Sunday, October 06, 2013

A rough patch for those who reload!


Many years ago I had a problem finding certain IMR powders.   I lived in the area where they did the packaging (remember the metal containers) and was told a quality control issue.  Rail car after rail car was not accepted because the powder (after testing) did not meet standards and could not be packaged.  I grew tired of having to purchase extra containers of power when it was available and switched to Hodgdon powders. 

Problem solved, or so I thought until early this year.  Rumors of a Hodgdon factory fire could not be nailed down, but for whatever reason the purchase of both Hodgdon and IMR powder was and is, hit and miss (Hodgdon now owns IMR).  After a few misses at attempts to purchase powder and finally a hit earlier this year, I fortunately planned for future shortages and made sure I had enough to last out any long term draught.

It seems powder from all manufactures' used to reload shotgun shells is in short supply.  I've seen a few places were you can purchase 1lb cans of  some powders, but this is the most expensive way to buy powder, and supplies are limited. You might as well buy factory shells if you can find them.  800x is plentiful in 8lb cans, but a powder many won't use as a hard powder to meter.

Stories of stores suddenly receiving a supply of powder are seen, but the mail order storefronts list most powders as OUT OF STOCK.

I had a similar problem with the availability of primers just a few years back, but as not willing to change from Winchester 209 primers, I ordered extra when supplies once again became plentiful and now make it a habit.  Lucky I did, as with powder, primers are in short supply.

Lead, if you can purchase for under $40 a bag, don't be shy when making a purchase as the price does not seem to be coming down anytime soon.

Those who only keep enough powder and primers on hand to get them by the current shooting season I imaging are in a world of hurt. For many small gauge skeet shooters the only way to afford to shoot .410 and 28 gauge was through reloading, as factory shells cost more then the most expensive 12 gauge shells.

Some who reload are cutting back on practice to the detriment of the club, as less targets thrown each week. Some are cutting back on registered shoots attended, trying to stretch the supplies on hand. A few, according to several talk board postings have stopped reloading completely and purchase cheap factory shells and have cut back on shooting altogether.

Remember, clay target shooting is not a cheap sport and has never been!  When flush with cash and/or not having many family responsibilities, an affordable game, but when on a tight budget, a game that many can no longer afford. A one or two dollar savings by reloading may not seem like a big deal for some, but reloading was a lifeline that kept many in the game, but that is another posting.... 

What to do?

Except for keeping feelers out and asking friends if they stumble across powder or primers for sale to make a purchase for you, especially if they are going to be attending a major shoot, I suggest you take advantage of a stores Back order Policy, such as seen at Graf & Sons:

Your Cart Contains Products not Currently in Stock

If you continue with your purchase, these products will be backordered and will ship to you as soon as we receive them from the manufacturer. You will be contacted if delivery date is greater than 30 days. Note that additional fees may apply if multiple shipments are needed (hazardous materials, postage — when applicable, etc.).

We take backorders as a service to our customers. Backorders are subject to price changes due to manufacturer’s cost increases to Graf & Sons. You will be notified if your backorder has a price increase and given the option to ship or cancel.


If you go the backorder route I suggest you order two of a product, not one.  I ordered one backorder product several years ago.  At about the 45 day mark I received a call from Graf and asked if I still wanted the product as they received a shipment.  I said yes and asked if I could increase the order.  Was told no, as everything that was delivered was spoken for!

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