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Old 07-07-2020, 04:45 PM
ACampComLegacy ACampComLegacy is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Snow Hill NC
Posts: 1,445

I read an article on powder danger , 30 - 35 years ago , about doughnut-shaped powder , that was exposed to freezing temps , with an exponential rate of detonation , because it would 'shatter'.

Oxidized powder ? Even with Chem Minor , I cannot comment ...
Gramps; O-6 Dental Corp
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Did any Americans STOP waving their US Flags on 09/11/01, because their arms were tired from waving it on 09/10/01?
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:19 PM
Slamfire Slamfire is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 125

Originally Posted by saint View Post
I have a lot of old powder and primers, used to reload a lot. all over 10 years old. have not reloaded in 8+ years. should i just burn the powder and scrap the primers ??
some containers of powder have never been opened!!
Primer lifetime is very, very long.

Take a look at this DTIC document, Primers Design Requirements. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a092511.pdf I did not know there were "high temperature" primers till I read this document. I doubt our small arms primers are meant to be stored in a hot oven, so keep them that ambient and they will last any gunpowder you have on the shelf. Lead styphnate primers are very long lived, and I don't know how long. I know the old corrosive chlorate primers duded out in time. I am regularly using my stock of mid ninties primers, they shoot great. I am using the oldest first. I have shot up a brick of 1960's CCI about forty years later, they worked great.

Gunpowder, pop the seals and smell the stuff. If it corrodes cases, causes case neck splits, it is old.

The shooting community is largely ignorant of the history of smokeless gunpowder and is about 140 years behind the times in learning about smokeless propellant instability. However, ever since smokeless propellants have been made, (1880's) and then autocombusting due to age (1890's) Militaries have spent lots of money trying to find some nice way to calculate a shelf life. Everyone wants a definitive number. All have failed and surveillance and test methods are the only reliable way to determine gunpowder stability.

For an idea of the huge number of tests that can be conducted on gunpowder, see Mil STD 286, Propellants Solid, sampling, examination, and testing. file:///C:/Users/brian/AppData/Local/Temp/MIL-STD-286C_CHG-2.pdf

Group 400 tests deal with stability. I have seen on manufacturer websites $250,000 portable stabilizer test machines, which are obviously out of the price range of the casual reloader. Given the sophistication of the tests described in Mil Std 286, what we home reloaders can do is very limited, and limited to your biological senses of taste, touch, smell, and vision. I don't recommend tasting gunpowder for any reason. So, what I recommend is shoot your gunpowder up. Twenty years is a good shelf life for powder, so shoot it up before it gets that age. Break the seals, smell the powder, look for evidence of corrosion and high pressure in loaded cases. These are gross indications, but what else can you do?

We all crave certainty, and I have none to give on this. I would love the answer to be 42, everyone lives till they are 100, and it is the first from the right. But it does not work that way.

Last edited by Slamfire; 07-09-2020 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:49 PM
ddehli ddehli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: West Fargo ND
Posts: 58

So it's probably too gone then, but got a steel can of 4350, has a reddish hue compared to new powder, and has red dust in it when poured that sticks to funnels etc,l.so I'm gathering to not use it then?
Having a blast, preserving the past.

Last edited by ddehli; 02-20-2021 at 04:23 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 07:40 AM
ArizonaBeagle ArizonaBeagle is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona ~ Valley Of The Sun ~
Posts: 69

I guess I'll have to check my really old powders.......Yup, smell good


Last edited by ArizonaBeagle; Yesterday at 07:45 AM.
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