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Expired bear spray still effective?


bencuri
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I have a can of Sabre Frontiersman bear spray, that has a label: best before 2022. I wonder if these sprays are still effective after this deadline, or they indeed become useless? Anyone have info or experience?

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Bear spray loses pressure over time. If I feel a need to, I personally (and with caution) utilize my expired cans for practice and buy new cans to replace expired cans as needed.

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Michael aka Mac

I concur with Aaron.  Potentially, the Bear spray could possibly be used up to 2 years past expiration date, if kept in ideal conditions, (cool, dark location), and the contents of the spray will still be effective years past the expiration date, but as Aaron stated, the pressure will slowly dissipate.

The effective distance will definitely start to diminish when passing the expiration date.

With regard to disposal, you would have to empty the canister prior to throwing it away.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Loss of propellant seems to be what most web resources indicate is the potential problem.
I would guess you might gradually lose range the canister sprays over time.
If you are in black bear country I wouldn't be too concerned a year or two past the date since black bears are usually easier to scare.
The same is probably true for wolves or mountain lions. 
If you are in griz territory... well... how close do you want that death machine to get before it hits the spray?  Just sayin

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Michael aka Mac

@JamesD   James realize it isn't just how long ago the bear repellant expired, but the conditions it was kept at. If kept in high temperatures, it is more likely the pressure has diminished due to the Ideal Gas Law, PV=NRT.

Life and death situations one should never play Russian Roulette with. It is always better to be safe than sorry, or in this case, eaten...

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1 hour ago, Michael aka Mac said:

@JamesD   James realize it isn't just how long ago the bear repellant expired, but the conditions it was kept at. If kept in high temperatures, it is more likely the pressure has diminished due to the Ideal Gas Law, PV=NRT.

Life and death situations one should never play Russian Roulette with. It is always better to be safe than sorry, or in this case, eaten...

PV=NRT doesn't account for the design of the container or the valve.
Given the proper container, you could raise temps by hundreds of degrees with zero leakage.
Clearly, that won't be the case here, but there has to be some tolerance for increased pressure in the design or people couldn't even wear it in the sun without it leaking.
If the increased pressure is that much of an issue, storing the canister improperly could cause it to fail well before the expiration date.
If you go down that road, you could also damage the valve mechanism, and cause it to leak, or just render it inoperable.

There may be other reasons for the expiration date besides leakage. 
Some of the ingredients might crystalize or form chunks that could clog the sprayer. 
Or it could just be to limit their legal liability, and that date is what they think retailers or consumers will tolerate.

Since people's lives may depend on this, maybe we should all look at this a bit more proactively.
We should be careful how we store bear spray. 
It should be stored vertically, and within safe temperatures.
The contents of the container isn't just some odorless gas that dissipates, and it leaves a residue.
If you store the container vertically, leakage should leave some evidence.
You should examine the container for damage, residue, and very carefully smell the canister every time you take it with you.
If it looks or smells suspicious, don't use it even if it's not to the expiration date.
If it looks, and smells okay after the expiration date... you may not have to run right to the store for a replacement.   Just remember the valve in these is closer to the design of a can of hairspray than a propane tank.
 

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Michael aka Mac

You are correct, clogging of the nozzle can also be the culprit. 

One interesting tidbit, I was reading an article about a man that was getting attacked by a Grizzly bear, and had sprayed the entire contents of the canister at the bears eyes.  Sadly, it didn't stop the bear, and the man was badly injured.

Repellent, deterrent, they are not a guarantee, so if one is in a state where it is legal to carry a rifle, and has their license to carry, that would be the only true way to protect one's self from a bear attack.

also another fun tidbit,  from what I can tell, this excerpt came from a newspaper, & no matter which point of view you take this, it still gets the point across.

"Bear attacks Marine, lives to tell about it."

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