To begin, since 1992, Hodgdon smokeless powder has been “taking the clay target world by storm.” Hodgdon smokeless powder is the cleanest-burning, most consistent 12 gauge 7/8-, 1- and 1-1/8-oz. Hodgdon smokeless powder is available today and is the preferred choice of competitive target shooters.
Clays’ burning characteristics produce soft, smooth recoil and excellent patterns. These features transfer directly to handgun applications where target shooting is the main goal. 45 ACP and 38 Special are only two of the cartridges where CLAYS provides “tack driving” target accuracy with flawless functioning.
By using this site, you agree to abide by the precautions and warnings outlined below.
Powder Storage in Reloader Hoppers
Firstly, the Powder should not be left in the reloader’s powder measure hoppers for extended periods, overnight or several days. Powder needs to be stored in original containers ONLY, when not in use. Numerous modern smokeless powders are double base in construction, containing both Nitrocellulose and Nitroglycerine.
Never mix any two powders regardless of type, brand, or source. Never substitute any smokeless powder for Black Powder or any Black Powder substitute.
In addition, Hodgdon® Powder, IMR® Powder, and Winchester® Powder expressly disclaim any and all warranties with respect to any and all products sold or distributed by them, the safety or suitability thereof, or the results obtained including, without limitation, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose and/or any other warranty. Buyers and users assume all risk, responsibility, and liability whatsoever for any and all injuries (including death), losses or damages to persons or property (including consequential damages), arising from the use of any product or data, whether or not occasioned by the seller’s negligence or based on strict liability or principles of indemnity or contribution. Hodgdon®, IMR®, and Winchester® powders neither assume nor authorize any person to assume for it any liability in connection with the use of any product or data.
Reloading ammunition is a great hobby and saves money. Commodity cost increases in brass and lead in recent years have resulted in many new and/or returning reloaders trying to stretch their budget.
The following information is provided as an introduction to the stability, storage, and safe handling of modern smokeless propellants.
The main ingredient of smokeless propellant, comprising from about 55% to 90% of the composition, is nitrocellulose. The process of creating nitrocellulose leaves remnant acid in the material. This acid immediately starts decomposing the finished product. Left alone the decomposition will reach the stage where the propellant becomes unstable and self-ignites. This process resulted in massive explosions at U.S. Government arsenals after World War I.
Use a stabilizing chemical to increase the life of the smokeless propellant. This “stabilizer” reacts with the acid to slow down the decomposition process.
The entire stabilizer/decomposition process is a time and temperature function – the higher the temperature, the shorter the safe life of the powder. Even moderate temperature, over an extended time, leads to propellant decomposition. As a rule of thumb, any temperature over that which is comfortable to a person is accelerating the decomposition of smokeless propellants.
Under proper storage, the modern smokeless powder can last for decades.
LIGHT RECOIL, SUBSONIC, YOUTH HUNTING, AND INFORMAL TARGET AND PLINKING LOADS
Hodgdon receives a lot of calls from reloaders looking for light recoil, subsonic, youth hunting, or informal target and plinking loads. Hodgdon has developed extensive data just for these applications.
The youth loads developed for hunting approximate pistol velocities in rifles, and therefore, similar performance on game animals. This provides our youth, women, young at heart, and beginning shooters with loads effective to 200 yards with minimal recoil. There are several options of Hodgdon powders to choose from include H4895®, Trail Boss®, TightGroup™, and Clays™.
LOW RECOIL LOADS
One great advantage of handloading is adjusting the ballistics to suit a particular need. Wish you could enjoy that .375 H&H at the range for 50 shots instead of 2 or 3 before the recoil takes its toll? Or how about some extended practice on a plate rack with your “grizzly bear stopper” revolver? The Hodgdon Reloading Data Center has an option to do just this.
Unfortunately, creating a low recoil load is not as simple as just dropping the powder charge. For most cartridge/powder combinations, getting the powder charge low will cause ignition and ballistic problems. Low velocity, low recoil loading is possible, but as always, only with the correct reload data.
Hodgdon has three separate tabs under the DATA menu of the website’s main page to help in low recoil loading.
- The first is titled “H4895 Reduced Rifle Loads”. H4895 has proven to be a versatile powder that performs superbly at lower powder charges. Loads in this listing are reduced from full power but still offer mid-range performance.
- If the goal is minimum recoil, the answer is Hodgdon Trail Boss powder. The second tab under the website DATA menu is titled “Trail Boss Reduced Loads”. Trail Boss is to any cartridge you may want to reload. Trail Boss reloads are very mild and easy to shoot. Designed for Cowboy Action Shooting, Trail Boss has proven to be a great way to get more practice with your big bore hunting rifle.
- Not to leave shotgun shooters out, the third tab under the website’s DATA menu is titled “Reduced Recoil Shotgun Loads”. These loads give enough velocity to break a thrown clay target but take a big bite out of the recoil. Ideal for training, particularly for women and youth shooters, where even a light standard target load can wallop the shoulder hard.
DO NOT STORE POWDER IN THE RELOADER POWDER MEASURE HOPPER
Firstly, avoid leaving powder in the reloader’s powder measure hoppers for extended periods, overnight or several days most importantly.
However, store in original containers ONLY, when not in use.
Also, numerous modern smokeless powders are double base in composition, containing both Nitroglycerine and Nitrocellulose.
In conclusion, normal usage during the reloading process does not provide adequate time for this to occur, so simply draining hoppers into the original containers when the reloading is complete for the day prevents ruining the hoppers.