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Old 03-20-2015, 15:47   #1
Rusty Gun
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How long does powder last?

Okay I am relatively new to reloading but I am buying powder and primers in large quantities thinking I will use them sooner or later.

Then I saw a comment in a thread about trying to use a powder they have had for years.

How long will powder or primers store in an airtight container? Does it make a big difference to have it a climate controller environment (A/C).

I have unopened lbs of powder in a ammo cans with good seals and my wife does not like it when I store 25-30lbs of powder and three ammo boxes of primers in the spare bedroom closet. Can I leave these in the garage in south Texas level hot summers and expect them to last a few years? How do you know when they go bad?
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Old 03-20-2015, 16:52   #2
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Cool dry places only.
No 100+ degree garages ever.

I have a large sum of powder stored in my basement, but probably wouldn't make it out of the house if it, the primers, and ammo went up in flames. I really don't worry about it though. I have had ammo loaded for years that fired just fine. Some of my oldest powder is probably 20 years old. It still works.

If you know what fresh powder smells like. You'd know it when if ever, your powder went bad.
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Old 03-20-2015, 17:02   #3
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I been carrying a jug of Red Dot more years than I can remember stored in an old barn
that I used for shot shell loading, I now use it for 9mm and 40.
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Old 03-20-2015, 17:18   #4
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About thirty something years ago I bought 11 unopened cans of Bullseye,the square short cans.
I'm not a big user of bullseye,although for some loads,in certain calibers it's my favorite.
Just yesterday I opened my last can of it,it's still good.
Store all powder in a cool dry place and it will keep for quite some time. SJ 40
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Old 03-20-2015, 17:36   #5
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Lord, I've got some powder in my garage older than my 31-yr old son. In fact, I load so infrequently that it'll probably pass it down to him after I'm gone.

So, far, whatever powder I grab to load has always worked.
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Old 03-20-2015, 17:38   #6
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Rusty_Gun,
The real nemesis to long term powder/primer's is moisture. That is why people are telling you to store them in a cool dry place.

Buy a few moisture packets & toss one or two in those air tight container(s).



You should be good to go for a decade or two.
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Old 03-20-2015, 17:41   #7
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Yeah, even stored in less than desirable climate conditions, sealed jugs, you can expect 25-30yr shelf life easy, longer is possible. Higher heat & damp conditions can ruin gun powder & primers, but I think more along the extreme lines. If you want to store it in a unfriendly climate garage or out building, a cheap cooler with desicant pack will go along way.
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Old 03-20-2015, 18:48   #8
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Read a report on storage of powder. Can't find or remember where but the main point of storing powder in different temperatures showed that storing smokeless powder at temperatures that exceed 86 degrees speeds up the deterioration and cuts the life of the powder in half. Here's a link to a chart from a study on gunpowder life due to temperature:
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Slam...57560.png.html

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Old 03-20-2015, 18:53   #9
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A real long time. I have some loaded ammo that dates back to WW II or more. Lots of powder when it was still sold in metal cans. All still works.
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Old 03-20-2015, 19:16   #10
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The oldest ammo I have ever fired was some 1938 dated 8mm Mauser ammo.
I don't know how it was stored, but every round fired. I was surprised.
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Old 03-20-2015, 21:52   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason D View Post
The oldest ammo I have ever fired was some 1938 dated 8mm Mauser ammo.
I don't know how it was stored, but every round fired. I was surprised.
It's not that the ammo wont go bang, but the powder concistancy I'll be lacking.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:28   #12
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I don't remember when I bought this particular can of 231 but, it has a $6 price tag on it. I used some of it last Monday and it's still good.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:30   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
A real long time. I have some loaded ammo that dates back to WW II or more. Lots of powder when it was still sold in metal cans. All still works.
Same here, lots of 7.62 x 54R surplus ammo and it all goes bang. Some older 50 BMG ammo as well, from 1945. I've got a lot of powder for reloading, more than I will use in the next couple years at least. At times I wonder what the OP is thinking. Then I think about the 70 year old ammo I've shot that has never failed and I stop thinking about it.


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Old 03-21-2015, 09:41   #14
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So I hear you guys saying that powder and primers if stored in a climate controlled dry place will lat for decades. That is what I thought but wanted the opinion of the experts on this forum. I will store all of my powder in GI ammo boxes with silca packetsin the house someplace (I hope my beautiful bride understands).

I also see some references to loaded ammo that is way old and still works. Does the same apply? Cool dry place? I have a huge amount of ammo for several calibers and I assure you that is not going into the spare bedroom. Maybe 20-25 GI ammo boxes full. Will loaded ammo still be reliable when stored for long periods of time where 2-3 months a year it gets close to 100 during the day? As a follow up question I have some ammo in a storage facility where it never goes over 85, would that be okay long term?
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Old 03-21-2015, 20:48   #15
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First part of last week I went to the range to run a few new recipes past the clock. While policing up brass I noticed a very different ammo box in the trash container. Enough so that I retrieved it to read it! Turned out to be military 45 APC ball ammo. There were a few cases laying in the trash container the showed signs of corrosion. Poster child for improper storage. And the punch line to this story? The brass had a load date of "43" as in 1943! All the cases I saw had fired.
It' seeing stuff like that, that really makes you question all the self proclaimed "experts" on ammo storage and shelf life. Yes, I do store all my reloads and components in a A/C environment. Why? No longer really sure! When I started reloading 30+ yrs. ago "everybody" said oh you have to!
In all that time I've had one can of 4227 ( bought "fresh" from LGS) that had the dreaded acid smell and brownish dust on it. took it back same week that I bought it and they made it good.
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Old 03-21-2015, 20:54   #16
just for fun
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First part of last week I went to the range to run a few new recipes past the clock. While policing up brass I noticed a very different ammo box in the trash container. Enough so that I retrieved it to read it! Turned out to be military 45 APC ball ammo. There were a few cases laying in the trash container the showed signs of corrosion. Poster child for improper storage. And the punch line to this story? The brass had a load date of "43" as in 1943! All the cases I saw had fired.
It' seeing stuff like that, that really makes you question all the self proclaimed "experts" on ammo storage and shelf life. Yes, I do store all my reloads and components in a A/C environment. Why? No longer really sure! When I started reloading 30+ yrs. ago "everybody" said oh you have to!
In all that time I've had one can of 4227 ( bought "fresh" from LGS) that had the dreaded acid smell and brownish dust on it. took it back same week that I bought it and they made it good.
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Old 03-21-2015, 22:50   #17
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I mentioned in a thread a few months ago that I inherited a nice supply of Win 452AA. It had been stored in very sub-optimal conditions. The powder was given to a relative by one of his best friends who was a ballistic chemist at Olin. This was back in the 70s, I believe. It was given to my relative in a huge sun tea type of jug, and there it has been stored ever since.

It lived for probably 20 years in a garage in hot/humid Florida, then another 15-20 years in the garage in Texas. Those conditions ruined his MEC loader with rust and corrosion, so he hasn't loaded shot shells for decades. But the powder is ok.

The powder is in fine shape, and I have been enjoying it for soft shooting 40 S&W loads. I now keep it inside in a dark and cool place. I have no doubt it will serve me for a while.

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Old 03-27-2015, 15:19   #18
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powder age

I was looking through the loading room this morning and found a can of unique with a price tag of $2.97. I am not sure how old it actually is but it has been around a while.

Please be safe
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