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Can anyone help identify this powder. I bought this along with several other reloadin

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BoltLover, Apr 23, 2014.

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  1. BoltLover

    BoltLover Member

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    I bought close to 32 lbs. of this and some 223rem. dies, Primers and bullets at an auction. This powder was in an unmarked grey 5 gallon bucket (almost full). Don't get mad now..... I payed 8 bucks! I was bidding on the dies and bullets I didn't even know what was in the bucket as it was sealed with some molasses looking substance that I can say has a unique stinch of it's own. This has a Gold tint to it and is a pulverized or smashed spherical. And I'm not exactly sure on the weight of powder as I have not weighed it yet, 32 lbs. is an estimate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  2. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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    Impossible to ID just by looks....I'd say use it for fertilizer
     
  3. Havok7416
    • Contributing Member

    Havok7416 Member

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    I can positively ID that powder as... Winchester/Alliant/Hodgdon Lawn Fertilizer! It's a special high-speed blend they make just for loading into grass.

    It looks like about 20 different powders, so there's really no way to tell for sure. 32 lbs is quite a bit in any event.
     
  4. moonman16

    moonman16 Member

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    Yep!
    Ya got a bucket of fertilizer.
    Be SAFE, not SORRY!
     
  5. evan price

    evan price Member

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    NO way to tell by appearance. There's a lot of powders that look alike that are radically different in terms of pressure curve. Sounds like you have a bucket of lawn fertilizer.
     
  6. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Offhand, it looks like H335.
    But don't bet (literally) your life on it.


    As others recommend, chalk it up to good fertilizer.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    If it was all the same color, same shape/size etc, I might experiment with it, but considering it is at least two different unknown powders, I would spread it on the lawn.
     
  8. quaid

    quaid Member

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    What die sets did it come with?
     
  9. Robert101

    Robert101 Member

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    32lbs of it? I would try to narrow the list of possible powders and find a way to shoot it as conservatively as possible. Powder is to scarce to ignore. There are ways to minimize the risk.
     
  10. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    The picture looks like half in the shade and half in light, rather than 2 different powders. 32 lbs of powder would be hard for me to dump out, but it certainly wouldn't be for the inexperienced. Probably some surplus military powder sold in bulk, but make no mistake if you choose to try it nobody else will be responsible for what happens.
     
  11. plmitch

    plmitch Member

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    Toss it, not worth the risk and besides there is plenty of good powder out there to buy. At least you got a nice 5gal bucket for $8.00.......
     
  12. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    You paid 8 bucks. Cut your losses and save your fingers. Spread it over the wife's flower beds, my snap dragons last year loved the sweep up powder I fertilized them with.
     
  13. blarby

    blarby Member

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    We need better pics. I don't see two types of granules, I see one type- and it looks a hell of a lot like what winchester loads on their .308 from here.

    The fact that you got it in a sealed bucket makes me even more intrigued. Someone thought it had value.

    Unfortunately somebody probably ignored the one thing that would make this awesome- this poor passed reloaders notes. People always throw away the paper. I've told all my friends when I go that the paper is propably more important than the steel, but I digress....

    But its a bad pic.

    Normally, I'd say pitch it- but dangit, some people can't find 1 #, and you have 32#'s sitting right there.

    We also need a sample next to a known powder so we can compare granules.

    Worst case, 5 grs into a 44 it goes ! Its 32#'s of powder, I would HAVE to find a use for it.

    But, im the experimenting type, and I have strong actioned firearms of less than astronomical value.

    Got a chrono ?

    If its two types of powder, I'm thinking fertilizer OR a cool fire ring might be the best....but if its one......
     
  14. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Yea I just see one kind of but what do I know.. Looks like the light is playing tricks.

    Geez. I hate to say toss it, but...

    Is their no way to do a burn speed test without a lab?

    I was going to say burn a few known powders next to it, but who wants to light any of their powder on fire at this juncture? Or can you even tell burn speed that way?


    I agree with blarby, the least I'd like to see is a giant fire ring.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  15. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    My guess is military surplus pull down but that's all it is...a guess. I would have a real hard time tossing it out, I would probably start extremely low charge weight and an overly strong gun (TC contender) that I could drive out a squib on. Intentionally squib load your way up a ladder to where you start seeing measurable improvement in performance and start watching primers closely. The key here would be to go so slow that you can't possibly blow yourself up. I would expect a ladder with at least 25 rungs. Probably more like 50. Again, I would start with a contender, possibly a hotshot barrel. Plenty strong and not much room to push out a squib.
     
  16. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    Could be WC 860 flattened ball military surplus for 50 BMG loading but could also be any of a number of other ball powders. Unless you can 100% identify then it's fertilize.
     
  17. lefty60

    lefty60 Member

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    Is your life worth only $8 ?? :what:

    $8 is not a bad price for 32lbs of fertilizer :D
     
  18. Mad Chemist

    Mad Chemist Member

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    http://www.ilrc.ucf.edu/powders/sample_detail.php?powder_id=106

    Use this as a basic qualitative reference. Do NOT attempt to make a positive ID off of appearance alone.

    Do you have any chemistry skills? If the answer is no then please ignore the info to follow.

    If yes, then you could start characterization by physical properties and compare to known published from manufacturer's data.

    If you know anyone with access to an IR spectrometer you could have them run it and compare IR spec to the posted IR spec from the link. A match should align VERY closely. IR spec is cheap to run and any student or scientist with reasonable access should be able to run these frequently without causing a fuss.

    If you succeed in closely matching the IR spectra you will still need to run a ladder test like West Kentucky recommended. Failing to do so and relying on the IR spectra alone is likely to have dangerous results.








    The only reason I offered up this info is due to the powder shortage and the fact that you have so much and it was in a sealed container. Please be careful if you decide to pursue this. If you do, bear in mind that this can be extremely dangerous and you are proceeding at your own risk. Please take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and others from unnecessary risk.
     
  19. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    If I were to test this powder to see if it was useable, I would consider it the fastest ball powder St. Marks makes, which is Winchester 231/HP-38. I would load an equivalent charge of those powders into a .38 Special case and give it a try in a .357 Magnum revolver over a chronograph. This will immediately tell you if it's a rifle or pistol powder, and you could start there.

    Trying this in a rifle cartridge could end up badly, if it were in fact a pistol powder. On the other hand, if it is a rifle powder, it won't cause any damage with a light load in a handgun cartridge, other than a stuck bullet, which is easily remedied.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  20. BoltLover

    BoltLover Member

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    OK great info guys... I don't want anyone here to think I'm stupid enough to load this stuff up without a long trial. But today I have a break through.. I was able to contact the old fellows son through the auctioneer. He has all of his dad's notes and another bucket of this powder. So tomorrow I will know what I have. Thanks for all your help.
     
  21. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    If you get 64 pounds of powder for 16 dollars I'm quitting.
     
  22. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    Be sure and let us know what it is.
     
  23. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    If you get that other bucket for $8 I will give you $9...
     
  24. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    32 pounds of lawn fertilizer will cost you more than 8 bucks and is a lot cheaper than a trip to the ER
     
  25. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    GRAB A VLD! (Volumetric Load Density)

    This will help narrow it down.
    This is precisely how I was able to determine that the Amerc pull down powder I was using was H335/BL-C2, among other things.

    Throw some CC's with your powder measure, and weigh it.

    Weight/Volume is your VLD. Grab a powder measure VLD chart (I use the one that came with my Lee Auto Disk) and see what looks close.

    If all else fails I'll give you 10$ for it if you meet me halfway in WV :D

    EDIT: Attached Lee's VMD chart..
     

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