What powders does Federal Use?


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jpwilly
July 3, 2009, 12:26 PM
I just broke down some Federal Blue Box (Power Shok) that I purchased at Wal-Mart back when it was $10.97 per box. The ammo shoots pretty well but the blunt and inconsistant soft points always bothered me and I wondered if I'd just swap a decent bullet up top how well this stuff would shoot.

I pulled 20rnds of 30-06 and inside was an average 53.3gr of some sort of stick powder with a 150gr SP.

I pulled 20 rnds of 308 Win and inside was an average 46.2gr of some sort of ball powder with a 150gr SP.

I've gone through the 48th edition reloading manual and it would appear both of these loads would be near max for many powders listed.

I'm guessing it's SLOW powder based upon the larger than average charge weight.

Thanks for any help THR...What do you think?

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rcmodel
July 3, 2009, 12:33 PM
I think there is no possible way to tell.

The manufactures do not use standard canister powders available to reloaders.

It could be an off the shelf power, a custom made powder to meet their specs, or a blend of more then one.

Their ballistics lab determines what it is based on the performance level they want to reach, at the pressure level they must adhere to.

And probably what is on sale in rail car lots at the time! :D

rc

loadedround
July 3, 2009, 12:39 PM
The large ammo manufacturers such as Federal, Remington, and Winchester use what is called non-cannister powders that unavailable to us handloaders. I have also been told that other times these manufacturers blend different powders to meet certain SAAMI specifications such as pressure, velocity, etc in differing lots of ammuntion. There is no possible way to guess what powder is in a factory round. :)

RB98SS
July 3, 2009, 01:43 PM
I bet some of them do use retail powders. There's just no way to prove it. I recently pulled a UMC 10mm and I would bet the powder is Power Pistol.

I just wouldn't bet my life on it. :D

atblis
July 3, 2009, 01:59 PM
ATK is Alliant Powder and also owns Federal. Most likely, they use Alliant powders.

Major Products and Programs — Commercial

* Federal Premium and Estate Cartridge ammunition
* CCI, Speer, Lawman, and Blazer ammunition
* Gunslick, Outers and Shooters Ridge gun care and shooting accessories
* RCBS reloading equipment
* Champion clay targets
* Weaver mounting systems
* Alliant Powder and gun powders for sporting re-loaders and ammunition manufacturers
* Eagle Industries law enforcement tactical accessories

ArchAngelCD
July 4, 2009, 04:09 AM
You're right ATK does own all those companies and more. Also, I think I read somewhere Ramshot bought Alliant.

Ol` Joe
July 4, 2009, 01:14 PM
You're right ATK does own all those companies and more. Also, I think I read somewhere Ramshot bought Alliant.

I think it was Accurate Arms powders that you are thinking of, Western Powders bought them out and also owns Ramshot. May be mistaken.........


Hornady is starting to use canister powder and telling the load used in their factory ammo. They advertize their loads for the new 6.5 Creedmore as being available to the public. I don`t recall which, but one of the gun rags had an artical on the round and as I recall they said the powder used at that time was one of the 4350s.

rcmodel
July 4, 2009, 01:31 PM
Yes, but the 6.5 Creedmore is the only one, and it's a special case.

It was part of the design criteria that it be easily reloaded to factory spec by the match shooters using normal canister powder & off-the-shelf bullets.

They have a bunch of other calibers using propriority powders you can't even get.
Or even come close to matching with canister powders you can get.

rc

jpwilly
July 4, 2009, 03:36 PM
"They" sure do have lot's of secrets. Good thing we've got great powders too.

ArchAngelCD
July 4, 2009, 05:36 PM
I think it was Accurate Arms powders that you are thinking of, Western Powders bought them out and also owns Ramshot.
Ol` Joe,
Yep, that's it. It was Accurate Arms and Ramshot powders that are owned by the same company, not Alliant... My mistake.

Jim Watson
July 4, 2009, 09:16 PM
Problem is, if you knew what they used this month, and even if it were a cannister grade you could buy, it might not be the same as what they used last month or will use next month. You can easily get the impression of white coated ballisticians figuring out just what a given caliber needs, but there are a lot of choices and cost counts a lot.
Looking in Lyman, there are eleven different cannister powders that will deliver over 2900 fps with a 150 grain .30-06 (factory claim is 2910.) No telling how many commonly produced bulk powders will do as well, no secret formulas or special blends required. Now, which do you think the OEM will use?

Glen Zeidiker told of an AMU buying factory match ammunition by the pallet load. He said that they would pull a bullet when a new batch came in. If it were loaded with extruded powder, they would save it for the 600 yard line; if Ball powder, they would shoot it at 200-300 yards. They had found that the same pressure and velocity specs would get them ammunition loaded with different powders and the extruded was usually more accurate than Ball.

There was an article in American Handgunner about the PD that suddenly started seeing a lot of muzzle flash in night training. A couple of pulled bullets showed that the same specs from the same vendor had gotten them a different powder. The new was high flash, the old was low flash; they had not had a spec for flash suppressant powder so they got what was cheaper, even though the charge weight was higher.

jpwilly
July 5, 2009, 01:28 AM
Problem is, if you knew what they used this month, and even if it were a cannister grade you could buy, it might not be the same as what they used last month or will use next month.

Really? are they that wishy washy? Most of the ammo seems pretty much the same over time to me but maybe I'm not paying enough attention. One would think that once they figured something out they wouldn't be messing around with it too much.

Ky Larry
July 5, 2009, 10:27 AM
The big boys (Win,Rem,Fed) have labs and techs who do nothing but figure out which powder will mee their reguirements. We buy powder by the pound. They buy it by the ton. Even the difference in a few pennies cost per round can spell the difference between profit and loss when loading millions of rounds. If you're shooting factory ammo, do you really care what powder is in the case? Besides, the reason most of us reload is to get more accurate, consistent ammo that factory ammo.

Ol` Joe
July 5, 2009, 12:55 PM
Really? are they that wishy washy? Most of the ammo seems pretty much the same over time to me but maybe I'm not paying enough attention. One would think that once they figured something out they wouldn't be messing around with it too much.

The big boys, Winchester, Federal, ect buy boxcar loads of powder that is made to a general spec. They have the equipment to test for the charge needed for that paticular lot of powder and the other componenets they are useing. Some times they find a new powder, or a new run of an old one, that meets their needs that is cheaper then what they are useing. If so, they at times will switch, just to keep their cost down.
The canister powders we buy are blended to produce a specific burn rate within a set tolerance before it is packaged and sold. There still though is as much as a +/- 5% variation in burn rate. That is why we are told to always work up when changing componenets or powder lots. The powders the ammo companies use have even more variation and they too have to rework their loads.

freakshow10mm
July 5, 2009, 03:27 PM
Winchester uses Winchester brand powder a vast majority of the time. Their 30-06 is loaded with W760 and is the same powder as H414.

A lot of 30-06 is loaded with IMR 4895. IMR4895 is a very popular factory powder. BLC2 is used a lot in the .308.

Some loads are blended, some loads are non-canister powders available only to OEM manufacturers, but the vast majority are simply commercial powders that anyone can buy.

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