.30-06 "FA PM 33" propellant

This is a general question about propellant, even though I am using this partucular example. Would you save the gun powder after inerting a live round? Is there any historical value in keeping it? I feel that I may just toss the gun powder, but maybe there are other ideas. I inert a lot of of old ammo because I feel that eventually the gun powder will destroy cartridges. In this case the neck cracked from age and gun powder was exposed to air.

Nitrocellulose propellant is made from a base substance (cellulose, originally obatined from cotton, later from wood, just like paper) of natural origin. Be it cotton or wood, no substance of natural origin is constant in its properties. As a consequence, the propellant in a cartridge is the result of mixing several diffeerent production lots into a blend that gives the desired ballistics.
Therefore, the propellant from a cartridge (of a given lot) is more or less unique in its properties. The propellant of each lot is different from the properties found in other lots. Beyond outside appearance, the propellant from a given cartridge will differ in its properties from the average in an unpredictable way.

Being a complex mixture of mostly organic substances, propellants change over time, even if they are considered stable. (U.S. propellants from late WW1 and German propellants from late WW2 are definitely not stable, for example.) The propellant as found today in an old cartridge, never has exactly the same properties it had when loaded.
From the viewpoint of history of technology, the value of old propellant is therefore very limited, mostly because today its properties have changed -possibly considerably- from the time it was loaded into cartridges. An exception is the outward appearance, which remains relatively constant for stable propellants, even if ballistic properties change notably.

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Sprinkle it on your lawn ,not bad fertilizer.

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Nice colors in an out door fire place too.

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That is what I do: “Magic trick” around the campfire.

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If there is a question of which of two, or more, propellants were used in loading a given round it can be useful to at least shake a few granules on a piece of white paper and stick this in the photocopier for a visual record. If a particular cartridge was loaded with a long stick propellant and a short one (often the case in US production in this period) your visual record will at least suggest which of the two was in the round you dismantled. It can’t hurt. Jack

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There is a historic value, just not something that cartridge collectors normally consider. Falls more under forensics and other areas of study. I’ve got a number of samples that I have held onto, then other collections that I have been “gifted” over the years. 4-5 drawers full going back into the 1800s. It is beginning to take up too much room (plus I like to limit the amount of powders) so I’m looking at moving it on. After Xmas this group will most likely be moving east.

![IMG_0136|690x517] (upload://5bwUqaGmXyhsoXy6NoXrN8PDEPX.jpeg)

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Thanks for sharing. This is an excellent collection showing what I called outside appearance in my message.