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Old February 17, 2012, 12:46 AM   #1
deepcore
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Anyone using military surplus powders?

Strolling through the internet and came accross sources for military surplus gun powders, both pulled and never loaded.
Has anyone here tried these powders?
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Old February 17, 2012, 07:17 AM   #2
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Yes. I have used up about 32 pounds or so over the past 10 years. They work well and save you a few bucks. It takes a little more time to work up a load and some lots are surplus for a reason (e.g. too much flash). The 50 caliber surplus is very slow and limits the use to overbore magnums and such. I think it is closely related to charcoal. I've decided that for the price difference I'll stick with Powder Valley. The shipping fees are the same.
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Old February 17, 2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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Absolutely, and I'm down to my last surplus jug of IMR 4895. I keep on the lookout for a renewed supply, but no luck so far. Occasionally, some Radway 4895 will hit the market, but I let the last of it slip through my fingers.

There's nothing wrong with surplus military powder. Hodgdon started with surplus military powder.
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Old February 17, 2012, 03:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
came accross sources for military surplus gun powders
what place is that? never seen anyone selling surplus powder
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Old February 17, 2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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http://www.gibrass.com/gunpowder.html
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Old February 17, 2012, 04:24 PM   #6
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Yes. All were inexpensive, and shot very well. They required minimal experimentation, but I wouldn't recommend them if you're just getting in to reloading. For a more experienced reloader, they can save you a great deal of money. Be leery of those where the burn rate is advertised as being very wide and very lot dependent (especially foreign handgun powders!)
I've used:
WC844
WC846
IMR 4895 (pulldown)
WC872
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Old February 17, 2012, 05:02 PM   #7
deepcore
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Quote:
what place is that? never seen anyone selling surplus powder
http://www.wideners.com/itemview.cfm?dir=278|283|999

http://www.gibrass.com/gunpowder.html

http://ahreloading.com/GUN_MIL_POWDER.html
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Old February 17, 2012, 07:12 PM   #8
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Yep, been using WC820 for several years. Good .44 Magnum powder (my lot is rated 10% slower than H110). Haven't found any lately though...
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Old February 17, 2012, 07:37 PM   #9
deepcore
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Any sources for load data for the WC powders?
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Old February 17, 2012, 08:16 PM   #10
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Quote:
Strolling through the internet and came across sources for military surplus gun powders, both pulled and never loaded.
Has anyone here tried these powders?
Quite a few years ago I purchased a fair amount of Accurate: Data 2200 Surplus. Meant for use in 223-7.62x39. I believe it came from Pulls too. It's known to be a little faster burning than today's Accurate 2230. Still have the Data Loading Sheet for it too. Happily reloading ammo to use in my DPMS with it yet. I have no problems with using Military Surplus myself. Two things I would mention though to be aware of.

1. Make sure it comes from a reputable and known powder manufacturer.

2. Ask for a Data Sheet. If it doesn't come with one? I wouldn't buy it myself.
Good luck, SSMcG
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Old February 17, 2012, 08:27 PM   #11
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Yes, I use WC-844 for 223.
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Old February 17, 2012, 08:54 PM   #12
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Yah,, I do...

Bought 48 lbs. at an auction. WC844, WC 846...they were easy to use, same as H335. The 872 I've been experimenting with, actually worked up a load for 7.7 Arisaka. The 4895 goes into 30-06 for the Garand.
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Old February 18, 2012, 01:40 PM   #13
Kevin Rohrer
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Surplus Military Powders

Quote:
never seen anyone selling surplus powder
Seek and ye shall find:

http://www.patsreloading.com/patsrel...ategory=Powder
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Old February 18, 2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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I have cases of military surplus ammo.
At first I shot it.
Then I just used it for getting on the paper.
Then I just used the bullets for getting on the paper.
Then I stopped using it.

At first I bought 8 pound jugs of pull down bulk powder.
Then I learned how to compensate for batch in Quickload and predict the pressure and velocity.
Then I wanted temperature stable powder for long range hunting at different temperatures.
So I stopped hunting with surplus powder.

At first I bought cheap scopes......

My advice to me in a time machine would be to cut to the chase and buy Hodgdon extreme powders.
YMMV.
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Old February 18, 2012, 08:05 PM   #15
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Surplus powder is not the deal it once was. I used a lot of it but now days, the price difference isn't enough to tempt me. Pats Reloading is a good source for surplus items.
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Old February 19, 2012, 11:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Surplus powder is not the deal it once was. I used a lot of it but now days, the price difference isn't enough to tempt me.
I don't know how cheap surplus powder used to be because I have only been using it for a few months. I don't understand what you mean by "the price difference isn't enough to tempt me" because there isn't anything different you have to do with surplus powder than regular powder. To buy 8 pounds of H-335 from Powder Valley it cost $128 and 8 pounds of WC-844 ( the H-335 equivalent ) from Pat's is $85. I would gladly buy the surplus powder and save $43 on each 8 pound bottle.
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Old February 20, 2012, 01:50 AM   #17
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Well WC844 isn't EXACTLY the same as H335. It uses the same starting data but you really need to work up each lot of powder. I've used two different lots over the past 5 years, and there IS a difference in the equivalent loads for each lot.

The problem with pulldown powders, or any surplus powder, is that it is bulk grade powder and different lots will have slightly different characteristics. I have two different lots of WC852, and I can assure you if you use the same charge of the fast lot as you used from the slow lot, you WILL be wearing your rifle on your face.

Always work up each lot of powder, and don't try to shortcut it and use data from one lot for another lot.
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Old February 20, 2012, 04:56 PM   #18
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Thanks medalguy, I didn't realize there was that much difference between lots.
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Old February 20, 2012, 09:57 PM   #19
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That really depends on the powder. Point is, don't try to use bulk grade powders like you would cannister grade. They're very different animals.
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Old February 22, 2012, 05:27 AM   #20
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I got started using the surplus powder just about the time most of the better ones dried up. I wasn't interested in but two of them at the time as I was loading a custom overbore magnum and the loads were developed using the WC-872, so that is what I got as well. In most calibers it burns like fine ground coal, but in the big case with enough bullet weight in front of it, it performs admirable once the pressure is up to snuff.

As mentioned each lot is to be respected and worked up to accordingly.

After finding the 872 to work out as well as it did, I picked up some 860 as well, for use with my mid sized magnums, and it has worked out in similar fashion with the heavier for caliber bullets. I have found it is a bit more finicky to work with, but does produce some nice accuracy and groups out of a couple of my magnums, and like the 872, for the price I got it for in comparison to commercial powder I ain't complaining.

The last two I picked up were the Russian Salut and WC-297. Both of these have proved to be equally efficient and for the price I got them for very well suited for my uses. I only got one order of the Salut before it was gone and wished I had been able to get another, but I already had a big jug of Hercules Unique and am still working diligently to burn it up. The Salut is almost a direct cross over in weight per charge as my can of standard Unique so it has been easily added to my load database.

The WC-297 has been fantastic to work with. The lot I have is a bit slower than the commercial Win-296 I had been using for several years. I was just about to run out of it when I found the price difference in an 8# jug significant enough to give it a try. I figured getting 8# delivered even with the hazmat for half the price of the same amount of Win-296, would be worth at least giving it a looksee, and besides it was in stock and the other wasn't to be found. As such I have had no issue what so ever working up loads with it to duplicate my standard loads in .357, 41, 44, and 454. I haven't tried it in the 30 Carbine yet but feel it should work equally as well.

This said, no mater if you decide to go with the surplus or canister grade, you should compare the prices, and load compatibility, and decide accordingly. It will do you no good to have a surplus powder that your only able to load one caliber with unless it is a specific fit that nothing else will work in. As for a varied caliber powder like the 844, 846, or some of the others, well I agree I am more apt to simply go with the commercial grades since the prices are so close.
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Old February 22, 2012, 06:05 AM   #21
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Here is one of the oldest suppliers of GI powder made their name with T-322


http://www.tbirdammo.com/index.html

After looking a AHreloading site I was glad that I only paid $40 per 8lbs shipped of the first lots of surplus IMR-8208.
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Old February 22, 2012, 09:22 AM   #22
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Quote:
Well WC844 isn't EXACTLY the same as H335. It uses the same starting data but you really need to work up each lot of powder. I've used two different lots over the past 5 years, and there IS a difference in the equivalent loads for each lot.

The problem with pulldown powders, or any surplus powder, is that it is bulk grade powder and different lots will have slightly different characteristics. I have two different lots of WC852, and I can assure you if you use the same charge of the fast lot as you used from the slow lot, you WILL be wearing your rifle on your face.

Always work up each lot of powder, and don't try to shortcut it and use data from one lot for another lot.
I have two 8-lb jugs of WC680 that were given to me. I've never used that powder before. Considering the potential differences between lots, would you suggest that I go ahead and mix both jugs together thoroughly? That way, I'd at least have 16 pounds of an identical mixture and wouldn't have to re-develop the load halfway through.
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Old February 23, 2012, 06:51 PM   #23
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Surplus powders are a risk. A risk that the stuff will go bad in the can before you know it.

Gunpowder has a shelf life. A rule of thumb is 20 years for double based, 45 years for single based. Thee are a number of accounts of 1980's vintage single based factory IMR powders going bad.

Half of all the surplus IMR 4895 I bought went bad. I had to toss about 700 LC Match 308 cases because the nitric acid gas released by the powder cracked the case necks.

Considering the powder was about 80% the cost of new and all the components that got scrapped, I lost money.

Look guys, the primary reason these surplus powders are on the market is because the "master" test sample went bad, or the cartridges in storage were tested, and the powder was shown to be at the end of its shelf life. The reject is 20% of stabilizer left in the powder.

Section from the Propellant Management Guide:

Stabilizers are chemical ingredients added to propellant at time of manufacture to
decrease the rate of propellant degradation and reduce the probability of auto ignition during its expected useful life.

As nitrocellulose-based propellants decompose, they release nitrogen oxides. If the nitrogen oxides are left free to react in the propellant, they can react with the nitrate ester, causing further decomposition and additional release of nitrogen oxides. The reaction between the nitrate ester and the nitrogen oxides is exothermic (i.e., the reaction produces heat). Heat increases the rate of propellant decomposition. More importantly, the exothermic nature of the reaction creates a problem if sufficient heat is generated to initiate combustion. Chemical additives, referred to as stabilizers, are added to propellant formulations to react with free nitrogen oxides to prevent their attack on the nitrate esters in the propellant. The stabilizers are scavengers that act rather like sponges, and once they become “saturated” they are no longer able to remove nitrogen oxides from the propellant. Self-heating of the propellant can occur unabated at the “saturation” point without the ameliorating effect of the stabilizer. Once begun, the self-heating may become sufficient to cause auto ignition.



I only learned this a couple of years ago, I am shooting up the surplus IMR 4895's that I have as fast as I can. I will admit what I have that is good, it shoots exceptionally well, but I am not sitting on it as I don't want to pour it out on the lawn after it turns red.
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Old February 23, 2012, 09:11 PM   #24
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Scott I would NOT mix the two. There's no way of ensuring a totally equal mixture. If you work up a load with one powder, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to work up another load with maybe 5 test samples of 10 rounds each of the second powder to get you in the ballpark of where you need to be, then fine-tune the load from there. That's not bad with an 8 pound jug of powder. You're not going to have to start from scratch again.
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Old February 24, 2012, 11:36 AM   #25
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I have been using SRB-118 surplus powder (Accurate) for years for plinking ammo. Lots of folks use surplus powders with great success.
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