Which powder is the best for .380 - .45 ACP auto's?


January 2, 2007, 11:22 AM
Power Pistol

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January 2, 2007, 11:35 AM
I like the win 231, but I'm newto reloading, so I have not tried a lot or the powders on your list. Win 231 seems to be a good cross between cost, accuarcy, and cleanness.

January 2, 2007, 11:50 AM
I don't shoot enough .380 to reload for it, but I reload for 9mm/38spl/.357/10mm./.40/.44spl/.44mag/45LC/ACP. Bullseye works great in all of them for range ammo. No reason to believe it wouldn't work just as well in the little 380.

January 2, 2007, 12:19 PM
I use mostly W-231 for my .45 acp loads, this powder works well for .38 spl. .357 mag. LSWC, and my .44 spl. I hav'nt loaded .380 acp but do plan to load 9x18 Makarov . If I were loading .45 acp and 9x18 only, I would try Power Pistol.

The Bushmaster
January 2, 2007, 01:01 PM
I voted for W-231 (no surprise there). I load it in 9X19, .38 Spec., .45 ACP and .357 magnum short barrel (2 1/2") with excellent results...

January 2, 2007, 01:10 PM
Load everything The Bushmaster does plus .45LC and have used Win 231 with good results in all of them. Unique would be my 2nd choice.

Take Care


January 2, 2007, 01:35 PM
I'm new to reloading and have a question about the above powders: which of them is cleanest but is still a good value (accurate too)? I'll be reloading for plinking right now, so chrono speed isn't important yet.

The Bushmaster
January 2, 2007, 03:23 PM
Strat81...Go back to the voting graph. You will notice that W-231 is the "go to" powder on that list. The only thing you want to watch for is a double charge. Then again, I've been loading W-231 for 20 years and with the way I reload I have never had one...But none the less, watch for it...

January 2, 2007, 03:47 PM
No one powder is great for all of those for various reasons, but as Bushmaster says. W231 will do a good job in all of them.

January 3, 2007, 12:25 PM
I don't know if W231 is the best, but I prefer it to AA#5, Bullseye, and Unique. I use W231 for .380ACP, .38 Special, and .45 ACP. I've used W231 for light .357 magnum reloads, and it's okay for that. If I was going to do heavy .357 reloads then I'd probably use a different powder.

I started with W231. I ended with W231. In between I tried the three I mentioned above, and also Hercules Blue Dot.

One reason I like W231 is because it meters excellently from my Lee Auto-Disk Powder Measure. I mean if I'm using a 158 gr. bullet and 4.3 grs. of W231, my powder measure will drop 4.3 grs. or real close to it every time.

The Bushmaster
January 3, 2007, 12:45 PM
Tbeb...You will note that I use W-231 in my Short barreled revolver (mod 19). I use 2400 in an old Colt SAA .357 magnum and W-296 in my Ruger Blackhawk. I have noted that the shorter barrels need a faster burning powder to get the bullet going in such a short distance. W-231 seems to be a bit wild (all over the target) in longer barrels.

Mal H
January 3, 2007, 01:52 PM
As several have said, there is no one powder that is best for all of those calibers. But, also as several have said, WW231 is a very good one to use in all of them. I have used it in every single caliber shooter1 listed including .380 ACP.

I have also used Hodgdon's Universal Clays in most of them from the .380 to the .45 ACP and it is up to the task just about as good as WW231.

January 4, 2007, 08:13 AM
Thanks a bunch to everyone who responded. Currently, I reload 9mm, 357mag and 45 ACP (22 hornet and 308), and I am hoping to add 40 S&W to the list this weekend. I'm strongly considering getting a turret press (the lee classic cast turret comes to mind) and I was looking for a powder that would work well for the 3 auto loading rounds I currently reload. Once I get something that shoots it, I'll add .380 to the list.

357 Mag currently gets 16.6 grains of Lil-gun, and since I'm shooting it through a TC contender, I'm content to load that one on the single stage press. The others, I'll be shooting in autos. Currently, I reload them with unique, but it doesn't work very well in my powder measure, and I have read here that is doesn't work real well in some of the progressive/automatic powder measures. Lil-gun is a flake powder as well, but I only use that for single shot weapons. So I wanted something that would work for all of them, and since 231 is a ball powder, it should work fairly well in the powder measures that are part of the auto turret/progressive reloaders. At least that is what I have gathered in this forum.

Again, thanks to all who voted and those who responded. All your information is greatly appreciated.


January 4, 2007, 09:16 AM
W231 is a "flattened" ball powder, but is has small flakes and meters pretty well. As Mal H says, Universal will also give good results. It fills the case better and meters well except in very small amounts. It metered very uniformly for me after a certain cutoff (grainwise) but I don't remember what wieght and I am not around my notes right now. The only caliber (pistol )you list I have not loaded it in is the .380 which I used W231 for the last I loaded some. I have shot W231 loads in .45 ACP through a carbine and it seemed to give OK results but I did not test thoroughly. I have thoroughly tested some Universal .45 loads in a carbine with very good results. I like Universal enough I bought 4lbs. at the last gun show. i still have several pounds of W231 and if I am not sure what to use I know I can throw together a load with it and get at least reasonable results. It has never done badly for me, maybe just not the best in a given situation.

January 4, 2007, 10:19 AM
Noticed your post. 231 is my go to powder in .45acp. For an accurate, economical load try 5.3 gr 231 under 200 gr LSWC. LOad is my standard load for IPSC and IDPA.

I also load 6.8 gr under 185 gr HP jacketed. Load is quite warm but works well on milk jugs and I suspect BG's if called upon. I have a spreadsheet with tested loads over my Chrony. If you are interested just send me your email address via a PM and I'll send it to you. Spreadsheet also has my loads for 30-30, 30-06, 9MM, 38 spl, .357Mag, .45LC as well as .45acp

Take Care


January 4, 2007, 11:50 AM
ihave used bullseye for years in .357, 9mm, and .45acp and hs-6 for .44mag, with fmj bullets for the autos and jsp for the revolvers but recently i have been experimenting with rainier plated bullets over hs-6 (nice new range that just opened up doesn't allow exposed lead in the base) bullets are 1/2 the price and just as accurate as jacketed, slower hs-6 gives almost the same velocities as jacketed over bullseye. it also is cleaner and the same price at my local bass pro shop, but then again the shortest barreled handgun i own is a 4"686, the rest are 5-6" might not work so well in a snubbie or compact auto. I have used 231 before, but never had good luck with it, so far hs-6 has worked well in 9mm-44mag, but then again i like to experiment with different powders a lot, so far the best all around (w plated bullets) i have found.

January 4, 2007, 12:15 PM
American Select has always done very well for me. Accurate as well as clean.

January 5, 2007, 11:13 PM
I like accurate #5 myself. It burns cleaner. Than the stuff I've been using.

January 5, 2007, 11:17 PM

I use it for a LOT of pistol handloads. Not as dirty as Unique.. more consistent results then most.

January 5, 2007, 11:21 PM
Are you kidding me? I've used every powder made and I've used 231 in darn near every press made from my all time favorite The Star, to a Dillon... great powder.. and much better then Bulllseye - cleaner too!!

The Bushmaster
January 5, 2007, 11:24 PM
Ajax...Be aware that Accurate #5 is very temperature sensitive. I had experience with it one morning on the range with one of my .357 magnums. Started with 60 degree temp and had normal looking cases. at around 1:00 PM it was 100 degrees and I started to suffer overpressure signs. Such as stuck cases and blown primers. These were moderate loads.

January 5, 2007, 11:51 PM
Power Pistol is the single best powder across the range you listed, nothing else is even close. It boggles my mind that 231 is in the lead on the poll.

Black Snowman
January 5, 2007, 11:53 PM
I'm a big fan of Tite-Group. I use it in 9mm, 38 Spl, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 45 Colt. It hasn't let me down yet.

January 6, 2007, 08:09 AM
It boggles my mind that 231 is in the lead on the poll.

Because W231 has been around longer with a great rep and it's hard to knock the king off the hill. :neener:

I expect Power Pistol can do a good job across the board. I gave up on it because my first try with it wasn't earth shattering and it was dirty for me, at least in that application.
I was going to try it again later, but I'll be danged If I can find my little 1 lb can of it!! :eek:
I think the Tooth Fairy got it. I really did want to give it another chance.

January 6, 2007, 08:11 AM
I shoot AA#5 in the .45 ACP here in HOT Alabama and have not had pressure problems, but then we are talking 18 to 19 K range here and it may be different in the 9MM or .40. I also do not shoot it at full out max.

January 6, 2007, 08:50 AM
W231 is also my "go-to" powder, but I also like Unique. A drawback to Unique for me is that it shoots a bit too dirty.

January 6, 2007, 03:17 PM
231 is in the lead because it works really well in the small cases and pretty good in the larger ones too.

Plus, it meters better than the flake-types (Bullseye, Unique etc.) in the same burn rate catagory.

I keep some Unique around for 45 Colt as it is much bulkier and fills the case better than the 231 loads in the same pressur/velocity range. And, you can use Unique in shotgun loads too.

Side note: Had a couple squibs with Unique and later figured out that it was bridging in the meter. Have payed much better attention to the charges thrown since and have found a few light ones along the way. Just the way it is with the big flakes in my meter. 231 is dead spot on each and every time....that matters a lot to me.

January 7, 2007, 02:45 AM
Asking which powder is best is like asking which gasoline is best. There is no one answer. Unless a study is done by an accredited testing labratory under rigerous conditions and strict guidelines, preferably a blind study too and in two different labs, you can get no best answer since all submitted experiences are anecdotal, and each participant believes they know which is best, because that is the powder they use and wouldn't they only use the best?

Whichever powder/load/bullet combination you use will depend largley on your shooting style, your downrange preference i.e. bullseye, action pistol, etc. And the extent you are willing to test within your given budget. Will you be using a chronograph and charting load data results? Are you going to be testing primers and bullet designs as well? What condition is your sidearm? Do you prefer a system tight blueprinted dream machine or a mil spec heritage heirloom that defended our country with honor? The variabes are endless, as is the conversation and opinions.

I hate to be glib, but just go for it. By a can of powder, a bag of bullets and have fun with it. Keep good records of your load data as well as the shooting results, but by all means do not limit yourself to the results of an informal survey. I have great results with the combinations I've chosen, but it took time and testing to satisfy myself, and if I may be honest here, I never asked anyone about a powder brand. I care not about brands, preferences or opinions, just the facts and results.

I adore and appreciate the experinces shared by reloaders, an I have profited greatly through others experiences and wisdom, but if there was a "best" you wouldn't have to ask the question.

The Bushmaster
January 7, 2007, 10:25 AM
Why the cheapest gasoline is best.:D Not a bad post. Something like Ford, GM and Chrysler...;)

YoPedro...No one uses the power what I use for my .30-06 (at least not many). I use it for the reasons you stated. It works for me...

January 7, 2007, 12:04 PM
The variabes are endless, as is the conversation and opinions.

Right, that's why we do this, it's fun. Can't we have fun anymore?

There is a best or several bests for many given uses. Asking around will get you started with components that give you a good chance of success instead of just guessing or believing advertising hype. :)
And did I mention it's fun.

January 7, 2007, 12:37 PM
Power Pistol, if you the full-throttle type shooter

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