Is this powder any good?

njc89

Active Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
29
Location
Walla Walla, WA
Loading up some 180 VLDs in my 28 Nosler and finally opened an old (~10 yrs but still sealed) can of Retumbo that I had. Right away I discovered that there was a large clump of powder on the top. I put the lid back on and shook it. Everything looked fine. The color and smell was the same as a brand new can that I have as well. So I loaded a dozen rounds, but decided to do an identical loading with the new powder to compare over the chrony. The same VOLUME of the new powder (from powder measure throw) bottomed out my balance scale, which had been throwing consistently under my target charge weight so I could trickle the final bit. Obviously denser than the old stuff.

In saner times I would probably toss out the old can and just use the new, but a pound of Retumbo is really hard to come by. This powder was kept in my climate controlled office as long as I’ve had it. i kinda want to just shoot it and see what happens, but if it’s crap, I don’t want to waste the other components either.

Interested in everyone’s thoughts on this. What would you expect at the range? Is there any reasonable chance that the new and old powders would be somewhat consistent? Thanks for the input

Neal
 

FrogFire7

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2017
Messages
421
Location
Pennsylvania
Personally, I'd think it's fine if stored reasonably well. Powder production changes overy time though. Look at some old manual data vs current and you can see some pretty big swings. I'd recommend working up loads from scratch with the old powder and not using the same data as new. I'm sure more experienced (older 😂) reloaders will chime in with valuable input as well!
 

MagnumManiac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
2,854
I have found clumps in all of the ADI made extreme powders, from H4895 up through to H50BMG. It poses no problems.
As to the difference in specific gravity, this is normal as the solvents evaporate out of the kernels over time. 10 years is a long time for storage.
My answer is to mix the 2 powders together...I do this all the time with new lots of the SAME powder.
The main difference will be the pressures produced, most likely lower for the same amount of powder.
Years ago, I had 2 cans of IMR 4320, one was newer by about 3 years, the older can produced velocities around 150fps slower with the same charges...I mixed the 2 together in a mixing bowl and the charges then went back up by around 100fps, with additional powder, the previous velocity was achieved safely.
Anyway, take it or leave it, this is what I do, and my pressure trace shows it is safe as long as you work up your loads again.

Cheers.
 

tankgijohn72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
337
Please send all canisters of retumbo and a large supply of fed 215 primers and I will write up a full test report for you. In all seriousness, if when you shook the can the clump disappeared, i wouldnt worry about it. If it clump is hard to break apart, i would probably dispose of it.
 

JemezDave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
106
Location
NM
I would take the loaded rounds and test. If they shoot adjust the velocity as long as pressure is reasonable, then use it up and get rid of it. I would not much mix with new powder.
I recently went thru the same as you I have a half used 8lbs of accurate 2200 powder for my .223. Shot fine so now I get to shoot my ARs. The important thing is to store powder at stable temps, but shoot it
 

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