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I have been reloading with Bullseye powder for most of the summer and have left the powder in my RCBS powder dispenser over the same time period. I went to change my powder over to W231 last night and was horrified to see that the powder had somehow reacted with the plastic. The powder was all stuck together and their was some kind of a gooey substance or film on the surface of the plastic. The clear plastic tube was fine with no reaction but the green plastic in the bottom of the dispenser had been attacked by the powder.

I was able to get it cleaned up to where I could use it again by using a chissel to scrape the surface with and following with steel wool, choke cleaner and rubbbing alchol. It doesn't look pretty anymore but, it is cleaned out.

Does anyone have any similiar experience? Should the powder have attacked the plastic in this manner? Is this unique to Bullseye powder? Has anyone ever cleaned up a simiar mess and if so what was your procedure? If anyone can elaborate on this, I would appreciate it.

I believe I will be removing the powder after each reloading session from here on out. I believe that most reloading manuals recommend doing this anyway but I believe it is for different reasons.

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Colt Shooter,

The nitrogen in the powder will react with the plastic in the dispenser and will etch the powder into the plastic. If the powder has only been left for a short time you may be able to pick it off with a tool. If not you may be in the market for a new dispenser.
 

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I'm definitely not a chemist, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that during the manufacturing process, powder is washed in some sort of solvent. If this is true, it could be a contributing factor in attacking plastic. Just my .02.-TR
 

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The nitroglycerine in double base powders is a plasticizer for some grades of thermoplastics. Bullseye contains 40% nitroglycerine, the highest of any currently manufactured powder. My Dillon and MEC hoppers are discolored by constant exposure to W231 and 700X, both double base powders, maybe just by picking up graphite from the coating but I do not have signs of attack. I do not leave powder in my green RCBS. My CH measure was turning yellow from exposure to W231 so I lined it with a piece of glass tubing. Old powder measures had metal or glass hoppers but plastic is cheaper and they instruct you not to leave powder in them. I don't think that reasonable for a progressive reloader; it is hard to dismount the measure to dump it. Fortunately Dillon and MEC appear to have resistant plastic and I fixed the CH.
 

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Maybe I'm just old and finicky, but I never have powder in my measurer except when I am actually loading. On rare occasions I may take a break for an hour or so but even then I turn out the lights and shut the door. I'm using a 650 and I just pull the two pins and remove the tool holder, measurer and all to dump the powder back in the original factory can.
 

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I, too, have found that powder will adhere to the inside of the powder hopper on my Uniflow RCBS powder dispenser. The problem is worse with Bullseye than with most other powders.

The disgusting part is, my RCBS documentation that came with the dispenser says there is no need to remove the powder between loading sessions. But I learned long ago not to believe that.

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This problem and the risk of misidentification is the reason reloading manuals all say not to leave powder in a measure. The last manual I recall reading indicated the powder properties might be affected in just a few days, but I didn't realize the plastic could be attacked by the powder.
 

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Walking Point - I believe one of the primary reasons for not storing powder in the measurer, along with safety, is that any form of light accelerates the decomposition process.
 

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Well, you guys have convinced me. I won't be leaving the powder in the hopper any more.

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I had that happen to me too. Just call RCBS up at 800-533-5000 and they will replace it free of charge. Gotta love that!!
 

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This is not just a problem with RCBS dispensers. I asked Dillon about this - just got my 650XL
- and this etching will happen in their dispensers too.
 

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Been there, done that. My RCBS green cylinder is pretty ugly now too. Thanks Sheldon for the tip about the replacement.
 

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I guess I have been lucky. Never had the problem--measures have been full of various powder for several years. Bullseye, 231, 2400, 748, and others. I do load a lot so same powder is not in the measures a long time, however measure is not empty.

My reloading room is dark except when I am in it. I cover all powder measures with white socks. The room is cool, air conditioned and low humidity. I don't know if the above have anything to do with the situation or not. Measures--Dillon, Lee, and others. GLV
 

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When this happens to the RCBS powder hopper, it's not just staining that occurs, it's the powder literally fusing to the plastic. I have left powder in my Dillon powder measures and have not had this happen. The Dillon and the other brand measures I've used just get a little discolored.
 

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This happened to my Uniflow and RCBS sent a replacement. BUT for the life of me I have not been able to get the old plastic sleeve off. I really do not want to just smack it off with a hammer.

Does anyone have a neat trick to get the discoloured one off?

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Most powders do contain some residual solvent. I have smelled acetone and other solvent odors in every can I open. I am a Chemist and work with these solvents everyday. Acetone will attack most plastics. I think the powder companies use the solvents as a liquid carrier when they coat the powder with flash inhibitors, antistatic coatings, etc. I always try to empty the powder measure when I am done so the plastic does not get eaten up or fogged up.
 

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Originally posted by Peter M. Eick:
This happened to my Uniflow and RCBS sent a replacement. BUT for the life of me I have not been able to get the old plastic sleeve off. I really do not want to just smack it off with a hammer.

Does anyone have a neat trick to get the discoloured one off?

Go ahead and SMACK IT, then press the new one in place, ALWAYS empty the measure when not in use...
 

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Hmmmm....I always leave some powder in my Lee Auto-disk hopper. No problems yet. Sometimes powder will sit there for 3 months undisturbed with no ill-effects?
 
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