Hodgdon Superformance Powder
Date: Jun 01 2011
With Hornady’s introduction of the Superformance line of ammunition, which is claimed to be 100 to 200 fps faster than conventional ammunition, handloaders have started asking: “Can I get this powder to use as a reloading component?” Well, now, the answer is “Yes, kinda.” For 2011 Hodgdon is offering Superformance powder.
According to Hornady, the Superformance line of ammunition uses ultra-progressive propellants to achieve velocities that are unattainable with conventional propellants. Hodgdon describes it as being a spherical powder that can provide velocities well in excess of 100 fps over the fastest published handloads. Because this propellant is tailored for specific applications – cartridges and bullet weights – the number of cartridges and bullets where this powder will work is limited.
There is not a lot of reloading data available for Superformance powder. So far, Hodgdon only lists seven cartridges with data for a total of 24 bullet weights. As it turns out, I only had one rifle for which Hodgdon supplied data, a .243 Winchester. The other cartridges for which data is available are the .22- 250 Remington, .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum, 6mm Remington, .25 Winchester Super Short Magnum, .300 Winchester Short Magnum and .300 Ruger Compact Magnum.
I speculated that if it will work in the 6mm Remington, it might work in the .257 Roberts as well; they do use the same case, and Hornady is offering .257 Roberts Superformance ammunition. However, when I talked with Chris Hodgdon I learned different. All Superformance Hornady ammunition is not loaded with the commercially available Superformance Hodgdon powder; different blends are used for different loads.
Another interesting bit of information I learned is that if you call the folks at Hodgdon and ask for a handload to duplicate Hornady Superformance ammunition, they have a chart they consult. In many cases – no pun intended – they can get you close. If they can’t, they’ll just flat out tell you so.
At any rate, with only one cartridge on hand for which there is loading data, I tried the Superformance powder in my New Ultra Light Arms .243 Winchester with the Speer 70-grain TNT bullet. The maximum load listed was 51 grains. I started with 46 grains and increased the charge by one grain at a time up to 50 grains while looking for pressure signs. I did not see any. Interestingly, velocity increased on average by 93 fps per grain. And, all five shots printed a group that measured .97 inch.