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Looked Ok, Smelled Ok, Was Bad!


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#1 Leo

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:47 PM

I went to the range today with some proof loads to determine the best charge for my rifle. I loaded these loads with some powder I've had for quite awhile. It's been stored cool and dark. Smelled good, looked good (no reddish tint). At the range, the first load went bap instead of bang! I removed the bolt and looked in the bore. It was polluted with unburnt powder! Definitely unsafe to push another bullet down!

Cleaned the bore and tried again. (Guess I'm a glutton for punishment)

Bap!

Pulled the bolt and looked again. Same results. This powder has lost it's juice!

So now I get to look forward to pulling 16 bullets and recharging 18 cases.

The lesson I want to drive home here for budding reloaders is look down the bore after you shoot each of your proof loads!!! Failure to do that could have been disasterous for me today!
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#2 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:09 PM

I would like to add that looking down the barrel any time a reload sounds different should be commonplace. From all I have read, as long as modern gunpowder has been stored in a cool dry place it should last indefinately. I personally have used some powder that was probably 50 yrs old. The can had a price of less than $4.00. It performed just like my new powder. Of course I did the look and smell test before using it. I did have some powder that was old and had a smell and a red tint which I burned in my driveway. It does pay to be careful with all reloading components. Primers can go bad too.
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#3 Leo

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:54 PM

Red tint is a major bad deal. Powder that turns red is dangerous! That's the stuff that can spontaneously combuste. I always look for red tint and discard it if I see it.

This powder canister only had 1/4pound left in it. I have another canister about the same age that has never been opened. I'll load three proof loads of it and see how it does.
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#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 06:03 PM

Much of the powder I use is at least several years old and I have never had a problem. The powder that was bad actually was my father-in-laws powder and No idea how old it was. Your unopened can should perform well.
If God had a refrigerator would your picture be on it.
Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the titanic by professionals.

#5 Leo

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 06:30 PM

Much of the powder I use is at least several years old and I have never had a problem. The powder that was bad actually was my father-in-laws powder and No idea how old it was. Your unopened can should perform well.


I'll be surprised if the unopened can doesn't go bang like it is supposed to.

I did notice that the powder I ended up discarding was clumping when I poured it out. That's a sign I'll look for in the future. Somehow moisture got in there.
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#6 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:41 PM

Your last post confirmed my suspiscions. I had immediately thought of moisture but when you said it was stored properly I kind of ruled it out. I save the little packs of dessicant that comes in prescriptions and wonder if they would work if placed in an opened can of powder. I have a wood tool box on my reloading bench and usually just throw those little packets in with my calipers and other tools to keep them free of moisture. Something you may want to think about using is a product called damp rid. I have a container in my gun safe and it works very well there. That stuff sure sucks the moisture out of the air.
If God had a refrigerator would your picture be on it.
Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the titanic by professionals.




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