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Old 07-08-2017, 02:42 PM
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Default Bye Bye Bullseye

This thread is not a criticism of Bullseye powder, but rather a bit of nostalgia. I started reloading in 1964 and my first powder purchase was an 11 ounce can of Bullseye for $1.80. Today, I used up the last of a 4 pound jug of Bullseye. I realized that I would not be replacing it because I have a robust supply of similar powders (AA #2, HP-38, VV N310 and N320). At age 75, a 10 year supply of powder may be beyond realistic. If I'm still shooting and reloading at 85, I'll certainly buy some more Bullseye!

Interestingly, Bullseye is cheaper now than it was in 1964 on an inflation adjusted basis. The price I paid then would be $20.67 per pound now and I see it advertised for $18.95. 8 pound jugs are available locally for $129.99.
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:13 PM
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Bullseye was one of my first powders too. I started using Titegroup in place of Bullseye (when I began shooting SASS Matches) only because Titegroup is supposed to be less position sensitive in the large case vs the actual grain weight I use in the case. Be that as it may, Bullseye is still a great powder and it can be used for many cartridges.
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:15 PM
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Bullseye was my first powder in 1976.
Today it's still one of my favorites.

I guess I haven't learned a thing?
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:18 PM
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I too am shifting from Bullseye ...not because of bad performance but because I happened on a 12# can of 700X at a very good price and can resupply at will.Besides,it is clean and very accurate.With these assets,I'm ready to live with the fact that it meters a little less easily but IMO not at an objectionable point.
Qc
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:33 PM
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I don't think I'll buy any more Bullseye. I haven't used a lot of it; just bought my second pound! I started handloading in the 80's. Yep, last century. I soon bought a pound of Bullseye to try. Over the years I strayed to a lot of different powders but didn't really take to Bullseye. In the last year I got started in NRA precision pistol competition. 3.5 gr of Bullseye under a 200 gr LSWC was great. Until I ran out of my original cardboard can of Bullseye. I heard they had improved Bullseye and looked forward to trying it. I was dissapointed. It binds my Redding powder measure. How's that happen? I cleaned it carefully and still the new Bullseye is troublesome. I switched to 231 and the trouble went away. Never had any other powder do this. So Bye Bye Bullseye for me too.
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qc Pistolero View Post
I too am shifting from Bullseye ...not because of bad performance but because I happened on a 12# can of 700X at a very good price and can resupply at will.Besides,it is clean and very accurate.With these assets,I'm ready to live with the fact that it meters a little less easily but IMO not at an objectionable point.

Qc


700x is nice and flashy ... makes for some fun shooting out of my 357
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:52 PM
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Bullseye and Unique were my staples back in the 70s. I've quit Unique and tend to use more Titegroup now than Bullseye.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:05 PM
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Well, I'm true blue. Bullseye for me is one of the most versatile powders for the calibers that I reload for, although I have about 8 or 10 others that I use on occasion, including Unique.

For revolver shooting of the .32 S&W Long and the .38 Special, Bullseye is still my favorite. I'm talking target loads, not barn burners here.

But I am a traditionalist, and I love loading rounds with a powder that has been around for over a hundred years in cartridges that were designed over a hundred years ago, to shoot in guns that are closing in on a hundred years old. Just sort of fulfilling.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:21 PM
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I load a lot of really light Bullseye 38 loads in 357 cases for shooting paper and they are some accurate in a 686.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:52 PM
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Bullseye/Unique & 2400.......My Favorites......Favorites for others for nearly 100 years!..........I use others but these are my favorites..........
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:01 PM
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There's a Bullseye load for every pistol cartridge I load for; 25 ACP, 9mm, 38 Spl, 45 ACP. And, I have enough on hand to reload every pistol case I own multiple times, so like the OP, I think I'm set for life.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:03 PM
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Bullseye is still my go to powder for light 38 special lead loads
and 9mm pistol with light 115 and 124 plated target loads.

The 38 also likes trail boss and the 9mm CFE ........
never tried the titegroup yet.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:45 PM
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I use Bullseye for .38 wadcutters. I have an old Star loader set up for them and the charge bars are calibrated for Bullseye. The charge bars drop exactly what they are marked.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:15 AM
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There was a time when all I loaded was 3.5 gr of Bullseye with 158 gr LSWC bullets for .38 Special - Shot 1000s of them!
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:59 AM
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Been using BE since about 1980. BE and Unique were all I needed for handguns in those days. The shortages of the last few years made me branch way out and obtain whatever I could, whenever I could. I've added Now I have lot more powder that all seem to do well.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:25 AM
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Been using Bullseye since the early 60's. I have a factory sheet, one page, giving a load for every caliber from pistol to rifle. To me,if times get tough, I can load almost anything. I've used at least 30 lbs. and still have a stash. Good stuff.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:25 AM
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Bullseye was my first powder also 40 yrs ago. In 38 Spl, 2.7 grs 148 gr HBWC and 3.5 grs 158 gr lead RN or SWC. These are still great loads today. I prefer Bullseye to WW231/HP38, uses less powder for comparable velocities and with more accuracy, at least in my revolvers of old.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:43 AM
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Bullseye was the first powder I bought but the second one I actually used, as it seemed in my earliest time at the load bench that Green Dot was a "closer fit" to my Lee dippers. My original first can of Hercules Bullseye was in 1989 and I believe that one pound can was just under $10 before tax.

I definitely use a decent amount of it these days, it feeds my S&W Model 52's and all the .38 Special that I run in revolvers also.

My best guess is that I've probably burnt through maybe 10 pounds of it? That is no small feat when you consider a typical Bullseye charge weight!

Great thread here!
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:18 AM
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Like others here, the first powder I ever put through a measure, weighed on a scale, poured into a cartridge case, and seated a bullet on top of, was good old Hercules Bullseye. In more than 40 years I've never passed up an opportunity to add another pound or two to the shelf, with the result that throughout the powder drought I never had any worries or concerns about running out. I'm actually still using out of cardboard Hercules canisters... haven't gotten into the "new fangled" Alliant plastics yet! Oh, and the same goes for Unique, 2400, and Blue Dot... and Green Dot... and I'm still burning DuPont IMR-series powders (3031, 4064, 4227, 4320, 4350, and 4831) out of metal cans.

Bullseye will always be my No.1 "Go To" powder for pistols and revolvers.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HKSmith View Post
This thread is not a criticism of Bullseye powder, but rather a bit of nostalgia. I started reloading in 1964 and my first powder purchase was an 11 ounce can of Bullseye for $1.80. Today, I used up the last of a 4 pound jug of Bullseye. I realized that I would not be replacing it because I have a robust supply of similar powders (AA #2, HP-38, VV N310 and N320). At age 75, a 10 year supply of powder may be beyond realistic. If I'm still shooting and reloading at 85, I'll certainly buy some more Bullseye!

Interestingly, Bullseye is cheaper now than it was in 1964 on an inflation adjusted basis. The price I paid then would be $20.67 per pound now and I see it advertised for $18.95. 8 pound jugs are available locally for $129.99.
AA#2 is not as readily available, Vihtavuori's are expensive, and HP-38 is not as fast a burner. I was wondering what you were loading with Bullseye as a mainstay.

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Old 07-09-2017, 02:35 PM
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I don't know where you are buying your powder, but around here I see $24 to $29 a lb. I nearly had a stroke when I picked up a 4 lb jug of W231 and it was marked $100. Well that is $25 a lb. 231 has been my go to powder for over 25 years, so I bought the 4 lb, on top I have an old 3 lb can, and 2 1 lb bottles. I don't think I'll ever have to buy 231 again (I'm 76). I do load .32L, .38, .45, 9mm with it.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:50 PM
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Default YOU HAD ME NERVOUS FOR A MINUTE.

I thought you were gonna say bullseye was being discontinued. I save it for my 38 specials and have come to use titegroup for 9mm. 45's get unique until that 8 lbs run out, then??? 2400 is the powder I hate to love & love to hate, if it weren't so accurate & fast I wouldn't put up with the noise.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by les.b View Post
Well, I'm true blue. Bullseye for me is one of the most versatile powders for the calibers that I reload for, although I have about 8 or 10 others that I use on occasion, including Unique.

For revolver shooting of the .32 S&W Long and the .38 Special, Bullseye is still my favorite. I'm talking target loads, not barn burners here.

But I am a traditionalist, and I love loading rounds with a powder that has been around for over a hundred years in cartridges that were designed over a hundred years ago, to shoot in guns that are closing in on a hundred years old. Just sort of fulfilling.

Best Regards, Les
Les, I couldn't agree more, or express my feelings about Bullseye any better! Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:10 PM
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I use Bulleye and W231/HP38 almost exclusively. While I do worry a little bit about running short or not being able to buy because of CA's laws I also worry about having to much flammable stuff in my garage so I tend not to have to much on hand. The origninal poster mentioned having enough to last for 10 years. When I see people saying they have huge amounts of powder or ammo stockpiled I am reminded of wine collectors who have more wine in the cellar than they can drink in several lifetimes (not a problem for me) and I think that I would be a little miffed if I was on my deathbed and I still had a cellar full of expensive wine that I had not drunk. I think the same goes with ammo

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Old 07-09-2017, 05:10 PM
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Just a side note on Bullseye and 700X. I use both for .38 Spc and have loaded up and fired off 2 or 3 thousand a year since the late 80's.

I like both, I will hand weigh every charge of 700x. I've noticed when I run them through through a Chronograph, they have a significantly wider velocity spread than rounds loaded with Bullseye. I don't hand weigh Bullseye though, I use either a Hornady powder thrower or a vintage 1980's RCBS uniflow.

food for thought.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBnTx View Post
Bullseye was my first powder in 1976.
Today it's still one of my favorites.

I guess I haven't learned a thing?
I have! I have learned that Bullseye, Unique, and 2400 will load pretty much any handgun ammo that I will encounter.

Don't even mention "metering".
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:06 PM
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I have a small amount remaining of an old 4-pound metal keg (remember those?) of Hercules Bullseye. I bought that keg, unopened, cheap at an estate sale maybe 15 years ago and have used it since, but not exclusively. I also use Clays, Red Dot, and 700-X, and when I run out of that Bullseye, I will keep on with 700-X and Red Dot, unless I run across another very good deal on Bullseye. And you are correct - Bullseye, Unique, and 2400 will cover any handloader's needs. Some might also include Herco in that list.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:35 PM
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I'm still going back and forth between Bullseye, which I first started using back around 1974 or so and Titegroup which I've recently moved to for my "target" loads. I use both powders in 9mm, .38 Special, .357Mag & 45ACP.

As it stands now I have developed very accurate loads for all using both powders with the only real difference being the weight of the loads, Titegroup loads are generally 2-3 grains less with equal results of a Bullseye load and burns just as clean.

The only caliber I really like to use Bullseye in over Titegroup is the .357Mag FULL LOADS.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:38 PM
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I will always have a few lbs. of Bullseye powder on hand . I don't have any need for 231 so it doesn't occupy my reloading bench . Bullseye was my first powder reloading 38spl with a " Lee Classic " loader kit (pound it all together with a rubber mallet) . I reloaded over 1500 rounds with that little kit .
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:55 PM
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Cowboy, I still have my Lees, one in 38 and one in 44 spl. That's how I started as well, and although I haven't used them for forty plus years, I wouldn't trade them off or sell them....never know when I might feel like pounding a few rounds together. Plus, they were the beginning of a long love affair with reloading!!! (I already loved shooting).

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Old 07-09-2017, 09:05 PM
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I'm still going back and forth between Bullseye, which I first started using back around 1974 or so and Titegroup which I've recently moved to for my "target" loads. I use both powders in 9mm, .38 Special, .357Mag & 45ACP.

As it stands now I have developed very accurate loads for all using both powders with the only real difference being the weight of the loads, Titegroup loads are generally 2-3 grains less with equal results of a Bullseye load and burns just as clean.

The only caliber I really like to use Bullseye in over Titegroup is the .357Mag FULL LOADS.
Are you really using Bullseye for 357 loads? If so, Bullseye is a very poor application for this use. I suggest going to 2400.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:32 PM
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I was a late-comer to Bullseye, loading for about ten years before trying it. Now it's all I use in .38 Special and .45 ACP.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:38 AM
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Bullseye is one of the earliest American-made smokeless propellants (1898). For many years it was pretty much the standard smokeless powder used by the factories for loading about every handgun cartridge caliber made. There were at least two different variations of Bullseye used by the factories (#1 and #2). #2 is the type still sold today to handloaders. #1 was a little faster burning. Its formulation remains fundamentally the same as it was in 1898. For a long time, the standard propellant used for loading military .45 ACP ammunition was Bullseye. At first it was made by Laflin and Rand, then duPont, then Hercules, and today Alliant. BTW, Unique is exactly the same as Bullseye, except its flakes are cut slightly thicker to slow the burning rate.

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Old 07-10-2017, 07:12 AM
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Like most reloaders I too have several different powders on hand but Bullseye is always on my shelf. Lots of very good newer powders today and I use several of them, but Bullseye for me still performs.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:48 AM
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Never much of a fan of BE. But I was mostly a shotshell loader when I started. Yesterday I was at a gunshow and a fellow had an eight pound BE on his table. Old cardboard can with metal top..unopened for fifty bucks. I bought a few things from him but not the powder... couple of RCBS bullet molds... one for 41mag...and an old Herter's lead furnace plus a CH H style shotshell press(cheep)...my middle name. Anyway took me a couple trips to the car... Last trip he offered me the BE for 20 bucks. I think I have a lifetimes supply of BE now. I sometimes think I have a character flaw...I have to buy reloading stuff when it's cheap... I even bought a new set of 50 BMG RCBS dies for 35 bucks. I couldn't turn down eight pounds of powder for 2.50 a pound though. Gonna crank up the Dillon 650 and load up all those 38 specials I guess.

Last edited by Skeet 028; 07-10-2017 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:32 AM
at_liberty at_liberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Sear View Post
Are you really using Bullseye for 357 loads? If so, Bullseye is a very poor application for this use. I suggest going to 2400.
I doubt that a credible source exists for using that fast a powder for "full load" 357 Magnum. I find it ideal for low velocity rifle loads for SASS, even then below published minimums for true magnum performance. My regular load is heavier in Bullseye for smaller guns, and my regular load for medium size, say a 686 or GP100, is done with HS-6. I don't have a gun I consider suitable for full power reloads. I leave that to purchased SD ammo.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:56 AM
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Bullseye is not well-suited for top-end .357 loads with heavier bullets, but there are some surprisingly hot loads using light bullets with Bullseye given in the Lyman cast bullet handbook.

Last edited by DWalt; 07-12-2017 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:52 PM
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Thanks for all the replies! I never expected this thread to be so popular. I'll definitely buy some more Bullseye if I ever use up my other fast-burning powders (most of the 5000+ per year reloads that I shoot). I also load some medium to hot loads with Power Pistol, VV 3N37, 2400 and W296. My supply of Unique is also running low and I won't replace that either because I have a good supply of other similar powders.

To answer some of the comments and questions:

1. My first reloads back in 1964 were in .38 Special with Lyman 358495, 148 grain button nose wadcutter over 2.8 grains Bullseye and Lyman 358311, 158 grain round nose over 3.5 grains Bullseye. Thousands of these were fired through a S&W K-38 Single Action (which I still have) and a Colt .357 Magnum (long since sold). My last reloads with Bullseye were also in .38 Special, 125 grain lead flat nose over 3.3 grains of Bullseye. These shoot to point of aim at 50 feet with one of my current favorite revolvers, a 3 inch Model 36 from 1963.

2. Like Les B., I enjoy shooting old guns with old brass and original style bullets, but I don't care that much about the powder and primers. Currently reloading HBWC's in Peters .38 Special brass in the old Police Match boxes with 3.2 grains HP-38 and Tula primers. I also reload oldies like .32 S&W, .38 S&W, and .455 Webley.

3. The $18.95 per pound price for Bullseye is from the Powder Valley website. $129.99 for 8 pounds was at Fin, Fur, and Feathers the last time I was there (March, I think).

4. AA #2 is available from several online vendors; I bought 5 pounds for $86 early this year from Graf's. I think the price has actually come down since then. The VV powders are more expensive, but to me they're worth the price. On a per round basis it's less than a penny more (depending on the cartridge). HP-38 is slower burning, but pretty much has the same applications as Bullseye (I've used both in everything from .25 ACP to .45 Colt).
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:30 AM
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Bullseye was always my "go to" powder, until it was non existent for 4 years in my area. Then, like everyone else, you bought/used what you could find that worked for your needs. Red Dot and TiteGroup, along with 700X and CFE Pistol were what I could find. In the past 2 years, I've been able to score 30 lbs. Of Bullseye, so I'll be good on my powder supply through my retirement years-when I get there lol. Bullseye just works well for me. Oh, and I've picked up 20 lbs. Of W231/HP-38 also. I won't be having a dry spell for a while :-)
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:32 AM
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Bullseye/Unique & 2400.......My Favorites......Favorites for others for nearly 100 years!..........I use others but these are my favorites..........
Well... I'm on the BE86 instead of Unique, but yeah. Not much you can't do with those 3. The original powder trinity.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:10 AM
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There are some places where I get effective use from Titegroup in revolvers but NEVER in .38 Special. The performance of the loads themselves are perfectly fine except for what I consider to be extreme heat.

No, not worried in the slightest about my revolvers, I simply cannot enjoy handling the guns that get so hot, so quickly. I typically notice it in the first 18-24 rounds.

Wrapping fingers of my left hand around the cylinder upon ejection with the typical known practice is simply no fun when using Titegroup-powered ammo. The high nitro content of the Titegroup powder makes them run too warm for my tastes.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:51 PM
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I loaded 1# worth of BE about 40yrs ago. Didn't really like it then or now. Small charge volume & really dirty. Today we have lots of "better" alternatives like Ramshot COmp, WST, AA#2, VV310 (pricey), new IMR Red, some even like TG.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:30 PM
daniel lawecki daniel lawecki is offline
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This may seem strange to many of you. But I never reloaded using Bullseye 37 years as a reloader
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:48 PM
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Bullseye was the first powder I used in late 50's. Think I paid less than a buck for a cardboard box of it..
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
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Bullseye was the first powder I used in late 50's. Think I paid less than a buck for a cardboard box of it..
I don't remember Hercules Bullseye cardboard cans back then, but I started loading a little later, around 1961. I sort of remember having some old Hi-Vel #2 that may have been in a rectangular cardboard can. Mainly Hercules cubical steel cans with snap lids, followed by cylindrical cardboard cans with steel ends. Old duPont powder cans were rectangular cardboard with steel ends, screw-on caps. I still have some of those.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:40 PM
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Before the snap on lids there was a screw on lid with a fold down spout under it. Like the spout on a Morton salt lid. snap lid next cardboard with plastic snap on lid then the screw on sealed lid. I have many of the old metal snap lid cans still sealed including Hi Vel and HV #2. Somewhere back east I have a Dupont 50 lb metal can(4350??). My first pound of powder came from a very large can of I think Red Dot...in a paper bag
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