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jaybic
03-25-2009, 04:18 PM
Hello,

Anyone have any idea of the shelf-life of primers and powder? My reloading room is in the basement and stays fairly cool and I run a dehumidifier in the summer.

I do not intend to get caught this short of components again but I dont want to buy 20,000 primers and 40 lbs of powder and have it go bad either.

Thanks for the advice.:)

Jamie

505Gibbs
03-25-2009, 04:30 PM
I have primers over 25 yrs old that still go bang as well as powder of similar vintage.
Cool and dry are the keys AND away from direct sunlight.:)

Don
03-26-2009, 12:50 AM
.............fuming in my powder locker.

Had just checked the containers a couple months before and all were well.

In just a couple of months time one container went completely bad giving off that obnoxious odor and sending up clouds of rusty looking fumes. Bad container was a plastic bottle with a metal cap. All the other containers in the powder locker with metal caps also started rust errosion on the caps but the powders were still good, by appearance and smell.

Had a chance to carefully play around with the bad powder to find out if was more volitale and sensitive............it was not. Fuming vapors were not flamable and powder solid had less burning energy than good powders.

Fumes would be toxic if inhaled too deeply.

Others have always said bad powder makes good fertilizer, well I found it kills off ground cover Ivy like "agent orange"...............Don

Larry Elliott
03-26-2009, 12:54 PM
The red/brown fumes are likely NOx from the decomposition of nitrocellulose that's used to make the powder. When they combine with the water in your lungs they produce nitric acid which isn't too bad until it burns holes in the lungs.:eek:

Bad stuff, and shouldn't be used since nitric acid will attack brass like a dog attacks a bone.

Big Al
03-26-2009, 01:56 PM
I have a bunch of WW II Frankfort Arsenal primers that are still good, I don't use them as they are the old mercury primers. I keep all my primers in Coleman Ice chests. Kept in a dry environment and cool I don't think they would go bad in a hundred years.

Powder on the other hand, if it is single base, can have a fairly short shelf life, double base, more than a century.

333smitty
03-26-2009, 02:27 PM
I have a bunch of WW II Frankfort Arsenal primers that are still good, I don't use them as they are the old mercury primers. I keep all my primers in Coleman Ice chests. Kept in a dry environment and cool I don't think they would go bad in a hundred years.

Powder on the other hand, if it is single base, can have a fairly short shelf life, double base, more than a century.

Al or anybody, can you explain in layman terms the difinition of double base powder and why would it last for a century?



Thanks

vicvanb
03-26-2009, 05:42 PM
So here's the big question--Can decomposing smokeless powder spontaneously ignite?

abintx
03-26-2009, 06:09 PM
Here's a good explanation of smokeless powders: http://www.chuckhawks.com/smokeless_powder.htm

HovisKM
03-27-2009, 08:51 AM
So here's the big question--Can decomposing smokeless powder spontaneously ignite?


Yes, it can self ignite. Didn't know this until this last weekend when the topic came up and a very prodominant shooter had his house burnt down by bad powder serval years ago.

Hovis

Big Al
03-27-2009, 09:33 AM
Al or anybody, can you explain in layman terms the difinition of double base powder and why would it last for a century?



Thanks


As shown on the link to Chuck Hawk's site.

The reality of powder is what we see today with single and double base powders. The manufactures of some of these lots of powders still have the initial batches on hand for over a hundred years.

As to ball powders, for the most part of ball powders, they have been tube powders at the start of the powders life. The manufacture has taken old lots of this powder and chemically melted the single base tube powder and reformed it to a spiracle form. Added to coatings. The result has been to change the burning rate and added shelf life to the new(?) ball powder. Shelf life with ball powder is now unknown. They have no idea how many years it could last. I think it maybe in the neighborhood of the shelf life of double base, but I do not know. Years ago I stocked ball powder for this reason, after loosing over a hundred pounds of H-4831. It's still good powder after 20 years. This being 748, 760, BLC-2. If you are a new (read young) guy just starting out I recommend when you find a deal on ball powder and it fits your application, lay in a good supply for your long term usage.

rrendina
03-27-2009, 11:15 AM
Last week a shooting buddy gave me a 1 lb can of HS-7 that I will use for loading 1 OZ 20 gauge hunting loads with. Looking at the container and it's deteriorating label gave me some concern and prompted me to call Hodgdon.

I spoke to a customer service guy and gave him the lot number on the can, produced in 1989 per his records. He then asked me to open th can and smell the powder, I did and explained it just smelled like all the other smokeless powders I have sampled. He asked me to pour a small amount of powder on to a white piece of paper and look for brown specks, none were present. Last he asked if the powder was warm to the touch, it wasn't. He said the powder was fine and I should have no reservations about using it properly.

I guess it took me three paragraphs to say, if in doubt call the manufacturer and run it by them, it's one way of playing it safe.