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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: here and there in Pa
Re: How long is powder good?
I found this on another website, might be worthy to read.
Powder goes bad when the lid to the container isn't airtight. Many of the chemicals that control the burn rate or help keep it's flamability tend to evaporate over time when exposed to air. If it's of unkown origins or unknown storage conditions, just discard it, or use it for plinking rounds. You can also test it by loading several rounds from it and collecting target data as well as chrono data, but by the time you do that, you've likely spent as much as you could just buying a new container of powder.
Old powder isn't really dangerous. I mean it doesn't get unstable with age. Keep in mind that according to the powder makers the burn rates for each powder do change ever so slightly over the years and even sometimes in the same year from lot number to lot number their can be negligable variations. It's a matter of how much their raw materials change from suppliers over the years. The makers do consentrate a real effort to keep their product as consistant as possible, but raw materials do change over time. This is one of many reasons that load data in manuals gets updated every few years.
Having said that I do know of at least one person who still loads rounds today using powder he bought in the 1980s. It happens to be H4831, but it's his powder, he bought it, and he know where it's been and how it's been stored. He bought a cache of it at that time due to a scare in the air and still has plenty of it. He gets pretty good performance out of it too.
Vegetarian: old Indian word for lousy hunter