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Gun Powder & Primer Shortages.

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The past few months their been a shortage of powder & primers in my area.

Their are 2 main places that I get the bulk of my reloading supply's.

Last week I was told that Winchester powders were in back order & that they only get a few pounds at a time now, if anything. As for the other types of powders, not to expect anything until Jan or Feb of 2015.

So how's the availability of gun powder & primers in your area these days?

Have the prices stayed the same or have they skyrocketed?


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I may not can tell where P&P can be found BUT this article may give people more options this is an article from C.E. Harris




Cast bullets can make shooting that surplus rifle easy and economical.
And basic data works for many different guns.

BY C.E. Harris

Cast bullet loads usually give a more useful zero at practical field ranges with military battle sights than do full power loads. Nothing is more frustrating than a military rifle that shoots a foot high at 100 yards with surplus ammo when the sight is as low as it will go! Do not use inert fillers (Dacron or kapok) to take up excess empty space in the case. This was once common practice, but it raises chamber pressure and under certain conditions contributes to chamber ringing. If a particular load will not work well without a filler, the powder is not suitable for those conditions of loading. Four load classifications from Mattern (1932) cover all uses for the cast bullet military rifle. I worked up equivalent charges to obtain the desired velocity ranges with modern powders, which provide a sound basis for loading cast bullets in any post-1898 military rifle from 7mm to 8mm:

1. 125 grain plain based "small game/gallery" 900-1000 f.p.s., 5 grains of Bullseye or equivalent.

2. 150 grain plain based "100-yard target/small game", 1050-1250 f.p.s., 7 grains of Bullseye or equivalent.

3. 170-180 grain gas checked "200 yard target", 1500-1600 f.p.s., 16 grains of Hercules #2400 or equivalent.

4. 180-200 grain gas-checked "deer/600 yard target", 1750-1850 f.p.s., 26 grains of RL-7 or equivalent.

None of these loads are maximum when used in full-sized rifle cases such as the 30-40 Krag, .303 British, 7.65 Argentine, 7.7 Jap, 7.62x54R Russian , or 30-06. They can be used as basic load data in most modern military rifles of 7mm or larger, with a standard weight cast bullet for the caliber, such as 140-170 grains in the 7x57, 150-180 grains in the .30 calibers, and 150-190 grains in the 8mm. For bores smaller than 7mm, consult published data.

The Small Game or Gallery" Load

The 110-115 grain bullets intended for the .30 carbine and .32-20 Winchester, such as the Lyman #3118, #311008, #311359, or #311316 are not as accurate as heavier ones like the #311291. There isn't a readily available .30 caliber cast small game bullet of the proper 125-130 grain weight. LBT makes a 130 grain flat-nosed gas-check bullet for the .32 H&R Magnum which is ideal for this purpose. I recommend it highly, particularly if you own a .32 revolver.

The "100 Yard Target and Small Game" Load

I use Mattern's plain-based "100 yard target load" to use up my minor visual defect culls for offhand and rapid-fire 100 yard practice. I substitute my usual gas-checked bullets, but without the gas-check. I started doing this in 1963 with the Lyman #311291. Today I use the Lee .312-155-2R, or the similar tumble-lubed design TL.312-160-2R. Most of my rifle shooting is done with these two basic designs.

Bullets I intend for plain based loads are blunted using a flat-nosed top punch in my lubricator, providing a 1/8" flat which makes them more effective on small game and clearly distinguishes them from my heavier gas-checked loads. This makes more sense to me than casting different bullets.

Bullet preparation is easy. I visually inspect each run of bullets and throw those with gross defects into the scrap box for remelting. Bullets with minor visual defects are tumble-lubed in Lee Liquid Alox without sizing, and are used for plain base plinkers. Bullets which are visually perfect are weighed and sorted into groups of 0.5 grain for use in 200 yard matches. Gas checks are pressed onto bullet bases by hand prior to running into the lubricator-sizer. For gas-check bullets loaded without the gas- checks, for cases like the .303 British, 7.62 NATO, 7.62x54R Russian and 30-06, I use 6-7 grains of almost any fast burning powder. These include, but are not limited to Bullseye, WW231, SR-7625, Green Dot, Red Dot or 700-X. I have also had fine results with 8 to 9 grains of medium rate burning pistol or shotgun powders, such as Unique, PB, Herco, or SR-4756 in any case of .303 British or larger.

In the 7.62x39 case, use no more than 4 grains of the fast burning powders mentioned or 5 grains of the shotgun powders. Theses make accurate 50 yard small game loads which let you operate the action manually and save your precious cases. These plinkers are more accurate than you can hold.

Repeated loading of rimless cases with very mild loads results in the primer blast shoving the shoulder back, unless flash holes are enlarged with a No. 39 drill bit to 0.099" diameter. Cases which are so modified must never be used with full powered loads! Always identify cases which are so modified by filing a deep groove across the rim and labeling them clearly to prevent their inadvertent use. For this reason on I prefer to do my plain based practice shooting in rimmed cases like the 30-30, 30-40 Krag, 303 British and 7.62x54R which maintain positive headspace on the rim and are not subject to this limitation.

The Harris "Subsonic Target" Compromise

Mattern liked a velocity of around 1250 f.p.s. for his 100 yard target load because this was common with the lead bullet .32-40 target rifles of his era. I have found grouping is best with non gas- checked bullets in military rifles at lower velocities approaching match grade .22 long rifle ammunition. I use my "Subsonic Target" load at around 1050-1100 f.p.s. to replace both Mattern's "small game" and "100 yard target" loads, though I have lumped it with the latter since it really serves the same purpose. It's report is only a modest "pop" rather than a "crack".

If elongated bullet holes and enlarged groups indicate marginal bullet stability, increase the charge no more than a full grain from the minimum recommended, if needed to get consistent accuracy. If this doesn't work, try a bullet which is more blunt and short for its weight because it will be more easily stabilized. If this doesn't do the trick, you must change to a gas-checked bullet and a heavier load.

The Workhorse Load - Mattern's "200 yard Target"

My favorite load is the most accurate. Mattern's so-called "200 yard target load." I expect 10 shot groups at 200 yards, firing prone rapid with sling to average 4-5". I shoot high Sharpshooter, low Expert scores across the course with an issue 03A3 or M1917, shooting in a cloth coat, using may cast bullet loads. The power of this load approximates the 32-40, inadequate for deer by today's standards. Mattern's "200 yard target load" is easy to assemble. Because it is a mild load, soft scrap alloys usually give better accuracy than harder ones, such as linotype. Local military collector-shooters have standardized on 16 grains of #2400 as the "universal" prescription. It gives around 1500 f.p.s. with a 150-180 grain cast bullet in almost any military caliber. We use 16 grains of #2400 as our reference standard, just as high power competitors use 168 Sierra Match Kings and 4895.

The only common military rifle cartridge in which 16 grains of #2400 provides a maximum load, and which must not be exceeded, is in the tiny 7.63x39mm case. Most SKS rifles will function reliably with charges of #2400 as light as 14 grains with the Lee 312-155-2R at around 1500 f.p.s. I designed this bullet especially for the 7.62x39, but it works very well as a light bullet in any .30 or .303 caliber rifle.

Sixteen Grains of #2400 is the Universal Load

The same 16 grain charge of #2400 is universal for all calibers as a starting load. It is mild and accurate in any larger military case from a 30-40 Krag or .303 British up through a 30-06 or 7.9x57, with standard weight bullets of suitable diameter for the caliber. This is my recommendation for anybody trying cast bullets loads for the first time in a military rifle without prior load development. I say this because #2400 is not "position sensitive", requires no fiber fillers to ensure uniform ignition, and actually groups better when you stripper-clip load the rifle and bang them off, rather than tipping the muzzle up to position the powder charge.

Similar ballistics can be obtained with other powders in any case from 7.62x39 to 30-06 size. If you don't have Hercules #2400, you can freely substitute 17 grains of IMR or H4227, 18 grains of 4198, 21 grains of Reloder 7, 24 grains of IMR 3031, or 25.5 grains of 4895 for comparable results.

However, these other powders may give some vertical stringing in cases larger than the 7.62x39 unless the charge is positioned against the primer by tipping the muzzle up before firing. Hercules #2400 does not require this precaution. Don't ask me why. Hercules #2400 usually gives tight clusters only within a narrow range of charge weights within a grain or so, and the "universal" 16 grain load is almost always the best. Believe me, we have spent a lot of time trying to improve on this, and you can take our word for it.

The beauty of the "200 yard target load" at about 1500 f.p.s. is that it can be assembled from bullets cast from the cheapest, inexpensive scrap alloy, and fired all day without having to clean the bore. It always works. Leading is never a problem. Once a uniform bore condition is established, the rifle behaves like a .22 match rifle, perhaps needing a warming shot or two if it has cooled, but otherwise being remarkably consistent.

The only thing I do after a day's shooting with this load is to swab the bore with a couple of wet patches of GI bore cleaner or Hoppe's, and let it soak until the next match. I then follow with three dry patches prior to firing. It takes only about three foulers to get the 03A3 to settle into tight little clusters again.

"Deer and Long Range Target Load"

Mattern's "deer and 600 yard target load" can be assembled in cases of 30-40 Krag capacity or larger up to 30-06 using 18-21 grains of #2400 or 4227, 22-25 grains of 4198, 25-28 grains of RL-7 or 27-30 grains of 4895, which give from 1700-1800 f.p.s., depending on the case size. These charges must not be used in cases smaller than the 303 British without cross checking against published data! The minimum charge should always be used initially, and the charge adjusted within the specified range only as necessary to get best grouping.

Popular folklore suggests a barrel must be near perfect for good results with cast bullets, but this is mostly bunk, though you may have to be persistent.

I have a rusty-bored Finnish M28/30 which I have shot extensively, in making direct comparisons with the same batches of loads on the same day with a mint M28 and there was no difference. The secret in getting a worn bore to shoot acceptably is to remove all prior fouling and corrosion. Then you must continue to clean the bore "thoroughly and often" until it maintains a consistent bore condition over the long term. You must also keep cast bullet loads under 1800 f.p.s. for hunting and under 1600 f.p.s. for target work.

A cleaned and restored bore will usually give good accuracy with cast bullet loads if the bullet fits the chamber throat properly, is well lubricated and the velocities are kept below 1800 f.p.s.

The distinction between throat diameter and groove diameter in determining proper bullet size is important. If you are unable to determine throat diameter from a chamber cast, a rule of thumb is to size bullets .002" over groove diameter, such as .310" for a 30-06, .312" for a 7.63x54R and .314" for a .303 British.

"Oversized 30's", like the .303 British, 7.7 Jap, 7.65 Argentine, and 7.62x39 Russian frequently give poor accuracy with .30 caliber cast bullets designed for U.S. barrels having .300 bore and .308 groove dimensions. This is because the part of the bullet ahead of the driving bands receives no guidance from the lands in barrel s of larger bore diameter. The quick rule of thumb to checking proper fit of the forepart is to insert the bullet, nose first, into the muzzle. If it enters clear up to the front driving band without being noticeably engraved, accuracy will seldom be satisfactory.

The forepart is not too large if loaded rounds can be chambered with only slight resistance, the bullet does not telescope back into the case, or stick in the throat when extracted without firing. A properly fitting cast bullet should engrave the forepart positively with the lands, and be no more than .001" under chamber throat diameter on the driving bands. Cast bullets with a tapered forepart at least .002" over bore diameter give the best results.

Many pre-WWII Russian rifles of US make, and later Finnish reworks, particularly those with Swiss barrels by the firm SIG, have very snug chamber necks and cannot be used with bullets over .311" diameter unless case necks are reamed or outside turned to .011" wall thickness to provide safe clearance.

Bullets with a large forepart, like the Lee 312-155-2R or Lyman #314299 work best with the 7.62x54R because the forcing cones are large and gradual. Standard .30 caliber gas-checks are correct.

Finnish 7.62x54R, Russian 7.62x39 and 7.65 Argentine barrels are smaller than Russian 7.62x54R, Chinese 7.62x39, Jap 7.7 or .303 British barrels, and usually have standard .300" bore diameter. (Finnish barrels occasionally are as small as .298") and groove diameters of .310 -.3115".

In getting the best grouping with iron sighted military rifles, eyesight is the limiting factor. Anybody over age 40 who shoots iron sights should equip himself with a "Farr-Sight" from Gil Hebard or Brownell's. This adjustable aperture for your eyeglass frame was intended for indoor pistol shooters, but it helps my iron sight rifle shooting, and adds about 5 points to my score!

So now you have enough fundamentals to get started. If you want to have fun, give that old military rifle a try. You'll never know the fun you've been missing until you try it!


Any of the generic type loads for WW2 era full power military cases should work.

Naturally start on the lower side, especially with that big heavy slug.


10-12 grains Unique

14-18 grains 2400

18-23 grains 4227

20-24 grains SR4759

21-25 grains 4198

24-30 grains 3031


The Turks I have (4) all have good tight barrels and throats that require sixing to .323", I did a special run of SC Lee molds for a "Heavy 8"

that came in right at 240 grs:


END OF C.E. HARRIS ARTICLE-----------------------------------------


I have found many articles from a place that sells sabots to load in 30 caliber to shoot 55 grain .224 bullets with the load data.

another article was about shooting pistol bullets and single buck shot from rifles to hunt game at 25 meters with reduced loads.

other articles on how to load bird shot in straight wall pistol cases and the use of wax bullets with just a primer.

in WWII some countries used wood bullets for training with pistol powder, you can buy plastic training rounds that will take game inside 26 meters.

all of these Ideas have been used since flint lock weapons.


One article I read there were no weapons except old war relics and little to no ammo and no money so so people made or scavenged

any made by hand everything they could not get 22's either powder & primers came from police ammo and quiet rounds were what was needed

as like today laws against shooting inside city limits even if your starving were strickly imposed.

All land was controlled by the government NO hunting people poached to survive even snares and traps were not allowed.

this was only 80 years ago it can happen again and is happening in many countries now droughts and plant diseases are a reality

insects are immune from the crap they call pestticides today water is not free it takes power to move it and that is not free either.

If everyone get 15 bucks an hour how much will a can of beans cost?


Information is important find it print it and learn to use it because it may get a whole lot worse before it gets better !

reading article like this lets us know what to look for locally if you find powders that are listed you know to buy them and how to use them.

Molds from Lee are still inexpensiveolder Lyman reloading handbooks for loading cast bullets and free internet PDF's are easy to find.

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addendum to my previous post:


Revolvers and the reason everyone should own at least one and have molds for it as well as powder and primers


they do not require full power loads to function depending on where you live and the power you need a revolver can fire 


primer powered wax bullets, shot gun shot,  single to multiple buck pellets, wad cutters to heavy cast lead or wheel weights 


and jacketed bullets andif your really poor wood bullets.


I like standard calibers because Lee has a hand tool to reload them 38spl & 357mag  44spl & mag  & 45LC


I would have a hand priming tool.


100 cases a pound of pistol powder and 1,000 primers at least you would be able to defend yourself and hunt IMHO.


to answer your question P210SIG it seems that powder and primers are moving up in cost I have seen them go for


the same as ordering them off the net with the hazmat so powder is 40 to 50 bucks a pound primers about the same


and there is a slim selection.


Most jacketed bullets are not being made only the best sellers and many are now only in 50 count boxes and cost the same as 


the old 100 count boxes did.


Brass is non existant in uncommon calibers and if it is a shelf caliber like 25-06 the brass is high really off the wall or new


(in the last decade) calibers like the short magnums are real hard to find weatherby and custom or like lazzeroni and such


forget it and if you find them they are loaded ammo and can be 1 to 5 bucks a round.


and I can see where certain unintended consequences from paralell issues could blow prices out of control.


this is why I have always pushed the NATO caliber battery and even some of those are hard to come by at times


for all those that do not know it is 22LR, 38-357 9mm 223/ 5.56 308/7.62X51 and 12 gauge I include 40 S&W only because many


departments use it local state &fed.


If you own any others chances are they will cost a lot more and or become real scarce. most companies loaded seasonally so once a year


they loaded so many of lets say 300 savage or 220 swift now they may overlook it this year and like 5MM make it a special run.


if your a lucky one you can make 300 savage from 308 IF you have the form die / dies depends on caliber 7 & 8MM mauser can be made from


30-06 so can 300 savage many calibers can be formed from their parent cartridge.


but some have European origins and or require steps to neck up or down causing a greater number of destroyed cases for each successful


one made, not to mention some need reaming and that add to cost from special equipment and having to fire form.


Just for grins last month I bought a form die I really did not need it but I decided I wanted it just in case as I was ordering it I was going to


get a friend one when I asked for another they sis not have one and in fact after that one none were expected until next month IF they


get them I have seen more and more items that state NO BACK ORDERS and I checked on a bullet that is my favorite and they are


not going to make them any longer and are not listed in the new thinner catalog.


If you did not have a can full before your in dire straights now and will ahve to work up a new load with expensive to near impossible to replace


powder primers and brass & bullets.


Now that's got to suck.

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Last night, I was fortunate to get 2 lbs of Tight Group from a private sale.

Paid more than double than the retail price for them. :rolleyes:

Now I have some pistol powder, as to the 1/2 a lb of 231 that I had left.

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should this problem ever sort itself out people should buy the economy size like the 4 and  8 pound


if never goes bad as I have used powders from many decades ago nor do primers go bad as long as they are


kept from humidity I keep all my stuff in ammo cans they seal out everything even flood water.


I have a few but I found one on the net this is a loads to pound chart good to figure on how to scale your loading.


If a person has a few powders then they need to use the powder that performs for the shooting they will do or need.


bullseye is does not give the best velocity but it does get the job done in magnum pistol if you fire a lot of magnum


then go with 2400 or such but remember you will need a lot more on hand as it take so much more I look at 1 pound


cans as test fodder and when you find that perfect load you buy a 8 pound jug.


Why some will ask a 50 grain charge will only load 140 rounds out of a 1 pound can.


I have see people buy a single sleeve of primers (*^%$$^%^&( WTF) no I can understand if they were testing out a new recipe


or powder primer combo or your poor as dirt.


If you have any arm that uses small large or mag primers rifle,  at least have a box of 1,000 a pistol that you will target shoot with much more


minimum of cases are 500 to 1,000 plus no matter what caliber and enough powder and bullets to load them all.


find a load and stick with it accuracy comes from consistancy in all facets of loading from case prep to powder charge precision and  length, crimp


I have a real problem with gun writers today they are pitchmen for product and few if any have understood that hard times can come on us.


I have screamed and yelled as well as explained in detail the absolute must of a N ato set but I get the old but I like X well now that you can't


find X on the shelf and no powder or primers your X is now a paper weight.


At the least have a set of form dies to make your brass from Na to brass and make sure you can some calibers cannot be formed from common brass


look at 30-30 it has been around a hundred years and now brass is hard to find as I know people are hoarding it.


the amount of new reloaders has sucked the shelves dry and will keep them dry until everyone has the level they want on loaded ammo as well as


components, and dies / reloading accesories and equipment.


Not unlike every problem ever thought of once normal returns people will forget and go back to their ways complacent and ignorant.


My advice it to stay focused and build your stock to your specifacations and needs then as you use open a can or pack replace it


then not later.

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