I need another versitile handgun powder.


December 21, 2004, 01:45 PM
I like to keep my reloading simple. I use Win 231 for all my handgun loads because it's really versitile and I can get good loads for a couple different bullet weights in quite a few different calibers and only have to keep one powder around.

The thing is that I hit a roadblock now and then when I want to push a heavy bullet in a large caliber - say 300gr bullet in 45 Colt or 180-200gr bullet in 357 mag. So, I know I need to choose another powder for this step up, but I'd still like to keep it to two powders. So now I need to find another, slower burning, versitile powder for these kinds of loads in 45 Colt, 357, 44, and eventually 454.

I'm thinking 2400 or Win 296 might be my best bet. The thing about Win 231 is that it's REALLY common, so I can always find it in places that only carry a few powders in stock. That's something else I'll have to consider. It'd have to be a popular powder.

I'm going to fish through a bunch of data and manuals, but let me know what you think.

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December 21, 2004, 02:13 PM

I seem to see it in all the gunshops and gunshows around here anyway.

Have a good one,

December 21, 2004, 02:16 PM

Black Snowman
December 21, 2004, 02:37 PM
I can't for the life of me get 2400 to burn clean. I get unburnt flakes with everything from light to max loads in just about everything I try from 357 to 44 Mag.

HS-6 and Lil' Gun are both good options. A bit more data available for HS-6 since it's been around longer.

December 21, 2004, 03:16 PM
Good tips. I hadn't considered those. Thanks.

December 21, 2004, 03:16 PM
The powder that I use for all of my guns is 2400. I'm now using (but so far have used only for 10mm and .44 mag) is AA#7.
I occassionally use H-110 in .357 and .44 but in my opinion, it works best in .357 and is to much for .44

41 Redhawk
December 21, 2004, 03:57 PM
AA#9 would suit that purpose as well

Desert Dog
December 21, 2004, 05:34 PM
Second on the AA#9. You can push some big bullets very efficently with this powder.

Another choice would be Lil' Gun. You get big boomers with it and very low pressure.

December 21, 2004, 05:58 PM
Well, I'll be blasphemous and recommend Unique. Lots of people will tell you it's a dirty powder, but I've been using it for over 20 years and just can't see a big difference between it and Bullseye or W231 as far as burning "dirty" is concerned. I've always had good results with it in .44, .45LC, 10MM, and 12 gauge.

I still like using W231 in .45ACP, but otherwise I am a fan of Unique.

December 21, 2004, 05:59 PM
You guys are really going to make me do my homework to decide. ;) That's OK. I'm getting good suggestions and I appreciate it. :)

Sam Adams
December 21, 2004, 06:17 PM
What is your most accurate load in a full-sized government model? I've got about 1,000 brass cases, a can of 231 and a bunch of 230 JHPs, FMJs and some 185 JHPs. I'd like to simplify the process of finding the best load (i.e. cheat :D ), so I'd appreciate any advice that you've got.

December 21, 2004, 06:45 PM
I'm at work. I'll look it up tonight. ;)

December 21, 2004, 09:55 PM
In some calibers, Herco may work a tad better with heavy bullets than Unique. Those two (and maybe a few other newer powders) are about as slow as you can get without needing to consider Magnum primers. I've never tried 2400, partly because it sometimes requires Mag primers (depending on the manual) and partly because it uses much heavier charge weights. Recoil of a 125-gr .357 going 1400 fps with 19-20 grains of 296 is roughly equal to recoil of a 135-grain Nosler IPSC bullet going the same speed, launched with a powder charge of 10 grains. I'm not too keen on accelerating large volumes/weights of pistol powder...

December 21, 2004, 10:06 PM
Actually Grump brings up a good point I should have mentioned in my post: The majority of my Unique loads in the calibers mentioned are pretty mid-range. Except for 10MM, I usually will use other powders for the few near-max batches I make in a year.

December 22, 2004, 02:29 AM
A few yrs back in some of the better gun mags it got down to IF you had a h/gun, rifle & a shotgun then what powder would you use with your handloader out in the hills. Turns out UNIQUE won by far as the most versitile powder to do all jobs.

December 22, 2004, 03:22 AM
I've settled on three powders for handgun; w231 for everyday loads, H110 & AA#9 for the rest.

December 22, 2004, 11:03 AM
I have had really good luck with my Unique loads...I don't generally get too much powder fouling with my 45 winmag...I don't shoot an autoloader, however....its in a TC 10", plus I put a fairly heavy crimp on it...

my 45-70 with toilet paper wads and a 300-350 gr lrn does pretty good too with no lead or powder fouling...but I prefer 2400 with that big'un.

Herco and AA#9 are both really good for what you would be looking for...but thats all I have experience with as far as pistol type powders go.


December 22, 2004, 11:34 AM
If you like AA9, try H108 or WC820, it's alot cheaper and works the same. Of course, you have to buy 8# at a time. sundog

December 22, 2004, 01:01 PM
Sam Adams,

I forgot about your Win 231/45ACP load. I'll try to remember to look it up tonight. Sorry!

Everybody else,

My first order of business with this new powder is going to be to work up a warm .357 Mag load with a 180-200gr bullet.

December 22, 2004, 03:32 PM
I have most powders, but use Power pistol in pistols and H110/W296 or LIL'GUN in revolvers. These ball powders give the most velocity in the revolvers at modest pressures.

There are some exceptions for 800X in 32 S&W long, 40 S&W, and 10mm.

For quiet load experiments, I use Bullseye.
For 45 Colt wimp loads, I use Unique.

December 22, 2004, 03:37 PM
another vote for unique, and I like universal clay as well. :)

December 22, 2004, 05:15 PM
VV N340 is my general purpose powder - and it's best if you order it direct from Kaltron - Pettibone 800-683-0464 (everywhere else it's liable to be too near the end of its shelf life).

It was a little balky in my Dillon, but I smoothed out the powder measure and it works like a dream (I'd been doing all of my reloading on a Forster for some years, with a Redding powder measure).

And when you want to kick heavy rounds hard, go with N110. . .

To be fair, I have no experience with domestic powders - I started out with N340, loved it ('clean' doesn't come close), and went for N110 for the Super Redhawk

N110 will do 454 Casull: 300gr Speer over 28.2gr chrono'd 1675fps (firm crimp, witnessed last year)

The two take care of any of my handgun loads.


December 22, 2004, 05:57 PM
I don't think I could limit myself to just two powders. W-231 is a great choice for mild loads, but it really gets to maximum pressures fast when you push it into the middle range loads. W-296 and its twin, H-110, are great for full bore magnum loads. AA#9, in my experience, is about one notch faster than W-296/H-110. Of course, Unique is a great powder, but I am going to start experimenting with Hogdgon Universal Clays since it is supposed to be cleaner burning and has smaller sized flakes than Unique, but has an almost identical burning rate as Unique. AA#5 is a good medium powder too. Then there is AA#7 which has applications in 357 and 44 magnum and is the powder for 10mm. Oh, so many great choices, I am glad I don't have to pick just two!!!

I don't know if I could even settle on just three. Maybe I could call it quits with four. W-296, Unique (or Universal Clays), AA#7, and W-296/H-110. Notice anything here? All but one are spherical powders. Why do I gravitate towards spherical powders? Uniformity of charge weights from my RCBS Uniflow powder measure.

Mark whiz
December 22, 2004, 06:06 PM
I've had good luck with both Hodgdon Universal Clays & AA#5 for multiple caliber use. I've found acceptable loads in .32ACP, .38Spcl, .357Mag, & .45ACP with them. I've also had good results with Win WST in .45ACP loads and .38Spcl target loads. IMR Hi-Skor 700-X and Alliant Red Dot also works good in some of those applications - although not great in the .357Mag role.

December 22, 2004, 07:15 PM
Sam Adams,

My 45ACP load with Win 231 for a 230gr bullet is 4.5gr. You can bump that to 4.7 or 4.9 if you like it warmer, but I get my best groups with 4.5

December 22, 2004, 09:29 PM
My pistol inventory right now is three and it works OK -- not great but no disappointments. They are 296, 231 and Unique.

December 23, 2004, 11:11 AM
HS-6 was mentioned earlier, but has anyone tried HS-7? I have been using Unique with good results but it doesn’t meter well for me and I've been thinking about switching. Looking at the data, 7 shows higher velocities than 6 in everything from 9mm to 45 auto. Do you guys have any thoughts?

Sam Adams
December 23, 2004, 11:29 AM
Thanks for the load info. I have about 200 cases that are polished, sized and belled - the next step is putting some powder and bullets in them, which I hope to do this weekend.

December 23, 2004, 12:47 PM
296 and H110 are virtually the same powder. (Some say it IS the same powder, but loading data usually shows slight differences.)

I don't like Unique - it's dirty, and the grains are JUST the right size to gum up my Uniflow measure. But a powder with a very similar burning rate is SR-4756. Data isn't interchangeable, but I've found that what Unique will do, SR-4756 will do better.

Sam Adams
December 26, 2004, 01:14 PM
My 45ACP load with Win 231 for a 230gr bullet is 4.5gr. You can bump that to 4.7 or 4.9 if you like it warmer, but I get my best groups with 4.5

Are you sure about that? My Sierra manual shows that 230 gr. FMJs or HPs should be loaded with between 4.9 and 5.7 grains of 231.

December 26, 2004, 01:41 PM
Sam Adams,
I wanted to let you know what i have been loading for many years in the 45 ACP.
230 Grain Hard Cast or Jacketed Montana Gold
5.8 Grains of WW231
WW Large Pistl Primers.
O.A.L 1.255 inches Taper Crimp Die from Lee or us a factory
crimp die. This is important since the case headspaces on the
front and not on the back.

I have also used the same powder charge with 200 gr. Round Nose Semi Wad
Curtters from Red Line . (cast bullets) with no problems .

NOTE: Some of your newer Reloading Manuals the charges are less than the older publications.
The 200 Grain Cast Redline Bullets with 5.8 grains of WW231 i Chronographed at 850 FeetPerSecond. Curt

December 27, 2004, 02:43 PM
I don't have time to look right now, but I THINK it was the Winchester manual. It works for me with my Kimber. It sounds really light from what you're saying, but it cycles the action just great and shoots good. You might try it or try those other loads.

Sam Adams
December 27, 2004, 03:13 PM
Fulloflead - Well, what happens in a semi-auto if the load is too light? It just doesn't cycle, right? IF that is the fact, then I have nothing except a few seconds lost trying to unjam my gun to lose. I seriously doubt that the 4.5 grain load would be so light as to not get the bullet out of the barrel, so I'm not worried about that.

cottontoptexan - thanks for the information. I'll certainly be giving your load a try.

December 27, 2004, 07:54 PM
Sam Adams,
You'll have trouble getting your gun to run right far before you get a bullet stuck in a barrel. I think you'll be fine. Report back.

I just got 3 new reloading manuals in the mail so I'm going to pour over the load data for your suggestions for a few days and see what I end up with. Thanks.

December 27, 2004, 10:26 PM
I get along well with Green Dot in 38Spl, 9mm, & especially 45ACP though also feel at home with Unique, to even HP-38 on said loads. Yes even with old Winchester 452AA (believe it is now called Winchester WST) for both 38Spl & 45s only do not use it in my 9X19 as I read that it(452AA that is), in American Handgunner some 10 or 12 yrs ago, was really to fine a powder for 9mm & write just had this feeling. I agree that the 452AA is probably the smallest stuff I have ever seen.

December 28, 2004, 11:25 PM
I use H110 for my mag loads (. 357, 41, 44 and some hot 45 Long colt) Unique for middle range stuff and bullseye for the small stuff. rugerman

Bob Thompson
December 29, 2004, 12:59 PM
I agree with all posts and will add one note. While working to achieve max. velocities with .45 Super, I got to where I encountered case bulge with most conventional powders in an autoloader. I found 50 or so fps faster using Power Pistol without excessive pressure or case bulge. I think is has something to do with "burn rate" and ejection start cycle. Most velocities in the manuals with this powder show lower pressure for the same bullet and powder weight. I like this powder for max. autoloader cartridges.

December 29, 2004, 03:58 PM
I've thought of going 45 Super. Just out of curiosity, are you exclusively using 45 Super brass? Lead or Jacketed bullets? Who did your conversion, or did you just add a heavier recoil spring to a quality 1911?

Bob Thompson
December 29, 2004, 04:48 PM
Full, yes I use Starline .45 Super brass exclusively. It is headstamped .45 Super. I understand it has a thicker web at the base. I don't have a great deal of rounds through it but I use an HK USP 45 for .45 Super unmodified. HK says its OK but change out the recoil spring about every 3000 rounds. I've not had any problems at all but only about 100 rounds of .45 Super through it so far. Mostly .45 ACP. I like to load a 185 g. Sierra jacketed flat point, which has an exposed lead front and full jacket. I reach 1300 fps with no problems using Power Pistol. This is a great powder for just this purpose and very versital for other applications.

December 29, 2004, 04:57 PM

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