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Subject Topic: What happened to Alcan Powder Co.? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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BGOKK
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 11:36am | IP Logged Quote BGOKK

I started reloading in the early '60's and used Alcan powder in .38 Spl., .357 Mag. and .41 Mag. I used Al-5, Al-7 and Al-8.

Was this company bought out and the name changed as was the case with Hercules?

Brooks

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Paul5388
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 12:09pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Brooks,

Here's what I have on the subject.
Quote:
ALCAN (Alcan Cartridge Company)
1951 - 1971 purchased by Fiocchi and S&W

During the early 1950s, Homer Clark Jr. and his company, the Alcan Corp., changed all this. Son of one of the game's greatest Winchester- Western professional shooters, Homer was virtually born and reared at gun clubs. During the 1930s, he was among the most dominant junior trapshooters in the country. And he went on from there to win many state and Grand American championships. Twice he won the World Flyer (live pigeon) Championship. An unbelievably fast shooter, he was blessed with extraordinary vision and foresight.

Clark is the man credited with starting shotgun shell reloading in America. He formed the Alcan Corp.of Alton, lll., in 1951 and began showing people how they could reload traploads at home for half the cost of factory loads. And he started to sell reloading components. The Remingtons and Winchesters of the world had fits and tried everything possible to prevent Clark's company from being successful. Personal injury cases started to multiply when reloaders ' guns began to come apart due to high pressure handloads. For a period of time the big ammunition companies intentionally made the mouth of paper hulls thinner so, once shot, they couldn't be reloaded. Eventually the Alcan Corp. offered a factory- loaded shotgun shell that sold for substantially less than the red and green ones offered by major manufacturers.


The powder was mostly shotgun variety made in Sweden, with the characteristic square cut flakes. I don't know of any square cut on the market right now, but there's a possibility some of the Norma powders may still be.

I think S&W/Fiocchi just bought the production facilities and didn't continue with any of the Alcan offerings, like Alcan/RWS primers or the powders. They were interested in finished products, not supplying components for reloaders.
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Reloader06
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 12:14pm | IP Logged Quote Reloader06

BGOKK

   IIRC they went belly up in the '70s. To my knowledge their was no buyout, but I'm human and prove it several times a day. Someone will chime in with the facts soon. BTW my FIL still has a tablespoon or so of one of the pistol powders and shoots a couple of rounds a year with it.

Merry Christmas.

Matt

As I said someone(Thanks Paul) whould educate both of Us!


Edited by Reloader06 on December 23 2008 at 12:17pm


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BGOKK
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 12:16pm | IP Logged Quote BGOKK

Paul5388

That's a shame I really got good results with those 3 powders.

Thanks for your time to gather this information.

I was hoping that the powder might still be around under another name.

Brooks

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Paul5388
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 1:49pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

I still have a little bit of Alcan 5 in a 3# can, but I also still have some shotgun shells loaded with it. I think they're about 4 dram equivalent and have a healthy recoil with 1 1/4 ounce of shot. People used to ask what we were shooting, because they just didn't sound like what they were used to. However, we rarely had to worry about biting into shot.
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BGOKK
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 2:14pm | IP Logged Quote BGOKK

Paul5388

Al-5 was very good in .38 Spl. I checked through some of my old notes and found Speer 146 Gr. SJHP, CCI 500 Primer, 7.5 Gr Al-5, heavy crimp on front of jacket, Case whatever was available. This load burned clean in a 4" M-10. I show a muzz. vel. of 1025 probably interpolated based on data from Speer #7

Brooks

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Rocky Raab
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 2:29pm | IP Logged Quote Rocky Raab

I lived in Illinois when I was a sub-junior trapshooter, and can remember going with my Dad right to the Alcan plant in Alton, Illinois for supplies. We'd come home with a pickup bed loaded to the rails with powder, primers and shot. That was in the 1958-1961 era.


I have several cans of all four Alcan powders, including the four already mentioned, plus AL-120. It was indeed good stuff. They were very roughly equivalent to:

AL-120 - Red Dot
AL-5 - Unique
AL-7 - Blue Dot
AL-8 - 2400

I burn AL-120 in my Makarov. It is also great in a .380 or in 38 Special.

AL-5 is just a great all-round powder for medium loads in lots of things.

AL-7 is a bit more specialized, but for what we might call 3/4 throttle handgun loads, it works well.

AL-8 makes a great heavy 45 Colt load, which is the only use I make of it.

Alas for Alcan, it simply went out of business. My cans are labeled as Made by Bofors, or Made in Sweden. A couple of them have the S&W logo, so were sold after that brief takeover. No Alcan products are still available.

Edited by Rocky Raab on December 23 2008 at 2:32pm


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BGOKK
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 2:53pm | IP Logged Quote BGOKK

Rocky Raab

I really miss the Alcan powders. Al-5 burned cleaner than Unique in my experience.

I did not load much with Al-7. Never used Al-120.

Al-8 17.0gr behind Sierra 210gr JHC to date was my most accurate load in .41 Mag. Still have about 75 left with that load. Never had a deer run when shot with that load.

Now that I am going to be casting lead boolits it will be a new game. I've much to learn.

Brooks

Edited by BGOKK on December 23 2008 at 8:59pm


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Paul5388
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Posted: December 23 2008 at 3:56pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Quote:
My cans are labeled as Made by Bofors, or Made in Sweden.
That was the reason I speculated Norma may still have a similar powder(s) in their line.

I used 10.0 gr of AL-8 in my Chief's Special with a 146 gr Speer half jacket HP. I think there are probably powders around that are just as good and certainly easier to come by.
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