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Old July 25, 2021, 12:11 PM   #1
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Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,357
Aged Shotgun Powder

There was a discussion some time ago about the utility of using old powder, and one of the posters opined, depending on the age, it may lose some of its original energy, but it will burn. I suspect that would be more of a concern for rifle, and perhaps, handgun, accuracy, but maybe less with regard to shotgun use.

I happened to come across a 3-lb canister of "Hercules Red Dot." I have no idea how old it is, but the price written on the top was $7.95 ($2.65 a pound).

Using a Hodgdon resource, I found in a 12-GA recipe, 17.5gr of Red Dot to be the maximum load with 1-1/8oz of shot, using the same hull and wad, but 3 different primers, for 1200 fps. I elected to try 17.0 gr, playing it safe if my MEC-Jr dumped a bit more than that every now and then.

I covered a 4 x 4 sheet of particle board with white paper and fired a round from 40 yards from a modified choke in my 30" Ruger Red Label. From another source, I found 1-1/8oz of #8 contains 461 pellets. I didn't count them, but I covered the entire 4 x 4 sheet to the extent that a clay bird from a Sporting Clay trap would not escape.

I fired another 4 rounds just to test the possibility that the powder wouldn't fire, but all 4 went off as expected. I'd be interested to know how old that canister is.
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