Does black powder ever go bad?

Discussion in 'General Muzzleloading' started by Ron Alexander, Aug 1, 2019.

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  1. Aug 1, 2019 #1

    Ron Alexander

    Ron Alexander

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    I have some un-opened cans of FF and FFF powder I purchased about 35 years ago. Shooting this powder in guns I have shot for decades now prints way high and my groups are larger. Maybe its me because I am older, but I am thinking the powder is doing weird things. I guess I need to find a fresh can somewhere and try that to see if there is a difference. Has anyone else had this experience?
     
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  2. Aug 1, 2019 #2

    TFoley

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    Back in 2000 we fired a musket that had last been fired for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. With the original load...

    It went off spectacularly, with a lot of sparks from the newspaper wadding - remains of which showed the 1897 year date...
     
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  3. Aug 1, 2019 #3

    Sidney Smith

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    I'm still using a can of ffffg that I bought probably 20 years ago. It still goes off with the slightest spark.
     
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  4. Aug 1, 2019 #4

    SDSmlf

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    I have come across cans of powder at least 60 years old that worked fine. As long as the powder has been kept dry it should be as good as the day it was made. Note that some old cans are collectible, and may even be more valuable that the powder itself.
     
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  5. Aug 1, 2019 #5

    Rifleman1776

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    If you are talking about real black powder, the answer is: it doesn't go bad.
    Substitutes can deteriorate.
     
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  6. Aug 1, 2019 #6

    hanshi

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    Nope, BP does not go bad due to age. I had some old Dupont from decades ago and it worked just fine.
     
  7. Aug 2, 2019 #7

    Kansas Jake

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    Ron, I don’t think black powder goes bad either. I would look at other possibilities first. Was the change gradual or is this after a hiatus from shooting the muzzleloader? I know I can no longer shoot as well as I used to. Have you had a change in your eyes or new glasses? Patch material, is it old or have you changed lubes? All these things can have an effect.
     
  8. Aug 2, 2019 #8

    bud in pa

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    I remember, yes on occasion I can still do that, reading somewhere that unlike that smokeless stuff, black powder does not deteriorate. something about the ingredients not being blended together.
     
  9. Aug 2, 2019 #9

    Poboy

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    I asked this same question, got the same answers. Trust the info.
     
  10. Aug 2, 2019 #10

    Loyalist Dave

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    As a matter of fact a few times in the 1960's and 1970's folks put "solid" shot dug up from ACW battlefields near their fire place or took a torch or a cutting wheel to them to cut them in half for display.... well the heat from the fire, or the friction of the wheel got the powder hot enough, and BOOOM. The novices didn't know how to double check and verify that the highly corroded shot didn't have a wooden plug for a fuse that was intact.

    LD
     
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  11. Aug 2, 2019 #11

    Rifleman1776

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    I have heard bp being referred to as a chemical mixture, not as a compound. It does not compound until ignition.
     
  12. Aug 2, 2019 #12

    Col. Batguano

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    Only if it hangs out with the wrong kinds of kids. I blame the parents mostly.
     
  13. Aug 2, 2019 #13

    TFoley

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    Adventurous types who collect Civil War battlefield detritus are ALWAYS blowing themselves up with still-filled shells, particularly from mortars. They often have thin shells and a LOT of explosive contents. Using a gas-torch to loosen a filling plug is NOT good practice.

    It's a hard lesson that can only be taught once.
     
  14. Aug 2, 2019 #14

    Dwight Rutherford

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    Just came back from the range, used the last of the FFF my Dad gave me in 1963 when I returned from the Army. Can’t remember the last time I had a failure to fire.
     
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  15. Aug 4, 2019 #15

    Pete G

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    They blow up so fast don't they?:(
     
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  16. Aug 4, 2019 #16

    bubba.50

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    Hahahahaha. I was gonna say about exactly the same thing.
     
  17. Aug 4, 2019 #17

    Carbon 6

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    "Does black powder ever go bad?"

    Nope, it was invented centuries before expiration dates were.
     
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  18. Aug 4, 2019 #18

    Grenadier1758

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    Yes, black powder deteriorates under application of extreme heat causing the components to combine and release a large volume of mostly CO2. What's left is a sooty residue of unburned carbon and corrosive salts.

    Usually the heat comes from the percussive explosion of a struck or heat from an ignited flash pan.

    Otherwise, no, black powder doesn't deteriorate.
     
  19. Aug 4, 2019 #19

    MSW

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    "does black powder ever go bad?"

    short answer: no



    there is a tale (which might be apocryphal) describing Bubba and Billy- Bob after the consumption of way too many long necks, who decided that the South would indeed rise again - this very night, and that firing off the cannon in the town square would be just the signal... it seems that this particular cannon was plugged and the touch hole was filled in. The authorities found about a half dozen used MAPP gas cylinders and what was left of the two. They had attempted to sweat the plug out of the touch hole, but had set off the charge, which had been in the cannon since 1864.

    it was closed casket affair
     
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  20. Aug 4, 2019 #20

    THBailey

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    "it was closed casket affair"

    Casket or basket?
     

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