Cleanest Burning .45 ACP Powder


345 DeSoto
March 13, 2008, 08:31 AM
I'll be heading North with the Geese in a few weeks, and starting to reload .45 ACP (among other calibers). I haven't reloaded in a while, but had used Unique exclusively for .45 ACP. Since I need to buy powder/primers/etc. what is a good, CLEAN burning, economical powder to settle on for .45...or should I just stick with the old tried and proven Unique? The price of powder being what it is, I'd rather stick with one brand, and not have to experiment or wind up with a bunch of powder I won't wind up using. Thanks, guys...

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March 13, 2008, 08:35 AM
I've always used Bullseye. Any comments about it being dirty are related to the lube on the bullets, not the powder itself. I still load the std 3.5 grains with a 185 or 200 grains SWC bullet so I can get 2,000 rounds out of one pound of powder.

If you believe Bullseye is dirty, try Win 231 instead. It meters well and a lot of guys use it.

March 13, 2008, 09:24 AM
I used Unique and switched over to WW WST for my 45 ACP. Its also marketed as a shotgun powder
I'm shooting a revolver and the Unique left more residue that could bind the extractor.
Some cast bullets are cleaner shooting then others. By current favorite is Billy Bullets, Moly coated and shoot well.

March 13, 2008, 10:54 AM
Clean and economical. I would have to say WST. It works great for low to midrange plus loads, is clean and economical.

March 13, 2008, 11:50 AM
Clays is very clean, good target load powder:)

March 13, 2008, 11:55 AM
I don't load .45 ACP yet, but in other cartridges American Select seems to be the cleanest burning, followed by Titegroup.

Promo is cheap, and clean burning too if you stay away from minimum loads.

March 13, 2008, 12:02 PM
Bullseye for < 230 grainers, and W-231 for the 230 grainers work very well for me.....

March 13, 2008, 12:09 PM
Some powders are, I agree, inherently cleaner-burning: the Vihtavuori powders come to mind. But, I'll suggest that the major issue to work with is simply tweaking your recipes. IOW, for your particular combination of components and recipe and the firearm, you may find your recipe just isn't going to burn clean until you make some assembly "adjustments."

I found that my 231/200gr LSWC/.45 ACP loads cleaned up dramatically by altering the LOA or crimp--e.g., tweaking the pressure slightly. Similarly, last year in working with AA#5 in 38/357 reloads for my M&P 340, I found the 357 case recipe (which delivered the same performance as the 38+P load, but required 1.2 gr. more powder) delivered much less grunge and detrius. It was somewhat-higher pressure--estimated to be about 24000, vs. 20000 for the 38+P load. Both recipes also responded nicely to softer lead bullets--e.g., the obduration increased, with less blow-by.

So, I'd recommend worrying less about powder and more about the assembly details.

Jim H.

March 13, 2008, 12:24 PM
I use Clays for all my .45acp loads. Max loads give just the right velocity for target ammo with enough pressure to seal the chamber.

Steve C
March 13, 2008, 01:55 PM
CDRT hit it on the head. Powders are all relatively clean if run at a decent pressure, 90% of the residue on your gun comes from the bullet lube on lead bullets. Use jacketed or copper plated for cleaner loads. Faster powders leave less residue because you use less of it to begin with. Clays, Bullseye, Red Dot, AA#2, W231, Green Dot, and the new "cleaner" Unique are all pretty clean in themselves.

March 13, 2008, 07:33 PM
Another vote for Clays.

March 13, 2008, 08:14 PM
Another vote for WST. 99% of what I shot when I shot USPSA was a 200 grain Rainier SWC and 5.3 grains of WST. Brutally accurate and clean burning.

Just my .02,

Linear Thinker
March 13, 2008, 08:46 PM
Another vote for 231 as being the cleanest 45ACP powder, and I tried many. Accurate #2 has been clean as well, but I had unburned powder granules left in the case and the barrel.

Vihta powders are very clean, but expensive. I use 3N37 in 38 Super, there's no residue to speak of.

231 has been very economical as well, due to it's bulk density. Highly recommended for 45ACP and 38 Spec.

March 13, 2008, 09:00 PM
Great topic. Those that mentioned the bullet lube as the "dirty culprit" are right.

Who makes the best, most economical, lead/cast bullet with a dry lube or moly? Earplug said Billy Bullets, but a Google search doesn't indicate they have a web sight.

I'm going to order around 1-2,000 .45 slugs very soon. Want something cleaner shooting.

345 DeSoto
March 14, 2008, 06:24 PM
What specificaly is "WST"? Are they that the name, and who makes it?...:confused:

Marlin 45 carbine
March 14, 2008, 07:10 PM
WST is Winchester trap shotgun powder it does fine in .45acp as well. I have never used it but did use 473 and 452 both no longer made by Win. clean burning and 452 liked compressed 'hot' loads.

March 14, 2008, 07:15 PM
i use titegroup

Harley Quinn
March 14, 2008, 07:35 PM
Unique is dirty, 231 is a good load, watch out for a double load w/Bullseye.:what:

March 14, 2008, 08:06 PM
All I have used is Clays for 45 and Bullseye for 38. They both are great, but I wished they filled the cases up more.

March 14, 2008, 08:14 PM
WST - Winchester Super Target

Just my .02,

March 14, 2008, 08:57 PM
For those of you opting for Clays, you are referring to Clays and not Universal Clays, correct? I ask because I saw both in the store today and opted not to buy either until I checked here first. :o

March 14, 2008, 09:11 PM
Yes, regular, plain old Clays.


Good stuff, burns clean, low charge wt.

March 14, 2008, 09:16 PM
I'm wanting to cast lead 200/230 gr. and am looking to try something other than Bullseye and Unique. Is one suited any better than the other?

March 14, 2008, 10:00 PM
All I've used so far is 231. I am new to reloading (just a couple hundred rounds so far), and am far from an expert.

It seems a bit "smoky", but that might be the bullet lube (I am using commercially available cast lead 200 gr SWC bullets with 4.8 gr of 231).

It does not seem dirty with regard to residue.

That said, I am following this thread with an open mind, and I'm willing to change powders if something better exists.

Uncle Chan
March 14, 2008, 11:39 PM
I use Clays, Titegroup, and W231 for my 45LC.

I USED to use Unique, but it was filthy and contrary to what some of these characters may be telling you, it ain't the lube on the bullet. I've been using the same bullet for a decade and ONLY with Unique did my revolver bind after a few stages of competition. Switched to 231, then Titegroup, then Clays and talk about CLEAN!

March 15, 2008, 12:38 AM
Clays 200 gr LSWC, Universal and WST for 230 gr LRN & fmj. I ran a pretty tight .45 for around 800 rounds without cleaning with Clays before I started getting problems.

345 DeSoto
March 15, 2008, 09:18 AM
I've been checking the Web Sites of the various powders recommended. I see on the Hodgsdon Site that for 185 gr JHP (which is the closest I can get to Berry's plated 185 gr RNHB) the Clays max load listed of 4.9 gr will give 981 fps. I'm wondering if bumping it up to an even 5 grains will put the fps at around 998 (+/-) fps. Any thoughts?...

March 15, 2008, 09:43 AM
I like AA#5 and have used it for many years for IPSC. It fine for 200 gr or 225's.

March 15, 2008, 10:02 AM
345 DeSoto: Every gun is different--that bump won't hurt, but your pistol may run it at 960, or at 1010.

Personally, if you're looking for that higher velocity, I would vote for WSF or #5. WSF is more economical, BTW.

Jim H.

March 15, 2008, 10:07 AM
I've been using WSF. Anybody ever used it?

March 15, 2008, 01:23 PM
Yes. It is excellent in the .45, and great in the nine too. Should work well in the .40, but I have not tried it.

jfh is right. WSF is more economical than AA #5, which is another very good one.

Those are my two favorites for higher velocity .45 loads.

March 15, 2008, 02:45 PM
I started with WSF in the 10 and the 40. About that time, I was also fiddling a lot--too much--with my Load-Master press, and then I wandered away from reloading.

Last year, when I got going again, I remembered how much I like WSF. However, I started with some 231 in 10mm and .45ACP, then loaded some WSF. I'll take WSF every time.

Meanwhile, I got the Load-Master (re) set-up, and updated a standard Lee Turret to a 4-die configuration with a Safety prime. I bought more WSF to stock up. But, I was really--still am--working on Load Development on the turret, this time in 38 / 357 loads.

The first powder I did my own recipes for was WSF--i.e., there was no data available then for revolvers. Since then, Speer #14 has included some revolver data, but there's lots available for semiautos.

I still haven't gotten back to .40 Short and Weak with it--but I've got lots of LD boxes built up in 38, 357, and some new burnishing loads in 10mm. Meanwhile, 7 lbs or so of it will last awhile--hopefully, through our political brush with Democrat majorities again.

All in all, WSF is a really good powder.

Jim H.

March 15, 2008, 03:22 PM
I really like WSF for revolver cartridges, but I wish I could find some data for it rather than working blind.

March 2, 2009, 09:32 PM
Hey Guys, new here, but I've been reloading awhile...I shoot plates, and target mostly, and I will agree with 95% of the crowd that NOTHING shoots softer than clays...until NOW...I have been playing with Trail Boss, and it is a plate shooters dream...if you think Clays is soft, you gotta try Trail Boss...It prefers a heavy Bullet..230 grain with 4.5gr of powder, or 5.2-5.4 gr of powder with a possible chance of a double charge as it fills the case completley...If you don't try it, you are missing out....simply unbelievable

March 3, 2009, 03:55 AM
If you want clean in the .45 Auto W231 is your powder. Clays is also clean but I find it doesn't meter well while W231 very well.

For something hotter AA#5 is the powder you're looking for. It also meters well.

March 3, 2009, 04:57 AM
I have used W231 and Titegroup. Titegroup has been cleaner and more economical in my personal opinion.

March 3, 2009, 02:59 PM
Then I started shooting IPSC/USPSA on weekends, burning through several hundred rounds at a time.

I've since switched from WW231 to WST. WW231 isn't that dirty, but I've found WST to be even cleaner-burning.

March 3, 2009, 08:41 PM
I've heard alot about WST...Can you use it in 9mm as well?...I find that most of the great powders for .45acp don't work well in 9mm...I use N320 for 9mm. as it is the powder of choice for EVERY guy that shoots IDPA with me, but it is very "pushy" in the .45

March 3, 2009, 08:44 PM
I have tried AA#5, as it is supposed to be the exact match to Federal Gold match, and I have loaded it to the same exact specs, but it still burns where near as good as Clays or Trailboss.

March 3, 2009, 08:58 PM
I can't see anything burning cleaner than Clays...If you guys have used Clays AND Titegroup AND Wst, can someone give me a comparison?...It seems that most of the guys post on the powder that they use, but they have not tried other powders..Anybody have experience with all of them?

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