is too hot for powder?

Reason I ask is, the temperature indoors in my place can reach 95 degrees in summer...

moredes
01-24-2007, 5:09 PM
I wouldn't deliberately store powder in temps above ~75*. That's not to say I haven't used powders that've sat in a HOT garage (110-130*). I've got a 12lb barrel of 700X that dates from ~1973 that I'm still using. It's still good, but it was stored correctly. But I also ruined a can of powder by forgetting it in the garage over the summer.

You can tell a powder has gone bad by it's smell. They have a distinct 'nitrocellulose' odor when they're "fresh", and when they go bad, they smell acidic, kind of like vinegar. As I recall, they take on a different "look", too, when they go bad--I think it'll turn yellow? I know long-grain rifle powders do; you can tell for sure by cutting one to see its' cross-section--if they ain't grey through and through, I chuck it all.