May 24th, 2009

Powder and Primer "Scalpers" on Auction Sites

We all know that certain popular powders are very hard to find right now, and the situation for rifle primers is even worse. With increased demand from various sources, available supplies of Varget and other powders have dried up, creating incentives for some folks to resell powder and primers at windfall prices. Varget powder

Recently, one 8-lb jug of Hodgdon Varget sold for $680.00 on You read that right — SIX hundred eighty dollars. Add $35 for shipping and hazmat fees and you’re talking $715.00 for a jug of Varget, or $89.38 per pound, nearly four times the going price before the “panic buying” started.

Eighty-nine bucks for a pound of powder is crazy. We caution our readers not to get caught up in such nonsense. First, if you can’t find a particular powder, such as Varget, there are good alternatives available at reasonable prices. Norma 203B is an outstanding powder, very similar to Reloder 15, that works well in place of Varget. has plenty of 1-lb cans of Norma 203B in stock, Item Number: NP203B1, priced at $24.99 per pound. (That price includes shipping but not Haz Mat fees.)

We also expect the supply situation to stabilize in the next few months. Hodgdon recently received 22,000 pounds of Varget powder. Those supplies (along with other Hodgdon powders) should make their way to vendors soon, and that should relieve some of the shortages which encourage price-gouging.

As for the primer situation, things should remain tight for a while. All the primer makers are running at full capacity, but it could be some months before we see normal primer inventories at most large retailers.

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