Do BP substitutes have a shelf life?


July 31, 2008, 10:55 PM
Kind of hard to find the real thing here so I was wondering... do BP subs have a shelf life?

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August 1, 2008, 01:09 AM
I've had and shot 10 year old pyrodex with no change in character. Of course I'm able to store mine in a cool dry place.

August 1, 2008, 10:53 AM
Yes they do.
Same as smokeless powders.
When you open the container and notice a pretty foul, acrid smell, it is time to get rid of the stuff and buy some fresh stock.

August 1, 2008, 11:06 AM
i dont think this is true.

not at all. The main properties are still the same. Chacoal, Salt peter (potasium Nitrate). The difference is Sulfur. The sulfur has been replaced from the mix. Unlike Smokeless powder which encompases totally different types of chemicals. Further more. if you were to put a small pile of smokeless powder on the cement and wet it. The powder pretty much becomes useless. some of it dissolves and just gets broken down. When it dries up it may or may not light up. I have placed pyrodex on the cement wet it really good. Let it dry. it lights up just like bp. Thus the chemical compound does not break down with water. Furthermore since black powder can be made with water same as pyrodex water does not break it down. Not to the degree of smokeless. The shelf life of black powder is a lot lot longer. There are civil war rifles, cannon balls, revolvers that are still being dug up today that are just as deadly as they were when they were made. These that are dug up are not kept in ideal conditions, They have been subject to wetness moisture cold and heat. Pretty much anything that can be handed. Still today they go off without a hitch. Black powder is a lot more stable than smokeless powder. To check this look up the guy that blew up a few months ago while cleaning a civil war canon ball. Proof that over 140 years old does nothing to bp. Yes im sure if you left an open container out in the open weather will eventually get to it. might even get some cridders trying to live in it. So for that it is recomended to keep powder in a sealed container. Remember that black powder is still an explosive. needs to handeled with the up most care. However black powder can last hundreds of years in extreme conditions where smokeless powder can not. We still have not unearthed all the civil war remnants that contail black powder. To say the powder is no good or inert is foolish.

August 1, 2008, 11:11 AM
replacing the sulfur in black powder is easy to do. i have done it. i even made a small batch using sugur instead of sulfur. The burn rate was great. However i did not like the residue that was left over with sugur. When you replace sulfur with something else we call it a substitute. As sulfur is what makes black powder eat up your firearms. Excuse me (antiques). Thats why we have sulfurless powders today. Supposed to make cleaning better and easier. I have used all types of powders. Today however i only shoot goex. REason is really about economics. at 17.00 for goex compared to up to 26.00 for substitutes its not hard to see why i use goex. I loved those pyrodex pellets though. They are so easy to use in inlines.

August 1, 2008, 11:56 AM
Yeah I like Goex myself & get it when I can but when my local supplier had a hard time getting it recently I've had to go to Pyrodex P for my C&B Revolvers, & 777 for my Bobcat .50, but I've had pretty good success with a can of Pyrodex that I've had for over 15 years & ofcorse with some Goex that is either a year to 20 years old.

August 1, 2008, 01:22 PM
I'm not going to try to get into the chemistry of the substitutes; it's quite a bit more complex than simple replacing the sulfur. I will just say that, in my experience, both Pyrodex and 777 have long shelf lives (over 5 years) when stored in dry, protected environments.

I've read, but have no personal experience, that other substitutes (in particular American Pioneer and Jim Shockey's Gold) were time sensitive, on the order of a year. Take that as a rumor until someone with first hand experience can refute or confirm it.

August 1, 2008, 04:50 PM
A year that would make it a no go in my book. But then i guess thats almost impossible for me anyway. i go through to much powder. Nothing on my shelf is over 8 months old.

Redd Flynt
August 2, 2008, 06:51 PM
Look at the MSDS for the particular powder.

Mark whiz
August 2, 2008, 09:01 PM
I can speak for Shockeys, Pioneer, CleanShot .....................whatever you want to call it. It HAS no shelf life. Once it gets opened, its days are numbered - especially if there is any humidity in the air. I've had the CleanShot literally die on me overnight.
I've yet to have an issue with 777 and I've been using it since it first hit the market.

August 3, 2008, 12:45 AM
Cool, thanks for all the input guys. Guess I will have to use up the last of the American Pioneer and move on to another product. Just have to plan a lot of days at the range I guess:D

August 3, 2008, 04:27 PM
I had 1/2 can of Pyrodex RS sit in a garage through 5 Nebraska summers and winters (100+ highs down to below zero). It shot just fine when I opened it back up. I couldn't tell the difference between it and a new can.

August 4, 2008, 12:57 PM
Limited observation but two or three years ago,we found a can of the original pyrodex in a garage where it had been since the second year of production. It was the original buyers garage. He had opened the can and shot a bit of it but prefered regular goex which was easier to find at the time.
We shot it side by side with new pyrodex from a uberti 61 navy. The extreme velocity spreads were about the same with the older pyrodex being more consistent than the new. The newer stuff gave slightly higher velocities.

The velocity difference could have come from being stored in temperatures ranging from minus five to plus 110 degrees for a quarter century or it could be that the current formulation is a bit different ( or both).

Weve done the same sort of thing comparing limited quantities of sixty and ninety year old black powder with modern goex with mixed results= the older powder generally being just a little slower but just as consistent as the new manufactured goex.

August 5, 2008, 03:04 AM
After maybe 8 years my old container of Clean Shot never went bad. I make sure that the lid isn't off for very long and keep it tight and there hasn't been any problem. Just a big BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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