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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I run a long range shooting club here in NM. Yesterday a member approached me with a question about a powder he is using. He said " it's fuming" ........What?
I walked down and sure enough the powder was outgassing a very heavy oder of ammonia and Nitric Acid fumes. The powder was slowly turning sticky and had,from over night, corroded the brass cases and the projectiles.
This powder is milsurp pull down IMR-5010 powder that was sold in bulk from the long gone Talon company. Weidners and Pats reloading sells this powder in black plastic 8 pound jugs. There are no lot numbers or dates on the label.
I have been reloading since 1964 and have never seen this happen before. As you know nitro-cellulose uses Nitric Acid to make the propellant. Some how the acid was not neutralized correctly. When the acid is not removed from the powder grains, the deterent coating will break down and uncontrolled burning will happen. The powder may detonate rather than burn
If any of you have any powder that was OK a few months ago you may want to check it again. This powder was normal just last winter. Now it is breaking down. It was stored in a cool room. It was not left in the sunlight.
Chris at Weiders has been notified. Pat at Pat's Reloading has been left a message.
The club member is scrubbing his equipment with baking-soda and water to stop the acid from corroding his electronic scale,brass,bullets,etc.
Please check your powder.
 

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Super Moderator Platinum Member Zombie Killer
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Yikes.....! Any chance of that stuff turning into something volatile where combustion can take place undisturbed...as in spontaneous or is it just a matter of corrosion to any thing it comes in contact with and possiblity of blowing a gun up on ignition? Regardless, it needs to be destroyed if it's breaking down....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think that the powder would be come more sensitive to shock or the like. The burn rate would be uncontrolled. The acid fumes are the real shocker. Extreamly corrosive to any non ferris metals.
 

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It happens! Had the same thing with a French powder (new off the shelf and kept for 10 years). The orange closing cap became white and made me sniff the contents ... like pure ammonia!
 

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Deteriorated powder doesn't become more sensitive per se, but if there's much of it in bulk it can retain heat released by the decomposition process, which accelerates the decomposition and so on till it spontaneously ignites. I know of no case where that's been shown to have happened to a handloader with stored powder, but it's destroyed many magazines and warships over the years.

Also, deteriorated powder becomes more brittle. On firing, powder grains can shatter from the primer blast, increasing their total surface area and making the powder burn faster. That increases pressure. Rising pressures are often the reason stored military ammo supplies are removed from service and sold as surplus. Likely accounts for the "hot" old Turkish 8mm ammo that was sold a few years ago, IMO.

The nitrogen oxide fumes released by decomposing powder are corrosive to both brass and steel cartridge cases, increasing chances of a case perforation or split.
 

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That IMR 5010 powder that came from Talon has caused several large fires here in Ohio, two of them locally to a friend of mine, and one large fire in Northern Ohio that I know of. Anyone who has any of that 5010 powder that came from Talon needs to dispose of it if it shows any signs of breaking down. I wouldn't trust any of it.
 
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