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Why is powder so scarce?
#1
I don't know if anyone else has noticed but lately (last month or so) but a lot of popular smokeless powders have disappeared off the shelves like Win 231, WST, Unique, HP-38, Clays and others. I asked my local supplier about this and he repeated what his distributor told him. Apparently a lot of powders simply haven't been produced lately due to the lack of certain ingredients used in the process. He also stated that what powder has been produced is going to ammo manufacturers and not the general reloading public.

I hate to fuel the rumor mill but something has interrupted the supply of powder for reloading. Has anyone else heard a similar story?
Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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#2
Yeah what I heard starting this time last year is you can tell what powders the ammo makers are using because those were the ones not on the shelves. Maybe true, maybe not who knows. I know a lot of pistol ammo manufacturers use power pistol and unique.

My uninformed opinion, based solely on the fact that I've bought a lot of powder in the last year and kept very close watch on inventories locally and online, is that the stuff that lingered for the last year was all stocked in warehouses and just slower to sell out in the mad rush. Now that it has finally started to dry up, its not being produced because other stuff is/was in higher demand.
The law? The law is a human institution...
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#3
Lately? Are you kidding me? I've been able to make do with supply of rifle powder. But, pistol powders have been missing from the market place for a year if not more! I usually deal with Powder Valley, Widener's, Natchez, Cabela's, Brownell's, Graf and Midway and check their sites often. It has been so bad that until recently (and that very limited) I couldn't even put a back order in!
Brick, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#4
Clays is easy... they had a fire at the factory.

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NRA (Life), GOA, FOAC (Life), NAGR, AMGOA

RocketFoot's Minion since 09-07-2012
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#5
bigdawgbeav;138713 Wrote:Clays is easy... they had a fire at the factory.

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Hodgden had a fire? That's news to me. When did this happen?

I can't find any info on this. My google-fu is weak.
Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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#6
Rik Bitter;138714 Wrote:
bigdawgbeav;138713 Wrote:Clays is easy... they had a fire at the factory.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Hodgden had a fire? That's news to me. When did this happen?

I can't find any info on this. My google-fu is weak.

I'm trying to locate a news story, but it was posted all over different forums last year. The plant is in Australia. There are some press releases about limited supply, blah, blah, blah... but never anything about an actual fire.

Google search shows another explosion at that factory this past January. But the fire that shut down the Clays production happened in 2013.

Now there is also speculation about whether there was a fire or not. Some forum posters stated talking to Hodgdon and they said there was never any fire. And then Other people have talked to Chris Hodgdon directly and he never confirmed or denied. So maybe take it for what it's worth. But many reloading suppliers have posted on their sites that Clays is unavailable due to fire.
NRA (Life), GOA, FOAC (Life), NAGR, AMGOA

RocketFoot's Minion since 09-07-2012
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#7
bigdawgbeav;138742 Wrote:
Rik Bitter;138714 Wrote:Hodgden had a fire? That's news to me. When did this happen?

I can't find any info on this. My google-fu is weak.

I'm trying to locate a news story, but it was posted all over different forums last year. The plant is in Australia. There are some press releases about limited supply, blah, blah, blah... but never anything about an actual fire.

Google search shows another explosion at that factory this past January. But the fire that shut down the Clays production happened in 2013.

Now there is also speculation about whether there was a fire or not. Some forum posters stated talking to Hodgdon and they said there was never any fire. And then Other people have talked to Chris Hodgdon directly and he never confirmed or denied. So maybe take it for what it's worth. But many reloading suppliers have posted on their sites that Clays is unavailable due to fire.

Whatever the problem is it's affecting much more than just Clays. I spoke with another shop this past week and his Accurate rep is giving him the same story about ingredient shortages. It might be a chicken and the egg type problem. Is there less powder because all the ammo producers have stepped up production or is the ammo shortage causing more people to reload and thus buy more powder?

I still have a decent supply of Titegroup, 2400, Win 231 and Bullseye but I'm down to less than a pound of Varget.
Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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#8
Rik Bitter;138781 Wrote:I still have a decent supply of Titegroup, 2400, Win 231 and Bullseye but I'm down to less than a pound of Varget.

You can pretty much forget finding any of those you list. I find NO pistol powder of any kind anywhere and NO Varget either. But there are sources around for H380 and some of the IMR powders Accurate LT-32 seems to be available also. The problem now is not finding the BEST powder for your rifle and caliber. It all boils down to just finding one that's available.
Brick, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#9
Brick;138840 Wrote:
Rik Bitter;138781 Wrote:I still have a decent supply of Titegroup, 2400, Win 231 and Bullseye but I'm down to less than a pound of Varget.

You can pretty much forget finding any of those you list. I find NO pistol powder of any kind anywhere and NO Varget either. But there are sources around for H380 and some of the IMR powders Accurate LT-32 seems to be available also. The problem now is not finding the BEST powder for your rifle and caliber. It all boils down to just finding one that's available.

There may be a silver lining to this. People who reload tend to stick with a certain powder and work up a load that suits whatever they are shooting. There are lots of reasons why like, its meters well in their powder drop, it's what they learned to reload with, availability, whatever. I know if you were to look through my log book you'd see a lot of the same loads over and over. Since I'm completely out of Power Pistol I decided to pick up some VihtaVouri N340 to use for 9mm. Now I get to have the fun of working up a load that will work well in my Sig. If nothing else this will flesh out the load book and give me some options and with the current shortages, options are good.
Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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#10
I went into my local LGS today and I found this:

[Image: mn0pz4.jpg]

I haven't seen any Alliant powder except the odd bottle of 2400 in better than 4 months. Unfortunately I think this was a fluke. They were only able to get 31 lbs of a 150+ lbs order which was probably not even worth the gas and tolls it cost them to pick it up. I was also told their "tentative" pick up date for Hodgden or is some time in June.

One odd thing I noticed. Normally Alliant lot numbers are printed directly on the label next to the CE number. Both of these bottles had a sticker over the lot number portion with the lot # plus some other info. The Unique bottle reads:

Unique Lot 636
Shift Z
2/19/14

I can't tell if there's anything printed under the label.

This powder was produced nearly 2 months ago? It seems strange given the shortages that this stuff would be in the supply chain for so long.
Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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