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Got this from a user over at Gunboards.com. Has anyone here seen this?

Warning surplus IMR-5010 powder users!!!!!
I run a long range shooting club here in NM. Yesterday a member approached me with a question about a powder he is using. He said " it's fuming" ........What?
I walked down and sure enough the powder was outgassing a very heavy oder of ammonia and Nitric Acid fumes. The powder was slowly turning sticky and had,from over night, corroded the brass cases and the projectiles.
This powder is milsurp pull down IMR-5010 powder that was sold in bulk from the long gone Talon company. Weidners and Pats reloading sells this powder in black plastic 8 pound jugs. There are no lot numbers or dates on the label.
I have been reloading since 1964 and have never seen this happen before. As you know nitro-cellulose uses Nitric Acid to make the propellant. Some how the acid was not neutralized correctly. When the acid is not removed from the powder grains, the deterent coating will break down and uncontrolled burning will happen. The powder may detonate rather than burn
If any of you have any powder that was OK a few months ago you may want to check it again. This powder was normal just last winter. Now it is breaking down. It was stored in a cool room. It was not left in the sunlight.
Chris at Weiders has been notified. Pat at Pat's Reloading has been left a message.
The club member is scrubbing his equipment with baking-soda and water to stop the acid from corroding his electronic scale,brass,bullets,etc.
Please check your powder.
 

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That explanation isn't very accurate, IMO. Any powder can degrade, this is not a 5010 issue. The explanation given by the author is a jump to a conclusion. Just because since 1964 HE hasn't seen anything like this does not make it uncommon, nor does it make the problem the result of some kind of acid neutralization issue.

The problem description is a classic for powder degradation. High storage temperatures, unsealed or leaky container, even humidity (to a point) can cause this to happen. Sometimes it happens for no apparent reason, but something pushed the powder to a state where it started breaking down. The nitric acid is the product of powder breakdown, not some residual from the manufacturing process.

It's wise to check any powder before using it. If discolored, fuming, if an acrid odor is present, if metal containers are obviously corroded from within, toss the powder.
 

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Gunslinger
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How come you never see this kind of degradation in loaded ammo? I have yet to shoot a round that was left in a hot pickup for a year or two that didnt shoot fine.
 

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For one thing, the reaction is more likely when more powder is present. Once begun in one grain of powder, a chain-reaction is quite likely.

Like winning the lottery.

I've seen bloopers, inaccuracies, FTF and hang-fire in poorly-stored ammo.

I've also seen powder gone bad (green dot). Checking with the manufacturer, no report of bad lot or other problems were found with the lot I had that went bad. One thing I do believe, powder manufacturers are the last of a dying, honest breed of capitalists.

If anything, military powders are made to the same or better spec as commercial powders. You can't fight a war with second-rate munitions.
 

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Gunslinger
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Just wondering. I found a bag of SWCs my father had for probably 10-15 years or more. They all shot without any issues. I knew powder can degrade in a fairly short time if left in the can, however I haven't had many issues with loaded ammo. Though I have had a couple of .50bmg rounds cook off in a training enviroment while I was on active duty.
 

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Just my opinion. In any case, it's a good idea to check any bulk powder before using it. Cheers!
 

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I have a bunch and I've had the same issue.. it's going bad and destroyed a fair number of cases,, and it sucks.. expensive.. also seems to run some high pressures as well when it's fired.. not good..
 

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B2B - thanks for sharing the pictures.
 

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aka: SDK1968
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yeah I've got a few cans also.. bummer expensive lesson to learn.. I got a bunch of 5010 when it was cheap and not it's not cheap.. anymore.. the bullets are salvage but the cases and primers and powder is scrap..
 

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aka: SDK1968
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so your saying i shouldnt shoot this at all? :-(

i was gonna clean it off & shoot it up next time we got the 50 out.....
 

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I'd not shoot it unless your going to shoot it in a M-2. even then that's a maybe.. I'd break it down to components = recycle the cases burn the powder and salvage the projos.. it's not safe to shoot if it's been corroded..to that level, and that powder maybe dangerous, may burn too slow and cause high pressure..
 

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aka: SDK1968
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hee hee... you do know me...

M2/3 AC with a crank.. :)
 
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