w231 or next best thing


February 25, 2008, 08:48 PM
I began reloading 3 or 4 months ago and w231 has been my choice of powder. I load 9mm 40s&w and 45acp. I would like to experiment with another powder but don't want to waste a lot of dough trying to find a good one and end up with a bunch of bottles sitting on the shelf. I know I could be opening a can of worms but what do you guys suggest. Thanks for the help.

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February 25, 2008, 08:57 PM
what loads are you useing for win 231 in .40 as I just bought some? So far I have had real good luck with AA#5 except it leaked out of my lee auto disk and had even better luck with hodgdon universal clays, I got 2 in groups with 5.7gr of it behind 155gr rainier bullets(10 shots at 25 yds) twice. I am going to experment next with universal and 165gr rainiers and then try the win 231.

February 25, 2008, 09:08 PM
I'm presently using Berrys 155gr FN with 5.4 gr of w231. I'm more interested in hitting siloutte targets so couldn't tell you how good groupings are, but recoil is similar to winchester white box.

February 25, 2008, 10:21 PM
I second AA #5. It works well in all three calibers. It's another good all around powder. Try WSF if you would like to stick with Winchester powders. It's very good as well.

February 25, 2008, 11:08 PM
What Walkalong said.

Jim H.

February 25, 2008, 11:16 PM
WSF, unless you are talking about light target loads.

February 26, 2008, 12:10 AM
WSF is a good powder and so is AA#5.

I would stick with W231 for my .38 Special and .45 Auto rounds and use Power Pistol for my .40 S&W rounds.

February 26, 2008, 01:51 AM
When I started reloading 20 years ago I chose 231 because of all the available published data (this was before I was comfortable using the internet). Like you I used it for all my pistol loads and was completely satisfied. I didn't bother experimenting with other powders because many of my peers used 231 also . About a year ago I began a project to try other powders because of the commonly reported complaint that 231 was very dirty. When you haven't tried other powders like me you don't really notice it because you have nothing to compare with. Well, long story short I now am using other powders because 231, although a great all around propellant, as was reported produces lots of fouling and muzzle flash when compared to several powders of comparable speed.

It can be an expensive proposition but I encourage you to try experimenting with other propellants. Pistol powder is the least expensive component in reloaded ammo but your choice of powder really impacts the peformance of your ammo.

I still have 231 around and use it mostly for low recoil .38. For 9mm and .40 I like Titegroup. For .45 I really like Clays ( regular Clays not Universal Clays).

Good luck in your search for your perfect pistol loads.

The Bushmaster
February 26, 2008, 10:00 AM
You might have a look at Alliant Power Pistol too...

Mark whiz
February 26, 2008, 10:32 AM
I'll also have to give a nod to AA#5 and Win WST as well.

February 26, 2008, 03:04 PM
I've used a number of powders for pistol, and have now standardized on #231 for everything from 9-mm MAK up through .45 (Long) Colt..clean burning, easy to measure accurately, accurate loads in every caliber. I now buy it in bulk...and get both space-saving on my component shelves and increased safety...no chance of mistaking what powder is in the measure. (I mark the measures as to contant anyway.)

Jim Watson
February 26, 2008, 03:35 PM
What do you want a different powder to do for you?

February 26, 2008, 04:02 PM
When choosing:

Bullet design
Load configuration

First define the purpose. With a different powrder, other than pure experamentation, are you looking for more accuracy? Cleaner burning? More/Less velocity? Safer charge? Cheaper shooting?

OK, Unique is more versital but not as clean burning as 231 in the calibers you've mentioned. But, a double charge is less apt to hurt anything. So, it can be regarded somewhat as a safer powder to load, especially if you're downloading. And it down-loads quite well. The others in this thread may not do that quite as well.

Bullseye and Titegroup are highly regarded for accurate 45acp.

Universal Clays also has a strong following for .40 and .45acp.

AA#5 -although I've never used it, should be very good.

There are many powders listed in this thread, but you'll seldom find that ONE fits all needs across a caliber or series of calibers. (Except Unique) I shoot four different powders in my .44mags, all four with different bullets.

Same with my other guns. My 38's usually get fodding doses of Unique. Same with 9mm when I had one. My 45's get Bullseye, Unique, or 231 with different bullets. The .357's yet three different powders with as many or more bullet choices.


February 27, 2008, 10:40 PM
Thanks guys for the help. I really just want to make sure there is not a powder that is superior in one caliber than the other. Since I use W231 for all three 9,40, and 45 I'm not opposed to trying another if it does provide better performance. I'm so new to reloading right now that whats most important to me is just bulk ammo so I can plink, I'm finding out reloading almost replaces the hobby of shooting, its a vicious cycle. Obviously I'll have to trial and error on powder but I do like a clean burning powder and one that will meter well. Thanks again.

February 27, 2008, 11:01 PM
Don't buy HP-38, because it's basically the same thing as 231.

February 27, 2008, 11:21 PM
Really enjoying Power Pistol. Haven't tried it on anything but medium loads with 230gr 45ACP.

It meters very easy in Lee Perfect Powder and Lee Auto Disk.

With Power Pistol, it is easier for me to check the load before bullet seating than W231.

Lloyd Smale
February 28, 2008, 06:37 AM
aa2 is another good one in that range. Most of my acps either get aa2 or bullseye depending on the useage.

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