Old powder cans and primers


Neal Bloom
January 24, 2003, 11:39 PM
My brother-in-law gave me two cardboard cans of Unique and one can of Bullseye. The label says Hercules instead of Alliant. None of them have been opened. How long does powder last?Should I dispose of them properly to be on the safe side?

He also gave me a few cases of CCI primers, large pistol CCI 300 and rifle CCI 200. The cases are small and so are the individual boxes about 2" by 2.25". They all look fine and are still in their orginal cases and boxes except for a bunch that were mixed up inside a .22lr plastic case. I will have to dispose of those for sure. How do I tell if the rest of the primers are good?

My brother-in-law is not a reloader he received this stuff from his wifes father.

If you enjoyed reading about "Old powder cans and primers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 25, 2003, 08:55 AM
I would throw away the mixed primers for sure. Use only data that is for the Hercules branded powder, they are subtley different, but there is no way I would throw the powder away. If it was stored correctly it should be fine. If it was not stored conrrectly you will get pretty good swings in velocity and possibly some misfires, but I really don't think there are any dangerous consequences in using it.

January 25, 2003, 05:41 PM
Neal, I am currently using some Hercules 2400 Lot #288 (circa 1968), Unique, Bullseye and HiSkor-700 circa 1980 and have used up 600 CCI-300 primers (out of 1000) that where made in 1984. I have had no problems with any of the above - all was stored up on a basement shelf by my father. If it looks bad (corrosion on the primers, or bad smells from the powder then pass it up, if not shoot it up. Odessa

January 25, 2003, 06:11 PM
I've often used old primer/powder from a lot I bought from a fellow who's dad owned a gun shop. Never had any problem, you do have to work up loads though the powder may be hotter/colder than the current loads for the same name.

January 26, 2003, 12:15 AM
The powder and primers have all gone bad !!!
Send them to me for proper disposal....

January 26, 2003, 02:04 AM
If the powder is still good, it'll smell "like powder", and if it's gone bad it'll smell sour. Extruded (rod-like) powder kernels are yellow inside when broken; grey if still good.

January 26, 2003, 06:45 AM
As powder breaks down ammonia compounds are created so the smell will be that of ammonia in addition to the normal solvent smells. It will also change color to reddish or yellowish. If you want to dispose of it spread it over your lawn, it makes good fertilizer ( nitrogen). Both Bullseye and Unique have been on the market for many years, Unique actually a rifle powder originally. Both are very stable powders. Never use unidentified powder or primers and never use powder or primers not in the original containers. Best way to dispose of primers is to put oil on them .

Neal Bloom
January 26, 2003, 01:56 PM
I put oil on the mixed primers, let em soak them then disposed of them. I reloaded some 30-06 (he gave me a whole bunch of Speer 30-06 bullets too) with the rifle primers and they worked fine this morning at the range. I'll load a couple of 9mm with the Unique and test it out Really appreciate all the replies. Thanks for your help.

January 27, 2003, 08:50 PM
for anything that's nitrogen loving (it's nitrocellulose):)
In the original unopened cannisters it should be good for years.
I recently donated a couple of cans of Red and Green Dot shotgun powder to the Junior Shooters program at my club...the powder was probably older than the kids fathers = they loaded and shot it with much enjoyment. Good Skeet program, teaches the kids to reload their own shells before they shoot em.:D

If you enjoyed reading about "Old powder cans and primers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!