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Thread: How old is too old for powder?

  1. #41
    Boolit Mold
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    Jul 2017
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    Arizona
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    I had a 1 lb container of H322 go bad that I bought in the late 80s. It was made in the 70s judging by the container shape and labeling. The container itself had swelled noticeably and nitric acid smelling fumes drifted out when it was opened. I poured some into a tub of tap water and it reacted by bubbling so I'm certain it was acid reacting with the alkalinity in the water. I neutralized the rest of the bottle and disposed of it.

    For what it's worth, the second identical container I bought with it was just fine and was used up with no incidents.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master

    rockrat's Avatar
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    The Red Dot shot OK, seemed just a bit anemic. Really no smell to it, and looks just fine

  3. #43
    Boolit Bub
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    Jul 2017
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    Some old containers that I emptied (made bullets). The bullets shot fine. I also believe that most powder lasts indefinitely as long as its stored properly.Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    Nov 2017
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    Ball powders and fluffy powders are supposed to last indefinitely.The only bulk powder Ive seen decompose was early 1970s Du Pont IMR 4895,and other people had the same thing.

  5. #45
    i still have some sr 4756 from the early 80's. still is good as day 1. down to about 3 pounds. wish i had more, but i don't and will use it up by years end.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    I have red dot from a 15 pound cardboard keg that no longer has red dots. My grandfather bought it decades ago and it still works fine. Other smaller cans have been from the 60's or 70's and are fine. I have had some start to turn, probably due to how it was stored.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    Cleaned out my Dads stuff after he left us ----Red dot was fine ----WST was fine---- in amongst the pile was one had ate the metal can it was in - I was given Nobel 60 and Sr4759 had to be 40 years old --- both fine - this is one of those how long is the piece of string questions - sniff it and see seems best advice - IMI ball powder didnt last for me

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    Cleaned out my Dads stuff after he left us ----Red dot was fine ----WST was fine---- in amongst the pile was one had ate the metal can it was in - I was given Nobel 60 and Sr4759 had to be 40 years old --- both fine - this is one of those how long is the piece of string questions - sniff it and see seems best advice - IMI ball powder didnt last for me

  9. #49
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    I have some Alcan AL-5 and AL-8 that is 60 yrs old and they still have their identifying flakes ans smell fine but they are in the little cardboard cubes. All of the powder I have ever seen that was suspect or proved to be bad(visually) has been in a metal can. Old paper/cardboard containers seem to be more age friendly.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    I think the real question should be how the powder has been kept and where. I am using Noels revolver No 1 I believe was made in 1961, yet I have thrown out powder that was only a few years old and badly stored. Regards Stephen

  11. #51
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Loaded up some 243 Winchesters today with some H380 that came from a Hodgdon factory can that didn't have a zip code on it.

    If I have the start of zip codes correct, it puts the powder pre-1963. Going to try the loads on Saturday.

    If my posts stop on Friday, then it probably wasn't a good idea to load almost 60 year old powder.

  12. #52
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    For the last two months I have been loading Rottweil Number 5 flake powder that was made in 1932. I have several pounds of this powder that I pulled down from German ammunition that has dead primers.
    I have loaded the powder in 8x57, 6.5 Jap, 7.5 Swiss and 7.65 Argy so far with outstanding results. I only shoot long range targets and the powder burns well leaving about the same residue as IMR 4350.
    Another batch of powder was pulled from 7x57 that was badly corroded from being wet. I was able to salvage the bullets and the powder.
    The inside of the brass cases had rust from the primers corroding and most of the powder separated from the rust using a kitchen screen strainer. The remaining powder ( several pounds of it) needed to be washed. Since smokeless powder is made under water today its no big deal to wash powder. I used a large plastic tub filled with distilled water and dumped powder into it. A few minutes mixing and all the rust floated to the top and was easily siphoned away.
    The powder/water mix was then strained and the wet powder was placed on large trays covered in wax paper and allowed to dry inside my shop. The was no damage to the flakes and when the powder was dry,the flakes looked identical to the non-washed powder flakes.
    When dry the powder was bottled and marked. The powder was the standard Hotchkiss Glass Plate Flake type and after a burn rate test a loading chart was drawn up. The powder is very close to IMR 4064.
    While this seems like a lot of work I now have about 10 pounds of this powder and close to five thousand 7mm 175 grain FMJ boat-tail bullets that were salvageable.
    And the corroded brass is now in the recycle barrel going to the salvage yard for cash.

  13. #53
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I'm using up a pound of DuPont 4F that has a price tag of $2.35- goes Boom.

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  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Rapidrob, do you have any idea of the origins of the legendary 8mm Turkish ammo, the stuff from the 40's? I was told that Germany supplied the powder to the Turks for their ammo production during the war. that powder is a nice looking square flake powder, which I have pulled and reduced by 10%, and reloaded for better accuracy, as the original loading seemed pretty hot.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    I'm using up a pound of DuPont 4F that has a price tag of $2.35- goes Boom.
    And 100 years from now if kept DRY it will do the same with no effect of tempracure. Cause it is Black Powder.

  16. #56
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    The powder most likely supplied to the Turks would have been Rottweil #5 smokeless flake. A very stable flake powder.
    The Turk loads are not hot. They are ORIGINAL 150 grain German loads pushing the bullet to 2,800 FPS which was the normal German loading. Brass quality/age can be a factor. I have seen one lot year have bad,weak primer cups. Other years are just fine
    Our Lawyers have caused us to download 8x57mm due to idiots firing .323 bullets out of a non-"S" bored .318 rifles.
    Many of the other countries saved on powder loading's for no other reason than economy.
    Another very common powder you will run into is Hotchkiss Glass Plate Flake. It too was copied by agreement or manufacture rights stolen and loaded into many,many countries cartridges. The burn rate can be controlled somewhat by the shape of the flake ( exposed edge area) and the powder is very stable as well making it ideal for military use.
    It burns very much like IMR-4064.
    I have large quantities of both powders and use them in reloading several calibers.

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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