BT Justice wrote: You didn't read my post well, like I stated not all batches of powder come out like they planned. Most powders that they call Canister grade come within 10% of the original specs for how the powder was originally designed, the rest is used as commercial grade and sold off to ammo manufacturers. This is why they always call for a 10% reduction in powder charge when working with a new batch of powder for rifle or pistol reloading, the 10% variance for shotgun shells is considered safe to use and why they don't tell you to reduce powder charges with them.
BT I did read your post well, a few times in fact and you present a good case to support your position. I do know that retail grade canister powders are a small part of the powder manufacturers business. Probably very profitable segment but still small compared to the whole. We are the only group that demands and requires powders that are consistent and replicable from lot to lot. The rest of the production is what we are talking about here.
Back some time ago I read a great piece on this in Handloader
or American Rifleman
and I remember the author stating that Hercules made 8 different speed of Red Dot for the OEM market. On this site some of our overseas members make reference to Alliant 381, which is Steel, but just enough different to have it's own number. In yet another piece introducing Alliant Promo they factory guy being interviewed came right out and said that Promo was made up of floor sweepings and other cleanup of powder production runs, and all that powder was then blended to match the speed of canister data Red Dot, sometimes with the addition of some new Red Dot, or other powder so that the entire lot, once thoroughly blended, would perform as Red Dot, That's why you have to weigh and recheck bushing drops with Promo, cause it is literally made up with just about anything.
I have had some long conversations with Johann Loubser at the old Accurate company and with several of the Alliant folks. Every one of them either said outright or intimated that other than physical shape, powder was all the same until the final blending. You've been loading long enough to have seen the odd flakes or sticks in new powder compared to the same old in another can, that's the final blending.
That's how they deal with out of spec powders, offering manufacturers different speeds of a standard benchmark powder. They may screw up a production lot bad enough that it wont meet THE spec, but it would certainly meet "SOME" spec somewhere, so they offer it under a different name.
Do they sell it cheap? Maybe, who knows? I don't, and I don't claim firsthand knowledge of their practices other than what I've related to you here.
I can certainly see a Company like Winchester or Remington, or Federal all making different configurations of hulls to serve different applications. But 10 tons of off spec powder would have to be really cheap to cover the costs of tooling up to make a new hull to accommodate a one time deal. And then have another hull in the field for people like us to deal with.
Unless you can tell me you have first hand knowledge of this from inside the manufacturer, we are both going on what we have heard from others. There's a guy on the SGW boards who is retired from Alliant, and worked on the production side. He doesn't make a big deal of it, but I think I'll look him up and pose the question.
The big misconception here is the civilian market accounts for a lot of powder or components being used, it doesn't. Out of all people who participate in shooting sports, it's only estimated that 5-10% of them reload, although with recent political events those figures may be higher. Depending if we are at war or the government feels the need to supply their many law enforcement forces, the civilian market only accounts for between 30-40 % of all ammo sales.
So really reloaders are considered a minuscule part of the entire picture, and why we don't see or know how the whole thing works.
The powder manufactures make batches in very large amounts, like 10 tons or so I've been told. The problem is as I stated they don't know exactly how a batch of powder is going to come out till it's finished and some testing is done on it, it's been compared to baking a cake. Use the same exact recipe 10 ten times and ten times it will come out slightly different, the only problem is you can get by with a cake that's off, you can't get by with explosives that are off that much.
So now your the powder manufacturer that just spent the time ,money and effort making 10 tons of powder and it's out of spec by 20% lets say. Do you pitch it and start over hoping the next batch or the one after that comes out right, nope you sell it to the highest bidder and let them worry about it. It's actually a win- win situation for both powder and ammo manufacturers, and why we will never see the prices large ammo companies pay for a train car load full of powder.
I don't have all the figures or facts but I've been told profits made on sporting ammo are anywhere from 200-400% of manufacturing costs..true or not I'm not for sure. So it's worth it to them to make different hulls for different components, in reality it actually can save them money by using less powder for a given load charging the same amount for it...who's going to really know??????????? [/quote]