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Old powder gone bad in unopened can?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Kingcreek, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I opened a previously sealed metal 1 pound can of 4895 powder tonight and got a cloud of orange rust colored dust. Opened another identical can of same age and it seems fine. Both cans are probably 20 or maybe even 25 years old. Both were probably purchased at the same time. Both have been stored side by side same conditions. Cool dark basement reloading room with dehumidifier.
    Anybody else think that is odd? I'm going to fire 5 rounds before I load up any more.
     
  2. 300Whspr

    300Whspr Member

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  3. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    If it looks bad just dump it. This reloading thing we do is dangerous !
    How much will a new eye cost you?
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Smell it.

    If it smells acidic, and the inside or outside of the can is rusting, it is gone south.
    Dump it.

    If it smells like solvent and no rust inside the can?
    Choot it.

    rc
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I've encountered the same situation, and recently too.

    Although storage conditions can and do contribute to shelf life, powder can go bad regardless of how it was stored. I recently learned something here at THR about temperature indications of the powder, and i discovered that some of my powders were growing warmer and warmer, while others were not, and all of them are stored in the same air conditioned controlled environment.

    If they pass the nose and appearance test, they're very likely ok, other wise they make great fertilizer.

    GS
     
  6. SwaneeSR

    SwaneeSR Member

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    Saving $25 on powder just is not worth the risk. If you are NOT 100% sure it is good, I would spread it out in the lawn.

    No sense being careful with rifle charge weights if the powder doesn't act like it should.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  7. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Same exact IMR 4895 powder problem for me. [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  8. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    Dump it now !!DO NOT shoot the 5 rounds!!!!
     
  9. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    The 5 rounds were loaded from the 2nd can (same age but seemed fine). Just realized that maybe that wasn't clear. sorry
    The first can made a small cloud of orange when I poured it into the hopper. I poured ALL of it back into the can and it left a fine orange residue in the hopper. That powder smelled "different" but not real strong. There was no rust on or in the can that I saw. I opened the 2nd identical can and loaded 5 test rounds. That powder looked and smelled normal.
    The first can of suspect powder will be discarded.
    Thanks
     
  10. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Not nearly as dangerous as that driving thing we all do, assuming one adheres to basic safety rules.

    The idea that reloading is inherently dangerous is simply not true.
     
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...a cloud of orange rust..." Only way you'd get rust inside a sealed can is by condensation. Mind you, a cloud of orange rust might not be rust at all. Might be the stuff used to seal the lid. Look under the cardboard thingy in the lid.
     
  12. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Orange rust colored DUST. No rust in can. I'm thinking I caught it fairly early in the powder deterioration.
     
  13. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    Kinda funny...the only powder ive run in to that had "gone bad" was also imr4895. In a metal can, probably made in the mid to late 1970s. It still smelled fine, but the dust was enough to convince me to fertilize the bushes with it.
     
  14. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I get a bit irritated by the "reloading is dangerous" notion also Arkansas Paul. The reloading thing we do comes with an inherent risk, but a risk that we can effectively manage when approached properly, and given the level of respect it demands.

    I've been at it for a bit over 30 yrs., and as yet I've not had an event that supports the "It's dangerous" thing.

    GS
     
  15. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Semantics.

    Whether one wishes to call handloading, motorcycling, military aviation, etc..."hazardous" or "dangerous", that is all word play. I have been involved in all three (still involved in the first two; retired from the latter). There are implicit hazards involved in each activity, as there are in many of life's pursuits..

    The wordsmiths and "experts" have worked hard to create separation between the terms. For the layman, they are essentially interchangeable.

    Most of us recognize the hazards, play smart and don't waste time on splitting hairs.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have written extensively on the lifetime of gunpowder and the dangers of old deteriorated gunpowder. Contrary to the expectations of shooters, and the immortality suggested by gun writers, gunpowder does not last forever. In fact it is quite mortal. These are threads which I provided information, a couple of which has pictures which Salmoneye took. Thanks!

    Old Powder Caused Fire!

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=788841


    Old powder

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=787843


    Shelf life of reloads?

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=758305

    Interesting powder/ case deterioration

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=790247&highlight=case+deterioration

    red dust from 1990's powder

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=756074&highlight=deteriorated

    Assuming you are not going to look at any of the referenced threads, let me say : GET RID OF THAT POWDER BEFORE IT AUTOCOMBUSTS AND BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!

    Do you want to die in flames? :uhoh:

    This is no joke, old deteriorated gunpowder, fuming red nitric acid gas, is dangerous as heck, it is only a matter of time till it catches fire.
     
  17. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Thanks SlamFire, I actually did read a couple of your links and have already disposed of the suspect powder.
     
  18. joem1945

    joem1945 Member

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    On occasion I salvage componets for reloading. I bought 2k rounds of 8mm from 1939 that had gotten wet for components only. The powder was so bad that when i broke the tar seal a puff of white smoke can out. The internal pressure in some cartridges was enough to push out some bullets. I save all the powder almost 8 lbs and put it in a cardboard box and set the box on fire at night. Amazing sight, orange column of fire about 30 feet high.
     
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Very interesting.

    Outstanding!
     
  20. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    I had some pull-down IMR4895 go bad a couple years ago. Caught it starting to go, and was able to load some into 45-70 blasting ammo, but the rest went into the back yard as fertilizer. It was hard pouring out 2-3 lbs when powder was scarce, but trying to keep and use it wasn't worth the risk.

    I remember reading those - good information and thanks for taking the time to post it up.
     
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