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  #1  
Old 09-08-2021, 10:39 PM
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powder for .38/.357? powder for .38/.357? powder for .38/.357? powder for .38/.357? powder for .38/.357?  
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Default powder for .38/.357?

I'm getting into reloading and am looking for some powder for my .38/.357 Magnum reloads. I'll be reloading 158gr flat-pointed plated bullets. Any suggestions?

And yes, I know that most all powder these days is made of pure unobtainium. But, some day it will be back on the market. I'm just looking for some suggestions for what to look for when it is.
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Old 09-08-2021, 10:45 PM
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Oh there's a ton of good powders for .38. W231/HP38, Unique, Universal, Bullseye, 700X, WST are the only ones I've used and they all worked well.

For .357 I'd take Unique, Universal, and add 2400.

I use more W231/HP38 (two different names but the same powder) than anything else in .38 but WST is solid choice. 700X is great but does not meter very well making it last choice. If you want to load both .38 and .357 with one powder then Unique or Universal would be great, I prefer Universal.
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:00 AM
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[QUOTE=glenwolde;141253465]Oh there's a ton of good powders for .38. W231/HP38, Unique, Universal, Bullseye, 700X, WST are the only ones I've used and they all worked well.

For .357 I'd take Unique, Universal, and add 2400.
700X is great but does not meter very well making it last choice.

700x meters perfect in my 550. What are people loading on that it doesn't meter well? I have heard this before.

Last edited by 4barrel; 09-09-2021 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:39 AM
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Bullseye for low velocity target with Red Dot second.
Unique, AA5, Power Pistol for mid range stuff.
H110/QQ296, 2400, AA9, MP 300 for the heavies going fast.
Truthfully I can't think of a pistol powder that would not work in those two.
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:32 AM
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You need to decide what velocity levels you want for each caliber. One powder for .38 plinking loads and full power .357 loads isn’t going to work. And realize that plated 158 gr bullets are a poor choice for light .38 loads because of the risk of sticking a bullet in the barrel. And without a crimping groove or shoulder they are also a poor choice for full .357 loads. So more details about what you want to do with your loads would help.
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:46 AM
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HS-6 is my go to powder for moderate to warm 158 gr LSWC .38 Special loads, and works equally well for 357 Mag.

Best regards,
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Old 09-09-2021, 01:46 AM
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I hate to sound like a greybeard but Unique will load that bullet to 800fps in a .38spl and 1100fps in .357. that is a plinking bullet and loads like that will work...........
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:08 AM
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Originally I used Unique as it provided decent performance in several cartridges that I load

20+ years ago I switched to 231 for my 158 SWC 38/357 loadings and much prefer the results
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Old 09-09-2021, 05:12 AM
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Like many others that have been handloading for many years I used Unique back in the day because there wasn’t much to choose from in the medium burn rate category. After using 231 for many years now I will never buy another can of Unique. 231 is superior in every way. With it you can load the .38 spl with 158 gr cast bullets from 800 to 1,000 FPS in a 4” barrel and the .357 to over 1,100 FPS. Great metering, linear velocity increases and very low ESs. 231 is a great powder.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:44 AM
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Give that this is a plated bullet, most plated bullets are limited to around 1200 fps maximum before the plating strips from the lead core, fast or medium burning rate powders would likely be the best choice. Bullseye is a great fast burning powder. For loading to a mid-level 357 velocity, HP38/W-231, Unique, or Accurate Arms #5 would be my choices.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:49 AM
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Unique is available in my area...that said, my favorite .38 158 load is Red Dot, 3.4 gr IIRC...shoot it in my old revolvers and my new M92...unique works good for me in both loads, and it doubles into lots of my shotgun loads...old school I know, but so am I, check it out for your own self!!
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:55 AM
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The first step as a new reloader is to purchase several reloading manuals and study them. All the major bullet manufacturers and most of the powder companies publish what they consider safe and effective loading information. Most begin with "how-to" information and also contain detailed recommendations for specific loads. Granted you may only be interested in .38 Special and .357 Magnum initially - you may load for other cartridges down the road - oh yes you will. Doesn't matter; it's still a good idea to own and consult published reloading manuals even if you only "need" info on one or two cartridges.

There are many appropriate powders available for what you'll be doing. Take a look at which powders are most frequently recommended in published manuals and create a priority list for what you want and then put it in your phone, or a scrap of paper in your wallet, so when you happen on a place with an inventory you'll know/remember what you're after.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXBryan View Post
The first step as a new reloader is to purchase several reloading manuals and study them. All the major bullet manufacturers and most of the powder companies publish what they consider safe and effective loading information. Most begin with "how-to" information and also contain detailed recommendations for specific loads. Granted you may only be interested in .38 Special and .357 Magnum initially - you may load for other cartridges down the road - oh yes you will. Doesn't matter; it's still a good idea to own and consult published reloading manuals even if you only "need" info on one or two cartridges.

There are many appropriate powders available for what you'll be doing. Take a look at which powders are most frequently recommended in published manuals and create a priority list for what you want and then put it in your phone, or a scrap of paper in your wallet, so when you happen on a place with an inventory you'll know/remember what you're after.
Very good advice. It takes longer to do it the right way, but it's worth the effort and the beginner will be way ahead of others who took shortcuts.
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:18 AM
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You can get by nicely with two powders :

1.) A Fast powder like Bullseye for light and target loads ... this includes, 700X , Red Dot , 231 , HP-38 , Titegroup and Accurate #2

2.) A slower powder for heavier +P and low-mid level magnum loads...
like Unique ... this would include : Accurate #5 , Universal , SR7625 , Power Pistol and HS-6

For heavy Magnum loads you may wish to add a third, slower , powder like 2400 or Enforcer , Lil Gun , 296 , Accurate #7 , Accurate #9 and H110 .
I tried for years to get Unique to "do it all " and although versatile it needs help at the light end and heavy end ... Bullseye powder was my first clue that Unique just wasn't suited for target / light loads and I wasn't going to find one power to do everything .
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:34 AM
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Already said, but.....
Bullseye, W231, Unique

But 2400 is a hoot in a 357 load
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:27 PM
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Most of my handgun loads today are Universal, Unique, BR-5, CFE Pistol, and WC 820 for magnums.

I have used Bullseye (!), W231, AA #5, HS-6231, Titegroup, Red Dot, Blue Dot and True Blue. All with various bullets and all work well.

Check your reloading manual to dertermine your a load (powder, primer, bullet) before you buy components. Many fewer headaches and searching for a load ("I have 1,000 Goober 184 gr bullets and some Super Burn 909 powder, so what charge should I use?") and no "miss matched" components...

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Old 09-09-2021, 02:29 PM
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I shoot bench rested at 25 yards; group size of .5 inch being repeatable

My smallest groups under 800fps were obtained with TrailBoss and 231.
TrailBoss is fun, but the widest use is probably 231.
My smallest groups over 1150fps were with H110 and 4227.

2400 was a stellar performer as well around 1000fps.

Using 158gr up to 180gr cast.

Plated and Jacketed bullets are 2X to 3X the cost. $.08 each vs $.20.
I'm too frugal (cheap) for those and I prefer cast anyway.

Prescut
I'm convinced that Vihtavouri N340 will produce the smallest groups when I get it worked out. Favorite powder.

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Old 09-09-2021, 02:46 PM
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I have used HS-6, Unique, and a few others. Great results with HS-6
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Old 09-10-2021, 03:13 PM
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Hodgdon has titegroup for sale right now and that is one of my favorite powders with what you're wanting to load.

If you like their powders, Hodgdon,Accurate, IMR, Ramshot and Winchester ( wish they would just go ahead and absorb Alliant too) then there is almost always SOME powder listed on their site. Again, I just bought 3 more pounds of titegroup and a pound of 'lilgun.

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Old 09-10-2021, 03:47 PM
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If you only want one powder Unique workd well in both cartridges. Really the only crossover powder for these cartridges that I know of.
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Old 09-10-2021, 04:05 PM
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I hear good things about HS-6 but have never tried it as I don't keep magnum primers in stock. That is also why I don't use H-110..........
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Old 09-10-2021, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Shileen View Post
If you only want one powder Unique workd well in both cartridges. Really the only crossover powder for these cartridges that I know of.
Yep! With the possible addition of WIN 231, Bullseye, Accurate #5, CFE-Pistol, AutoComp & Universal...

Cheers!
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:49 PM
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"700X is great but does not meter very well making it last choice."

I have seen this sentiment made many times, but my experience is exactly the opposite. My Lyman 55 powder measures drop very precise 700-X loads. In fact, I use 700-X as primary for most of my handgun loads of all calibers. It is great for .45 ACP and .45 Colt.

Regarding standard .38 Special loads using lead bullets (simulating factory loading performance) I believe the faster propellants are the best - 700-X, Bullseye, AA #2, Red Dot, and Clays (or anything else in the same general category). 4.0 grains of 700-X and a 158 grain Lead SWC bullet closely duplicates factory load performance in my Model 15.

I don't load very much .357 Magnum, as I believe standard .38 Special loads will do all that I need in a .357 revolver, and I usually fire mainly .38 Special in my .357 revolvers. And PLEASE don't start whining about the so-called buildup ring in the chamber ahead of the case mouth. It simply does not happen if you clean them the right way. Were I in the mood to make up some more powerful loads for my .357s, I would use slower propellants in the Unique class, including Universal and AA#5. I have occasionally used Herco, which is pretty good in the .357.

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Old 09-10-2021, 08:32 PM
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Seeing as how you intend to launch plated bullets you really wont be exceeding 1200 fos. With that considered you are best served with a fast powder, which will also yeild the greatest number of loads per round. Kinda of important these days.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:33 PM
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Not trying to hijack but every time someone asks for a powder recommendation for a revolver cartridge immediately Unique is the numerous uno powder to use. My question is, do you guys who seem to use it for everything have a stockpile stored up ( smart) or is there somewhere to buy it even now? I'd love to see for myself, if I could find some for sale someplace other than gunbroker for $90+ $50 shipping.
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:12 PM
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Haven’t tried Unique? Too bad you don’t live close because I would happily give you the half pound or so that I have left. Don’t waste your money on Unique.
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Old 09-11-2021, 09:47 AM
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Alliant BE-86 might also be a good choice as a powder that meters better than Unique and has a burning rate just a little faster than that of Unique.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:26 AM
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I love Unique and the range of uses it has.
But it used to be called "Flaming Dirt". Some guys care about that.
I keep reading that they modified their recipe to clean it up.
There's just too much history and experience to trash it. I still use quite a bit, even with new powders like Vihtavouri available.


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Old 09-11-2021, 10:56 AM
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Get yourself a good NON POWDER specific reloading manual, like the Lyman, Speer or Hornady. You'll be able to learn a lot about reloading and there will be a lot of various suitable powders listed for different bullets and velocities.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBro View Post
Not trying to hijack but every time someone asks for a powder recommendation for a revolver cartridge immediately Unique is the numerous uno powder to use. My question is, do you guys who seem to use it for everything have a stockpile stored up ( smart) or is there somewhere to buy it even now? I'd love to see for myself, if I could find some for sale someplace other than gunbroker for $90+ $50 shipping.
Yes, I keep a coupla lbs of Unique in reserve, besides the one I have open. Of course that is easier to do now that I use a larger choice of powders. I don't use Unique as much as I did as I have found there are better choices for some applications. When I first got out of the Navy I went to 'Ken's House of Guns' in Texarkana Tx. and bought a RCBS Junior press and the salesman recommended the Lyman 45th manual and showed me that I could load my .44 Mag & Spl and .38spl and .357 as well as most other handgun calibers with Unique. It was all I used for a coupla years til I bought my first lb of H-2400........
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BourbonCowboy View Post
I'm getting into reloading and am looking for some powder for my .38/.357 Magnum reloads. I'll be reloading 158gr flat-pointed plated bullets. Any suggestions?

And yes, I know that most all powder these days is made of pure unobtainium. But, some day it will be back on the market. I'm just looking for some suggestions for what to look for when it is.
I've been using Accurate #2 with good and consistent results at the range.
It's applicable for a lot of different calibers and bullet weights, flows smoothly and evenly out of the dispenser, burns and cleans up nicely, and isn't incredibly expensive or difficult to find.
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp...............
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:03 PM
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I can't say that Unique is the "Best" propellant for any purpose, but it sure is versatile and there aren't many calibers (handgun and rifle) you can't successfully load with it. Close approximations to Unique are AA #5, Power Pistol, 231, and Universal. I don't have much of a supply of Unique remaining, but I have over 10 pounds (in aggregate) of AA#5 and Universal on my shelf. And almost as much 700-X and Clays which are my favorites for .38 Special and .45 ACP.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-11-2021 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 09-12-2021, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBro View Post
Hodgdon has titegroup for sale right now and that is one of my favorite powders with what you're wanting to load.

If you like their powders, Hodgdon,Accurate, IMR, Ramshot and Winchester ( wish they would just go ahead and absorb Alliant too) then there is almost always SOME powder listed on their site. Again, I just bought 3 more pounds of titegroup and a pound of 'lilgun.
Thanks for the suggestion. I just bought a couple pounds (mostly because it was available). Apparently, it's a pretty good powder for 9mm as well, so that works well for me.

I'm still looking for some primers, but I'm in no hurry. My job keeps me too busy to start reloading right now. Hopefully I can start by the end of the year.
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  #34  
Old 09-13-2021, 07:49 AM
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I use Titegroup with my DEWC bullets and love it. I can shoot until I get tired of it and groups well and loads easy.
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  #35  
Old 09-13-2021, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imakmst View Post
Already said, but.....
Bullseye, W231, Unique

But 2400 is a hoot in a 357 load
^^^^^^^^
Me too!
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  #36  
Old 09-13-2021, 10:16 AM
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As for metering of 700-X:

I've tried it in an RCBS, Lyman, and various Lee's. It's never worked for me in any powder measure any better than +-.2 and that was iffy with the RCBS.

With the RCBS it would occasionally (like 4-5%) throw one significantly worse than that. Yes, I metered out 100 and weighed every one of them. I tried static abatement but got nowhere. The only way I can get it to throw is by attaching some sort of agitator.

Some seem to not have problems while others with the same equipment don't. I can't explain it. If it works for you great! If you're new to it go the extra length to verify what it's throwing. I definitely noticed the occasional under-charge while shooting.

It you can throw 700-X, how about 800-X?
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  #37  
Old 09-13-2021, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenwolde View Post
As for metering of 700-X:

I've tried it in an RCBS, Lyman, and various Lee's. It's never worked for me in any powder measure any better than +-.2 and that was iffy with the RCBS.

With the RCBS it would occasionally (like 4-5%) throw one significantly worse than that. Yes, I metered out 100 and weighed every one of them. I tried static abatement but got nowhere. The only way I can get it to throw is by attaching some sort of agitator.

Some seem to not have problems while others with the same equipment don't. I can't explain it. If it works for you great! If you're new to it go the extra length to verify what it's throwing. I definitely noticed the occasional under-charge while shooting.

It you can throw 700-X, how about 800-X?
No experience with 700-X, but I've used 800-X and it's terrible in a Redding pistol powder measure. It's certainly an unfortunate situation as I did develop some good accurate loads with 800-X. I don't know if they still market this powder.
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  #38  
Old 09-13-2021, 11:29 AM
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It will depend on what type of loads that you like to shoot.

95% of my 38 & 357 loads are light target to medium light loads that will
take care of SD work if needed..........
so the fast powders to the medium burn like w231 should work for most loads.

Unique with lead or 2400 or slower powders with a copper jacket will give
you any full load that will work for SD or a 357 hunting load.....
and a pound of powder will load a lot of "Hand jerkers".

Good luck.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 09-15-2021 at 12:24 PM.
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  #39  
Old 09-15-2021, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenwolde View Post
As for metering of 700-X:

I've tried it in an RCBS, Lyman, and various Lee's. It's never worked for me in any powder measure any better than +-.2 and that was iffy with the RCBS.


Some seem to not have problems while others with the same equipment don't. I can't explain it. If it works for you great! If you're new to it go the extra length to verify what it's throwing. I definitely noticed the occasional under-charge while shooting.
On my two Lyman 55s, I have home-made cardboard baffles in their powder reservoirs, and I believe it helps charge consistency for about any propellant. I bought my first Lyman 55 back around 1967, have been using only 55s ever since. I have an RCBS, but I don't like it. With 700-X, mine keep within +/- 0.1 grains. And actually that's more precision than I need. The only other thing you need to do is to keep an eye on the reservoir powder level. I always try to keep the powder level at least an inch above the baffle. Oh, also I NEVER use the powder knocker, I even removed them from my Lymans. The only propellant I ever had consistency trouble with was, I think, HS-6 and that was years ago. It was so inconsistent I ended up using the Lee plastic powder scoop set instead of the Lyman 55 measures.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-15-2021 at 12:34 AM.
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  #40  
Old 09-15-2021, 07:23 PM
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I keep my plated bullets to around 1000fps. You can safely push them as hard as a regular jacketed bullet but they can make a very ugly mess of your barrel. At least that's what I've been told. Wink,wink.
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  #41  
Old 09-15-2021, 08:11 PM
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I run full nuts h110 and 2400 loads under plated and fully jacketed projectiles 125s and 158s... recovery from the mound with plating still intact...
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  #42  
Old 09-16-2021, 07:46 AM
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Default Power Pistol

I try to use power pistol whenever i can because i have 2 1lb and 2 4lbs of it i have plenty of other powders to use but trying to conserve them.
Now i need primers .
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  #43  
Old 09-16-2021, 08:26 AM
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There's a ton of powders out there suitable, but I'm still using the old standbys of Bullseye for light 38 target loads, Unique for full power 38 and medium 357 loads, and 2400 for magnum 357 loads. I could use one of those three powders for every handgun cartridge I own.
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