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Spherical vs. Extruded Powders: A Comprehensive Comparison



In ammunition reloading, the choice between spherical (ball) and extruded (stick) powders is a frequent topic of discussion among enthusiasts and professionals. Each type of powder has its unique properties and advantages, making the selection process dependent on individual needs and preferences.

Spherical Powders

Spherical powders are known for their:

  • Consistent Metering: The small, uniform granules flow easily through powder measures, providing consistent charges.
  • Ease of Production: Manufactured through a process that ensures uniformity, spherical powders are typically easier and more cost-effective to produce.
  • Storage Stability: These powders often have a longer shelf life due to their chemical stability.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Generally less expensive than extruded powders, making them a popular choice for high-volume reloaders.

Extruded Powders

Extruded powders are characterized by:

  • Controlled Burn Rates: The cylindrical shape and size can be precisely manufactured to control burn rates, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • Performance Stability: Often single-base powders, and extruded types can offer more consistent performance across various temperatures and conditions.
  • Application Versatility: They are often preferred for specific loads where precise burn characteristics are critical.

User Preferences and Industry Perspectives

Reloaders often appreciate spherical powders for their metering consistency and cost advantages. Their ease of production and longer shelf life also make them a practical choice for many applications. On the other hand, extruded powders are favored for their controlled burn rates and stability, particularly in precision applications where performance consistency is crucial.

Expert Analysis

Both types of powders have their place in reloading:

  • Spherical powders are ideal for those who prioritize ease of use and cost-effectiveness.
  • Extruded powders are suitable for reloaders seeking precise control over burn rates and performance under varying conditions.


The choice between spherical and extruded powders ultimately depends on the specific needs of the reloader. Understanding the strengths of each type can help make an informed decision tailored to particular reloading goals. Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) offers high-quality spherical powder to meet these needs.

About the author

Julissa Green graduated from the University of Texas studying applied chemistry. She started her journalism life as a chemistry specialist in Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) since 2016 and she has been fascinated by this fast growing industry ever since. If you have any particular topics of interest, or you have any questions, you can reach her at julissa@samaterials.com.

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About Us

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of various sputtering targets such as metals, alloys, oxides, ceramic materials. It was first established in 1994 to begin supplying high-quality rare-earth products to assist our customers in the research and development (R&D) fields.

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