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hawkeye270's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Triple 7 Powder Clumping?

I just had a buddy tell me that he opened an old (atleast 4-5 years) bottle of triple 7 powder and it had started to clump. I have never heard of this but my only inclination is that the powder must have been exposed to moisture at some point. I told him that he probably ought to dispose of the powder.

Anyone had this problem before and have any ideas what it could be.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
That would be my guess. 

That would be my guess.  Maybe the lid wasn't secured properly, and some moisture got in.  Not sure what else it would be. 

I don't think there would be a problem using that for shooting at the range, but I would not trust it on an actual hunt.

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
never heard of it

I've never had a problem with triple seven clumping.  If it does, I agree that it most likely got wet.

Real black powder can be dried and returned to perfectly good functioning, but I'm not sure about 777 or pyrodexx.  Still they sell both in pellet form so maybe clumping is not really an issue for effectiveness anyway.

In any case, i agree that I'd recommend range testing it (a lot) before I actually tried hunting with it.

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
powder clumping

"Hygroscopy is the ability of a substance to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment through either absorption or adsorption with the adsorbing or absorbing material becoming physically 'changed.'"

I just posted this definition on another topic.  As far as I know, this can happen to all gunpowders.  That's one reason powder manufacturers recommend that you store your powders in tightly closed containers in a dry place.

Where I notice the most clumping is in my .410 shotshell reloader with Win 296 powder.  It is ofter several months between my .410 shotshell loading sessions.  The 296 powder in the hopper will absorb just enouth moisture from the air that it will clump and not fall through the small .410 powder bushing.  So every time I start to reload .410 shells, I take off the powder/shot hoppers and turn them upside down a couple of times to break up all of the powder clumps.  Then they load fine.

If the clumping is minor enough that the clumps completely break up when you turn the can upside down a few times, then I don't think the burning rate of the powder has been adversely affected.  However, if this turning process does not break up the clumps, I would not use that powder. 

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