Old powder safe?
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I've got some Win 540 and 571.Both are over 23yrs old.When I opened the cans neither had that funky smell some old powders might develop.First I tried both loaded with just a wad.Seemed fine so I tried them with the lowest pressure loads listed with #9 shot.No problem again.Thing is the manuals say not to use old powder.Was I just lucky and would I be taking any risk loading field loads with higher pressures?
Posts: 369 | Location: Adirondacks | Registered: 08 February 2009Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Bernie P.:
Thing is the manuals say not to use old powder.

If stored properly, 23 years isn't old.
Posts: 4799 | Location: Lehigh county, PA | Registered: 17 October 2002Reply With Quote

Picture of Mark
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There is a lot of WW2 ammo still being shot up, and I have some 296 that is pretty darn old (I bought 2 8lb cans before I got married, still have half of one left and now I have a 14 year old kid!)

My only caution with shotshells is I have had some dangerous situations when using ball powder and have had a few old shells misfire. I never could figure it out until I started loading clear shells, and then I discovered that quite a bit of ball powder can migrate past the wad over time. As a result call me a wuss but I make it a point to only use flake powder in shotgun shells anymore.

for every hour in front of the computer you should have 3 hours outside
Posts: 7680 | Location: Between 2 rivers, Middle USA | Registered: 19 August 2000Reply With Quote
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Picture of miles58
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Be careful of you load data with 540! There was some bad data published back when it was released. If you use data from back in the seventies double check it against newer data.
Posts: 892 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 25 January 2008Reply With Quote
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Picture of vapodog
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when powder turns bad you will see one of two (or both) things

1. It will appear wet

2. It will have a bad odor.....

Both of these conditions are unmistakable.... both are immediately obvious.

Your powder is just fine it seems....happy loading.

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Winston Churchill
Posts: 28849 | Location: western Nebraska | Registered: 27 May 2003Reply With Quote
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Picture of buckeyeshooter
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Its good, use it!
Posts: 5479 | Location: Ohio | Registered: 02 April 2003Reply With Quote
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As other have posted if stored properly it is perfectly safe. I have some H335 produced in the 1960s and still shoots fine...keep it dry and cool and you'll be good to go.


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Posts: 995 | Location: Southeastern PA, USA | Registered: 14 February 2001Reply With Quote
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Thanks all!These powders were stored right along with a couple others but two did get that nasty smell so I just dumped them out.One was 700X and the other an IMR something.Don't recall which.
Posts: 369 | Location: Adirondacks | Registered: 08 February 2009Reply With Quote
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Bernie, if powder goes bad it gets weaker and not stronger. If anything it will produce poor loads if it has deteriorated.

Chic Worthing
"Life is Too Short To Hunt With An Ugly Gun"
Posts: 4917 | Location: Wenatchee, WA, USA | Registered: 17 December 2001Reply With Quote
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Good powder has the solvent smell of solvents use in manufacture. Alcohol. Ether. Acetone. Like that. Dissipates over time. Bad powder that is breaking down has a sharp smell like vinegar. This acidic nature attacks cans of metal. Less problem with plastic containers.

Don't waste it. Full of nitrogen. Pour it on the grass. Or save for 4th.

If the storage has been in conditions you would live in, it should be fine. If you find it in the basement of an old house that is falling down... beware. I would shoot it with good data and worry little. Luck. enjoy.
Posts: 519 | Registered: 29 August 2007Reply With Quote
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