identifying powder

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ballistx, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    I am getting back into reloading after a LONG absence. I have several part lbs of old powder ($14 and $16 /lb). On can is 4064. I have a number of loaded 270's. In the reloaded box of ammo it says 48grains of 4064.

    I have lost my old reloading data so all I have is what was labelled in the box. I pulled the bullets from 3 and it all measures 48 grains and the powder is a fine, extruded stick powder, SHINY black.

    I opened the can of 4064 and it is identical physically, but the color is tan. About the same color as Varget. If it was shiny black I would say, YES, that is it.

    My question is, what color should 4064 be and does powder change color with age?

    I opened a can of 4831 of the older vintage in the old paper can and it is shiny black just like the powder in the cartridges, just larger physically.

    I don't want to buy a can of 4064 just to see the color but want to duplicate the load that I have loaded. I have no reason to believe that the information in the box is incorrect or has gotten mixed up with anything else.

    I opened another partial can, of 4350, same vintage, and it looks they same size as the 4064 and is the same tannish color. Anyone know the color of 4350?

    Thanks.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. tomestone

    tomestone Well-Known Member

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    Why would you risk your head for a colour of 4350? My head and my shooting buddys are worth more than 16 bucks.
     

  3. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    I believe the celluose in powder causes the shiny appearance, when it is new. Deterioration definitely causes a color change, usually gray. Never saw it in a tan appearance. But why take a chance? Spread it in your garden where it will do some good.

    As an aside, many years ago, I bought two pounds of stick powder from a friend who found a keg of unmarked powder in his deceased uncle's attic. He thought it was IMR 3031. I wrote to IMR - then owned by DuPont - and dropped a couple kernels in the envelope. Received a letter telling me that it is impossible to identify any powder by visual examination. It can be positively identified by doing a "bomb test" in which a quantity is detonated inside a container (the bomb shell) under water.
     
  4. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the response. I don't/didn't have any intention of using the powder in the can that had changed color, unless tan was the normal color. My interest was in finding out if the original color was black, so I could confirm that the loaded rounds were, in fact, 4064 as labelled. If so, then I could use that as a base for new loadings for the 270.

    Apparently, from what I have researched, etc. tan is NOT the normal color of 4064. I have also detected that thre was spot rust developing inside the cans, which is also an indicator of the powder going bad.

    I still haven't found out what the original color of 4064 or 4350 is. May just have to buy some to find out.
     
  5. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    Correct on both counts.

    Using deteriorated powder is not usually dangerous, but will produce erratic results, which is not good for accuracy.
     
  6. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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    ballistix,
    The color for both IMR4064 and IMR4350 is black. Both are "stick" powders in they are long and round in shape.
    IMR4350 is slightly bigger in diameter and is .0380" thick. IMR4064 is .0315" thick as meaured by my digital caliper.
    Hope this helps. JohnnyK.
     
  7. Johnboy

    Johnboy Well-Known Member

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    you may not want to heare this but you needt to pull the bullets and start over.it seems that you have been away to long to remember.and from what can tell the powder in the can is old but the powder in the loaded cases are good.thats if I read your post right.

    just pull the loaded rounds and start with a new pound of powder.you may even want to use new primers.and put the old powder into some plants for food.like most have said your life is means more than an old can of powder.
     
  8. tomestone

    tomestone Well-Known Member

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    Hello johnnyk I just can;t agree with you. There is no way to id. gun powder my size,shape,colour,smell, or any other means, other than the original container from the manufacture. Graphite, charcoal, size, shape, and other compounds are used to control the burning rates of single base or multiple base powders by different manufactors. Which makes them indistinguishable. The best place for unknown powder is the ground.:) Thats my common sense.
     
  9. RockZ

    RockZ Well-Known Member

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    tombstone is right on.
    Just get new powder and start from there.
     
  10. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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    All right, don't get ur stepins in a wadd. :) I'm not advocating his use of the old powder. I merely advised him what color, the basic shape characteristics and width dimensions of the two different powders kernels were (as they came from the can). I didn't tell him to use the stuff, just letting him know there is a little difference. I would hope from his earlier reloading experience and knowledge that he knows to never take shortcuts. JohnnyK.
     
  11. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    As I stated before, I wasn't interested in using the powder if there was any question. But I know the powder in the cans is the original powder as it has been in my possession since new. I just couldn't remember the original color. Would have said graphite/black until I opened the cans and it was rust colored.

    I would not have questioned it again, until I bought some varget and it was new powder and tan. That raised the question of what color it should have been new. It didn't jibe with the powder in the loaded rounds that were labelled 4064.

    I see no reason to discard the loaded rounds. I know that they are a safe load because I loaded them myself and have stored them. They are no more than 15 years old at the very most. The powder is shiny black. I have no reason to believe they are anything but what was labelled in the box, except that when I opened the 4064 powder can, it was tan in color. So, that meant check it out.

    I have shot up 30-06 loads that I loaded 25 years ago and only had one misfire out of about 60 rounds. They were also loaded with 4064 powder as that was my standard for the 30-06 and 270. Will continue to be, but will just shoot up the old 270's and load new for final practice and hunting.

    I load strictly 130 grain Nosler Partitions in R-P cases for hunting with the 270. Load strictly 165 grain Nosler Partitions in R-P cases for the 30-06. If it is a R-P case, it has a Nosler Partition loaded. That is the only way I have been able to establish a fool proof way of identifying the Nosler Partition loads. Same with the 120 grain/25-06 and 100 grain/243.

    But, since I can't find any records on the 30-06, I will have to develop a new load for it, again. It seems like it was 52 grains of 4064 but will just have to start down and load up again for the 30-06.

    This all came to a head because I drew a 1-in-a-lifetime Oryx hunt in NM for this September. The 270 drew the front place with the 30-06 as backup.

    Most of my practice will be with the 222, 223 and 22-250's. I have about 7,000 custom bullets in 224 (53 grain HP) using Trail Boss. Will be some real cheap practice. All are Rem 700's except the 223.

    I do thank all for the information and concern.
     
  12. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    I like DuPont's suggestion of an underwater bomb test. Please post that on youtube if you decide to go that route! gun)