If you’ve tried to buy powder lately, you know that many of the most popular propellants are in short supply. To find out when we can expect powder supplies to catch up with the increased consumer demand, we headed to the Hodgdon Powder Company booth at SHOT Show. There we met up with Chris Hodgdon.
Chris understands that people are frustrated with the current shortages. But Chris assured us that his company is moving aggressively to get more powder on store shelves. Production is being stepped up and Chris said his employees are working “nights and weekends” to increase propellant shipments. But there is no “quick fix”. Chris reports: “We are trying to fill as much of the demand as we can right now, but we have got way more demand than supply obviously right now…”
Try Alternative Powders with Similar Burn Rates
For those customers who can’t find their favorite powder (such as Varget or H4350) right now, Chris suggests trying similar-burn-rate IMR- and Hodgdon-brand powders that are currently available in ample quantities. For example, Chris suggested that Varget users try IMR 4064. This powder offers excellent accuracy and a very similar burn rate. Likewise, if you can’t find H4350 you can try IMR 4350 or H414. Fans of H335 powder will find that Benchmark and CFE 223 are suitable replacement powders.
Of course, when changing to a different powder you can’t simply substitute loads. That’s a big no-no. You need to consult a good load manual or find a safe starting load on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center. But you may find that, with a little load development effort, your “second choice” or “third choice” powder options shoot just as well as a previous favorite. We know guys who switched from Varget to IMR 8208 XBR in the .308 Win and they liked the 8208 XBR so well they never looked back.