View Full Version : how long to store 777

December 10, 2009, 08:15 PM
I loaded up my knight for a hunt. 2 pellets of 777. The temp outside was in the 20's. The room temp is 70. Will the shift in temps mess with the charge? How many times can I take it out then bring it in before I should remove the charge?

long rider
December 10, 2009, 08:28 PM
IF i was you i would give hodgdon a bell
they will gladly give you all the ifo you
want, www.hodgdon. com.:D

Smokey 92
December 10, 2009, 09:14 PM
When I'm hunting in this cold weather, I load it outside, and leave the rifle out on the porch or in a vehicle until the hunt is over. No extreme temp changes and possible condensation that way.

December 10, 2009, 10:39 PM
The temp outside was in the 20's. The room temp is 70. Will the shift in temps mess with the charge?
Depends a bit on the humidity, but the odds are that yes, it will. Going from cold to warm will cause condensation to form on the metal surface. How much, and whether that amount will affect the charge, depends on the humidity. If I were you I'd either leave the gun in the cold or plan to reload in the morning.

December 10, 2009, 11:29 PM
At least the amount of bore area that is susceptible to condensation forming that could potentially affect the loaded pellets is relatively small compared to the length of the barrel. What length of the breech does 2 777 pellets occupy anyway? ~2 inches? That area is sealed in the front end by the sabot. The back end is mostly sealed by the diameter of the flash hole.
Bringing it into the house one time shouldn't make a difference. The 209 primers are hot, and the amount of moisture trapped inside that small section of breech is pretty small. Only a shallow amount of the surface area of the pellet could possibly get sweated on before the breech warms up.
So I wouldn't reload because of it. I'm sure that I've done it at least once.
I do like to cover the muzzle with a ballon to keep moisture out so that ice won't form in the rest of the cold bore and cause an obstruction. But even the chances of that are very slim indeed unless snow or freezing rain gets inside the barrel. But I cover it up anyway because it's a ritual. :)

December 11, 2009, 04:20 AM
I can tell you that with black powder, or with a smokeless powder muzzleloader, it doesn't matter.
I have left my TC Hawken loaded for 6 weeks during hunting season, and brought it into the house every night. When I finally got a shot, it was powerful and accurate.
My Savage muzzleloader has been left loaded for a year with no ill affect, likewise, I always brought it into the house after the hunt.

When I come in from the cold, I put a plug in the bore to prevent condensation in the bore. This is a one inch wide strip of white cloth, a foot long.
I stuff 9 inches down the bore, this blocks the warm moist air. A 3 inch flag is left sticking out to remind me to remove.
I have not had a problem with condensation on the outside of the rifle.

December 11, 2009, 07:24 AM
Thanks guys I don't leave the charge in long. Just a couple of days. But, we finally got a cold snap here in tennessee. Any other time the temp is in the 40's and I don't mind bringing it in and out . I guess I could keep it in the basement next time. Since I already brought it in the house I'll unload it this weekend.

December 11, 2009, 07:39 AM
How Long Can I Leave My Muzzleloader Loaded?

By Randy Wakeman

This question rears its ugly head several times a year. Well, you "can" of course leave your muzzleloader loaded for as long as you want, and you are the one that is responsible if you do so. Shooting it out at the end of the day is always best, but those that plead "but do I have to?" likely will not be satisfied. Of course you don't have to. You don't ever "have" to change the oil in your car, either, and you don't have to add salt to your water softener, either. You are far better off if you do, of course, for many reasons.

Blackpowder is hygroscopic even in its unfired state. That is not speculation, it is well-established: Black powder absorbs about 1.5 weight percent moisture under 75 percent relative humidity at a temperature of 21.1.degrees C. (70.degrees F.) over a period of 24 hours. If black powder picks up sufficient moisture, there is a possibility that the black powder will not burn as fast. High relative humidity may cause erratic behavior. Water may cause the potassium nitrate to migrate out of the black powder and cause corrosion of metallic parts.

That refers only to black powder, a mixture of three components, not a compound. Synthetic substitutes marketed as "black powder" substitutes are generally worse. If it cleans up with "regular tap water" it is naturally water-soluble. Anything that uses a sugar-base (American Pioneer, Pinnacle, Black Mag3 in the ascorbic acid department, and Triple Se7en in the gluconic acid department) will soak up moisture. The resultant erratic velocities or misfires are contingent on a host of variables: humidity, temperature, ignition type, specific rifle, etc. A loaded muzzleloader well might go bang the next day, or the next year for that matter. Or it may not.

Open packs of pellets, or opened jugs of powder lose their potency over time. On a very humid day, you can see the loose powder start to clump in particularly in the case of American Pioneer, and even Triple Se7en if you give it enough time. No one would think of storing powder with the cap off; at least I hope not. American Pioneer / Shockey's Gold are so bad at sucking moisture that desiccant packets are included in the jug. The diminishing performance is something you can readily see if you shoot through a chronograph. Most don't bother; back to the ignorance is bliss department. There is no benefit to leaving a muzzleloader loaded, except for those that are too lazy to handle their firearms properly.

It is basic, fundamental gun handling to understand that a muzzleloader is considered unloaded when the ignition source is removed AND the powder and projectile are removed from the barrel. Though you might think it common sense, it is still loudly recommended by every muzzleloading manufacturer and powder manufacturer.

It is more difficult to double-load a muzzleloader than is not already loaded. Leaving a muzzleloader loaded makes you responsible for that condition, and for whatever transpires as a result. There is no guarantee that your gun will misfire, nor is their any guarantee that an idle powder charge will rot your barrel. Nor can any specific velocity loss be guaranteed; there are too many variables.

What we are trying to guarantee is that the next shot out of the barrel at a game animal, the only one that counts, will be the most consistent, reliable, and effective load there can be. That's what you are betting your hunt on. There is only one option to give you the best chance of success in the field, and that is a completely fresh powder charge at the start of every day's hunt. Everything else is second best, or worse. No muzzleloading propellant improves residing in a rifle. It cannot possibly get better, it can only cause problems.

No one makes you drain the gas out of your lawnmower or motorcycle at the end of a season, or makes you hit that idle snowblower with a trickle charger. Yet, the number of lawnmowers, motorcycles, and snowblowers that fail to start the next time are significant. "Jim Bob" has a snowblower that never has failed to start for him though, and "Jim Bob" has a muzzleloader that he thinks will be okay that he has kept loaded for a month. Heck, Jim Bob never has checked the air in his tires, or his engine oil. Everything "works for me," Jim Bob likes to say.

It is the feeble-minded like Jim Bob that give Murphy's Law a fabulous head-start. And that is an advantage that Murphy has never really needed.

December 11, 2009, 01:25 PM
To help a friend, I once pulled a Sabot load, on a TC Scout, that had been loaded fot five years. His shot-string included 100 grns. of Loose Pyrodex. After I broke up the caked powder, I poured it out in a pan and lit it off. it burned off just fine and evenly without any hesitation. Old powder kind of sputters and burns off uneven. The sabot showed some black as well as a cleaning patch. There was no sign of any rust or fowling. If you have ever seen bad M/L propellant, you will be able to recognize bad powder, in the future. It really burns strange. Might add that this Scout had been stored in his safe for those years. If you load at the beginning of a season, you should be fine till the end but clean out after that.

Be Safe !!!

December 11, 2009, 06:24 PM
Well Big V I geuss you answered my question. When I shot my T.C Hawkin I always shot it when I left the woods. A friend said it wasn't necessary. I geuss with cost of the 777 pellets I was going the cheap route. However, I was a Grunt for 22 yrs and I know Murphy was a Grunt too. I'd be kicking Jim Bob's ass as well as my own if I missed out on a monster buck, because of a misfire. Thanks

December 12, 2009, 08:19 AM
Listen comanche, it is your rifle, and, of course, you must do what you think is best.

I know Randy Wakeman, and I like him. I like to read his articles.
But he isn't always right.

He talks about gunpowder absorbing water from the air. Well and good, if you put 90 grains of powder in a bowl and set it on the coffee table overnight, I'd imagine it will absorb moisture.

But, when it is loaded in a rifle, the air can't get to it. Air can't get past the sabot, and not much air is coming in from the primer end.

As I said above, I have left black powder loaded in a rifle for 6 weeks, in humid Georgia, and smokeless in the Savage for a year in humid N. Carolina, and done so repeatedly, and both rifles fired fine.

Also, I have kept a cap and ball pistol loaded for 3 years with black powder, same thing, fired fine, all 5 cylinders, no corrosion of the metal.

I tell you what, why don't you do an experiment in a few weeks when hunting season is over.
Load your rifle, and let it set for 2 months and see if it will fire.

December 12, 2009, 10:59 AM
I tell you what, why don't you do an experiment in a few weeks when hunting season is over.
Load your rifle, and let it set for 2 months and see if it will fire.

Put it in the shower with you for the two months to over simulate the worst conditions.

Then take the gun out and bet your entire season on that one shot. If it fires you harvest a nice buck and have venison on the table for the rest of the year. If it doesn't, well then you starve....

Are you willing to take that chance?

I'm not.

For the few cents it costs for powder, bullet and primer I will be a little more responsible.
But then again, that's just me...

Gaucho Gringo
December 12, 2009, 11:58 PM
I have triple7 in my cylinder flask that has been in there for almost 2 years. Not exactly the most airtight container from what I have read. This summer when I fired it, it seemed even more powerful than when I used it a year ago. Western Oregon is famous for it's humid conditions and I have had no fail to fire loads.