How long is powder good? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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How long is powder good?

This might be a dumb question, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I was out of the blackpowder hunting arena for the last 3 years. Checking my stock, I have 2 cans of Goex, FFF and FFFF, nearly full, but have been opened. These are at least 4 years old.

What's the chances this powder still has good power?

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:00 PM
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Re: How long is powder good?

heck yeah as long as no moisture got in that stuff is still good as the day you got it.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How long is powder good?

Whew - good. I know black powder is getting harder to find.

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:06 PM
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Re: How long is powder good?

Its no good send it to me i'll burn it for you!.......But seriously what Stroupy said
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 12:26 AM
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Re: How long is powder good?

As long as it was kept dry it will be fine. It will last a lot longer than four years.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 12:49 AM
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Re: How long is powder good?

I still have some powder that I bought in Friendship for $5 a lb, needless to say that was a few years ago.

I top off up my little black huntin' horn with "friendship" powder every year for the late season.

I'm guessin' its over 30 years old and still working fine.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:05 AM
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Re: How long is powder good?

I bought some old 43 Spanish cartridges that were packaged in 1885. I wanted to reload them, so I pulled the bullets and dumped the powder. It was about the equivalent of 2fg. I let that powder sit in an open container in a damp basement for 5 years. Ant then loaded it up and it fired just fine.

Most of the powder I have on hand is from 1991 when I paid $3 a pound for it.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:17 AM
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Re: How long is powder good?

black powder (dynamite) gets better with age, if kept dry.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:28 AM
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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.
.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:56 AM
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Re: How long is powder good?

Your gonna want to check that the powder didn't get damp. Take a barn burner light it and stick it in the opening of the can so you can get a good look....

PS: If you believe this, take your flinter to the gun shop and trade it on a regular rifle...
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