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The Hodgdon Story

Success in the American tradition demands the qualities of motivation, determination, willingness to sacrifice, hard work, timing and a true element of luck. Even in our modern times of high taxation, escalating costs, and governmental regulation, it is still possible for the “common man” to become successful if he has a good idea and most or all of these qualities.

The Hodgdon Companies, as they exist today, are an example of this tradition. Until he began the surplus powder business, Bruce Hodgdon was a salesman for the Gas Service Company, traveling local territory selling gas appliances. From a few dollars borrowed on the cash value of his life insurance policy has evolved a manufacturing and distributing company that has customers in all 50 states and many foreign countries.

All his life Bruce Hodgdon was interested in shooting, hunting, and reloading. He custom-loaded ammunition for friends during World War II while he was in the Navy and after, while working full time as a salesman for the Gas Service Company. Somewhere Bruce had heard that the government burned huge stocks of surplus powder after WWI because of the lack of market for them, and he figured that the same would be true after hostilities ended in 1945.

Even though he had no place to store gunpowder, and did not know if enough shooters would gamble to purchase unknown types of propellant, Bruce cut government red tape and soon owned 50,000 pounds of government surplus 4895. An old boxcar moved to a rented farm pasture served as the first magazine, the first one-inch ad placed in the American Rifleman, and Bruce was in business.

The first 150-pound kegs of powder sold for $30.00 each plus freight! Early shipments also consisted of metal cans with hand-glued labels sent out in wooden boxes made from orange crates and sawed on a homemade circle saw by Bruce and his grade-school age boys, J. B. and Bob. A little later, the boys delivered shipments to the REA or the Merriam Frisco train terminal each morning on their way to high school. The trunk of the family 1940 Ford served as carrier for hundreds of thousands of pounds of powder during this time. Bruce’s Wife Amy served as bookkeeper and saleswoman. Very quickly mail order sales grew to include other reloading components, tools, and finally firearms and ammunition.

In 1952 Bruce resigned from the Gas Service Company and B. E. Hodgdon, Incorporated, was officially underway. J.B. and Bob entered the business full time after graduating from college in 1959 and 1961. After considerable expansion in the 1960s, it became apparent that splitting the wholesale firearm business from the nationwide powder business would save confusion among customers and facilitate bookkeeping. Hodgdon Powder Company came into being in 1966 as a result. Eventually, the wholesale firearms company was sold in 1984.

In January 2009 Hodgdon acquired an American icon GOEX Powder, Inc. GOEX has a rich history dating back to 1802 where E.I. Du Pont de Nemours broke ground on his original black powder plant along the Brandywine River in Delaware. Goex Powder, Inc. manufactures black powder used for sporting applications such as civil war re-enactments and flintlock firearms, and is a vital component for industrial and military applications. Located in Minden, Louisiana, GOEX Powder, Inc. is the only U.S. manufacturer of black powder. Hodgdon then sold the GOEX plant and brand in 2021.

In October of 2020, Hodgdon purchased the Accurate Powder and Ramshot smokeless brands from Western Powders, along with the Blackhorn 209 black powder substitute brand.

The company continues to drive innovation in smokeless powder through the Hodgdon, Ramshot, Accurate Powder, IMR and Winchester brands. On the black powder substitute product side, brands Blackhorn209, Hodgdon Pyrodex, Hodgdon Triple Seven and IMR White Hots continue our history of bringing technologically advanced and unique propellants to the marketplace. Today, as over the last seventy-five years, the success of the Hodgdon Companies depends upon the goodwill and satisfaction of our loyal customers. Thank you for the trust you continue to give our products; we hope our products are a part of the reason you enjoy your chosen sport of hunting or shooting.

Hodgdon Powder Shop

Address

6430 Vista Drive
Shawnee, KS 66218

8am – 5pm daily