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Leave powder in Dillon Measure?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Jim, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Jim


    Jan 23, 2000
    My loader is a Dillon 650. Several years ago I got busy on other stuff and left the measure full of powder for over a year. The clear plastic in the measure got somewhat darker, and I threw out the powder before doing any more loading.

    Now I've done it again, but only for about 5 months. I think the powder will still be good to use, but what do you guys think?

    Powder is Win Super Field
  2. kimberguy2004


    Jan 14, 2007
    Austin, Tx
    I left a hopper loaded longer than you did. When I sat down to start loading again, I gave it a tap, threw a couple of test charges and started cranking out ammo. If it was sitting in a cool dry place, you're good to go..

  3. das9mm26


    Oct 27, 2009
    A primary concern, I think, is under what climate conditions was the powder stored? Was it in a cool, dry place...or in a damp basement...or hot attic?
    If you're planing to use this powder for target rounds....I'd try loading a FEW (to MINIMUM ratings!!) and test-fire them. If you plan to load SD rounds....if it were me.....I'd cut my losses and dump it! Defense rounds NEED to go "BANG!" when they're supposed to...IMO, "old" powder isn't worth the risk!
    If you DO elect to "try" the powder in "test" loads....LOAD LIGHTLY...and only test one or two.....If you DO NOT feel comfortable "testing"....DON"T!!!!!!!!!
    JUST SAY "NO!"....and DUMP IT!!! There's always more - and fresh! - powder out there......YOU only have ONE LIFE!!
    STAY SAFE!!!:supergrin:

    EDIT: kimberguy beat my post by 5 minutes......He said in 10 words....what took me 100 to say!!!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  4. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Many years ago surplus powder was actually sold by the pound in paper bags... you paid your money, wrote what powder it was on the bag and carried it home. I had different kinds of powder sitting around in bags for several years, (in south Florida at the time), and never experienced any problems.

    Up until 3 or 4 years ago Chinese black powder was being sold by the bag full at the national matches in Friendship, Indiana. Due to the considerably lower price of Goex, Swiss or even Elephant brand I bought many, many pounds of it... again, no problems. Black powder is considerably more hydroscopic than smokeless powder so you'd think if anything was going to have a problem it would have. (I wouldn't do it with 4 through 7 F powder though, a little bit of moisture content will have an adverse effect on flintlock pan ignition.)

    I never empty my powder measures unless I'm actually changing powders. Since I have most of my machines set up to be caliber specific I simply add more powder when needed. I have a Dillon SDB that hasn't had the powder dumped out of its measure in at least ten years... the powder gets rotated obviously but just by adding more.

    Not suggesting this method to others but it's worked for me for a long time. I'm not trying to watch tv through the plastic so I don't care if it gets discolored.

  5. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Certain powders (double base types IIRC) should not be left in the plastic dump towers. They do attack the material. I'll have to check back and find out the type though. It was covered in the Propellant Profiles book.
  6. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Solo 1000 leaves no trace of any issues if you leave it in the hopper. Titegroup will discolor it pretty good.
  7. kubura


    Jan 10, 2005

    Yes, C4W. This is exactly what happened to me.

    If I use Titegroup, as soon as I am done with reloading, I empty the hopper.
  8. n2extrm


    Feb 24, 2009
    I leave it as long as I am going back to that caliber. I dump it if I pull the tool head. One of mine has been discolored for years, the newer ones are still clear. Like Jack said I don't really care as long as I can see what is still in it so I know it's time to fill it up.
  9. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Smell the powder if it smells okay use it, if it smells rancid pour it on your grass. It’s a good fertilizer.
    As easy as it too take off the failsafe rod pull two pins and dump the powder. Why leave the powder in the measure?
  10. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    It's one less thing to do when I start loading again. Powder is already settled. I throw a couple charges and I am back to loading ammo. I never leave TG in my hopper. My hopper is still like new.
  11. D. Manley

    D. Manley

    May 30, 2005
    Southern US
    I'm fairly sure that a reasonable length of time (whatever that is) left in the hopper is harmless to the powder but, I just can't bring myself to do it. Lot's of folks leave it with no ill effects other than discoloration of the cannister but mine gets emptied as soon as loading session is over.
  12. Same here. No problems. It's in a cool room with low humidity.
  13. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Found the reference on page 65 of Propellant Profiles. The powder under discussion is Bullseye.

    "No powder should be left in the plastic hopper of a powder measure for long periods of time, but this is especially true with Bullseye, which will "migrate" or chemically attack the plastic of the reservoir in a short time."
  14. MoNsTeR


    Aug 24, 2003
    Lakewood, CO
    IIRC, it's the nitroglycerin in double-base powders that discolors the plastic. That would explain why Solo 1000 doesn't do it since it's single-base, and why Titegroup does it like crazy as it has one of the highest proportions of nitroglycerin.
  15. Jim


    Jan 23, 2000
    FWIW, my loading room is in the main part of our house, temp stays pretty constant and humidity is typical for indoors in winter/spring.
  16. vtducrider


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    No problem with leaving the powder in the hopper for me. I am in the Northeast. We have very dry winters, and humid summers. I have a dehumidifier in the basement, next to my reloading bench. It's set to 50%. It's almost time to run on the machine now. I use Winchester 231 and Power Pistol, no discoloring issue.
  17. ilgunguygt

    ilgunguygt Enslaved in IL

    You should read a Skeeter Skelton article tited "Skeeters Cow Killer loads." Its in his book Good Friends, Good Guns, Good Whiskey. He tells a story of when he was working for a Sheriffs dept and was in charge of loading ammo for deputies. He hadnt used the progresive press in a while and it had a hopper of Unique. He loaded up some rounds for a few deputies and handed them out. One of the deputies was then called to an accident that involved putting down a cow. He pointed the gun at the cows head and pulled the trigger. The 44 magnum barely made a pop and the bullet and half the powder hit the cow in the head. Twice. A farmer eventually provided a firearm and they shot it. When Skeeter found out he checked the powder and said that the flakes had kind of eroded the plastic measure, and there were little scallops in the shape of the powder on the inside, and it was discolored. He came to the conclusion that long term storage in the plastic hopper was at fault, because as mentioned above, people used to buy it in paper bags. According to the story they were forever known as Skeeters Cow Killing Loads.
  18. Jim


    Jan 23, 2000
    I'm old enough to remember when that story was first published!
    And that's why I posted the question here.
    I'll try giving Dillon a call.
  19. GLShooter


    Jan 3, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've left BE in my hopper (RCBS Uniflo) and it did eat up the plastic. I've left AA #7 in a Star hopper and it discolored it slightly. I have not had a Dillon measure (I have six or seven) that has ever discolored from powder being left in it a long time. I now will dump the measures Chan I finish but I won't feel panicky if I don't get to it in a week or two.

  20. ilgunguygt

    ilgunguygt Enslaved in IL

    I dont remember what year that one was from, but Skeeter left this world when I was around 10 years old. I love his work and have actually learned a lot from him. I went from a plastic freak to a single action revolver guy.