October 18th, 2021

Memory Lane — The Price of Powder (How Things Have Changed)

historic hodgdon powder prices inflation chart table O.K. Weber

Have inflation (and supply chain shortages) affected the price of powder? You bet. Probably WAY more than you could imagine. Forum member “Two Time HM LR” posted this interesting photo (above) showing Hodgdon powder prices from 1978, as sold by O.K. Weber in Oregon.

Now the prices — $20 to $44 — may not get your attention at first. But then take note that these numbers are for EIGHT pound supplies. Yep eight-pounders were all under $45! For example, H4895 was $44 back in 1978, 43 years ago. And H335 was $20 for eight pounds — that’s just $2.50 per pound!

These days a single pound of a desirable powder such as H4831 might cost $65 at some stores IF you can find it at all. On Hodgdon’s web site H4831 has an MSRP of $41.99. Even using that somewhat reasonable $41.99/lb figure, the current price of H4831 is 763% higher than it was in 1978!

Here are some comments from our Forum Members:

“Heck those prices are just about the same as current ones, just a little smaller container now.” — Joe

“I’ve got some H4831 in a can marked ‘WWII Surplus Powder’ with a price tag of $2.75. We’ll never see that again either.” Rick in Oregon

“1978 prices and 2021 income would be nice. Unfortunately that doesn’t work. If you compare prices and income, powder cost about the same. You also have to discount the temporary gouging that we are seeing.” — Tmwinds

“So I used to buy gas for 10 cents per gallon and they’d pump it, check the oil, and clean the windshield.” — Pirate Ammo

One comment suggests that the powder price hike actually tracks general U.S. currency inflation over the last four decades. So perhaps powder price increases are not as bad as they seem, when compared to how all prices have risen since 1978:

“Using H4895 as a comparison basis at $58.50 (list price) in 1978 calculates it to $246 in todays money. Looking at Powder Valley prices it looks like around $256 for the same item in todays money, so it really hasn’t gone up. Availability is another issue though and if someone is really needing powder they may well have to pay above suggested retail.” — Drover


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