When properly stored, powder used for reloading ammo can last for many decades and even beyond. Some of the best ways to extend the lifespan of reloading powder include:
- Protect it from moisture.
- Store it in a dark, cool place.
- Leave the container unopened until it’s ready for use.
Let’s look at each of these tips in greater detail.
How to Keep Your Powder Dry
Here at Powder Valley, we know that humidity is one of gunpowder’s greatest enemies. Here are some of the steps we recommend to keep your powder safe from moisture and dampness:
- Use desiccant packs – add a pack of silica gel to your containers of gunpowder after opening them. Make sure the silica packs are intact; otherwise, they can leak into the powder itself and change its chemical composition.
- Use a dehumidifier – this is especially important if you store your powder in a basement or cellar. You may also want to install a sump pump for added protection.
- Never drink water or other beverages while reloading ammo – if your powder should become wet, then dispose of it in accord with local environmental regulations.
Protecting Your Powder from Heat and Sunlight
Sunlight and excessive heat are notorious for causing powder to degrade. For this reason, you should restrict your ammo reloading activities to a controlled environment away from windows and other sources of natural light. Avoid storing powder in a garage or other location that’s affected by seasonal temperature swings.
Keeping Powder in the Original Container
Exposing gunpowder to oxygen sets off a chemical process that causes the ingredients to separate. Manufacturers are aware of this problem and take steps to prevent it before it leaves the powder mill. But these safeguards are undone as soon as the package is opened.
For this reason, it’s best to leave powder containers unopened until they’re ready for use. After opening, remember to tighten the lid and store the container on a shelf or gun vault away from flammable liquids like gas or kerosene.
How to Tell When Gunpowder Is Going Bad
Gunpowder has a limited lifespan even when it’s properly stored. Here are three ways to tell that it’s past its prime:
- An objectionable odor – as gunpowder deteriorates, it takes on an acidic smell that grows worse over time. It may also give off a brown or reddish fume when you open the container.
- A change in color – the powder may take on a rust or amber tone as it deteriorates. Other times it can go to the opposite extreme and turn snow white. The important thing is to interpret any change in color as a bad sign.
- Degradation in performance – sometimes the only way to tell that your powder is going bad is when the reloaded rounds themselves start to malfunction. They may lose power or accuracy or begin to misfire. If you notice a consistent pattern of problems, then the powder is probably at fault.
Powder Valley: Your Source for All Your Reloading Supplies
Here at Powder Valley, we stock the finest gunpowder, reloading primers, and other essential reloading supplies at the lowest prices around. Our staff members are firearms experts who are always happy to share their knowledge and experience with our customers. Place your ammo order today and take advantage of our fast shipping!