Slowly getting rid of the "fast" powders


Peter M. Eick
April 8, 2006, 06:47 PM
Well, I killed another pound of Bullseye reloading for 45 today. Only one pound left. I finally used up the titegroup (what a mistake to buy that stuff), the 231 is gone, aa2 improved is gone so now only a pound of bullseye left.

By the way, I ignore trail boss because it is so fluffy, I have yet to find a case that you can double charge a reasonable load without spilling.

I have been on a campaign to use only powders that will overflow the case if a double charge occurs. No more "little pinches" of powder like titegroup in the bottom of a 357 mag case. Besides the "titegroup stain" is such a pain to clean up. I have found that while the accuracy of some calibers is not as good with slower powders, I think I have just not put the time in to find the right load again.

This was all brought on by me deciding that I did not trust myself not to double charge up a 357 mag round with titegroup, so I started using a powder checker die if the powder would not spill on a double charge. In my Pro2000, this meant that I had to seat and crimp in one stage instead of 2 like I prefer. One more pound of powder and the powder cop can go back into storage, and the crimp dies can come back into play.

Anyone else trying to avoid faster powders out there?

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April 8, 2006, 07:51 PM
If you don't mind, can I ask what you didn't like about Titegroup? I've just picked up a pound of it, and it'd be good to know if there are things I should look out for.

April 8, 2006, 08:12 PM
peter- yes, i am... i am trying to go only to powders that will either spill or will be obvious if overcharged. so, i have consolidated on 3 powders for pistols: h-110 (480 ruger), 2400 (357 mag), power pistol (38 special, 40, 45). also, to prevent the powder build up i had, i only have guns chambered to what i already have on hand. so, the new pistol i picked up a couple weeks ago was yet another 40... but, at least now i don't have 24 types of powder consuming all manner of space. i can just buy the 3 powders i like in big jugs, and just let it go at that.

as for rifle powders, that is still a catastrophe (i'm down to about 9 different types, and am starting to get close to bare minimum), but in most instances, it isn't possible to double charge a rifle case, unless you are using inappropriate powder.

Peter M. Eick
April 8, 2006, 09:42 PM
Why don't I like titegroup? Put a midrange charge in a 357 mag and try to see it from the top. Now put 3 of them in there and see if with a quick glance you can tell the difference. Tough isn't it? Also titegroup leaves a stain or waxxy paste like buildup on my cylinders and frame. It takes a lot of work to keep it clean. Finally titegroup was not really that tight for me on accuracy. It does well in some calibers but others it was so so.

For me, I am standardizing on:
2400 for the 357mag
AA9 for the 357sig
Power pistol for the 45acp, 40 and 9mm.
AA7, Longshot or Blue Dot for 10mm (I have yet to find the perfect load)
trail boss for 38 special
Unique for 380 auto

Like you I looked at my powder stash and I have way too many varieties that I need to say ok, this is the perfect powder for what? Unfortunately I could not figure out the what, so a lot of them are getting loaded up and not replaced. A quick count showed I have currently over 35 different powders still and I am still trying to get rid of the bullseye.

For rifle I have it down pat.

25-06 Retumbo
7-08 imr-4064
308 imr-4895
30-30 imr-3031

Now I just have to burn up the rest of the powder like the RL7 and Varget I bought.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the I am trying to get rid of:
Pyrodex RS (not that accurate in my walker)
777 (same as above)
aa5 (duplicates power pistol for me)
rl7 (not as good as 3031 for 30/30)
xmr-2495 (not as accurate as 4895 in my M1A's)
varget (same as above)
univ. clays (not as forgiving as unique)
imr-4350 (retumbo works better in the 2506)

April 8, 2006, 10:09 PM
Its interesting to hear you confirm what I feared most when I started reloading pistol ammo.

I started with .223 because you could not double charge that case with the powders I was using. I branched into several more rifle cartridges before I reloaded for my .357. That and .38 are the only revolvers I reload for.

I was very happy to find that 2400 would overflow the case if you double charged it while loading .357.

Some of those powders that you mention, like titegroup, just make me nervous!

April 8, 2006, 10:50 PM
Internet lore! If you have good reloading technique you will not have problems. Problems arise when you reload while distracted, tired, or you have poor technique! If a powder works for you, then work with it. Now, I subscribe to the keep it simple stupid logistics. I load for only 45ACP handguns, and I have gone through 3 eight # jugs of Titegroup and half way through the 4th. Varget works well for the 223 and 308 rifles. Yeah, Peter is right about the Titegroup tatoo! But, hey you have to clean the guns anyways. It it does not have anywhere the unburnt powder that some other powders left me. I used to use 231 or HP38 for a long time, I trialed other powders back then like BE and Unique (talk about dirty). See, BE used to be one to be concerned with, saw ruined Python that did not tolerate a double charge of BE! It all comes down to being a vigilant reloader!:banghead:

April 8, 2006, 11:06 PM
I have way WAY too much fast powder on hand to even consider it. 12+ pounds of bullseye and 10 pounds of clays is just the start......

I do all my production loading on a pair of 550B's, I don't worry about double charges much.

April 9, 2006, 12:00 AM
Is it more of a concern when using a progressive press? Is it harder to see into a tall case then? I know that when I've filled up a loading block, no-loads and double-loads are easy for me to see even in 357 cases. It may help that I have a strong desk lamp on my reloading bench, and a flashlight for when I want even more light in the case.

I've also taken to counting how many times I pull the handle on the powder measure. When I get to the 50th case in the loading block and I haven't pulled it 50 times, I'll give that loading block extra attention.

On the other hand, I sure can't fault someone for wanting spilled powder to make it even more obvious. I think a man should take every precaution that makes sense to him. Besides, as I've mentioned before, my sense of danger may be somewhat broken.

It'll be interesting to see what I think of Titegroup's dirt. Thanks for the heads up!

Peter M. Eick
April 9, 2006, 05:05 PM
Yes it is a progressive issue. The problem is even with 3 lights, I cannot 100% of the time be sure with titegeoup or bulleye that I have not double charged a case. As was pointed out it is a technique issue.

So, you can go for slower powders and crimp and seat as separate steps (my choice). Or you can go for faster powders and use a powder checker and crimp and seat in one step (my old technique) or you can rely on your technique and have no problems (my oldest approach).

What really drove this home is I am approaching 150,000 rnds loaded on my pro2000. Fortunately no screwups yet, but that does not mean I am infallable. As I started buying more and more collector grade 38's and 357mags (Yikes have Registereds gotten expensive recently), my concern of a failure grew. Thus I felt I needed insurance. My first insurance was a powder checker, then I went to a lockout die (which works very well) but in the end I still want to visually check the powder, thus slower powders make sense.

I will miss bullseye in the 45 though...... :)

April 9, 2006, 08:37 PM
I started loading for pistol and rifle in 1963 when i was taught by an expert in the reloading field. My first cartridge was the 38 Special along with then "Hercules" Bullseye powder. Forty Three years later I load for over 25 calibers of rifle and pistol , plus three shotgun gauges and have yet to double charge a case. But then I am a careful and dedicated reloader with over 1 million cases loaded. I admit that I have had an occasional inverted or crushed primer or crushed case by over crimping in die set up, by that's the extent of any errors. I am safe, I am careful, and I read the directions!

Peter M. Eick
April 9, 2006, 08:54 PM
I hear you comments. I too have loaded many rounds, probably around 250,000 so far, and the worst I have done is a squib round.

The problem is, no matter how safe and how many checks you do, there exists a certain statistical law of mistakes. Lets assume a mistake is a Kaboom and destroyed gun. Since I figure I have loaded 250,000 for me, I think I can argue that my odds of having a mistake are 1:250,000, but who's to say that the bad round is not sitting in the ammo stash right now just waiting to be fired. In your case, the odds are 1:1,000,000. Much better by a lot.

My logic follows, that I want to "buy" a bit of insurance on a double charge by a more fluffy powder then carry the (albeit small) risk of my procedures.

Its been an interesting discussion.

April 9, 2006, 09:23 PM
An added benifit of "high case volumn"/slower powders is the potential for greater accuracy(i.e. bench rest/1000 yd. competitors). I run HS-6/HS-7 in 9mm, .45 acp, .357, .44 mag. & .45 Colt +P. Can't get max. velocity in revolver cartridges, but pretty close. Outstanding accuracy as well.

April 10, 2006, 12:31 PM
"So, you can go for slower powders and crimp and seat as separate steps (my choice). Or you can go for faster powders and use a powder checker and crimp and seat in one step (my old technique) or you can rely on your technique and have no problems (my oldest approach)."

Of course I guess I don't need to point out that a dillon 650 would solve your problem. Since it has 5 stations, it can use a powder sensor die, seat and crimp seperately. I bought one shortly after I started using my 650. It slowed me down so much having to try to look into cases to SEE the powder charges, especially for .223. Once in a while it beeps even when there's powder there. Then I take a look to visually verify it is charged.

April 10, 2006, 01:16 PM
When I first started reloading I went for maximum economy and bought a couple of jugs of Titegroup. I've just about finished them off and restocked with Power Pistol.

I reloaded a lot of handgun rounds with the Titegroup without a problem, but I enjoy the added feeling of security from the sight of the case full of powder. Titegroup worked fine for me, but switching just gives me an added level of safety I appreciate.

April 10, 2006, 01:42 PM
I had just developed my hot .357 load (158gr LSWC, 15.2gr 2400, std primer) and tried some plinker .357 loads with Bullseye.

I did NOT get a warm & fuzzy feeling looking down those cases at that itty bit of powder, even with the 500W worklight. Luckily, Trail Boss came to my rescue for plinker .357mag & .44mag.

I still haven't shot those 50 rounds I loaded with Bullseye. I really ought to pull the loads.

I bet I'll find a use for Bullseye for something else, though.

April 10, 2006, 02:31 PM
Paranoid arn't we. What's the probability that factory ammo in 38 special hasn't been double charged since the factories use fast burning powder to save money.

April 10, 2006, 02:56 PM
No matter the odds of a kB!, the risk must be weighed against the potential outcome. In other words, personal injury. No amount of cost savings is worth an eye or a hand.
I've tried at least 20 powders on the way to where I am now, and while I keep powders around that I don't use and try them in different applications I always keep going to mid to slow powders. I'm even phasing out really slow powders for mid slow ones that use less powder, to subsidize and standardize.
The fastest powder I use is unique, and I use a lot of it, then power pistol, blue dot, 2400 in alliant.
As for the other powders I'm phasing out, bullseye, titegroup, HS-6, WSF (Great powder, but load data is hard to come by.) H110 (Again, great powder, but 2400 will do what I want for less $$$.), HS-7, (never used it, bought it by accident.), etc.
Bullseye gave good accuracy, but unique was more user friendly.
Titegroup never gave me the promised accuracy.

April 10, 2006, 03:25 PM

If you use a powder that requires a Large volume/Weight for a load:
Any innaccuracies in that weight/Volume due to metering/weighing errors;
Will be a SMALLER PERCENTAGE off the "Ideal/Sought After" weight/volume than;
if it is a low volume/weight powder.
It is the PERCENTAGE Difference that drives variations in accuracy due to velocity variance.

In short .1 Grains off a 4 Grain Load
will yeild a larger velocity difference, than
.1 grains off in a 14 grain load.
Thought 2:

Dillon 650
Five stations
Powder Check
Separate Seat and Crimp


April 10, 2006, 09:54 PM
I am trying to simplify, too.
I have about 15 powders, I intend to keep Herco, I have been using it in 20ga and .38 for over 40 years, but for from .357 to .35 Whelen and .45-70, I am going to try to do everything with 3 powders, WC846, WC 680 and WC 820n.
So far, I have tried the appropriate ones in .44mag, .45-70 , .35 Whelen and .303 Savage.
Everything has done well enough to be very useful and some loads have shown a lot of promise.
I am covering the range from AA9-2400 up to 4895-Rel15.

April 10, 2006, 10:57 PM
I've only been reloading for 14-15 months, so I am still trying different powders, 'tho my ideal world would be one powder for 9mm, 10mm, .45ACP and .38/.357. Any ideas?:D

I reload on a Forster, so we're not talking mass quantities, and the number of calibers has meant I haven't really concentrated on one caliber to this point. I started with 10mm for the cost savings and had "good" results with AA#7 and N340. I say "good" because I only recently got a chronograph and haven't measured them. But they were accurate and both burned clean.

My one attempt with AA#7 on .357 was with 158gr Gold Dots. Again, accurate, but I did chrono them and the extreme fps spread was 200! Someone suggested H110, but I haven't had a chance to try it. It should fill the cases better, which the AA#7 didn't come close to. My thought was the powder wasn't distributed in the cases uniformly when I tested the loads. I recall a 9mm load of 5.3 grains of American Select- almost filled the cases and the ES was 32 fps.

Anyway, I measure each load with an electronic scale, move each case from a block on my right to one on my left after dropping the powder, and visually inspect the finished block with a bright light. At the speed I operate, it's all pretty methodical. Glacial even. As I use up some of the powders I initially bought, I do hope to standardize more. I'm adding .223 Remington this year and if I pick up .308 in the future I would hope something like Varget could give good results for both and let me buy in 8# quantities for both calibers combined.

April 10, 2006, 11:22 PM
powder for 9mm, 10mm, .45ACP and .38/.357. Any ideas?

power pistol will cover 9mm, 45acp and 38 special. not sure about 10mm (i think it will), but doubt it would be very effective in the 357.

varget is ok in the 223, but really shines in the 308.

in handguns, i don't weigh every charge - i do for rifles, though.

set your powder measure, throw a dozen or so charges to make sure you can trust the thrower, and if so, put all the cases in your loading block. make sure your throwing technique is consistent, and then just dump straight into each case as it sits in the loading block. throw, next case, throw next case, etc until you get to throw, next row, throw, next case, and repeat until you're done. you'll never run w/ a progressive, but you can cut your load time by 2/3's if you have a good thrower, good thrower technique, and consistent powder (power pistol is, varget isn't so much).

April 11, 2006, 08:10 AM
I second power pistol for your calibers, callgood.
Power pistol is great in 10mm, good to very good in .357 mag, but alliant 2400 works great in .357 mag.
2400 would be poor for .38 special and .45 acp.
Power pistol would be just fine unless you wanted heavy bullets and/or thumper loads in .357 mag.

April 12, 2006, 06:30 AM
Is it more of a concern when using a progressive press? Is it harder to see into a tall case then?

Yes it is a progressive issue. The problem is even with 3 lights, I cannot 100% of the time be sure with titegeoup or bulleye that I have not double charged a case. As was pointed out it is a technique issue.

I beg to differ with this line of reasoning because it is illogical. You cannot double charge on a progressive press, especially an auto-indexing press, unless the operator makes a mistake. In the single and progressive presses, it is operator error, not press style that makes the difference.

Using the law of probability to say that, "There is a chance that I will double cahrge and get a KB," is silly as well. Even if you get a KB, the chances of it hurting you physically are extremely low. Ruining your gun, yes, maiming you incredibly low. Hatcher had some great pictures in his books of large scale rifle KBs and noted that in all the years, any physical damage sustained could have been prevented with saftey glasses. The chances of you getting hurt from a KB is much lower than, say, the risk of getting into a car accident and dying on your way to the range.

Machine type has nothing to do with your loading technique. I submit that you are less likely to make a mistake with a progressive press than a non-progressive. The automation of many industrial manufacturing operations is a simple proof that removing human interaction (weighing each case, looking inside, etc) is beneficial when executed properly. Just my .02 on the subject.

April 12, 2006, 07:13 AM
Simple thing to help prevent KB's. On my Dillon 550, if I get interrupted for any reason and get out of sequence, I pull all rounds off the shell plate and finish them one at a time. It would be possible to drop the handle down and lift it twice double charging the case, but if you've got much experience, you'll figure out you didn't add a case and bullet.

April 12, 2006, 07:30 AM
I have seen two guns ruined by people I know who reloaded. One was a brand-new 12 ga. Browning Citori, blown open by what the owner theorized was the wrong powder (he thinks he used Bullseye instead of Red Dot). The other was a 1911 barrel I still have with a big bulge halfway down (a lodged bullet with primer only or a LOW charge was responsible; he racked the empty out manually and fired the next round). The owner was going to throw it away, and I asked if I could have it to remind me that reloading requires a high level of attention. It sits on the pegboard right above my press.
I have never had a KB, or anything I could describe as an overcharge in 40 years of reloading. I'm not bragging, I'm not saying "never." But. I double check everything before I start reloading: powder charge, components, press setup. My powder charges are always checked in my own card file, as well as in commercially published data. I do this even if I am returning to the same caliber setup after a time away. I try to be very consistent in the operation of my press. On the Rock Chucker, I just scope out a block full of charged cases before I seat the bullet to see that the powder level is the same in all. On the Dillon, I ensure that the powder charge is consistent before I start reloading, then check a charged case periodically to make sure it's staying that way.
If I were concerned about the Dillon throwing too much powder, I'd use the RCBS powder lock-out die. So far, I'm not. If I get to the point where I no longer believe I can do the things I describe above, I'll sell my gear and get out of reloading. I'll regret it, but I'll do it.

April 13, 2006, 01:18 AM
Although I'm not as paronoid as several of you. Loading with semi-progressive press, (Dillon450), I am watchfull of my actions and don't worry about double charges. (I load my rifle cartridges on a single stage press) That said, I use 2400, 296 and AA#9 for the magnum pistols for certain worked up loads for hunting accuracy/velocity.

Eric, you can eliminate the 2400 for the .357mag by switching to AA#9. The #9 meters terifically.

Still, I'll stick with Bullseye and 231 for the .45acp. There's nothing better.

I've got to go with what someone else stated in so many words. .. Good practices at the reloading bench will avoid any chance of double charging a cartridge.


April 13, 2006, 01:55 AM
I'm using the Hornady LnL progressive auto index. I haven't noticed an opportunity for a double charge unless I stop the cycle, remove the case and move it back in the shell plate one notch. The only time I do anything like that is when I'm working up a load, and I use a block under my shell plate to disengage the auto index. I never seat a bullet on one of those shells without weighing it, which is what I'm doing in the first place.

Had some issues with not charging a case early on. That was a rookie error and a problem with the powder drop barrell sticking at the top. Had a few squibs. They can be a problem if not watching for them. Didn't shoot any rounds with one stuck in the pipe. Started taking a dowel to the range. Cleaned up the drum on the powder drop and clean it periodically now. Also have become aware of it cycling every round. Seems to have cured the problem.

I'm using Clays for the .45 right now. 3.8 to 4.2 depending on the bullet. It's fast powder but I'm comfortable with it.

April 13, 2006, 05:36 AM

Paranoid arn't we. What's the probability that factory ammo in 38 special hasn't been double charged since the factories use fast burning powder to save money. Damned arrogant, aren't we.
Vanishingly close to 0, since they are loaded via automated machinery.

We're humans, we make mistakes. Why do you choose to denigrate a desire by others to increase the safety factor as "paranoid".

Paranoia is gnerally an unfounded fear. Folks that have been reloading for a while KNOW that accidents are possible in the process. It isn't 'paranoia'.

April 13, 2006, 07:00 AM
will Pistol Power overflow if double charged in a 9mm?

confed sailor
April 15, 2006, 08:11 PM
also dont reload in the heat, sweat deactivates powder. i found that out the hard way. although the little nagant survived, im still nervous with new loads.

April 26, 2006, 12:04 AM

I posted this suggestion a couple of years ago. It still works:

I use a Dillon powder measure on my RCBS 2000. The 2000 doesn't use the dillon linkage to insure that the measuring bar goes back each time, so you have to keep an eye on the bar but since it flares the case mouth when it drops the powder it frees up the next station for a powder checker. I use the RCBS "lock out die".

I installed the powder measure on the second station where the expander usually goes. The checker goes where the powder measure usually goes. It has worked great for me. You have to remember to seat the primer with an up stroke before the down stroke so the primer is seated before the powder drops.

silicon wolverine
April 26, 2006, 02:01 AM
I use blue dot and magnum primers for most of my pistol loads. Yes it costs more but i can visually see the powder in the case. I blew up a beretta 9000 pistol using ultramax ammo that teh company claimed was either a double charge or a cracked case. There wasnt enough left to know which it was.


April 26, 2006, 03:01 PM
I am a UK shooter, We shoot quite a bit of Titegroup, Bullseye and Red Dot mostly in 38/357 148gr WC. Not only is it cheap shooting but, has been the best for comp shooting in the club. The 25m record of 100 max score was set last month by a pal of mine shooting HBWC 148gr with 2.7gr of Bullseye. Ok so it is a little dirty and BE is a real pig to meter through a Lyman1200 Digital, but who cares when it shoots so well. My 44 under lever open sights will give less than a 1 inch group at 50m with 7gr of Red Dot.

We do long range revolver 100m where the boys load 357 180-200gr over 14+ 0f 2400 or H4227, these loads are also good for tiger but not many of these about in Wales. Ed.:)

April 26, 2006, 04:05 PM
Here's how you double charge with a progressive... I use a Hornady LNL. Several times in the midst of reloading I've pulled the lever, pushing the ram up. The depriming pin hits something in the bottom of the case, or the primer is stuck, and I back off to check it out, not all the way, but just a little, so the shellholder doesn't advance. The case under the powder feed has been moved up enough to trigger the powder drop. If I then finish the stroke to deprime and size the case, I've dropped another load of powder into that case.

I know it happens, I've done it several times. I've trained myself that if for whatever reason I don't finish the stroke of the handle I pull the case under #3 and check it out. I've never actually loaded a double charge, but if I hadn't been careful I could have done it, even with an autoindexing press.

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