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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was always afraid to try SMP because I had to buy it in an 8# jug.
Well, a couple of years ago I finally broke down and bought an 8# jug of SMP IMR-4895 for $79 plus tax. I started working up loads with it and it shot GREAT in my 223, 30-30 Ackley Improved, 308, 30-06 and my 45-70. I went back and bought another jug!

I was just wondering how many of you here use or have used SMP?

What type have you used and how did you like it?

Thanks!
Slufoot
 

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I have about 10 pounds of surplus 4895 around my bench. I'm starting to get a little worried that it's going to dry up soon and won't be available anymore. Also I have some surplus H110 laying around that I just pulled out and developed a tack-driving load with it and a 250 grain XTP for my 45 Colt Trapper .
 

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i use more of it then i use commercail powder. I use pr200(aa2) wc820(aa9) wc844 and wc846 I not only use it because its alot more economical but i also use it becasuse some of my most accurate loads have come with using it.
 

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I use a lot of 844, 846 and 4895, even have a good supply of 414 locked away yet. At present my sources for 844 and 846 are drying up but there is still a ton of 4895 available for some reason. The only problem I've had with these powders, especially the 4895, is a much greater lot to lot variation in both bulk and burn rates. The key is when I buy, I get enough to make this a non issue for a few years. Although I have used a lot of pull down powder in the past it still makes me nervous, guess I'm just not a fan. All the noncanister powder i use these days is new.
 

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I read about folks using "surplus" powder for quite a while. My question is, Where the heck do ya buy this stuff. I use more 4831 than any other and a 8# can sounds fine to me!


HWD
 

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You can try Pat's Reloading. I don't think that it's actual surplus powder anymore. I believe that the company has powder made to spec's, and they can sell it alot cheaper, as their not into thousands of dollars of advertising as the big company's. I've used their 231 powder for a couple years, very satisfied with it, and a few bucks less that the name brand. If you google Pat's Reloading, you probably find out where to order it from. I always pick mine up at Camp Perry during the match's, to save on shipping/haz mat fee's.-gypsyman
 

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There is only 1 problem with useing surplus powders and that is that they are not nearly as consistant as canister powders. Every time you change lots of surplus powders you need to start low and work up a load again. That`s why I usually buy 20 to 50 lbs. of powder when I buy them. The data is not real reliable eather, so if you don`t know what to look for to see if your getting exisive presure I would recomand you not use them.
 

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Ive been using surplus powders for a long time and use a BUNCH of it and dont totaly agree with this. I use mostly pistol powder so thats what ill comment on. I use alot of wc820 and pr200. Which are baiscally aa9 and aa2 respectively. I find no more lot to lot variation with them then i do the comercaily packaged aa powders and no more then i do with some comercial powders. I find the double based comercial powders tend to vary more then single based powders but they all can vary. Its a good idea to pay attention to lot numbers on all your powders and when switching lots back off a couple grains and run some loads over a chronograph. Now with wc820 you have to pay attention to what your buying. Theres some out there that is advetised to burn like aa7 and is definately faster burning but is sold that way and marked on the jug. Also the lots of pull down 820 tend to burn faster then the virgin. Probabaly the pulldown is just an older batch of the powder that was made to slightly different specs but again it is marked pulldown and advertised as faster burning. I get a kick out of guys that will run in fear of surplus powder but will use accurate arms powders. AA has never made powder. They made there bussiness repackageing surplus in a pretty jug and selling it for 25 percent more then surplus in a generic jug. Same goes for alot of the surplus rifle powders. Take 4895 and powders like that. There the same thing that hogdon puts in there jugs. A good many powders started as military powders. 4831 is another good example. There are very few actual powder manufactures in the world. Most companys buy it and package it in there own containers. Thats why you will get overlaps in powders. Basically powders like 296/110 wst/titegroup hp38/231 are the same powder imr4227/h4227 are basicaly the same powder and it is just a matter of lots and small changes in specs the packaging company ask for from the manufacture. Not to restart an old argument here but its the main reason why any really dedicated handloader should own a chronograph. A guy will take the time to work up loads for a gun in powder incruments as small as a half a grain and switch powder lots and never check his velocitys and basicaly wasted his time. Ive seen differnt lots of powders effect velocity a 100 fps easily. It aint much but it can mean the difference in having your tack driving load become a mediocure load. Have you ever worked up a real good load for a gun to find 5 years later it just didnt seem to shoot as well. People will blow it off as gun wear or something else but alot of times it lot variations in powder primers and even brass. What was good advice is that if you do find a load that really works its a real good idea to stock up on powder brass and primers out of that lot no. Its no different even with 22 shells. I laugh at guys that find 22 ammo that really shoots out of there guns and tell me thats the brand they allways buy and only buy a couple boxes at a time. 22s will vary more then about anything lot to lot especaially the cheap bulk ammo. When i find 22 ammo that shoots i buy all of it i can afford. Ive never seen powder primers or even 22 shells that went bad because i bought a case to last while. As far as load data not being reliable. Theres a small point to that. I think actually its proably more reliable if you get it from a good source then the data for comercial powders. If you doubt this just get 4 different loading manuals and look up loads for the same powder and bullet design and see how much they vary book to book. What a guy does need with surplus is a little more knowlege then the average handloader cares to learn. It isnt powder for someone that just wants to look up a load in a loading manual and go or for the idiot that takes a loading manual and figures the top loads are way to safe and adds a couple grains of powder. Its powder for an experinced handloader that has some knowlege of powder burn rates and experience with how pressures spike with different powders and has the sense to buy a 60 dollar chronograph to know what just happened when he addded another grain of powder. They are not powders to use if you get all your load suggestions from guys on internet fourms. There are just to many idiots out there that will get you hurt either unitentionaly or even rarely on purpose.
 

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Good post, Lloyd. Damn good post. In this age of passing the buck and pointing fingers, the fact still remains that you are in deed responsible for your own a$$.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lloyd, Excellent post!

You wrote,
"Its powder for an experienced handloader that has some knowledge of powder burn rates and experience with how pressures spike with different powders and has the sense to buy a 60 dollar chronograph to know what just happened when he added another grain of powder."

I couldn't agree more!

GOOD SHOOTING!
Slufoot
 

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Lloyd, my hats off to you pal. I could never had put it in just the right words you did. Thanks!!

Good shooting pal. ;)
 

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Lloyd

A very well written and informitive post and i could not agree more , it is not the powder for the begining loader .

stimpy
 

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I have no experience with mil surp powders so this is very informative for me. One question: what is "pull down powder" - salvaged from loaded ammo?

Wish I could figure out how to get some here in remote Alaska. Would be nice to have a good stock of 4831 or equivalent and h110.

Any other good info to share?

What about proper, legal storage of the large quantities some of you talk about?
 

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Lloyd,
I have had both bad powder and bad primers. Powder you can tell by the smell when it goes bad, but primers only by useing them. I supest the powder had been stored in a container that was not sealed good and got moister. The primers I bought at a gun show and I knew they were very old. They all would make the gun go bang, but you could hear the difference the the crack form round to round. I have boght surplus powders that were both faster and slower than stated and do agree that that you should have a cronograph when useing them. It`s not totlaay neaasry if you want to take the time to work up loads slowly, but by running the loads through a cronograph you have a far better idea of where you are starting from.
 
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