1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Does powder "go bad" with age?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Guncop, Feb 9, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Guncop

    Guncop TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Just need some opinions please. I have a couple of pounds of 452AA that has been in its factory container (not sealed) for about 30 years. Is it still worth using or do I have fertalizer? I'm interested in consistancy. The things one can find in dad's basement. Too bad he found the Winchester 101 before I did :)

    Thanks for the input.
     
  2. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Messages:
    17,155
    Location:
    IL(The gun friendly Southern Part)
    Does powder

    If its been stored right it will be fine. I had this same question awhile back and thought i'd read where it went bad over time. They corrected me on here and the old powder i had worked fine.

    Matt
     
  3. Bertmuss

    Bertmuss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    Near the Bloated Goat
    Does powder

    I had a customer give me 3 cardboard canisters of Herco and Unique, probably 25 yrs old, and they were fine. The primers he gave me, even though the boxes looked new had gone bad. Try out a few loads first before you load a bunch.
     
  4. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,966
    Does powder

    Here in Va the powder is fine. If you have a question about the powder just put some in a pan and light it with a 18" stick. If it flares up its good. If not then throw it out.
     
  5. birdogs

    birdogs TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,775
    Does powder

    I have been told that old powder is an excellent source of nitrogen for plants,lawn and garden.
     
  6. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Does powder

    Smokeless powder is simply a chemical composition, and like most any composition, it can, over time, start to break down. Factors involved are time (age), environment (such as moisture, humidity, etc) and other factors. So it is really is a question of how well the powder has been stored, where and under what conditions, how well sealed it has been, etc. No simple answer. It may go bad in thirty years, and it may still be good. Personally, I don't think I would use powder that old as it may have become slightly or even greatly unstable, and thus the burn rate may not be consistent, leading to poor performance, erratic patterns, unknown pressure variations, and the like. But if stored in a dry, humidity controlled environment in a good container, it may also be fine. Only a lab would be able to tell about the quality and consistency for sure after that much time. Likely to be safe enough, but as to quality?

    Jim R
     
  7. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,988
    Does powder

    I'm using H4831 that I suspect was made around 50 years ago. Stored in a cool dry place.
     
  8. PerazziBigBore

    PerazziBigBore TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,859
    Does powder

    I.. on occasion still load powders I bought when I was a teen... I'm 57 now..They still work fine.. BUT.. were properly stored..
     
  9. GrubbyJack

    GrubbyJack Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    527
    Does powder

    I read some where (sorry I really don't remember where) that they have RED DOT stored in some kind of liquid, that was some of the first made, and for some reason they take a little bit out and test it....Grubby
     
  10. coughsneezy

    coughsneezy TS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Does powder

    I agree with everyone that the powder should work if it has been stored properly and testing it with a match isn't a bad idea. If it smells a bit like vinegar (learned this from one of the older trapshooters at the gun club) go and spread it on your lawn and it'll appreciate the extra nutrients. I got into reloading about 4 months ago and through a Craigs list search found a listing with a reloader and a bunch of reloading supplies...in that batch was a 8lb keg of 452AA along with a few home made recipes for the trap and skeet shells. I tested the power first with a match - burned a dirtier than fresh-brand new RedDot and loaded up a few new Remington Gun Club hulls with 22 grains of 452AA and 1 1/8oz of #8 shot with a WAA12 wad. Took the shells out to the gun club and smoked the targets both on the trap and skeet fields. I won't use the powder for any competitive events, but for a few fun rounds of shooting it isn't bad for being 30+ yrs old!
     
  11. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,258
    Does powder

    I'll bet the powder is fine. The smell test is a good indicator, when you open the keg and take a whiff, you should get that great alcohol smell not a sharp acid. Next (assuming you have data) load up a dozen or so rounds and try them out.

    The biggest risk with using old powder is that you may not know exactly what it is. There are for instance a number of 'powder blenders' on this site that think it is okay to mix powders. Hopefully the previous owner of your powder wasn't like that.
     
  12. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,743
    Location:
    Terre Haute Indiana
    Does powder

    I am using some Winchester Super Field that I bought in the 70's. It is in one pound metal cans. It seems to work just fine. I have always stored it in the basement.

    Jim Skeel
     
  13. J.Woolsey

    J.Woolsey Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    930
    Does powder

    From an old post on the subject:


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subject: ?? Shelf life of gunpowder
    From: waverider
    Email:
    Date: Sun, Mar 11, 2007 - 09:48 PM ET
    Website Address:

    There is a page in the 1996 Alliant Reloaders' Guide.

    "WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CONSISTENCY, WE DON'T JUST MEAN FROM BATCH TO BATCH. WE MEAN OVER A CENTURY OR SO".

    There is a picture of a antique lid type glass jar with powder in it.

    Paraphrased:

    This antique bottle of gun powder sits in the Ballistic Laboratory ... Kenvil, NJ. The powder was manufacture at this same plant in 1899, when the company was known as Laflin & Rand Powder Co. That was 13 years before i became Hercules and 97 year before it became Alliant. This nearly century old double base gun powder is stored under distilled water, because stabilizers for long term storage were introduced about 1910.* Periodically a small amount is dried and test fired in a 12 gauge load.

    *Do not store today's powder under water, Refer to SAAMI bulletin...

    Jason
     
  14. frostyman

    frostyman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,034
    Location:
    missouri
    Does powder

    I live in Missouri, and about 4 years ago, I came across a keg of Red Dot, in a red metal container dated 1964. It loaded and shot fine.
     
  15. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    10,521
    Location:
    Idaho
    Does powder

    Ihave some PB in the old 12lb keg that has to be 25+ years old and it shoots fine. I have some other various powders older yet and they all shoot fine
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.