Best powder for 40 & 45?


March 6, 2007, 10:23 AM
I'm looking for the best powder to use for 40 s&w and 45acp. I'm going to load 180 gr. hornady xtp/hp's for the 40 and 230 gr. hornady xtp/hp's for the 45. My Lee manual shows that Green dot will work for both. I'm wanting to load these close to max for defense rounds.

I'm not a big fan of flake powders. Is green dot a flake type powder? It seems to me that you would get a lot more variance with flake because it would be more likely to compact in your measure. Is there a resource out there that lists all powders by their type, ie extruded, ball, and flake? I understand what extruded powder is. It is longer than it is round. What exactly is ball powder? Is it just round like shot? The only powders I have used so far are surplus 4895, varget, clays, and bullseye. Thanks in advance for any help.

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March 6, 2007, 10:40 AM
I have no experience with the 40 but I'm a 35 year 45 loader. I've used, bullseye for target and unique for hugher velociety loads. Today I prefer AA#5. Hope this helps.

Green dot, bullseye, and unique are flake powders AA#5 is ball.

March 6, 2007, 10:53 AM
I use HS-6 in all my handgun loads 38,357,45. +P loads just about fill the case so you will have a hard time double chargeing and it will give you good FPS. There are others though but I like HS-6 or WW540 (Spherical) powder meters very good

March 6, 2007, 11:06 AM
AA #5 will work very well for both the .40 and the .45. Universal Clays will also work well, WSF is another good choice. I bet HS6 will work great, but have never tried it.:)

AA#5 is a fine flattened ball powder. Universal is kind a like a fat small flake powder. (??) WSF is another fine flattened ball powder. They all meter well in my experience. HS6 is described by Hodgdon as a fine spherical powder. It should meter great.

My favorite full power 200 & 230 Gr. .45 loads are with AA#5.
My favorite full power 165 Gr. .40 load is with Universal Clays, but AA#5 is a close second.
I am just starting to play with WSF and it is similar to AA#5 in performance with AA#5 generally giving greater velocities in longer barrels.

HS6 is one I've always meant to try, but have not gotten around to. Might just get some at the show this weekend.:) ..I just can't stop trying new stuff. I have always wanted to know what was over the next hill and around the next corner.:rolleyes:

March 6, 2007, 11:43 AM
Power pistol will max you out:D HS6 is a good all round pistol powder. Both powders meter great.

March 6, 2007, 11:56 AM
I think I'm leaning towards the accurate #5 now. I just looked in my Lee manual and they show you can use it on 44 mag also. I will be loading some 44 mag for a desert eagle pretty shortly. I need a pretty high power round for it as the lower power factory ammo stovepipes in it. Will AA#5 give an accurate load at a high enough power to cycle the desert eagle reliably? I'm not really too worried about buying several kinds of powder and not using it all. I usually load lots for each caliber I load for but it does make it easier using fewer types of powder. Thanks for all your info.

March 6, 2007, 11:57 AM
Just get some AA#9 for your .44 mag.:)

W296 or H110 will also do very well here.

I have never considered useing AA#5 for the .44 Mag.
Accurate Arms shows data all the way down to AA#2 for the .44 Mag at reduced velocities of course. I do not know if AA#5 would cycle the Desert Eagle, but I imagine it would.

March 6, 2007, 01:10 PM
Universal is what I use in the .45, it has a simular burn rate as Unique, but burns much cleaner.

I use Longshot in the .40 with 155gr. bullets, but have better luck with Universal with heaver bullets.

Desert Dog
March 6, 2007, 02:02 PM
AA#7 would be my choice.

Extremely consistent in .45 ACP, and I have a friend who shoots .40 that uses it for his loads....

March 6, 2007, 03:28 PM
I've found that Power Pistol is a great choice for both calibers when loaded to defensive velocity. Both of them use about the same amount of powder too.

X.X gr. PP in the .40 with a 165gr. bullet gives me 1045fps out of my Sig P239 3.6" bbl. Standard deviation is a pleasing 15 fps. 180gr. Hornady Action Pistol runs at 1028fps with the same amount of powder and a SD of 7! It's a little hard on the gun at that speed.

X.Xgr. PP in the .45 with a 230gr bullet humms along at 884 fps. with a SD of 12 :) Kimber Eclipse II 5"


It also meters well because it is a fine ball powder. Unique has some of the same properties but has some of the largest flakes I've seen. It doesn't meter as well.

March 6, 2007, 05:03 PM
I have had very good results with Winchester 231 in both calibers.


March 6, 2007, 11:23 PM
I am using 231 for both also and they both shoot well.

March 7, 2007, 05:40 AM
aa#5 works great for me in any pistol from 32acp to 45acp. but if your going to load mags (ie .357, .41, .44) i would use aa#9 as you will get higher fps counts from it.

March 7, 2007, 03:31 PM
Have been looking at using #5 for .45ACP when I run out of 231.

Anyone have any experience using #5 for .357MAG?
Looking to use it for target ammunition, not too worried in finding a max velocity for thise application.

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