Ok so I got some OLD components, ADVICE!


November 22, 2006, 10:07 AM
hi everybody, I'm trying to get into reloading (i'm in college and ammo has eaten up a good amount of finacial aide:D ). I have a dillion press with dies for 9mm and .380. I also have an awsome shotgun press that I still remember how to use. I still don't remember how to set up the dies correctly on the dillion so I'm holding off on starting with it. My real concern however is that I have lots of old components (powder and primers, bullets and shell casings) that I am not sure what to do with. I'm getting rid of the old (humidity exposed) powder at the police station and am keeping the bullets and shell casings because they are all in decent condition. now I have no idea what to think about the primers. most of them are still in the box and have been sitting in my basement for 6-7 years. now I am not neccesarily sure of the amount of exposure to temp change and humidity so I am not sure what to do with them. Should these primers be fine if they look alright? I mean I got a fair amount of them and they would save me some dough if they were still good. My basment is pretty cool even in summer but I do live within 1.5 miles of a lake. so whats everyones opinions on if I should keep them? also I'm not too keen on shooting off the primer only shell casings that are lying around, seems like a hastle, should I just toss'em? I mean it would hike my range time to shoot'em off but is it worth saving like 200-400 some casings at todays brass prices?(unsure of brass prices but I know they have been going UP). thanks alot for the advice, oh yeah if anyone knows if there will be any NRA certified reloading classes in Michigan I'd oh so fancy to hear about it.

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November 22, 2006, 10:13 AM
If the powder was kept in the original can with the lid on, it should be just fine. I shot stuff a lot older than the 6-7 years noted without any problem.
Unless your basement is really humid the primers should be OK too.
Try popping a few primed brass.

November 22, 2006, 10:13 AM
I would load a few and see how they perform. Unless your basement is much more humid than my parents' basement (where they actually have to run a humidifier), I don't expect there would be a problem with the powder or primers.

You mentioned humidity exposed powder. Didn't you keep it in the original container with the lid screwed on snug? If so, the powder is fine.


November 22, 2006, 10:19 AM
well some powder was in the reloading press tubes, some was in the black containers, put the stuff from the towers into one of the containers so I think that one will have to go, i have one that was previously opened (the little seal was broken) but has had the cap screwed on since, well except for when I was younger and got curious about how gun powder and what happens when you set some on fire:D the joys of youth.... I think I'll keep the primers the way you guys are talking. I'm going to assume that shooting primer only from a 9mm is not agood idea any where other than a range or outdoors?(noise and ventilation reasons). Its time to read all the old manuals now that its thanksgiving break

November 22, 2006, 10:23 AM
If the cans are original and still sealed, will proably be good. Look for signes of corrosion on the outside of the sealed can (if metal). When opened, if there is a good bit of dust...an acidic smell...discloration...or clumping of the powder, it's not good. If it smells like powder (a slight solvent smell), looks like powder, and isn't clumped up or disclored, then it's most proably safe to use.

I've still got two old square cans of 2400 and one of Bullseye...still sealed...still uncorroded...at least 40years old (probably older) andstill works fine.

Same deal...if they look corroded, then don't use them. Would test them with a few loads before suing them in some large production run...and I would avoid the increased chance of a dead primer and NOT use them for some important hunt or self defense loaqds.

A couple of years ago, got a "deal" on 5,000 Alcan small rifle primers. Now they haven't made Alcan primers in a long time...but these were still in cartons, looked visually good, and had no signs of being misstreated during storage. They all worked just fine...but I burned them up at the range rahter than out in the field.


Proably good. Have found that storage near some common household chemicals can lead to brass splitting/cracking. Again, I'd load up some test cartridges and proceed with caution....if 20 or 30 of them pass the test, then wuld consider them safe to use.

November 22, 2006, 10:24 AM
Last year I loaded some 45 colt with a buddy who supplied the powder. It came from his dad's basement and was purchased in the 60's. Works great.

Brian Williams
November 22, 2006, 10:49 AM
Take the canister of powder that you poured from the press measure tubes and throw it out in the garden, you have potentially caused a very bad situation with mixed powder of unknown properties. DO IT NOWTake the junk powder and pour it on the garden, it will be absorbed like the nitrogen in fertilizer.

November 22, 2006, 10:55 AM
:what: it was hodgdon extra clean shotgun-handgun powder and some Hercules bullseye smokeless pistol powder

November 22, 2006, 01:04 PM
If you're not absolutely sure what you have, then follow Brian Williams advice. The only exception maybe being if you should happen to have some big logs to split and a safe place for doing so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIhJnqyey8U

November 23, 2006, 06:51 AM
Spread the powder out on your lawn as it will make it grow faster and be greener where you put the powder. The powder that is still in the cans open them up and smell them. If it smells like juicey fruit gum it is good and if it smells like Clorox bleach put in on the lawn. If it has no smell pour some in the lid and look for red dust if it has any put it on the lawn.

You said you are attending college so go Animal House. Spread the bad powder out on the lawn of the dean's house in a phallic symbol pattern. Which if done now will show up really thick and green all summer long. :evil:

Ol` Joe
November 23, 2006, 08:50 AM
Powder in unlabeled containers should be spread on the lawn as suggested. The grass will love ya for it smakless powder is mostly nitrogen a major component of fertilizer.
Powder in the original container and not smelling of acid (normal acetone smell is what you want) and no signs of "dusting" should be OK.
I wouldn`t worry too much about the primers. I have shotgun primers I`ve used in the last couple years that sat in my dads basement since the late `60s and they all worked fine.
Brass unless corrosion in showing should also be good.

November 23, 2006, 01:20 PM
If you're not absolutely sure what you have, then follow Brian Williams advice. The only exception maybe being if you should happen to have some big logs to split and a safe place for doing so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIhJnqyey8U

The man is talking about smokeless powder here. You post a link showing somebody splitting a log with BLACK POWDER! Not even close to the same thing. To get smokeless to detonate like that, would require confinement in a steel pipe. Now you're getting envolved in a federal crime!

I started loading in ernest in 1970. I still have partial cans of hercules reloader 7, 11, and 21 in the one pound square pop top cans. It was stored in a damp basement for the first 10 years, but has been high and dry since. I would not hesitate to load it right now, it's still good. BUT the stuff that was in the loader tubes, is not good anymore. IF the loader tubes are plastic. Some of the older plastic loader tubes would be attacked by certain types of powder, causing a chemical reaction. It would enert the powder!

Skeeter Skelton used to write for shooting times. He told of loading some shells for a 38 special with powder that had set in the hopper tube of his measure for quite a long period of time. While the bullets cleared the barrel, they made a pphht instead of a bang! Lesson was; don't leave any powder in a measure!

November 23, 2006, 05:49 PM
Going to post this just becasue it's fun (and kind of relates).

Friend moved...and in that move, he "lost" a full pound of bullseye.

About 8 years lather, moving an up-right piano, found the can on the window sill behind the piano. Had spent 8 years getting the full force of the sun (southern exposure)...the cold of winter...and perhaps more than a few drips of water (the window didn't seal all that well).

Opened the container. Lots of dust...acid smell..clumping...was a bit dicolored.

SOOOO...being kind of out in the boondocks, we found a fire ant nest, jabbed a thick stick into the nest, and filled the narrow hole (boiling with ants) with what was once bullsye.


1. Takes a lot of tossed matches to hit a 2" circle at any kind of distance.

2. That much powder will fling angry ants a LOT farther than you can toss a kitchen match.

3. Ants drop out of the surronding trees for a good long time after the event...still angry as hell.

4. It will set the yard on fire.

5. Takes most of the summer for any kind of green to grow again.

6. Did kill the nest.

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