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Old April 2, 2013, 03:00 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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Lake City Powder

Hey all,

There is a salesman in town selling "Lake City" powder at $130 / 8lbs. Sounds like a good deal, but what on earth is "Lake City" powder?

He says he buys bulk powder and it is the same as Lake City uses. I am a bit skeptical.

Any ideas?
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Old April 2, 2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Ask him for a WC-XXX number, or do not buy it. Unless he has loading data or reference to another powder that can be used for a guide.

For instance, WC-844 is very close to,,, or the same as Hodgdon H-335. Bulk WC-844 is NOT a canister grade powder, so it's burn rate is slightly different. Hence, you have to start VERY low and work up with each bottle of powder. Fortunately it usually comes in 8# bottles, and when I buy it, I get four bottles all from the same lot#.
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Old April 2, 2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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Here's some examples:

http://www.gibrass.com/gunpowder.html

wc-xxx covers everything from 30carbine to 20mike-mike. Bartlett puts up a starting point.
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Old April 2, 2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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Just talked with him again. He said it is LC-844. I verified the number on the jug. Is this the same as WC-844?
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Old April 2, 2013, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Is this the same as WC-844?
That I cannot answer. Sorry.
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Old April 2, 2013, 03:30 PM   #6
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At $16/lb, I am tempted to get an 8# jug and try it. Just paid $30 for a lb of CFE223 last weekend.
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Old April 3, 2013, 10:25 AM   #7
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No such thing as LC 844. Western Cannon is WC844. There have been reports of mis-labled bulk powders. If it is not from Wideners or GIBrass I would be skeptical to the point of Where did he get it? $120 is an inflated price for bulk powder 8 lber. I got mine for $85 plus shipping & hazmat in a big order. The slower powders are $50 for 8 lbs.
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info.

It appears the powder is from de-milled LC ammo. The guy sold 4 8# jugs of it to our LGS along with a lot of primed LC brass.

I realize that $16/lb is more than surplus should cost, but it IS powder! I am going to try it using H335 data and starting at the very bottom end.

I know you can't tell by looking, but it does look like H335!

I will post results.
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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LC844 sounds like ignorance on the seller's part (not a good sign). It's probably WC844 pulled down from LC cartridges, but I can't guarantee that. What I can tell you is that pulled down powder is from cartridges that are either too old for stockpiling or these cartridges were out of spec on performance. Neither is a great sign. It may be OK, but if you get some, keep an open mind to the possibility it won't behave as expected, and work with it very carefully. I would not trust the H335 data. I would knock the charge down to 70% case capacity under the bullet and work up.

As already mentioned, canister grade WC844 is sold as H335. The difference is that canister grade undergoes the additional steps of burn rate testing and blending with held back faster or slower lots, as needed, to bring the burn rate to within ±3% of Hodgdon's standard for the powder. That is done so that starting loads in manuals will remain valid. That data cannot be counted on to be good with bulk powder lots except by happy accident. Bulk powder, as used by the military and large scale commercial loading operations, has, on occasion, varied by almost seven times what canister grade does. The military and commercial loaders don't depend on load recipes, instead using a pressure gun to determine the correct charge weights. If they get a bulk shipment that doesn't work in the cartridge they bought it for, they just assign it to a different cartridge for which its burn rate is more appropriate, or, if there is none, the sell it on the surplus market. You can see the problem for the handloader there.
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Old April 3, 2013, 12:06 PM   #10
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So, now the conundrum!

This powder is on my bench, the first in three months.

Do I use it, or do I continue to wait it out?

Caution says skip it, yet the need for ammo says try it out.

ETA: I did buy it. But that doesn't mean I need to use it, yet it does push me in that direction.
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Old April 3, 2013, 01:11 PM   #11
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The mis-labled powder I heard of was a slower powder and would not burn completely. The slower powders are way cheaper.
I would start low and try it. It is probably 844 or slower.

You could make a small pile of 335 and a small pile of 844 and see if they burn similarly.
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Old April 3, 2013, 01:22 PM   #12
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I grabbed that 70% number because it's the lowest fill that ignites reliably with some powders. I have now gone back and used Hodgdon's load data in QuickLOAD and found that a 20% increase in burn rate amounts to about 10% reduction in charge weight with that powder in .223 going from 50 grain bullets to 77 grain bullets. So, if you multiply the Hodgdon H335 starting load for your bullet weight by 0.9, that should put you into safe territory if the powder is what it is claimed to be. The likelihood is that will be wimpy and leave a lot of unburned powder behind, but better safe than sorry. You work up from there.
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Old April 3, 2013, 01:29 PM   #13
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Thanks a million!

0.9 x starting load listed for H335 of 23.0gr gives me a starting point of 20.7gr.

Thanks again.
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Old April 5, 2013, 03:21 AM   #14
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$130 for 8# isn't a great deal to start with, especially if you don't know what it is.
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Old April 5, 2013, 09:19 AM   #15
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steve4102,

You are right that it isn't a great deal. BUT it is THE ONLY DEAL available to me at the moment. So I guess it is what they call a "sellers market"!

With no ammo in the county and no powder in the country, I take what I can get.

Do you have any suggestions on the identity of this powder, or are you just wanting to tell me I'm a fool?

Thanks.
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Old April 5, 2013, 09:36 AM   #16
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Uncle Nick is exactly correct, drop at least three grains to start with or the lowest load for the 335. As well he wants too much for it.
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Old April 5, 2013, 12:16 PM   #17
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I have 10 rounds each loaded from 20.0gr to 25.0 gr in 0.5 gr increments (110 rounds total). I stopped at 25.0 gr because that is the load I normally use for the 55.0gr bullets I use with H335.

If the weather cooperates, I will shoot these test loads over the chrony tomorrow and post my finding.

I am curious if the smaller loads will cycle the gas piston in my Ruger SR556?
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Old April 8, 2013, 12:27 PM   #18
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Results are in!

I tested the "LC844" powder over my Chony this weekend. I started at 90% of the minimum load listed in my Lyman's 49th for H335 and 55gr projectiles and worked my way up to my standard H335 load of 25.3 gr in 0.5 gr increments.

I got very high velocity variations (high SD) at the lower charge weights. As I approached the book H335 minimum (~24.5 gr) the velocity smoothed out and SD's dropped below 20.

As I approached 25.0 gr, the velocities nearly matched my Standard H335 load. At 25.3gr of this LC844, my velocity's were 3220 fps and the 10 shot SD was 12 compared to my standard H335 load of 3250 fps. I think I can safely use H335 data for this powder.

They appear to be very similar. (if not the same!)

Thanks for all your help.

BTW- There were zero pressure signs on any brass during the test. I saw some un-burnt powder in the action of my rifle after shooting the loads with only 20 to 23 grains of powder?
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Old April 8, 2013, 12:45 PM   #19
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That's good and it all makes sense. The spherical powder's slow initial burn rate for progressive burning is achieved through their surface deterrent coatings. It's a good system, but it needs a minimum amount of heat and pressure to work properly, and when you don't have enough, some of the grains can extinguish or fail to ignite.

So now you've safely determined that you are dealing with a powder lot that happened to fall about in the average burn rate and energy content range. That's very good news. Now you just have to get down to more shooting.
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Old April 8, 2013, 03:29 PM   #20
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It is old powder from old ammunition that was scrapped because it was 1) unsafe to keep in storage and 2) likely to cause malfunctions resulting in minor malfunctions to blowups.

There is a long thread about old ammunition that I contributed to here:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=521413

Since you have it, use it up quickly. Old gunpowder does not get better with time, it was at the end of a reasonable shelf life when it was scrapped, so it is probably anywhere from 20 to 45 years old.

If you get sticky extraction once in a while, with loads that should be safe, that is a warning that the stuff is having burn rate instability.
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Old April 8, 2013, 04:37 PM   #21
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Slamfire,

It is funny that you say old surplus powder my be dangerous, but when I posted this thread - http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=519585 - everyone was in agreement that these 30 to 40 year old canister grade powders were a-o.K.!

Thanks for weighing in.
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Old April 9, 2013, 09:49 AM   #22
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Wyoredman,

If it doesn't smell bad, odds are it is useable. Once stabilizer is used up you will smell the acid and it is easy to identify that way. Which brings us back to why powders can get surplused....

There are two types of surplus, lot over runs and pull down. A lot of pull down ammo is because it is at the end of it's lifecycle with not enough time remaining to be good before the next scheduled test. So that powder is obviously at the end of its useable lifespan.

There are other reasons for pulling powder, but I assume that pulled powder was pulled for failing a stabilizer content test.

Lot over runs, it is the same as buying new powder. I have no problems with lot over run powders and think they really are a good bargain.

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Old April 9, 2013, 09:52 AM   #23
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Jimro, Thanks. It is working very well. Shoots just like H335 as far as velocities are concerned.
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Old April 9, 2013, 03:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
There are two types of surplus, lot over runs and pull down. A lot of pull down ammo is because it is at the end of it's lifecycle with not enough time remaining to be good before the next scheduled test. So that powder is obviously at the end of its useable lifespan.

There are other reasons for pulling powder, but I assume that pulled powder was pulled for failing a stabilizer content test.

Lot over runs, it is the same as buying new powder. I have no problems with lot over run powders and think they really are a good bargain.
How can you tell the difference between new lot over run and old powder if you are not at the point of origin?
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Old April 10, 2013, 09:52 AM   #25
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Over run powders should have an actual lot number on the container you buy.

GIBrass.com lists whether a powder is pulldown or new production, wideners has done this too although I don't know if they only list "new production" on new production containers and don't specify pulldown for the other powders.

Of course, caveat emptor.

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