Back to handloading

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Bob K
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Back to handloading

Post by Bob K » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:20 pm

Planning to get back into handloading after about 20 years.

Couple questions ...

I still have some Hercules powders (Bullseye, Unique, 2400). All have been properly kept. Safe to use? Or should I discard?

Are the loading stats for these powders still the same? Should I invest in new manuals? I never loaded to maximum.


Bob K

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Re: Back to handloading

Post by Bullspit » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:24 pm

As long as the powder was stored adequately it should still be good. I have powder bought in the Clinton era that is still good.

The old data should do fine. If you get new powder you might want new manuals but most manufacturers have online data you can use to double check safe loads with.
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Re: Back to handloading

Post by PawPaw » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:29 pm

Pour some in your hand. Does it look "rusty"? Does it smell strongly of ammonia? Most powder has a light smel of ammonia, but it it smells strongly of ammonia, it may be deteriorating.

Otherwise, load it an shoot it. I have about half-a-pound of 4895 that's 20 years old, and it's fine.
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Re: Back to handloading

Post by blackeagle603 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:35 am

Sounds like a bad risky thing. You best send those to me. I'll dispose of them safely. ;)
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Re: Back to handloading

Post by McClarkus » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:47 am

I've used some really old stuff before and perhaps I was lucky but it worked just fine. I wasn't pushing max with it either.
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evan price
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Re: Back to handloading

Post by evan price » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:17 am

Just smell it.

Good powder will smell like the solvents they used to process it. Alcohol, ether, etc.
If the powder is clean, has no lumps or chunks, and no rusty looking reddish powder and still smells like fresh, no problems.
If it smells of ammonia (and it will stink you out of the house!) or has rusty looking powder in it, it's best to use it as fertilizer in the flower garden (or burn it somewhere).

I have used powder that was in old cardboard kegs from the 1960s that was still perfectly usable.
The old containers sometimes have collector value, too.
Powder that was stored in a cool dry place out of sunlight and temperature extremes will last a very long time.
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First Shirt
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Re: Back to handloading

Post by First Shirt » Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:42 am

Just a suggestion, you might want to invest in one or two of the newer manuals. Or if you plan on sticking to one or two different caliber, the Loadbooks are a pretty good investment.

Things change, and what used to be a safe load is now (because of advances in pressure measurement techniques) borderline hot loads.
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