Cleanest powder for handloading 45acp?


January 20, 2006, 06:14 PM

I've used Unique and Bullseye. The Unique is quite a bit cleaner than the Bullseye, and builds a residue on the firearm, but does not come off easily when brushed against clothing or what not. Whereas the Bullseye leaves sort of carbon dusting like pencil lead dust behind and comes off on contact. I don't like the Bullseye as as much due to the carbon residue seems to cling to anything it touches. Gun gets as dirty, but compared to Unique, it is not as clean to handle when shot a lot.

Also, using a Taurus PT145 (3" bbl) I found that the target shooting loads for bullseye powder in the Speer manual to be a little weak for my slide spring shooting 200gr RNFP leadcast bullets from Oregon Trail. I loaded them right in the middle of the specs stated for Bullseye. I had one FTE on the last round of a magazine while friend was shooting it, I did not experience this issue, but did have weak ejections from the breech. Watching a friend shoot it, you saw the brass barely made it out of the action, often falling right at your feet, not 4-10 feet to the side as is typical with the non-target loads. The others I loaded at the higher specs worked just fine, 100%. Just sharing this info as a learning tidbit for those with the short barreled pistols.

Also, are any of the clean burning powders and primers available for handloaders? That CCI stuff is ultraclean, what powder is that?

What about Speer? I got a bunch of once fired to reload, and the Speer casings were the cleanest inside with almost no powder residue, anyone know what powder this is? Is it available to the handloader?

Many thanks,

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January 20, 2006, 08:06 PM
Try Hodgdons Clays.
HSMITH recommends it and he is right.
If you do a search you'll find lots of answers.

January 20, 2006, 08:21 PM
I found Unique doesn't leave much reside , but sure seems to smoke alot. Anyone try Titegroup?

January 20, 2006, 08:27 PM
yet another post offering me answers and proper direction in less than an hour or so. Thanks again folks, you're all so kind.


January 20, 2006, 08:37 PM
V310 is probably cleanest, most expensive and occ. hard to find, Clays is next and has a nice recoil feel w target loads, then Titegroup which runs kind of hot but stays pretty clean, also cheap but you need a bit more for equivalent power so the price works out about the same as Clays or BE.

The Bushmaster
January 20, 2006, 09:35 PM
Winchester W-231...:D

January 20, 2006, 10:40 PM
Check out Ramshot's line of powders. Has to be the cleanest and most temperature insesensitive powders I've ever used. Really good stuff.

January 20, 2006, 11:22 PM
Clays, absolutely! Second choice ( based on experience would be W-231)

January 20, 2006, 11:24 PM

You might wish to try 700X. I've found it to be clean & accurate. However, since it's a very fast powder, it doesn't fill the case. In other words a double charge won't overflow, just a note of caution not a hard knock on it.


January 21, 2006, 08:36 AM
I've only shot AA#5, W231, Bullseye and Titegroup out of my .45. The Titegroup has been the cleanest for me. (FWIW) So far the AA#5 has been the most accurate but I think that's operater error as much as anything. :) The nice thing about the Titegroup is that I use it for my light target loads in the S&W .500 and I like to have a single powder do multiple things.


January 21, 2006, 09:54 AM
I've had good experience with Titegroup as well. I can use it in every handgun caliber I reload.

January 21, 2006, 11:48 AM
I use Greendot for my 185grs XTP and W 231 for my 230 gr ball and both seen to shoot without to much fouling in my M1911 and my USP Tactical.

Ol` Joe
January 21, 2006, 12:45 PM
I`ve used Titegroup, Bullseye, and VVn320 in my 45. VVn320 is by far the cleanest of the three.

January 21, 2006, 01:30 PM
Shooting lead, the majority of the gunk is from the bullet lube; a change in powder won't make a significant difference.

I use WST and plated bullets for fun loads. Super clean; comparable to VV320, only less expensive and easier to get..

January 21, 2006, 04:08 PM
I 've used Unique but 231 is the one I always go back to. Heck, if it was good enough for Ross Seyfreid and The Bushmaster uses it too it's got to be good! A couple of older friends use 700X and Green Dot and swear by those too.

January 21, 2006, 04:52 PM
I've used Unique with my FMJ rounds for about 2 years. Seems VERY clean to me.

Yesterday, I shot my first bunch of LRN handloads. If I hadn't known the mess was from the bullet lube, I would've said Unique was the smokiest, nastiest powder around.

January 21, 2006, 05:30 PM
Clays is great for slow target loads, universal for hot loads. Both are very clean. JDGray

January 23, 2006, 01:11 PM
Agree. I used 231 for many years in my 1911; it's a great powder. I now use Clays, due to its somewhat softer recoil. It is also extremely clean. I've been playing around with Titegroup. I like the way it shoots, but it's quite dirty. On the other hand, you DO clean your gun (don't you??!?!) and therefore the cleanliness of the powder is, at best, a secondary consideration.

If you really want CLEAN, buy some of that Winchester WinClean ammo. I don't know what they use in those things, but the fired cases look....unfired! Trade secret, I suppose, since no Winchester canister powder I know will do that.

January 23, 2006, 03:21 PM
I clean my pistol almost immediately after every shooting session. It's just that I plan to be on vacation soon and will likely not make time to clean it thoroughly for a week or two, but I anticipate shooting over 500 rounds on this trip. Actually, I'm going to make a point to. I just want to look into an overall clean powder that makes cleaning the firearm less of a chore (not that it's much of one mind you) and also make my reloading brass a bit cleaner.

I know the CCI aluminum case stuff burns real clean, the spent cases do look new, but can't reload those. Also, my speer once fired cases look very clean that I got from This just turns into less overall labor for me reloading.

I have lots to go on here and it's a great place to start, thanks folks. If anyone knows where to find that winclean, speer, or cci powder, please holler, that stuff burns very clean.

I did not realize how much of my gunk buildup was the bullet lube. I'll have to load some JHPs with my Bullseye powder and give it a whirl to see if it was all lube, or a bit of both. Regardless of it's cleanliness, I have almost a pound of it to go through now and I'm almost out of Unique.


January 23, 2006, 07:45 PM
My preferred powders for .45 acp.
1. Power pistol (I buy it in the largest quantities, very versatile.)
2. Unique (Most accurate in .45!, very versatile.)
3. Clays (Clean, least recoil, uses very little powder.)
4. WSF (Very versatile, very accurate, use less powder than HS-6, limited load data.)
5. HS-6 (Very versatile, very accurate.)

So my recommendation for you would be clays.

The Bushmaster
January 23, 2006, 09:18 PM
Jeepmor...When you go on vacation just take the cleaning rod and the patch jag and some patches with you. At the end of the day and during the day run a patch or two and call it good. I would recommend that you take a lightly oiled cotton ("T" shirt material) rag and wipe the handgun down at the end of every day. You can store the rag in a zip-lok bag. This routine is what I use on those 10 day hunting trips to the mountains and it has served me well...And I hunt in the Northwest where it rains...:)

January 23, 2006, 10:23 PM
A question for all y'all that love Clays - how does it chrono out against HS6 or AA#5 or PowerPistol? My manuals show Clays as being quite anemic in velocity when compared to other powders....

January 24, 2006, 01:30 AM
HS-6 generally gives higher velocities at lower pressures than Clays, check out Hodgdon's loading info:

January 24, 2006, 07:20 AM
There's no doubt you can eek more velocity out of powders that specialize in that sort of thing.
Clays has some definate downfalls, but in stout guns in the .45 caliber, it burns clean, uses less powder, and recoils less than most.
It's hard on guns, no doubt.
If you want max FPS, I'd recommend stuff in the slower range like power pistol, unique, HS-6, WSF, etc.
Once you get too slow (Like blue dot, etc.) you have other problems, like inconsistant ignition, crappy burn, and you're basically just wasting powder.

January 24, 2006, 05:50 PM
I use Titegroup for my .45 and am very happy with it. I also like to use as few different powders as possible. I use Titegroup for my 45, 40 and light 500 S&W loads.

January 24, 2006, 07:50 PM
Again here I sit with plenty of information to move forward with my plans. It looks like the Unique powder is actually pretty good and universal for my needs. I'll be buying it again because it was fairly clean. As for the others, I will be trying them too in due time. It appears I have about 3-5 options to try out, that'll be about 3k-5k rounds, that'll take me a while. I'm sitting at about 950 rounds through my 45 now at ~4 months. Gonna have to step up my plinking sessions a bit to try all that powder.

But right now I have a bunch of bullseye that I have opened and cannot take back.

Also, on the vacation cleaning advice, many thanks. I'll be putting a kit together this week and taking my cleaning stuff also. I don't anticipate staying in a motel every night, so the gun won't necessarily be cleaned thoroughly after every shooting session. But I will swab it out and wipe it off for good measure and put it back in the console where it will reside on this trip. I won't be getting far from my vehicle except when snowboarding, so it'll probably get put in the cargo top carrier while I ride to keep prying eyes from figuring out there is a weapon in my car.

I'm heading to more conservative lands enroute to Colorado from Portland, so the acceptance of the plinking should get more welcome as I travel, not less. Actually, less than two hours out of Portland and the liberal ratio drops to nearly nothing. Anyone got some suggestions as to some good places to stop and fill some paper targets with holes along the way?


January 24, 2006, 08:02 PM
I shoot good ol' bullseye and it does fine. My buddy shoots W231 and it does seem a lot cleaner.

January 24, 2006, 08:12 PM
My bullseye powder is working fine too, I just wanted to try and find some clean powder to keep the inside of my cases as free from residue as possible.

Like I stated earlier in this thread, my speer once fireds looked brand new, almost no residue in them. Had it not been for a spent primer in the case, I would have thought they were new.

Just thinking long term ovearall reloading system, I'll try lots of stuff, have plenty of direction to go the right way now.

thx again, jeepmor

January 25, 2006, 01:03 PM
I've used VV N310 for the past couple of years. It's the cleanest powder I've ever found.

January 25, 2006, 03:51 PM
see, I just went the opposite direction. W231 is pretty smokey with the lead rounds I'm using so I'm gonna try Unique. Maybe I should of picked up some Clays instead.

January 25, 2006, 05:43 PM
I like Clays for the clean burning. I love W-231 with 230gr flying ashtrays, it functioned in a 1911A1 flawlessly and had consistent expansion in wet newspaper. I need to get back to doing reloads.

Clays, absolutely! Second choice ( based on experience would be W-231)

January 26, 2006, 12:28 AM
Lenny, you won't be sorry you tried Unique in 45, it just flat works too good and especially so with lead bullets.

Clays is dead clean with jacketed bullets. N310 might be a little cleaner, but at 1.5 times the price and limited availability I have a hard time buying it.

Performance is where it really lies. If you want to punch paper you should pick a different powder than someone who wants to push the velocities to the top.

January 26, 2006, 10:42 AM
I picked up some Unique yesterday and we loaded some 230 leads up last night. My son, since I've taught him to reload, has been non stop in the garage reloading ammo for his Springer 1911.

We're gonna take them to the range this eve and shoot the Unique loads as well as the 231's.

As a side bar, my springs and steel recoil rod should show up today for my new G20 so I can shoot that this eve as well. :D

January 26, 2006, 11:25 AM
W231 works good. Don't know if it's the cleanest.

April 26, 2006, 02:16 AM
Clays is cleanest, but is a flake, and velocity harder to acheive, depending what you want.
Titegroup is clean, but with low charges leaves a residue on the case that's not hard to clean. Titegroup leaves the least "ejecta" of all powders according to one study(that's a mix of the lead, brass, powder, etc etc that flies when a shot is fired)

December 28, 2008, 08:31 PM
well guys, ill tell you what. i load 5.5 grains of titegroup for my 45 with 185 grain XTPs. after about 40 rounds, my colt is so dirty ive got to pull it apart and scrub it with a tooth brush and dawn dishwashing soap (its a nickel . dont know why . everyone else says its a real clean powder. i went to the range today and took 50rds of the el-cheapo winchester white box ball ammo,230gr, and 50rds of my XTP reloads. i shot the winchester up first (to adjust my sights and burn it up for the cases) . after the winchester was gone, my gun was still somewhat clean. i shot i 8rd mag of those titegroup loads and my gun was filthy. black crud around the muzzle,etc. my feed ramp which is polished like a mirror and which was completely visible after 50rds of winchester was not completely black and you couldnt see it for squat.

what id like to know is what powder it is that winchester uses in there 230gr ball ammo!......

December 29, 2008, 12:04 PM
I am using Alliant American Select for my .40 and .45 reloads. WAY more cleaner burning then W231.

December 29, 2008, 12:19 PM
WST, W-231, WSF, AA #2, AA #5, Zip, Competition, N310, N320, 700X, Clays, Red Dot, American Select. All clean to very clean and good for different apps in .45.

Bullseye and Unique are widely used for .45, even though they are not as clean as some others. Many don't care and only want accuracy/performance.

December 29, 2008, 12:31 PM
Solo 1000 is exceptionally clean in my experience for 45 auto, even when loaded below max intensity for "normal" velocity loadings. I think you will find slowish ball propellants, i.e. HS-6 and AA#5 the worst offenders for powder fouling (esp in cold weather), but if you want top velocity and very consistent metering that's the price you pay.

December 29, 2008, 12:34 PM
I use Clays for my target loads and am very happy with it.

December 29, 2008, 01:00 PM
G56 (post #23): You are correct. Clays is an inexpensive double-base powder that builds pressure rather suddenly with small charges due to its nitroglycerin coating. It is also very consistent if you measure your charges consistently. So max pressure is achieved but high velocity is not. Building pressure suddenly makes it clean and economical for mid-velocity loads in 45acp.
Good for my 12ga mid-power shotshells for the same reasons, but doesn't cycle my Rem 1100 autoloader very well.

December 31, 2008, 11:42 PM
Wow, this thread is that old and keeps on going. Must be the clean powder question in the original post.

As for me, I still like Unique. I've used Blue Dot and Power Pistol since that CO trip a couple years ago. The Bullseye powder is gone and I think I prefer Power Pistol now for high energy economy loads now instead. But pounds of powder last quite a while in this form and I'm in no hurry. For that matter, I currently have Blue Dot and Unique as regular 'reloading pantry' purchases and mix it up with the rest.

In my rifles, Varget is a mainstay for the 223.

As for the CO trip, it was spectacular. The firearm friendliness was abundant in my backcountry route. The people were friendly and when I rode my snowboard, the snow was usually deep. When it wasn't snowing, the skies were clear. Being from the PNW this is new, beyond that, I considered moving there and working on my raccoon suntan.

I'm still in the PNW, still have my webbed feet. All is well.


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