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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Default Is old black powder safe?

    Many years ago when we moved I had temporarily stashed my .36 Navy cap & ball replica in a large box which the cat decided was a sand box. When it was discovered, the gun was toast.

    So I still have half a can of black powder, 40 years old, stored in various places, the last 20 years in our dry pole building, subject to temps from 13 to 100F.

    Also many years ago I was told that black powder would deteriorate over time and become unstable & unsafe.

    I want to just get rid of it. Is it safe to handle, take it off the shelf, open the can and pour out? If not, what should I do with it?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    I know that you can pour water into the can to render the old black powder safe, but I'm not sure about what disposal methods are legal.

  3. #3
    Silver Member
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    Manitoba, Canada / Minnesota, USA ( I straddle the border)
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    I wouldn't use it. I value my guns and saftey too much to take a risk to take a risk on something so relatively cheap.

    You will get many opinions on disposal. you may have laws/legislation in your area governing but here I would simply water it into the ground. It is basically sulfer and carbon and as such will be considered a simple fertilizer. Water it into your flower beds.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    Dribble it out in a long string and apply a match.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Shingle Springs California
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    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    My first thought would be to fill the can with water.

    Otherwise, I'd pour it out in a line, and light it off with a match. A long thin line, not a pile... It should go fizzle fizzle fizzle down the line.

    Or, google black powder supplier, and call one; ask what to do. Maybe one of these companies:
    Powder Inc. - Black Powder for shooters, and more
    Dixie Gun Works muzzleloading, blackpowder and rare antique gun supplies.
    http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/a.../t-155821.html
    http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/index.php?topic=22511.0
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    It is sensitive to moisture. As long as it was sealed tightly, it should still be good. Heat will affect smokeless powders...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilot View Post
    So I still have half a can of black powder, 40 years old, stored in various places, the last 20 years in our dry pole building, subject to temps from 13 to 100F.
    Last edited by RobertN; 05-07-2012 at 08:48 PM. Reason: speling
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  7. #7
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertN View Post
    It is sensitive to moisture. As long as it was sealed tightly, it should still be good. Heat will affect smokeless powders...
    As far as I know black powder does not have a shelf life. As long as it was kept dry and sealed in the can, I think it will work just fine.. Smokeless can last a long time too but if subjected to heat it will break down and not smell sweet any more, if it smells like vinegar then time to get rid of it. Black powder is pretty simple stuff. If you want pour a small pile out and light it and see how it reacts. But again I say it is good. If you want to get rid of it, throw it on the lawn, or if you want to get rid of it in a fun way lay a trail and light it.


    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Myrtle Creek, Oregon
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    Pour it on your plants. The potassium nitrate makes great fertilizer, the sulfur will suppress fungus diseases, and the charcoal will store nutrients. The first time you water, the KNO3 will dissolve into the soil and the black powder will be inert.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    nicholson, pa
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    Just make sure someone doesnt throw a cig in your planting bed

  10. #10
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Is old black powder safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by forgeblast View Post
    Just make sure someone doesnt throw a cig in your planting bed
    Yea, gives new meaning to 'my fertilizer was too hot and burnt my lawn'

    Keith

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