March 18th, 2020

Can’t Find Varget or Reloder 15? Then Try IMR 4320

IMR 4320 Varget Powder Hodgdon reloading 6mm Dasher

IMR 4320 Varget Powder Hodgdon reloadingWhile Varget and Reloder 15 remain in short supply, you can often find IMR 4320 powder back in the shelves of local gun stores. IMR describes IMR 4320 as follows: “Short granulation, easy metering, and perfect for the 223 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 250 Savage and other medium burn rate cartridges.” This older-generation powder is considerably more temp sensitive than the Hodgdon Extreme propellants, but in the right application, it looks to be a viable alternative for folks who can’t source Varget, Reloder 15, and even H4895.

IMR 4320 Shoots Well in the .308 Winchester
A while back, GS Arizona wrote an excellent Riflemans Journal article, IMR 4320 — the Forgotten Powder. GS developed IMR 4320 loads for his .308 Win Palma rifle and competed with IMR 4320-powered ammo at long range matches. He concluded that: “[IMR 4320] appears to be a very useful alternative to some of the harder-to-get powders. The load is working extremely well at 1000 yards. In the [2009] Arizona Palma State Championship, several high-placing competitors were using the 4320 load. We got sub X-Ring elevation at 1000 yards from several rifles, and that’s all I’m looking for in a Palma load.”

IMR 4320 Works for Dasher Shooter
Forum member FalconPilot shoots a 6mm Dasher with Berger 105gr Hybrids. Looking for an alternative to Varget, he decided to give IMR 4320 a try. The results were good. FalconPilot reports: “I’ve been looking for other options (besides Reloder 15, which I love, but it’s really dirty). While at a gun shop in Ohio, I ran across 8 pounds of IMR 4320. I had never even heard of it, much less tried it. Getting ready for upcoming mid-range shoots, I loaded five rounds with IMR 4320 to the exact same specs as my winning Varget loads for the 6mm Dasher. This recipe was 32.7 grains of powder, Wolf SMR primer, Berger Hybrid 105 jumped fifty thousandths.” Falcon pilot tested his IMR 4320 load at 600 yards:

As you can see from the photo at the top of this article, FalconPilot had good results — a 1.5″ group at 600 yards. He reports: “This group was shoot during the middle of the day, mirage bad, scope set to 25X. It looks like IMR 4320 is a [very close] replacement for Varget… with a tad bit slower burn rate.” FalconPilot tell us the accuracy with IMR 4320 rivals the best he has gotten with Varget: “This gun has always shot under 2 inches [for 5 shots] at 600 yards, and most of time shoots 1.5 to 1.7 inches.”

For comparison purposes, here are Heat of Explosion and Burn Rate values from QuickLOAD for IMR 4320, and for the popular Reloder 15 and Varget powders. You can see that these powders have similar characteristics “by the numbers”:

Manufacturer Powder Brand Heat of Explosion Burning Rate Factor
IMR 4320 3890 0.5920
Alliant Reloder 15 3990 0.5200
Hodgdon (ADI) Varget 4050 0.6150

WARNING — When changing from one powder to another, always start with manufacturer’s stated load data. Start low and work up incrementally. Never assume that loads will be equivalent from one powder to another, even powders with similar burn rates.

What Other Forum Members Say:

I was using IMR 4320 in the mid 70s in my .222 Rem. Darned great powder and I never had a load that was not accurate from the .222 to .30-06 with that powder. — 5Spd

A fine powder overshadowed by the nouveau wave of “gotta have the newest — make me a better shot” powders. Try 4320 in a 22-250 — what a well-kept secret! IMR 4320 meters very well and is a flexible alternative to many of the hard-to-find powders so much in demand. — AreaOne

IMR 4320 was my “go to” powder in my .223 for many many years. This powder and Winchester 55gr soft point bulk bullets (the cheapest bullet I could buy at the time) accounted for thousands of prairie dogs, coyotes, and anything else that needed shooting. I still use IMR 4320 in some .223 loads and am very happy with it still. — pdog2062

I’ve been using it in a .308 Win for several years. I think it is very sensitive to temperature and always waited till the last minute to load my ammo with a close eye on the weekend forecast at the range. IMR 4320 Works pretty good for 155gr Palma and 168gr Hybrid [bullets] in my .308. — JayC

IMR 8208 XBR is also good — if you can find it
Another good substitute for Varget powder in a .223 Rem or .308 Winchester is IMR 8208 XBR. In our own .308 Win tests, this generated slightly more velocity than Varget, with good ES/SD. However, this very good IMR 8208 XBR powder is out-of-stock at many vendors.

IMR 8208 XBR powder

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March 18th, 2020

Sales of Guns and Ammo Spike with Coronavirus Concerns

gun ammo sales pandemic coronavirus covid-19 california

Today a friend, who has never owned a gun before, called this Editor to ask for firearms recommendations after California officials announced a lock-down of six California counties, home to 6.7 million people. He wanted a gun for defense of his home and family (he has a wife and two young boys).

This story is being repeated around the country as many Americans seek to acquire guns for home defense, many for the first time. There are also concerns that governmental emergency powers, put into place to deal with the Coronovirus pandemic, will be used to throttle the sales of guns and/or ammunition.

gun ammo sales pandemic coronavirus covid-19 california

In some cities in California, people are lining up around the block to buy guns and ammo. Many do not realize ID is required and there are background checks and waiting periods. Apparently they believed false media reports that firearms are easy to acquire. Our friend Vu Pham posted on Facebook: “Had several calls today [from acquaintances] asking me about buying their first firearm. They were shocked that they had to wait 10 days to actually take possession.”

Ammoland.com reports: “Gun and ammunition sales are surging around the country, including the Pacific Northwest, thanks apparently to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential for, as noted by the Daily Wire, ‘a breakdown in civil order or even a suspension of weapons sales’.”

As reported by KTVU News, in Vallejo, Calif., “More panic buying has erupted due to the coronavirus. And in addition to disinfectants and other household goods, guns and survival gear are in demand.”

Dan Mitchell, owner of Sporting Systems in Vancouver, told Ammoland News via email, “400,000 rounds (of ammunition) sold last week. Line around the block.”

The Sacramento Bee interviewed Gabriel Vaughn, owner of Sportsman’s Arms in Petaluma, CA. Seeing many first-time buyers, Vaughn stated that people’s attitudes about guns have changed now that they feel threatened: “People … tell me that they don’t like guns, but they’re here to begrudgingly buy one.”

What if a neighbor asks to borrow a weapon for defense? You should follow all federal, state, and local laws. You need to be aware of the laws concerning firearms transfers, if the gun leaves your immediate control. This is not just like sharing a gun at the range. Dennis Santiago notes: “It is a illegal in California to transfer a firearm without a background check and waiting period. Tell that to your non-gun friends when they ask to borrow a gun. They will ask. The answer is NO.”

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