Okay, you 'ol timers.

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Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:16 am

Went to my favourite LGS yesterday.   They generally have reloading supplies and components that they pick up from gun shops that have gone out of business, and mark them down at a good price.   So, there's this cannister of Winchester 450 LS there.   Never heard of it, but the label is marked for target shotshell loads, so I figure it's gotta be useable for handgun loads.   Get it home and start my research.   Double-base ball powder that came out in the early 60's and was available until the early 70's.   Was replaced by 452AA in the 70's, which was eventually replaced by WST.   Dug out my Speer #8 reloading manual from 1970, and there is load data for the .38 Special and .45 ACP, but nothing else.   That's fine, as that's what I intend to use it for.   The one thing I found strange was that the Speer #8 manual specified using magnum primers with it, even with the light .38 wadcutter loads.   So, I have to surmise that it's a bit hard to light up.   Any of you 'ol timers got any other info or favourite loads using it?   Thanks in advance for your reply.

Don

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by sharkdoctor on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:59 am

Still sealed?  Since it is old and of dubious origins, open it carefully in good light, and look to see if there is any reddish brown dust/vapor coming out.  Do not smell it at first!  Any brownish red vapor is an oxide of nitrogen and very toxic(!).  If present, the powder is degraded and now only suitable for lawn fertilizer.  Good powders have a sweetish, acetone-like smell.

Good luck, and sorry, I have no load data.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:04 am

Yes, still sealed.   Since it's a double-base ball powder, I'm not the least bit worried about it.  

Don

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by spursnguns on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:31 am

Hello USSR,

I apologize for my questions in advance but I am curious....with all the excellent powders readily available today....why would you bother loading with a powder (from a sealed container or otherwise) that is forty to fifty years old, with an unknown past of how it had been handled/stored and that if you find a load that you like you will have a hard time finding another canister of to continue loading with it?

Jim
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by DavidR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:35 am

If you want this for bullseye shooting...Why even take a chance on old powder.   powder is plentiful again and cheap. Why waste working up loads and setting up to load this when you could be doing it with a known powder of good accuracy and get on with improving your skill level
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:57 am

That's what I like about most of the guys on this site, predictably set in their ways. Smile    Why bother?   To expand my 50 year+ knowledge base.   Since I am not a Bullseye shooter, again, I will repeat, since I am not a Bullseye shooter, I will use it for .38 Special and .45 ACP casual target shooting at the range I have right outside my house.   Oh, and heaven forbid, while I was buying the 50 year old powder, I also bought some CCI primers that look to be at least 30 years old. Shocked

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by spursnguns on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:08 pm

Bless your heart, USSR.

Jim
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by Wobbley on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:30 pm

If you want to use it fine.  I have no experience with it so I’d use the Speer data you have and see.  I’d just use it for practice ammo at this point.  Due to its age and also that you can’t get any more of it.  

IIRC, those older Winchester powders had som Calcium Carbonate? in them as a stabilizer.  When they made them without that stuff they found that the data wasn’t the same, hence the 452AA later stuff.

To check ball powders for age pour the whole can put into a container and check for clumps.  If it’s rally clumpy and they don’t fall apart with just some light shaking, you have fertilizer not powder.

Hope this helps.  Good luck.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:32 pm

you pays your money
you takes your chances
you pays your dues

Why do any of us REALLY do this?  What a Face
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by w4ti on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:43 pm

Like all things, powder technologies have changed over time. I'm not an expert on the changes that have occurred, but I'd follow the manual just out of precaution. I suspect that you could just as easily use WSP/WLP primers without any trouble of having to go find CCI 550's. My guess, and that's all it is, is that you may find a smaller standard deviation in velocity with the magnum primers- but for your purposes, as long as it goes bang and doesn't jam up/stick a cartridge in a cylinder/foul up/dirty up the gun too much, I think you'd be OK with magnum or regular primers. My 2 cents. 

Reading those old manuals is going to be the subject of an upcoming article of mine- a neat walk back in history (I may reach out for early edition scans, if anyone has them).

Have fun!

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:50 pm

If I remember correctly WLPs are listed as useable for std & magnum loads.
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:53 pm

w4ti,

I suspect you're right about standard primers working with this powder.   I have plenty of both standard and magnum primers to play with, so it really doesn't matter to me.   What would be interesting in my mind, would be to do a side-by-side comparison with WST.   If I had some 452AA to play with as well, that would be really fun.

Don

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:55 pm

STEVE SAMELAK wrote:If I remember correctly WLPs are listed as useable for std & magnum loads.

Yep, that is correct.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by jmdavis on Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:56 pm

It seems to me that we have had a rash of people asking for advice. Getting good advice and then getting mad at the providers and ignoring it. 

I use 20-30-40 year old powder with some regularity. I might even buy more if I found itfor a good price and had a specific reason. But the advice to focus on what's readily available and current is good advice. I don't think I would go out of my way to develop new loads for non available powder unless it was very cheap and I was able to get a lot. BUT, I do shoot bullseye and my goal is to improve and to win.
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by w4ti on Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:09 pm

jmdavis wrote:It seems to me that we have had a rash of people asking for advice. Getting good advice and then getting mad at the providers and ignoring it. 

I use 20-30-40 year old powder with some regularity. I might even buy more if I found itfor a good price and had a specific reason. But the advice to focus on what's readily available and current is good advice. I don't think I would go out of my way to develop new loads for non available powder unless it was very cheap and I was able to get a lot. BUT, I do shoot bullseye and my goal is to improve and to win.

It seems to me that we have had a rash of people who are interested in accuracy and bullseye style shooting and are constrained in certain ways; when that constraint runs up against what is thought to be collective wisdom, the person asking is usually trounced a bit. A great deal of advice given here is given conditionally, and unless you follow the prescribed group think, you stand a good chance of losing interest in sticking around this site, or these shooters, quite quickly.

Don already bought the powder, he want's to use it, he knows it's not ideal but he doesn't care- he just wants to have some fun. Why is that position so difficult to accommodate?

I'd love to get access to chronograph data of these loads, 452 and WST for equal charges just to see if there was anything in them. I know it doesn't add anything to my score, but if I'm curious, it's my time, my money, my fun, and it doesn't hurt anyone else, then why in the world would anyone be bothered? I hope Don has a boatload of fun and learns something- who knows, he may even share it with the know it all crowd here. 

There isn't anything inherently more dangerous in what Don would like to do than in regular reloading. I think we'd be better off encouraging experimentation and sharing results instead of challenging someone's interest.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:57 pm

Thank you, Chase.   A voice of reason and common sense.

Don

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by Slartybartfast on Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:20 pm

jmdavis wrote:It seems to me that we have had a rash of people asking for advice. Getting good advice and then getting mad at the providers and ignoring it. 

Where's anyone getting mad? The people who can't accept the simple premise of someone wanting to try something for the fun of it seem to be the ones with something bent out of shape over the issue.

And what exactly is so good about advice that just says "don't bother"?

Chase: Thank you for you post . Very well written.
USSR: Good luck with the powder, hope it serves and gives good value on the range.

Now, to find some resources for finding or identifying a good 45 that ISN'T a 1911. An issue certainly more contentious in this forum than asking how to have some fun with old powder.
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by spursnguns on Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:25 pm

I apologize for....

Asking a question (again)
Derailing this thread with my question
Not remembering that USSR frequents a web site dedicated to bullseye competition yet does not participate in same
Having people think that I am "bothered" by anything 

Jeez....I think I need a scotch.

Jim
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by Boris_La on Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:07 pm

Slartybartfast wrote:
Now, to find some resources for finding or identifying a good 45 that ISN'T a 1911.
CZ-97B is chambered in 45ACP and will challenge and beat most high dollar custom fitted 1911s, for a fraction of the cost.


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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by spursnguns on Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:13 pm

Boris_La wrote:
Slartybartfast wrote:
Now, to find some resources for finding or identifying a good 45 that ISN'T a 1911.
CZ-97B is chambered in 45ACP and will challenge and beat most high dollar custom fitted 1911s, for a fraction of the cost.


Poking the bear.

I ain't touching it.

Jim
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by Slartybartfast on Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:38 pm

spursnguns wrote:
Boris_La wrote:
Slartybartfast wrote:
Now, to find some resources for finding or identifying a good 45 that ISN'T a 1911.
CZ-97B is chambered in 45ACP and will challenge and beat most high dollar custom fitted 1911s, for a fraction of the cost.


Poking the bear.

I ain't touching it.

Jim

Whether it's poking the bear or hitting the hornets nest, the analogy is apt.   lol!
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by spursnguns on Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:43 pm

Slartybartfast wrote:
spursnguns wrote:
Boris_La wrote:
Slartybartfast wrote:
Now, to find some resources for finding or identifying a good 45 that ISN'T a 1911.
CZ-97B is chambered in 45ACP and will challenge and beat most high dollar custom fitted 1911s, for a fraction of the cost.


Poking the bear.

I ain't touching it.

Jim

Whether it's poking the bear or hitting the hornets nest, the analogy is apt.   lol!

....yet fictitious.

Smile 

Now for that scotch.

Jim
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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by Rob Kovach on Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:51 pm

Hey. Let's just try and be helpful. There are lots of posts here and there is no reason to try and get the last word.

USSR. I have used some very old cans of Bullseye and my friends have shot other obsolete powders with great success. I think that a buddy used 452AA for a long time and was sad when it ran out.

I think he was using the same loads as WST. I'm curious if the reloading manual was recommending magnum powders because that was the era when there was worry about overpressure due to excessive case volume with small powder charges.

Somewhere here in the forum, we concluded that variations occur in bullseye loads for .38spl based on the orientation of the powder in the cases, but we concluded that for .38spl and .45 that the cases of overpressure were due to double charges and not some sort of pressure wave jump.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by USSR on Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:17 pm

Rob,

In looking further at the Speer #8 manual, I see that with the .38 Special 158gr SWC load (4.0gr @822fps - 4.5gr @938fps), they say "* Denotes use of CCI 550 Magnum primer".   Yet, with the .45 ACP 200gr SWC load (4.5gr @ 726fps - 5.0gr @ 796fps) they don't indicate a Magnum primer.   Who knows why they used the Magnum primer for the .38 Special load, maybe just to boost up the velocity.   But, since they used a standard primer for the .45 ACP load, a Magnum primer is obviously not necessary.

Don

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

Post by BEA on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:43 pm

Hi USSR.  I remember using 452AA but never 450LS (my guess is the "LS" stands for Light Shotshell.  The shelf life of powders has everything to do with how it has been stored.  Whether or not it is single or double based doesn't matter.  If powder is stored in a cool dry location and in the original container, it will easily last 25 or 30 years.  The can being unopened doesn't make as much difference as people might think, especially with powder this old.   If I am wondering if powder is still good,  I smell it first.  If it has very little odor, or the solvent odor associated with the IMR powders, then it should still be good.  If it has a very slightly sour or acidic odor it has turned bad.  Another important observation is the condition of the inside of the container.  If the metal on the inside has any rust spots, then this is a bad sign and the powder has started to break down.  Once the stabilizer in the powder is used up over time, the powder will take on acidic qualities and it will attack the metal.  The powder will still burn, but the burn speed becomes erratic.  As for primer selection.  Mag primers are selected not for velocity considerations but for the ignition characteristics of the powder.  It is common for many ball powders to need a mag primer, or to at least ignite better with a mag primer.  This is because ball powders often have more of a glazed surface that requires more heat to burn through and get the powder going.  Flake powders have more porosity, and some have perfs, which make them ignite much more easily.  This is why some will argue that ball powders errode the throat area of the barrel a little slower than other types due to the lower heat produced in the initial ignition process. Anyway, my #7 Speer list 450LS in the information section but no pistol data. It also indicates that 450LS is on the slow side of Unique.  However, in the #8 on page 38, assuming the powders are listed in the order of burn speed, they think 450LS is on the fast side of Red Dot. The burn rate charts are speculative and not developed with actual testing, so sometimes the order of listing will vary from source to source. The 38 and 45 listed powder charges are very similar to Red Dot, so this might lead us to believe the burn rates are at least similar.  Making assumptions can sometimes be troublesome, but sometimes that is all you have.  Provided your powder is still good, it should work very well for light to medium 38 Special and 45 Auto loads.  We can only guess why mag primers were used in the 38 and not the 45.  Perhaps in the longer and more narrow 38 Special case, the mag primer provided more consistent ballistics due to better ignition.  Today in the large pistol size, I believe Win (the ball powder people) only offer mag primers.  They eveidently think mags should be used in all large pistol applications with their powder.  If you start getting any misfires or delayed ignition, needless to say, stop using it immediately.  Hope this helps and good luck.

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Re: Okay, you 'ol timers.

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