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October 3rd, 2009

Hodgdon Releases Impressive New IMR 8208 XBR Powder

Hodgdon IMR 8208 XBRHodgdon Powder Co. has unveiled a brand new powder, IMR 8208 XBR. From early reports, this is an exceptional new propellant that may change the way the game is played in short-range benchrest. According to Hodgdon, “IMR 8208 XBR is a remarkably advanced technology propellant” formulated for popular match, varmint and sniper rounds, including 223 Rem, 308 Win, 6mm PPC, 204 Ruger, 6mm BR, 22-250 Remington and similar calibers. We’re told the powder is being produced by ADI in Australia.

IMR 8208 XBR is Consistent in All Conditions
This short grain extruded rifle powder exhibits exceptional stability with virtually no change in velocity at temperatures ranging from -40 degrees F to 165+ degrees F. Lou Murdica, who helped develop this new powder, confirms that it is not temp-sensitive. Lou told us: “I have been shooting IMR 8208 XBR for over a year and I have done a lot of winning shooting it. One of the great things about this particular powder is, I always shoot the same load whether I shoot it in Florida or Phoenix AZ. I have never had to adjust for temperature or humidity.” That’s big news in the short-range BR game. Currently, most competitors must tailor their load to suit conditions.

IMR 8208 XBR is Already Winning Matches
Lou Murdica, one of the nation’s top BR shooters, won numerous matches with 8208 XBR in 2009, including the Heavy Varmint Grand Agg at the Cactus Classic. In August 2009, Jim Carmichel won the Heavy Varmint Grand Agg at the IBS Group Nationals. What is significant here is that Jim shot the exact same load of IMR 8208 XBR both days to win the event. That’s right–this powder requires far less “tuning” than most other powders currently used in short-range benchrest.

Product Development and Performance
Lou Murdica revealed some interesting facts about IMR 8208 XBR. Lou explained that the development team was initially trying to produce a propellant that would match the desireable characteristics of the “classic” T32 powder from the 1960s. In the process of developing a T-Powder clone, Lou says that the Hodgdon/IMR powder wizards came up with something even better: “We were originally pursuing a formula like T-Powder, but we came up with something a bit different. It was so good, and shot so well, that we didn’t want to lose it. It turned out that this stuff shot as well or better than the earlier T-clone mixtures and was incredibly stable.”

Lou MurdicaLou continued: “I’ve shot a lot of T-Powder and it is sensitive in certain way. I feel this new powder is equal to, if not better than, a T-Powder clone because 8208 XBR is not sensitive. I can shoot the same load, at any location, in any temperature or humidity. Additionally, and this is very important — the new powder is very forgiving. It has a very broad accuracy window. If you’re shooting 30.0 grains in a 6 PPC successfully, we found you could go down to 29.8, or up to 30.2 and the accuracy was still there. You won’t see a change in group size. It has a very wide and forgiving load window.”
[CAUTION: These charge weights may be excessive with your rifle and your bullets. Always start 10% low and work up.]

The new powder is versatile and has plenty of energy. Lou tells us “8208 XBR is a great powder. With a 6 PPC shooting 68-grainers, I can get up into the 3500 fps range. And the powder will work with larger cases too. I’ve tried it with success in a 6BR with 105s and I think it will work in a Dasher or 6 BRX. I also shot it in a 22BR successfully.”

Lou predicts that IMR 8208 XBR will have a big impact on the Benchrest game once it is widely available: “Once this powder gets in people’s hands I think you’re going to see GREAT things. It’s not finicky. It meters really well out of normal powder measures. It’s really stable. There are plusses all around. We’ll know within a year whether it becomes the powder to beat.”

Lou is no longer involved in the sale or distribution of IMR 8208 XBR: “I’m not in it any more. I have to buy my powder like everyone else.” But he encourages all BR shooters to give it a try: “The powder is fantastic. I have been telling everyone to go to your powder dealers and order it. Buy a jug and shoot it.”

Lou has high praise for the folks at Hodgdon: “You can’t say enough good things about Chris Hodgdon and Hodgdon’s willingness to develop this new powder. They’ve finally given us something we’ve really wanted and really needed. What they have done is great.”

Product Availability — IMR 8208 XBR in Short Supply until 2010
IMR 8208 XBR will be available in 1-lb canisters and 8-lb kegs in 2010. Hodgdon has produced limited quantities already, and you may be able to find some 8208 XBR at popular vendors, such as Powder Valley, in early January, 2010. You’ll need to call around to see who has it.

For more information or complete data visit, phone IMR at (913) 362-9455 or write to 6231 Robinson, Shawnee Mission, KS 66202.

Permalink Competition, New Product, Reloading 10 Comments »
October 3rd, 2009

NBRSA 100/200 Nationals Final Results

The final results have been tallied for the 2009 NBRSA 100/200 Yard Benchrest (Group) Nationals. This was an epoch event, with numerous potential records set, including a stunning 0.093 by Tom Libby in the 200-yard Sporter Match. (Target photo below, courtesy James Mock.) Exceptionally good conditions produced phenomenal scores, with dozens of Teen Aggs in some events. Jack Neary won the Two-Gun Grand with an impressive 0.1788 Agg. Tony Boyer, runner-up to Neary in the Two-Gun, took the Three-Gun Grand with an 0.1995 and Boyer won the Four-Gun Grand as well with an 0.2038. Other top shooters, by class, are listed below.

Sporter Grand LV Grand HV Grand UnLTD Grand
Jack Neary, 0.1846
Gary Ocock, 0.1846
Mike Ratigan, 0.1872
Tony Boyer, 0.1661
Jack Neary, 0.1731
Tim Courtney, 0.1805
Bob Scarborough, 0.2160
Mike Ratigan, 0.2166
Lowell Hottenstein, 0.2244
Tony Boyer, 2.165
Jeff Summers, 2.300
Mike Conry, 2.363

Tom Libby Sporter PPC

Click Here for Complete Match Results and Standings

Tom Libby Sporter RecordHottenstein Bullets were HOT
A quick glance at the official equipment list shows some remarkable trends. First, Lowell Hottenstein’s bullets were indeed the “Hot” ticket. The majority of Top 10 finishers in every bag gun class used Lowell’s bullets. In fact, in both LV and HV classes, 8 of the top 10 shooters used Hottensteins. That’s 80% Top 10 usage in the most competitive classes — a remarkable showing for one bullet-maker.

As for powder, Vihtavuori N133 was still favored by the vast majority of shooters… but watch out for Hodgdon’s new 8208 XBR powder. (More on that in a separate report).

Cut-Rifled Barrels and BAT Actions
Bartlein and Krieger cut-rifled barrels completely dominated the match. In Sporter, Light Varmint, AND Heavy Varmint Classes ALL of the Top 20 shooters used either a Bartlein or a Krieger. You read that right, in ALL the bag gun classes, nobody cracked the Top 20 without either a Bartlein or Krieger. Is the button-rifled barrel “obsolete” in short-range benchrest?

BAT, BAT, and more BAT. A BAT Machine action was in EVERY Light Varmint rifle in the Top 20. 100%. Among Heavy Varmint rigs, 16 out of the Top 20 used BATs (there were two Pandas, a Stolle Teddy and One Farley). Again, that’s remarkable dominance by a single action-maker. There was more diversity among Top 20 Sporters, but BAT still had 10/20 or 50%.

Light Varmint Top 20 Equipment List
Light Varmint Equipment List

Heavy Varmint Top 20 Equipment List
Heavy Varmint Equipment List

Sporter Top 20 Equipment List
Light Varmint Equipment List

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