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Thread: Pulled French 8 Lebel powder

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Pulled French 8 Lebel powder

    So I have a bunch of 8mm Label on Hotckiss strippers.
    To hot to shoot through the 1886 Label rifle.
    I pulled a couple of strips and tried to fire the primers.
    Not one went off. Good hard hits. Deep dent.
    Saved the powder, hoping I might be able to use it.
    It's tiny little silver squares.
    Anyone know anything about this powder????
    Where on the burn chart it might be????
    I forgot to measure how much is in one case.
    I have lots to pull, so I'll write it down later.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Maybe Hotchkiss 'Glass plate flake' powder....Sounds impressive anyway.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    You should consult a military cartridge expert about the powder but I wouldn't use it.
    Old powder that is known is one thing. Old unknown powder is quite another.
    It's not worth the danger.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Weigh the charge coming out of the pulled down rounds.
    Use that charge or a bit less to reload 8mm Lebel cartridges under the same weight bullet.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Years ago when 8x57 Turkish ammo was plentiful I had a lot. Pulled and weighed 10 rounds for average. reduced about 10%. Tamed the brutal recoil and the muzzle flash.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
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    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by abunaitoo View Post
    So I have a bunch of 8mm Label on Hotckiss strippers.
    To hot to shoot through the 1886 Label rifle.
    I pulled a couple of strips and tried to fire the primers.
    Not one went off. Good hard hits. Deep dent.
    Saved the powder, hoping I might be able to use it.
    It's tiny little silver squares.
    Anyone know anything about this powder????
    Where on the burn chart it might be????
    I forgot to measure how much is in one case.
    I have lots to pull, so I'll write it down later.
    Any idea how old this ammo is?? 8mm Lebel obsoleted in the mid 30's. Is this surplus ammo?? Could be up to 80 years old or older.
    A lot of WWI lebel ammo was dumped into the Atlantic ocean after WWI poor rinsing of the acid from the powder, cutting corners for need of wartime,
    made this ammo spontaneously combustable.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Drm50's Avatar
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    I had a buch of Lebel 8mm that were dud primers & brass was pretty bad. I pulled the bullets and
    threw the brass & powder away. It had powder like you described. I still have bullets have never
    loaded any Lebel.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    "Spontaneously combustible". Just what I want in my ammo locker.

    The lengths some people go to in order to scrounge components at low or no cost are truly remarkable. Give it a rest.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    I have pulled down and salvaged powder from various military loads over the years. Like another poster I reduced the charges in Turk 8mm to produce a softer shooting (and more accurate out of my rifles) load and saved the leftover powder to reload with bullets the same weight as the military loads. The most important thing was to weigh and record the powder charges in the original loadings and to inspect for signs of powder breakdown (acid smell, corrosion inside the case or mixed in with the powder). I have had people outright give me quantities of old ammo that had dead primers or that they were filthy or had external discoloration. I have even reloaded cordite charges when I was given almost 2000 rds of british military 303 that had gotten wet and had the stripper clips rust onto the outside of the cases (the military sealants were good, cases looked new inside but the rusted clip remnants ruined the outside). Reloading cordite however is not time efficient, have to feed the individual sticks into the case by hand after weighing out the charge and use a wooden pencil to shove the last ones down.

    If, like the OP, I had a quantity of military loads in caliber I shoot with dead primers I would have no issue pulling down and re-using the loads in new cases so long as I weighed and recorded the original powder charges. If the new cases have a smaller case capacity (easy enough to check) I would reduce the charge slightly. Always inspect the old cases and powder for internal corrosion and signs of breakdown, also separate different makes and year lots of military ammo to allow for production changes. If anything about the powder seems questionable or you're not comfortable with it or unable to take the time for weighing and inspection at least you can save and re-use the projectiles, no sense in wasting good bullets.

  10. #10
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    Load some cartridges, reducing the load. Chronograph it, and then figure fps/grain, to be able to match burn rate to other powders.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Was given a rather large of 303 British that had less than an ideal storage life. Click bangs and out right duds. Roughly 700 rounds that also had varying degrees of corrosion on the cases. Saved about 20 rounds that looked the best and chronographed them,suprisingly all were on or about 2440 fps. Did get a couple split necks from those 20 rounds. Pulled the bullets, dug out the jute wad and used tweezers to get some of the cordite out so the rest would easily fall out. Gave the powder to a buddy that lived upstate NY with the warning it can and will burn hot and fast. Fired all the primers and junked the brass. Most WWII 303 is way past its best use date. Frank

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by desi23 View Post
    I have pulled down and salvaged powder from various military loads over the years. Like another poster I reduced the charges in Turk 8mm to produce a softer shooting (and more accurate out of my rifles) load and saved the leftover powder to reload with bullets the same weight as the military loads. The most important thing was to weigh and record the powder charges in the original loadings and to inspect for signs of powder breakdown (acid smell, corrosion inside the case or mixed in with the powder). I have had people outright give me quantities of old ammo that had dead primers or that they were filthy or had external discoloration. I have even reloaded cordite charges when I was given almost 2000 rds of british military 303 that had gotten wet and had the stripper clips rust onto the outside of the cases (the military sealants were good, cases looked new inside but the rusted clip remnants ruined the outside). Reloading cordite however is not time efficient, have to feed the individual sticks into the case by hand after weighing out the charge and use a wooden pencil to shove the last ones down.

    If, like the OP, I had a quantity of military loads in caliber I shoot with dead primers I would have no issue pulling down and re-using the loads in new cases so long as I weighed and recorded the original powder charges. If the new cases have a smaller case capacity (easy enough to check) I would reduce the charge slightly. Always inspect the old cases and powder for internal corrosion and signs of breakdown, also separate different makes and year lots of military ammo to allow for production changes. If anything about the powder seems questionable or you're not comfortable with it or unable to take the time for weighing and inspection at least you can save and re-use the projectiles, no sense in wasting good bullets.
    I was gifted about 30 rounds of 9mm. It is hot loaded. 6 grains of a blondish colored powder. Very hard burden primers. There is Arabic writing on the headstamp. I showed it to a Saudi surgical resident. Couldn't read it. Then he spat it out. PERSIAN!!!
    Must be bad blood between the Iranians and Saudi's.

    What I need to do is see if the primers are corrosive. My guess is no. I figure if I pull a few rounds and fire with multiple strikes at a piece of bare steel,
    leave it in the humid outside, and see if it rusts.

    Shiloh
    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    If the 9mm has farsi or arabic headstamps its corrosive and berdan. The Egyptian, syrian and iranian military ammo is normally corrosive because the priming lasts much longer especially with the temperature swings they have. Non corrosive priming tends to degrade much quicker and is the reason most militaries still use the corrosive types.

    The powder from the 8 lebel made back in the 20's and 30's isn't bad unless its clumped or turning funny colors. The priming however tends to be dead. Machinegunners over the last 20 years have typically looked for the ammo with red primer rings because it lasted longer. The black, green and blue primer ringed ammo has been dead for years. Chances are that if you use the powder in like ammo all you need to do is work up the load to account for the difference in new brass vs the original military cases. The bullets are tough to find and expensive so using the original components will save you quite a bit. Powder is cheap though and despite it likely being ok it might be worth going to something newer for reliability and consistency.

    Frank

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Dump it into an intermediate container just in case you suddenly find a change in powder.
    Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check