October 21st, 2014

IMR Introduces New Enduron Powders: 4166, 4451, 7977

IMR Hodgdon Enduron PowderIMR is bringing out a new series of advanced-formulation extruded powders. In 2015, IMR will introduce three (3) new Enduron powders: IMR 4166, IMR 4451, and IMR 7977. The new line of IMR Enduron powders feature small kernels for easy metering, plus a built-in copper fouling eliminator. IMR claims that Enduron powders are not sensitive to temperature changes. If this is true, these powders should prove popular, particularly IMR 4166 which seems to be in the Varget/Reloder 15 burn-rate range. With Varget so hard to find, if IMR 4166 proves accurate (and available) we might see many .308 Win shooters make the switch. IMR states that IMR 4166 is a “versatile, match grade propellant”. We’ve been quite pleased with IMR 8208 XBR as a Varget alternative. IMR 8208 XBR is accurate, clean-burning, and offers good velocity. Perhaps the new IMR 4166 will be as good or better.

When will Enduron powders appear on dealers’ shelves? Hodgdon Powder Co., distributors of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders, says that: “The new IMR Enduron™ Technology powders will be available at dealers in early 2015 in 1-pound and 8-pound containers.” For more information and Enduron LOAD DATA visit imrpowder.com or check the 2015 Hodgdon Annual Manual.

IMR’s press release provides these descriptions of the new Enduron propellants:

IMR 4166 is the first in the series of Enduron™ propellants. It’s a perfect burn speed for cartridges like the 308 Win/7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Remington, 257 Roberts and dozens more.

IMR 4451 Another new Enduron powder that gives top performance in the venerable .30-06, 270 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Short Magnum, to name just a few. This propellant is ideally suited for many mid-range burn speed cartridges.

IMR 7977 is the slowest burn rate Enduron Technology powder. It is a true magnum cartridge propellant with outstanding performance in such cartridges as the .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .338 Lapua and more.

IMR Hodgdon Enduron Powder

Permalink New Product, Reloading 8 Comments »
January 20th, 2014

Nammo Announces Acquisition of Vihtavuori

Nammo Lapua acquires VihtavuoriIt’s official. Representatives of Lapua announced at SHOT Show 2014 that Nammo has purchased Vihtavuori, acquiring the “VV” line of propellants, and, most importantly, taking over Vihtavuori’s powder production facility in Vihtavuori, Finland.

This means that Vihtavuori is now officially under the Nammo umbrella as is Lapua, producer of brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition. Lapua engineer Tommi Tuuri has visited the Vihtavuori plant in person. Tommi says all operations are going well and the plant is running at normal capacity (but Nammo does plan some upgrades in the months ahead). Vihtavuori powders will continue to be imported into the United States as before and the powders will be made available through existing distribution channels.

Learn More about Nammo Purchase of Vihtavuori Powder Factory


The Vihtavuori Powder factory is located in Vihtavuori, Finland. Click marker to zoom.

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September 16th, 2013

Loading for a 16″ Naval Gun? Try these Really Big Powder Sticks…

Story by Boyd Allen
While many top competitive shooters trickle their stick powder charges to a kernel or two, that would be impractical when loading charges for giant naval guns. You may be surprised, but the shells fired by the U.S. Navy’s massive 14″ and 16″ naval guns were also propelled by stick-type extruded powders. You couldn’t trickle these ‘kernels’ though — a single stick or ‘grain’ can be over 2″ long. Take a look…

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

In connection with a Benchrest Central discussion that drifted to the subject of powders used in large naval guns, I heard from Joe McNeil, whose father was involved in manufacturing those very propellants as a DuPont employee. Joe writes:

“My Dad worked for the DuPont company for over 40 years. Every time the nation went to war he was assigned to the gun powder plants which DuPont ran for the government for $1.00 per year! His last assignment was at the Indiana Ordnance Plant in Jefferson, Indiana from 1952 through 1958. He had a display case made of all of the different powders made at the plant and left it to me. That’s why I have a grain of 16″ gun powder. He took me out to the Jefferson proving grounds once when they tested the powder in a 16″ gun. We watched from a half-mile away but it left a lasting impression when they fired that gun. They actually had a set of rings they fired through to test the performance of the powder and shell. This was a truly fond memory of my Dad and his work.”

Here are some pictures of the gun powder “grains” made during the Korean War at the Indiana Ordnance Works where Joe McNeil’s father worked.

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

Above is the display case with the different powders manufactured at the DuPont plant. They include: 37 MM/AA, 75MM Pack Howitzer, 50 Cal. 5010, 20 MM 4831, 30 Cal. 4895, 76 MM, 3″, 5″, 90 MM, 4.7″, 240MM, 8″, 280 MM, 175 MM, 155 MM Howitzer, 155 MM Gun M.P., 8″ Gun M.P., 12″, 14, 16″. There are different-sized ‘grains’ for specific rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
April 20th, 2013

Online Vendors Report Recent Powder Shipments

Reloading powder propellant Alliant Vihtavuori HodgdonHere’s good news for reloaders. Some large shipments of propellants were delivered in the last week, and we are starting to see supplies of some popular powders start to catch up to demand. Third Generation Shooting Supply received a very large order of Alliant Powders in one-pound containers, including the popular Reloder series. If you need RL15, RL19 or RL22 you may be able to grab some before it’s gone. TGSS has already sold nearly a ton of RL15 this week.

Natchez Shooters Supplies is featuring Vihtavuori powders, and the Natchez inventory system is showing supplies “in stock” for many of the most popular Vihtavuori powders including N320, N133, N135, N540, N150, N160, and N165. All these powders (including 8-lb jugs of N133) are shown “in stock” as of this morning, but we caution that things change quickly!

NOTE FOR LATE READERS: Inventory shown for 10:00 AM April 20, 2013.

Powder Valley Inc.
Partial List of In-Stock Powders
Hodgon H380 (1 lb.) — In stock at $18.35/lb
Hodgdon H1000 (8 lbs.) — In stock at $152.00 for 8 lbs.
Hodgdon Retumbo (1 lb.) — In stock at $21.35/lb
Hodgdon Superformance (8 lbs.) — In stock at $152.00 for 8 lbs.
Alliant Reloder 50 (1 lb.) — In stock at $19.15/lb
Alliant Reloder 50 (8 lbs.) — In stock at $137.50 for 8 lbs.
IMR 7828 (8 lbs.) — In stock at $147.80 for 8 lbs.
Norma 203B (1 lb) — In stock at $24.80/lb (this is nearly identical to Reloder 15)
Vihtavuori 3N37 (1 lb) — In stock at $29.95/lb
Vihtavuori N150 (1 lb) — In stock at $29.15/lb
Vihtavuori N160 (1 lb) — In stock at $29.15/lb

Third Generation Shooting Supply
Alliant Powders (Partial list)
Power Pro 4000 MR (1 lb.) — 961 lbs. in stock at $19.99/lb
Power Pro Varmint – (1 lb.) — 133 lbs. in stock at $19.99/lb
Reloder 10X – (1 lb.) — out of stock
Reloder 15 (1 lb.) — 733 lbs. in stock at $20.99/lb
Reloder 17 (1 lb.) — out of stock
Reloder 19 (1 lb.) — 2579 lbs. in stock at $20.99/lb
Reloder 22 (1 lb.) — 1797 lbs. in stock at $20.99/lb
Reloder 25 (1 lb.) — 109 lbs. in stock at $20.99/lb
Reloder 50 (1 lb.) — 36 lbs. in stock at $20.99/lb

Natchez Shooters Supplies
Vihtavuori Powders (Quantities Limited)
Vihtavuori Oy N3N37 (1 lb.) — In Stock at $31.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N320 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $31.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N133 (8 lbs.) — In Stock at $197.49 for 8 lbs
Vihtavuori Oy N133 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $30.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N135 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $30.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N150 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $30.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N160 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $30.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N165 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $30.49/lb
Vihtavuori Oy N540 (1 lb.) – In Stock at $34.99/lb

Editor’s Note: As with all inventory systems, there can be a variance between actual inventories and listed inventories. We are reporting what is shown “in-stock” this morning. But if the inventories are not updated in “real time” as shipments are made, true supplies may be less than what is shown.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
April 1st, 2012

Powder Kernel Uniforming for Ultimate Long-Range Accuracy

MFR ScaleSuccessful long-range shooters know that careful weighing of powder charges helps them achieve superior long-range accuracy. By maintaining powder charges within very narrow weight tolerances, hand-loaders can produce ammo with more consistent muzzle velocities from shot to shot. Low Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) numbers translate directly to reduced vertical dispersion at very long ranges (although velocity is not the only contributing factor to vertical spread). In pursuit of load weight uniformity, many of our top long-range aces have invested in the latest, high-tech magnetic force restoration (MFR) digital scales (such as the Sartorius GD503). These laboratory-grade MFR scales are extremely stable (with minimal drift) and they can reliably measure to .005 grain, that is five thousandths of a grain. That is less than the weight of one kernel of typical extruded powder. For example, with Varget, there are three to four kernels in one-tenth of one grain of Varget. That means each kernel weighs .025 to .035 grains.

With the capability of modern modern MFR scales to measure less than one-hundreth of a grain, we have a new frontier in precision reloading. You’ll note, in the preceding paragraph, we said that one-tenth of one grain of Varget is three or four kernels. Well, “which is it?” you might ask. The answer is that it might be three, or it might be four, depending on the size of the individual kernels. That’s a disturbing uncertainty that we simply had to accept… until now.

Powder Kernel Uniforming — A Breakthrough
We now have the tools and the methodology to resolve the inherent uncertainty in individual kernel weight. Using the new technique of powder kernel uniforming, first pioneered by German Salazar, we can now, for the first time, ensure that every kernel of powder that goes into a cartridge is virtually the same weight — the same, in fact, within 0.01 grain (one-hundredth of a grain) TOTAL spread.

MFR ScaleFor a reloader looking to achieve “perfect” load weight uniformity, powder kernel uniforming offers the ultimate control over powder weight. The method we devised to uniform individual kernels consists of kernel core-drilling. The propellant we chose for this kernel-uniforming test was a new prototype (not yet commercially available) EuroChemie RL “X” propellant. This was chosen because it offered relatively large, can-shaped kernels that could be drilled relatively easily.

Powder Kernel Uniforming TestCore-Drilling Kernels with Micro Drill-Bits
The center of each kernel was bored out with a micro-drill. But here’s the key. Before drilling, we first weighed each kernel. Then we selected a micro drill bit of appropriate diameter to achieve uniform weights. With the heavier kernels (in the 0.04 gr range) we used a larger micro-bit. With the lighter kernels (in the 0.02 range), we selected a smaller diameter micro-bit that removed less material from the center of the kernel. Obviously, many kernels were ruined while we perfected the drilling process. It required great patience and a very steady hand. But after a few dozen hours of drilling, we had a batch of uniformed kernels that were all within plus or minus .005 grains (.01 grain ES). Now we were ready to do some testing.

Powder Kernel Uniforming Test

Powder Kernel Uniforming TestProof That It Works
All this time-consuming work to drill holes in individual kernels would be pointless, of course, if it did not produce meaningful accuracy gains. The proof, as they say, is “on the target”. We were curious to see if our uniformed powder kernels would out-perform unmodified kernels, so we did some field testing. We prepared two batches of 6mmBR ammo in Lapua brass, with full case prep, and bullet base to ogive sorting (we wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible). Bullets were Lapua 105gr Scenar Ls, which proved to be some of the most consistent projectiles we’ve ever measured.

One set of rounds was loaded with a carefully-weighed charge of unmodified kernels. Case to case charge weight was held to .05 grain (half a tenth uniformity). Then we prepared a second batch of cartridges with uniformed kernels, using the exact same charge weight, also held to .05 grain (half a tenth) tolerances. We took these rounds to the range, and did a “round-robin” test at 800 yards, shooting one of each type in sequence (i.e. one uniformed on right, then one non-uniformed on left) until we had two 10-round groups. The test was done with a rail gun fitted with a 1:8″ twist, 28″ Krieger 0.236″ land barrel. The uniformed-kernel ammo was shot at the right diamond, while the non-uniformed rounds were shot at the left diamond. Conditions were good, so we simply “held center” on every shot. No attempt was made to correct for wind as our primary concern was vertical dispersion.

Powder Kernel Uniforming Test

Ammo with Uniformed Kernels Shows Significantly Less Vertical Dispersion at Long Range
As you can see, the uniformed-kernel ammo out-performed the non-uniformed ammo. The difference is quite clear. The rounds with non-uniformed kernels (on the left) produced a 10-shot group with roughly 3.0 inches of vertical dispersion. On the right, our ammo with uniformed kernels produced a group with 9 of 10 shots showing roughly 1.75 inches of vertical dispersion (we did have one high flier among the uniformed-kernel rounds). Additionally, we had a lower 10-shot ES and SD with the uniformed-kernel ammo. We repeated this test two more times and the results were similar. The targets speak for themselves. If you are looking for ultimate long-range accuracy, powder kernel uniforming is a “new frontier” you may wish to explore. With all other factors held constant, we were able to reduce vertical dispersion by more than an inch at 800 yards by drill-uniforming our NitroChemie powder. That’s huge in the long-range game.

Yes, the kernel-uniforming process is incredibly time-consuming and tedious, and a set of micro-drills is not cheap. We also freely acknowledge that the process may be much less productive with narrow-kernel propellants that are hard to drill. (Also EuroChemie powders are preferred because the burn rate controlling compounds are impregnated throughout the entire kernel — not just the outside.) But the potential for significant accuracy gains is there. We proved that.

Is it worth the huge investment of time to drill your powder kernels? That’s a question each reader must ask himself. But if you know the competitor on the next bench over has uniformed his kernels, can you afford not to do the same? Sometimes the extra effort is worth it, just for the peace of mind you get knowing you’ve done everything possible to achieve “ultimate accuracy”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 24 Comments »
January 19th, 2012

SHOT Show: Hodgdon Introduces New CFE™223 Powder

Hodgdon CFE 223 PowderHodgdon Powder has introduced a new spherical (ball) powder called CFE™223. Hodgdon claims that this new powder “greatly deters copper fouling” compared to other propellants. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE™223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time.

Load Data Now Available Online for CFE™223
Reload data for CFE™223 is available for 27 different cartridges with 147 loads. It is suitable for loading in many popular chamberings including: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, 6mmBR, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 7mm-08, and .308 Win. Maximum velocities are obtained in the .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, and .308 Win with load data found at Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center. CFE™223 is a spherical (ball) powder, so it meters well. The new powder will be available in one- and eight-pound containers starting in January, 2012. For more info, call (913) 362-9455 or write to: Hodgdon Powder, 6231 Robinson, Shawnee Mission, KS 66202.

Hodgdon CFE 223 Powder

Permalink New Product, Reloading 14 Comments »
October 11th, 2011

Hodgdon Claims New CFE™223 Ball Powder Deters Copper Fouling

Hodgdon CFE 223 PowderHodgdon Powder has introduced a new spherical (ball) powder called CFE™223. Hodgdon claims that this new powder “greatly deters copper fouling” compared to other propellants. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE™223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time.

Load Data Now Available Online for CFE™223
Reload data for CFE™223 is available for 27 different cartridges with 147 loads. It is suitable for loading in many popular chamberings including: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, 6mmBR, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 7mm-08, and .308 Win. Maximum velocities are obtained in the .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, and .308 Win with load data found at Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center. CFE™223 is a spherical (ball) powder, so it meters well. The new powder will be available in one- and eight-pound containers starting in January, 2012. For more info, call (913) 362-9455 or write to: Hodgdon Powder, 6231 Robinson, Shawnee Mission, KS 66202.

Hodgdon CFE 223 Powder

Permalink New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »
February 27th, 2010

Vihtavuori Releases NEW N570 Powder for Magnums

Vihtavuori (VV) has started producing N570, a new high-energy, double-base powder suited for magnum cartridges. The burn rate of N570 is similar to Vihtavuori N170 and Hodgdon H870, making it somewhat faster than 24N21 or Retumbo. The new N570 has the slowest burn rate of the five powders in N500-series of high-energy propellants. N570 is an extruded tubular powder with a large kernel size (similar to VV 20N41 and 20N29) and a high bulk density.

Vihtavuori N570

The characteristics of this slow burning, high-energy powder are well-suited for large volume cases like the 6.5-284 Norma, 300 Winchester Magnum, 300 Remington Ultra Mag, 338 Lapua Magnum or the 30-378 Weatherby Magnum.

Reloading Data for the new N570 Powder is available in the latest edition of the Vihtavuori Reloading Guide. (PDF).

CLICK HERE for Vihtavuori Reloading Guide (8th Ed.).

The new N570 was developed at the request of magnum cartridge reloaders. Vihtavuori told us: “Powder users have repeatedly asked for a powder suited to the needs of the largest magnum rifle cartridges. We have developed our new N570 High Energy powder to meet this special need in the market. N570 was developed to bring out the very best performance and velocity in large volume magnum rifle cartridges.”

VV Recommends Weighing N570 Charges
Because N570 has very large kernels, Vihtavuori advises that reloaders should always WEIGH N570 charges rather than rely on throws from powder measures: “We recommend that charges of this high-energy N570 powder be weighed, as measures do not always deliver consistent charges. This is especially true when the powder being used is of such a large kernel configuration. This may lead to a potential for either under- or over-charged cases, if the charges are thrown straight from the measure and not weighed.”

Vihtavuori Powders are imported in the USA by Hodgdon Powder Company and Kaltron Outdoors, and are marketed worldwide by Nammo Lapua, www.lapua.com.

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 28th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Chris Hodgdon Sets the Record Straight Regarding IMR 8208 XBR

IMR 8208 XBR powderWe know many of our readers are interested in the new IMR 8208 XBR powder distributed by Hodgdon Powder Company. Early test lots of this new propellant have already won important benchrest matches, and field testing has shown that it is extremely stable across a wide temperature range. At SHOT Show 2010, we interviewed Chris Hodgdon, who gave us the “inside story” on this new powder. Before we started taping, Chris shared with us lab test results showing how pressure of a fixed load varied with ambient temperature. The data was stunning. Basically 8208 XBR showed almost constant pressures from below freezing to well over 100° F. This editor has personally never seen a powder test that revealed “flat-line” results like 8208 XBR, with recorded pressures remaining virtually unchanged over a huge temperature range. If the test results are to be believed, this is indeed a very exceptional powder.

On some internet Forums, skeptics have suggested that IMR 8208 XBR is just an “odd lot of H322″, and that, accordingly, 8208 XBR may not be available for long. Chris told us that the skeptics are misinformed — those who have suggested that 8208 XBR is re-labeled H322 are completely wrong. IMR 8208 XBR IS something new and it IS here to stay. IMR 8208 XBR is NOT merely a “tweaked” blend of H322. Though 8208 XBR has small kernels like H322, allowing it to meter well, 8208 XBR is a completely new formulation. Moreover, IMR 8208 XBR is not going to be a “one-production-run” wonder. Chris explained that Hodgdon is fully committed to long-term production of this new powder. So if you acquire some now, and develop a great load, rest assured that you will be able to obtain more IMR 8208 XBR in the future. As Chris explains in the interview, Hodgdon is strongly committed to IMR 8208 XBR and Hodgdon plans to keep it in production for a long time.

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