Reloading ammo with smokeless powder is an essential component. But it can also be one of the most confusing. Before you try to reload ammunition, you need to know the basics of gunpowder, including its many characteristics and variables. This guide will cover the basics of reloading, explain why not all powders are the same, and show how powders can be used to make your reloads more successful, depending on your intention. The majority of powder is distributed by three companies when you first start searching for it. Many brands and distributors may be operating under different names. However, powder from the three listed companies will almost always be yours.
Alliant Powder was founded in 1872 by Laflin & Rand. The products were available for rifle, shotgun, handgun, and muzzleloading purposes. Alliant today offers many powders that are versatile and can be used to suit different purposes. Vista Outdoor Inc. is their global parent IMR 8133 company and oversees many brands such as Federal Premium Ammunition Blazer, Bushnell Speer, Bushnell Blazer, and Bushnell Speer.
Hodgdon Powder may be the most successful powder business in the U.S.A. Bruce Hodgdon was the founder and purchased 50,000 lbs of surplus gunpowder in 1945. After World War II, he sold surplus gunpowder to interested gun owners. Hodgdon provides a broad range of smokeless and muzzleloading products. Even the original product, known as H4895, is still available for sale. Based in Kansas, Hodgdon regularly creates innovative and technologically-advanced powders that meet the needs of many different shooters and reloaders.
Western Powders concentrates on powders used for outdoor sports, including big-game hunting. The brand offers excellent products and reloading and shooting accessories as gun care supplies. It was founded in Montana and has been a top powder distributor since 1972.
Ramshot provides a whole range of powders for hunting marksmanship, Accurate and Accurate, and powder brands for muzzleloading such as Blackhorn 209 and Accurate. Consider load density when selecting a powder. Viscosity measures how much air will remain in the cartridge after the powder is poured. There must be enough room for the explosion. Most factory powders will list a density of 80 to 90%.
It is not recommended to exceed 95% load densities when reloading. Primers require space to flame through powder, allowing for consistent pressure and bullet velocity. It is also advised that density not exceed 80%. Low load density causes peak pressure to move towards the muzzle, and acceleration will drop. The powder can shift in the cartridge due to low load density, resulting in inconsistent pressures.
Gunpowder density will affect how much powder you should use to make a load. It is an essential characteristic of gunpowder. It would help if you considered it whenever you are reloading ammunition. The shape and density of the powder will have a significant impact on the performance. The properties of reloading powder can substantially affect how the cartridge performs. Many other variables, some more specific, affect how the cartridge will perform. However, the three most important variables that will vary from product to product are shape, density, & burn rate. This knowledge will provide the foundation for basic powder knowledge.