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Old March 13, 2018, 09:10 PM   #1
Whistlebritches
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Hidden Treasure

Was going through a couple boxes that had been stored way in the back for years.I found a few treasures but the 4 pounds of OR DuPont reloading powder was icing on the cake.......and yea check out thse prices.Pretty sure they were my Grandfathers......I just don't remember $3 powder.

I have a question or two.After pulling up current load info with Hogdgon IMR 4064 it dawned on me there could be a difference in the two.I pulled out my oldest reloading manuals,a Hornady third edition and a Nosler third edition,both late 80's I believe.The Hornady shows a max load of 4064 in 308 with a 165 grain bullet at 43.5 grains,the Nosler 44 grains.The current info on IMR 4064(Hogdgon made) is 46.3 grains.Is there that much difference or has something else changed?
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Old March 13, 2018, 09:30 PM   #2
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Here's the pic with the price stickers........UNBELIEVABLE
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Old March 14, 2018, 12:14 PM   #3
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Every edition of every manual will be slightly different. If the actual loads were retested. Two different powder lots can give slightly different velocities and pressures too.
"...don't remember $3 powder..." Neither do I and I've been reloading for 40 some years. I suspect that powder would be better used as fertiliser. Isn't dangerous to use, just that it may not ignite at all. Or it might cause hang fires.
In any case, any old powder may or may not be any good. Depends on how it has been stored and if the can is opened or not.
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Old March 14, 2018, 12:55 PM   #4
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All cans were sealed and been stored in a fairly dry climate,West Texas,for not sure how many years.I loaded up a half dozen 165 gr Hornady SST's and a half dozen Sierra 165 gr BTSP's with 43 grains of the 4064.My thoughts were that back in the 80's a lot of our ammo in the military was from WW2 and it fired with few misfires,M60,50 cal and .45.We also fired a lot of Vietnam era 5.56 with little difficulty.I'll get out this weekend and see if they'll launch.

Thanks for the info.
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Old March 14, 2018, 01:17 PM   #5
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Old powder can and in fact will go bad, eventually, if it hasn't already. That being said, I would inspect it closely. If it looks good, without any rusty looking dust or clumps, and if it smells good, I would use it. If it smells like vinegar, spread it on the lawn, but don't keep it around as it could start a fire.
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Old March 14, 2018, 01:32 PM   #6
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Grandpa probably bought the powders in the late 60s to early 70s. That was the going rate back then.

I have some that are marked similar and they shoot fine.

I opened one of the 4064 cans a couple of months ago and made some purty good shooting 308 Win ammo with it.
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Old March 14, 2018, 02:20 PM   #7
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Old Dupont canister tins have collector value.
Smell the powders in their containers before using. If any of the powders have a strong ammonia smell? Such powder is & has lost some of its original potency. Which is burn speed and developed bore pressure.
As far as reloading older powders I would suggest a lesser charging as a Start Loading. Then increase powder charge with its pouring 1/2 grain amounts in the pan of a beam scale weight until seeing best accuracy i.e. tightest groupings. Once you achieve those tightest grouping. >"There's your dinner!" Whistlebritches.
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Old March 14, 2018, 02:51 PM   #8
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Old Data Available Free

The powder will have a distinct smell if it has gone bad. If they were sealed and don't smell when you break the seal you should be fine. I didn't think load data expires, nor change very much, if at all. Old load books can be consulted. I concur with the 1970's era assessment. See below, some links there no longer work, and the oldest data (1951) is significantly higher.

FWIW I shoot a lot of "pull-down" powder. This was once new, loaded at Lake City, accepted by the U.S. military, stored for years by them, and eventually rotated out, as it got older than they like. It gets disassembled, poured into drums, and sold to reloaders, at a final market price of 50-60% of current new, and continues to go bang for many years.

Old Manuals: http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/OM/default.html
Old load pamphlets (not as old as the Old Manuals): http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/Freebies/RM/IMR.html

Whoa! Some of those links (Lyman and Speer) aren't working. The Ideal #38 did open (as did Alcan). I compared a few 30-06 loads and there are diferences with the #38 book loads higher than today's Hodgdon's Reloading Data Center, and with the IMR Handloader Guide from 1990's. That Ideal #38 is probably the oldest data I have seen anywhere (1951).
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Old March 14, 2018, 02:57 PM   #9
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I don't know--my experience over the years leads me to believe Hornady tends to be "optimistic" in their top-end loads in their manuals--whereas others seem to err on the conservative side. I rarely use Hornady's top charge weight--at least not on the first test ladder. QL checks sometimes confirm that the charges are running hot--and subsequent tests have sometimes resulted in incipient pressure signs.
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Old March 14, 2018, 03:20 PM   #10
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Lyman #44 Available here

Lyman #44 Available here, link works:

http://www.nzha.co.nz/wp-content/upl...08/Lyman44.pdf
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Old March 14, 2018, 07:25 PM   #11
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Thanks fellas........I think my biggest concern was the switch in 2003 when Hodgdon took over the manufacture of IMR powders.I've heard stories of a change in certain powder strengths......some drastic.Not sure if any of this is true.....I suppose we shall see.

I did get out today and fired those dozen rounds with no incidents.I wasn't really looking for accuracy today just confidence in the powder.I saw no signs of pressure so I am going to load another dozen or so stair stepping up starting with 43.5 grains and ending at 45 grains for now.Gonna break out my chrony this time and look at accuracy.I may or may not find a sweet spot,either way I'll probably go up that ladder til my first signs of pressure show.

Again thanks for all the input.
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Old March 15, 2018, 02:16 PM   #12
Marco Califo
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Hodgdon took over sales and marketing for Winchester and IMR. I do not believe they have made changes to the formulations. I also do not think they make their own canister powders. Varget is made in Australia, as is 8208, 4895, to name a few. Winchester Ball powders are made at St. Mark's:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Marks_Powder
"Products
The facility manufactures over 95 percent of propellants used in United States military small arms ammunition.[5] Similar propellants are sold to commercial manufacturers of rimfire and centerfire ammunition[1] or marketed by Winchester and Hodgdon Powder Company for civilian handloading.[6] "

Hodgdon made its place selling surplus powders (not making their own). They ARE in a position to modify specifications to powders they have made for them, and some of their extruded powders are less temperature sensitive. They also publish data, for example for IMR 4895 and H4895, which are different.
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Old March 16, 2018, 04:15 PM   #13
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Speer number 11 1987 manual

Here's an old on for you.

{Edit: removed for violation of the board policy on posting copyrighted materials.}
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Old March 16, 2018, 08:32 PM   #14
Whistlebritches
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Originally Posted by hugegunns View Post
Here's an old on for you.
Very cool..........thanks.I thought I had an old Speer manual but to date it remains a mystery.
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Old March 16, 2018, 11:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Whistlebritches wrote:
I just don't remember $3 powder.
In 1979, when I was paying between $6 and $7 a pound for powder, I came across a container of Winchester 630 at Al's Lock & Key in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with a price of $3.70. They said it had been there for a few years, but let me open it and smell it for deterioration and it still smelled good, so I bought it.

In fact, it still smells good and has no rust color in it to this day. I got out of reloading the cartridges it was used for before I had used it up, so it just lives on in the back of my powder cabinet. Zombie powder.
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Old March 16, 2018, 11:37 PM   #16
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Marco Califo, wow, that Lyman #44 is pretty good. Some of those loads are what I still load, and some are way over what I load. Lawyer liability I suppose. Interesting find, as my oldest manuals are Speer #11 and Lyman #46. I believe the main difference in loads, other than the lawyer deal, is the way loads are pressure tested now. I forget what those are called; copper crushing[?], psi tests[?] or piezza[?]. I know I spelled that last one wrong, but, someone here will know and correct my thinking. Anyway, Lyman #44 was neat. Thanks.
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Old March 19, 2018, 01:18 PM   #17
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Whistlebritches,

A lot of old data was developed in production firearms by watching for brass pressure signs. Before liability lawsuits became an everyday thing, a lot of that data was never pressure tested and that which was tested was done by copper crusher. In the modern equipment age, the graphical piezoelectric transducers have revealed pressure spikes and other anomalies with some of the old data that a crusher cannot reveal. There can also be absolute pressure differences due to burn rate being less well controlled back then, so a bullet company might buy an extra slow lot of something for its manual load development and not realize they were recommending loads that were warm for a more average lot. So unless you have the same gun and components the original data was developed with, you can't be sure it is good and modern data is typically safer.

The way to handle that is to look at the old and the new data and use whichever one is smaller, at least at first.

Powder has a number of failure modes as it ages. Board member Slamfire has posted photos of a number of guns blown up by old powder as well as Navy testing which showed pressure going past proof load levels with aged powder. What has happened in those instances is the stabilizer, which scavenges acidic nitrocellulose breakdown products before they can go on to damage still more nitrocellulose, and the acid products, before weakening the powder appreciably, has first attacked the deterrents in the powder, causing the powder burn rate to increase a lot. Later on, it will weaken so the faster burn rate is no longer able to make excessive pressure, but there is a period of time in which it turns into a bomb.

That effect is caused entirely by heat, not moisture. So if the powder was allowed to get warm, beware.
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Old March 19, 2018, 02:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
So if the powder was allowed to get warm, beware.
How warm is warm? temps in my house sometimes reach 80 in the summer.
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Old March 20, 2018, 12:44 PM   #19
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The general advice is to store powder in a cool, dry place. Most ammunition bunkers are dug into the ground, so basement temperatures are probably pretty typical. The military will keep double-base powders for 20 years and single-base for 45 years in that condition, but they are storing single lots of bulk powder or ammunition loaded with bulk powder. Cannister grade powders often blend two lots together to adjust burn rate, and we don't know how old the blended-in lot was. I note that Vihtavuori's site suggests powder is designed to last at least 10 years in home storage. That's not very long as compared to how some powders last, but I have had some N140 go bad on me, so it may also be a statement about how old some of their held-back blending lots are. There is probably also a good measure of CYA in there as well.

The Navy tests heated 7.62 ammunition to 140°F for six months to raise pressure from around 48,000 CUP to around 72,000 CUP IIRC. That seems to indicate the old chemical reaction rate estimation applies, and that doubles every 10°C (18°F). So if we had a powder that was good for 20 years at 70°F (a typical conditioning temperature) and that was bad in 18 months at 140°F (the Navy heating period) the life expectancy v. temperature would look like this:

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Old March 20, 2018, 01:03 PM   #20
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Thanks UncleNick.
That would seem to indicate you should store ball powder in your freezer and extruded in your refrigerator for maximum shelf life.
I am wondering if those are steady temps or peaks?
That would also indicate garage storage is unwise at least in the "west", where ambient temps can reach over 100°f daily.
I also observe that according to this "rule", many of my powders are expired/deteriorating.
The fact that ball powdets expire more quickly, will limit my future ball powder purchases to single pounds (becauae I like to stock many). But extruded powders are fine for big jugs and long storage.
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Old March 20, 2018, 01:43 PM   #21
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Interesting. I didn't know about Vit.'s powder accelerated deterioration rate--i don't have a whole lot of their's --but do like a few of them (I have N140 as well) for some "killer" loads. Most of the time it's around 60 in my house--only about two weeks of the year it gets up to 80 or so.
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