It has been quite some time since we offered any sort of update, contributed to by the mere fact that 2020 was a year like no other; bushfires, a pandemic, stock market crashes and rallies, and ultimately lockdowns for large swathes of the Australian population at various periods of time.
We at Australian Munitions have faced these challenges head on, while additionally having to deal with keeping COVID out of the facilities and managing cross border staff movements due to border closures between New South Wales and Victoria.
We would like to assure you, the factory continues to run at maximum capacity, 24 hours a day, and we’re supplying as much propellant to the market as possible.
However, we are abundantly aware that our beloved ADI World Class Powders have, at different times of the year, been nigh impossible to obtain across the country.
We plan to release some additional articles in the coming weeks, that address domestic propellant demand, the outlook for each region of Australia as well as the individual rifle propellants, but for now we need to address the elephant in the room – the APS range of propellants.
As many would be only too aware, we’ve continued to face challenges with regards to our pistol and shotgun propellants. What some of you may not realise is that propellant manufacture can be and is affected by environmental conditions, with the propellant grains effectively absorbing moisture that needs to be expelled to achieve the correct burn rate.
What this means is that when there is high humidity, or it is wetter and colder, it is not possible to make these propellants. This is the exact situation we found ourselves in when we were working towards the replacement for AP70N last year where we were unable to finish the project in the timeline we had hoped.
Due to the La Niña complex weather pattern we’ve been experiencing over the past few months, we’ve seen lower than average temperatures, increased precipitation and of course the humidity that accompanies it. This weather pattern has in its own right effected the volume of APS propellant we’ve been able to successfully manufacture.
Additionally, the infrastructure at the modernised Mulwala propellant facility utilises a water-based transport system to safely and efficiently move the propellant grains between different stages of the manufacturing process. This system introduces another variable that adds to the challenge of delivering our APS propellant range.
Having spent 1,000’s of man hours over the past 4+ years trying to deliver these pistol and shotgun propellants, which have been designed specifically for Australian shooters (we don’t export these at all), we’ve now had to make the difficult decision to pause the development project for APS650 and cease attempting production of the existing APS350, APS450 and APS950 products for the foreseeable future.
We understand that this will be an unpopular decision, and we’re very much aware of the ramifications of this decision to dealers/retailers, shooters etc., but unfortunately the reality is that we simply cannot make these products with any surety as things stand today.
Frequently Asked Question
I’ve heard AP70N is made in Canada and supplied to the US market, why don’t you just buy AP70N from there and bring it back to Australia?
We’ve looked at this a number of times over the past few years, but unfortunately there is no solution here either. Ignoring the fact that if we placed an order today it would be 2023 before it shipped from Canada, there is still no cost-effective way to get the propellant to Australia, packed and shipped out to local retailers.
In other words, the landed cost of the propellant would be so high that you’d opt for factory ammunition instead to actually save yourself money over reloading. There is no big surprise here, as Australian distributors have already experienced this exact situation with other brands, such as Vihtavuori and more recently Winchester and Hodgdon.
In our next article, we will talk about domestic propellant demand and the current challenges we’re facing.