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  #1  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:18 AM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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how do I tell if powder is unsafe?




How can you tell if gunpowder is bad? I know if it smell moldy then it's not good as it means water has gotten inside the container. I have a tin of bullseye that looks and smells just fine, but there is a few small rust spots on the lip and that made me wonder if maybe I don't know what mold smells like since the power smells fine to me. Are there any other ways to know if it's no good or unsafe to use?
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:31 AM
Horoscope Fish Horoscope Fish is offline
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Originally Posted by Mouseater View Post
How can you tell if gunpowder is bad?
I don't use questionable components. I just don't. Why would I?

Over-reaction? Possibly.

Can fresh powder be had for $20 a pound? Absolutely.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:41 AM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
I don't use questionable components. I just don't. Why would I?

Over-reaction? Possibly.

Can fresh powder be had for $20 a pound? Absolutely.
well yeah I could just go and buy another can, but I hate wasting things if they aren't bad and from what I can tell it seems fine. The rust spots just gave me some worry and I wanted to know if there was maybe another way to verify what I believe to be true. oooo, I just had a thought, I could pour some on the sidewalk and light it but aside from being fun I'm not sure if that would be very conclusive on if it's fine or not.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:42 AM
silvercorvette silvercorvette is offline
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I have never had spoiled gun powder but I read that you can tell by smell. It's been a while since I read this but I think it has the smell of vinegar. If you do get spoiled powder just dump it in the garden, it makes excellent but very expensive fertilizer.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:44 AM
Horoscope Fish Horoscope Fish is offline
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Oh I totally understand where you're coming from. I don't like wasting stuff either and, chances are, the powder's fine.

Chances are...
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:04 PM
JoeJ JoeJ is offline
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If it smells like powder it’s good to go. If it has an acid smell or maybe vinegar, then it’s starting to go bad, as it definitely doesn’t have a “normal” powder smell. Often times the top layer of the powder will be discolored – rust or brownish color and it will be dusty when poured into another container.

The outside of the container has nothing to do with the powder inside – from your description I would guess the powder is as good today as the day it was manufactured.
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:21 PM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
If it smells like powder it’s good to go. If it has an acid smell or maybe vinegar, then it’s starting to go bad, as it definitely doesn’t have a “normal” powder smell. Often times the top layer of the powder will be discolored – rust or brownish color and it will be dusty when poured into another container.

The outside of the container has nothing to do with the powder inside – from your description I would guess the powder is as good today as the day it was manufactured.
The rust was on the inside of the lip, not on the outside I should have mentioned that in the OP. I'll have to get some vinegar to smell to compare to the powder.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:31 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Pour some out on a plate and look and smell.

Most of the powders that have succumbed to acid problems were made during WWII.

Inadequate washing of the acids (nitric and sulfuric) after making the nitrocellulose was the cause.

Since the powder was intended for use in an ongoing war, long term stability was not as important.
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:32 PM
Grampaw Grampaw is offline
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Last edited by Grampaw; 03-08-2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: double tap
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:35 PM
honda01 honda01 is offline
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Feed it to a lab rat and see if it dies. Then you will have your answer.

Sorry, just got done reading a Federal report...they fed a lab rat 1/2 of ground up brick. And it died...anyone surprised?
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:38 PM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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well the trouble is the stuff has been sitting in a shed for 20 years, so it pretty much just smells like the shed, which I think is fertilizer. It doesn't seem to smell acidic and a few years back we shot some reloads that were done with the powder so I figured if the reloads shot, the smell wasn't acidic, then it should be good to go.

though one thing comes to mind, when we shot the reloads we had one bullet that got lodged in the barrel. I think it might have been to light of a load, or a charge skipped by the re loader.

With that in mind, I am loading 230 gr. LRN over 3.6 gr. of bullseye, the powder that I am asking about. I started there because the LEE manual says 4.0 max and I understood that you should reduce 10% and work up from there. I see lots doing 4.5-5.0 gr though. is 3.6 to light? will it not be enough to push the bullet out?
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:40 PM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda01 View Post
Feed it to a lab rat and see if it dies. Then you will have your answer.

Sorry, just got done reading a Federal report...they fed a lab rat 1/2 of ground up brick. And it died...anyone surprised?
It's good to know that your tax dollars are hard at work I'm guessing it was govt. funded if it was a federal report.
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  #13  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:41 PM
honda01 honda01 is offline
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Toss the stuff. Start fresh, then you know for sure what you have.
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:42 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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The powder is manufactured by Alliant.
Go to the Alliant web site, there is a section on how to tell if your powder has gone bad.

Next time, store your powder more safely.

And reload more often.
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  #15  
Old 03-08-2011, 12:46 PM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick A View Post
The powder is manufactured by Alliant.
Go to the Alliant web site, there is a section on how to tell if your powder has gone bad.

Next time, store your powder more safely.

And reload more often.
how would be the safe way to store it? It was stored in an airtight ammo can and kept out of the weather in a shed. My mother didn't want it in the house.

I would have loved to reloaded more, but the stuff is my fathers and he is letting me have it and until recently, moving out and going to college, I haven't been able to reload at all. The stuff is marked Hercules and not alliant, but it has the exact same logo as the alliant minus the name of course.
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  #16  
Old 03-08-2011, 01:27 PM
340six 340six is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouseater View Post
how would be the safe way to store it? It was stored in an airtight ammo can and kept out of the weather in a shed. My mother didn't want it in the house.
You had it get hot, cold, hot, cold, thus the smaller sized rust spot on the container.
On a shelf inside a home is the way to go.
Yes I read your mom said no.
But you asked safe way? Inside a home shop with a/c-heat on an open self.
inside a tight container like you had is a bomb!
I have a few cans of WW231 as well as others that were in the older metal cans they may not look like it but they are made to pop open easy and burn instead of going boom.
I also Have 30 year old card board cans that are still like new inside.
I have a Can 8 pounds of Red Dot dad had on a shelf inside a bed room closet that is 100% ok.
Smell/ Look like it should. Pour some out how does it smell look? Musty? Clumped?
The above post about the Alliant site is what I would do.
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2011, 01:31 PM
Gasitman Gasitman is offline
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I just drill a hole in a tennis ball, dump some powder in it, put a wick, and then some caulk and see if it goes "BOOM". then you know your powder is good.


Just kidding, don't try this at home folks.
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  #18  
Old 03-08-2011, 01:36 PM
JoeJ JoeJ is offline
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Ideally you want to store powder & primers indoors in a controlled environment. There are many people who are unable to do that and 99.99% encounter no problems with their loading components. I would suggest you store your powder in their original container and store that container in a GI ammo box or similar air/water tight container. If it gets to -40F in the winter & 120F in the summer in the shed I doubt you’ll ever have a problem.

The only powder I had go bad was IMR-4350 in the brown can & red cap. It was stored under ideal conditions for 20 years and never opened – the entire case (12-1# cans) went bad. I had a couple pounds stored in plastic pill bottles obtained from a pharmacy for my powder measure that was the same lot number & purchased at the same time (case lots) and that powder is still as good as new. I firmly believe it was the coating on the inside of those cans that caused the powder to deteriorate – of course DuPont disagreed.

Last edited by JoeJ; 03-08-2011 at 01:38 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #19  
Old 03-08-2011, 02:39 PM
340six 340six is offline
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Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
Ideally you want to store powder & primers indoors in a controlled environment. There are many people who are unable to do that and 99.99% encounter no problems with their loading components. I would suggest you store your powder in their original container and store that container in a GI ammo box or similar air/water tight container. If it gets to -40F in the winter & 120F in the summer in the shed I doubt you’ll ever have a problem.

The only powder I had go bad was IMR-4350 in the brown can & red cap. It was stored under ideal conditions for 20 years and never opened – the entire case (12-1# cans) went bad. I had a couple pounds stored in plastic pill bottles obtained from a pharmacy for my powder measure that was the same lot number & purchased at the same time (case lots) and that powder is still as good as new. I firmly believe it was the coating on the inside of those cans that caused the powder to deteriorate – of course DuPont disagreed.
I had 2 cans just like that still have one and it is fine
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  #20  
Old 03-08-2011, 05:10 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Like 340 and Joe said.
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  #21  
Old 03-08-2011, 05:15 PM
BRETT C BRETT C is online now
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trash it one can of powder $20. or one gun big$$
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  #22  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:38 PM
medalguy medalguy is offline
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Pour out some powder and see if it looks nice and gray. If there's any red dust, it's bad. If it smells like acetone, it's good. If it has a really sharp, acrid smell, it's bad. If it seems OK, I'd probably use it. I too have used powder that's been stored for 25 years, and it worked fine, but it was under controlled temperatures inside for the entire time. You will have to be the ultimate judge of whether to use it or not.
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  #23  
Old 03-09-2011, 06:45 AM
BHP9 BHP9 is offline
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Yo be quite honest,

IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT, THERE IS NO DOUBT.

Throw it out and buy new powder.
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  #24  
Old 03-14-2011, 09:19 AM
Mouseater Mouseater is offline
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Well I doubt anyone is following this thread anymore, but I loaded up the powder and it shot fine. Thanks to everyone for all the help
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  #25  
Old 03-14-2011, 10:13 AM
340six 340six is offline
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Originally Posted by Mouseater View Post
Well I doubt anyone is following this thread anymore, but I loaded up the powder and it shot fine. Thanks to everyone for all the help
I was glad it worked out.
FYI I am not one to take a chance but id somethiong is just old but still good why toss it.
Lots and lots of guys use Canister and surplus powders not my gig
But they do know powder here
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forumdisplay.php?f=28
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