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how long can you store primers and powder


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I was given some very OLD Hercules (now Alliant) Bullseye and Unique powder and had questions.  I emailed Alliiant and asked about load data and how to tell if the powder was still good. 

It was in 1lb tin cans and priced at about $2.

Here is the response I got from Alliant.....hope this helps


Use new powder loads for older powder.

Powder can be kept for many years if it is kept in a cool and dry environment. As long as these conditions are met it can last 20-30 years, even longer.

To determine if your powder is still good there are a few tests you can perform yourself.
1) Smell: If the smell of the powder still smells like a newly opened can of powder it is good. But if it has an ammonia smell to it, it has gone bad.

2) Residue: Take a small amount of powder and place it on a plain piece of white paper. If there is a red residue left on the paper it is bad.

3) Burn Test: take a small amount of powder and place it in a pile outside. Run a trail of powder from the pile and set the end of the trail afire. If the pile burns steadily, its okay. If it spits and sputters it is bad.

4) Can Condition: If the powder is stored in a metal can and you see any signs of rust on the inside of the can, it is bad.

If your powder is found to be bad you need to dispose of it. This can be done a couple of ways.

  • Powder can be used in your flower beds as a fertilizer as it is a nitrogen based product. Spread it around the flower bed lightly not in large clumps and your flowers will get a shot of nitrogen
  • If you are uncomfortable in doing this, contact your local fire department and more than likely they will have directions on how to dispose of the powder and may even come to your home to pick it up.

Thanks for the question.

Shoot Straight
2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID




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