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Powder storage

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by vesmcd, Nov 15, 2006.

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  1. vesmcd

    vesmcd Member

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    Will filling a powder container with an inert gas, after the container has been opened, stop the powder from deteriorating during long term storage?
     
  2. Critter183

    Critter183 member

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    I don't know. But I do know that if you put your bottles of powder in a cardboard box and store them for about 2 years, and a mouse gets into the box and pisses all over them, it can destroy about 5 lbs of H4831. lol
     
  3. Sharps Shooter

    Sharps Shooter Member

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    I don't see how unless you have some method of re-sealing the powder container once you put the inert gas in it. Otherwise it just seems like the inert gas would leak right back out.
    But how long term storage are you really concerned about anyway? I have a few cans of 30+ year old powder in a cabinet in my basement and there's nothing wrong with it. I just found different powders that I liked better so I quit using the stuff I either bought, or my Dad gave me decades ago. Yes, I did check that old powder before I replied to this thread and I'll bet dollars to donuts it will work just as good today as it did back when I was using it regularly. Powder stored in a cool, dry place will last a very long time even if the containers have been opened.
    If I was concerned about really long term powder storage, I might concider using my vacuum sealer to seal 1lb containers of it in plastic bags. I don't know that that would work, but I sure don't have any way of putting inert gas in the powder containers and keeping it in there.
     
  4. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

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    As said, unlikey as most plastics leach oxygen in (or out). If you got a good purge of Argon (want a large noble gas), you might, just might delay deterioration a little bit. But considering the cost of the gas, why bother (and heck, I got a cylinder of Argon just sitting here and I wouldn't bother).
    Biggest thing is to keep the powder dry, out of light, and cool (NOT COLD--as condensation on warming would kill you).
     
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    What do you consider long term storage, 20 years, 50 years, more? I still occasionally load powder 20 yrs old or more and it still works fine so I don't see any real reason to worry about deterioration. Just follow the powder companies recommendations on storage and it will last longer than you'll live. If the mice don't P on it.:)
     
  6. Critter183

    Critter183 member

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    Mouse urine, apparently, is very corrosive, to both steel and plastic. lmao
     
  7. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    Expensive but FUNNY

    I fell off the chair laughing when I read that. :evil:
     
  8. Critter183

    Critter183 member

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    qajaq59,

    almost as bad as that was, they also destroyed 2 large bags of nice 100% cotton cleaning patches. Made a nest of it! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    And, they peed in the corner of a box of .223 brass, and ruined some of that too.

    Need to corrode something? Get a mouse to pee on it. I'm tellin ya, the stuff is caustic!
     
  9. vesmcd

    vesmcd Member

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    Thanks for the replies.
    The reason for my original post:

    Two years ago, I opened a 1/2 empty one pound can of (IIRC)Herco that was about 30 years old. The lid was on tight and it had been stored in my house. "Smoke" rolled out the can and it had a very acrid/acidy smell.I immediately took it outside and spread it in the flower bed. After that, I checked all my other partial cans. I found no others that appeared to be bad.
    I have two partially used 8 pounders (W540 and W231) that I rarely use and considering the increasing cost of powder, I would hate to have to dump them before I can use them. I know that flooding a partially used can of latex paint with inert gas and putting the lid back on will stop the paint from moulding and wondered if that trick would stop powder from deteriorating.

    The obvious answer is "Shoot more often and burn up all that old powder!". I'd love to do that, but Life is interfering with my shooting right now.:(
     
  10. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    You people can keep powder around that long without using it? If I have powder, primer and ball I'm loading and shooting...:D
     
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've had no trouble with partial cans of powder for a fair number of years, if I keep them in the proverbial "cool, dry place". For me, that's inside the house. If I know I'm not going to use more of some particular powder, I'll screw the lid on tightly and drip some candle wax around the rim of the cap.

    So far, so good, for at least ten years or more...

    Art
     
  12. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    My dad has some unique and 231, i believe the cans are from the 70's. shoots just as well(maybe a little dirtier) as my brand new 231.
    no special storage techniques.
     
  13. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    I've got half a can of 5066. It's from lot #12:what: . Still good. Has to be around 50 years old.

    Store powder in the dark at a cool and stable temp, and it should be good for several decades.
     
  14. revolverman357

    revolverman357 Member

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    My powder doesn't seem to last very long. It must have a short shelf life.
    Or... maybe I shoot too much and use it all before it goes bad. :D
     
  15. MNgoldenbear

    MNgoldenbear Member

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    Guessing that shelf life is more a function of temperature and the initial composition of the powder. IIRC, the nitro groups in the nitrocellulose base of the powder are the oxidizers when the powder burns in a cartridge, so I don't know that having some O2 around at normal temperature and pressure would have a big effect on shelf life. I've had some powders around for over 10 years that seem just fine. They've always been stored in temperature/humidity controlled environments. Most of the powder I get doesn't get to hang around that long, but there are a few that I just don't use that often.
     
  16. vesmcd

    vesmcd Member

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    OK guys, thanks for the replies. The responses seem to go two ways:

    1. "I burn up powder before it has a chance to go bad".
    2. "I've had X-brand stored for forty years and it's as good as new".

    So, I'm going to chalk up my experience as the exception to the rule and just keep my left over powder capped up tight and stored in a temp controlled area. Now lets get on to important things, like who has the best fries, Wendy's or Mickey D's? :D
     
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