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  #1  
Old 02-16-2017, 12:54 PM
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How Much Is a Pound of Powder?


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A pound of powder, (net weight), is equal to 7000 grains.

The tall Alliant jugs that Reloder powder comes in weigh almost exactly 1 ounce - a tad more. ONE ounce is equal to 437 grains.

Therefor, one pound of Alliant RL17, for example, should weigh 17 ounces (gross wt) and should contain 16 ounces of powder.

Some years ago I bought a pound of powder locally and weighed it when I got home. It weighed slightly less than one pound. I didn't follow up on it. Two weeks ago I needed some RL17 and so bought a pound at my local gun shop. Weighing it when I got home, it weighed 1.5 ounces less than a pound. Allowing for some inaccuracy on my mechanical postage-type scale, I figure I was short about 2 full ounces of powder. That's 875 grains of powder or 22 cartridges averaging 40.0 grains each. I've weighed some of the powder kegs I've received in shipping and never found one to be suspect yet.

Today I politely asked my local gun shop owner to step aside with me out of earshot of two employees and explained my situation. I let him know I hesitated bringing the subject up because I didn't want it to be taken wrong. I asked him to just take it for what it was worth, and that there were several possibilities for a short net weight, going back to warehouse storage and other possibilities. He's a smart man. He understood me. He was understanding and asked if the keg was still sealed when I got it home. Of course, these powder kegs are never sealed. Sometimes the glued paper seal will come up with the cap when opening even a new keg. He let me know that if it happens again, to bring it back right away.

From this day forward, I will weigh every keg I receive, local or shipped, even if that means breaking it down into weighable sizes for my little digital "drug dealers" scale.

Has this happened to anyone else?
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:23 PM
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I've never weighed any powder I've bought from any source, but have a few thoughts for you.

I think you are over estimating how tightly controlled the weight on powder bottles are. Would guess that they aren't as exact as you would hope. Also referencing back to the Norma manual and Nick's post referencing it a few days ago, about how much moisture content will change even from "sealed" containers.
While I don't know how they fill the containers, I would assume it similar to how we fill various containers of products. The two most common methods are volume and total weight. So when we fill bags we take an average weight of an empty bag, and enter it into the scale system. Then you hang the bag and it begins to fill on a hanging scale system. But it is predicated upon a fixed starting weight. Buy cheaper bags from India or China after the Chinese new year..... They aren't that consistent.
The other common way to fill things, and how most of the world works, is by volume.
So going back to my incessant ramblings about Volume and weight being different and you can't just interchange them: The entire grain handling world runs on bushels, which is a volume measurement. There is the federal "standard" of 60# per bushel of wheat, that people assume for shipment, but contracts are for the bushel amount based upon a fixed weight, not the true weight. Wheat kernels are NEVER identical, nor is the BD of gunpowder. Here in the Columbia Basin, irrigated wheat is almost always 64-65# test weight, but go to the dryland portion and you find 60-62# test weights. So we find a discrepency from the standard and actual. When one of the Asian countries purchases a ocean vessel of wheat, they buy a bushel amount based upon the 60# standard. But what they get may well vary due to the reality of wheat not towing the federal guidelines for what it is supposed to be. So if they use a standard bulk density number, like with wheat, then the loaded weight *should be*, but the actual amount will vary.



****Almost forgot your title question*****
A pound of powder is about $20
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:26 PM
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About 1987, the owner of Barber Ammunition which loaded large bulk quantities of 9mm for PD training bought a hundred pounds of powder in five, twenty pound drums. The gross weight of the five containers was within an ounce of 100 lbs on certified scales. Each drum was short the weight of the drum. He pitched a fit and got a refund. I don't know the powder or company.
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  #4  
Old 02-16-2017, 02:34 PM
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That's a big resounding YES, this has been a common issue I've experienced as well. I've spoken with retailers also, but none of them have offered a solution, honestly none of them have acknowledged the issue even exists. Often times I'm treated as if I'm just being nit picky.

I've worked in retail management most of my life, as such I've learned that internal theft is very difficult to monitor and control. So much so that many companies now days find it less expensive to just accept the loss as part of operating expenses, verses monitoring cameras and prosecuting employee's.

SMOA
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:55 PM
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This is were the weight vs volume discussion was last I knew.
Price per pound =
Price per ccu =

Gasoline = price per gallon or (unit of energy)

Cheezywan
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:03 PM
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Yes, this is very common. I blame it on LGS employees that in a late evening they take out 1/2 to 1 oz in every can. some other LGS employee may be taking a second bite.

Cans should be sealed.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:09 PM
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To Darrker's thoughts: We briefly discussed an "allowance" for some minimal shortages or overages and the gun shop owner suggested that, during volume loading of cannisters, powder could have clumped and one keg gets shorted while another gets a little extra. Now of course you add in moisture content.

However, at today's prices and especially when buying by the pound, if the keg says 1lb net weight, it surely should be much, much closer than 875 grains, which is substantially more than 1/10th of the product. Yes Darrker, a pound of powder costs between $20 and $23.50 when bought online, and more after hazmat and shipping, but this keg of RL17 was $31 minus a penny plus tax.

What's really happening? All good explanations, but let's not forget the possibility of skimming. IF I worked in a gun shop, and IF I wanted to increase my stock without having to pay today's prices, and IF I was willing to steal, it wouldn't be hard to lift the tab, tip the keg and give a couple of gentle taps, put that one back, and squeeze some out of another and maybe another. That's my suspicious and skeptical nature, honed to perfection by Uncle Sam (with my permission and blessing).

And with these high prices, it's a good thing I'm not opening primer trays to find 8 or 10 missing now and again.

ON EDIT: You and I were writing at the same time HarrySS. YES! There should be those plastic wrap seals like you find on liquid products. They would still allow for expansion/contraction, but would surely rule out pilferage.
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:52 PM
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Lots of pilfering in gun shops by fellow shooters, who just steal and laugh about it.

I bought a box of STEEL 12ga 3" only to find in my duck boat at 5 am 1 mile poled in to the swamp, that the box was full of 20 2 3/4 inch low brass #6 and 5 3" steel on the top layer. Could have cost me dearly if a warden had checked.

Like buying a dozen eggs; I always open and check each shell.

My bro' bought a box of 416 Weatherby Mono solids for Africa; BIG shells. Box only had 18 shells. Seems they were 'cool' enough store employees stole some for their 'collections'. Owner, a friend of mine apologize and cut the price $80; still a $110 purchase! To boot bro' shot his cape buffalo with one of my handloads! He still has 18 shells. LOL
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:19 PM
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Powder is packaged and sold by weight. It should (must?) deliver what it claims to. How close is your scale when using a 1-lb check weight?

I can't (won't) speak to theft, other than to say that I've nearly always been able to tell the difference between powder I've broken the seal on myself, vs. the second or subsequent times I've opened it and removed that 'seal.' It's not a good seal, and I think better both could and should be done, but I've been able to tell the difference nearly every time.

***EDIT*** I've changed my mind, after having reviewed my Norma manual. I don't think that moisture content change can account for enough of the observed shift in extruded powders. _Perhaps_ in the coming days I'll be able to weigh a couple still-sealed powder containers on a calibrated lab scale.

Let's consider moisture content. What's the water vapor movement rate through the plastic all powder is now sold in? What about across that 'seal?' How old is the powder we typically buy? I bought an 8-lb keg of North American-sourced powder during the shortage a year or two ago, and although that container had only recently been received from the huge distribution point (who is also the packager), the powder lot was 2 years old. Does the powder you buy come from Montana, as so _very_ much of what we get does? Is it bulk stored and packaged there, or only stored for distribution? Montana has very low RH.

I don't know what the answer is, but I know that anything in the above paragraph is (or easily can be) measured and compensated for, if the supply system feels like doing it.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:51 PM
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Every new can of powder I've ever bought, save maybe the surplus stuff, has had an obvious seal.
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:54 PM
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While we're on the topic of checking products to ensure you're getting what you pay for, one of the largest markets where theft is all to common is your local pharmacy. Every time I get a prescription, the first thing I do when I get home is count the number of pills for each prescription. I don't want to tell you how many times I've found out that I've been shorted.

I have chronic pain in my back from several surgeries and have to take pain medication on a daily basis. Unfortunately, pain medication is one of the top black market items sold in the US. Illegal sales of pain medication is an ongoing battle for police; it's almost as bad as heroin and other narcotics.

Just a word of caution to those who rely on prescription medication, there's a market for almost any medication today. When you get home from the pharmacy check and recheck your prescriptions. It's pathetic that a single pill can sell for $50 dollars and more.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:23 PM
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Several years ago, when I still shot NSSA skeet, One of the shooters on my squad opened a sealed flat of .410 AA shells and two of the boxes in it boxes only contained 23 shells. That shortage obviously occurred at the factory.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Every new can of powder I've ever bought, save maybe the surplus stuff, has had an obvious seal.
This keg had the same seal as all other powders - the thin, white, shiny cardboard seal that is lightly glued to the lid. It pries off the lip without any effort, and rarely with any sticky residue left behind. When pouring it, sometimes a granule or three will stick to the lip as evidence of glue residue there. We stuff the seal in the lid and it goes on and off every time we use that pound of powder. Right?

Mike, are you saying there is a different seal? I've never seen a seal other than the white one on about 20 different types of powders I have.

This keg has the white seal. The thing about these "seals" is you can pry up half of it, pour out some powder, brush any granules back into the keg that have stuck to it, press it back down, and screw the top back on. Usually it will appear almost "sealed" the next time you open that keg. I'm not saying I open my powders like that, but I've noted that about those cardboard seals.
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- "In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

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Old 02-16-2017, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MZ5 View Post
Powder is packaged and sold by weight. It should (must?) deliver what it claims to. How close is your scale when using a 1-lb check weight?

....................
I don't know what the answer is, but I know that anything in the above paragraph is (or easily can be) measured and compensated for, if the supply system feels like doing it.
My little postage scale is accurate to within .5 ounce. That's why I gave the benefit of that .5 ounce to the powder keg, and still ended up 2 ounces short. Whether skimmed by "pilferites" or just a factory error, I just kept it and used it. For now, I'm calling it a 2oz skim (and NOT necessarily skimmed from someone at my LGS)
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- "A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims, but accomplices" - George Orwell

- "In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

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Old 02-17-2017, 12:02 AM
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Obviously, this is caused by global warming and the use of lead bullets. Investing in carbon credits and switching to non-toxic projectiles should bring the net weight right up to 16 ounces. Oh, I meant 454 grams.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:35 AM
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I have to admit, I've never weighed a container of powder, but it would bug me if the entire package weighed a pound, meaning was shorted an ounce or more of what I actually paid to receive.

Say you paid $24 for a pound (easy math). 24/16=$1.50 per ounce. Another way of looking at it is you received 6% less of the product you paid for...either way, you're getting ripped off.

I'm sure powder is packed by volume, which any experienced reloader will tell you correlates very closely to a target weight, so I'm not buying that they come from the factory that way...someone in the shop is skimming off the top! And now that I think about it, sometimes those white foam discs are sealed tightly to the lid and sometimes it seems they're just barely attached. Heck, I've probably fallen victim to this myself!
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:53 AM
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Best evidence I had on a shrt can was when I bought a new can, and loaded shells with it. at my powder charge, I should of gotten 210 loaded shells (I measured each powder load, and then each loaded shell).

I only got 165 loaded rounds. Seems I only got 5775 grains +- .1 grains. .82 pounds

Forget 'water gain', 'settling in transit', 'lose to aliens', etc I got taken!
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:12 AM
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In my scenario and by my math, Jason, the dollar loss is like this:

2oz short at $31 on the pound. That's $1.94 x 2 ounces or $3.88. It's also a 12.5% loss of product.

Now, if someday when I got home the can felt heavy and I weighed it and there was 2 ounces extra, well now......... well, I would just put that two ounces in an empty keg and rush it right back up to the gun shop.
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- "A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims, but accomplices" - George Orwell

- "In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

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Old 02-17-2017, 06:24 AM
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If the [powder was bought at say . . . a certain store that starts with "C"? And it's in Grand Junction, Boise, Grand Island, Billings, Denver etc etc, then maybe it could have been skimmed. I've noticed on a couple pounds I've gotten there that the factory seal seemed loose.

I'm not saying they were skimmed. I can't say because that powder is long gone and the containers disposed of, but now that you bring it up . . . . . . . .

An unopend pound of IMR3031 with printed seal:



An unopened 8 pounder of Benchmark:



Both seals are "stuck" to the jug.

An unopened 4 pouder of RL19:



The seal in the lid AND the seal on the jug still intact.

I'm not sure the reaction one would get if he started to open every jug before he nought it, but if it did weigh "light" and the seals were tampered with then you'd have ground (or a leg) to stand on.

RJ
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:10 AM
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If someone in the supply chain is taking something out, that means....someone could also put something in.

Is also true of loaded ammunition, or most anything else (firearms related or not).

Cheezywan

Edit: I don't have a scale suitable, but I do have three un-opened jars of IMR-4350. Seals are good. "Visually" the powder level looks the same in all three.
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Last edited by Cheezywan; 02-20-2017 at 10:51 AM. Reason: added Edit: I don't have a scale suitable, but I do have three un-opened jars of IMR-4350. Seals are good. "Visually" the pow
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