OLD Gunpowder

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by phideaux, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Yesterday an old friend of mine stopped by to give me some OLD gun powder he had from the 1980s, Unique,Bullseye , many many more.
    Probably (didnt count all the cans) 25-30 cans.I hate to just get rid of it ( how would I do that?)

    Some of the stuff is in metal cans , some is in plastic bottles.

    None of it has ever been opened, the labels nd markings and prices are still like new. Just faded.

    Its been stored in a dry place all these years.

    He says , dont worry, too much, that it only gets better with time.

    Im trying to find out more about its usefulness , without blowing up a gun and losing a hand.

    How old is too old ?


    Jim
     
  2. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    It's probably all good, being still sealed (long as it didn't get real hot). When you open a bottle/can the first time, take a whiff; if it has deteriorated it will smell sour.
     

  3. MagBlackhawk

    MagBlackhawk Patriot

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    I've always heard if it is bad you can tell by the smell.

    Never did know what to smell for till now.......... Thanks VT.

    Does the same hold true for powder that's been opened and a little warm to hot from time to time in the loading room?
     
  4. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    Long as you keep the bottle closed when you ain't pouring, the smell test holds. The keep-it-closed mantra is mostly about humidity, but it also concentrates the fumes of decomposition so that when you open the bottle your old nose can still detect the scent.

    There is a persistent story about double-base powders (they contain nitroglycerin as the 'other' base), that the nitroglycerin can 'cook off', like it use to do now and then when it was used in blasting - before Dynamite was invented. I don't know anything about this, I just like to spread rumors; "The sky is falling" is a favorite.

    ;)
     
  5. Reloader54

    Reloader54 Reloader54

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    I agree with everything that has been said. I also had a friend give me some old powder when he move back east. He said that it was around 30 years old. I did use the powder to reload some ammo. And it worked just fine. I had no problems with any of it. and I still have one of the bottles that he gave me. I live in AZ and it is very dry where I live but it does get very hot in the summer time with temps up in the 105's to 119 degrees. And I keep all of my reloading things in a room that I have in my garage and it does get hot in it during the summer time. and I have not had any problems with any of my reloaded ammo from the powder being bad. I've had other problems with it but not with the 30 year old powder or even 3 year old powder that is stored in the same place. So if it doesn't have a strong smell to it the use it. I've had some problems finding the powder that I like and I had to switch to a different one. But it was one that I've used in the past as well.
     
  6. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    I myself wouldn't use it for making ammo...why mess up a hand...a firearm...and have to pull all the components apart when it doesn't work !?

    I'd save it for fun times and perimeter defense...mix it with the tannerite I already have...blow **** up...add more umpf to containers made up for perimeter protection ( think claymores in the trees... :D )

    It's a windfall...not wasted...but not relied on either...just in case it's not be good enough for loaded cartridges.

    My 2 cents...
     
  7. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    Well I dunno. Gunpowder isn't an explosive without help, so the containers would need to let the powder build pressure to 'bang level' before giving way.

    If the powder scares you, you could borrow someone's gun and do what my cousin and I did with a suspect side hammer Damascus barreled shotgun - that we were hoping could handle low-based shells. We anchored it in position with wood blocks, loaded a shell, tied a string to the trigger and took the other end of the sting about 30 feet behind the gun.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) the hammer spring was so weak the hammer wouldn't break the cap. But that's the idea.
     
  8. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    Jim,
    If you are worried about that powder your buddy gave you, let me give you my address and I will test it. Would you please tell me how you manage to fall into S***holes and come out smelling like a rose? Like Jeff said, out here we have trouble finding powder, sometimes bullets and primers. Our temps are very even here----hotter than hell and I like Jeff also have to reload in my garage. I have yet have any powder problems when reloading. Only trouble I have had is with Blazer brass. For some reason, using my Hornady hand reloader, I can't get the primers to seat and I have no reason why. Didn't mean to hi-jack this thread but if anyone knows why, please let this old man know.
    Tommy
     
  9. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Funny you mention that,
    Last year I was working up loads for 45-70,
    A friend was coming to shoot with me and asked that I load a super hot load for him to shoot, so I experimented even to the point where I wasn't sure if the gun ( my H&R Buffalo Classic) which is suppose to be as strong as my Ruger #1, would handle these super loads,
    I locked it in the sled , didn't strap it to the bench, used a string (long string) to pull the trigger.

    The gun and the sled went about 2 feet off the bench and landed on its side.. didn't hurt anything , the case looked fine,

    When he got here , I shot 2 of them, and he wouldn't shoot one.:rolleyes:


    btw , my shoulder was black and blue for a week, but you shoulda seen that steel plate jump and dance..:cool:

    I still got 7 of those for anybody that would like to try them.:p



    Jim
     
  10. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    "I still got 7 of those for anybody that would like to try them.:p"

    I'm thinking that my flinch would set a new record. Maybe the gun would still be pointed downrange when it fired.

    :shocked:
     
  11. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Understood VT...which is why I would mixed it with the aforementioned tannerite...which is the catalyst to set off the gunpowder in the mix...which is in ziplock bags enclosed in cheap, thin ziplock Tupperware then ducktaped shut.

    When the SHTF...these would be taped to perimeter trees already zeroed in.

    When hit with a high-power centerfire bullet, the tannerite and thus the gunpowder go up. Now add shrapnel to the container...and you have a powerful perimeter deterrent for looters and zombies.

    Theory became reality when test of the mixture above went bang a few months ago at my buddy's hunting cabin...

    ...Shooter tested and approved !! :cool:
     
  12. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    Aha! Read and understood. Even the 'deterrent' part. Maybe an inner perimeter too, utilizing wired blasting caps. There's gotta be a way to get 'em.

    Home made motorized rolls of razor wire... you folks living on flat land have options for zombie control.
     
  13. Reloader54

    Reloader54 Reloader54

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    Tommy, I've had the same problem when I've tried to reload blazer Brass. what I found was that they have a Ridge inside the primer hole. And I've also found this on some other brass that I've reloaded in the past also. This ridge is put there to make sure that the primer is secure in the primer hole in the brass. It can be gotten rid of just by running something around in the primer hole to push it back to make the primer hole smooth all the way around it to the base of the primer hole. I've used a deburring tool or a screw driver that fits in the primer hole to get rid of the ring. And then I had no problems setting the primers. I hope that this helps.
     
  14. CLF

    CLF Hunter, CAS/SASS

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    I have never had a problem with powder or primers from the early 80's. My 2400 is from that time frame and my large rifle BR CCI primers are also. Still use them when it is needed.

    If you want to get rid of it, and do not live close to me, use it as fertilizer. When I get powder that I do not know the history of I put it on the grass and then I can cuss the green area when I cut it down. :camo:

    Lead Foot
     
  15. Majer

    Majer New Member

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    Use the powder,I was given a 3 Lb can of Red Dot that was bought in the mid 60's and it still works great in my shotgun loads.
     
  16. guncheese

    guncheese New Member

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    most assuredly all of the powder is perfectly serviceable
    dont waste a ounce of it
    think of it this way
    load some 45acp loads with a 3gr starting charge of the old bullseye and work it up ill bet you find it no different than todays bullseye

    a few week back i was on the phone with a fella at Alliant in regards to how old a keg of Red Dot i found at auction might be
    he said WOW thats so old we dont have a record! as it was before Alliant bought the Hercules company
    but he agreed with me that it certainly was going to be just fine to run, but to do a light charge work up just to be sure
    he has gotten many reports of 50+ year old powders being perfectly fine

    just shoot it!

    im currently running 30+ year old Solo 1000 in .45 acp and .38 spl loads its wonderful!
     
  17. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I would use the powder like was said with a light load to see how it does.
    A friend of mine charges people for using a trailer to do clean out of their homes or garages. One trailer load had some ammo in it. It looked like it was .357 and obviously reloads. Could not make out any caliber ID on the casings but it looked like .357 to me. This is a little worrisome as have no idea what kind of load was used and I wouldn't want a boomer happen.
     
  18. paulruger

    paulruger Active Member

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    If it smells like ether it is fine!
     
  19. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    :)

    Last time I smelled ether was in 1950. Forced to admit I don't remember what it smelled like. So... open a fresh bottle of H110 and sniff?
     
  20. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    If I came across that, I would take it apart , check the brass, save the bullets and discard the powder, and reload.


    Jim