Shelf-life of powder question ?

SummitRoofs

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Jul 31, 2012
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Does someone have information on how long smokeless powder remains good? I have about 15 lbs of various IMR powders and some Accurate. It has alway remained dry and seems to be in good condition. Some of it is from 1977 or about 38 yrs old.
 

Ridgerunner665

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It all depends on how its kept...properly stored (unopened, cool, dry, stable temps) it will keep indefinitely (longer than you will live).

Improperly stored...it won't last a year.
 

FearNoWind

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It all depends on how its kept...properly stored (unopened, cool, dry, stable temps) it will keep indefinitely (longer than you will live).

Improperly stored...it won't last a year.

I agree. And, to make matters worse, unless there is a good accurate record of how it's been stored and for how long, it's a crap shoot as to how good it is. Sometimes I compare the color of the old powder with a new supply of the same stuff.
 

Jokostel

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Nevermind the fact that when powder starts to break down... the gasses released give off an odor akin to skunk urine in a sulfur factory.gun)
 

Dosh

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Nevermind the fact that when powder starts to break down... the gasses released give off an odor akin to skunk urine in a sulfur factory.gun)

The smell will often be a good indicator. Good powder has a sort of paint thinner smell and as Joko stated the bad stuff stinks. I have a friend using a 1950s vintage which still performs very well.
 

scrmblr1982cj8

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I agree with Ridgerunner's comments. Keep it cool and dry.

One of the doctors I work for is a former state pistol champion. He bought an a&$load of powder in 1976 and is still going through it. He keeps it in the portion of his basement that is built into a hillside.

When I am making bullets, I prep enough cases to go through a 1 lb can of powder, or over 150 .308s. I've not had any issues when I've had to put powder back in the jug, but I'd rather not chance anything.
 

RT2506

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I am shooting some IMR 4895 that was pulled down from some 1950s M2 ball military 30-06 ammo and it shoots just as good as brand new. Same velocities within what you would find between two different lot #. I don't know how the ammo was stored or how Widner's stored the powder before I bought it 10 or so years ago but I have stored it in the one gallon plastic jugs sitting in my powder locker which is an old non functioning refrigerator in my basement loading room. Temp stays between 65 and 75* all the time.
 

Snowbird

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i have some imr 4831 that's about 20 years old now. i just went through a pound of it and found at the bottom of the tin there was some rust on the inside. after about 60 rounds it still hits the same POI as my new powder.
 

SummitRoofs

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Jul 31, 2012
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Great information. Thanks for the replies. My powder has always been stored dry. It has however been in a garage where temperatures got fairly hot in the summer months for 10 years of its life. I do not notice any problems with the way it looks or smells I believe I will use it and see how it performs.
 

Rich Coyle

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My favorite powder for my 6.5SLR is World War 2 H4831. It is still in the pressed paper drum they used back then. Average the other day for twenty-six shots was 3,697 feet per second with a 106HV bullet.
 
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