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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by whiskeybill, Mar 26, 2014.
Yea that letter came out around a year ago.
"The British came!".
From what I know (which is a lot) there are three powder mills that supply hodgdon and alliant: St Marks Powder in Florida (all ball powders), the Expro (old dupont facility operated by General Dynamics) in Quebec that supplies all IMR type powders, and Thales (pronounced tal-us) Queensland Australia (extruded and flake powders, notably clays, 4198 and varget come from here). All of these places are cranking out powder at record rates, and at the same time are completely oversold. A major issue at the moment is hodgdon is packaging all of the powder they get in 1lb jars (no bulk) which is really complicating matters for nearly every commercial ammunition manufacturer. Companies like Alliant (Alliant is owned by ATK, which also owns federal, CCI/Speer, RCBS, and operates the Lake City plant) are sending most of the powder they get to their commercial ammunition operations.
Powder is going to continue to be tight this year (just like primers were last year), and it's going to cause all kinds of headaches for everyone. If you want something to buy, start buying primers again, there will probably not be much powder this year.
Primers have been easier to come by than powders, even though the selection is not there. I was visiting my brother in Nampa, Idaho last week and went to a couple of gun shops. One shop had mostly Federal primers in pistol and rifle, both large & small, but no magnums and no benchrest. Powder selection was extremely limited with but a couple different types that I never use. Here on the left coast the primers I have primarily found are Remington. I'm kind of indebted to Bill Clinton now for my buying habits. Ever since the primer scare of the early '90's I have not passed up an opportunity to buy a little powder and primers here and there, even if I didn't need it at the time. I have on hand what I will need for some time to come, and I have limited my shooting to maintaining a certain skill level. Fun plinking is out of the question.
We mostly have cci magnum and bench rest small rifle primers here in central Washington. No large pistol or large rifle, right now.
Forgot one of the powder mills... ATK operates the New River Energetics venture at radford, va
Your info may be a bit off.
Remember that the canister market is a secondary/surplus/waste market at best.
Radford is a rocket/mortar plant, so that is pistol/shotgun powder. ATK lost the contact to operate that facility, and is now run by BAE. Since the G brought in GD to get powder output up to snuff during the last series of sandbox wars, I suspect the ball powder comes from St. Marks.
That part not withstanding. Here is who makes what:
General Dynamics (American company that makes all Canadian-made IMR rifle powders, all Winchester Ball powders, some Accurates, and some Hodgdons)
ATK (American company that apparently makes all American-made Alliant powders)
Thales (French company that owns ADI, makes all of Hodgy's "Extreme" rifle powders, plus some IMRs)
Rheinmetall (German owner of Nitrochemie. Makes Reloder-17. Don't know about other commercial powders)
Groupe SNPE (French State-owned. Makes all Bofors (most of the Reloder line, and the Norma line), Vihtavuori, and Ramshot powders via their Eurenco layer)
Remember that GD recently totally redesigned the Quebec facility, which hurt production. Thales also brought GD to Australia in a J.V. to help them with production. The only people who build powders, are part of the military industrial complex that Ike warned us all about, long ago...
When the short lived primer and powder stocks seemed to be coming back late last year I decided to stock up more than I normally use, maybe a little more. As far as primers I have on hand more than I ever have had because I don't want to go through what I did in 2013 when there was virtually nothing on the shelf and I was beginning to consider the possibility of having to use SR primers in pistol loads and LP in rifle loads! Fortunately it never came to that as I found some loose trays of primers stuck in the back of a cabinet and got me through the 'lean' time but that was it until some showed up again and I bought several bricks of all sizes. Actually Sportsman's had a small, but fair amount of primer stock on their shelves - but that was last week......
Not exactly off... the "canister" market is not surplus, pulled or waste. It's too big to be serviced entirely by the scrap left over from military production, the military was buying about 2bn rounds per year at the peak of fighting in iraq (2005-06) the commercial market adds about another 4-5bn to that number.
GD-OTS (ordinance and tactical systems) has it's fingers in the pie of St Marks and Expro (Quebec factory, used to be Nobel). They also have the second-source contract to load military ammunition at Lake City (ATK has first-source contract). ATK operates the NRE in conjunction with GD, as GD seems to have gained the lions share of the experts in all things that go boom when it comes to propellants. I will admit, I don't have any serious confirmation of this, however all the literature I have infers that this is where ATK powders are made, and what better place to mill powder than a place that normally loads explosive warheads for bombs and rockets. (military production facilities often host this kind of manufacturing)
Thales, as you said operates ADI, which seems to manufacture a combination of both double and single based powders, but they are all extruded, whether as flake or stick. The big hangup ADI was having a few years ago was a severe water shortage... as it turns out it takes a lot of water to mill powder safely.
SNPE, in combination with saab-bofors, nammo AS/OY control the bulk of the european powder market. It seems that they operate a number of powder factories in scandinavia.
What I can't figure out is if there is so much emphasis on military production why do they 'waste' the time to come up with what seems to be a plethora of new powders? Every time Sportsman's gets some in it seems there is something new I have never see before. Heck I even bought a can of Reloader 10x I had never seen before. Reason is it looks like it will work for a couple of my calibers and quite frankly it was slim pickins' and I needed powder. Just the typical issue of having to take what we can get in this environment.
"They" aren't coming up with new powders, it's the surplus sellers/blenders such as Hodgdon, Western/etc.
They are the folks trying to fracture the market and "invent" more exciting ways for you to give them money. Like the H335/Bl-c(2) line. The incredibly clever part of Hodgdon's business model. They won't tell you ANYTHING about the powders! No nominal VMD, BR, BD variation, nothing. Sheer genius marketing. They can sift and blend lots of anything they want and still call it macaroni. Now I'm not saying they are that shifty, but I am saying they DO have a history of jumping supplier ships, and won't tell you any specs about their products.
Yes AMP, I do know that many of the old powders are contract production built. But as I said, the only US manufacturer is GD. They outright bought the only private powder plant in the US. Bought it from Olin, when they spun-off the Primex division to stop bleeding money.
Only the military industrial complex builds powder. They don't make canister grade small runs a priority.
Depends what you call "small run" minimum order from SMP is 20Klbs, and that will be blended to your order. One of the guys I consult for has wants to put in an order for 30K of WC844, problem is, he's in california and there is no one there who can take delivery of it (storage requirements). There's another group I work with who is setting up a storage and repacking facility in georgia, problem is SMP is over-booked, they sold 110% of their 2014 powder production before the year even started, that's why this is a tight year.
The problem we're all having is the big repackers like hodgdon and western have bought up all the production this year (along with some of the bigger commodity reloaders). They've got us by the nuts until someone else out there has enough cash and facilities to order the big lots and start reselling it.
Allioant is supplied through Belgium Powder Mfg
Belgium is controlled by the Flemish Mafia
and the Socialist elite
Google for the correct PPL to whine about
This "shortage" of all things that go bang, seems to me a perfect storm. An obvious need is not being met and there is an obvious way to make a lot of money. I'm talking of a venture capitalist coming along and creating a new manufacturer to fill that need.
If you've got $40m I have a business plan ready to go, 18 month lead.
20,000# is a bunch to me, but not to GD.
The local GD facility is a tiny little speck in what they do. This plant unloads components by the railcar.
I still get the feeling no matter what the ceos of the corporations or snopes "if they are to be believed" print ,,,The government is buying way to much ammo.
After the last couple of wars the military has to do some major reloading!
Lake city cranks out about 2bn rounds per year... a 5 year fixed price indefinite delivery contract for 500m is nothing, even then the commercial production of ammunition in the US alone is likely over 8bn.
Part of the reason there is a powder shortage right now is when ammo prices went up, everyone and their brother started an ammo company. Problem is, everyone's closet is full and credit card is maxed out. Not enough people buying ammo these days (even if you're in the market), prices are going to come screaming down this summer and .223 will probably be $250/k by august.
Really I just bought 10 pounds of TAC last weekend. Oh and not at gouger prices.