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cyendrey 11-06-2009 10:26 PM

Powder storage - useful life?
I've got several powders for loads that I seldom fire/reload as wells as primers that I wasn't using until I got a different caliber a couple of months ago that needed them.

I got to thinking about it, and some of my stuff has been around for quite a while and my 'shop' is not air conditioned. The containers are all sealed/good condition, but I've got to wonder about the effect of 'heat soak' during the summer when the building is closed up.

How long should power or primers be expected to last in storage in that type of conditions?

McX358 11-07-2009 03:28 AM

Powder/Primer Life
Best thing you can do, is look at your powder; pour a wee amount out into your scale pan, and look at it. Look at the container also, is it rusty or real brown color? I have powder (Winchester 630P) I’m dating myself hear, I’m sure some old timers remember that powder. Anyway I still use it, it is still good, and I’ve only had AC for the past 7 years; I live in a very near tropical heat and humidity. Although I did once have friend (past on the big shooting range in the sky) he once gave me a 8 ponder of H-335 it was about 2 pounds left in it. I used it wasn’t impressed, and it sat for few years, another buddy came over ask if I had some I gave it to him. AS we were crewing the fat he shook the can (Another good idea) and it sound like a big rock was in it. When we poured some out we noticed it had congealed into a large lump. Needless to say it wasn’t any good, we couldn’t even set it on fire, we even poured lighter fluid on it, and the lighter fluid juts burned but not the powder. Left it on the front porch next morning it had melted into a black gooey mess; freaked us right out! :eek: Best advise is to shake can, make sure no congealed lump, no rust or a lot of brown dust, and it should still smell like powder smells; that NITRO smell. As far as primers; I still have a nice stash of Alcan primers from 68, still good. As long as they never get wet, or near any oil etc they should be O.K. safe side when you load though I would drop a few grains low, and check every thing out before moving up the chain.

BILLYBOB44 11-08-2009 05:03 PM

The bottom line on powders: If in question on a pound or two=place it on a throw-away pie pan in the back yard+burn it. Not worth chancing a 5-600 firearm over 20-30 worth of powder.:confused::mad:

McX358 11-08-2009 09:24 PM

Powder/Primer Life

I had to burn some AA 2520; spilled some on the bench (I wanted to cry; hate wasting powder, cases, etc) but caution is always number 1! Wouldn’t had been too bad; but as anyone who reloads knows you always have some drippings of powder from loading on your bench, and this had a little of IMR 3031, and 4895. So I made my grandsons scream for joy when I light the fuse, and watch a ¼ cup of $$$$$ go up in flames….. Oh yea I forget to mention, my friend who gave me the H-335, he keep all his stuff in the garage. So maybe the heat did mess it up, I mean it gets well up into the high 90’s here for 4 months or more…it was weird stuff, never could get it burn once it turned into the big ball of goo… :eek: All my stuff is in AC now; I’ve never keep it in the garage juts because of the heat and humidity here.

res45 11-09-2009 12:05 PM

I have W748,IMR 4895 and 4198 still in the original metal cans thats 20 years old,it shoot just as good as the day it was bought. Store you powder & primers in a cool dry place and away for extreme back and forth temperature changes and both will last a long time.

cyendrey 11-09-2009 12:31 PM


Originally Posted by res45 (Post 183966)
I have W748,IMR 4895 and 4198 still in the original metal cans thats 20 years old,it shoot just as good as the day it was bought. Store you powder & primers in a cool dry place and away for extreme back and forth temperature changes and both will last a long time.

"Cool" is the hard part, dry isn't. I'm thinking about getting a small college dorm type refrig to store powder/primers in and run the temp up into the 70ish range if it will go that high.

robocop10mm 11-09-2009 01:05 PM

If the container is well sealed powder should last a lifetime. When smokeless powder "goes bad" it will give off a very noxious odor. Not the acetone like smell you normally will encounter.

The powder will be no more or less likely to go bad in the originial container than it is to go bad inside a loaded cartridge. Ammo from WWII shoots just fine if it was kept reasonably. The primer is more likely to go bad than the powder.

McX358 11-09-2009 01:08 PM

Powder/Primer Life
1 Attachment(s)
I have access to drying compounds I.E. Sili-Desiccant. My storage locker is cramp with it with also the help of the AC, I keep the average humidity in there down to about 35%; not too bad for a place where it runs 98%, not raining, and the sun is shinning! God knows us natives here smile when in drops to the middle 70’s, :D only the transplants seem to love the hot humid Florida sun. :confused: For fun and giggles here is a picture of some of my oldest powder cans and primers. The oldest dating back to 77, I think the Alcan primers are older dating back to 70, along with the Winchester “108” from before that. Still using all of them in special applications, have enough to keep me happy. :D

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