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Old January 13, 2000, 10:16 AM   #1
Bottom Gun
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Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Elgin, Arizona
Posts: 909
I store my reloaded ammo in GI ammo cans and include small bags of desiccant in each one. Upon opening these cans, I've noticed an odor which smells like ether. I have not noticed this with factory ammo I've stored and it seems to be most noticeable with reloads using Dupont powders.
Some of my handloads are over 20 years old and they shoot as well as the day I loaded them both in terms of accuracy and reliability so performance doesn't seem to be an issue.
My question is, is the odor something to be concerned about?
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Old January 13, 2000, 11:14 AM   #2
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Join Date: August 27, 1999
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All of my ammo cans smell funny, empty or not. Regarding your situation, I suspect the odor isn't diethyl ether coming from the powder but rather is the normal aroma which comes from those ammo cans.
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Old January 13, 2000, 11:19 AM   #3
John Lawson
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
Posts: 281
It is consistent, but could still be a problem. When you open cans of ammo like this after long storage, place the can on a surface that will ground it. Avoid sources of flame, spark or static discharge.
Aafter you have removed the ammo, aired out the can and inspected the ammo, you can again repack it in the can.
If you store powder for long periods, you should inspect it similarly.
It would be a very rare and freak accident that could cause you trouble, but why take a chance? Even a small pocket of ether gas will flare if it receives a source of ignition.
One of my best friends walked into a powder magazine and (investigators thought) a source of static electricity ignited the fumes in the air. They didn't find enough of Steve to bury.
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Old January 13, 2000, 12:56 PM   #4
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 15,465
Good fresh powder will have an ether-like smell. I tell folks that if your powder smells lke a hospital, it's still good.

However, your situation is with already loaded rounds. Since you say you don't have the smell when factory ammo is stored in the same cans (true?), but you do when reloads are stored, it sounds like its not the can and there is an air leak with your reloads. This can be loose primer pockets, crimps that aren't tight enough, or at worst, you could have a split case somewhere in the batch. I wouldn't worry too much about it (unless its a split). But remember, if there is a leak where the powder odors can get out of the case, then things can also get in.
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Old January 14, 2000, 05:54 AM   #5
Join Date: January 9, 2000
Location: Texas
Posts: 77
I have a ammo can that has about 1000 rounds of reloaded 223s, I loaded them in 1979, the ether ( powder) smell is slight, they shoot great, don't worry too much about the ether smell, just shoot them.
The 79 reloads shoot pretty good, I took some out and they still work just fine.
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Old January 14, 2000, 06:46 AM   #6
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What we teach artillerymen, when you open the powder cans, if it (the powder bags) smells like ether the powder has not gone bad, if it smells like ammonia, it has gotten wet and has broken down to its components and is bad. I have always loved that smell since I was a junior canoneer.
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