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Seven years ago I started a "test" on the effects of climate, average humidity, and various storage conditions on Powder and Primers. It was prompted by one of the many discussions I had at the time with Chris Hodgdon, and last week I finalized my results. All under a controlled conditions.

I will say this, if you are storing your primers anywhere other than inside your home you will see a degradation over time.

If you aren't storing your powder somewhere in a climate controlled environment, again, you will see problems over time.

Getting into the "Meat and Potatoes" of the study I will say that out of every single sleeve of primers, 1 stored in the open in my garage, 1 in an outside metal shop, and 1 in an insulated and enclosed tool shed, I encountered several different issues out of these sleeves. They were all from various lots of CCI and Winchester.

The most troubling problem I encountered was from a CCI primer that I loaded into a 45/70 case and charged it with 40 gr. of IMR 3031. Upon firing this cartridge I heard a "snap" and "fizzle". I automatically assumed a misfire, but was greeted with powder spilling into my rifle, a majority of the powder being unfired and recovered, and a 300 gr. Sierra HP bullet "squibbed" 6 inches past the throat of my rifle! After disassembling the rifle on a white cloth in my home I found that the weak primer had only ignited 6 gr. of powder!

Powder, is the same way. I DID NOT use the pound of Accurate No.5 that I had stored in a plastic "ammo can" inside my garage. Mainly due to the pungent smell. I sent it to Western powders to have it analyzed under a control, and am awaiting the results.

Long story short, if you aren't storing your primers and powder inside your home, or in your climate controlled garage in a sealed container, you WILL see a degradation over time.
 

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Upon firing this cartridge I heard a "snap" and "fizzle". I automatically assumed a misfire, but was greeted with powder spilling into my rifle, a majority of the powder being unfired and recovered, and a 300 gr. Sierra HP bullet "squibbed" 6 inches past the throat of my rifle!



I had the same result with 45-70 brass that I bought primed. This happened with about 1 out of every 3 or 4 primers.

Had to pull all the bullets and decap the bad primers. The powder was fine.

Yes, store your powder and primers inside.
 

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Yeah, but then there's my Dad with his damp moldy basement. He keeps his guns down there and once took them out to find frosty patches of mold growing on the stocks. Yet, he has powder and primers that have been down there for decades...and they still work. I know because we still load with them and they work 100% so far. He's even got a partial can of Alcan Powder LOL
 

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Not disagreeing with you in any way, because I think you are correct. But I have and have used primers and powder that I got 30+ years ago and not stored under any type of climate controlled conditions 100 percent of the time. I never had any problems with ignition or its reliability. I have since used most of it all up and my current supply of primers and powder are probably within 10 years of age. I do keep it in an air conditioned room and I always smell the powder for that sweet aromatic smell before loading any rounds. But that has been my experience with old primers and powder. Thanks for sharing your results, I will definitely keep them in mind when it comes to powder and primer storage.
 

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I'll store my primers inside but I draw the line with the powder.
I'm a real believer in Murphy's Law.
Any chance you also checked loaded rounds stored in a hot garage? Asking for a friend ;)
 

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I've always suspected that. I store my primers in an insulated cooler in a back room in the house. The temperature and humidity doesn't vary much and the insulated container protects them even further.
I like that idea - my wife gets some meds for our daughter that come in a small perfect sized insulated container.
 

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All my powder is stored in a gutted out refrigerator in a barn type building.Primers are stored in a GI ammo can in the same refrigerator.Here in Colorado we are typically dry, but do have some wet years.I have 3031 and 4064 powder that is in excess of 20 years old. New loads chronograph pretty close to loads I did when the powder was new.
For years I used reclaimed 4831 that I bought in the early 60's for about 52 cents a pound.I bought 50 pounds of it and still have the container it came in. I used it all up in the mid nineties . When buying new 4831 powder, the loads chronographed about the same as the old stuff .

My CCI primers are all in excess of 20 years old and they all function. I have some primers that are packaged a wooden tray , plain brown cardboard sleeve, no label. Probably 50+ years old and stored in my gun safe. I test some every few years.They have always worked.

Th only powder I have ever had degrade is 777 and Pyrodex which are black power substitutes. Plain black powder does not degrade..
I have been reloading since1964 and my experiences do not bear out the same conclusion
 

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I was in the floodwaters of the edenville Sanford dam failures in May. Went to the range on Sunday.

Flooded ammo usually works, but had one of about 24 243 Win the just went click, and 1 of 18 300 WSM that went click. No pffts yet.

Game plan is to salvage the brass and start over.

Lost recipes and a decent amount of gear. Will probably buy another RCBS M1000 scale and Redding Boss Ii press.

Fortunately recipes like 303 Savage, I loaded onto my phone... so some hard to get ones are in the cloud.

Tossed all primers including ones that didn’t look wet.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I have a whole thread here on an 8lb jug of IMR4895 that I have had for about 9 or 10 years. As far as I know it was always in climate controlled conditions, but there is a small 4 month period where it may have been in my garage in Florida when I came back to Texas for a few months but I'm not entirely sure. It went from giving great results, accuracy, and consistency in everything to being downright disappointed and caused me to waste a lot of money in expensive J-word projectiles. It smells fine and burns fine, but the chronograph and target says otherwise.

It's very important to keep this stuff inside.

EDIT: I just want to add that even though this is a reloading topic, I think it should stay here in General. It will get more traffic and easier to find when OP gets his results back. Interesting stuff!
 

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I had some Herter's primers from the late sixties and I mean the real Herters not somebody that bought the name. About three years ago I finally used them all up. Every one went bang like they were brand new. I also have some 230 ball powder. No not a misprint 230 not 231. I have been using it in some .32 S&W Long loads and also .38 Special. It burns just like it should. All of this stuff was stored in the house for years until I built my reloading room out in my shop. I had no A.C. in the house for all those years and I don't have to tell anyone about the heat and humidity in Florida. The primers were in an old Rockhard Putty can with a plastic lid that sealed it up. I did have one box of R.P. 45-70 405 grain factory loads that about eight out of the twenty would not fire. After I pulled the bullets, the powder was stuck together inside the case. I cleaned out the cases , put in fresh primers and powder and used the 405 gr. jacketed bullets to make new ammo.
 

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I'm wondering if it's wide swings in temperature and humidity that degrades primers and powder?

I've stored both in non-temperature controlled garage in the Bay Area since I started reloading in the early 1980's and I have not noticed any issues. I still have some vintage CCI small pistol primers that were stored in plastic containers that still go bang. I'm just now stating to use up some of the larger kegs of powder as well; do give them the sniff test before pouring it into the measure.

Since I moved away from the temperate Bay Area to the (hot) Central Valley twenty years ago, I now store both in the spare bedroom.
 
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