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pull down surplus powder vs standard new powders?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Wildbillz, Jul 3, 2011.

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  1. Wildbillz

    Wildbillz Member

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    Hi All
    I was looking at powder cost this morning. With the cost of the pulldown surplus powders around $80 to $90 for an 8# jug, I can pickup brand new IMR 4895 for about $135. per 8# jug. Seems to me the new powder would be the way to go for concistancy and longivity? Am I missing somting?

    Thanks
    Old Sarge
     
  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Not really. The surplus powder used to cost half that just a few years ago, and there was a much better selection. (the supply dried up so abruptly, it must have been a new import regulation or State Dept policy change that killed it)
     
  3. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    I agree. Unless you plan on using it up right away, it's getting harder to justify the cost of surplus powder.
     
  4. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I've been using surplus powders for years. What would change as far as consistancy of surplus versus new? As far as lasting, if stored correctly there should be no problem, within the last couple of years I've used powder I purchased bact in the '60's. I've also shot cartridges loaded before or during WW2 if one is to believe the headstamp with Swastika.

    The $55.00 dollar saving will buy me more than 2 tanks of gas in todays world and thats something to take into consideration IMHO.

    Now then if going to a high dollar paying rifle match this might change the above.

    I might add tho that not buying pulldown/surplus powder will leave more for those of us who wish to buy it and be frugal. It is a commodity that is not available in huge quanities.
     
  5. amlevin

    amlevin Member

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    If you shoot a lot of .223 or .308, surplus powders may be the way to go. Pat's Reloading will sell a case of 4-8# jugs of WC844 for $85 ea and ship with no hazmat fee added. This is supposedly the equivalent of H-335 which sells for $128.50 at Powder Valley, plus hazmat. Adding in the hazmat from PV, that's $200 less for the Military powder. For a high volume shooter it makes sense. For someone who shoots a pound or two per year, not so much, that is unless you buy with a buddy or two.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I shoot surplus powder in .223 and .308 plinking rounds.
     
  7. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Clinton signed an executive order banning the sale of surplus loaded ammo or components. The only surplus stuff that has been for sale has been items produced for foreign customers, or were production overruns or quality control rejects that were not delivered to the military. As a matter of fact several year ago they tried to make it illegal to sell fired brass from the government ranges to civilians and wanted it destroyed, too.

    The result of this is surplus isn't as good a deal as it was ten years ago. You could buy pulldown powder suitable for most calibers for $8 a pound or less. Now the last good 4895 I saw, which was British Radway and had QC issues, was 90% the cost of new canister powder. There's still H335 and BL(c)2 equivalents available however it is going to cost enough with shipping & hazmat that I'd just rather buy locally stocked, fresh & recent production 8# jugs of H335 or Varget and not even bother with surplus anymore.
     
  8. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I bought the last of the surplus IMR4895 about 6 years ago. Zero problems with consistency and longevity.

    Don
     
  9. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Leave that junk alone. Save your money & spend it on good new powder. Besides it keeps getting harder for me to find with everyone buying it up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  10. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Good grief has it been 6 years? I know I bought a couple of 8 lb. jugs and then it was gone, but didn't realize its been 6 years.
     
  11. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Yeah, jcwit, in 2005 I bought a "bunch" of 8# cannisters of surplus IMR4895 for $78 each, and I haven't seen any advertised since then.

    Don
     
  12. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Just did some checking on the lables I put on my jugs, ByGolly it has been 6 yrs. Time sure does fly.

    Tomorrow is our 30th wedding anniversary, yup time sure does fly. Just told my wife, its been a good run.
     
  13. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    It just isn't going to work with all these people sharing their positive experiences with 'old' powder. :scrutiny:

    I probably shouldn't say anything about the 40yr old Unique I've been using up. :what:
     
  14. rscalzo

    rscalzo Member

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    No true. Surplus powder from what? Agencies and the government can't get enough ammo now due to the lack of facilities. what ammo is going to be considered surplus.

    As far as the demilling of brass, it was for 20mm and higher. another internet rumor. Surplus brass has been and is still sold right her in NH is you want to but a few thousand pounds at a time.

    Powders are still coming in from overseas. Russian 4895 has been sold and while it was ok, not great by any means.

    Lastly one of the biggest reason for no components was that the largest company doing that work went out of business about five or six years back after than had major issues with the way they did the work. Add to that the lack of ammo to be demilled and that's the main reason. At best you might see some overruns of 5.56.

    I still have several 8lb. jugs of all three powders but they were bought back when they were a good deal. Now for the slight savings, go commercial.
     
  15. USSR

    USSR Member

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    The surplus IMR4895 powder that myself, and I believe jcwit are talking about, was from the demilling of the last USGI .30-06 ammo.

    Don
     
  16. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    YUP!
     
  17. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I was told by one of the powder companies that new production couldn't keep up with demand so they bought the pull down & blended it with the new production to make it what they needed it to be. They also said they weren't the only company that did it.

    Seeing how there is only 2 or maybe 3 major companies that sounds like the way it is done.

    I know ammo manufactures do there own blinds also & wouldn't doubt if they used it also.
     
  18. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Also wanted to add that one of the places I buy pull down from said he bought it from the company that I was talking about.
     
  19. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Surplus comes from lots of sources, but none of them from US military.
    A couple of years ago the DRMO circulated a memo intending to require all small arms brass to be destroyed before sale. Fortunately, the NRA and other groups found out about it and brought pressure to bear from Congressmen and industry leaders to prevent this from coming to pass; you can still buy brass because of those efforts.
    I've never seen russian 4896- seen russian Unique, seen british 4895, seen russian pulldown but god knows what it was.

    I think you are referring to Talon, they were the demil contractor that got run out of business for problems.
     
  20. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    Surplus powder used to be a real bargain and worth the hassle to work up loads every time you switched lots. It's not to me any more. Saving only $60 per 8 lbs. isn't worth the hassle. You save about 2.7 cents per round or about $7.50 per pound according to my figures comparing a 25 grain charge of each surplus 844 versus H335. I've had a few lots of 844 and they varied from much slower to faster burning than H335. Since surplus powders have slowed down getting to the market, dealers have raised prices too high to mess with surplus.
     
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