April 1st, 2014

DOT Approves New 1000-grain (2.3 oz.) Powder Containers

DOT small powder bottlesHere’s big (and small) news for reloaders — get ready for smaller powder containers. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently approved new smaller containers for shipment of smokeless powder. The new containers are designed to hold 1000 grains, exactly one-seventh of a pound. That works out to 2.29 ounces of powder — quite a bit less than you are getting currently with one-pound (16 oz.) containers.

Here how it works out:
7000 grains = 1 pound = 16 ounces
1000 grains = 0.143 pounds = 2.29 ounces

Many products — from cereal boxes to Snickers bars — have been down-sized in recent years. Now downsizing has come to the powder marketplace. The strategy behind the smaller containers is simple. In a market where demand vastly outstrips available supply, the smaller containers allow powder-makers to generate more revenue with a given amount of powder inventory. Will consumers accept the smaller powder containers? Probably so — 1000 grains is enough to load 20-22 rounds of .308 Winchester. In the current marketplace (with many powders virtually impossible to find), most consumers would probably prefer to get 2.3 ounces of their favorite powder, rather than nothing at all. (NOTE: The major powder suppliers will continue to offer popular powders in 1-lb, and 8-lb containers. The new 1000-grain containers will be phased-in over time, as an alternative to the larger containers).

DOT small powder bottles

Why the small bottles? One industry spokesman (who asked not to be named) explained: “We’ve had a severe shortage of smokeless powder for nearly two years. The powder production plants are running at full capacity, but there’s only so much finished product to go around. By moving to smaller containers, we can ensure that our customers at least get some powder, even if it’s not as much as they want.”

Why are the new containers 2.3 ounces rather than 8 ounces (half a pound) or 4 ounces (one-quarter pound)? One of the engineers who helped develop the new DOT-approved container explained: “We looked at various sizes. We knew we had to reduce the volume significantly to achieve our unit quantity sales goals. Some of our marketing guys liked the four-ounce option — the ‘Quarter-Pounder’. That had a nice ring to it, but ultimately we decided on the 1000 grain capacity. To the average consumer, one thousand grains sounds like a large amount of powder, even if it’s really only 2.3 ounces. This size also made it much easier to bundle the powder in six-packs. We think the six-packs will be a big hit. You get nearly a pound of powder, but you can mix and match with a variety of different propellants.”

Less Bang for Your Buck?
We’re told the new 2.3-ounce powder bottles will retail for around $8.50, i.e. about $3.70 per ounce. At that price, it may seem like you’re getting less bang for your buck. Currently, when you can find it, high-quality reloading powder typically sells for $25-$30 per pound (in 1-lb containers). At $30 per pound, you’re paying $1.88 per ounce. That means that the new mini-containers will be roughly twice as expensive, ounce-for-ounce, as current one-pounders ($3.70 per ounce vs. $1.88 per ounce).

DOT small powder bottlesWhy is the DOT getting involved in powder packaging? Well, powders are considered hazardous materials, subject to many rules and regulations. Before a powder manufacturer or distributor can ship any propellant, all the hazmat packaging has to be first approved by the DOT to ensure safe shipping.

Along with the 2.3-ounce containers, the DOT has approved “six-pack” consolidated delivery units that will hold six, 1000-grain containers. Some manufacturers plan to offer “variety packs” with a selection of various powders in the 1000-grain bottles. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a six-pack with H322, H4895, Varget, H4350, H4831sc, and Retumbo?

Permalink - Articles, New Product, Reloading 58 Comments »
April 1st, 2014

Tech Tip: Keep Cartridges Horizontal During Long-Term Storage

Ever wonder why fine wine is always stored on its side? That’s not just for looks, or easier access when the sommelier (wine steward) visits the wine cellar. Wine bottles are stored horizontally, at a slight angle, to prevent the wine from oxidizing:

By intentionally storing a wine on its side, you will help keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle. When oxygen comes into contact with wine the result is not good – the wine starts to oxidize and the aromas, flavors and color all begin to spoil“. — About.com

wine rack ammo storage

Ammunition Should Also Be Stored Horizontally
So what does wine have to do with shooting? Well, it may surprise you, but over time, our cartridges can spoil, just like wine can — though not for the same reason. We don’t have the issue of oxygen seeping past the bullet (the “cork” as it were). However, when ammunition is stored nose-up or nose down, problems can arise. In a nose-up or nose-down configuration, over a long period of time, the powder column will compress, and the powder kernels can actually break down. This can lead to erratic ignition and/or dangerous pressures.

wine rack ammo storage

To avoid the problems associated with powder column compression and kernel break-down during long-term storage, take the time to orient your cartridges like wine bottles, i.e. placed flat on their side. Of course, this really isn’t necessary if you burn through your ammo relatively quickly. But, if you are storing cartridges “for the long haul”, take the time to arrange them horizontally. That may require a little extra effort now, but you’ll reap the rewards down the road.

This tip courtesy Anette Wachter, www.30CalGal.com.
Permalink Tech Tip 17 Comments »
April 1st, 2014

Ammo-Ventures.com Offers Offshore Ammo-Buying Holidays

The number one complaint among our readers is: “I can’t find any rimfire ammo … where did it all go?” Well, though .22 LR ammo is in very short supply in the United States, you can find plenty of rimfire ammo in other countries around the globe, including many of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. With the availability of cheap .22 LR ammo overseas, you may want to plan an ammo-buying adventure in an exotic location. Sun, sand, and ammo galore make for a perfect getaway.

Ammo-venture ammo buying vacations holiday

Ammo-venture ammo buying vacations holidayRecognizing the unprecedented demand for rimfire ammo, a new specialty travel company, Ammo-Ventures.com, is now offering “ammo buying spree” holidays in exotic destinations worldwide. Participants can jet off to Brazil, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Thailand. All Ammo-Ventures tour participants will be allowed to purchase up to $3000.00 worth of rimfire ammo while on holiday. Ammo-Ventures will handle all the packing and shipping chores, and will arrange for your ammo to be air-freighted right to your residence in the good old USA. In addition, if you’re itching to go shooting once you return home, you can pack a limited amount of rimfire ammo in your regular luggage. From most locations you can bring back up to ten boxes (i.e. 500 rounds) of rimfire ammo in your checked luggage.

Along with ammo-shopping sprees in exotic locations, Ammo-Ventures offers its customers a wide variety of adventurous diversions and “daily escapes”. In Costa Rica, you can enjoy the famous San Jose nightlife, raft a wilderness river, or go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Papagayo. In the Philippines, tour participants can go on a jungle jeep tour or dive idyllic, unspoiled coral reefs in Palawan province. In Thailand, Ammo-Ventures offers remote beach getaways, plus scintillating Pattaya nightlife.

Ammo-venture ammo buying vacations holiday

Ammo-venture ammo buying vacations holiday

About Ammo-Ventures LLC
Ammo-Ventures LLC was founded in 2013 by Frank “Cisco” Leland and Sam “Stinger” Yee, two seasoned world travelers who are also avid shooting enthusiasts. They personally accompany each Ammo-Venture holiday. For over two decades these rugged adventurers have organized exotic travel holidays including “romantic adventure” tours to Thailand, the Philippines and Costa Rica. Cisco Leland says: “With our interest in shooting and tropical destinations it seemed natural to organize specialty travel trips for shootists who need to stock up on ammo. With the current ammo shortage in the United States, it makes more sense than ever before to visit an ammo-rich, gun-friendly tropical destination. Now you can enjoy the sun and the fun, and come home with with a crate full of ammo. If that sounds like the perfect vacation… well it is!”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 11 Comments »