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Old 1lb of powder

TfloggerTflogger Member Posts: 3,156 ✭✭✭

Unopened 2400 and h110 found among my FILs stash of reloading gear probably 35 years old. Any way to test it?


  • BobJudyBobJudy Member Posts: 6,194 ✭✭✭✭
  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,127 ✭✭✭

    Only by loading and shooting it. If kept cool and dry it should be good. The experts say bad powder has a strong acid smell or may be damp and clumpy. Good luck.

  • TfloggerTflogger Member Posts: 3,156 ✭✭✭

    Don't need it just hate to waste it. I'll load a few rounds on the low end and try them.

  • waltermoewaltermoe Member Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭

    Over 50 years of reloading I’ve only had one can of powder go bad that I noticed. It was a can of IMR3031. It was maybe 15 years old at the time. I was pouring it out and I noticed what looked like a red colored dust coming off of it. When I took a closer look at the powder it appeared to have a reddish tint to it. I’ve still got it out in the pole barn, and the other day I got it out to burn some ground hornets out of their nest, over the last ten years sitting out in the barn it’s still has and still puts off a reddish colored dust when pouring it out.

    Maybe it is kind of like food in the refrigerator. When in doubt throw it out, or keep it to burn ground hornet nests.

  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,422 ✭✭✭

    I would not use it knowing it's that old.

    If it smells like vinegar it sure ENOUGH bad.

    If it has a acetone smell or no smell it MAY BE OK. (centerfire powder usually has a sweet smell when new)

    But when a powder stabilizer goes bad the powder will go bad quite rapidly even in loaded ammo. I've had that happen to me and the reloaded ammo was stored inside house at a controlled temperature and the shells never been outside. It was also from two different lot #'s but same type of powder. I no longer use that powder and it WAS ONE of my favorites.

    Was very lucky that some of the ammo that had been used for hunting started indicating problems, such as delayed ignition, weak ignition, primers snapping.

    When bullets were pulled to examine the inside of the hull were corroded and the copper base on the bullets turning gree, primers corroded and the powder was clumped.

    Really got lucky at first with a weak pop ignition and the bullet did not leave the barrel on a 30-06.

    Quite a dangerous mess.

    Remember if you try the powder the ignition source YOU ARE TESTING is close to your face.

    Not worth the effort to me to test fire such to determine good/bad/maybe.

    I once scattered some old centerfire gunpowder if wifes flower bed to test as fertilizer.

    It killed the flowers. I did not tell her about my powder testing as a good fertilizer.

  • OakieOakie Member Posts: 40,080 ✭✭✭✭

    Someone gave me about twenty cans of old powder, five years ago. I called my dad to see if he knew how to tell if it was good or bad. He said the same thing as Okie743. If it smells like vinegar or has a rotten egg smell, it is no good. They are all sealed, so I only opened a couple of cans that I was going to use. They were all good to go. These cans have to be at least 35 to 40 years old. They were kept in a cool , dry area, according to the widow of a friend. She gave me all his primers and powders. A lot of the stuff, I will never use. Gave a few cans away to other friends.

  • TfloggerTflogger Member Posts: 3,156 ✭✭✭

    Sounds like it isn't worth the risk thanks for the input.

  • mrs102mrs102 Member Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭

    When my brother passed he had an old pantry cabinet with a wide variety of powders stored in it. Almost all the previously opened cans were vinegary smelling. I called the Sheriff's office and spoke with a Bomb Disposal officer. They agreed to take it and safely dispose of it.

  • Butchdog3Butchdog3 Member Posts: 339 ✭✭✭

    I have a 8 pound barrel of red dot form the 60's. Still performs as it should.

    Don't use ti often so the reason I still have a stash

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