low flash powder?


May 6, 2008, 01:07 PM
i was loading up a batch of xtp's last night for my 45 acp. and this wandered into my mind. would a fast burning powder have less flash (for night time personal defense) than a slower burning powder? i have tightgroup, and accurate no.7 on hand. i have always done all my shooting during the day. so you do not even notice muzzle flash. but i recently bought a 20 round box of p.d. ammo, for just that reason, reduced muzzle flash. as long as i am reloading, and have everyting else, i might as well reload and save the money. shoot, for what i paid for the 20 rounds, i could almost buy a pound of powder! if either of these two are not good low flash powders, can anyone recomend something that is?

If you enjoyed reading about "low flash powder?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Steve C
May 6, 2008, 01:43 PM
As I understand it, commercial manufacturers put in flash reducing additives in the powder for their police and self defense loads. If this is true I'd suspect that canister powder for reloading will not have any flash suppressant in it.

OTH fast powder by the very nature of using smaller charges will produce less flash than slower powders, kind of the big pile of firewood makes more light than the small pile.

May 6, 2008, 02:12 PM
Ramshot's Silhouette is definitely very low flash--lowest of any powder I load. Whether or not is has a suppressant in it, I don't know.

Jim H.

May 6, 2008, 02:14 PM
There are exceptions. Ramshot Silhouette has a flash inhibitor. I haven't used it for .45 ACP, but for 9mm and .40 S&W, flash is about as low as you can expect. Several of us here are experimenting with loads in .38 +P and .357 Magnum for short barreled revolvers for this reason. True Blue has a low flash signature and maybe one of the better ones out there for .45 defense loads would be AA#5. Generally, you will get lower flash from ball powders that have a high bulk density, like #5 and True Blue.;)

May 6, 2008, 09:54 PM
IME, Winchester WAP (now reportedly Ramshot Silhouette IIRC) lived up to its "low flash" promotional literature in 9mm, .38 Special and .357 Mag. I never loaded it in .45 ACP.

Winchester 231 is also supposed to be at least lower flash. IME in every handgun caliber I've loaded, it never gave a totally-dark flash bigger than a huge elongated egg, nor brighter than a lit cigarette and about the same color. Usually, it's more like a fat stretched out cherry in size.

Even the supposedly flashy Alliant Unique barely flashed in full-tilt .357 loads, but it *did* flash more in lighter loads using 125-gr bullets. Never tried it in .45 ACP, but some people report good accuracy (bullseye shooter 3 inch 10-ring at 50 yards accuracy, not IPSC headshot at 50 yards accuracy) using the right bullets. I can try some using 200gr LSWCs this weekend if you want...

Avoid Power Pistol--though it often gives top velocities at much lighter charge weights than other powders, Alliant made no effort to reduce that powder's flash. The hotter the load, the worse it was, IIRC. 9mm, .380 and .45 ACP.

May 6, 2008, 10:10 PM
Accurate #5 is very low flash in .45ACP.

May 7, 2008, 06:57 AM
Flash works about the way I'd think it does (I don't know the names of any powders that have flash suppressants). Fast-burning powders generally have little flash. A full charge of 2400 in a 6" .357 Magnum will produce a large flash. These kinds of loads are designed to produce maximum velocity, and efficiency goes out the door, so a lot of unburned powder still exists when the bullet emerges from the muzzle. Hence, the flash.

I had a strange exception many years ago, in the form of a couple of boxes of 12 ga. skeet loads that had been put back on a shelf and sat for 5+ years. When I finally shot them at the range (it was after dark), my shooting was accompanied by the exclamations of other shooters. Every shot was accompanied by a rather dim, spherical orange flash about the size of a basketball. It was dim enough that I wasn't seeing it while shooting the gun, but others standing to the side could see it easily. When I gave some shells to a friend and observed his shooting, I could see it. These shells seemed to break clays as well as any other. When those rounds (they were 9 shot, 700-X, CCI primers) were used up, I never experienced that phenomenon again.

BattleChimp Potemkin
May 7, 2008, 09:45 AM
Suprisingly, Unique and Blue Dot, used in high pressure cartridges (9x19, etc...) has a little poop out the end of the barrel at night (checked em me self).

Viht 3N37, awesome velocities, almost NO flash at night.

May 7, 2008, 01:33 PM

May 7, 2008, 01:39 PM

Best low flash powder I’ve tested VV N340, next WAP, then 231, then AA5. This is fairly consistent in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45ACP.

BattleChimp Potemkin
May 7, 2008, 03:10 PM
The funny thing is that I thought Viht would be a really high flash flake powder (looking at it's velocities), however, I am shocked at its consistency, low flash, excellent velocity charecteristics (with right powder choice, 3n37 in .45 is a waste of time for velocity, but in 9mm with light rounds, awesome), and its ease of metering. Its a little more expensive, but most likely due to import costs/taxes and its just great quality. The powder gets really fun making 110 gr treasury loads. I purposely made some really over the wall rounds (way too high charges) and there were no signs of pressure issues (not a smart move, but proves a point). :D Happy reloading.

Jim Watson
May 7, 2008, 03:45 PM
An early edition of the IDPA Tactical Journal reported that AA #2 had the least flash of 14 typical .45 ACP powders tested. My copy has gone for a walk, so I can't detail other powders, although I googled an old post of mine that mentioned Power Pistol as the worst.

May 8, 2008, 02:25 AM
I've found W231 to be a clean powder with low flash. For something which burns slower and with a little more punch HS-6 is your powder. I was surprised how low the flash was with HS-6.

May 12, 2008, 07:56 AM
Remember boys and girls, gun control only prevents law abiding Americans from owning guns because the BG’s don’t obey the laws, no matter how restrictive or lenient the laws are!

June 27, 2008, 11:29 AM
been reading another post specific to 230gr Golden Sabres for .45ACP.

What are the metering characterisitics of these powders suggested for low flash?

For me.
W231 is very easy, and low flash, but low performance velocity-wise.
Power Pistol - not low flash, but easy to meter, and good performance.

WAP, HS-6, and some of the VV powder look good.

June 27, 2008, 02:02 PM
AA #2, AA #5, Silhouette, & True Blue all meter well. AA #2 & True Blue meter exceptionaly well.

AA #5 and 230 Gr. Golden Sabers work real well, giving excellent velocities. I started with True Blue, but never finished working up a max. It showed real potential.

AA #2 is a bit fast for full house 230 Gr .45 Loads, but does work very well for midrange to near full house loads. It just can't match the slower powders for velocity.

June 27, 2008, 04:32 PM
walkalong, e-mail me, would you?

Jim H.

June 27, 2008, 05:33 PM
PM sent. I saw you were online.

If you enjoyed reading about "low flash powder?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!