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No more American powders?


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Well, after some googling, it does seem to be sort of true. Chemicals not conforming to REACH will be banned from import into the UK and EU next year. This includes Varget, Benchmark, BLC2, H1000, H322, H335, H380, H414, H4198, H4350, H4831, H4831SC, H4895, H50BMG, LEVERevolution, Superformance, US869, Hybrid100V, Trail Boss and Retumbo. That's just the Hodgdon powders.


Vihtavuori, RS and Vectan are compliant already.

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Vihtavuori All the way! I changed over when the US stuff was sparse due to the obvious. Not looked back......

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If I remember, we had a very comprehensive post on this from Laurie a couple of weeks ago. Might be worth looking it up.

Could you please link to this thread?

I couldn't find it.

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Mark,one difference is that the loaded ammo is of "finished metal parts,that completely seal the powder inside;so under normal handling,there is no exposure to the harmful chemicals.Trace particles of Cu,Zn and Pb may be relaeased when the cartridge is fired,with C and N oxide gasses." (SK rf ammo)

I can't say for sure that no direct exposure is the only consideration for REACH but in practical lab chemistry,being in a secure/pressure container,fume cupboard etc was related to use (the chemical agents,not human ones....:-)...ie minimal exposure risk.


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I don't think I see it that way, if something is banned then it's banned...no matter what format it comes in.

You are still susceptible to exposure, either through firing gasses/residue, or via dismantling the ammo.


I had a quick look for the thread Vince mentions, and it dates to Mid 2016, not a couple of weeks ago...unless there is another one, and one thing that strikes me is that with there being only one powder plant in the US, then a ban on "American powders" as in the title is slightly misleading (not intentionally) but it seems most powders are made outside the US, so the effect of this could be greater than originally foreseen




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This is Laurie's post I had in mind - from August i think.


'REACH' - Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and restriction of CHemicals


A 10 year old EU programme that sees final and full implementation next year and which affects any chemicals, or any product containing chemicals used in any field for any purpose. So it affects anything and everything that you use from washing up liquid to herbicides and insecticides, rat poisons, cleaning agents, .... etc, etc. The entire supply chain is affected from importer / manufacturer through trade and retail distribution chains up to sale to the final consumer.


Not just the finished product examined, but each and every ingredient. If any has any chemicals in the mix for which past studies have shown any health or environmental risks, the product has to be reformulated to replace them with approved ingredients or else withdrawn. To manufacture or import any non-REACH listed and approved substance will be an offence in EU law which in turn means in all member states' domestic laws.


All propellants manufactured in the EU and associated states are now REACH compliant - so Bofors, Vihtavuori, Vectan, Reload Swiss, PB Clermont (Ramshot), Explosia / Lovex. All Alliant ATK rifle powders currently imported to Europe are actually of European origin and OK, ie the Reloder series.


General Dynamics Canada which makes IMR powders has introduced five new 'green' pistol / revolver powders and four new ('Enduron') rifle powders. These are all made to the latest environmental safety standards, so will almost certainly be approved.


The rest? We'll have to wait and see as announcements are made as to what is in and what is out.


So, anybody loading the 6.5 Creedmoor (or anything else) with Viht or RS products can continue to do without worries.

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Trucraft -one ref is;Laurie post *24,2 Aug 2017 on the thread "Aternativws to H4350 for 6.5



Mark,REACH is about hazardous chemicals,irrespective of origin-I agee that careless descriptions like "American' are liable to confuse-Laurie helps clarify-issue is 'has the powder been passed or not"-nothing to do directly with orgin . Some "US"powders may well be ok-most likely the most recent.

VIhtavuori and RS seem to have passed. American reloaders are unlikely to care/or substantially increase demand for REACH approved powders,but who knows how this will impact the vast UK market...Loss of loaded ammo would be an inconvenience,for such product users,but that has not happened...yet.

If every potentially hazardous chemical were completely removed from society....we'd be on bicycles or horses (and I'm not sure about the latter-what goes in,comes out-chemically rearranged.).

Let's hope this does not escalate to some panic-maybe BASC will clarify?



Ps -as 'The gun pimps' reprint of Laurie... in the above preceeding post...,thanks Vince

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Somewhat more of a concern is the EU trying to enact a Regulation ( member states must comply) to ban projectiles containing lead.


'The Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) and the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) of ECHA will have findings available by June 2018: they will be sent to the European Commission, which will take the decision whether to include the proposed restrictions in the Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation.


Being an EU regulation and not a directive, there will be no way for Member States to adopt it in a "soft" way' - Firearms United.


The UK may well be out of the EU before adoption but would still be odds on to adopt it anyway. It's an EU gun ban by the back door. Powders, there are European alternatives but converting to lathe turned solids is going to be a pain.

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Hi all, I'm still alive and back home. A bit sore and the worse for wear and will have to take a short break from shooting to recover.


The latest position I have re rifle powders (not au fait with pistol ones except that all the existing Hodgdon ones disappear but with five replacement REACH compliant IMR grades coming that cover every loading requirement from powder puff 32 and 38 target loads to the magnums) is:


Going as of 01.06.2018 are:


All existing Hodgdon powders whether 'spherical' (made by General Dynamics Corporation, St. Marks, Florida) or extruded (made by Thales / ADI in Mulwala, Australia) other than one definite exception I'm told - Hodgdon Lil Gun and one possible (CFE223) both recent St. Marks introductions.


So,everything in burning rate terms from H110 and H4198 to Retumbo, US869, and H50BMG including the existing favourites such H4895, VarGet, H4350, and H4831sc. Also, the so-called Hybrid and specialist numbers made by St. Marks Powder Co (H100V, Leverevolution and Superformance).


All Winchester brand powders (actually made by General Dynamics Corporation, St. Marks, Florida).


All former Du Pont manufactured IMR extruded grades now made by General Dynamics Canada in Valleyfield Quebec Province. So, IMR-4198 up to 7828/7828ssc in burning rate terms and including many 'old soldiers' such as 3031, 4064, 4895, 4350 and 4831.


Also two IMR-Branded grades that are actually manufactured in Mulwala alongside Hodgdon branded powders - IMR-8208XBR and Trail Boss.


Anything that makes it into the country before 01.06.18 is OK and can be distributed, sold and used. From that date these products lose their CE certification that makes them accepted EU products and it becomes an offence to import them.


Alliant 'Reloder' series rifle powders should be all OK as they are made in Europe by Bofors in Sweden and Nitrochemie in Switzerland.


European grades from Bofors, Norma, Nitrochemie (Reload Swiss), Vihtavuori, PB Clermont (Ramshot), SNPE (Vectan) are all compliant.


There are or will be 9 new IMR REACH-compliant grades, five pistol and four rifle. Rifle are:



4166 (4895/VarGet equivalent)

4451 (4350 equivalent)

4955 (4831 equivalent - not here yet last time I asked)

7977 (H1000, Retumbo, even H50BMG equivalent)


These are branded as IMR 'Enduron' powders.


I've tried 4166, 4451 and 7977 in limited applications (308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 6.5-284 respectively) and with that limited insight been impressed. Research into Hodgdon's loads data for the foursome suggests they are high-performing and flexible.


Edgar Brothers has got large orders in for the non-compliant grades, but anything we get will be the drop in the ocean. I believe the existing back-order situation for VarGet alone has reached getting on for 10,000lb and that was before any REACH-beating orders went in! The long and the short of it is that the more popular grades are still seeing extreme shortages in the USA and Hodgdon isn't going to starve its largest market for a year to get us anything over and above what we'd see even if REACH had never been invented.


A final irrelevant note. It may not be completely wrong to call the REACH non-compliant grades 'Amercan powders'. All three affected producers are either American or started out making American designed and formulated products.


  • St Marks is the former Olin Industries plant in Florida
  • The Mulwala factory was set up by Du Pont Industries around 1942 alongside RoF Footscray (by Remington) to make smallarms ammunition in-theatre and save large quantities of desperately short shipping space between the west coast of America and the South Pacific in the war against Japan.
  • The non-compliant IMR grades all date back to US manufacture by Du Pont Industries.


The 'REACH-illegal' chemicals are all low-volume specialist burning speed and behaviour modifiers. I doubt if European manufacturers have had to change their equivalents as we'd likely see reformulated products with different properties (as per the four new IMR 'Enduron' grades). This suggests to me a very old and longstanding divergence between US and European practices in propellant technologies and ingredients.

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Thanks Laurie for this transparent update.

One reading of the thread title is/implies that there will be no more 'American" powder.I was suggesting that should only read 'There will be no more of SOME American powders-in fact of any powders non compliant from wherever-I added that some recent US powders were compliant,just to add to the basic point.


I was concerned to minimise any needless concern/inaccurate postings on this....though there will have to be adjustments by those who would have stayed with the non compliants. Whether this is cake to bread,or bread to cake may yet engulf us.

The good news is that there are excellent compliant powders (the existing Euro ones included) and probably as good US replacemnts like Endurons that should mitigate the loss of some popular non compliants.


It's not really a train wreck (H4831s/c to V165 was a hiccup,not a trauma,even when it remained a choice.)


Look after yourself,Laurie, and speedy return to shooting and general powder myth busting!




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Mr C, Not quite-"Leading questions" are not admissible in UK courts,because they can be/aredesigned to be...err...misleading.

(I did say 'implies"-or might be taken to imply.

"Did you see the last pot of Varget,before it was stolen ?" might be such a question,actually a triple whammy.


Psychologic studies show humans are not always logical,espacially when threatened.....




Vihtavuori is better than nothing.

Nothing is better than Varget.

Therefore Vihtavuori is better than Varget.


But hey,powder to the people seems assured.




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Vihtavuori is better than nothing.
Nothing is better than Varget.
Therefore Vihtavuori is better than Varget.

But hey,powder to the people seems assured.


So in a word Viht is the way forward! :D

Been using it for a few years now. Great stuff. And no short supply....


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Well, we're not short of alternatives! When I started handloading, there was ICI Nobel and precious little else as Hodgdon and IMR were very hard to get hold of in this country in those days. Norma powders were stocked by some dealers but were very expensive, and the long defunct Mountain & Sowden hadn't started importing Viht. (When it did around 1984 IIRC, it was only N140 and N160 anyway and the range grew slowly at first.)


I believe that we'll see Vectan powders given more profile soon as importers look to fill gaps.


For anybody desperate to have VarGet for some particular cartridge / bullet combination, Reload Swiss RS52 and IMR-4166 are good alternatives and at least one will likely work. (Viht N150 too in some cases such as 6 BR with 105s to 108s.)


I've been working myself off Hodgdon powders for some years now - nothing to do with REACH, rather patchy availability. So far, there's nothing I've been loading where I've felt severely disadvantaged and I just use a lot more Viht these days as well as selective use of RS grades.

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