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Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life

How long does Black Powder Last?

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Went to Sportsmans Warehouse to see about wads for shotgun. The brand/type I like was in stock and the same price as last January or so. Got to talking with the sales staff about how things were going and told him I was thinking about loading up some BP that I have had for about 5-6 years. Swiss 1 1/2 and Goex Cartridge. Stored indoors in the closet and never really paid much attention to it. I was informed that I should toss it as real black powder only lasts perhaps 3-5 years and subs last about 8 years. Really?

What I know about BP is that it is black. I have a mentor to teach me in the next few weeks but don't want to load up some duds if the powder is no good.

Anyone have an opinion? Was his info correct or am I being misinformed?

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

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If stored in a dry place that is reasonably tempature stable it should last for decades. 

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He ain't as smart as he thinks he is.

 

In my lifetime I've read several accounts of "front stuffers" from muskets to cannons loaded during the Civil War being fired - not always intentionally.

 

Back in the early 90's my old pard Hank found a keg of large-grain powder that his grandpa had tucked away in the barn probably back in the 1920's.  It took him years, but Hank burned it all up in duplex loads in large-caliber rifles.  Worked just fine! ;)

 

PS - I helped a little.  :rolleyes:

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I bought a Goex can at an antique store that happened to be half full of powder. I used some of it in this comparison video.   No problems. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

I was informed that I should toss it as real black powder only lasts perhaps 3-5 years and subs last about 8 years. Really?

If that was true, then loaded ammo would have the same shelf life. You  were fed a load of pucky.

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As Joe said, as long as it doesn't get wet, it should be fine.

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Almost had a sale, didn’t he?

Some gun counter people will say anything to make a sale, I swear. 
 

One of the reasons I like my LGS here is they have reasonable, honest people working there.

 

I don’t shoot BP but I do recall a Pard of mine shooting Goex from a can found in his Dad’s garage from the 60’s. We shot it from a muzzle-loader. I remember asking him how we would get the load out if it didn’t fire and he just smiled, raised the rifle and pulled the trigger. BOOM! Lots of white smoke. :D
That was my mini experience with old BP. 

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About 10 years ago finished off my dad's Dupont from the mid 50's making it just over 50 years old. Worked GREAT!

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9 hours ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

Went to Sportsmans Warehouse to see about wads for shotgun. The brand/type I like was in stock and the same price as last January or so. Got to talking with the sales staff about how things were going and told him I was thinking about loading up some BP that I have had for about 5-6 years. Swiss 1 1/2 and Goex Cartridge. Stored indoors in the closet and never really paid much attention to it. I was informed that I should toss it as real black powder only lasts perhaps 3-5 years and subs last about 8 years. Really?

What I know about BP is that it is black. I have a mentor to teach me in the next few weeks but don't want to load up some duds if the powder is no good.

Anyone have an opinion? Was his info correct or am I being misinformed?

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

Sportsman's Warehouse is NOT an authority on almost anything.  You might find someone who works there who knows what they're talking about, but don't count on it.

 

I have had no really good experiences with SW and will not go back to them until I have exhausted all other options.  Sportsman's Guide is also a no go place.

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I have shot 35 year old GOEX with no problems whatsoever.

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Thank you all

didn’t think he was right but didn’t know either. 
now I do. 
Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

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Maybe not relevant to BP, but some years ago I bought a Yugo '98 Mauser. I'd shot a few wimpy RP factory loads someone gave me, then happened to find some nearly 100 yr old WWI corrosive military stuff at a gun show CHEAP. I figured they might be poofers being that old, but that stuff 'bout kicked me off my stool. It was HOT!!!!!

JHC

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23 minutes ago, Capt. James H. Callahan said:

Maybe not relevant to BP, but some years ago I bought a Yugo '98 Mauser. I'd shot a few wimpy RP factory loads someone gave me, then happened to find some nearly 100 yr old WWI corrosive military stuff at a gun show CHEAP. I figured they might be poofers being that old, but that stuff 'bout kicked me off my stool. It was HOT!!!!!

JHC

Cordite last almost forever, too.  If either cordite or bp have been kept dry, and are not otherwise corrupted with oils, etc., they will last and last and last.  If bp....I can't say for certain about cordite.... has been wet (with water from any source, condensation, leaky can, etc.) it will likely be caked up and chunky. If you put it in a wooden or glass bowl and use a wooden or glass "pestle" you can slowly grind it back down (called "corning").

 

You won't be able to get proper grain sizes, (F, FF, FFF, or FFFF) but it will shoot.  You will also not salvage the g (graphite) that was used to keep the grains from sticking together.  That's the g after Fg, FFg, FFFg, And FFFFg.  Don'r worry about that.  Also cannon grade or bulk powder may not re-corn easily with the larger and harder flakes / grain, but it's been done.

 

All that said, if you shoot either bp or cordite, or any military ammo with corrosive primers, clean the bejabbers out of the gun after shooting it.  I can't count the number of guns I've seen ruined because someone didn't know, or didn't care, or was just plain lazy and didn't properly care for their guns.

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For ammo with  corrosive primers, spray some glass cleaner with ammonia down the bore and give it a couple minutes, then clean normally. And consider any milsurp ammo except .30 Carbine corrosive.

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I'm still shooting BP cartridges and Triple 7 cartridges I loaded near 20 years ago.   They work just fine! 

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Gateway , you looking to load shotgun or rifle/pistol cartridges , or both??

We can have a good BS session next time I come over.

Rex :D

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Until 2 years ago I was purchasing Dupont BP made in the 60's and earlier. I would buy a couple pounds a year because that was all the guy would sell me. Worked fine.

kR

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14 minutes ago, Rex M Rugers #6621 said:

Gateway , you looking to load shotgun or rifle/pistol cartridges , or both??

We can have a good BS session next time I come over.

Rex :D

Cartridges, specifically 45 Colt and C45S

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On 9/5/2020 at 7:31 AM, Capt. James H. Callahan said:

Maybe not relevant to BP, but some years ago I bought a Yugo '98 Mauser. I'd shot a few wimpy RP factory loads someone gave me, then happened to find some nearly 100 yr old WWI corrosive military stuff at a gun show CHEAP. I figured they might be poofers being that old, but that stuff 'bout kicked me off my stool. It was HOT!!!!!

JHC

 

Cap'n, those Yugos are right fine rifles.  Action is about 1/10th of an inch shorter than a German K 98; about the same as the Mexican Mauser, but all in all very well built.

 

Bottom is my son's.  Think of that one as "Before."  He bought it at Big 5 about eight or ten years ago for something like $300.

 

Top one is mine.  That would be "After."  I paid $90 for it at a gun show in the late 80's, in about the same condition as the Kid's.  Half-Breed Pete's dad shot several 1 1/4" groups with it at a hundred yards; his handloads and with the original sights.  After a bit of soul-searching, I decided to "modernize" it.

 

Model 70 style bolt handle.  Timney trigger.  Buehler safety, two-piece bases, and rings.  Stout Weaver K4W scope.  Bell and Carlson stock. 

 

John McRae of Vallejo did the metal work; he said he wasn't taking on any more jobs, but when I described what I wanted, he agreed to do it.  It was to be his last job. When I told him about the Buehler accessories I wanted, he said "I'm having lunch with Maynard on Tuesday; I'll call 'im up and have 'im bring them along."  ^_^

 

Sadly, he passed shortly after... but I think the rifle turned out right sweet.  :blush:

 

 

20200906_182911.thumb.jpg.fe0408cc6d76a96c313045a5a360c863.jpg

 

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Dang Hardpan, ya got me drooling all over my keyboard! I've thought about sporterizing it but can't bring myself to spend the $$$, especially when I have a safe full of bolt guns. I would like to at least scope it (I hate the sights on it) but again, time you have the work done and buy a half decent scope my $100 bargain would become would become a $500+ rifle that I don't need anyway. :(

Thanx for the pix, that is NICE!! I bought two of them at Big 5 (sadly gone now) for $100 each, came with ammo pouch and cleaning goodies. Gave one to my son and kept one.

Regards,

JHC

Edited by Capt. James H. Callahan
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Still shooting Powder I bought in the 70s,,,, And Loads my Grandad bought in the 1870s1 ....

 

Jabez Cowboy

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there is a reason they evacuate when old ammunition from the civil - even the revolutionary war is uncovered and its not because they want to preserve it - sometimes unstable most of the time still volatile 

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I have some old .38-40 cartridges from  the early 1900's.  The primers have failed, but I broke down two rounds replaced the primers and reloaded them out of curiosity.  Performance was not any different that I would have expected  90 year old powder I estimate

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I'm still using some Curtis and Harvey and Dupont I bought in the 1960's when I was heavier into muzzle loaders.

It still works just fine, when I use it in deer muzzle loader season or I load some into .45 Colt cases for fits and giggles.

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On 9/5/2020 at 4:03 AM, Warden Callaway said:

I bought a Goex can at an antique store that happened to be half full of powder. I used some of it in this comparison video.   No problems. 

 

 

How do you know it was the original powder??

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48 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

How do you know it was the original powder??

 

Now that you mention it,  I just assumed it was the original powder that came in the can.  But people love the metal cans so could have refilled it from a newer source.   But the can was in super good condition and didn't look like it had been used over and over. 

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Hmmm, what then am I supposed to do with my 45 Colt and 38 Special ammo loaded just after Katrina blew through here in 2005?

Tell you what, I'll be shooting this Saturday and I'll report back. :)

 

 

 

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I have a few cans, that I have had for at least ten, or more, years.  So far, so good...they work just fine. 

I got some B.P. wet, one time.  I spread it out on a flat surface, for a while. Between the heat of the day, and the eternal wind that blows here on the prairie, it dried out, and worked just fine. 

I am not sure...but I think if you get smokeless power wet, all you can do is discard it. 

Of course, I do muzzleloading a lot, so I do carry the powder in a flask, or a horn, or use the can itself, to measure the powder into a brass measuring device, before I send it down the barrel, and it is not enclosed in a brass cartridge, like smokeless power is. So perhaps there is less of a chance to get smokeless power wet, than can sometimes happen to black powder. 

But, of course, black power, and smokeless powder, are very different in their components. 

I read one time, that one of the things that was used, in the production of black powder, was cow urine. I guess it is true that, in the colonial days, they actually did use most everything from the cow, except the "moo". 

Hooray for black powder!!! THE powder that won the west (and the east). 

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I've read where very old BP was stored at certain manufacturers in water. It was then dried out to test it against newly manufactured power for consistency.

 

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5 hours ago, Rancho Roy said:

I've read where very old BP was stored at certain manufacturers in water. It was then dried out to test it against newly manufactured power for consistency.

 

I don't know about storing powder in water , but did read years ago that they had some of the original Bullseye batch sealed and stored under water at the factory , and would take out a bit and test it occasionally. And it was always still up to spec. 

That article was read probably 35-40 years ago , so have no idea if they still do that or even have the sample.

Rex :D

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