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Which 3 powders are biggest sellers

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by CaptainXL, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. CaptainXL


    Nov 20, 2009
    A new small gun shop open up in the area a couple of weeks ago so I went in to see what they had, introduce myself, etc. While talking to one of the owners I mentioned that our area was a reloaders "desert". Other than the new shop, it is 35 miles to the next closest LGS and they have a extremely limited amount of powder, primers, etc.

    I told the owner of the new LGS that I thought he would probably move a fair amount of reloading (comsumable)components if he stocked some powder, primers, bullets, etc. The owner knows nothing about reloading. I suggested that he carry 3 or so of the most popular powders, some pistols primers and some 9mm and .40 bullets to start with.

    The owner said money is a little tight but he would consider carrying some powder,etc. but can not afford at this point in time to tie up a bunch of money in store inventory on things that will sit on the shelfs. Therefore he is interested in "the most popular" and biggest selling powders only at this time.

    He asked which powders I thought are the most popular. I gave him MY opinion of what were the most popular powders, but I am not sure that my opinion of the most popular powders is correct.

    In your opinion, which powders are the most popular and best selling? I don't want to know what you personally use a lot of or like the most. I want to know what you think the fastest selling, most popular and most widely used 3 powders are.
  2. WeeWilly


    Nov 12, 2011
    Varget, 4064 and maybe H335?

  3. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    I think it depends on your area. What type of shooting groups are around? What are the locals into?

    I would put WSF on that list because it is good for both pistol and shotgun powder.

    Universal because so many old farts use it.

    Varget for rifle.
  4. dla


    Oct 19, 2002
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Call Hodgdon. They'll tell you what the top sellers are. Unless you've got some dedicated customers, anybody who shoots a lot is probably going to bulk order online and not bother with a pound here and there at a local shop. So better to plan for the noob.

    The forum ninnies always promote the crappiest powders - stuff that was popular with Abe Lincoln. For the same reason why they still push RCBS RockChuckers as a first press - i.e. they don't know any better but they like to post :)

    So give the vendors a call because the forums can be misleading.
  5. BuffaloBo


    Jun 22, 2004
    Win 231, Unique, and take your pick for a 223 powder.
  6. Murphy's Law

    Murphy's Law

    Nov 1, 2007
    Tampa, FL
    Don't forget about Titegroup as it's becoming very popular.
  7. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    My guess is that the new reloaders won't be using the 'best selling' powders if 'best selling' is in terms of pounds of powder.

    There will also be differences of opinion among pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters as to which powders are in the top 3.

    Right or wrong, Bullseye and Unique are in the top 3 pistol powders. There's a reason they have been around for 100 years or so. If people weren't using them, they would have died a long time ago. I don't care about the 3d choice because, for me, it is probably 700-X and I doubt that anybody else is using that for pistol. WSF or WST might be good choices since they overlap with shotgun as does 700-X.

    Rifle powders are different and the Reloader series from Alliant might be a good way to go. I am using Reloader 15 for .223 and Reloader 22 for 6.5x284 Norma. I am also playing with Ramshot TAC for .223 bulk ammo. For .308, I am using IMR 4064. I think IMR 3031 needs to be on the shelf as well.

    Shotgun is a different animal. Nobody buys just 1# of shotgun powder. I am using Alliant 20/28 for 28 gauge and 700-X for 12 gauge. Both in 8# canisters...

    I don't expect anybody to agree with the choices I have made above. That's the reason there are dozens and dozens of powders. Every caliber, cartridge and gun favors a different powder. Every reloader has their own ideas on what makes a good load. And we haven't even mentioned the more esoteric powders from Norma or Vihtavuori.

    Not only is there no such thing as the "Top 3", there probably isn't even a "Top 2 Dozen". If I were running the store, I would buy 2 ea 1# cans of the top dozen or so powders. I would add to the inventory on request. I wouldn't stock anything in large quantity and then I would see how it goes. I might only have $500 or so tied up in inventory.

    Primers are another story. I might buy 2000 of 8 different primers (4 Federal & 4 CCI - large and small pistol, large and small rifle) and be prepared to order on demand. My LGS buys primers in (I guess) half-million quantities of assorted types. When they get in an order the entire back shelf area is loaded with cases of primers. They have at least two powder storage cabinets and I have no idea how many types they stock.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  8. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    I don't know about most popular, but if I was stocking my shelves and could only pick three to cover as much as possible, I'd look at Unique, 4895, and 4350.

    And stock up on Rock Chuckers!!!

  9. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    I think I would almost have another root canal without Novocain than load on a (single stage press :steamed:)again.
  10. Schnurb


    Jun 13, 2012
    Reloder 15 is always in short supply where I buy powder at. I'm usually trying to buy some for others. The highpower shooters use a lot of it.
  11. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Best thing is just to ask the costumers what powders and primers etc. they would like to have in stock.
  12. kasper7106


    Dec 10, 2010
    central ohio
    I would say Unique, Bullseye and WSF
  13. meleors

    meleors Cranky Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    ^^ +1 ^^

    He can put up a sign saying "reloading section coming soon. Suggestions welcomed!" and let the customers decide.
  14. grenadier


    May 4, 2000
    For handgunning, you can cover pretty much the entire spectrum by getting a fast, a medium, and a slow burning powder.

    There are several combinations that can work well; these are just a few suggestions:

    Alliant Bullseye, Alliant Unique, Alliant Blue Dot

    Accurate Arms #2, Accurate Arms #5, Accurate Arms #9

    Vihtavuori N320, N340, 3N37

    Hodgdon Titegroup, Universal, Longshot
  15. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    In the case of the LGS owner in the OP's post his reasoning for wanting to only pick 2-3 powders is a sound business plan IMO.

    However, ranking by popularity isn't going to support that business plan to keep his cost down unless he chooses all the powders from the same manufacturer for the best buying powder.
  16. scccdoc


    Dec 28, 2011
    Using the n340 ,burns pretty clean, but a little pricey. Hodgdon HP-38 is my #1 powder for plinking, I buy 8lb at a time................DOC
  17. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    What Jack said.

    Well, he will when he wakes up.
  18. CaptainXL


    Nov 20, 2009
    I think you've hit it right on the head. Ask customers what they want to see being stocked. That is what I am going to suggest that the shop does.

    To clarify my original question: Most reloaders in our area reload handgun calibers. 9mm, .38, .40 & 45

    Most reloaders already know that if you go through a lot of powder that you can save $$$ by ordering online. BUT, you guys that are loading a lot of ammo forget that there are many people that go through only 1 or 2 lbs of powder per year. (I know - powder doesn't spoil) For them and/or people that want to buy just 1 lb of a powder for any reason a LGS is the answer.

    In a nutshell there is a need at LGS for reloading supplies and this shop doesn't want to have stuff sitting on the shelves gathering dust. He wants powders that he can sell relatively quickly, thereby making his profit and turning over his product.
  19. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Most of these customers will not have a clue what they want. Three powders fast medium and slow is what he should carry. Something common and easy to find data for. People who know what they want are going to be picky and esoteric.
  20. dla


    Oct 19, 2002
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Excellent way for that shop to tie up money in inventory that doesn't move. I can tell that you've never run a business.

    The absolute biggest vendor is Hodgdon. They know what sells. Ask them. The key is to appeal to the new reloader - the guy who isn't going to buy from Powder Valley because he's still posting "What's the best powder for 45acp" on the forums. :)

    The LGS can facilitate a group buy now and then for the volume loaders - this keeps the LGS from getting stuck with product that ain't gonna move. And it helps build shooting sport interest.