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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This weekend my wife and I went to Blackfoot to see our kids and we had a great time with our family. It was busy and fast moving and fun and at one point we went through a ouple of antique shops which my wife and I always do when we travel.

I found this open can of Hercules HERCO Smokeless Shotgun Powder. The inventory date from the antique shop is dated 10-11-06. It is about 1/3 full and has not had a lid on it for the entire duration that they had it. I bought the can as a collectable item only however I am going to load a round with it and see how it performs. I tried burning a scale pan full of it and it flashed as fast as fresh powder with no problem. It no longer has it's original nitro smell and in fact instead of having an ammonia smell it smalls like a burnt building. The reason it smells like a burn building is the antique store had an extensive fire and the gun powder smells like an ash tray because of the fire. Fortunatly the gun powder was a good distance from the fire so it was spared along with the surrounding antiques. Because of the fire most everything in the antique store was 60% off so I paid .80 cents for the HERCO.

A question for the reloaders. I am trying to find out if I the burn rate change will cause a danger if using it in a cartridge? Also, does anybody know what years this can was produced?

Thanks guys.
 

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Putting it in a cartridge, even if just one, implies that you are going to then load that cartridge into a gun to see if it works. In my opinion that is a REALLY dumb idea.

Aside from any change that might have happened over the years, or contamination from being open, YOU DON'T LOAD FROM OPEN CANS OF POWDER!!

If you did not open it and break the seal yourself, you have no flippin' idea what is in that can.

You blow yourself up, and who the hell am I gonna rag, huh?

As to your "age" question, that type paper can is what Hercules powder came in when I started loading, in '76 or 7, and I think they went to the plastic cans about ten or fifteen years ago.
 

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That other powder in your pic..M&M powder? Havnt ever seen that. Pistol or rifle?:rolleyes::D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Putting it in a cartridge, even if just one, implies that you are going to then load that cartridge into a gun to see if it works. In my opinion that is a REALLY dumb idea.

Aside from any change that might have happened over the years, or contamination from being open, YOU DON'T LOAD FROM OPEN CANS OF POWDER!!

If you did not open it and break the seal yourself, you have no flippin' idea what is in that can.

You blow yourself up, and who the hell am I gonna rag, huh?

As to your "age" question, that type paper can is what Hercules powder came in when I started loading, in '76 or 7, and I think they went to the plastic cans about ten or fifteen years ago.
Yes, I know exactly what you are saying about being the correct powder type which is why my mind was wondering about firing it from a distance. Problem is I need a "Dummy" gun. Trust me, I have thought about all the particulars involving the dangers and there is no way I am going to hold a firearm in my hand and pull the trigger when I truly don't have any idea if the powder is truly what the can says. That was my first question to myself when I looked into the can. I was surprised to see it ignite so quickly and that is when I began pondering setting up a handgun in a vise with a chronograph and attaching a string and firing it. The only thing is I don't want to ruin a gun. I know Alpo, maybe you could loan me one of your guns and then you could really rip on me when it turns to pieces in the desert. :D I would prefer a 45 Colt and I would like to put about 9ish grains behind a 230 grain bullet. It is 5:30 am so forgive me if my brain is not engaged yet but that seems to be the right load from memory. We used to shoot this powder at times.

Yes I agree, holding the gun and firing it would be REALLY dumb. I would just like to know, would the powder perform?
 

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How close is Meridian to Salmon? I understand Elmer used to blow up a gun (or six) in his experimenting. Living in Idaho do something to the brain? Too much potato fumes in the air?
 

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If it's been open to the air for an undetermined amount of time, then I wouldn't even consider using it. There is no way to know if it is actually Herco in the can. Might be Red Dot, might be BlueDot, might be ?????.
You've got to have some flowers or garden stuff that needs fertilizer.

And as an aside, that's not that old of a can. It looks like it still has the metal pop-top instead of the plastic pop-up spout. IIRC, the metal lid was used up to the mid or late 70s. If there's a date code and lot & on it it should be on the bottom of the can
It is interesting because it's still using the Hercules brand name though.
Here's an old Hercules Bullseye can. And yes, I have tried it...the can still had the paper cap seal (looked similar to a tax seal on a whiskey bottle lid) on it when I bought it but like a young dumb kid I opened it up and started using it. DOH!
 

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I used Herco back in the 1980's as a pistol powder. I have a can just like that and it was bought sometime in the mid 1980's. It is over half full. Didn't think it was any better than 700X. I used 700X for my trap shotgun loads so switched to that for my plinking pistol loads. I sure wouldn't use any powder that had been left open, nor would I use powder that others had opened and used out of. You never know what has went back in that can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How close is Meridian to Salmon? I understand Elmer used to blow up a gun (or six) in his experimenting. Living in Idaho do something to the brain? Too much potato fumes in the air?
The funny thing is I know where an old Stevens shotgun is that I am sure I could have. I haven't blown a gun up yet but one never knows. :D
 

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curiosity killed the cat.

instead I would dump it and save the empty can
 
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