Surplus powders

Discussion in 'Reloading Tips, Tricks, and Gear' started by perotter, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. Someone PMed me about where I get surplus powder from and what surplus powder I use. I figured I'd post the info for everyone instead of just PMing it.

    1. First a little warning. These powder do vary in burn rate and weight from lot to lot. What one gets today may not have the same burn rate was what the guy down the street go last year, 5 years ago etc.

    2. There isn't much of selection of surplus powders any more nor are the prices as good. Ten years ago or so you could relay on getting a suitable powder whenever you wanted to. Now it is hit and miss as to getting anything besides some very slow powders. If one is interested in using these, best check the surplus dealers from time to time. Never know what they might get. A few years ago the Russian 'copy' of Unique was available.

    3. For burn rates that most normally use, now the price of it might not be good. For example 5 years ago the commercial surplus of BLC-2 was still less that $10 a pound. Now one might as well buy the commercial product.

    4. The 2 places I've bought from are:
    http://www.patsreloading.com/patsrel/prices.aspx?category=Powder
    http://www.gibrass.com/gunpowder.html
    Graf's and Powder Valley are also sources of it.

    5. The surplus powders I currently have are- WC820, IMR 4895, PSA and WC872.
    A. WC820 was used in the the .30 carbine and the lot I have burns like AA #9. It was $7 a pound. I use it in .357, .45 LC and .30 carbine. Not available now.

    B. The IMR 4895 I use just like the commercial stuff and was $11.25 a pound. Not available now.

    C. PSA was the name of 2 different powders over the years. One for shotguns and the other for rifles. I have the rifles one. Burn rate is like IMR 3031. It was a powder that Accurate bought and the manufacture didn't put a flash suppressant in it so Accurate surplused it thru Pat. Does give nice 3 foot or so flame during the day. I paid about $7 a pound for it. I use it in 5.56, .308 and 7.62x39. Not available now.

    D. WC872 was made for 20mm. I use it in 7mm mag. While giving very accurate load the fps is a few 100 lower than what is normal for 7mm mag, but kill a deer just fine. It was less than $3 a pound when I got it, but it is now $6 a pound. It is available.

    6. These surplus powders are really best for the thoughtful reloader. You aren't going to find much/any reloading data in books and maybe nowhere.

    7. You can't buy just a pound of it to try. Normally they are 8 pounders, but can be anywhere from 5-8 pounders. With shipping and haz mat best to buy 4-6 containers at a time. It's fish or cut bait. Nice if you can split an order with someone.

    FWIW. The only surplus powder that I see right now that I'd have much interest in getting now is IMR 7383 as it can replace the very useful IMR 4831 and is $9 with haz mat added in a pound.

    If one is interested in using these, best check the surplus dealers from time to time. Never know what they might get.
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  2. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    AWESOME Info!

    Slow Powder = Long Barrel ;)
     

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  3. FWIW. Personally I won't pay as much for a surplus powder as for a commercial powder. Currently if a surplus powder costs more than $10-$14 a pound I'd have no interest in buying it.

    IMO, with normal powders going for $16-$20 a pound it's hard to get excited about surplus powders. Also IMO, when the price of a surplus powder is good one has to be willing to buy a lot of it.

    Most guys and I agree is that surplus powder are now a thing of of the past. But that might change. And you never know what you might run into at a gun show, estate sale, garage sale, etc.
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    The latest issue of Guns magazine has the first of a two-part article on reloading which discusses briefly surplus powders and makes the case that post-WWII surplus powders are responsible for the popularity of hand-loading in the U.S.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  5. Quavodus

    Quavodus Member

    I wish I could find some good surplus powder. Its pretty much all slow stuff now a days. I've got some WC 860 and some Thunderbird T 5070. They're both about as slow as it gets. I've loaded some .30-06 and even some .223 with 55 gr. fmj. The .223 was actually accurate.