Powder Shelf Life

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  • Powder Shelf Life

    Just received a call from my brother who is getting back into reloading after a few years off. He is loading some. 303-25 and it's shooting really low, about 15ft at 100m. He is using some old AR2208 that hasn't been opened since about 2001 but he is also using some dodgy looking cast 87gn projies.
    Question is, is the powder to old and not burning properly or is it more likely the home made projectiles?

    Cheers

    Several
    Not suitable for mature audiences

  • #2
    you may not know until he returns to using the better (original type?) projectiles.

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    • #3
      He will have to try new powder with the old projectiles and/or the old powder with other factory projectiles to tell which it is.
      This post may be fact or opinion, it is up to you to decide which.

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      • several
        several commented
        Editing a comment
        That's what I thought, I was just unsure if the powder was still ok, it still looks good and doesn't clump together or anything.

    • #4
      The best way to tell if powder is off is to smell it, if it smells like ammonia don't use it, its had its day. I've used powder that was 20yrs old plus and it was fine, shot some of the best groups ever using it! :lol:

      If it out of a tin can and the can has heaps or rust on the INSIDE don't use it either, but as I said if its still got a sweet smell it should be fine to use.

      Not sure why its shooting low, I wonder if somethings changed with the sights?

      Where was the powder stored - ie in a cool place or somewhere where it gets hot?
      Whacking Varmints is my passion!

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      • several
        several commented
        Editing a comment
        It's an M 17 Eddystone so as long as he's got the rear sight set properly it shouldn't be the sights.

    • #5
      Originally posted by several" post=31369
      Question is, is the powder to old and not burning properly or is it more likely the home made projectiles?
      Cheers
      Several
      I am tipping the projectiles.

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      • #6
        Nick Harvey also mentions in his book in addition to the smell, is a rusty look to the powder. If either, it's no good as already stated.

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        • #7
          I know several shooters who have used powder 10 and 20 years old with no ill effects. Provided it's stored with minimum exposure to oxygen (in a sealed container) and in a place with minimum temperature fluctuations, it can last decades.

          In the USA Alliant have a sample of their first batch of Unique powder, from 1898, stored under water in a large glass jar. Every so often they take a small amount, dry it out and test it against modern batches to ensure the quality is not wandering.

          Regards
          Paul D

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          • #8
            Using new load data on older powders can make a big difference in performance and even run on the dangerous side. You can also get reduced performance if the powder is starting to get rotten.

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            • #9
              Just confirming what we have suggested... From our friends at ADI: http://www.adi-powders.com.au/handloaders-guide/faq.asp

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              • Guest's Avatar
                Guest commented
                Editing a comment
                I can add a bit here on my experience with old loads (questions on which which made it to the old site).

                I reloaded a fair bit of .308W in the era 1980 - 90, mostly 150gr soft points and both single and double flash cases. Powder was 748W. Loads were for accuracy (start at 10% lower and work up), so not full power, with no signs of misbehaviour. Loading was as taught by one of the best firearms blokes I've met.

                Storage of the remainder of the last batch and the powder was cabinet at shed temperature, out of sunlight and away from walls.

                Recently our eldest son started to use these loads in the same rifle. Result was serious overloads - completely loose primers and extraction problems.

                Seems likely the powder is off, but what's left in the tin does not smell of ammonia. Anyway it and the last loads will be junked, and I'm leery of modern powders when they get old.
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