Trying new powders


March 14, 2008, 09:24 AM
Okay since I've made my first powder purchase.
How do you folks go about trying new powders? Get 1# cans or 8# jugs?

I'm thinking about trying different powders to see if there is one that shines better than the others.

It seems I've got lots of choices per Hodgdon's site (.243, .270).

Also I've noticed in the reloading bench pic's. Some of you have lots of different powders (this might get me in almost as much trouble as all my computers:eek:).

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March 14, 2008, 10:55 AM
The good thing is powders last a long time when sealed. I have always bought the 1lb or so containers. I also look for a powder that can cover a few bases without sacrificing to much. My rifle reloading goes from 223 to the 300WSM with a lot in between. Some I like are H4895, RL-15,H4350,Varget,& TAC. I wouldn't have a problem with an 8lb keg of H4895 but I get the itch to try new loads at times.

March 14, 2008, 10:59 AM
I always buy 1 lb to try a powder. Then if I realy like it for something I will buy the 4 or 8 lb der. It's fun trying new stuff. :)

March 14, 2008, 11:03 AM
I can only ever afford a 1 pounder, but I like to try different ones, so no biggie.

March 14, 2008, 12:00 PM
My $.02 worth. I would only buy one pound of something new, and wait until I find out if I like it before buying a larger size. I could buy W748 and W231 in 8 lb containers because I could meet 90% of my needs with these two powders. I find RL15 and Varget similar, and I also like TiteGroup, but would stick with 1 lb containers for the last three as I don't use as much.

March 14, 2008, 12:04 PM
1 lb containers for development, larger when you get your recipes where you like them.

evan price
March 14, 2008, 12:08 PM
Buy 1 pound to try out, because a partial can of opened powder does not have a lot of resale value.

When you work your loads, buy 8# of that.

I like Titegroup, 4895, Varget and HP38/Win231 personally- but if I had to stick to one each, Titegroup & Varget.

March 17, 2008, 12:23 PM
Pick only VihtaVuori N-160 or (more $$) N-560 in the 8-jug. No need to think abaot powders

March 17, 2008, 12:28 PM
I usually buy a 1-pdr, unless the powder only comes in eights.

March 17, 2008, 01:21 PM
The only thing I buy 8 pounders of is something like Unique that I can use in just about everything.

March 17, 2008, 01:53 PM
Something no one has mentioned yet. Buying 8 pound jugs lets you have the same lot number for a while. Powder does vary a tiny amount from batch to batch. Of course if you're using it in a stock factory rifle, it may not matter much.

Most recommend that you reduce a load and work up again when buying a new can of powder that has a different lot number on it. Also most warn about mixing the last couple of ounces of powder with the new can.

BUT buying 8 pounds of powder that turns out to not work worth a darn in the specific rifle/handgun, is a huge outlay of cash for something that you maybe can't use again.

I once noticed an 8# can,(yes metal can with a press and pull top), of IMR 4320 that was in this one gunshop for well over a year. Era 1975. I mentioned it to the clerk, he said a guy ordered it, then backed out of the deal, he'd sell it to me for $60.00! I shot that powder in 4 different rifles for over a year.

That said, I buy the smallest container of powder I can get to test for it's intended application. Then, if it proves to be good for that, I MAY buy it in larger lots. It's nice to have a big amount of a powder that has many applications. That's one reason I buy military surplus powders, which are ONLY available in 8 pound jugs.

March 17, 2008, 02:50 PM
I always get 1# to try it out first.

That said, 8# of rifle powder can go pretty fast if you're loading in bulk for something like an AR or AK.

1# of low charge weight pistol powder like Titegroup seems to last forever.

March 19, 2008, 02:17 AM
I have 8# jugs of W231, W296 and 4895. I just bought a 4# jug of 2400 but everything else is in 1 lb jugs.

March 19, 2008, 07:47 AM
Something no one has mentioned yet. Buying 8 pound jugs lets you have the same lot number for a while. Which is why I would buy powder for my bench gun 16 lbs at a time. Some folks who shot much more than me would buy at least 32 lbs of the same lot.

March 19, 2008, 01:22 PM
I'm just reloading 38 & 45 and been doing it with Bullseye and Clays.

From what all I've read on these forums for a looong time there is really none better for those calibers but I can't hardly subdue the urge to experiment with Titegroup and/or Universal.

March 21, 2008, 12:35 AM
get a one pounder. dont get any higher.

i bought a 1lbs of h4198 to use for 30-30. hated it. just did not like it at all. seemed like i have to almost use a full load to get anywhere near the performance i was getting with others. So needless to say i still had 3/4 lb to use. When ever i went shooting with friends i would load up the h4198 for them. let them shoot the heck out of my 30-30. my kids too let them shoot it all up. i still have 1/4 of that powder left. So ya get the smallest bottle when trying a new powder.

March 21, 2008, 01:53 AM
Just as a side note, if you haven't yet found a powder you like for loading your 30-30 rounds give Winchester W748 a try. I think you will be very happy with it.

March 21, 2008, 02:12 AM
For sure 1 pound cans. 8 pound cans aren't cheap and you may not get the same powder lot as a 1 pound can. Mind you, my Lyman manual usually gives an accuracy load. I've always started there. Mostly stayed there too.
"...might get me in almost as much trouble as all my computers..." Nope. Machines don't make mistakes. All machines are inanimate objects. No machine can get you in trouble. Nor can any firearm cause any trouble. They're inanimate objects too.

March 21, 2008, 03:40 AM
Just don't get carried away with experimenting unless that is what you really enjoy. If your real goal is to find a good shooting load for each cartridge then you at most need about three powders for handgun and two or three for rifle, depending on the range of cartridges and bullet weights.

For instance, there are many powders that can be used for .243. But that is to cover a range of bullet weights from 55 gr to 100 gr. If you plan to shoot very light and the heavier bullets in .243 and want near max velocities for both, then you may need a couple of powders just for it. Say H380 for the 55 gr and IMR4350 for the 100 gr.

However, if you are just looking for a good hunting or target load, then you may be able to get by with just one powder for both .243 and .270. For example, IMR4350 and IMR4831 (or even IMR4895 at slightly less velocity) gives good velocities in both .243 100 gr and .270 130 gr. Examples from Nosler.

March 21, 2008, 07:48 AM
I only reload for 3 calibers right now. The two rifle chamberings use the same powder. The pistol uses another. I buy 8# jugs, typically 4 of them at a time to save on hazmat.

I guess I'm silly that way, but I say, find a load that your firearm likes, stick with it, learn what it will do, and shoot a lot of it whenever you have the time to do so. Become a good shot by practicing with good ammo, by good, I mean, good enough.

If it meets my accuracy standards, if it is reliable, then the rest of it is up to me. Experimenting around with many handloads is tedious, and I don't believe it leads to good marksmanship skills, as one is forever looking at how the load performs, rather than how he performs.

The notable exception to this is benchrest shooting, something I really don't enjoy too much. I guess those guys are forever futzing around with powders and whatnot.

March 21, 2008, 01:50 PM
That's mainly what I want and good hunting load. I'd like to have under a .30 group at 200yds also:D But that'll take more luck than anything shooting a factory rifle. Who knows with enough time at the range:)

So by everyone's advice buy 1# work your load to one you like and then it's okay to buy the 8# (for same lot #'s and quanity).


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