Perfect Union banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was given several containers of smokeless gun power by a friend who no longer is able to shoot. The problem is it is several years old and has spent some time in a damp basement. The question is can I somehow tell if this power is OK to use? Everyone have a good Easter and I will be waiting for a reply.
Phil
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,273 Posts
I don't know, is it worth it. Powder companies make lots of different powders with different burn rates. The OP said it was a few years old and stored in less then ideal conditions. Is it worth the risk. Just because it burns does not mean its burning as it should. Myself, I would not risk it.
 

· M.I.A.
Joined
·
1,475 Posts
I agree with Tailgunner. Those are the telltale signs to look for, not that I've ever seen it. I have loaded and shot some of my stuff that is about ten years old. After all, some guys have shot some really old cartridges before and that powder could be decades old, even worse its sealed and you can't exactly see the state of the contents unless you go crazy with the bullet puller.

You say it was in a damp basement, but were the containers sealed?
 

· Arizona Gunner
Joined
·
90 Posts
I have used lot of old powder over the years. If it passes the above stated test it should
be good. If it's been sealed in its can there should be no worry. I usually fire a test load
at just above a min load for a caliber and see how it behaves. I have lots of 700x
and 5 or six different IMR powders that seem to be just fine and they are very old.
I have a pound can of Alcan AL-5 that cost 2.79 or at least that's what's marked on
the can.:)
 

· hostilenativelibertarian.
Joined
·
7,889 Posts
:lol:I have powders that are over 20 years old-still in cardboard containers of that era-that are still good,and get rotated occasionally to the front of the cabinet.no misfires or malfunctions to date!Just keep them cool and dry when stored-mostly dry!Oh yea-with the lid on!;)
 

· Keeper of the records
Joined
·
504 Posts
Acrid smell, clumping and rust coloring are warning signs. Should none of these be present, it is, in all likelihood still acceptable.

I have used WWll surplus powder recently, (which had been properly stored) and it performed like new.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Acrid smell, clumping and rust coloring are warning signs. Should none of these be present, it is, in all likelihood still acceptable.

I have used WWll surplus powder recently, (which had been properly stored) and it performed like new.
Same here still as good as ever. H4831 in big green wood box. When it was full it had 150 lbs in it. I got it from a old WW II vet that quit hunting. I have had it for 30 years kept in a dry cool basement . I think it will be good for many more years.:D
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I am loading some powder I bought in the 70s with no problem. If it is sealed in the original container and looks and smells ok go ahead. you might load 4 or 5 rounds and test them, if there is a problem nothing will happen.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
5,884 Posts
Humm? Not good advise. When double base powders begin to separate with age they can become very erratic. You may be touching off a bomb triggered by nitroglycerin no longer attached to moderating chemicals. If there is any question, why risk a can of powder in an expensive firearms or a finger or an eye?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Relatively speaking...I haven't been able to tell if my powder is still good. I usually mark the outside of the container with month/year of the purchase when I get it home. At least I know how old (in the ballpark) it is. However, I can tell you that even properly stored gunpowder will decline over time. Ammo that has been stored for 5 years or so will sometimes provide lower bullet velocity than ammo loaded with new powder. I've seen this occur with my .280 Remington rifle. Some WWII and Korean War vintage ammo will still effectively fire, but I've noted that the primers and the bullet necks are usually sealed with a red "nail-polish" type compound to keep out the moisture and the elements.

On the other hand bad powder is usually easy to detect having a "acrid" or bad odor. Others have already commented about it, "clumping" and "discoloration" are also telltale indications. As others have already commented and advised...if in question, dump it. I discard my old powder in the garden; Nitrogen really does a good job with soil. Joking aside, if's it's old and your not confident using it get rid of it. It's not worth having a "KB" and having a severe injury.;)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top