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Old 03-21-2013, 02:25 PM
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Question Preferred Pistol Powders

I just wanted some opinions on powders for 9mm and 45ACP reloading. I am only reloading for target practice mainly and eventually maybe some home defense rounds. I will be mainly using 115GR, 124GR, & 125GR 9mm bullets and 185GR, 200GR, & 230GR 45ACP bullets. Both jacketed and lead bullets. I currently have Accurate No. 7 and Winchester 231 powders on hand and I have a few others on backorder (Bullseye, AutoComp, and Power Pistol). I was thinking on also ordering some Accurate No. 2 and Ramshot Silhouette to try out as well. What kinds of pistol powders do you like / prefer and why? I would like to experiment to see what works best for my guns but wanted some opinions as well from those of you that have been doing this for a while. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:32 PM
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Winchester W231(aka Hodgdon HP38) will cover everything you listed. It fills the case quite well and meters decently. That being said:

Bullseye seems to be the "go-to" powder for the Camp Perry .45 acp guys and Power Pistol makes a very good hot load in 9mm.

I can't speak to Accurate or Ramshot.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:15 PM
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You have obviously done some research. All the powders you have selected are perfectly acceptable for the two cartridges you will be loading.

Part of the fun of this, at least for me is experimenting. I have not used every powder you have listed but have used most of them and many you have not listed.

If you go to Burn Rate you can see a burn rate chart for powders. Generally speaking, the faster burning powders are better for target/plinking loads and tend to burn more completely at low density loads. Some of the slower powders donít do as well at light target loads and perform more efficiently at higher density/higher pressure loads. This isnít true all the time but for me has been true most of the time.

All of these powders are capable of outstanding accuracy when you achieve the right combination.

Some people have a preference for a certain type. I use a lot of HP38/W231 and Universal. These all meter very well and perform well in lots of pistol calibers. HS6 is also very nice. I use some of the others as well, just not as much, or maybe with only a specific bullet pistol combination.

Just about any fast or medium powder you buy will do a good job and I donít think Iíve ever used one I really just hated. I have done considerable load development with HP38/W231 and Universal so it is easy for me to just look up a past good performing load and load up a thousand. Others have done load development or are more familiar with a different powder so they will likely recommend their old standby. They all behave a little differently, especially with lead bullets.

The only recommendation, which doesnít really answer your question, is to experiment and find the one that you like best. That is part of the fun!
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:19 PM
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IMO there is no need to buy any more powders. You already have the perfect powder for target ammo in 45 Auto and 9mm. I use almost nothing other than W231/HP-38 for all my handgun ammo with some exceptions of course. I use only W231 for any 45 Auto I build and W231 or Longshot for all the 9mm ammo I build. Longshot is only used for high velocity JHP ammo. All 9mm range ammo is built with W231.

W231 produces clean and accurate ammo for me. I have a feeling it will be for you too.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:27 PM
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Bullseye is the most versatile and economical pistol powder in existence. There is virtually no handgun cartridge that it can'r be used with to make a useful (but not necessarily maximum) load. Over the years, I have come to use Bullseye in everything from .32 ACP to .45 ACP, even .44 Magnum. I normally use lead bullets only, and stay away from hot loads. For 9mm, i use 4 grains with a 124 grain lead bullet, and for .45 ACP, I use 5 grains with a 230 grain lead bullet. Just for further information, I use 3.5 grains in .32-20 with a 100 grain lead bullet, 4.2 grains in .38 Special with a 158 grain lead SWC, and 8 grains in a .44 Magnum with a 200 grain lead RN bullet. For target use in .38 Special, I use the old standby 2.8 grain load with a 148 grain lead DEWC. Just be extra careful to check for double charges. I always powder all cases at once and inspect using a flashlight to be sure that powder levels in all cases are OK, before seating bullets.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:32 PM
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Bullseye
Red Dot
Unique
2400

Older proven powders, lots of data in manuals for working up loads and generally found on dealer's shelf.

I used to try new powders when they would come out but many went out of business and left me without much data. Just try finding data for Alcan, Thunderbird and B-West powder's now ...it ain't there no more.

I now stick to the older standard powders that seem to stand the test of time. If you can't get loading data it doesn't matter how good the powder is, it's useless.

Gary
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:38 PM
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I use the 3 old standards,Bullseye,Unique and 2400.They work well and back when I started ( pre-pre-Internet)I could work up a load with some newer powder and then never see it on a dealers shelf again,but these 3 were always around.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:06 PM
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Winchester 231, and Unique.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
Bullseye
Red Dot
Unique
2400

Older proven powders, lots of data in manuals for working up loads and generally found on dealer's shelf.

I used to try new powders when they would come out but many went out of business and left me without much data. Just try finding data for Alcan, Thunderbird and B-West powder's now ...it ain't there no more.

I now stick to the older standard powders that seem to stand the test of time. If you can't get loading data it doesn't matter how good the powder is, it's useless.

Gary
You're saying newer powders are hard to find data for loading and say older powders are a better choice but them complain about not being able to find data for Alcan powders which actually are older powders. That's a contradictory statement.

You list the original "Powder Trinity" of Bullseye, Unique and 2400 which are good powders but IMO dirty. I prefer my "Powder Trinity" of W231(HP-38), W540(HS-6) and W296(H110). Like your powder choices, my powder trinity can also load any handgun cartridge too.

IMO neither choices are wrong but only a matter of preference. It's good for new loaders to consider all powders now available. When we were stuck with only a few choices we had no choice but now with all the powders available I see no reason not to at least give them a try.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
You're saying newer powders are hard to find data for loading and say older powders are a better choice but them complain about not being able to find data for Alcan powders which actually are older powders. That's a contradictory statement.
I believe he said he "used to try new powders". Guessing at the time he bought them: Alcan, Thunderbird, & B-West were "NEW" powders, and now they are no longer available. Guessing that might similiar to buying a new powder like CFE223 now.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:19 PM
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HP-38 works well in the 9mm Makarov, 9mm Luger and .45 ACP I reload.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:21 PM
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I believe i get the most bang for my buck using Unique for all my leadcast(45acp, 9mm luger, 41mag, 44 special,45 long colt, 38special). But i use the 2400 for all my magnum calibers(357mag, 41mag and 44mag)

I get more rounds loaded using Unique. In today's times that really matters more important than miles per gallon. I have to look at the number of rounds loaded vs. cost.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novalty View Post
I believe he said he "used to try new powders". Guessing at the time he bought them: Alcan, Thunderbird, & B-West were "NEW" powders, and now they are no longer available. Guessing that might similar to buying a new powder like CFE223 now.
Ahhh, I should slow down when reading, my mistake...
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
B
I used to try new powders when they would come out but many went out of business and left me without much data. Just try finding data for Alcan, Thunderbird and B-West powder's now ...it ain't there no more.

I now stick to the older standard powders that seem to stand the test of time. If you can't get loading data it doesn't matter how good the powder is, it's useless.

Gary
I've never thrown out a loading manual. There's usually a good reason that some powders are obsolescent, but you can sometimes stumble across a deal that's too good to pass up.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganScott View Post
I've never thrown out a loading manual. There's usually a good reason that some powders are obsolescent, but you can sometimes stumble across a deal that's too good to pass up.
Or you can come across a wooden box forgotten for 40 years full of powders like W630 and because you have those older manuals you can find data... lol (not me but a buddy)
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay View Post
I use the 3 old standards,Bullseye,Unique and 2400.They work well and back when I started ( pre-pre-Internet)I could work up a load with some newer powder and then never see it on a dealers shelf again,but these 3 were always around.
I have also been well served with Bullseye,Unique & 2400 been using them since the Early 1980's for 9mm,.38/357,.44 Magnum,& .45 ACP
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:34 PM
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Of the powders you listed, I've used W231 and Bullseye. Both are excellent, but I found they serve essentially the same purpose. I decided I didn't need both and standardized on Bullseye. The local bullseye shooters ransom rested loads using both and found Bullseye to be a little more accurate.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:06 PM
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Universal is my powder of choice for 9mm, 45 ACP and target loads for 454 Casull. H110 for full power 454 Casull loads.

Bullseye and Titegroup are two other powders I also have used and like. Nowadays, it is more about what I can find than what I want.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:01 AM
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I like both "Powder Trinity" posts. Pretty standard go to powders. They should cover all your needs. Most of them have been around a long time. You will have to find out what works for you.
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