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Surplus powder question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Littlewolf, Oct 12, 2012.

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  1. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    jcwit is 100% correct.

    Glass isn't the end all be all of static proof materials. Some plastics, like HDPE, are fairly comparable in this regard. Also he's 100% correct in his assumption that carbon is added to the HDPE in powder bottles to block light, and nothing more. You can test this yourself. Stab the bottle with a multimeter, with the points as close as you can get them without touching. There is NO conductivity, not even in the mega ohm range. In static reducing plastic bags or foams, conductivity is easily measured in this fashion, even across several inches. IOW, there's nothing particularly special about a powder bottle. HDPE is chosen for its high level of impermeability to solvents and gases and for being shatterproof.

    Oh, there are safety issues, of course. I wouldn't wanna mix 20 lbs of powder indoors. Outside with proper precautions, no problem. A tumbler full would probably make a flame 10 feet high, but it wouldn't blow up. Handling powder is safer than handling gasoline.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    The "mixing" refered to is the mixing of different LOTS of the SAME powder, not mixing different TYPES of powder.
     
  3. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    ^ Yeah, but on second thought, I wouldn't do this with large amounts of pulldown powder for one reason. If one of your lots goes bad from age, you only lose one lot. If you mixed them, you lose it all!
     
  4. blarby

    blarby Member

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    You presume, assume, or deduce. Pick your poison.

    There is no way to actually be certain of that, barring equipment I have some certain doubts any of us actually have access to. Specifically, a mass spec.

    For that matter, there really is no way to be certain its all of the same stuff in one jug, unless :

    or you

    a lot more than

    But, in the end, its you powder, your money, your guns, and your fingers.

    All we can do is offer *occasionally* opinions you might not have otherwise considered, based on mistakes you might not have had the chance to make yet- nor purposefully want to make if you can avoid them.
     
  5. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    This is good argument FOR thoroughly mixing surplus powder.

    You have a lot of valid points. But if you're going to assume surplus powder could very well be a mix of substantially different powders that should not be mixed, then you'd be dumb to buy it in the first place.

    If a seller says his powder is WC844, and it looks like WC844, and he has repeat customers, and you worked up the load to find that it performs like WC844, then why get your panties into a wad over the what ifs? If you don't trust surplus powder, then don't buy it. If you trust it as long as it's unmixed with other lots of the SAME powder from the SAME seller, then you're really crazy to trust that seller. So you are afraid he is pulling different powders that are completely different that what he says it is and blending each lot up himself to make it work like the powder he's claiming it to be? And you would trust that mystery blend.... so long as you didn't unwittingly mix it with any real WC844?

    1. Even those guys make mistakes. Recalls happen. If you're using a moderate load and/or work up your hot loads on every new lot, you won't have a problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    The dealer/supplier that I buy surplus/pulldown powder from has been in business for decades. I trust the man as to what he sells. I seriously doubt he is the one that pulls down the powder, its probably done by the military or a contractor working for the military.

    If perchance he would not be selling what he says he is selling he would long since been gone.
     
  7. LennieT

    LennieT Member

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    When changing from one lot of 844 to another I start at the bottom of the recommended charge for H335 and work up the load. I load rounds with the exact same charge weight in H335 and 844. I then shoot the 844 and H335 rounds from two different rifles (one bolt, one gas) over a chronograph. Once I get what I am looking for I use that load data until that lot of 844 runs out.

    So far, the H335 has consistently generated velocities that are 2 to 4% higher then the 844. Guessing that little margin of safety is why the vendors suggest using H335 load data when working up loads for 844 surplus.

    This discussion does raise the question about lots. Are the lot numbers, if provided, arbitrary?

    Lennie
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  8. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Just to be clear, I don't use surplus powders.

    I have no use for ingredients that are already degrading to the point where their original recipients have decided they've ( the ingredients ) "expired" and should be removed from use.

    For the sake of discussion, lets say you have ten lots of ......2400...not a cited source or proven example, but we'll use it anyway.

    This 2400 has come from 10 separate lots of ammunition, all with different dates of manufacture.


    The "pulldown operator" for lack of a better term, determines that all 10 lots are charged with 2400, and dismantles and labels all of the ammunition accordingly.

    I'm not sure that they do keep them separate, im not also sure that they don't.

    I do not believe that mixing any of these lots of 2400 would create an unsafe compound, but if they were mixed, your chances at being able to calculate stability are essentially zero.

    Even if they are separated, some "lots" of military ammunition can extend the entire length or width of an arms depot- experiencing vastly different storage conditions, even within the same "lot".

    For that, and other, reasons- the actual physical properties and calculated degradation of these powders would be nearly impossible. Mixing them further- I really can't say what that would do. Im not a chemist, nor a physicist. My wife went to school for that, not me.

    As I said- you aren't making "sniperrific" ammo with this anyway, and its obviously not recommended for long term storage. Two very good reasons I don't, and wont, use surplus powder.

    Yup, and if something goes wrong, I know exactly who to go to first- with the stated belief that they will make it right- as they can trace, source, and confirm independent laboratory testing of their powder and its properties.

    No arguments there. I think thats kinda the whole point :)
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Especially not RCBS and Dillon. But they do.
    There are various reasons given not to leave powder in your measure, things like exposure to UV and the risk of forgetting what you put in there.
    But also, there are several grades of powder that will rot the cheap plastic those major makers use in powder measure hoppers.
    I don't know if there is a transparent plastic that is as resistant as the tempered glass that Star used but it would be worth looking.
     
  10. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I will add that I have used surplus powders on and off for 40 years now. Yet to have a problem using them. I do work up a new load with every new 8 lb. jug when opening. No I never mix powders other then as I said a few grains left from one jug goes into the new jug, a few grains equals less than what it takes to load 1 cartridge. In the case of a rifle cartridge say 30 cal carbine it would amount to 14 grains max to 56,000 grains. Doubtful that those 14 grains would have any impact on the 56,000 grains.
     
  11. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Unless its grains of salt, I'd agree with that :D
     
  12. Littlewolf

    Littlewolf Member

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    Interesting reading. Never thought my post would generate this volume but I thank you all for giving your opinions to consider. I've yet to do anything due to being occupied with other endeavors but plan to see what the first jug looks like soon.

    Littlewolf.
     
  13. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    As a side note I do not load the surplus up to use for storage ammo per say. I will use it up within the next year and monitor the canisters as I go watching for trouble.
     
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