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Powder gone bad????

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  • Powder gone bad????

    I have had several cans of different kinds of smokeless powder sitting around for a "while" and was wondering if this suff ever goes "bad"?

  • #2
    Smell it and see if it still has that ether smell to it. If so, it is still good.


    • #3

      If it was stored in a cool dry place it should be fine as Allen stated. Just remember to reduce by 10% and work back up to the previous load you used and watch pressure signs.

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      • #4
        Smell is week

        I smelled the powders and I have to say that they smell "right" but a bit week.
        Does that mean anything?


        • #5
          bad powder

          Powder goes bad in degrees, but as the guys stated, if it still smells right, even weakly, it's probably okay. When powder is really bad, it will have a sour smell, and even a reddish tinge to it. If it has been properly sealed in it's original container and keep dry and cool, it can last for many years.
          When I was still reloading professionally, a guy who had gotten some .38 wadcutters in the past wanted to trade some for a large can of gun powder he had. I said sure, and he brought it over several days later. It was what looked like a full 8 pound can of Bullseye, but there were can opener punches all around the top. Apparently his brother had left it along with some other supplies when he went into the service, and this fellow thought it would be safer if he punched holes in it and he stored it in his house's crawl space. After several years like that, it was totally wasted. Oh well....


          • #6
            This post got me thinking so I went out to my shop and checked on my powder reserve. (You know, just is case)
            I have 1993 marked on some cans which I used and 1986 on some which seem to be fine.

            I also have a few cans of Unique and 2400 that must really be old since they cost $5.95 per pound according to the old sticker from someplace here on the Kenai Penn. I am starting to think I bought those in the early to mid 1970s....

            They don't smell so swell....

            I'll see how well they burn around New-Years Eve...

            Who has the best powder prices in Anchorage?? I need to fix thsi situiation the next trip up there...

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            • #7
              I've still got around 30 pounds left from a 100 pound keg of the old style 4831. Transfered it to smaller containers years ago and it's still going strong.

              When did I buy it?

              1968, and it was probably old then.

              Just take good care of it and you should be fine for a good long time.
              "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
              Merle Haggard


              • #8
                I've picked up some old style Hercules powders that have worked fine. Looking at the packaging they must be pretty old, but they still work very well.

                Properly stored it will work fine decades later.
                Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


                • #9
                  I am still using powder I purchased at Longs Drug store and Payless back in the 1980's. It works perfectly. And I love seeing the price tag of under $10 a pound (it was on sale and I bought about 50 pounds).


                  • #10
                    Somewhere in my pile of stuff I have a couple cans of OLD style Hodgdon's 4831 that I bought in the Anchorage "Value Mart" (long since gone out of business), circa late 1970's, I believe. The price? $1.99/lb, if memory serves me right. Used to load it in a 270 I no longer have. Last time I checked, the powder looked fine, no redness to it, but no smell trace of ether left. I think this original 4831 was WWII military surplus. Is it still good? While it may seem to "work" perfectly fine, I have to wonder if it has lost some of it's "punch" over so much time, or maybe it's burning characteristics might have changed some. (?)
                    But....I have some 30-06 mil ammo loaded during WWII that fires and shoots just problems. (no duds so far) You know the powder in those shells is old, 1939-1945, but it still works good...
                    Tried a VERY old 45/70 round, circa 1920, in my Marlin 1895, to see what would happen. It was a dud. Pulled the bullet, dumped the powder was WHITE/BEIGE in color!!! What type of powder could this have been??? I don't think black powder would have changed to a white color...must have been some mysterious form of very early smokeless...(???) Primer did not appear to have discoloration inside case. As I recall, the marking on the case said "45-70 MKII", and it had a copper-jacketed 405gr soft point. Any ideas?

                    "I love my's the government I'm scared of"


                    • #11
                      bad powder

                      A friend of mine stored lots of powder in his barn...not good....anyway it went bad....smelled like cat pi.$$ (amonia)


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Snowwolfe View Post
                        I am still using powder I purchased at Longs Drug store and Payless back in the 1980's. It works perfectly. And I love seeing the price tag of under $10 a pound (it was on sale and I bought about 50 pounds).
                        HA! I was there too!
                        Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

                        Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

                        You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...


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