need help choosing powders


December 25, 2005, 10:19 PM
im looking for two good general purpose powders. one for rifle and one for pistol

for the pistols i was thinking 700x, bullseye (would like something cleaner) universal or win 231.
the cals i load pistol for are:

38sp (no 357 yet, just not a priority) 158gr
9mm 115gr
45acp 185/230 gr

for rifles i was thinking h-4895, imr 4895, or varget

the cals for rifle are:
22-250 55gr
270 130gr
223 55gr

which of these powders would be best? would you guys recomend any others? any help is appreciated. cost is a factor, but it can be overlooked if one powder really trumps the rest. i threw in the most common weight bullet i load too if that makes a difference

thanks in advance

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December 25, 2005, 10:30 PM
I'm still somewhat of a rookie but I'm trying to see if I can stick with WIN 231 and IMR 4895. We'll see...


December 25, 2005, 10:32 PM
I'm no help - I use Accurate Arms #'s 2 and 5 for 9mm, and have pretty good results, and H-335 for rifles, with mixed results.

December 25, 2005, 10:35 PM
Titegroup would cover the pistol rounds...I don't find BE that dirty with a solid crimp. 231 seems about the same residue as BE

Can't help with rifle powders.

December 25, 2005, 10:45 PM
231 and IMR4895 will certainly rank right up there as 2 of the more versatile powders for their appropriate calibers.

There may be a better choice, but I can not think of what it would be.

Jim Watson
December 25, 2005, 11:37 PM
I have shot a variety of different pistol powders but have always gone back to W231 (or currently HP38 which is the same stuff in a Hodgdon can.)

Kind of a tossup on rifle powder. I am shooting a good deal of Varget lately.

The Bushmaster
December 26, 2005, 12:05 PM
I've been using W-231 for years in my .38 Spec., 9 mm X 19 and .45 ACP. I doubt that I will ever change as I have found a powder that works very well in these calibres. I also use W-231 in a short (2 1/2") barreled .357 magnum mod 19. I have found that W-231 does not work well in long barreled .357 magnums as it scatters bullets all over the target. But for .38 Specials and most auto loaders it is prime...

Rifle powders...Not much experience with these as I only had to develope loads for two rifles. A .30-30 Winchester (W-748) and a .30-06 Browning A-Bolt (H4831SC).

Do what every reloader does. Buy your powder by the pound and start experimenting until you find what works...Don't get discouraged and have a """BLAST""".:D

Smokey Joe
December 27, 2005, 11:49 PM
Trickyasafox--IMX, Bushmaster is right on with W-231. It works for me in all my light pistol loads (including those for a long-bbl .357 magnum, BTW.)

One caution with W231, though: The usual charge is so tiny that it would be very easy to double-charge a case, or mebbe even triple-charge some loads. God punishes first offenders for doing this.

It's not a problem, IF you can self-induce a bit of paranoia about checking all the cases to ensure that none of them is doubled. In a progressive press, a powder-check die is very helpful.

The upside of using a tiny-charge powder like W231 is, that a pound of the stuff lasts almost forever. Which is really nice, cost-wise. Just did the math--At 3.4 grains of W231 in my target loads, I get 2058 loads from a pound of powder, given that I spill none. My Scottish soul gets a warm feeling just thinking about that! :)

December 28, 2005, 01:05 AM
I also like W-W231 and Titegroup for all light to medium loads, but I don't think either works all that well in heavy stuff. Jim.

December 28, 2005, 01:27 AM
It is best to pick a brand of powder and stick with Hodgons and get a manual on their powders and compare the different loads. I would highly recommend as a basic powder for a pistol. Hodgons has one called tightgroup and universal that covers a wide range of handguns and in different weights.
For rifle Varget and H-335 will cover the widest range of calibers.

December 28, 2005, 11:21 AM
For .30-06 (Garand) and .223 -> IMR4895 or AA2230 (2230 preferred cause its a ball powder and costs 30% less than IMR)

For .45ACP and Blanks -> Bullseye

The Bushmaster
December 28, 2005, 11:37 AM
W-231 not good for heavy loads?...I agree that you have to experiment with each and every powder. But in at least one hand gun in my small arsenal W-231 works to give me the best velocity of all the powders that I have tried in it. It's a S&W Mod 19 with a 2 1/2" barrel. My original goal was to reach 1200fps any way I could. I came close and W-231 was the only one that seemed to do it. Using Winchester or Remington cases primed with WSPM. 7.8 grains of W-231 under a 140 grain Remington SJHP. Velocity...1150 fps. This is a near maximum loading and should be worked up to carefully.

On the subject of using only one manufacturers powder...That seems rather restrictive to me as I use several manufacturers products. My loading bench is a rainbow of color. In powders I use Alliant, Hodgdon and Winchester. I have had other powders in stock and will have others as I progress through all manufacturers looking for that perfect powder. I do tend to compare all others with the fore mentioned powders though...

December 28, 2005, 12:56 PM
One thing you should consider is whether you are looking at target or self-defense loads for your pistol ammo. Powders that I have used that have worked well for 9mm & .45 auto are Titegroup, AA5, & Unique. I would suggest Titegroup for target loads, AA5 for self defense or power loads, & Unique for either. The only reason I don't recommend Unique over the others is because it doesn't meter very well in some powder measures.

The Bushmaster
December 28, 2005, 01:33 PM
And the last time I used AA-5 I found it too heat sensitive. I will give it credit as a high velocity powder for the longer barreled handguns. It does need a strong crimp to burn completely though. In .38 Special I had a problem with unburned powder fouling the ejecter star on my Mod 10s...AA-5 worked well in my 6 1/2" Ruger Blackhawk. But as the temperature of the day rose and cylinder temperatures increased so did the chamber pressures to the point that I had split and stuck cases. I would really recommend that if you use AA-5 that you start at the low end and build slowly and do it in the heat of the day to insure that you don't develope a maximum loading that seems in spec according to the load manual, but has high chamber pressures.

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