Old powder = inconsistent?


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El Guero
December 28, 2011, 06:19 PM
I just started reloading .38 Special and .357. My dad was cleaning out his garage, and made me take a 4lb jug of Winchester WST that was sitting in the garage since I used it for reloading for trap in high school. Seeing that I could use it in .38, I decided to try it out. I'd opened the jug around 7 or 8 years ago, used some of it, closed the lid and then left it in the garage.

Now I'm loading 3.7gn of the WST behind a 125gn LRN in .38 Special. I feel like my accuracy is poor, but that it may just me being a klutz behind the trigger. Is it possible that powder this old could be inconsistent? Or do I just need more practice shooting? :o

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HOWARD J
December 28, 2011, 07:18 PM
That powder is not old.
I am still using powder that 30 some years old----works like new

El Guero
December 28, 2011, 07:23 PM
Must be me then :p

FROGO207
December 28, 2011, 08:49 PM
If you are still not convinced go and spring for a box of factory stuff and shoot em up.:D No that propellant is not old as far as what I would classify old, now 60 years would be old stuff.

Hummer70
December 28, 2011, 08:53 PM
Play around with different loads and differant brands of primers. I just did a primer test and loaded same cases with same loads/bullet but different primers each time. I had SD of 13 and 14 with three of them and 8 with another. Some propellent likes certain primers. Don't settle on one primer.

Another thing that will absolutely kill you big time is marginal firing pin energy. Looking at the indent on a fired cases tells you nothing. You did not say what kind of weapon you are using. Lots of guys have S&W and they will back off the strain screw to get lighter trigger pulls. You will get erratic ignition which means squirrely groups well before you get to misfires. Primers like to be hit hard and fast. Take away one and you are screwed.

rcmodel
December 28, 2011, 08:59 PM
Must be me thenIf you are not sure?

Get an experienced pistol shooter to test your loads & gun.

Or scrounge a folding picnic table, or an old folding ironing board, and some sandbags, a gym bag full of dirty socks, whatever you got?

Use it to bench rest your gun while load testing.

rc

Blue68f100
December 28, 2011, 09:06 PM
My 3# can of 452AA/WST says it cost me $19.25. Probably bought it in the early 80's . Is this old or am I that young. Just finishing up the can and it shoots just fine.

leadchucker
December 28, 2011, 09:21 PM
Does the powder smell old?

SlamFire1
December 28, 2011, 11:28 PM
As I was told, double based powders should have a minimum of 20 year shelf life, single based 45 years.

Heat will age gun powders. When powder is tested for stability a sample is put in an oven at 150 F. If it fumes within 30 days the powder is checked for the percentage of stabilizier left.

Unless your powder was stored in hot conditions for the last 8 years, I suspect any problems you had, were due to you, not the powder.

El Guero
December 29, 2011, 05:50 PM
If you are not sure?

Get an experienced pistol shooter to test your loads & gun.

Or scrounge a folding picnic table, or an old folding ironing board, and some sandbags, a gym bag full of dirty socks, whatever you got?

Use it to bench rest your gun while load testing.

rc

I tried resting it with a variety of charges last time I was at the range. I put the target out at 25 yards and I probably didn't take my time well enough or stabilize the gun well enough, but I thought all my groups were pretty damn big (i.e. 5"-6") I'm assuming that at least the gun (6" GP100) should be capable of better than that, but between my shooting and my reloading, I don't know what would be worse. :banghead:

Walkalong
December 29, 2011, 08:07 PM
WST hasn't been around long enough to be "old". As long as it smells alright, use it.

Your gun might not like that bullet. My Model 14 hates 125 Gr lead bullets, but shoots 148 Gr HBWC or DEWC's, as well as 158 Gr SWC's bullets, lights out.

WST shoots well for me. I like it. :)

gamestalker
December 29, 2011, 10:39 PM
What does it smell like? RC helped me identify some old Longshot I wasn't sure about, not long ago in fact. When he said, does it smell like battery acid or sulfer, I knew it was old. If it has an obvious foul odor to it, you might have to toss it. But that powder I tossed was the first stuff that has ever gone bad on me, and it took who knows how many decades for it to expire.

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