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April 1st, 2021

Can’t Find Reloading Powder? 1000 Grain Bottles Coming Soon!

DOT small powder bottles

We all know reloading powder is in VERY short supply these days. And the most popular propellants, such as Varget, H4350, and Reloder 16, are almost impossible to find at reasonable prices. Thankfully, there is a new solution in the works — smaller containers. This should give handloaders a whole new way to source those precious powders needed for a day at the range. And even if the volume is limited, something is ALWAYS better than nothing, right?

The big (and small) news for reloaders is that the major powder suppliers plan to start shipping powders in more compact, easy-to-ship containers. Instead of buying a pound of powder, you will be able to purchase an efficient, handy 1000 grain container. These are light weight (just 1/7th of a pound) so they are convenient to transport and carry. And you’ll never have the problem of over supply. A 1000-grain container with load approximately 33 6mm BR rounds — that should be plenty for a day at the range. We’re blessed to have this new compact powder option thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

DOT small powder bottlesThe 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).

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 $11.99, i.e. about $5.21 per ounce. At that price, it may seem like you’re getting less bang for your buck … but hey, something is better than nothing, right?

DOT small powder bottlesCurrently, when you can find them, quality reloading powders are going for $45-$60 per pound (in 1-lb containers). At $45 per pound, you’re paying $2.81 per ounce. That means that the new mini-containers will be roughly twice as expensive as current one-pounders ($5.21 per ounce vs. $2.81 per ounce).

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 Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News, Reloading, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
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
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 20 Comments »
December 16th, 2020

Good Reloading Powders Currently In-Stock Now at Brownells

brownells powder in stock vihtavuori winchester hodgdon accurate christmas

DATE of this REPORT is DECEMBER 16, 2020.

Times are tough right now for hand-loaders. It is hard to find reloading components, particularly powder and primers. Thankfully, Brownells has made it easier for folks to find available powders without going through hundreds of searches resulting in “0ut of Stock” results. Just visit Brownell’s IN-STOCK Powder Page to see all reloading propellants currently available. This can save you much time and effort.

Brownells has two dozen major-brand powders IN STOCK today, including excellent, popular propellants from Vihtavuori, Hodgdon, and Winchester. Vihtavuori propellants such as N140 and N550 have a proven track record in competition and are popular with benchrest and F-Class shooter. As of today, 12/16/2020, here are 16 powders IN STOCK and available at Brownells.com. There are at least eight more powders in stock. But act quickly — these may sell out very soon. CLICK HERE for ALL in-stock powders.

CLICK PHOTOs to go to Brownells.com IN STOCK Powder Sales Page

brownells powder in stock vihtavuori winchester hodgdon accurate christmas

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading No Comments »
February 28th, 2020

Hodgdon Powder Availability — Q&A about Supply in 2020

hodgdon powder extreme Varget H4360 shortage supply Q&A

Many of Hodgdon’s most popular powders, such as Varget and H4350, have become very hard to find. Shipments sell out as soon as they reach retailers’ shelves. We know our readers and Forum members are concerned about these supply shortages. Why are these powders in such short supply, and what is the prospect for more Varget, H4350, and other Hodgdon powders in the months ahead?

Hodgdon answered these (and other) questions recently in a Q&A post on the Hodgdon Facebook Page. Here are highlights of those Questions and Answers.

HODGDON POWDER UPDATE Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to your questions straight from Hodgdon, 1/31/2020:

Q: Why can’t I find Hodgdon powders like H4350, Varget, Retumbo, and H1000?

As you have seen, Hodgdon powders, especially rifle powders for long-range and precision shooting, can be difficult to find. Dealer shelves that were formerly filled with cans of powder now have empty spots. [Hodgdon added: “Dealer shelves are empty because powder is purchased as soon as it arrives at the dealers’ stores.”]

Q: Is Hodgdon still making powder?

A: Yes, we continue shipping powder as quickly as possible. In fact, we will ship more powder in 2020 than last year. The real problem behind empty dealer shelves is complicated, but is related to shifting supply and demand challenges. As supply decreased in 2019, demand only increased. No one wants to ship more powder than Hodgdon.

Q: What is causing the supply challenges?

A: Quite simply, our manufacturing facilities have not kept up with our orders. Additionally, military contracts began specifying Hodgdon powders in the last few years for military ammunition, impacting our supply. With expanded government regulation, shipping explosive and energetic materials has become more challenging, which also impacts available supply. Lastly, rapidly changing consumer preferences for different powder types has impacted both demand and supply. We worked with all Hodgdon providers to resolve open issues and expect powder supply to improve in 2020 as a result.

Varget, H4350, H4831SC, and other ‘Extreme Series’ powders are in very high demand.
hodgdon powder extreme Varget H4360 shortage supply Q&A

Q: Is the shortage of reloading powder being caused by Hodgdon shipping their powder to the ammunition manufacturing companies?

A: While Hodgdon does sell powder to ammunition manufacturing companies, more than 80% of our powder is sold to our core market – handloaders just like you. Hodgdon has always been committed to the individual handloader.

Q: When will I start to see more powder on dealer shelves?

A: While Hodgdon will continue to ship powder as rapidly as possible, we have a significant backlog in demand. Some powders will be in stock more quickly, but we believe it will take much of 2020 to improve availability for all powders. [Editor: In a separate post, Hodgdon stated “We will be sending out large amounts of H4350 starting mid-March.”]

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 4 Comments »