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EU are to ban certain re-loading powders forthwith.

re-loading cartridges

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Clive Hartland09/09/2017 10:34:32
2444 forum posts
40 photos

It would appear that the EU have promulgated a new law that bans certain re-loading powders for hand loading cartridges. This will only affect a few people on the Forum. Hodgden powders is one of them which is popular with re-loaders.

A chemical that controls the burning rate of the powder is banned from now on and so are the powders. So the import of US powders is now affected as makers adjust their formulea and also means that tried and trusted reloads are null and void and new loadings worked up as new powders come on the market.

Powder prices here and in Europe and the USA have escalated to perhaps £100.00 per 1 kilo container, .Makers have stopped production so availability will cease from the USA, More as I find out whats happening later.


charadam09/09/2017 11:47:40
173 forum posts
6 photos

It's the REACH project. Explanation lifted from Full-Bore UK -

With regard to propellants, the REACH proposals are implemented as of 01.06.2018 which means any non-compliant products cannot be imported into the country / EU on or after that date. Anything arrived and through customs before that date is OK and can still enter the distributioon / retail chain.

Edgar Brothers is still ordering affected products and hopes to get as much as possible in before the axe falls, and no doubt odd tins will still turn up in retailers' cupboard in 20 (50?) years time given the number of ancient steel gray-painted tins of ICI Nobel powders around that have somehow survived. The problem Edgars have is that they already have literally thousands of pounds of Hodgdon powder on back order whose chances of eventual delivery even without the REACH cut-off is small to nil. (Let's be honest and just say nil!) So, although some more is going to arrive, it won't last long.

All European manufactured grades are OK - so Viht, Nitrochemie (Reload Swiss), Alliant ATK Reloder rifle grades (all made by Bofors and Nitrochemie), Ramshot (manufactured by PB Clermont in Belgium, part of the SNPE Eurenco group); SNPE Vectan are compliant.

Losing their CE certification as of 1st June next year are:

All Hodgdon ADI Manufactured extruded grades (also includes two IMR branded grades - 8208 XBR and Trail Boss), so H4198 through to H1000 and Retumbo 'gone'.

All General Dynamics St. Marks Powder Florida factory grades bar maybe a couple - all Winchester powders and nearly all Hodgdon 'spherical' powders are non-compliant. Hodgdon Lil Gun is compliant, and there is a question mark re the most recent introduction - H. CFE223. So, H335, BL-C(2), H414 and so-called 'Hybrid' powders made by St Marks (H100V and a few more), H. Super and Lever ... formance spherical powders will no longer be imported from the middle of next year.

All 'legacy' IMR powders made by General Dynamics Canada, in Valleyfield, Quebec are non-compliant, ie the traditional grades made by the Du Pont Corporation in the USA and taken to Canada under new ownership are non-compliant. Ie IMR-4198 through to IMR-7828 and including many old favourites such as 3031, 4895, and 4064.

GD Canada has introduced five new 'green' pistol / revolver grades and four rifle grades that are all REACH compliant, although not all may have been CE certified under the new standards yet. In rifle propellants, that's the new IMR 'Enduron' quartet - and I would hope that this number will be expanded but have no hard information as to whether that is a possibility. The Endurons are: IMR-4166 (H4895 / VarGet replacement); 4451 (vice IMR/H4350); 4955 (vice IMR-4831/H4831); 7977 (vice IMR-7828/H1000). 4166, 4451, and 7977 are CE certified and available now - having tried them, I'm impressed and reckon they will fill many gaps. IMR-4955 has only recently been introduced and hasn't got here yet.

Project REACH? Here's what I wrote on another forum to save my two typing fingers:

'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.

Clive Hartland09/09/2017 13:20:47
2444 forum posts
40 photos

Thank you Charadam for filling in the holes in my posting, many shooters have over the years using well known powders have made favourite and good working cartridges sometimes better than factory made. Now that will all be finished and new tables of loadings against bullet weight will be needed.


charadam09/09/2017 14:18:57
173 forum posts
6 photos

Luckily for me I standardised on Viht and Reload Swiss powders about 5 years back - no foresight, just local availability.

The loadings were worked up more easily than with the Hodgdon powders I had previously favoured. No idea why or if there is any reason that science would back up.

Anyway, apologies to those badly affected by the ban if my post comes over as smug.


Monoman09/09/2017 15:01:25
49 forum posts
7 photos


Could you please expand on why the substances/ingredients in these powders are not REACH compliant?

Have they just no been Registered or perhaps not Evaluated or not Authorised? If they have been available on the EU market place before the latest REACH deadline they should have been only available in small quantities, <100 tonne per annum total across all of the Community, since the previous deadline.of 31st May 2013.

Since one of the stated purposes of REACH was to encourage substitution I presume that some of the larger participants in the market place will have looked at the Authorisation possibilities before letting go of what seems a large market. Perhaps they will have taken the view that the military market, which is exempt from the provisions of REACH is where their future lies. Perhaps the lack of interest by the US in REACH and its priciples has some influence..


charadam09/09/2017 16:15:24
173 forum posts
6 photos


The REACH banned substance list is here:

I note that the critical figure seems to be importation of over 100 tonnes of the substance. Picking a common propellant powder component from the list, EC No. 201-557-4, Dibutyl phthalate, which comprises 0 - 10% of Hodgdon powders the worst case 10% would mean importation of 1000 tonnes of powder to exceed the limit.

This seems to me unlikely, as the powders are sold by weight in Imperial pounds to a diminishingly small population of reloaders

Unless I've got hold of the wrong end as usual!


Edited By charadam on 09/09/2017 16:15:58

Clive Hartland09/09/2017 16:42:01
2444 forum posts
40 photos

Carte Blanche B/mindedness by the EU, then looking ahead total control of ammunition and guns and complete banning of same.

I would not put it past them in the long term. Glad we are leaving despite the arguing.

Monoman09/09/2017 17:07:40
49 forum posts
7 photos

Hi Charles,

Thank you for your prompt comments and elucidation of the situaition with dibutyl phthalate ( DBP) as an example.

You have picked on an example of a substance which was formerly used extensively as a plasticiser in many mixtures: plastics and paints were common users. It was cheap and effective.

DBP was banned from use in the EU about twenty years ago as it was considered an endocrine disruptor. You may recall the situation was reported extensively in the British newspapers. Not always in a calm fashion. It was one of the substances which was cited as an example in the discussions which lead to the impetus to regulate, REACH was the outcome.

I am not versed in the formulation of explosives but in the plastics and paint industries other plasticisers were found as substitutes. I would be surprised if some work has not been done in the explosives field.

In your earlier post you indicated the suppliers who have achieved REACH compliance signified by the possession of a Registration numb some 18 characters long awarded by the ECHA - European Chemicals Agency, set-up to oversee the implementation of REACH . They were all EU suppliers as far as I know. Those which are not Registered seem to all be in the US where REACH has not reached except as a talking point..

You may have gathered that I have some involvement with both REACH and the chemical industries, my career extending back some 51 years was blighted by REACH and the demise of the British chemical industry which it caused as most manufacturing went to China and India.


charadam09/09/2017 17:18:49
173 forum posts
6 photos


So are we now seeing the EU playing catch-up?

Is the intent to remove these chemicals from manufacturers or is it, as Clive questions above, a cunning plan?

In any event, would there be a harmful residue after near-total combustion of a complex mixture such as a small-arms cartridge propellant?

I love the smell of nitro in the morning!

Nige09/09/2017 18:44:26
370 forum posts
65 photos

Interesting to see this thread as before our handguns were taken from us I used to load all my own 9mm, .38 and .357 ammunition and had standardised on Red and Blue Dot powders. Hand made ammunition was far superior to 'factory' loads especially when attention was made to selecting, weighing and sizing the lead for target loads. Manufacture of target ammunition was more than half the fun in shooting for me

Monoman10/09/2017 10:46:47
49 forum posts
7 photos

Hi Charadam,

This is one of the cases where, dependant on your view of the Commission, the EU has been ahead of any other jurisdiction in the World.

Everyone who manufactures or imports any chemical substance, in whatever form on its own or as part of a mixture into the Community has to do a REACH assessment, The outcome of the assessment might decide that at one extreme a full REACH dossier must be prepared and submitted, at the other end that no dossier is needed for several reasons: may be it is on the exemptions list, (search 'REACH Exemption' perhaps the quantities are below the current tonnage amount etc..etc..

Maybe there was a cunning plan. In the years during which REACH was being developed and written, it was notable that the Member States who pushed for such legislation were ones where the chemical industry was only of minor importance. Britain and Germany being the biggest were less enthusiastic. Just look how few manufacturers there are now. You might think you are buying something made in the EU but it might be produced in China or another country with low labour costs. REACH compliance then becomes the responsibility of the importer. You might be surprised to find that the Chinese set up a compliance unit in Dublin manage REACH Registration for their companies (they also work for non Chinese businesses).

One motivation of the promoters was to make the industry take on the role of assessing the lifetime safety of any chemical 'placed on the market' in the EU. That is from manufacture to disposal. As you might imagine this is requires a lot of effort. In most cases the necessary data already exists but has been spread across many locations. Finding all this is and preparing the dossier can cost as much as a million pounds sterling. A typical example concerns the white pigment commonly used in nearly everything, paper. paint, plastics, dental implants, toothpaste... etc. too many to enumerate.where the dossier reputedly cost in excess of £400,000. The dossier is as extensive as any produced for a pharmaceutical product.

I could go on, but you might by now be thinking "Too much Information"

Let me know if you want any more detail.


Rod Ashton10/09/2017 11:10:39
283 forum posts
12 photos

As an ex RFD I realised a couple of years ago that the "cunning plan" was then being implemented and pessimistically sold up everything - Sent all my licences back and now just a target airgunner. Still attend Bisley fairs though. - The writing on the wall is now neon lit.

Ady110/09/2017 11:36:16
3463 forum posts
513 photos

With regard to propellants, the REACH proposals are implemented as of 01.06.2018

Illegal from 1/6/2018 to 31/03/2019, when we leave?

If the industry lobbies hard enough then the proposals could be void within 9 months.

There's various other things, like nicotine retail laws which may well end up with a short shelf life

Danny M2Z10/09/2017 12:52:43
736 forum posts
278 photos

I reload my own ammunition.

Apart from cost savings (which are negligible due to the cost of specialised components).

The improved accuracy vs. factory ammunition of cartridges precision hand loaded with reputable powders, cases trimmed, neck annealed and using carefully selected projectiles seated with a micrometer die and powder weighed to 0.1 gn are significant factors when poking accurate holes into a target at long range.

Relevant to model engineering workshop, I use my mini-lathe to neck turn, ream and trim my cartridge cases.

* Danny M *

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