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Thread: Red dust in powder

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    You don't see dust in the powder, just on the side of the container it's in. Both the tub I dumped it in to inspect and weigh and the bag I poured it in instead of back in the original can. My guess would be any dust in the powder gets coated with graphite and doesn't show.

  2. #22
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Years ago gun stores and hardware stores bought gunpowder in 32lb cans and you bought a pound or two in brown paper bags. Keeping the powder in those paper bags was safe for years. I'd choose this over zip lock bags.
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  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    I remember buying paper bags of powder from Jack Stacey......everything was 1/6- a lb (15c),He never had a cigarette out of his mouth ,except for ladling out blackpowder ,he used to put it on the shelf behind him.You had the choice of 2 kinds of surplus IMR , Mortar Ballistite,or what he called "blasting powder" which was coarse grain blackpowder that burnt very cleanly ,cleaner than any black Ive seen since.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Wow, mine looks nothing like that. Mine looks normal with no color at all in the actual powder. Thank you for sharing that.

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'd dump that powder into a plastic tub, wash with Dawn and a bit of
    baking soda. Rinse well and dry.
    That crud looks as if it came from the cardboard container.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguarxk120 View Post
    I'd dump that powder into a plastic tub, wash with Dawn and a bit of
    baking soda. Rinse well and dry.
    That crud looks as if it came from the cardboard container.
    Looks just like powder I dumped from a metal can, had the bad odor of deteriorating powder and the red fluff.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    Guys, it seems like some folks are in total denial. If you see rust in the can...dump it. What caused the rust was oxides of nitrogen from deteriorating powder eating the can.
    Doesn't matter what it smells like. The smell only happens in severe deterioration cases.
    Toss it on the lawn or garden. Don't wash it...doing so will remove the deterrent coating; then you don't know what speed the stuff is anymore.
    Nitrocellulose powder deteriorating will eventually result in a fire in your powder locker.
    Last edited by Skipper; 05-22-2020 at 12:09 AM.
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  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy
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    Find yourself a nice big anthill and make their day!

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmacgyver0 View Post
    Find yourself a nice big anthill and make their day!
    That should be a real "crowd pleaser"!
    The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government.
    -- Thomas Jefferson

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    When in doubt..............throw it out. I just pitched a partial bottle of Varget, due to discoloration of half the kernels. Just didn't look, right. Powder was dated, by me, 2013. Was stored in an old non working upright freezer, in my walkout basement shop. YMMV.

    Deteriorating powder can self combust. Why take the chance? Good luck explaining that to your insurance carrier.

    Winelover

  12. #32
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I would tend to err on the side of caution.

    A Mackay man who stored propellant powders in an old bank safe in his gunroom woke to discover that the deflagration of propellant powders stored within the safe had bulged the safe door outward, allowing the gases to escape. The gases escaped with sufficient force to blow out a brick wall immediately beside the safe.

    It is well known that ammunition can deteriorate with age to a stage where it will not reliably fire. It is not widely known that propellant powder deteriorates and decomposes with age. A retardant is added to powder to stop or delay decomposition. However, in time, the retardant loses its effectiveness, decomposition sets in a spontaneous combustion can occur. It appears that this was the case in this incident.
    https://www.dnrme.qld.gov.au/busines...nition-powders
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  13. #33
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnoahhh View Post
    Welllllll.....

    It might be ok, it might not be ok. Why take a chance just to save a couple bucks? Fertilizer for the tomatoes would be my recommendation.
    Absolutely!!
    Did the same thing with cans of Dupont 5066 from father in laws basement.. Red dust, smelled okay. Faint solvent smell.
    Went on the hostas.

    Shiloh

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  14. #34
    Boolit Bub
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    Personally, I'm not screwing around with any powder that I feel is even remotely questionable. If I found some in my stash that didn't look right in the slightest, it'd be on the lawn immediately.

    My eyes and fingers are worth more to me than the $30 it would cost to replace that pound.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I appreciate the suggestions. I'm still thinking on it. I dumped the powder on a rag and rubbed it good to remove any rust particles. Then I wiped the bag it was in. After returning the powder to the bag, there was no more red dust on the interior. There is no indicator there was ever any issue in the powder.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    If the powder is infact deteriorating, will it produce enough gases that it would swell the ziplock bag?

  17. #37
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I've shot up some IMR4320 that had some red dust in it. Guess what? It burned exactly like IMR4320.

    You can read several similar experieces from guys who are seasoned and cautious handloaders on the first page. If it were me, I'd try some using the starting load for that powder and see, the stuff is not going to get more powerful because of it, worst case you'd get a squib so be alert for that.

    A big part of it would be how much I had and how hard it would be to replace. I got about four pounds of Alcan 120 a few years ago in an open can. Asked about it here and had the usual nervous nellies shriek to throw it on the lawn, it's old, there's no data, etc., etc. Dug up enough data to determine it burned like Red Dot, seemed to be Ok, so I used it with starting Red Dot data in a whole bunch of things and shot it up no problems, in fact, it was pretty good stuff.

    No way and I going to instantly throw away a bunch of powder because a bunch of people on a forum are afraid of their own shadow, but if it's only a half pound of 4227 which is still available, may not be worth it.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Thanks rich.

    Money isn't the issue, learning is the issue. Not to say money isn't an issue for me, I didn't give much for this powder. I got the powder from a friend. He kept it in his house but it's been a while he said. So, 20 years. I've got about 3/4 a pound.

    I agree many people are overly causious, but by the same token, many people don't have any real understanding of powder. I study all aspects of powder and loading, so I feel I have a fair understanding.

    I appreciate everyone's input on this. Right now, I'm going to just wait. I have the powder in a ziploc bag right in front of my powder shelf in my area so I can see it every day. I may give it a year and see if it shows any deterioration.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master




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    I got some ANCIENT HS500 powder years ago that was dropped at the local PD to dispose of. I told my buddy I would "dispose" of it. It was in a black steel can and there was about 3 pounds of it. I called Winchester and they said it's too old to use so dump it. I asked here and another forum and was told to dump it. One guy piped up and said data for it is the same as HS-5 - start low/go slow. I did just that. Makes a great .38 Special 158gr. target load. It's a little dirty, but works just fine.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    with old powder thats in ??? i like to work up loads for and use it till its gone load and shoot
    load and shoot dont load a bunch and store 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