Toward the beginning of the year the Hodgdon Powder people announced, with great fanfare, a new powder geared toward the high volume semi auto rifle crowd. This powder is the right burning rate for cartridges like the .223 (5.56 NATO) and the .308 (7.62 NATO.) and suchlike cartridges. It's a little fast for my beloved .30-06.
Hodgdon's literature ballyhoos the fact that this new powder contains a secret ingredient that reduces or eliminates copper jacket fouling. This is a big deal to folks like prairie dog shooters and the military who might find it advantages to be shooting rather than cleaning.
Now the thing Hodgdon is not saying is that this revolutionary secret ingredient in the powder isn't the first use of such things. A couple of Alliant's powder have it and Ramshot's TAC has something doing the same thing, if not the same "secret ingredient". This isn't to say that such a thing is useless, just that it's not a brand new thing.
I haven't been into that type of shooting, I've been out of the service for well over forty years and I don't live in Prairie Dog country. So I corespondent with a couple of pals and got some non-advertising words about it. One Pard claims that he has two .223s one that has a rough barrel that starts losing accuracy after only around fifteen-twenty rounds, the other with a smooth tube that keeps it's accuracy through a three hundred round shoot. This Pard claims that the rough barrel keeps it's accuracy through a hundred round test and cleans up with only a few patches wet with Sweet's 7.62 solvent where before it was a task cleaning it after only a couple twenty round mags. He also claims that this new Hodgdon powder gets awfully small groups on a paper target.
Another Pard is a National Match shooter. He shoots the .308 and also reports good accuracy and easier cleaning.
It's important to note that this, nor any other, powder will clean copper deposits out of a barrel, the chemistry merely helps to resist causing such deposits. Start with a clean tube. In my near dotage I shoot mostly black powder and lead alloy "boolits" and durned few smokeless rounds except from my .22s. I still have some smokeless though. Mainly for jacketed hollowpont rounds in my defensive guns. Anyhow, if you are a high volume shooting or are simply lazy, give this powder a try, me, I'm waiting for the no-leaning ingredient black powder.
The Savage Arms people have a couple of new pump shotguns out, geared toward the non wealthy. Each has a short barrel model available for those thinking about slingin' buckshot. Each model is under $300.00. The more interesting to me is the one with the bottom feed, bottom eject receiver like the old Winchester 12 or Ithaca Mod 37. After all, the fewer openings, the fewer chances for junk to get in and tie up the action. This model, with a synthetic stock and rifle-type sights has an MSRP of 270.00
The other one is a side eject gun like the Mossberg or Remington 870. With that odd pistol grip hanging down and only a bead sight it has an MSRP of $235.00. Each has several variations, including at least one switch-barrel, giving the owner a chance to switch from a bird gun to a defense gun. Anyhow, one can look at www.SavageArms.com There is a real advantage to having at least a couple knock around guns where a scratch or ding won't bring tears.