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The Hodgdon Powder Company began in 1952 as B.E. Hodgdon, Inc., and has become a major distributor of smokeless powder for the ammunition industry, as well as for individuals who load their own ammunition by hand. The company’s corporate office and manufacturing facilities are located in Kansas, United States. Hodgdon acquired IMR Powder Company in 2003. Winchester branded reloading powders have been distributed in the United States by Hodgdon since March 2006.
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Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and less fouling when fired compared to gunpowder (“black powder”). The combustion products are mainly gaseous, compared to around 55% solid products (mostly potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate, and potassium sulfide) for black powder. In addition, the smokeless powder does not leave the thick, heavy fouling of hygroscopic material associated with black powder that causes rusting of the barrel. Despite its name, smokeless powder is not completely free of smoke; while there may be little noticeable smoke from small-arms ammunition, smoke from artillery fire can be substantial.
Originally invented in 1884 by Paul Vieille, the most common formulations are based on nitrocellulose, but the term was also used to describe various picratemixtures with nitrate, chlorate, or dichromate oxidizers during the late 19th century, before the advantages of nitrocellulose became evident.
Smokeless powders are typically classified as division 1.3 explosives under the UN Recommendations on the transportation of Dangerous goods – Model Regulations, regional regulations (such as ADR) and national regulations. However, they are used as solid propellants; in normal use, they undergo deflagration rather than detonation.
Smokeless powder made autoloading firearms with many moving parts feasible (which would otherwise jam or seize under heavy black powder fouling). Smokeless powder allowed the development of modern semi- and fully automatic firearms and lighter breeches and barrels for artillery.
William Jenkins –
Herco is my favorite powder for mid-range .41 & .44 magnum loads and for moderate to heavy .44 Special, .45 Colt and .45 ACP/Auto Rim. Good velocities for modest pressures, good accuracy, much better metering than Unique, and the bulk makes double charging almost impossible.The report is also much more satisfying than other mid-burning powder. I always have a little laugh when I hear people say that Herco is sooty. It may be if you’re loading those fake mouse-puff cowboy action loads, because it’s actually pretty clean burning at appropriate pressures.
Billy Barnes –
have not used purchase yet but years ago a buddy and myself reloaded 12 ga and 20ga for dove hunting and loved it
Jonathan Taylor –
Herco is my go-to powder for ALL handgun loading, .38, .357, .44 Sp&.44mag, .45 ACP, AR, Colt. Anything that can be done with Unique; can be done with Herco. Herco burns a bit cooler, so lead alloy PB bullets don’t loose metal from the base.
Jerome Mclean –
Although I’ve got probably 20+ powders in my ammo reloading room, the go-to powder for me is Herco. I’ve used it since I was in college 4 decades ago, and have found it to be the one powder I can successfully use in a wide variety of loads, including 9mm, .38 special, .357, .40 S&W, .44 mag, 12 gauge, 28 gauge, & 20 gauge. That’s why it’s the only powder I purchase in the big canisters. While there are undoubtedly better powders for each of these applications, my groups, patterns, and velocities are just fine.
Bronson Strong –
I’m a relatively new reloader and have really taken a liking to this powder in comparison to others I have tried. The report is nice, the flash is bright, but recoil is mild and it shows no signs of high pressure. It’s a fun load to shoot. I also like the fact that the NEVER EXCEED charge very nearly overflows the case- I feel like I’m pretty safe with Herco.
Bronson Strong –
I know that this may not be a popular powder with handgunners but I use it in 45 Colt with a 255 gr. LSWC fills the cases very nicely, burns clean and meters very well. It is a very energetic powder does deliver a little more recoil than Unique but I prefer it over Unique mainly for that reason I like the bang and flash and I get great accuracy from it also. If you have not tried this powder in handgun cartridges please do you will not be disappointed. I tried it because the gun shop was out of Unique at the time.
Zane Maynard –
Great in 44 Mag with 240gr Cast Bullets – very accurate.