Blackpowder expiration date?


April 13, 2009, 01:45 AM
I am sure it has been discussed before -

how long is Blackpowder in the can good for?
What are these numbers on the bottom of a can of Goex?
Is that an expiration date and if yes, what happens if it is exceeded?

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April 13, 2009, 01:49 AM
War Against Northern Aggression digs have found loaded revolvers and fired them off after 150 years.
Just keep it air tight.

April 13, 2009, 05:06 AM
Wonder, does that also apply to BP subsitute, like Triple 7 or Pyrodex? Obviously none of those have been loaded that long! :)

April 13, 2009, 06:32 AM
Wonder, does that also apply to BP subsitute, like Triple 7 or Pyrodex?

So far my Pyrodex still works after I opened it some 15 years ago. Well; at least 10 years ago anyways.

April 13, 2009, 09:38 AM
dido sagetown. i just finished up a bottle of pyrodex that i bought in 1992. it sat till last year with about a 1/3 rd of it used. i think any type will out last any humane

Jim Watson
April 13, 2009, 09:52 AM
Black powder gets better with age. Or maybe they used to make it better. I have an article about the .32 Winchester Special "factory smokeless, reload black" legend. It says fresh powder was disappointing but a can of pre WW I DuPont did quite well.

Friends in BPCR tell me that Goex made some poor powder around 1999-2000 but have improved since; and that old lots were better, too. Said to be due to inferior wood being burnt for charcoal at the time. Me, I use Swiss, but not every lot is identical and a target shooter will retest loads every case of powder.

April 13, 2009, 10:03 AM
I recall reading about some injuries sustained by workers in Atlanta in the 1960's when they unearthed black powder charged explosive cannon balls and succeeded in detonating several.........bottom line seems to be that the stuff will outlive you............IF you're careful!

April 13, 2009, 11:00 AM
The answer to powder stability with age depends entirely on how the powder was stored and what the environment was, so there's really no single easy answer.

Real black powder is the most stable; it can be rendered unusable by direct contact with moisture, but if spread out and allowed to thoroughly dry out, then sifted, it will return to as-new condition.

There is anecdotal evidence that Pyrodex can degrade over a long period of time if exposed to local environments (changing temperature and/or humidity extremes), and it does not appear to respond to 'rehabilitation'. However, many people report no degradation, especially if stored properly.

My own experience with 777 is that it can be stored over at least 5 years without noticeable degradation; I keep it sealed in original containers, so I don't know if ambient exposure causes a problem over the long term, and I can't comment on whether it can be rehabilitated.

April 13, 2009, 11:33 AM
I have 5 pounds of each, Pyrodex P & Goes FFFG in their orriginal containers & then Vacuum Sealed in food saver bags & then inside my Powder cashe box to preserve their life as much as I can before I use them, but I have also used Goex & Pyrodex that was just sitting on the shelf for over 12 years & could not tell the difference in the new or the old stuff.

April 13, 2009, 08:04 PM
Real Goex Powder goes bad unopened in the can in about a week. You should send any older than that to me! :D

April 13, 2009, 08:11 PM
I have a couple of pounds of dupont from a keg purchased in the 60's.

I also have the benefit of living in Colorado where moisture is not an issue.

The stuff works great.

April 13, 2009, 10:57 PM
The Official Answer.

Black Powder is good for at least a thousand years or so.

There you have it

April 13, 2009, 11:10 PM
Thanks Scrat... :O)

April 13, 2009, 11:26 PM
no problem


4v50 Gary
April 13, 2009, 11:54 PM
Right now, I'm tired and really full of myself. So, with that in mind, I've a snappy little statement that I've just made with my own little mind (as I am surrounded by luminaries here) and will quote myself.

So long as its dry, blackpowder is timeless.

It's bedtime and I'm taking my dentures out for soaking. Goodnight all.

April 14, 2009, 03:07 AM
I know that a test of some BP found stashed in 1882 was fine after ball milling again, was clumpy or something from memory,

the test was back in the 1980's

so in a unopened airtight can .hmm 50 - 100 years maybe

no foolin

i read about the signal rockets they buried with the ming warriors

some still fired thought most tested didnt fire ( there where thousands ) after how many years?? 3000 ???

seems gunpowder is quite stable



April 14, 2009, 06:42 AM
So long as its dry, blackpowder is timeless.

Perfect. Can I use it?

4v50 Gary
April 14, 2009, 07:05 AM
So long as its dry, blackpowder is timeless.

Perfect. Can I use it?

Yes, but attribute it to me.

April 14, 2009, 09:50 AM
Come now the stuff goes bad in a day after hunting. Everybody knows that, and so this is why BP hunters fire their gun off at the end of a day where no game was shot.. :rolleyes:

1000 years huh? Well not in the hold of a rocking ship it don't... And not in the truck of a car either for a year or more.

Ya' ll know you need to send all that bad BP to me! :D

April 14, 2009, 01:01 PM
...back to my original question -
Is this some kind of expiration date on the bottom of the can?

Has anyone doen any tests with new and old blackpowder to see if there is a difference in velocities?

April 14, 2009, 01:13 PM
Here's one report by mec:

Here's another report by mec:

[Post #9]:

I was unable to produce any accuracy work with this one but did chronograph the .451 Ball and two type of powder. These were 30 grains of Goex 3f and the same charge of 90 year old powder removed from black powder cartridges. I was able to tollerate shooting eight of each
Goex: 710 fps/ 134 fps spread Old Powder 683/171.

April 14, 2009, 05:22 PM
What are these numbers on the bottom of a can of Goex?

:uhoh: Looks like a Product Code, Zerstoerer. Certainly not an "Expiration Date"...... scrat says this black stuff will last 1000 years. :D

April 14, 2009, 06:02 PM
Well I wouldn't know about 1000 years but a good bet is more than 100, so long as it isn't rocked, rolled and wallygagged about, where the components can separate, like it does at sea.

April 14, 2009, 07:35 PM
Yess!! I forgot the name of the gentleman who re-milled the black powder and don't feel like scrolling back up to find him.
Years ago I had a pound of Black Mag 3. (or 2 or whatever they called it) It was in the container and had never been opened. It was 3fffg and it had set around for a year or so. I picked it up one day and it was hard as a rock. I very carefully cut the plastic container and put the powder clumps in a ball mill for awhile. It done right and shot as good as ever. I'vd never had any kind of problem with Triple Seven and I'vd shot it for years and years....

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