View Full Version : Shelf Life Of Blackhorn 209

October 23, 2010, 10:44 PM
Hey guys I was just curious to see what shelf life of Blackhorn 209 is? Other words if you bought a can of it today would it last for a period of time like say IMR 4895 does? The reason I am asking is last year I tried the Blackhorn 209 in my T/C Omega and it worked like a charm. I stored that container of powder in a location in the house where I figured it would be dry and cool. Well today I went out to shoot the muzzleloader for deer season 2010 and I only got the muzzleloader to fire one time. All the other times the primer just went off and with no powder ignition. My breech plug and barrel were clean and dry. I had some IMR White Hots (bought them the same time last year) with me so I thought I would try them. They fired every time and I must have shot the gun more than 10 times, since I had to re-sight the scope. After I got the scope adjusted where I wanted it I thought heck I will try the Blackhorn 209 one more time just for kicks. Once again no ignition. So at that point I was pretty well convinced my powder was bad, even though it smelled strong and was normal looking. Is the life of Blackhorn 209 going to be short and a person will have to buy fresh powder every year? Is that a marketing ploy where the company will sell more powder? Or do you guys think I just had a bad batch of powder.

My brother in law bought a separate container of Blackhorn 209 last year also. He is going to try his this week. I guess if his works ok, I will know for sure.

October 24, 2010, 05:02 AM
AFAIK there haven't been any reports about shelf life problems with BH 209 on another forum where many shooters use it.
As a matter of fact, someone claimed that it can get wet and then be dried out and it will still work.



What kind of primers were you using? Blackhorn 209 requires the hotter primers, especially in some guns due to their breech plug design.

Here's more info.:

Black Horn 209 not firing with Winchester 209s?!?!


Blackhorn 209 In Omega... constant hangfires... need a solution.


Frontier Gander has been successful igniting Blackhorn 209 in a CVA sidelock using a 5 grain booster charge of Shockey's Gold. Maybe that would be worth a try to see if the BH209 went bad or not or if it's your primers.

Video showing BH209 performance using a booster charge:


Extensive thread including documented approval by the Blackhorn 209 manufacturer to use a booster charge in a sidelock without increasing pressure:


October 24, 2010, 10:57 AM
do not use bp 209 primers use only standard 209 (shot shell ) primers,if this doesnt work,put a small amount on the ground asd place a cigarette ember on it if it dosent touch off the powders wet,:cool:

October 24, 2010, 11:22 AM
Good info arcticap. I knew about the primers and I was only using regular (Hot) 209 primers, but they were Winchesters. Could be my problem, but they did ignite the IMR white hots with no problem. I will get me some CCI or Remingtons and use them with the white hots. I don't have alot of time for expermenting since I leave for the deer hunt on Thursday. At this time I will have to use the IMR White Hots. They did not group as well as the Blackhorn 209 but it was good enough for me.

November 19, 2010, 07:38 AM
The problem you are having is most likely the result of carbon build-up in your breech plug. A good friend of mine had the same problem and after some research used a 1/32” drill bit (turned by hand) to clean the carbon deposits from his breech plug and the problem was solved. Also make sure you are using a good gun cleaning solvent to clean up after using BH209. Blackhorn 209 is non hydroscopic so it will not absorb water like other black powders. As a result, the shelf life is longer. I carry a 1/32” drill bit in my cleaning box and use it every time I clean the breech plug on my Omega.

In addition, BH209 IS harder to ignite than traditional BP and requires more pressure when seating you projectile. Make sure you use a tight fitting sabot and tamp it down well. These tips should solve your problem.

November 23, 2010, 10:01 PM
Great info BigV. My breechplug is 4 or 5 years old and even though I can see daylight clearly through it, there probably is some buildup for sure. I carried the muzzleloader for two weeks and did take a small buck with it on the 10th of November. At the time I was using IMR White Hots and it the did the job. I loaded the muzzleloader back up and hunted til the 12th with it. Rifle season started on the 13th so I put the muzzleloader aside, but I did want to see if it would fire on the 13th, since I had to clean it anyway. At 50 yards I shot a 16 oz mountain dew plastic bottle dead center off handed so I figured everything was A ok.

After deer season is over and I have some down time I will experiment some with the Blackhorn Powder to see maybe whats going on. I really do like that powder and would like to use it next year.

Smokey 92
November 26, 2010, 10:36 AM
Try Federal 209A primers. Work very well with BH209.