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Old April 22, 2011, 02:09 PM   #1
300magman
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Hodgdon/Hornady Superformance Powder

I would imagine that this subject has been beaten to death, yet a search is turning up no threads; so I will go ahead and ask the question.


Hornady seems to be loading "Superformance" ammo in many cartridges, but the powder I see for sale only lists a small fraction of them as being compatible with the powder....is that because Hornady has more than one blend of Superformance and they just haven't released them all for use by reloaders? Or have they just left some cartridges off the approved list, even though they use the powder in them themselves?



I also would like to hear from anyone with experience with this powder, as to how temperature stable it is...that is one thing I look for in any powder before I begin to experiment with it, because I know I will be shooting in freezing cold and blistering heat.


Last question ... you had to know this one was coming ;-) ... is it really what they say it is?
By thier claims a 300RUM is suddenly a LOT less appealing, because All that extra powder would now net me Very Little gain, over a simple 300wsm (both using 165gr or 180gr bullets)
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Old April 23, 2011, 01:04 AM   #2
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My guess is that the stuff in the can may not be exactly the same stuff they are using, factory ammo generaly uses a blend.
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Old April 23, 2011, 08:23 PM   #3
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The canister version of Superformance is not the same powder they are using in their factory ammo. Superformance canister powder is just a slow burning powder with a nice, gentle pressure curve (very similar to Winchester 780 Supreme). The bulk powder they load in factory ammunition is BLENDED. You'll probably never see it for sale to the general public.

One of the reasons for the lack of data, is that Hornady and Hodgdon don't publish data for that powder, unless it shows an increase in performance over existing data. If it's just another powder in the list... they don't publish. If it shows a 75+ fps increase over the previous "best" load, you'll see it in the Hodgdon reloading center. And... the 2011 Hodgdon reloading guide has a warning, not to use bullet/cartridge combinations not published for Superformance. Whether there are legitimate safety risks, or they don't want bad publicity, due to sub-par performance... I don't know.

To me, it's just another powder. It only looks super-mega-awesome, because they are picking and choosing which "amazing" loads they publish data for; while quietly holding back the loads where it can't beat the existing data.
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Old April 25, 2011, 08:46 AM   #4
300magman
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Quote:
To me, it's just another powder. It only looks super-mega-awesome, because they are picking and choosing which "amazing" loads they publish data for; while quietly holding back the loads where it can't beat the existing data.
That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Most, if not all powders, have a fairly limited range of applications where they work best...they may work adaquately in others, but they only shine in a limited selection. It seems Hornady is choosing to just point out the "best" applications of its new powder, and forget the rest.
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Old April 25, 2011, 08:51 AM   #5
300magman
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The bulk powder they load in factory ammunition is BLENDED. You'll probably never see it for sale to the general public.

Blended!!! - You mean as in the biggest no no, never do, absolutely under no circumstance, kind of blended...that every reloading manual warns against??? I thought that mixing smokeless powders was considered dark magic and was to be avoided at all costs.

Seriously though, that is what you mean, mixing one or more powder together?? ... I wonder what thier recipe is and how they tested it to be safe.
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Old April 25, 2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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I don't know about the SuperPerformance but I pulled the bullets on five rounds of .308 Win Hornady Match that had failed to go boom. If that powder was blended the it was Varget blended with Hmm, Varget.
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Old April 25, 2011, 01:32 PM   #7
FrankenMauser
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Seriously though, that is what you mean, mixing one or more powder together?
That's exactly what I meant.
They are blending bulk powders, to achieve the burn rate necessary for the performance they are seeking. There have been several articles on the Superformance ammunition, that mention powder blendeding. I think the Superformance article in the 2011 Hodgdon manual discusses it a bit, as well.

The canister powder is, of course, not blended.
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Old April 25, 2011, 03:04 PM   #8
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Actually, all canister grade powder is blended with held back lots that were exceptionally fast or slow for the type, unless its a lot that just happens to come out average. That's how they keep the canister burn rates fairly constant from one lot to the next. It's factory ammo that uses unblended grades because they're cheaper without the extra blending effort and the factory has pressure barrels to adjust their loads to compensate for the differences, while the average handloader does not.

The idea that blending is a no-no is for handloaders is for several reasons. One is that some folks will blend more completely and effectively than others. Even if they do a good job, it might not occur to them they need to work the loads back up to be safe. Some will just throw an old lot into a bottle of the previous lot and not blend it at all, then get some pressure variation when he uses it. Not normally a safety issue unless the load is right up against maximum for the gun, but nobody will want to take on the liability involved with saying it's OK to do. Some might throw a really old powder that's breaking down in with a newer batch and create a hazard. Still others will try to blend different powder types without studying whether vibration can make the combination stratify over time inside a cartridge and change the performance.

I don't know how much blending of actual different powder types factory ammo guys try to do. I don't think it's normal because you can always design a single powder to have the same net effect as a blend. A friend uncorked one of the Hornady Light Magnum rounds one time and said the powder started expanding and kept overflowing the case for awhile. Apparently it was elasticized and highly compressed. It apparently had to be loaded in a special equipment to get the necessary quantity compressed into a case. I'd heard it was a centrifugal charging method, but don't actually know that for a fact. That powder was never made available to the public because of the technical challenge of getting it into the case. Metering might have been problematic, too.

That elasticized powder, Super Performance, the Hybrid 100V powder, and the new Power Pro line of Alliant powders, have all come, AFAIK, out of St. Marks Powders. Those guys must have quite an R&D budget down there.
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