Black powder shooters fear another nail has been hammered into the coffin of their sport after propellant manufacturer Hodgdon announced this week they were closing down their GOEX manufacturing facility and abandoning the market.
The best-case scenario for the black-powder market would be if Hodgdon finds a buyer for the business, an option they say they will investigate.
GOEX has not been available in Australia for some time, but as it is currently the only black powder brand made in the US the flow-on effects could have a severe impact here.
Straight Shooting understands the only black powder imported to Australia now is Germany’s Wano, and while it’s too early to know what may happen, there’s a possibility much of Wano’s capacity may be redirected to the US.
Hodgdon has cited no reason for closing the plant in Camp Minden, Louisiana, but the facility has been plagued by explosions and fires.
A statement said, “Effective immediately … the business will wind down operations while an evaluation process on the future of the black powder business takes place. Strategic options for the GOEX and Olde Eynsford brands of black powder, along with the manufacturing capabilities, will include a potential sale of the business.”
It is thought the business has become too risky to continue, both in physical and insurance terms.
The most recent explosion was in June this year, which forced a shutdown of the plant. Fifteen imployees in the building at the time were all unhurt.
Until 2012, a company called Explo had been manufacturing GOEX in Camp Minden but it was shut down after a huge explosion and charges of improper storage of ex-military propellants and igniters, which it had a contract to dispose of.
Explo secured over 7000 tonnes of propellant and igniter in bunkers under a government order, then filed for bankruptcy and walked away.
The owner of Explo and four executives were later given sentences ranging from two to five years for related offences, and the US EPA oversaw a five-year process of removal and destruction of the thousands of tonnes of propellant and igniter, some of which auto-ignited during the process.