Oct 1, 2009
I was asked a question about gunpowder over on a Zombie forum.
They wanted to know what powder was used in a particular round.
I told them it depends on the day of the week and the phase of the moon.
Later I posted this.
Was I clear enough?

Modern Gunpowder is amazing stuff considering it is practically unchanged since the 1800s.

Located in the Ballistics Laboratory of Alliant Powder is a jug of water which contains a batch of Unique powder that was produced in 1899.
Periodically, a small sample is withdrawn, dried and test fired.
After 102 years, it still meets the current specifications for Unique.

First off manufacturers practically never tell you what they load with.
The reason is they use NON-Canister grade gun powder.
Non-canister is not produced to the same exacting levels of performance as canister grade.

Canister grade is tightly checked to ensure it burns at the rate and produces the same pressure with every can you get.
You should work up your hand-loads with each new can or batch of powder.
I tend to buy several cans at the same time so I do it by batch not can.
This is also why you should never mix cans of the same powder, what I am saying is don't top off your powder measure with a new can unless it was from the same batch.

Non-canister powder has more variation than canister.
Manufacturers work up loads with each batch of non-canister then load gazillions of rounds with it.
You can load a bunch of rounds of 9mm with a train car load of gunpowder.

Sometimes manufacturers load with canister grade they got a deal on.
My point is box A may be a totally different powder than box B so they cannot tell you what a particular round is loaded with.

I had a friend who was an ammunition manufacturer in Texas.
He used non-canister powder and once told me it would be labeled as "similar to XXX" xxx being one of the canister powders.
He would start start low and work his way up to whatever velocity he had standardized on.

If you want to learn more about gunpowder hit the link. ... _76558924/

Red Hat

New Member
Mar 16, 2010
That's was pretty clear! There's always a small difference between each batch of powder. That's the reason they have LOT numbers on powder and ammunition. If there's an unseen problem they can narrow it down to a specific LOT# and there have been recalls in the past related to a specific LOT#. If someone is reloading for accuracy then they will use a specific manufacture of Brass weighed for consistency, one Lot# of primers, one container of powder and one specific bullet also weighed for consistency. The difference between batches of components are so small that it wouldn't affect an average reloader. If you are trying to make that 1 1/2 mile shot then all factors would come into play! ;)