1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why is powder so difficult to get?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by orpington, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. orpington

    orpington Well-Known Member

    I haven't reloaded for longer than 5 yrs or so, therefore, I don't know what it used to be like, but I do know in the 'old days' every general store would carry powder. So, I don't know why it has to be difficult to get gun powder (and primers)??? I am not talking about the fact that it is more difficult to get powder due to the political climate, etc. I mean, from the retailers that carry it to begin with. I don't understand why one cannot go into virtually every hardware store and Walmart (yes, I know some Walmarts carry gun powder, but these are few and far between) and ick up gun powder and primers. It makes a ton of sense, especially with the high price of gas (so you drive a lot of miles to purchase gunpowder) and with the Hazmat fee (which makes it cost prohibitive to purchase a pound of powder through the mail).
  2. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps because powder and primers are HAZMAT while ammunition is ORM-D? Also powder and primers are more specialty items and those stores don't sell the equipment to reload ammo either.
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    My guess is that the run on ammunition has consumed the production capacity of powder manufacturers. Little production time left for canister grade powders.

    Now that ammunition sales are slowing, at least until November, 2014, canister grade powders are returning to the shelves.

    There were periods of shortage in the past but not as bad at 2009 or 2013-2014.
  4. Catpop

    Catpop Well-Known Member

    I personally questioned two different gunshops why . I got two different answers
    1) The hazmat fee made it cost too much to make a profit. When I said some would be happy to even get the powder, they replied they felt the public would feel they were being gouged and NOT return in the future.
    2) The other store said his distributors did not have enough powder to make it profitable to place an order taking into account the hazmat fee.

    In addition, powder IS available ITS JUST NOT THE ONES WE WANT!

    Whereas I would probably be happy with BE and Win 231 for 45 acp, the shortage now has me using 12 different powder for same!

    Good reloading, Catpop
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, a gun shop that blames the HAZMAT fees is copping out.

    When available, I can mail/online order a $200-$300 order of powder and pay the HAZMAT fee and the cost per pound is still less than what local stores charge. A gun shop would make a larger order and their cost per pound would be much less than what is available to me.

    If a gun shop cannot make money on powder, there are other economic factors that come into play than just the HAZMAT fee. The inventory tax comes to mind as one.

    It may be that in the future powders will only be available from vendors that specialize in powders and the numbers of these vendors will be few and far between. Mail and or online orders will become the norm.
  6. orpington

    orpington Well-Known Member

    Please re-read my original post. My intent was not to question production capacities, HAZMAT fees, etc., but to question why, in order to get gunpowder, independent of production capacities, & etc., & etc., one cannot go to the corner hardware store and find gunpowder. Instead, one has to find the out of the way gun store, or wander over to someone like Cabela's, etc.
  7. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Well-Known Member

    In some places they can only keep so much on the shelf and anymore than that has to be stored "properly." It's an added cost that a lot of retailers won't go through the trouble of. I know in one local city/town shops aren't allowed to keep powder on the shelf in public view (by city law/regs) so you have to ask what's in stock. Then there's stores that just won't sell enough of it to make it worth keeping on the shelf. Stores do what they can to maximize profits, so if it isn't/won't sell well enough they aren't going to stock it. So the question you're asking is just to general. It's going to vary from one retailer to the next.

    If I make an order from Powder Valley, as a Kansas resident I still pay state sales tax+hazmat+shipping. Ordering 32lbs or more (a couple year supply for me), I still save about $12/lb over buying locally at the prices local stores ask, and that's before local sales tax is added in. It'd be hard for a hardware store around here to justify the added expenses and trouble of stocking gun powder if they wanted to have prices anywhere near being competitive with a large distributor like Powder Valley. I have a Cabelas and 2 Bass Pros near me and their prices don't even come close to Powder Valley's. If a specialty retailer can't compete with them there's no way a small hardware store could. But the area you're in could be different. If you live in an area where there's only 1 gun shop in a 100 miles radius, that shop would be have to be run by idiots to NOT carry powder and primers. Such conditions would also make it more feasible for a hardware store to carry them as well. It's all relative to the conditions of you location.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    Every corner store doesn't carry gunpowder because it isn't an item that a large percentage of customers want. Only a small percentage of the general population reload.
  9. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    Not trying to be ugly here, but try asking THEM, not us.
    They may have no idea what sort of market exists.
    I spoke with the manager of our local NAPA Auto Parts a few years back and they now carry both ammo and primers. :)
  10. nevadabob

    nevadabob Well-Known Member

    When I check out powder on gunbot, there's a whole lot of powder...but not MY powder. Now if the manufacturers would stop making powder that I don't use, and concentrate on pistol powder, then the world would be a better place!
  11. Rob96

    Rob96 Well-Known Member

    I was at Cabela's yesterday and they only had some magnum rifle powders and 50 BMG. In talking with the guy working the floor he said thats what they were able to get. I went to a local shop that I tend to forget about and he had what I needed. He gets it in and sells within a week. 1 pound of Unique was $22.95.
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    From OP's original post

    Seems to me, you were asking about retailers that historically carry gun powder.

    It comes down to economics for the retailer. In a little twon out in the desert or on top of a mountain that is a thousand miles from no where, one might find gun powder at the hardware store as it probably carries a broad spectrum of supplies that cover many many needs for the community. As they say, it is the only game in town.

    In a larger town closer to civilization, I would not expect the local CVS carry gun powder so I would not shop there for gun powder. The interest in purchasing gun powder is very small so it would not be economical for a non-gun/sports related store carrying a product that would turn over very slowly. Among other things, retailers look at "inventory turns" when determining whether to keep a product on their shelves.

    On the other hand, why can I not get a tune up kit for my 1984 Honda Civic at the local Walmart. It is not very customer friendly of them to make me go to the local NAPA store or even worse, shop on line at a specialty Japanese auto parts vendor.:)
  13. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Well-Known Member

    eyeryone in your town, knows where the gun shop is. your not the only one looking for the same stuff they are. they find it at the gun shop and they pick up more than they are going to need, and call a buddy and pick him up more than what he needs "hording" trust me i did it, i cant find any IMR 4895 or IMR4064, so when i go to a gun shop, i google what powders they have to see what would work with my calibers i have. and then i buy a few pounds, so i have them. They are powders that have fallen off the map, but i wont pay ammo compaines 20+ dollars a box of ammo, when i can build them for less than 5 dollars a box.

    but as the weeks go by there are more and more componets becoming more and more on the shelves. prices are coming down, but 22lr still are through the roof. it will only be a matter of time before I will see IMR 4895 and IMR 4064 back on he shelf
  14. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    It is so difficult to get because the current demand FAR exceeds the current supply. Surprisingly, the pricing has remained fairly constant throughout this. We have added millions of new gun owners and also reloaders in the last few years and the makers have not expanded to meet the demand as it was assumed it was a temporary "bubble"
  15. Rob96

    Rob96 Well-Known Member

    It's simple stores like Walmart and what not sell to the target consumer. Face it, handloading/reloading is a small target base even when you take all shooters and hunters into account. That is why you have to go to Cabela's or an out of the way shop.
  16. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

    The reloading market has increased and so has hoarding. A certain stores buy from dealers. Stores such as Cabellas have more purchasing power then your LGS who does his purchasing from a distributor that competes for products against stores such as Cabellas, Gander Mountain, Natches, Midway......ect. There is only so much powder being produced and the vast majority goes to the industrial reloaders....what is left goes to retail and there is so much competition to get what is left.....
  17. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Well-Known Member

    As others have said or eluded to, we are on the very near backside of a panic/hoard ammunition supply issue - for whatever reason, record numbers of folks are shooting and buying guns and ammunition and the numbers of buys increased so fast that ammunition and components became rare/hard to get.

    This made folks panic and hoard which exacerbated the shortage and made things very bad, very quickly. Slowly things are coming right again with ammunition in many calibers being commonly available (not every where/all the time) and components "coming and going" in availability...there are a lot of folks who decided to "roll their own" ammunition after the panic began and so dies and tools were very difficult to get even last year.

    I re entered shooting sports and reloading last Summer and literally it has taken until now to get all the components (dies, powder, primers, tools) in stock in the shop. I bought 3 lbs of powder (Unique) after an literally exhaustive search and wait period. Still it shows up in stock and if you don't jump on it, it is sold out sometimes in hours. :eek:

    All we can do is bookmark several suppliers like Powder Valley etc. and then literally check in online 2X or more per day...if you see it? Buy it right there and then and buy enough to make the Haz Mat fee spread out.

    The supply comes and goes - mostly it is slowly getting better and I'm hoping that by this Winter things look a lot better but I said the same thing last Fall.

  18. Havok7416

    Havok7416 Well-Known Member

    Few posting here seem to be able to read what the OP was ACTUALLY talking about.

    Orpington, I would think that it has to do with demand. If a store can't sell enough of any particular item, they won't stock it. No use in things sitting on the shelf indefinitely. The tax on inventory at the end of the year would affect this to some extent. All opinions on my end, but that's all I've got.
  19. Potatohead

    Potatohead Well-Known Member

    I dont think theyre misunderstanding as much as it's just a goofy question. IMO of course.
  20. kcofohio

    kcofohio Well-Known Member

    Liabilities! In the "old days", if you did something stupid that got you hurt, it was chalked it up as learning experience. Now it is not your fault, but whoever made it available to you. :banghead:

Share This Page