Old powder

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Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
10,465
Location
missouri
I've been doing a lot of cleanup around my loading area and yesterday, I found a new can of IMR 4350 that is no less than 30-35 years old. I couldn't resist and unscrewed the lid expecting to find the typical degraded powder odor and maybe crumbly grains. NOPE but I'm still not going to use it. Sadly, I have a use for this burn rate powder but not looking to cause problems later.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
1,875
Location
Idaho
Storage is what makes or breaks old gun powder. Properly stored I don't know of an age limit.
The older reloaders might remember the Hodgen gun powder start after WW2. The owner selling paper bags of 4831 or 4350. My grand dad had a glass pickle jar of some of that. He passed away in 1963. My dad keep it until he died in 2011. As far as I know dad never used any of it. It smelled bad and looked rusty color if I remember right. I poured it across the yard. Thinking back, I should have tried to light some and see how it burned.
 

IKE

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
163
Location
Central Oklahoma
I've still got a partial one pounder of Winch. 452AA and two unopened one pounders of Trap 100 (same as 452AA) that was purchased back in the late 80's or early 90's that has always been stored inside that I use for 45ACP and it still works just fine ....5.2 grs. under a 230 gr FMJ ball works well in every 1911 that I've ever shot it through.

Winch. 452AA / Trap 100 and 230 gr. FMJ ball....Speer # 11 page 438;

Min. 4.7 grs. 760 fps.....Max. 5.3 grs. 825 fps.

452aa.jpg

t100.jpg
 
Last edited:

Pál_K

Guns. I has it.
Joined
Nov 30, 2023
Messages
831
Location
Gig Harbor, WA, USA
I'm still using a can of W231 I bought in 1989 and it's performing well. When reloading for .38 Special, a pound of W231 powder is good for well over 1500 rounds.

The can, along with all my other powders, is in my Gun Room. Throughout the year, temperature there will vary from a 62F nightime low in winter through an 82F daytime high in summer (taking both heating and A/C into account). The cans are in constant shade.
IMG_3639.jpeg
 

MZ5

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 24, 2017
Messages
59
Location
Arizona, USA
The Brits (military) surplus or destroy double-base powder after 20 years, regardless any testing. Single-base they keep for 40 or 45 years, last I saw. I've seen figures for the US Military in open sources, but I can't seem to find the figures at the moment.

I wouldn't keep stuff much longer than that. Powder degrades even if it doesn't get smelly or colorful, and both speeds and pressures change further than one would like to think.
 

edm1

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 13, 2023
Messages
151
Location
Kentucky
I have powder that I bought in the mid 90s that I still use. Stored in a garage or shed 0° temperatures to summertime highs of probably 110 in there. So totally not what you were supposed to do and I have never had a problem high humidity. Also, it's been 20 years in either Arkansas or Mississippi.
 

AZ10X

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 28, 2024
Messages
26
Location
Sun City, AZ
The only powder that I exercise extreme caution using when it gets older is the 500 series of Vihtivouri. It is a dual base powder and when it gets older the nitro migrates to the surface of the grains and the burn rate and pressure increases.
 

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