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Aged Powder

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by PaulZ, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. PaulZ

    PaulZ Oregon City Active Member

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    I found a half can of Hercules Unique powder that's
    been stored for at least 25 years. Does it go bad?
  2. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    Great question. If it were me, I would spread it in the garden. To leave an 'open' can of powder for 25 years provides a lot of opportunity for moisture to get in and degrade the powder, let alone air. Maybe I'm just wasteful, but I would try putting it in my gun if it were me.
  3. BigBull 301

    BigBull 301 PDX almost Well-Known Member

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    It can go bad. Load up a round or two and try it. The worst that can happen is you get a dud, the primer goes off and you get a bullet stuck in the barrel you get to push out.
  4. slimer13

    slimer13 Deer Park Well-Known Member

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    Bad powder STINKS. It has a very strong smell and has a brown tint to it. Ive got some of my dads hand me down powder that is at least that old but has been stored in a dry, dark environment and works fine, except the one bad can which is how I know.
  5. joken

    joken Corvallis Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I hae a can of unique that's probably that old and it works fine.
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I found that if the powder still has a slight "ether" smell it's usually OK. I wouldn't use it for anything other than target or plinking as it's performance may be inconsistent.

    As for age, I've shot ammo that's been loaded for well over 40 years and it worked fine. Sealed cartridge or sealed container, not much difference unless both were stored in the glove box of an old Ford Pickup parked in the sun all that time.
  7. giddyupgo55

    giddyupgo55 Vernonia Active Member

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    If it has a bad smell to it, get rid of it. I had a 8 lb can of Herco that was 40 years old that worked great. The only problem with it was that it left the guns dirty. No big deal, I can clean them.
  8. Sheldon

    Sheldon California Member

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    I used to buy and sell used reloading equipment obtained locally. I would get a lot of cans of powders of various vintage thrown in with a lot of deals. I'de Ebay most of the equipment and use the components myself. I an just starting into one of two 12lb kegs of Hi Skor 700X. Don't know how old the kegs are but they are like 5 gallon bucket sized steel cannisters that hold 12lbs. of powder. The one I started in on was opened already but the powder still had the sweet solvent smell and looks fine. I had to polish the inside of my powder measure to get it to meter consistantly, but the loads work fine at 3.5 grains in my 9mm loads. I have gotten a few small cans with deteriorated powder too. The powder looked like rust powder.....red and orangy in color with the acrid smell always mentioned with bad powder. I threw that on the lawn.
  9. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sealed powder, kept cool, and away from direct mosture could be fine. the idea to test it on 2 or 3 new loads is the best. DO NOT START with max loads. If loading for near term use, after you test a few, if they work, there you go. If for long term storage 10 yrs or so, might consider fresh powder. The use as fertilzer is OK, but spread around large trees, or lightly dust whatever area you are going to throw it upon. It will burn grasses if clumped or dumped.

    Just my .02c. I still load out of old 8# paper kegs, and have not failures to fire or work.. (properly stored)

    SOME of us even use pull down powders, or Surplus powders, trust me they are many years old.