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Thread: Is my powder past it?

  1. #1

    Is my powder past it?

    Just posted this over on UKV and pigeonwatch but thought I'd add it here to open it up to discussion on old powder.

    Having picked up my .20Prac Sako A1 from Neil Mckillop a couple of summers ago I've been reloading using an old tub of Viht N133....... I'm sure I've read that powder goes off but you can tell that by the smell losing that ammonia type edge...... the tub still has that whiff.

    There's nothing untoward in the performance and I get good grouping at 24grns at an average of 3671fps which is pretty much on a par, or even slightly less of a charge, with what other .20Prac owners load to.

    But I do get staining/acid etching of the next bullet head loaded into the chamber after firing a shot......... the smell of the fired shot is sulphurous.

    The round on the right was chambered for 2 hours after 10 shots zeroing 2 'scopes to the rifle. (On a side note I'm really impressed with the new Photon XT 6.5!) The barrel was cool between shots walking to and from the target each time.

    Shot 4 foxes with the rifle last night within a half hour slot and the middle bullet is the one chambered after that for another 3/4 of an hour.

    The fired cases all extracted as you'd expect without signs of undue pressure...... I'd have thought the presence of fluid around the bullet must be increasing the pressure too!

    Is my powder past it's best?



  2. #2
    how old?
    how has it been stored?

    I am using powder that is 5-10 yrs old

  3. #3
    Powder lasts for a surprisingly long time without deterioration if stored correctly.

    You say that you shot 10 rounds zeroing and then chambered a round to go foxing. Is it possible that you carry the rifle muzzle up by any chance and that what this could be caused by is condensation running down the inside of the barrel from the moderator? Or has this oxidisation been caused by water or rain in the barrel?
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  4. #4
    +1 on combustion vapour condensing -I suspect it's nothing to do with age of propellant. Probably the rifle had a moderator on it too by the amount of corrosion on the bullets. - More volume of gas/vapour to condense out of a moderator --

    Lesson 1 Never leave a bullet in the chamber. (Apart from anything else it's safer with nothing in the breech)

    Lesson 2 Leave bolt open so that the barrel can vent (maybe blow it out after firing) -- Many times on the range when rifles are being checked clear it is necessarry to blow the smoke out of the barrel to be able to verefy it is clear.

    Lesson 3 Always remove moderator after shooting. - This avoids damage to barrel / crown from corrosion.


  5. #5
    Bewsh... Powder is early 2001 vintage, initially stored at the bottom of a bookshelf which possibly did get the sun at some point so pretty warm at times but for the last 8 or so years it's been in the dark in a drawer in a cool north facing room.

    8x57..... yep, muzzle up on the back of a truck foxing... otherwise usually muzzle up sat in a high seat with the rifle resting on the rail... or on a 'pod. Barrel dry so I agree it's the post-shot condensation inside the barrel collecting around the bullet........ the barrel isn't a heavy varmint match style barrel.

    But is that condensation due to old powder?



  6. #6
    I've used 3031 that was made in the 70s 35 years later and it shot well. Wish I could get some more actually.

  7. #7
    hi i would say that there was some residue of cleaning solvent/fluid/foam there
    just my 2 pennies worth

  8. #8
    No you will get condensation from all rounds fires irrespective of age of the powder. Though some powders by their chemical make up could I suppose generate more condensation than others, and climatic conditions probably have a bearing too.

    "hi i would say that there was some residue of cleaning solvent/fluid/foam there
    just my 2 pennies worth"

    A very strong possibility Sir.
    Last edited by 8x57; 22-06-2015 at 12:35.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  9. #9
    do you spray oil / wd40 into your mod after use , this combined with normal combustion products will produce an acidic mix of very corrosive / acidic liquids . keep muzzle down when shooting , remove mod when finished . I wash my mods out with a strog detergent the rinse with boiling hot water and leave to drain , dry out completely on a radiator or by the hotwater tank the a quick squirt of wd40 and put away .
    "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
    Adolph Hitler 1933

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hybridfiat View Post
    I've used 3031 that was made in the 70s 35 years later and it shot well. Wish I could get some more actually.
    I wonder if aged powder is better , like aged port and cigars ?
    Right where's those stones , I'll start !

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