July 9th, 2019

Big News — Savage Arms Sold Off by Vista Outdoor

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Big news for the shooting community! Just six years after it acquired Savage Arms, outdoor industry mega-corp Vista Outdoor is selling off Savage Arms. The firearms-maker will be acquired by a private investment group led by Savage’s current management. When the sale is complete, Vista Outdoor, parent company of dozens of outdoor brands such as Bushnell, Bell Helmets, CCI, Camelback, Federal, RCBS, and Weaver, will no longer produce firearms of any kind. The sell-back to the Savage management group will include Stevens Arms*, which primarily produces shotguns.

There were multiple reasons given for the sale, which include:
1. Cutting costs, reducing corporate debt, and consolidating operations at Vista Outdoor.
2. Focusing more on the ammunition brands Alliant, CCI, Speer, and Federal.
3. Giving Vista Outdoor’s “ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner”.

In addition, we suspect that, given the current political climate and media antagonism towards gun-makers, Vista Outdoor’s leadership deemed that owning Savage was bad for the company’s overall image. The potential profits from Savage were simply not worth the negative press as well as the potential liabilities from gun-related lawsuits.

By the Numbers: Vista Outdoor acquired Savage Arms (and Stevens) in July 2013 for $315 million. The July 2019 sell-off of Savage Arms (and Stevens) for $170 million represents a $145 million loss for Vista Outdoor. That’s not a good business model.

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Founded in 1894, Massachusetts-based Savage Arms is one of America’s oldest gun-makers. While it has produced a wide variety of firearms over the past 125 years, Savage is now best known for its affordable bolt-action hunting rifles that feature barrels attached by a barrel-nut. In recent years, Savage has also moved aggressively into the “black rifle” market producing its MSR series of AR-platform rifles in a variety of chamberings. Savage also produces a popular semi-auto Rimfire rifle, the Savage A17/A22 series.

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Here is the official Press Release covering Vista Outdoor’s sale of Savage Arms to a group of investors headed by Al Kasper, Savage’s President and CEO (emphasis added):

Vista Outdoor Announces Sale of Savage Brand
Vista Outdoor Inc. (“Vista Outdoor”) (NYSE: VSTO) announced today that it has completed the sale of the legal entity operating its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands to a financial buyer for a total purchase price of $170 million, comprised of $158 million paid at closing and $12 million to be paid upon maturity of a five-year seller note issued by the buyer to Vista Outdoor in connection with the transaction.

The sale is part of Vista Outdoor’s previously announced transformation plan, which outlined the intent to reshape the company’s portfolio by cutting costs, consolidating leadership, paying down debt, and divesting certain brands, including both its eyewear brands and firearms brands, in order to pursue growth in product categories where the company believes it can be market leaders. As the company now looks forward, the focus is on ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products, and cycling/ski helmets and accessories.

“Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan,” said Chris Metz, CEO of Vista Outdoor. “While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident that this was the correct choice to help Vista Outdoor grow in those categories where we can have leadership positions. Savage is a fantastic business, and it deserves to continue to evolve into other firearms categories. At this time, however, we simply do not have the resources to transform Savage into the full-service firearms company that it deserves to be and, therefore, we determined the brand would be better off with a different owner. We’re excited to see Savage reach its full potential under new ownership.”

Savage was acquired by Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, in 2013. ATK’s sporting business – which included Savage, Bushnell, Federal and CCI Ammunition, and dozens of other hunt/shoot accessories brands, spun off in 2015 to become Vista Outdoor.

“The Savage acquisition helped create Vista Outdoor, and we’re grateful for all the success the brand brought to our company over the past six years,” said Metz. “However, this divestiture now gives our ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner to create the best products and meet our consumers’ needs.”

At closing, Vista Outdoor received gross proceeds from the divestiture of $158 million. Vista Outdoor will use the net after-tax proceeds of the sale to repay outstanding indebtedness.

“Reducing our debt is a key part of turning around our business,” said Metz. “Selling Savage and further reducing our overall leverage will improve our financial flexibility and better position the company for long-term growth. We’ve now rebuilt the company’s foundation to provide a more stable base upon which to grow. We have a portfolio of brands that all have the potential to be strong, market leaders in their respective categories and I’m proud of my team’s efforts in reshaping the portfolio over the course of the past year.”


*American firearms manufacturer J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company, now part of Savage Arms, introduced the .22 Long Rifle cartridge in 1887. Savage Arms was founded in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, New York. Within 20 years Savage was producing rifles, handguns, and ammunition. Savage introduced the first hammerless lever-action rifle, the Model 1895, derived from Arthur Savage’s Model 1892 rifle that he had designed for Colt.

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, News 6 Comments »
June 29th, 2019

Stick, Flake, and Ball — Do You Know Your Powder Properties?

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 12th, 2019

Powder Spotlight — Reloder 15 and Norma 203B

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

In response to a Bulletin story about Norma powders at Midsouth Shooters Supply, one of our Forum members asked: “I’m having trouble finding Reloder 15 for my 6.5×47 Lapua — should I consider running Norma 203B instead?” As we’ve explained before, these two powders, both made by Bofors in Europe, are very, very similar. Here are some hard numbers that should demonstrate how virtually identical these powders really are.

Target Shooter Magazine writer Laurie Holland compared Norma 203B and Reloder 15 using data from QuickLOAD. Laurie also checked load manuals to see how listed charge weights varied for the two propellants. Laurie concluded there was very little difference between Norma 203B and Reloder 15.

Laurie Holland RatonNorma 203B vs. Alliant Reloder 15
Commentary by Laurie Holland

Running [203B and RL15] through QuickLOAD doing a ‘charge table’ run for a 130gn Berger VLD at 2.700 COAL in 6.5X47 Lapua, gives very similar positions in the table [for both powders]. The charge required to achieve 62,000 psi estimated pressure varies by a mere 0.2 grains between the pair, Norma 203B being the heavier of the two. The estimated Muzzle Velocity (MV) also varies by a mere 2 fps, RL15 estimated to produce 2,946 fps MV compared to 2,944 fps for N203B at 62,000 psi (with the parameters I used).

If they aren’t the same thing, they’re so close as to make no difference and as Forum Boss points out, they’re made by the same people (Bofors) in the same plant.

[The Berger Reloading Manual includes data for both powders] for the .308 Winchester and heavier bullets (185 to 230 grains). Maximum charges and claimed MVs are not always identical, but are so close as to be marginally different production lots of the same thing, or maybe the result of minor testing variations.

.308 Win Max Charge Weights in Grains (RL15 / N203B) (Berger Manual)

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

MVs [for the four bullet types] are close but not identical, the largest difference being for the 210s which shows RL15 producing 2,428 fps MV v 2,383 for Norma 203B.

Norma 203B Chemistry
According to the Norma Reloading Handbook #1, Norma 203B has the following composition:

85% Nitrocellulose
7.5% Nitroglycerin
2.0% surface coating
4.6% Various chemicals
0.9% Water

3,957 J/g specific energy
890 g/l specific density

For comparison, the 7.5% NG component compares to 15% in Viht N500 series powders and 10% in Ramshot TAC / Big Game / Hunter.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
March 17th, 2019

Vihtavuori Explains Powder Grain Shapes

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders

POWDER GRAIN SHAPES — What You Need to Know

The shape of powder grains has a profound effect on the performance of the powder charge, as it concerns both pressure and velocity. There are multiple powder shapes including flake, ball, and extruded or “stick” (both solid and perforated).

All Vihtavuori reloading powders are of the cylindrical, single-perforated extruded stick type. The differences in burning rate between the powders depend on the size of the grain, the wall thickness of the cylinder, the surface coating and the composition. Cylindrical extruded powders can also have multi-perforated grains. The most common types are the 7- and 19-perforated varieties. A multi-perforated powder grain is naturally of a much larger size than one with a single perforation, and is typically used for large caliber ammunition.

Other types of powder grain shapes include sphere or ball, and flake. The ball grains are typically used in automatic firearms but also in rifles and handguns. The ball grain is less costly to produce, as it is not pressed into shape like cylindrical grains. Flake shaped grains are typically used in shotgun loadings.

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders

Web thickness in gunpowder terminology means the minimum distance that the combustion zones can travel within the powder grain without encountering each other. In spherical powders, this distance is the diameter of the “ball”; in flake powder it is the thickness of the flake; and in multi-perforated extruded powders it is the minimum distance (i.e. wall thickness) between the perforations.

The burning rate of powder composed of grains without any perforations or surface treatment is related to the surface area of the grain available for burning at any given pressure level. The change in the surface area that is burning during combustion is described by a so-called form function. If the surface area increases, the form function does likewise and its behavior is termed progressive. If the form function decreases, its behavior is said to be degressive. If the flame area remains constant throughout the combustion process, we describe it as “neutral” behavior.

The cylindrical, perforated powders are progressive; the burning rate increases as the surface area increases, and the pressure builds up slower, increasing until it reaches its peak and then collapses. Flake and ball grains are degressive; the total powder surface area and pressure are at their peak at ignition, decreasing as the combustion progresses.

So how does the shape affect pressure and muzzle velocity? In general, it can be said that powder that burns progressively achieves a desired muzzle velocity at lower maximum pressure than a powder that burns neutrally, not to mention a degressive powder. As grain size increases, the maximum pressure moves towards the muzzle, also increasing muzzle blast. Muzzle velocity and pressure can be adjusted by means of the amount of powder or loading density, i.e. the relationship between the powder mass and the volume available to it. As the loading density increases, maximum pressure grows.

Learn More with FREE Vihtavuori Reloading APP »

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders


This article originally appeared on the Vihtavuori Website.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 3rd, 2018

Alliant Reloder 16 — Great Powder for Match Cartridges

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Do You Like H4350? Then You Should Try Reloder 16 — It Is Accurate and Temp Stable
Alliant Reloder 16 is used now by many top shooters for cartridges that work well with Hodgdon H4350. In fact, we’d say that Reloder 16 is the best substitute for H4350 on the market. Alliant’s RL 16 is very temp stable, offers good velocity, and the accuracy is top tier. Some guys report slightly better accuracy than H4350 in the .284 Win, .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and 6XC cartridges. If you currently use H4350, you should definitely give Alliant Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.

Alliant powder Reloader Reloder 16 RL16 load data 6.5 Creedmoor .243 Win WinchesterThis is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. As a result, Alliant’s Reloder 16 offers truly outstanding temperature stability.

Reloder 16 Load Recipes »

Reloder 16 Load Data PDF »

Match and Hunting Cartridge Applications:
Alliant tells us that Reloder 16 “is ideal for traditional hunting cartridges, such as .30-06 Springfield and .270 Winchester, as well as 6.5mm target loads and tactical applications wherein temperature stability is required.” We also think the powder will work well in these popular match cartridges: 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .300 WSM. For example, Alliant’s Reloder 16 Load Data Page shows a 2932 FPS load with Berger 130 grain Hybrid bullet in the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Alliant Reloder 16 Load DATA for 6.5 Creedmoor:

Alliant powder Reloader Reloder 16 RL16 load data 6.5 Creedmoor .243 Win Winchester

Alliant Reloder 16 Load DATA for .243 Winchester:

Alliant powder Reloader Reloder 16 RL16 load data 6.5 Creedmoor .243 Win Winchester
NOTE: This is a partial .243 Win Data set. More loads available HERE.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
August 10th, 2018

Get Latest Powder Burn Rate Chart HERE

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Hey guys, you’ll probably want to download this Powder Burn Rate Table issued by Hodgdon/IMR. This table shows the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), high-lighted in green below. This 150-entry comparison table provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters. This invaluable burn rate chart ranks powders from eight major powder-makers: Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, Winchester.

NOTE: Hodgdon powders are blue, IMR standard powders are yellow, IMR Enduron powders are green, and Winchester Powders are Red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


Latest POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from HODGDON/IMR

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
June 22nd, 2018

June Sale on Allliant Powders with $2 per Pound Reward

Alliant powder midsouth Reloder Reloader AR COMP 15 16 17 19 23 sale

If you are looking for popular Alliant powders, now’s a good time to buy. Midsouth Shooters Supply has discounted its inventory of Alliant powders, plus there is a $2 per pound factory rebate. So, for example, the sale price might be $1.50 off regular retail, and then Alliant gives you another $2.00 back for every pound you buy (up to 10 pounds or $20 total rebate). But act soon — this Powder Promotion ends June 30, 2018. Here are some of Midsouth’s current prices on Alliant powders

Alliant Reloder 15 — $26.99 1 lb.
Alliant Reloder 16 — $27.45 1 lb.
Alliant Reloder 17 — $26.99 1 lb.
Alliant Reloder 19 — $26.99 1 lb.
Alliant Reloder 23 — $26.99 1 lb.
Alliant AR Comp — $27.45 1 lb.
Alliant Power Pro Varmint — $25.45 1 lb.
Alliant Power Pro 2000 MR — $25.45 1 lb.
Alliant American Select — $21.99 1 lb.
Alliant Unique — $21.99 1 lb.

Alliant Reloder 16 — Great Powder for Match Cartridges

Alliant Reloder 16 is used now by many top shooters for cartridges that work well with Hodgdon H4350. In fact, we’d say that Reloder 16 is the best substitute for H4350 on the market. Alliant’s RL 16 is very temp stable, offers good velocity, and the accuracy is top tier. Some guys report slightly better accuracy than H4350 in the .284 Win, .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and 6XC cartridges. If you currently use H4350, you should give Alliant Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.

This is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. As a result, Reloder 16 offers outstanding temperature stability.

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Match and Hunting Cartridge Applications:
Alliant tells us that Reloder 16 “is ideal for traditional hunting cartridges, such as .30-06 Springfield and .270 Winchester, as well as 6.5mm target loads and tactical applications wherein temperature stability is required.” We also think the powder may work very well in these popular match cartridges: 6XC, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .300 WSM. For example, Alliant’s Load Data Sheet shows a 2772 FPS load with 142gr SMKs in the .260 Rem.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
September 24th, 2017

Advanced RL 23 and RL 26 Powders for Magnum Cartridges

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Ever heard of Alliant Reloder 23? Or Reloder 26? These two relatively new European-produced Reloder propellants were introduced in 2014. Most folks haven’t tried these Reloder powders because it took quite a while for the first shipments of RL 23 and RL 26 to arrive in the USA. But now these two new propellants are available in the USA, with substantial inventories in stock at some larger vendors. For example, Powder Valley has both RL 23 and RL 26 in stock now at $23.50 per pound. Many other vendors have ample RL 23, but RL 26 is a bit harder to find.

From our Forum members who shoot large magnum cartridge types with heavy bullets, we have heard good things about both RL 23 and RL 26. Reports from the field indicat that both these powders are delivering impressive velocities with low velocity ES/SD.

What are the characteristics of RL 23 and RL 26? That question was answered recently by Paul Furrier who works for ATK, the parent company of Alliant Powders. Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Paul writes:

“Let me provide some factual info about these products. Some of the stuff that gets propagated is not correct. Reloder 23 is produced by our Swedish partner Bofors, and Reloder 26 is produced in Switzerland by our extremely capable partner Nitrochemie. I have seen it stated that they are both made by Bofors, so that is incorrect.

I have also noticed people are equating Reloder 23 to Reloder 22, and Reloder 26 to Reloder 25. Both of those statements are definitely incorrect. We do state that the performance of Reloder 23 is similar to Reloder 22, and it is, in general burn speed terms, but they are most certainly not the same. We have worked quite a lot of recipes for Reloder 23, and they are not the same as Reloder 22. Reloder 26 is definitely slower burning than Reloder 25, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there either.”

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Furrier says that RL 23 is NOT sensitive to temperature shifts: “Reloder 23 was developed to bring a truly temp-stable powder to the Reloder 22 burn-speed range using Bofors new process technology. This is the second product developed for us with this TZ® process, the first being AR-Comp™. We see terrific efficiencies, SDs, accuracy and flat temp response from these powders. Please try them, I think you will be impressed.”

Speed and More Speed with RL 26
Think of Reloder 26 as a high-velocity powder for big cartridges. Furrier explains: “Reloder 26 is produced with Nitrochemie’s latest generation EI® process technology. This is the same impregnation coating process used to produce Reloder 17, Reloder 33, and Reloder 50 for us, and it is fantastic. The “so what” on Reloder 26 is great ballistic efficiency, high bulk density so you can get more of the slow powder into the case to harness the energy, and decent, predictable extreme temp response. Reloder 26 is not as flat at temps as the TZ or Australian materials, but it is very manageable, usually in the 0.5 fps/°F range (depending on the application). Just as important, the pressure increases at hot are very manageable. We are using quite a bit of this powder in our Federal factory ammo due to the fantastic ballistics and accuracy.

Both of these new Reloder powders contain decoppering agent to help reduce coppering up your barrels, but this is nothing new for us. Bofors began adding decoppering agent to our Reloder rifle powders in the 2002 timeframe, and all our Swiss Reloders except 17 contain their proprietary additive. (We may include it in 17 at some point also, but right now we like it just the way it is.) Sorry we didn’t have a snappy name figured for the decoppering agents, we just did it.

Both of these new Reloder powders are also produced to the current highest level of ‘green’ technology. Actually, all of our Alliant rifle, pistol and shotshell reloading powders meet the current (tough) European requirements for elimination of nasty ingredients. They do not contain any dinitrotoluene or dibutylphthalate, which are a couple of the nasties that are commonly used in smokeless powders.
Thank you for your interest in our new powders.” — Paul Furrier, ATK

Reloder 23

Like AR-Comp™, new Reloder 23 from Alliant Powder performs consistently across temperature extremes. Its sophisticated TZ® technology manipulates the response of the material and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. Reloder 23 is perfect for long-range target shooters seeking performance similar to Reloder 22 with world-class temperature stability.

Features & Benefits:
 TZ technology provides exceptionally consistent velocities across temp extremes
 Contains proprietary de-coppering additive
 Ideal for long-range target shooting
 Excellent lot-to-lot consistency
 Formulation contains no DNT or DPB
Made in Sweden for Alliant Powder

Reloder 26

Reloder 26 offer high velocities in large magnum cases. Achieve awesome ballistics with new Reloder 26 from Alliant Powder. The propellant’s burn speed falls between that of Reloder 22 and Reloder 33, and it incorporates EI® technology to produce extremely high velocities in magnum cartridges. Reloder 26 has a high bulk density that allows larger powder charges, and it provides a consistent, controlled response to temperature changes.

Features & Benefits:
 EI technology produces extremely high velocities in magnum cartridges
 Contains proprietary de-coppering additive
 Controlled temperature stability
 Excellent lot-to-lot consistency
 Formulation contains no DNT or DBP
Made in Switzerland for Alliant Powder

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 14th, 2017

Bargain Finder 99: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Bullets.com — Huge Reloading Powder Sale — Great Prices

bullets.com powder propellant hodgdon imr alliant vihtavuori powder sale

Got powder? If you need smokeless propellants for your rifles and pistols, head over to Bullets.com which has slashed prices on its powder inventory. There are great savings to be had here, honest. We compared Bullets.com’s inventory reduction sale pricing with some other online powder vendors. With Bullets.com’s current price cuts, you can SAVE $4-$7 per pound for even high-demand powders such as Varget. Bullets.com’s powder sale is scheduled to run through 8/23/2017; however, prices are subject to change. Here are examples of current Sale Prices.

Hodgdon CFE Pistol, $17.99/lb
Hodgdon Varget, $21.99/lb
Alliant Reloder 17, $22.95/lb
IMR 4064, $22.95/lb
Hodgdon H1000, $22.99/lb

Hodgdon CF3 223, $149.99/8 lbs.
IMR 8208 XBR, $159.99/8 lbs.
Hodgdon H4198, $169.95/8 lbs.
Hodgdon H4831sc, $175.00/8 lbs.
Accurate LT-32, $189.95/8 lbs.

2. CDNN — Winchester XPR Hunting Rifle, $279.99 After Rebate

Winchester XPR Hunting Rifle Vias Camo CDNN Cabelas Rebate

Looking for a good hunting rifle at a great price? Check out this promotion for the Winchester XPR. This is a fine-handling rig with a smooth bolt and many chambering options. Right now at CDNN Sports the basic gray-stocked Winchester XPR is on sale for $379.99. But here’s the kicker, Winchester is offering a $100.00 Mail-In Rebate. That drops your net cost to just $279.99. That’s an insanely good deal. You can also get the XPR in Vias Camo for $299.99 after rebate.

3. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

4. Amazon — Frankford Complete Master Tumbler Kit, $48.05

Master tumbler reloading kit Frankford Arsenal

This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $48.05 with free Prime shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish. NOTE: We considered this an excellent deal when it was priced around seventy bucks. At $48.05 it is a total steal — you could easily pay more than that for a decent vibratory tumbler alone.

5. Champions Choice — Deluxe 58″-Long Rifle Case, $68.00

Champion's Choice extra long palma rifle case 58

Many of our readers shoot Palma, F-Class, and ELR rifles with long barrels (up to 35″). It’s difficult to find high-quality, well-padded cases that fit very long rifles. Champion’s Choice offers just such a product, the 58″ Deluxe Soft Rifle Case. With thick 1″ padding on each side, big pockets, and backpack straps, this black/blue/white gun case has earned rave reviews from our Forum members. There’s plenty of room for big scopes, and it even comes with an internal tube to hold your cleaning rod.

6. Natchez — Leupold VX-6 Scopes Closeout, Save Hundreds

Leupold VX-6 Scopes Closeout Sale Discount hunting

Natchez Shooters Supplies is running a big sale on Leupold VX-6 scopes. You can save hundreds of dollars on a wide variety of VX-6 optics, from 1-6x24mm up to 3-18x50mm models. If you are looking for a high-quality hunting optic at a great price check out these deals. For example, Leupold’s 2-12x42mm FireDot (Illum.) Duplex VX-6 scope is marked down from $1199.99 to just $749.99 — a $450.00 savings! Shown above are four hot deals, but a dozen Leupold VX-6 models on are sale now.

7. Precision Reloading — Sierra Bullets Sale, Big Discounts

Precision Reloading Sierra Matchking Tipped TMK SMK bullets sale

Now through 8/25/2017 Precision Reloading is running a BIG SALE on Sierra bullets. These projectiles, including MatchKing (MK) and Tipped Match-King, are being offered at deep discounts. Listed below are some of the many types of Sierra Bullets on sale. In many cases you can choose either 100-ct or 500-ct packages. Along with match projectiles, Sierra hunting and varmint bullets are on sale.

Sierra 30 Cal, 195gr Tipped MK, 100 for $41.39 (marked down from $45.99)
Sierra 30 Cal, 155gr HPBT MK, 100 for $34.64 (marked down from $38.49)
Sierra 7mm, 183gr HPBT MK, 100 for $41.84 (marked down from $46.49) (Great new bullet)
Sierra 6.5mm, 142gr HPBT MK, 100 for $36.44 (marked down from $40.49)
Sierra 6.5mm, 123gr HPBT MK, 100 for $35.09 (marked down from $38.99)
Sierra 6mm, 107gr HPBT MK, 100 for $28.34 (marked down from $31.49)
Sierra 6mm, 95gr Tipped MK, 100 for $30.59 (marked down from $33.99)
Sierra 22 Cal, 80gr HPBT MK, 50 for $15.29 (marked down from $16.99)
Sierra 22 Cal 77gr Tipped MK, 100 for $27.44 (marked down from $30.49)

8. Midsouth — CCI Std Velocity .22 LR Ammo, $3.75 for 50ct Box

CCI Rimfire Ammo Midsouth .22 LR smallbore

Here’s a great low-price on quality, CCI .22 LR rimfire ammo. The sale price of $3.75 per 50-ct box works out to just 7.5 cents a round for this 40gr CCI 1070 fps rimfire ammo. At that price you can enjoy rimfire plinking without worrying about cost — just like the “good old days”.

9. Amazon — Discovery Scope Level, $13-$16 (1″, 30mm)

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This Discovery scope level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with inner diameters to fit scopes with either 1″ or 30mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $12.99 while the 30mm model is $13.95. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
June 5th, 2017

New Clean, Temp-Stable Sport Pistol Powder From Alliant

Alliant Sport Pistol powder polymer bullets temp stable
Pistol Shown from Stan Chen Customs.

Alliant is now shipping an advanced medium-fast burn rate pistol powder that has many important qualities. New Sport Pistol powder exhibits excellent temp stability. That means you can develop a stout load and not worry about hot days at the range. Sport Pistol was also formulated to work with the new generation of polymer-coated bullets. Alliant’s engineers tell us: “This new propellant is very advanced. The chemistry of Sport Pistol is not similar to Bullseye or other older pistol powders. Sport Pistol delivers precise performance with all bullet types, but the low muzzle-flash formulation was optimized for polymer-coated bullets. Other double-base powders can dissolve the polymer coatings at the bullet base, and this exposes the lead to vaporization due to the intense heat during the ballistic cycle.” Alliant says this powder burns clean and gives “extremely reliable cycling, excellent charging/case fill [with] ballistics that lend themselves to a range of popular loads.”

How Sport Pistol Compares to Other Pistol Powders
It looks like Alliant’s new Sport Pistol can be used to replace W231 and HP-38, two popular powders for 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP cartridges. One pistolero notes: “Just looking at the load data for Sport Pistol, charge weights are similar to W231/HP-38 and Alliant advertises it as ‘medium fast’ burning for precision and action shooting competition. I say Alliant released a competing powder for W231/HP-38 that is less temperature sensitive.”

CLICK HERE for Alliant Sport Pistol LOAD DATA »

Alliant Sport Pistol powder polymer bullets temp stable

Along with data for 9mm Luger (above), Alliant has data for .38 SPL, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .44 SPL, .44 Rem Magnum, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.

Permalink Handguns, Reloading No Comments »
March 30th, 2017

Consider Alliant Reloder 26 for Magnum Cartridges

Reloder 26 Magnum cartridge Alliant RL26

We’ve told fans of Hodgdon H4350 to give Alliant Reloder 16 (RL16) a try. In our tests, Reloder 16 has proven a very promising rival to H4350 for accuracy, low ES/SD, and temp stability.

Now you can get the advantages of Reloder 16 in a slower powder formulated for magnum cartridges — Reloder 26 (RL26). Alliant says RL26’s burn speed falls between that of Reloder® 22 and Reloder® 33. That means it’s slower than H4831 but faster than powders that would suit the .338 Lapua Magnum. Reloder 26 has a high bulk density that allows larger powder charges, and high velocities. RL26 also provides a consistent, controlled response to temperature changes.

We are hearing very good things about RL26 from friends and Forum members who are testing it with big calibers for Long Range applications. Accuracy is good and velocities are impressive. Alliant says RL26 “incorporates EI® technology to produce extremely high velocities in magnum cartridges”. In big magnums, shooters have reported gaining 100+ fps with RL26 compared to H1000 or Retumbo. And to our surprise some guys have even tried replacing H4350 with RL26 (in smaller cartridge types) and they have picked up meaningful velocities. We don’t think Alliant ever intended RL26 as a substitute for H4350, but if you’ve got the case capacity… it may be worth a try.

Alliant Reloder 26 Features

  • EI® technology delivers high velocities in magnum cartridges
  • Contains proprietary de-coppering additive
  • Controlled temperature stability
  • Excellent lot-to-lot consistency
  • Formulation contains no DNT or DBP
  • Made in Switzerland for Alliant Powder

Alliant’s Tech Expert Talks about Reloder 26
What are the characteristics of Reloder 26? That question was answered recently by Paul Furrier who works for ATK, the parent company of Alliant Powders. Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Paul writes:

“Reloder 26 is produced in Switzerland by our extremely capable partner Nitrochemie. I have seen it stated that they [it is] made by Bofors, so that is incorrect. I have also noticed people are equating … Reloder 26 to Reloder 25. Reloder 26 is definitely slower burning than Reloder 25, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there either.”

Speed and More Speed with RL 26
Think of Reloder 26 as a high-velocity powder for big cartridges. Furrier explains: “Reloder 26 is produced with Nitrochemie’s latest generation EI® process technology. This is the same impregnation coating process used to produce Reloder 17, Reloder 33, and Reloder 50 for us, and it is fantastic. Reloder 26 [offers] great ballistic efficiency, high bulk density so you can get more of the slow powder into the case to harness the energy, and decent, predictable extreme temp response. Reloder 26 is not as flat at temps as the TZ or Australian materials, but it is very manageable, usually in the 0.5 fps/°F range (depending on the application). Just as important, the pressure increases at hot are very manageable. We are using quite a bit of this RL26 powder in our Federal factory ammo due to the fantastic ballistics and accuracy.” — Paul Furrier, ATK

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
February 9th, 2017

Nifties for Fifties — Cool Stuff for the .50 BMG

.50 50 BMG fifty caliber powder Reloder 50 Comparator brass trimmer

Alliant 50 BMG PowderAlliant’s Powder for 50-Caliber Applications
In 2009 Alliant unveiled Reloder 50, a new powder designed for long-range, 50-caliber rifle shooters. According to Alliant, the burn rate is “a little slower than Winchester 860″ and the powder is showing excellent lot-to-lot consistency. Load density is optimized for the 50 BMG and similar cases. Like Reloder 17, Reloder 50 employs a process which penetrates the kernels with the burn-rate-controlling chemical. This should allow a longer, flatter pressure curve, yielding more velocity than conventional powders can deliver. Alliant says that Reloder 50 offers “superior velocity and the ability to burn cleaner (with less residue).” Reloder 50 comes in both 1-lb (#150527) and 8-lb (#150528) containers.

Giraud 50 BMG Case/Bullet Comparator
Giraud Tool makes a comparator for 50-Cal cartridges. The double-ended comparator is quite versatile. In one orientation you can measure base-to-ogive bullet length and also measure cartridge OAL from rim to bullet ogive. When reversed, you can use the comparator to measure cartridge headspace. The $30.00 Giraud 50 BMG Comparator gauge is constructed of 303 stainless and fits most any vernier, dial, or digital caliper. CLICK HERE for more info.

Giraud Tools 50 BMG comparator gauge

Forster 50 BMG Trimmer
50 BMG enthusiasts asked for a dedicated 50 BMG case trimmer, so Forster created a trimmer specifically for that cartridge. Forster’s cutter tip is much sharper than the cutter on the Lyman 50 Cal. AccuTrimmer. However, with the Forster tool you will pay more for that superior cutting ability — Forster’s 50 BMG trimmer costs $95.99 at Sinclair International. Yes, Lyman also makes a dedicated 50 BMG Case trimmer ($66.49 at MidwayUSA), but the Forster cutter head is much sharper, and we prefer the Forsters collet-style case-holder. Bottom line — the Forster gets the job done more quickly, with less effort, so it’s worth the extra money.

Forster 50 BMG case Trimmer

Permalink News No Comments »
August 19th, 2016

New Temp-Stable Alliant Reloder 16 Now Available

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Here’s an important announcement for anyone who uses a powder in the 4350 range. Alliant is now shipping the all-new Reloder 16 powder. The burn rate is slightly faster than Reloder 17, and a bit slower than Varget or Reloder 15. Notably, this new Reloder 16 powder is very temp stable. AccurateShooter.com was shown “top secret” test results comparing Reloder 16 with other popular propellants, including Hodgdon Extreme series powders. The results for Reloder 16 were remarkable. Reloder 16 showed extremely constant velocities even with very high ambient temps — so this is a powder you can shoot even on hot Arizona summer days.

CLICK HERE for Reloder 16 Suggested Load Recipes

This is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures.

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

As a result, Reloder 16 offers outstanding temperature stability. Based on the test results we’ve seen, if you are using H4350 or IMR 4451 currently, you should definitely give Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Match and Hunting Cartridge Applications:
Alliant tells us that Reloader 16 “is ideal for traditional hunting cartridges, such as .30-06 Springfield and .270 Winchester, as well as 6.5mm target loads and tactical applications wherein temperature stability is required.” We also think the powder may work very well in these popular match cartridges: 6XC, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .300 WSM. For example, Alliant’s Load Data Sheet shows a 2772 FPS load with 142gr SMKs in the .260 Rem.

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 3 Comments »
January 6th, 2016

New Products Featured in Shooting Industry Magazine

Shooting Industry January product showcase 2016

You can see scores of new-for-2016 products in the free January digital edition of Shooting Industry magazine. The new product offerings are found in a 28-page feature article starting on page 76 and ending on page 104. In those pages you’ll find new items from leading companies such as: Alliant, Browning, Hodgdon, Hornady, Lyman, Nikon, Ruger, Vortex, and Weaver Optics.

Important New Products
You can also see the new products in Shooting Industry magazine’s regular website, on the New Product Showcase Page. As a teaser, here are three new products from that page — new Alliant Reloder 16 powder, a new Bench-top primer tool from Lee, and a handy Lyman maintenance mat. We are VERY interested in new Reloder 16 propellant. Alliant says RL16 has a burn rate similar to H4350/IMR4350, which would make RL16 ideal for many popular match cartridges.

NEW Product — Alliant Reloder 16 Powder

Alliant Reloder 16 Powder

Alliant Powder Reloder 16 is a propellant that performs consistently across temperature extremes. Its burn rate is slightly faster than Reloder 17’s — well within the 4350 burn speed band. This makes it ideal for traditional hunting cartridges as the .30-06 and .270 Win. It will work as well with 6.5mm target loads and tactical applications where temperature stability is required. The Alliant Powder Reloder 16 contains a de-coppering additive but no toxic DNT or DBP.

NEW Product — Lee Auto Bench Prime

Lee Precision Auto Bench Prime Priming Tool

The new Auto Bench Prime from Lee Precision is an easy-to-use bench-mounted priming tool with a large lever that provides good “feel” with plenty of mechanical advantage. The symmetrical design allows for right- or left-hand operation. The Auto Bench Prime includes priming assemblies for large and small primers and a folding tray with a built-in primer-flipping feature. This allows direct filling from large primer boxes. The unit uses special, but inexpensive priming tool shell holders.

NEW Product — Lyman Maintenance Mat

Lee Precision Auto Bench Prime Priming Tool

The new Essential Rifle Maintenance Mat from Lyman Products is a smart item that any gun-owner can use. This 10″ x 36″ cleaning/assembly mat features small compartments for tools, parts, and cleaning item. The mat’s firm yet cushioned synthetic rubber surface protects your firearms. The Mainteance Mat’s molded-in compartments keep small parts and screws handy, yet out of the way. The Lyman mat is chemically resistant and cleans up easily.

Permalink New Product, Reloading No Comments »
September 13th, 2015

Alliant Reloder 15 Vs. Norma 203B — The Numbers Tell All

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

In response to our Bulletin story about the availability of Norma powders at Midsouth Shooters Supply, one of our Forum members asked: “I’m having trouble finding Reloder 15 for my 6.5×47 Lapua — should I consider running Norma 203B instead?” As we’ve explained before, these two powders, both made by Bofors in Europe, are very, very similar. Here are some hard numbers that should demonstrate how virtually identical these powders really are.

Target Shooter Magazine writer Laurie Holland compared Norma 203B and Reloder 15 using data from QuickLOAD. Laurie also checked load manuals to see how listed charge weights varied for the two propellants. Laurie concluded there was very little difference between Norma 203B and Reloder 15.

Laurie Holland RatonNorma 203B vs. Alliant Reloder 15
Commentary by Laurie Holland

Running [203B and RL15] through QuickLOAD doing a ‘charge table’ run for a 130gn Berger VLD at 2.700 COAL in 6.5X47 Lapua, gives very similar positions in the table [for both powders]. The charge required to achieve 62,000 psi estimated pressure varies by a mere 0.2 grains between the pair, Norma 203B being the heavier of the two. The estimated Muzzle Velocity (MV) also varies by a mere 2 fps, RL15 estimated to produce 2,946 fps MV compared to 2,944 fps for N203B at 62,000 psi (with the parameters I used).

If they aren’t the same thing, they’re so close as to make no difference and as Forum Boss points out, they’re made by the same people (Bofors) in the same plant.

[The Berger Reloading Manual includes data for both powders] for the .308 Winchester and heavier bullets (185 to 230 grains). Maximum charges and claimed MVs are not always identical, but are so close as to be marginally different production lots of the same thing, or maybe the result of minor testing variations.

.308 Win Max Charge Weights in Grains (RL15 / N203B) (Berger Manual)

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

MVs [for the four bullet types] are close but not identical, the largest difference being for the 210s which shows RL15 producing 2,428 fps MV v 2,383 for Norma 203B.

Norma 203B Chemistry
According to the Norma Reloading Handbook #1, Norma 203B has the following composition:

85% Nitrocellulose
7.5% Nitroglycerin
2.0% surface coating
4.6% Various chemicals
0.9% Water

3,957 J/g specific energy
890 g/l specific density

For comparison, the 7.5% NG component compares to 15% in Viht N500 series powders and 10% in Ramshot TAC / Big Game / Hunter.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
March 12th, 2015

Precision Reloading Has Popular Powders in Stock Now

precision reloading powder in-stock Hodgdon IMR Norma Alliant

Looking for powder? Precision Reloading just received a pretty large shipment of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester Powders. This vendor also has popular Accurate, Alliant, Norma, and Vihtavuori Powders in stock. Sorry, no Varget or H4350 arrived, but Precision Reloading does have many popular propellants now. Powders currently IN STOCK at Precision Reloading (as of 9:00 am, 3/12/2015):

Hodgdon: H4831sc, H4831, H4198, H414, H335, H380, Hybrid 100V, H50BMG, Titegroup, 800X, Superformance, LeveRevolution (and others).
IMR: 4166 (New Enduron), 4227, 4320, 4350, 4451 (New Enduron), 4895, 7828SSC,
Alliant: RL33, RL50, 4000MR, PowerPro Varmint
Norma: 200, 201, 202, 203B (like RL15), 204, MRP, URP
Accurate: 4064, 4350, 5744, Magpro
Vihtavuori: N133, N135, N160, N340, 20N29

Reloading tip: If you currently use Alliant Reloder 15, Norma 203 B is very, very close. It is made by the same manufacturer, in the same plant, with the same burn rate and kernel size. Of course, for safety, you should still start low and work up your load incrementally.

Permalink Reloading No Comments »
March 9th, 2015

Vista Outdoor — Parent of Bushnell, CCI, Federal, Savage & More

You may not have heard of Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO), but you’ll know many of the brands under its corporate umbrella: Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bolle, Bushnell, CCI, Federal Premium, Outers, RCBS, Savage Arms, Simmons, Speer, Weaver. To learn more about Vista Outdoor’s operations and products, visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or Vista Outdoor’s Facebook Page.

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Brands. | CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Company History

So what is Vista Outdoor? This corporate giant used to be the sporting division of ATK (Alliant Techsystems*). In February of this year, ATK split into two separate companies. The outdoor sports/hunting/shooting brands (with annual revenues of $2.3 billion) were consolidated into Vista Outdoor. The aerospace/military contract operations of ATK were continued in a second company, Orbital ATK. Vista Outdoor, now head-quartered in Clearfield, Utah, is a standalone, publicly-traded outdoor sports and recreation company with approximately 5,800 employees worldwide.

In a recent interview with GearJunkie.com, Vista Outdoor’s Chairman/CEO Mark DeYoung revealed that Vista Outdoor will release scores of new products in 2015:

Q: Looking ahead for this year, what to-be-released products are you most excited about?

A: Bushnell has a rangefinder for golf that is innovative. We introduced it at the PGA Show. The A17 rifle from Savage is big news — we sold out of a whole year’s capacity at the SHOT Show. Overall, there are about 130 new products coming this year from our brands[.]

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

Vista Outdoor Started Trading as VSTO on February 10, 2015
Vista Outdoor “went live” as a separate, publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange on February 10, 2015. Here is the official press release:

Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), which previously operated as the Sporting Group of Alliant Techsystems Inc. (“ATK”), announced today the successful completion of its spin-off from ATK (NYSE: ATK) into a standalone, publicly traded outdoor sports and recreation company.

On February 9, 2015, ATK distributed to its stockholders two shares of Vista Outdoor common stock for every share of ATK common stock held as of record on February 2, 2015. Vista Outdoor common stock will begin “regular-way” trading under the symbol “VSTO” on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) today, February 10, 2015, when markets open.

“Today marks the creation of a new leading commercial and consumer-products company focused on innovative solutions, strategic customer partnerships, execution excellence and creating long-term shareholder value,” said Mark DeYoung, Vista Outdoor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our consumers depend on our products to deliver quality and performance in a variety of outdoor environments and activities. Our mission is to bring the world outside, and to support and facilitate the success of outdoor enthusiasts as they strive to achieve their own rugged independence.”

About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Outdoor Products and Shooting Sports, and has more than 30 well-recognized brands that provide consumers with a wide range products in the ammunition, firearms and outdoor accessories categories. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 10 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

*Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) came into being as an independent company in 1990 when Honeywell spun off its defense businesses to shareholders. ATK got into the ammo business in 2001 when it acquired Blount International. ATK grew with later acquisitions of Weaver Optics (2008), Blackhawk (2010), Savage Arms (2013), and Bushnell (2013).

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
April 30th, 2014

ATK Spins Off Sporting Businesses and Merges Aerospace Operations with Orbital Sciences

ATK alliant Orbital mergerAlliant Techsystems (ATK or Alliant) is merging its aerospace/defense operations with Virginia-based Orbital Sciences. At the same time, ATK plans to spin off its sporting arms, ammo, and outdoor gear operations into a separate, stand-alone business. ATK sells sporting products under numerous brands including Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CCI, Champion, Federal Premium, RCBS, Savage Arms, Speer, and Weaver Optics. The new Alliant sporting business will operate from Utah, while the merged Orbital-ATK aerospace business will be managed from Virginia.

According to the Washington Post: “The separation of ATK’s core segments gives it the opportunity to focus on its sporting goods sector, which has grown to a $2.2 billion business through several mergers and acquisitions over the past decade. The company manufactures commercial sporting equipment for hunters, shooters and law enforcement agencies.”

alliant atk merger orbitalThe announced merger of Alliant and Orbital, and the spin-off of the sporting business, should benefit Alliant shareholders. Alliant shares rose 8% yesterday. Alliant shareholders will own 53.8% of the new Orbital-ATK aerospace company, and Alliant shareholders will retain full ownership of the new spin-off sporting enterprise. Alliant’s current CEO and president, Mark DeYoung, will take over as chairman and CEO of the new sporting business.

Will the new Alliant Sporting operation continue to grow? Analysts believe that it will. Management has shown interest in building the company via more sporting industry acquisitions. Analysts believe the Alliant sporting division is poised for continued expansion. While Alliant’s aerospace operations have suffered in recent years from cuts in defense spending, the sporting division has seen impressive revenue growth.

According to StarTribune.com: “The sporting unit’s rocket-like growth has captured the attention of Wall Street analysts. Barclays Capital analyst Carter Copeland recently boosted his forecast on Alliant, noting that “over time … the sporting group has made a more significant portion of the total company’s sales and earnings. … The last seven quarters the business has posted average organic growth on a year-over-year basis of 23 percent.”

For those in the shooting community, the spin-off of ATK’s sporting operations is probably a good thing. The new company can focus on guns, ammo, and outdoor accessories, rather than aerospace programs with long development cycles. Likewise the new company should be more responsive to consumers, as it can adjust production to current market demands, rather than fixed government defense contracts. ATK officials stated that “the company’s Sporting and Aerospace/Defense businesses operate in two fundamentally different markets with very different operating dynamics, compliance requirements, customer sets and growth opportunities. As standalone companies, they will be more focused businesses, with clear and distinct strategic visions and objectives, additional operational flexibility and the financial strength to make the most of their unique opportunities in their respective industries.”

Under the terms of the transaction agreement, ATK will distribute ownership of Sporting to ATK shareholders in a spin-off transaction, following which, ATK shareholders will own 100 percent of Sporting. The spin-off will be immediately followed by a merger of Orbital with a subsidiary of ATK, with Orbital surviving the merger and becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK. In connection with the merger, Orbital shareholders will receive 0.449 shares of ATK common stock for each share of Orbital common stock that they hold. Upon the closing of the merger, ATK shareholders will own approximately 53.8 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis and Orbital shareholders will own the remaining approximately 46.2 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 2 Comments »
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 »
November 13th, 2013

Ammo Maker’s Revenues Soar with Increased Product Demand

ATK ammo production profits increaseWhy is ammo in short supply? Quite simply because Americans are buying ammunition (and reloading supplies) like never before, grabbing everything that comes off the production line. Consider this, ATK (NYSE:ATK), which owns Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell, Savage and many other gun industry brands, reported a huge increase in revenues, mostly due to increased ammo sales.

ATK reported that second-quarter sales in its Sporting Group — which includes ammunition as well as optics, reloading gear and sport-shooting and tactical accessories — were up 48 percent to $421 million compared to $284 million in the same period last year. The company said the increase in sales was driven by higher volume in ammunition, sales from Savage of $57 million, and a previously announced ammunition price increase. ATK reported that its overall net income for the quarter was up 42 percent. Counting both military and civilian (Sporting Group) production, ATK produces over 6.5 Billion rounds of ammunition every year. Yep, that’s “B” as in Billion. That includes everything from .22 rimfire up to tank ammo.

ATK ammo production profits increase

$387,000,000 of Ammo for the Military
In related news, ATK announced that it has received orders for approximately $387 million for ammunition to be produced at its Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. The orders fall under the plant’s new production contract, which began Oct. 1, 2013, and include a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-caliber high-quality military ammunition.

ATK Ammo production

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »