New Year load test , will a primed and loaded pistol fire after a year ?

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by jack404, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    I believe the Battleship Iowa's 16" guns were being loaded with WWII era BP when one of the bags of powder about to be breechloaded detonated, killing the gun crew--probably back in the 1980s. Remember reading that BP becomes unstable as it ages, and this stuff was stored in a humid barge, so I suspect if the powder is dry, it should go off just fine.
  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    nitro cellulose (Gun cotton ) as used in them big ones can break down

    but BP is what it is

    oh they aint used BP as a propellant in the navy since the end of the civil war ;)

    cheers
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  3. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    About 30 years ago there was a local man that found an 1861 Springfield barrel in his field. Decided it was what he needed to mend a broken gate hinge. He stuck the breech in his forge and the .58 minie ball took the top of his head off.
    That barrel was buried in the ground for over 120 years at the time. Not long ago a man was trying to deactivate a C.W. artillery shell in his driveway and blew himself up. Powder that's been taken off sunken ships has been dried out and worked fine. It doesn't go bad and it doesn't get unstable. It gets wet it doesn't work. It stays dry it does. It dries out it works.
  4. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    They use it for a priming charge.
  5. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    This past week I came across a spare cylinder I loaded 10 or 12 years ago - Goex FFFg, round balls, no wads, just some wax dribbled in front of the balls to seal the chambers. It was left uncapped, laying in a drawer.
  6. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

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    I loaded a 60 army one day. It started to rain I put it away in the safe, over a year later I pulled it out fired all rounds out of it. I had dabbed a a little crisco over the balls and the lube was clear but still in place. I thought for sure I have to drill and pull the loads
  7. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    A number of years ago, I escorted a US Army EOD team with a truck load of WBTS cannon balls to a deactivation area...These cannonballs were dredged from mud and water around an old fort after being submerged 130 years or so and destined to go to a museum after being rendered safe....

    The EOD guys set about 5 or 6 up at a time and proceed to blow holes in them with C4 shape charges...then take a water hose and wash out the black powder...This was faster and safer than drilling and surprisingly to me, only had a few 'high order'...It was cool to observe the power of a BP cannon ball from a safe distance...The thumb size piece of C4 made a rather impressive bang also...In every cannon ball they deactivated by this method, the powder was dry and quite active...The LT dumped out a pile from several of the larger balls on the gound, stuck a short fuse into it and demonstrated that...I was quite impressed with the 'FOOOOOOSH" and cloud of white smoke from 130+ year old BP ...

    One of the EOD team was wearing an Army drab T shirt that said on the back ...."U.S. ARMY EOD..If you can read this, youre not running fast enough." :eek:
  8. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    In my MUCH younger days, I enjoyed primative camping and forageing once in awhile...Head out to the woods with minimal supplies, blanket, poncho, BP Kentucky rifle and an 1851 Navy for foraging and 'comfort'...I pitched camp one afternoon as a big storm was brewing...Built my 'roost' several inches off the ground and hunkered down in my blanket under my poncho lean too...I had my Navy loaded, so I dripped some candle wax around the the primers as a precaution...Crisco sealed the bullets...

    The night turned into a 'frog-strangling-gully washer..It was a miserable night for me..I had stored my 'prepped' Navy beneath my hat that I was using as a pillow..Wrapped my powder horn and flask in my haversack with my matches and other supplies and stuck up a tree hollow..Didnt want that much BP under my ear in a lightning storm......During the night, my Navy slipped through the blanket and pine branch bedding ..:(...At dawn, I found it on the well soaked ground...Cleaned the muck and wet off then rubbed on some bacon fat to hopefully stop any rust...

    After getting a fire going from tinder and wood I had also stuck in the tree hollow, I figured Id better fire off the Navy and reload while the coffee/grits water boiled...No telling how much moisture had gotten into it after laying in the rain and runoff water during the night... I thumbed the hammer and snap....nothing...snap....nothing etc...humpfh..:rolleyes:...Primers were damp even with the wax I had supposedly sealed them with..:mad:.I replaced them with new dry ones from my haversack....Cocked the hammer, pulled the trigger, and pop-pooooof-fizzzz...hmmmm..bullet came out but not very well..:eek:.again....Pop-foosh-fizzzle...hmmm ..:confused:.same thing...etc...All 5 loads eventually fired with fresh primers, but not well enough to stop a charging jack-rabbit...I reloaded with dry powder and caps and fired a cylinder full to make sure it got dried out....Thus the importance of "Keeping yer Powder Dry." came to mind..Now I know why they didnt do much fightin' during rain in the old days of flint and percussion weapons...

    Oh...and BTW...My idea of 'roughing' it today is spending a night at Motel 6...:D..But it was fun way back then..
  9. tyc

    tyc New Member

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    It does "break down" over time. The almost clear, gummy liquid is known as exudate (not sure if I spelled that correctly but it's pronounced as you see it presented here) and it's not to be trifled with. Essentially it's nitrogliserine (not sure if I spelled that correctly either but you know what I'm talking about) and it's far LESS stable than black powder. Black powder is an entirely different "animal." Both nitro and BP should be given great "respect."

    I remember years ago seeing "home made" film of some divers who visited a wreck off the coast of New Jersery back in the sixties or so. The one individual had just come up from a wreck of what I believe was an old WWI American light Cruiser which for whatever reason had sunk there. One individual had retreived what looked like a 3" piece or ordinance and sitting at the stern, he was filmed wiping the "gunk" off of the shell and while still partially clad in his wet suit,he was filmed using a hammer as he tried to loosen the shell from it's brass casing. Why he and the guy with the camers weren't blown in half I guess can best be attributed to "... it wasn't their time."

    As Jack said, "BP is what it is" and as with nitro, it is to be treated with great respect - or you may wish to God you had.

    For what it's worth.

    tyc
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  10. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    tyc spot on! ...
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