Clean 9mm powder that meters well?


July 17, 2007, 11:53 PM
I know, another "clean powder thread," but at least I tried to do my homework.

I found this a while ago and the one thing that I really didn't get was a powder that is clean burning and meters well in a progressive.

A few guys mentioned that they don't mind cleaning their guns after shooting each time, and that the dirtier powders don't bother them. In my case, I occasionally shoot at an indoor range, so I want to have the cleanest burning reloads that I can manage.

I'm looking to replicate military performance with either a 115 or 124/125gr Rainier plated bullet (most likely due to price) that will be for practice, IDPA & hoarding. I don't mind paying a couple of extra $$$ per pound for the powder if it's cleaner burning.

What are your thoughts?

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July 18, 2007, 08:01 AM
WSF, AA# 5, N330. All these do well in the nine with plated or jacketed bullets and burn clean. I have shot a great many of Ranier 115 RN with AA# 5. I recently tried WSF and N330 and they work very well also.

July 18, 2007, 08:47 AM
If you want what the military uses, try Bullseye. I use 3.9 gr W/ a 115 gr Masterblaster bullet (60 per K delivered:)). OAL is 1.150. 132 PF. It's pretty clean as well.

Master Blaster
July 18, 2007, 09:00 AM
Unique in a max load, Winchester 231, Titegroup.

All shoot very well in 9mm with plated or jacketed bullets.

July 18, 2007, 09:33 AM
Universal or Titegroup. Titegroup meters a bit better, but Universal is cleaner. I see slightly more variation with Universal charge weights, but not enough to be a safety concern. It might be an issue for target competitors who demand absolute consistency.

I use a Lee Pro Auto Disk to charge my cases, btw.

Oh, and pick up some Power Pistol... it's a ton of fun indoors! "Shock and awe!"

July 18, 2007, 10:40 AM
AA#7, best 9mm powder I have found yet, works VERY well in all pistols I have tried it in.

July 18, 2007, 10:56 AM
I've tried many different powders and by far VihtaVuori vn310 is the cleanest power for the 9mm. Of the others listed above I'd say Titegroup would be your best bet. Bullseye and 231 are cleaner now than they used to be, but are not the best choice in 9X19.

July 18, 2007, 11:29 AM
Titegroup for me.

July 18, 2007, 11:48 AM
Power Pistol is very clean, meters well. The ultimate clean powder, but it lacks in velocity is Clays.

Steve C
July 18, 2007, 12:43 PM
Power Pistol is the civilian canister version of the bulk powder that is used to load military contract 9mm. In my experience it gives superb velocity in the 9mm but is a bit flashy.

July 18, 2007, 01:14 PM
The ultimate clean powder, but it lacks in velocity is Clays.

Universal Clays is all I use for 9mm anymore. It leaves a bit of bluish black discoloration by the rim and thats it. IME it's very accurate too.

Steve in PA
July 18, 2007, 07:30 PM
I've been using HS6 for almost 16 years in reloads for my 9mm's.

July 18, 2007, 09:01 PM
AA#7 and HS-6 are excellent choices and if you like to spend money for powder, few are better than V-V 3N37.

The answer to this question depends on what level of performance you want and what type of bullet you will be using. Steve C is correct, Power Pistol has more flash than any sane person would want for a defense load, so I don't understand why it gets loaded in NATO spec ammo. But, it does.

If you need a NATO type load and want clean, I couldn't disagree with anyones choice because that performance range is within the reach of most of them except very fast burners. Universal Clays makes sense.

If you want to replicate a very good +P defense load that is clean with low flash, that's another matter. If you look to the guys that load 9mm major for IPSC, the choices will shrink rapidly. Not that you want to go to that extreme, but say for a good 124 gr. JHP load, AA#7, HS-6, WSF, V-V 3N37, or just make it easy on yourself and get some Ramshot Silhouette. Clean, very low flash with very good velocity potential. The closest rival to V-V 3N37 we have, and at a price that's easier to swallow.;)

July 18, 2007, 11:45 PM
I too have had good luck in 9mm with Universal. And pretty clean.

July 19, 2007, 01:08 AM
Power Pistol burns clean, meters well, and kicks.

July 19, 2007, 01:43 PM

July 19, 2007, 06:52 PM
Second the HS-6 and AA#7.

July 19, 2007, 07:10 PM

July 20, 2007, 12:08 AM
Thanks for the replies, all. I forgot to mention I believe I'd used Red Dot and Bullseye in the past, I can't remember and I'm away from my load book. It's been at least 2 years since I reloaded any ammo, and I gave up on 9mm a long time ago when prices were so cheap. Glad I saved my brass, though.

I'm a big fan of Ramshot's TAC powder for .308, so I may check into their Silhouette powder as well. But, when I get a chance over the next week, I'll make a list from this thread and check out what my local dealer has in stock.

July 20, 2007, 03:31 AM

July 20, 2007, 08:58 AM
I'm using 4.0gr bullseye and a 124gr bullet @ 1.140 OAL and it's very clean (and accurate). 1067avg fps from my Glock 34.

July 20, 2007, 09:23 AM
++1 for the Titegroup

July 21, 2007, 09:30 PM
I stopped by my local Sportsman's Warehouse, figuring that I'd pick up some Ramshot Silhouette, since they always stock it. However, by "always," I mean that 2-3 years ago when I last looked at powder there, they carried it.

But, today they were all out of all Ramshot powders except Big Game, and there were no VitaVuhoi (spelling???) powders except two kinds, whose names escape me. I may swing for them tomorrow, as I think one was 3N7.

Another consideration, by the way, is availability. Assuming that what's on the shelf now is what they can get a hold of regularly (BIG assumption) I might just get what's there and worry about the rest later as a pound of powder should last a while w/9mm.

So, I'll look at:

V-V 3N7

Of course, I'm going to check my notebook, and if I haven't used Bullseye in 9mm (can't remember for sure) then I'll try that before going any further since I'd like to keep my logistical train as short as possible.

July 21, 2007, 09:31 PM
So TennTucker, when you write:

If you want what the military uses, try Bullseye. I use 3.9 gr W/ a 115 gr Masterblaster bullet (60 per K delivered). OAL is 1.150. 132 PF. It's pretty clean as well.

Are you saying that it approximates military performance?

Because what SteveC wrote confuses me a bit:

Power Pistol is the civilian canister version of the bulk powder that is used to load military contract 9mm. In my experience it gives superb velocity in the 9mm but is a bit flashy.

What is the military's 9mm powder, then?

July 22, 2007, 07:45 AM
If you look on the label for Ramshot Silhouette powder it says "NATO standard 9mm powder". I do not see this claim From Alliant for Power Pistol or Bullseye powder.


July 22, 2007, 12:16 PM
Alliant makes the claim in their load guide, and I believe the statement Ramshot makes is an indicator of perfromance and not a claim that it is used by our military. But, it should be! Silhouette is treated to keep flash as low as you're likely to get. It's a spherical powder that meters better and the performance potential is about as good as it gets and IS used by guys loading 9mm Major. Power Pistol doesn't quite get there. It's been a few years, but I learned that Cor-Bon uses AA#7 in their +P loads, though Alliant claimed it was Power Pistol. It's easy to understand why Cor-Bon would use #7. At the velocity they achieve flash is very low and if you try that with PP and fire at night, you'll think you're shooting a mini flamethrower. Not good for the troops, but what else is new? Supposedly, the military version has a flash inhibitor. The last thing you want is an inconsistent powder charge and it is extruded flake, anyway.

Another tidbit: Power Pistol is a larger flake variant of Bullseye. This is done to slow the burn rate.

AA#7, V-V 3N37, HS-6 and Silhouette are the best choices available for hi performance 9mm. Yes, I have and use them all! You can use 231 and others (a tiny bit faster, and those slower to around Unique/Universal) to get close, or to 9mm Nato spec, but they will be at max pressure whereas #7, 3N37, N-350, HS-6 and Silhouette are just getting warmed up. WSF is a contender here also, but data above NATO performance is not commonly available except with the IPSC guys over at Brian Enos' Forum, and that's pretty much the case with most of them unless you have a manual that used the former pressure limit of 35,700 CUP that is very close to the current +P max of 38,500 PSI. Most quality made 9mm pistols are designed for the former spec, but they may be undersprung to conform to current SAAMI spec ammo that has a pressure max of 35,000 PSI/ 33,000 CUP. Longshot will also get you there, but is very loud at max pressure.

Silhouette (Formerly WAP), in my oppinion, was Primex's attempt to produce a competitive powder to 3N37 and the base chemistry is similar to two of Primex's (Hodgdon & Winchester) other powders: WSF and HS-6. At max charges, Silhouette loads will run .1 or .2 grains lighter than 3N37. A visual inspection of the two powders, Silhouette and 3N37, will sure make you wonder!

Those that I have recommended are all Ball-type powders that meter well, but nothing meters better than AA#7. It has the highest bulk density of any handgun powder available to handloaders at 985 grams/liter. One advantage #7 has is that it will push 147 gr. JHPs to the highest velocity. You won't see this with 9mm Major competitors because they prefer bullet weights of 115 and 124 grains to maximize the effectiveness of compensators on their pistols. A very honorable mention goes to Vectan SP-2, if you can find it. There is no current US importer. SP-8 is a very good powder and like AA#7, it was designed for 9mm. Data is extremely weak and hard to come by.

I currently have 4 lbs of Silhouette (a little less now) and will be working it out in 9mm and the .40 S&W, where it has already shown great potential. If interested, shoot me a PM in the future. 3N37, HS-6 and #7 are already proven. #7 is Accurate, and has very low flash with 124 gr. JHPs. HS-6 is pretty much the 9mm performance powder that all others are judged by. Blue Dot will give you even higher velocity than PP, but flamethrower flash is a characteristic it shares with PP. This will be common with any extruded flake propellant at high pressure. 800-X is a powder I never use. I don't recommend using a powder that is difficult to meter when you are working towards the pressure max of a cartridge.

Along with Silhouette, I'll be using the Montana Gold (Brass Jacketed) 124 gr. JHP, CCI-500 and Win. cases loaded to 28.5mm/ 1.122".;)

July 22, 2007, 01:33 PM
CZ57 :
Thanks for the excellent info on ball powders for the 9mm. I used WAP to reload back about 1995, and then Winchester stopped selling it. Just recently found out about Silhouette as a replacement when I started to load for the 9x23 Win. Will have to give AA#7 in the 9x19 a try also.


July 22, 2007, 01:52 PM
My pleasure! It is a great powder and from what I know, it was the powder used in Winchesters first loads in .40 S&W and the 9 X 23mm.;)

July 22, 2007, 03:39 PM
CZ57 - excellent data sharing, thanks. Same to the rest.

I've used bullseye, unique and blue dot in 9mm.

All meter well, bullseye the best of the 3.

Bullseye leaves sooty pencil dust like buildup on the gun, it wipes off easily on clothing or otherwise IME. Gun cleans quickly when field stripped with mostly a wipedown with little if any scrubbing.

Unique and Blue Dot leave a harder carbon coating from use, but it does not have the tendency to wipe off easily if brushed against something. It does make it a little more difficult to clean, but overall cleaner to handle the gun after shooting, but before cleaning. If that makes any sense at all.

Blue Dot is a flamethrower in my 10mm. I haven't shot the 9mm in the twilight to notice just yet, but expect the same. I recall Unique being a bit of a flamethrower too.

July 22, 2007, 04:41 PM
This description for WAP is from Winchesters #14 reloading Guide.

"NEW WAP Winchester Action Pistol propellant is one of the two new powders introduced in 1994. After years of product development, a clean burning, low muzzle flash, low recoil propellant was completed to be factory loaded in Winchester 9mm and 40 S&W ammunition. WAP has a lower flame temperature than competitive products which extends barrel life This powder is the propellant of choice for premium factory loaded high performance ammunition. Ideal for use in competitive action pistol competition in 38 Super, 9mm, and 40 S&W."

Description for Ramshot Silhouette.

Silhouette is a double based, modified (flattened) spherical powder that performs well in medium sized handgun cases. Silhouette's low flash signature, high velocity, and clean burning properties make it a perfect choice for indoor ranges and law enforcement applications.
Ideal Calibers: 9mm, .38 Super, .357 Sig, 10mm
Bulk Density (grams/liter) 800
Packaged in 1lb. and 4lb. containers.

Just thought I would pass this along.

Vitamin G
July 22, 2007, 07:24 PM
Oddly, in my pistols, i use either bullseye or bluedot for everything. bluedot works tons better in high pressures, so i use it more for max loads. bullseye is more plinking loads, like 200swc.

July 23, 2007, 01:01 AM
In reading this thread, I was thinking that flash was not a big issue with me, as I can only envision shooting low light in an IDPA stage, for example. But, if good performance can be had with low flash, then it seems to be the way to go.

Another reason why I think I'll pay attention to the low flash powders is the fact that one of my 9mms is a Glock 19C, and with the compensation I'd like to keep flash at a minimum as much as practical.

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