View Full Version : Powder stability
03-28-2006, 01:30 PM
My powder is stored in original containers on or under my reloading bench in my basement. The only exception to this is powder in a measure hopper that I haven't emptied back to the original container.
Can anybody tell me if these tinted hoppers (Lee red, RCBS green, etc.) provide any protection from powder deterioration? My basement is very dry, free from sunlight, and flourescent lit. If I leave powder in a hopper for months at a time, is it harmful?
03-28-2006, 01:44 PM
It is generally regarded as a poor idea to leave powder in da hopper! It is more from possibility of making a mistake, loaded the wrong powder, mixing powders, etc. The powder will also quickly deteriorate the plastic of all hoppers I'm familiar with, just a cosmetic thing as it turns it dark. I recommend you only have one can of powder on the bench and you empty the hopper back into that container when you are done? Does this sounds like the voice of experience here? :) Naw, not me, the only time I ever made a mistake is when I bought a pencil that had an eraser on it! :)
03-28-2006, 01:56 PM
I once left a bit of Bullseye in an RCBS powder measure and it started to dissolve the plastic hopper after a few days...of course RCBS replaced the hopper but I won't do that again...and I agree with the confusion factor of just not remembering what is in there.....a day is OK just to continue loading from day to day but follow the one powder out at a time rule always....
04-17-2006, 06:37 PM
I would be more concerned with damage to the hopper than the powder. I use some of the painters blue tape (easily removed) and write the powder type on the tape and stick it on the hopper. I am guilty of leaving powder in the hopper too, especially in my shotshell reloaders. At least I know what powder is in the hopper with my method.
04-17-2006, 07:37 PM
You can also write the powder type on a piece of calling card and slip in with the powder. I do that all the time.
04-17-2006, 08:37 PM
I had a small amount of Clays that I left in a Lee hopper for about 3 weeks. One thing became clear. It had lost it's particular odor. Smelled very plain, while the stuff in the Hogdon container still has that Clays smell. Some chemical change had taken place. I threw the powder in the hopper out. Should probably have tested it. Maybe next time.
04-17-2006, 10:18 PM
I remember a tale ol' Skeeter Skelton told about leaving powder in a measure with a plastic hopper. NOT a good practice! ("Cow Killer Loads" as I remember...) Some powders become practically inert....
However I have some powders that are nearly 30 yrs old that have been in BC below zero and California 100 degree heat, stored in original containers, that still perform fine....
(They've never been in a damp climate though...)
04-18-2006, 11:43 AM
I'll add some testimony here, too.
If the powder is actually deteriorating the hopper plastic, then rest assured that there is some chemical change within the powder itself, as others have mentioned. This is not a good thing.
Another point is that as the hopper gets progressively eaten-up by the powder, it can become a deadly-serious safety hazard as it's clarity diminishes. This was a contributing factor in the WORST HANDLOADING MISTAKE of my forty years at the bench. I came perilously close to touching-off 59 grains of 2400 under a 200-grain .30-06 Partition......it SHOULD have been IMR 4831, but I didn't see the dregs of 2400 hiding in the bottom of the eaten-to-obscurity hopper, and poured the 4831 in on top of the 2400. Can we spell "bomb", chilluns? RCBS sent me a new hopper, no charge, as per usual.
Fortunately, my normal procedure of checking the powder charge weight every five or ten rounds saved me, as I noticed a sudden change in charges I tested. I pulled the bullet from the first round I'd loaded, looked at the powder, and knew immediately that it was NOT 4831.
I too keep only one powder can on the bench at a time. It's a very good, very simple precaution, and highly recommended.
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