View Full Version : Black Powder Cartridge Shelf Life?

Lucky Cuss
August 29, 2004, 08:08 AM
Recently switched to the "Dark Side" and am really enjoying what I have been missing. Living in the Northeast, I used to load enough over the winter months to carry me through most of the shooting season. My question is this, is storing loaded cartridges a good idea since I hear so much about hydroscopic issues. My loading/storage area is in an unheated basement where it is dry but sometimes musty. I load 45LC with Goex Cowboy powder, a 1/8" Circle Fly cardboard wad, and a 235gr Black Dawge bullet, and keep them in either a plastic cartridge box or a zip lock baggies. Thx

Jim Watson
August 29, 2004, 10:57 AM
I'd put them in a sealed container like a GI ammo can with good gasket and not worry about them for a hundred years.

August 29, 2004, 12:18 PM
About that amount of time. Especially if the powder doesn't substantially corrode the case.
Fired a 45.70.500 case from the 1880's-early 1890's, back in 1989, it did fire.
Still have it around somewhere, although alas, the rifle was stolen.
Sounds like an excuse to finally pick up another springfield.
Might varnish the case mouths and primers.

4V50 Gary
August 30, 2004, 09:55 PM
Properly stored (that is kept dry), it can last indefinitely.

October 4, 2004, 04:31 PM
I think black powder becomes corrosive after it has chemically changed through burning. The cartridges should be fine. I think the NRA reloading manual had an article on British Cordite filled cartridges that were a hundred years old and copper cases were used and I think I remember some corrosion was present but a year or two ought to be no problem.