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October 14th, 2022

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

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

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

Now the prices — $20 to $44 — may not get your attention at first. But take note that these numbers are for EIGHT pound jugs. Yep eight-pounders were all under $45! For example, H4895 was $44 for 8 pounds back in 1978, 44 years ago. And H335 was $20 for eight pounds — that’s just $2.50 per pound!

These days a single pound of a desirable powder such as H4831 might cost $65 at some stores IF you can find it at all. On Hodgdon’s web site, H4831 powder is priced at $60.99 per pound in October 2022. Using that current $60.99/lb figure, H4831 is now ELEVEN times higher than it was in 1978, when H4831 cost $44 for 8 pounds, i.e. $5.50 per pound.

Here are some comments from our Forum Members:

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

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

“1978 prices and 2022 income would be nice. Unfortunately that doesn’t work. If you compare prices and income, powder cost about the same. You also have to discount the temporary gouging that we are seeing.” — Tmwinds

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 18th, 2022

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 »
August 12th, 2022

6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Plus PRB Bonus

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
NOTE: The 6mm Creedmoor now does have an official SAAMI specification. It is no longer just a wildcat.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Sierra Bullets has published load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, [RE-16], RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for 90-95 grain bullets plus the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are five other tables for other bullet types.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets


BONUS: PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey

The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. One cautionary note: These PRS guys may be loading fairly hot, so work up gradually, 0.3 grains at a time. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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June 23rd, 2022

Short History of the .220 Swift Cartridge — Great for Varmints

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

A History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading HodgdonThis cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.

This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.

Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.

Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.

One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.

I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.

The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.

Sierra Bullets 220 Swift Cartridge Guide

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
November 20th, 2021

Brownells Has Many Powders in Stock at Good Prices

Brownells in stock reloading powders sale discount code

Popular Powders In Stock at Brownells at Reasonable Prices

We all know that reloading powders have been hard to find. And when you do find an appropriate powder, some vendors are asking crazy high prices. Well we’re pleased to report that Brownells has a number of popular powders IN STOCK today (11/20/2021), and the prices are quite fair, starting at $24.99 per pound for Ramshot Competition. Grab some excellent Hodgdon H380 for $33.99 per pound, or IMR 4198 for $38.99 per pound. CLICK HERE to see all available in-stock powders at Brownells today.

Save Money with Brownells Discount Codes

While you’re shopping at Brownells, don’t forget to use one of the current Discount Codes to save money. There are many current codes that can save you up to 10% on your purchase. And with special Pre-Black Friday Code RTC you get $30 off $300 PLUS FREE Shipping and handling through November 23rd at midnight. Fill in the applicable Code during checkout.

Current Brownells Discount Codes:

Code FR6: $85 off $875
Expiration date November 30, 2021

Code FR5: $55 off $575
Expiration date November 30, 2021

Code RTC: $30 off $300 and FREE Shipping/Handling
Expiration Date November 23, 2021 at 11:59pm

Code FR4: $25 off $275
Expiration Date November 30, 2021

Code TAG: $15 off $150
Expiration Date Unknown

Code SAE: $15 off $150
Expiration Date Unknown

Code PTT: $10 off $100
Expiration Date Unknown

Code Q63: Free Shipping/Handling over $99
Expiration Date Unknown

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 18th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Sako TRG-22 & TRG-42 Hunting Rifles in Norway

Many years ago, when we decided to do a story about SAKO’s TRG series of rifles, we remembered our friend Terje Fjørtoft in Norway. Terje has owned, and hunted with, both the TRG-22 (in .308 Win), and its big brother, the TRG-42 (chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum). Unlike many TRG owners in the USA, Terje has carried his “tactical hunters” into the field, and tested their effectiveness on large game in both coastal and mountain environments, in warm weather and cold. Terje tells us the TRGs have proven to be rugged and reliable. And they are accurate. The .308 Win TRG-22 delivers about 0.45 MOA groups at 420 yards shot from bipod. The .338 LM TRG-42 shoots about 0.55 – 0.7 MOA at that distance.

A Tale of Two TRGs by Terje Fjørtoft

I live in Brattvåg, along the coast of Norway, but I hunt and shoot at the nearby island “Fjørtoft” (same as my last name) and a small island outside Fjørtoft. I grew up on Fjørtoft as a child, and we hunt seals there in the spring and fall. The large, top photo shows me with my black TRG-42 338 Lapua Mag (“LM”) during a seal hunt a couple years ago. Click on the thumbnail at right to watch a video that shows me shooting the .338 LM. Most of the photos in this story are from that hunt. Because the .338 LM was really “overkill” on the seals (and expensive to reload), I replaced that rifle with a TRG-22 in .308 Winchester.

We hunt seals primarily for wildlife control. This is because the seals carry an internal parasite, called “Kveis”, a small worm that breeds inside the seals (after eating contaminated fish). When the seals expel the Kveis into the water, the Kveis larvae are consumed by the fish and then the fish become unfit to eat. The parasite literally eats the fish from the inside out. It’s not very pretty and it has hurt our Norwegian fishing industry. So there is an important purpose for our seal hunting. We hunt mostly from islands, targeting the seals in the water, and retrieving them with a small boat.

Because the seals spend most of their time in the water, a seal-hunter needs a very accurate rifle [to take head shots at distance]. I like the TRG-22 because it is very accurate out of the box, with a very nice bipod that works well in the field. The stock is comfortable with good adjustment range. The TRG features a 10-rd magazine and the barrel is pre-threaded for a muzzle brake or suppressor.

I have also used my TRGs for hunting big game, deer and what Americans call “Elk”. You can see, further down on this page, a picture from a hunting stand taken late in the evening, in the fading light. Yes I successfully bagged a nice buck during that trip with my TRG-42. When hunting, I use a Leica 900 rangefinder, Swarovski 7×42 Habicht binoculars, and a Silva windwatch. For Optics on the TRG-22, I have a Zeiss 6-24×56 scope, in Tikka Optilock rings. To get more scope adjustment I milled 0.9 mm off the front scope base mount. The Zeiss is great for viewing small targets past 400 meters. It was very difficult to find a longer shooting place than 575 meters on this Island (Uksnøy) but I found a place where I can shoot out to 930 meters, and I’ve made an 80-cm steel gong for a target. At this range, the bullet must fly nearly all the distance over the water.


Terje Shooting the TRG-42 without suppressor. Big recoil, big flash.

Both the TRG-22 and TRG-42 are very accurate right out of the box. The only thing I did before I first shot the TRGs was to clean the barrels very thoroughly. This is because the SAKO factory test shoots the gun without cleaning the barrel. I also adjust the cheek piece upward when shooting the rifles with a big scope. However, if you raise the cheek piece too high you can’t get the bolt out without removing the whole cheek piece. The only real modification I’ve made to my TRGs was to put rubber foot pads on the feet of the SAKO factory bipod. This gives the bipod better grip on slick surfaces such as concrete, or the rocks on the offshore islands.

.338 LM vs. .308 Win — Smaller Can Be Better
A few years ago I had a black TRG-42 (338 LM), but after a year, I sold it, and ordered a TRG-22 from the SAKO factory. After a one-year wait, I got the new green TRG-22 in February this year. One main reason I changed to .308 Win was the cost of ammo. I can reload .308 Win ammo for about one-third the price that it costs to reload .338 LM. One other reason is that my usual shooting distance is about 390 meters–at that distance the .308 is more than effective enough. Also, with the .338 LM, the barrel and the suppressor heated up after only a few shots, but with my new .308, I can shoot at my own pace without this problem. After my most recent shooting trip I once again confirmed how accurate, and fun-to-shoot, the TRG-22 is. I think now the TRG-22 has become my favorite plinking gun.

Though it is fun to experience the big boom and flash of the .338 LM, I’ll admit that it is just too much rifle for most applications. The .338 LM is REAL overkill for seal hunting. Here in Norway we have a rule that the smallest caliber we can use is 6.5×55 with a 140gr (or heavier) bullet, but everyone who hunts seals knows that the seals stay mostly in the water, and therefore you must take a headshot at distance up to about 200 meters. Making the headshot with a smaller caliber is advised for two reasons. First, when a big .338 bullet hits the water, there is a danger it will skip and ricochet quite some distance. Second, if you use too powerful a load/gun/caliber and take a headshot on a swimming seal, the seal sinks like a rock.

Reloading for the TRG-22 (.308 Win)
With the TRG-22, I found it was easy to get an accurate load. My groups with 155gr Scenars are consistently good with a variety of different powders. I’ve tried both light and heavy bullets, but I favor the 155gr Scenars over the 185gr Scenars because the 155s fly a lot faster and drop less.

Three loads (all with Fed 210m primers) that have worked well are: 155gr Scenar with VV N150, 885m/sec; 155gr Scenar with Norma N-11, 890m/sec, and 185gr Scenar, VV N150, 770m/sec. Norma N-11 is a low-cost powder for target shooting. N-11 is similar to Norma 203B or Norma 202 but it varies quite a bit from lot to lot.

I use a RCBS Rock Chucker press, and currently use a standard RCBS full-length die kit to reload my .308 rounds. However, I recently ordered a Redding Competition 3-die set with a .335 bushing. I look forward to trying the Reddings. I have just started to test different seating depths. The 155s just “kiss” the lands at 74.10 mm. I’ve tried 74.00 mm, 74.10 mm and 73.55 mm, but so far saw no significant differences.

Reloading for the TRG-42 (.338 LM)
For the .338 LM, I started with a 250gr Scenar and 95 grains of Vihtavuori N-170. That load was very accurate at about 850 m/sec, but it produced excessive muzzle flash. And, in the winter, the muzzle velocity was inconsistent, and there was too much unburned powder. Next I tried Norma N-15, which proved very accurate at about 880 m/sec. With that load I shot my best TRG-42 group at 380 meters. I set the 250gr Scenar to touch the rifling with 93.2 mm COAL, and I used Federal 215m primers in Lapua-brand brass. Norma MPR2 and VV N-560 (860 m/sec) also were very accurate with the 250 Scenar.

My seal hunting bullet was the 200gr Nosler BT. This bullet grouped very well with 90-94 grains Norma N-15. Velocity was about 970m/sec if I remember correctly. I also tried the 300gr Sierra MK, and got 1/2″ 3-shot groups at 100 meters with 93.5 grains of VV N-170, but this combination produced terrible groups at longer range.

Loading for the .338 LM was not difficult — about the same as loading for .308 Win, except that you use nearly twice the amount of powder. I didn’t crimp the bullets in the neck, didn’t use any special tricks or neck lube. I used RCBS .338 LM full-length die. That functioned, but it would not be my first choice today. Overall, my better loads in the .338 shot in the 0.5-0.7 MOA range. My best group was four shots in 25mm (1″) at 380 meters (416 yards).

Hunting in Norway


I’m not a competitive sport-shooter. Normally, the only time I go to a “commercial” rifle range is to take the test for my hunting license. Every year, I must re-qualify for a shooting license to hunt big game and seals.

Hunters Tested Annually
In Norway, you must pass an actual shooting test before you can hunt big game. This test requires five shots at a deer silhouette target at 100 meters. No rests are allowed–you must shoot off-hand or with a sling only. You have to place five shots inside a 30 cm circle over the front leg.

Every big game hunter that passes this test is authorized to hunt at “dusk and dawn” and in moonlight. So, we do a lot of our hunting in the twilight hours. However, no night-vision or artificial illumination (spotlights) are allowed. We usually hunt deer at dusk and dawn. In the evening, we go on post two to three hours before it is dark, and sit there waiting for the deer to show up–hopefully before it is too dark. In the morning we go to the post one hour before you see any light of the sun, and wait for the deer to show up until the daylight. But when it is full moon we sometime have enough light to hunt in the middle of the night. In the photo, you can see a deer through the scope of my TRG-42. This was very late in the evening. CLICK HERE for BIG Photo.

Sound Suppressors for Hunting Rifles

Suppressors are legal to use for hunting in Norway. I have suppressors on all my rifles, even my little CZ 452 in 17 HMR. To me, shooting a rifle without a suppressor is like driving a car without an exhaust system. The suppressor reduces both noise AND recoil significantly. With a good suppressor, there is no loss of accuracy. The only “negative” in using a suppressor is extra weight on the end of the barrel.

I crafted my own home-made suppressor. It’s similar to my commercially-made TRG-22 suppressor, but the core is made from titanium to be lighter in weight and more corrosion-resistant. I used a lathe at work to craft the inside of the new suppressor. The core of the unit is built from a 27.5 cm X 40mm round bar of titanium while the outer cylinder is made from a 42mm stainless steel tube. I wanted to use titanium for the exterior cylinder as well, but I couldn’t source the right size titanium tube.


Commercial Suppressor on TRG-42

Comparing .308 Win vs. 6mmBR
I also have a 6BR hunting rifle (compensated of course). I have a lot of field time with the 6BR rifle, and feel very confident with that gun. When I got the Krieger 6mmBR barrel on the SAKO Varminter, I fell in love with that rifle from day one, and that rifle is my first choice for small game hunting.

I also like the TRG-22 gun very much and enjoy it more and more with each new field trip. That .308 is my big game rifle and my long-range target rifle.

I recently tested my TRG-22 rifle at 387 meters. This was just “fun shooting” at steel plates, and I didn’t measure groups. But I was happy with the results. Once I corrected for the 5 m/sec crosswind, I was able to put five successive shots on a 10 cm (4″) diameter steel target at 387 meters (423 yards).

My SAKO Varminter in 6mm BR and my TRG-22 are two very different rifles. The TRG-22 is much heavier. I guess the TRG-22 is about 6.5-7 kg while my SAKO 6BR is about 4.5-5 kg, both with suppressor, scope, and bipod. The 6BR with suppressor is much quieter than the TRG-22 with suppressor. The recoil of the 6BR is a lot softer than the TRG-22. So far my 6BR is more accurate. A typical three-shot group with the 6BR is 25-40 mm at 387 meter (423 yards), and that is with just 10X magnification from a Zeiss scope. With my TRG-22, my 3-shot groups run about 50-60 mm, shooting with bipod and beanbag. But I think with a better .308 Win reloading die and more practice, I can improve my groupings with the TRG-22.

SPEC SHEET

The SAKO TRG-22 and TRG-42 are built in Finland by SAKO, a subsidiary of Beretta. In America, the guns are distributed by Beretta USA. Both TRGs (22/42) are available in forest green or a matte black textured finish. A two-stage match trigger is standard.

The stock is somewhat unconventional. It is an external shell, bolted to an internal metal chassis. The action bolts directly to the chassis, without bedding. The injection-molded stock is adjustable for comb height, length of pull (with spacers), vertical butt-pad height and cast-off.

Weight TRG-22
4.7 kg (black)
4.9 kg (green)

Barrel TRG-22
660 mm (26″), hammer-forged, optional stainless or phosphate finish

Capacity
10-round Mag (TRG-22)
7-round Mag (TRG-42)

Calibers
.308 Win (TRG-22)
300WM, .338 LM (TRG-42)

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
March 8th, 2021

Learn Basics of Handloading with 4-Part Video Series

tactical life reloading video series rcbs barnes

With 7 million new gun owners, and ammo hard to find at reasonable cost, hundreds of thousands of Americans are looking to get started with handloading. While we always recommend new reloaders have a living, breathing human teacher/mentor. It is possible to learn important skills through instructional videos. Here’s a good 4-part series that can help reloading novices AND serve as a refresher course for those who need to brush up their skill set).

In Tactical Life’s new Reloading Zone Series, Frank Melloni, of Renaissance Firearms Instruction and the Hodgdon Reloading Roadshow, covers the basic steps of reloading. From equipment selection to reading a manual, Frank explains the process and demonstrates how to produce safe and accurate ammo. In the series, the host loads pistol and rifle ammunition using Hodgdon powder, Barnes Bullets, and Starline brass. RCBS Presses, Powder Measures, Scales, and Dies are used along with the impressive new dual-tube RCBS MatchMaster electronic scale/dispenser.

This 4-part video series first guides the new hand-loader through the gear/hardware selection process. Then the videos cover, step-by-step, all the key processes of reloading from start to finish. If you are new to hand-loading, or just want a reloading refresher course, we recommend you watch this 4-part series from Tactical Life, part of the Athlon Outdoors Network.

WARNING!! We have embedded the Videos below. You can watch ALL four videos, but each will play back at the TOP. NOTE: They are all the same for the first 30 seconds, so you may want to skip forward. These videos may play back better if you go to the Tactical Life Website. Access: CLICK HERE.

The complete book of reloading tactical life video seriesLearn More in Tactical Life’s The Complete Book of Reloading (2020 Edition)

This publication includes over 2000 handgun and rifle loads. In addition, The Complete Book of Reloading (2020) reviews 8 modern Progressive Presses. Take note — there is a special report on the LabRadar Chronograph. Long-range Hunters will enjoy a feature article on the new 6.5 PRC Cartridge. In the “Handloaders’ Stockpile” a variety of new products to make your hours at the bench more productive are reviewed. The issue also has feature stories on Wildcat Cartridges, Subsonic loads, and .44 Magnum loads for both rifle and pistol. There is a Bonus 33-Page Hodgdon and Alliant Load Data Guide.

CLICK HERE for more details.

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 25th, 2021

Watch Reloading Videos from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Reloading Center Video

Hodgdon Reloading Center VideoHodgdon Powder Company (Hodgdon) offers a series of professionally-produced, “how-to” instructional videos through its online Reloading Data Center. These 3.5-minute videos present rifle, pistol, and shotshell reloading basics in an easy-to-understand,step-by-step format. These mobile-friendly, informative videos can also be viewed on a smart phone or tablet.

To watch the reloading videos go to the Reloading Data Center at hodgdon.com. Click to the right/left of the displayed video to switch between pistol, rifle, and shotgun videos. Or, for your convenience, we have embedded the Rifle and Pistol videos here. Just click to watch!

Click to Watch Hodgdon Rifle Reloading Video:

Click to Watch Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Video:

In addition to these videos, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center (RDC) provides a wealth of information on Hodgdon®, IMR®, and Winchester® propellants. Along with reliable load data, you’ll find explanations of reloading basics, safety procedures, plus answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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February 19th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Old Prices on Powder and Primers

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Yes we miss the good old days… when reloading components were readily available and very affordable. Today, on Gunbroker, a single 1000-count box of primers may sell for well over $300. And some vendors are asking $90 for a single pound of powder that sold for $30 per pound just last year.

We can’t change prices for you, but we can offer a “sentimental journey” back to the “good old days” via a Flashback Thread in our Shooters’ Forum. There, Forum members have posted some items from their collections, with the original prices.

What is the best deal you can remember? How about $1 per pound forty-six years ago — member STS posted: “It was probably 1975 when I bought 100 pounds of H335 from Bruce Hodgdon for $100. It came in cardboard boxes with black trash bags inside. I shot every flake of it at prairie dogs.”

Reloder Powder from Hercules (Now Alliant) for $3.80 per Pound

Powder low price history flashback inflation

CCI and Winchester Primers, $16.30 and $13.00 per Thousand

Today some CCI primers are selling for over $300 per thousand on Gunbroker. Member JayHHI6818 said: “Found these the other day in a shoe box in our bedroom closet!”. Nice find Jay!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Hodgdon H4350 for $10.87 per Pound

H4350 remains one of the most popular powders with competitive shooters. It’s ideal for many midsized cartridges, offering great accuracy and temp stability. Today it’s hard to find this powder at ANY price!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Remington 2 1/2 Primers for $1.50 per Hundred

Remington Arms folded. However Remington primers will be produced by Vista Outdoor after the collapse and bankruptcy of Remington Arms. Vista Outdoor, which owns CCI and Federal, will take over the Remington ammunition production facilities.

Powder low price history flashback inflation

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November 24th, 2020

6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Bullets + BONUS

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
NOTE: The 6mm Creedmoor now does have an official SAAMI specification. It is no longer just a wildcat.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Sierra Bullets has published load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, [RE-16], RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for 90-95 grain bullets plus the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are five other tables for other bullet types.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets


BONUS: PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey

The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. One cautionary note: These PRS guys may be loading fairly hot, so work up gradually, 0.3 grains at a time. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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October 2nd, 2020

Hodgdon Adds Accurate, Ramshot, Blackhorn 209 Powder Brands

hodgdon powder company acquisition ramshot accurate blackhorn 209

Three new powder lines have been added to the Hodgdon “family” of propellants. Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”) has acquired Accurate and Ramshot smokeless powder brands from Western Powders, along with the Blackhorn 209 muzzleloader brand. This acquisition is effective October 1, 2020. Hodgdon will begin shipping these powders immediately to wholesale and retail customers.

LINKS: Accurate Powder |Ramshot Powder | Blackhorn 209

This represents a major expansion of Hodgdon’s powder line-up which also includes the popular Hodgdon, IMR, GOEX, and Winchester propellants. Hodgon’s ADI-produced powders, such as H4895, Varget, and H4350 are among the most “in-demand” propellants for precision hand-loaders and competitors.

“This acquisition is another example of our dedication to the handloader and muzzleloader hunter,” said J.B. Hogdon and Bob Hodgdon, co-owners and sons of the founder of the Hodgdon Powder Company. “We have experience in acquiring the IMR Powder brand in 2003, the Winchester Powder license in 2005 and the GOEX brand in 2009 and we plan to put this experience to use in expanding the reach and customer base of the Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn 209 brands.”

hodgdon powder company acquisition ramshot accurate blackhorn 209

Acquisition Expands Hodgdon’s Ballistics Lab Resources
“This acquisition of the Ramshot and Accurate brands further solidifies our portfolio of smokeless brands and products for our handloading end users,” said Steve Kehrwald, president and CEO of Hodgdon Powder Company. “And the addition of Blackhorn 209 to our world-class muzzleloading brands like Pyrodex and Triple Seven uniquely positions us to serve the muzzleloading consumer. With these brands, we also add the capabilities of an additional ballistics lab to continue developing the data our customers demand from our Reloading Data Center and publications like our Annual and Basic Manuals.”

“Hodgdon has always been a strong competitor in the reloading powders industry,” said Doug Phair of Western Powders. “The Hodgdon family has built a robust company. Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn 209 will make excellent additions to the Hodgdon family of powders.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
August 28th, 2020

High Demand Powders — Where You Can Find Them

Reloading powder hodgdon H4350 Varget reloder 16 reloader H1000

Thanks to our Forum members, we’ve found sources for some of the most popular reloading powders for rifle accuracy cartridges. Handloaders know that powders such as Varget, H4350, H4895, H4831SC, H1000, Reloder 16, Reloder 23, and N150 are often in short supply. And it seems like Varget has been near impossible to find in recent months. As of Friday, August 28, 2020, here are some sources for many of these hard-to-find powders.

Hodgdon Varget 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Varget 1-lb in stock; 8-pounders still out of stock

UPDATE 8/29/20: SOLD OUT — Our Members got the last of it.

Hodgdon H4350, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4350 containers in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb H4350 only.

Alliant Reloder 16 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Reloder 16 1-lb in stock; RL16 8-pounders still out of stock

Hodgdon H4831SC, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4831SC containers in stock.

Hodgdon H1000 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
H1000 1-lb in stock; H1000 8-pounders still out of stock

Vihtavuori N150 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has N150 1-lb and 8-lb in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb N150 only.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
April 6th, 2020

Bargain Finder 237: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or 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. CDNN — Weatherby Vanguard 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle, $799.99

Weatherby Vanguard Modular rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

weatherby Vanguard SaleThis is a great deal — you can buy this Weatherby Vanguard Modular Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor for just $799.99 on sale. That’s less than you’d pay for most custom actions by themselves. Yes this Weatherby rifle qualifies for PRS Production class — it’s 100% within the rules.

Put the hundreds of dollars you save into optics, ammo, and a suppressor — the 20″ barrel comes pre-threaded for brake or suppressor. This rifle has a nice 2-stage trigger, and Luth AR adjustable buttstock fitted to a CNC-machined anodized aluminum chassis. Weatherby guarantees SUB-MOA accuracy with premium ammo. As tested by American Rifleman, this Weatherby has shown outstanding accuracy for a factory rifle — close to half-MOA for five shots. Three factory ammo types shot 0.53″, 0.55″, and 0.57″ respectively. That’s impressive.

2. Midsouth Shooters — Good Selection of Popular Powders

Midsouth Shooters powder smokeless Varget H4350 sale

You need to visit Midsouth Shooters NOW and check out the powder supplies. As of the date of this story, Midsouth has quantities of very hard-to-find Hodgdon powders including H4350 and H4831. Those propellants will probably sell out quickly. In addition, there are extensive supplies of popular Alliant, IMR, Norma, Vihtavuori and Winchester powders. Yes Midsouth has Vihtavuori N133 for you 6PPC shooters. Sorry Reloder 16 and Reloder 23 are out-of-stock. [Update 4/6/20 11:20 EDT: H4350 and H4831 still available, but Varget is sold out.]

3. Costco — Cannon Large Executive Safe, $699.99 (Save $200!)

cannon safe
$200 manufacturer’s savings is valid 3/30/20 through 4/27/20. While supplies last.

Being a responsible gun owner means securing your weapons at all times. However, not everyone can afford a multi-thousand dollar safe. Cannon Safe has been making quality yet affordable safes for decades. Now you can grab Cannon’s Executive Series Safe for $699.99. This is a BIG, 43.8 cubic foot-capacity vault with 60 minutes fire protection. Price for this large 59″ H x 45″ W Safe is just $699.99 INCLUDING SHIPPING! This is an amazing deal for a very big safe. NOTE: Just last week this same safe was $899.99 at COSTCO, so you Save $200!

4. Midsouth Shooters — Hornady Auto Progressive Press, $439.99
Plus BONUS — 500 FREE Hornady Bullets

hornady lock n load ap auto progressive press 500 free bullets

Hornady’s Lock-N-Load AP Auto-Progressive Press is an excellent high-output device with many outstanding features. The powder measure is very precise and much easier to adjust than Dillon systems. Lock-N-Load bushings allow fast die changes. This auto-indexing progressive press advances the shell plate one station with each pull of the handle. This Hornady AP press features a Quick Change Priming System, Quick Change Metering Inserts, EX-Ject case ejection, and Case-Activated Metering. This Hornady press in on sale now at Midsouth for just $439.99. IMPORTANT: Purchasers of this press qualify for 500 FREE Bullets through the Hornady “Get Loaded” Promotion.

5. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Vortex 6.5-20x44mm BDC, $249.99

vortex scope sale

We’ve seen Vortex scopes on crazy low prices before but they’re usually lower power models. Now you can grab a Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44mm with the BDC reticle for the amazingly low price of $249.99. Vortex offers one of the best warranties in the business, and this is an outstanding value. This scope previously sold for $429.99.

6. My Patriot Supply — 2-Week Emergency Food Supply, $87.00

emergency food reserver supply meals Patriot

This full 4-Week Emergency Food Supply contains 92 servings with eight food varieties for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. All meals are stowed in resealable, heavy-duty, 4-layer pouches. You’ll find 12 food varieties, with up to 25-year shelf life. Patriot Supply also sells a 4-week Food Supply for $197. That includes 12 food supplies and 282 servings.

7. MidwayUSA — Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat, $39.99

Pro Series MidwayUSA shooting mat bipod tactical competition roll-up shoot mats

The MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat is now on sale for just $39.99, 33% off the regular $59.99 price. The Pro Series mat measures a full 73.5″ x 35.5″. Zippered pockets on the front flap hold ammo or log books. And there are webbing “pockets” for bipod feet so you can pre-load your bipod with forward pressure. This quality mat boasts 0.35″ thick padding, multiple pockets, 6 grommets for staking, and a nice carry strap. It’s easy to transport, rolling up to about nine inches in diameter. User reviews of this $39.99 Shooting Mat have been very positive.

8. Brownells — Electronic Muffs, $24.99 (40% Off)

Brownells electronic premium muffs discount sale ear protection

Brownells new, Second Generation Premium Electronic Earmuffs incorporate dual microphones that let you hear range commands while suppressing harmful noises. These affordable NRR23 muffs fold for easy storage, and you can plug your smartphone into the 3.5mm input jack. The bottom half of the muffs are shaped for more clearance. Right now these muffs are discounted from $41.99 to $24.99 — a 40% savings!

9. Cabelas — 1000 rounds Browning .22 LR, $39.99

Browning .22 LR Aguila rimfire discount ammunition ammo

We’ve heard that folks are hoarding .22 LR rimfire ammunitino again. Thankfully some big retailers have NOT raised their prices. In fact, Cabela’s in running a sale right now on .22 LR Browning Performance Rimfire (BPR) Ammo. You can buy 1000 rounds for just $39.99, just 4 cents per round. If you don’t need that many rounds, Academy Sports has a great deal on Aguila .22 LR HiVel 40gr ammo. Right now you can get a 50rd box for $2.29! That’s just 4.6 cents per round.

10. Amazon — 30000 mAh Battery Pack Power Bank, $36.99

battery charger USB mini-usb 30000 mAh

These days, we are using our battery-powered mobile devices more than ever. It’s easy to run your smart-phone down in a few hours. We recommend having a high-storage battery pack. We’ve tried quite a few over the last couple years, and frankly, some were disappointing. There are very good owner reviews for this Bextoo USB Power Bank, rated at 30000 mAh. We like the red case, which is easy to find in luggage. This unit boasts a handy LCD read-out showing remaining capacity. When fully charged, this Bextoo Battery Pack should provide 9 charges for iPhone 11, almost 7 charges for Samsung Galaxy S10, and 2.5 charges for an iPad Mini.

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April 3rd, 2020

New Products Showcased in FREE Shooting Industry Magazine

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

Shooting Industry Magazine just released its April 2020 Issue. This contains a comprehensive summary of notable products showcased at SHOT Show 2020. You can access the entire April 2020 issue for FREE. Past monthly issues are free to access as well. This is great for our readers who are stuck at home under government orders. There are over FIVE YEARS of FREE back issues (back to January 2015). That’s a huge trove of FREE Gun-centric content to read while you’re stuck at home.

Access Five YEARS of Shooting Industry Magazine for FREE! »

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

2020 New Products Listings

Dozens of interesting new products are showcased on the Shooting Industry Magazine New Products Page. There you’ll find rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, powder, bullets, tools, accessories, and more. Here are some of the notable products we found on the New Products Page.

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

shooting industry magazine 2020 shot show new products berger pistols hodgdon

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