Modern powder cans....collectible?

Not my world Do folks collect these? They are sealed full as far as I can tell. Certainly I can post on buy/sell/trade but advise me first

Barely collectible, garage sale more likely. Too common. Still, nice cans.

Leave em full ?

I collect DU PONT cans , if you want I pick them up at SLICS !

The current ones are all plastic, so yours are a few decades old.
I collect them casually, not hard-core.

If they are still full and sealed, you may get more for the powder than the can.

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Pepper, in my experience most folks won’t want the powder. If you are a serious reloader you want to know how your powder has been stored and that is has been kept properly, as poor storage can affect stability and results. From a collectors perspective you can very quickly get a large amount of powder and the hazard starts to get out of hand. I hold on to cans as they pass through and have a number of modern cans (100+) and take all of the powder out where it gets burned for training/demonstration purposes on demolition ranges. If you want, seal it in an ammo can or such and bring it with you this weekend and I’ll get rid of it, we have a range day coming up in two weeks.

It took a little while to find these old pics…

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The “cube” cans with the ‘pop-top’ are becoming collectable, and the 1 pounders with paper labels to some extent. The painted label cans - not so much. Empty there is a market through ebay, if you’re inclined.

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A friend of mine has a gun shop that has been in continuous operation since 1949. His father used to buy bulk surplus powder and repackage it in mostly the square pop-top cans his job as a kid in the 50’s was labeling the cans with their shop’s label with the type and wt. and filling the cans and seating and sealing the tops with a capping tool that still is bolted to the bench. They made jacketed bullets under their name and I think Pete D has one of the bullet boxes. He has been selling these old cans pictured in this thread on Ebay and gunbroker. So somebody is interested in them.

Personally, I would not waste the powder by opening and burning it.
As a long time reloader, (54 years), I have used powder as old as those cans are, IF they are unopened, and IF there is no sign of damage to the cans that would compromise the powder. The older cardboard containers are another matter altogether since moisture can permeate the container.
The small amount of rust/discolouration on those would appear to be negligible.
I would take them to a gun show to sell, with a note that you offer no warranty… Just my opinion.

Some of the powders deteriorate at a different rate than others. I have also used older powders that were stored properly and showed no signs of degradation. Still smelled of solvents, no acrid acid odor, or rust/powder discoloration. Especially some of the faster double base powders have appeared OK, but in performance were not at all consistent. One of the reasons PB was discontinued by Hodgdon was its short storage life and dramatic performance loss. (as well as an increase in corrosion caused by residue). Recent recalls of powder by several companies have shown that some compounds do not store well. Powder is too cheap to risk using the older supplies. Use it for fertilizer or burn it in small quantities in a safe area. Save the cans

What is common today may be hard to find tomorrow.
If you collect for the fun of it and the history, not for the investment,
than you will never be disappointed . :-)


Anything can be collectable but not everything is valuable.

Badger Jack is right.

I’ve been loading my Swedish mauser from an 8 pounder of 4350 as you have here & it shoots fine.

As long as it smells like ether, the powder should be good.

Post them locally for about 2/3rds what modern powder is going for & I bet someone would pick them up.


With all due respect, Badger Jack is right, within the limited spectrum that he has observed. We tend to make judgements based on how we have treated materials, expecting the same treatment is applied by others. Spend some time looking at how others have sometimes stored and dealt with materials poorly and you quickly become a little more critical.

I very recently assisted in the cleanup of an ordnance collection which included the gentleman’s reloading area. From the reloading area in his garage I pulled 59 1lb cans of powder and over 30,000 primers. The garage was not climate controlled, and it was in the mid 90’s each day that we were there. Many of the powder cans were in sealed and new condition. They varied from the cardboard cans to steel to plastic. I noted cans where the powder was now a solid, I also noted cans where the powder was now a liquid. There were sealed cans that had bulged and popped their factory seal. To make matters worse, other chemicals/materials were stored in the area which had corroded through (corrosive brass cleaners, etc) and in some cases leaked down onto both powders and primers.
I have seen reloading areas that were immaculate, with energetics stored as they should be, cool and dry, and I have seen complete disasters. Seeing only cans like these, with no context or history, I would be extremely cautious.

Doing disposal burns using recovered powders you get to see the complete range of variance. I’ve seen like-new cans of powder that simply didn’t burn, and I’ve seen cans that burned much more violently than expected. Within trade journals (IABTI) in the last few years there have been some excellent articles on gunpowders and their stabilizers, and what can go wrong when the stabilizers break down, with interesting results. On individual cartridges we may see corrosion, on containers above 1lb where the heat can build and accelerate the reaction, we may see combustion. I’m not up to date on the current QASAS regulations, but back in the day the storage limit for military powders was 5 years, and for good reason.

As mentioned before, there are a lot of things that I don’t actively “collect” but that I acquire and hold on to for training purposes. Here are some of my powder cans from local burns and donations. Each can is somehow different, even though some are for the same powders.


Like “Collector Plates” and etc. (inherited from my father-in-law’s estate) Anyone want a dozen or so?

for USSubs ,the black winchester can on your first picture had ribs behind the sticker ? (like the last row of cans on your last picture)

do you had picture on upper and bottom ?

You do have some neat containers there!
I do not collect the plastic bottles.
I am actually getting ready to part with my collection of old powder cans, some still sealed.

US Subs.
You are in luck. When I was aggressively collecting powder tins, I also picked up the modern ones too, even though they did not interest me much. I have started to clean out the basement section where they are stored. Some have been thrown out already. However, I will save all of the rest and the next show where I can cross the border and we can meet up, I will bring you a bunch. I suspect there are some that you don’t have, and many duplicates. The price is right, $0.00. Just remind me when the border opens.

A plastic can some Canadian’s might like.
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