HP-38 vs. 231


July 28, 2008, 09:55 AM
I was at a gun show Saturday and while looking at the powders A person told me that 231 and HP-38 was the same stuff. What's your thoughts. I have been using 231 but the HP-38 is cheaper. I'll check the data sheets as well but was just wondering what y'all thought. BTW, I load mild 240 gr. LSWC, 44 mag loads with 231, up to 1000 fps.:)

If you enjoyed reading about "HP-38 vs. 231" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Jim Watson
July 28, 2008, 10:12 AM
Well, you have to be careful what people tell you at gun shows, especially if they have something to sell. In this case, he was right; HP38 comes off the same production line in St Marks, Florida that Win 231 does. Now that Hodgdon distributes Winchester powders you can see it in their loading data:

.44 Magnum
240 GR. LSWC CAST Winchester 231 .430" 1.620" 5.5 800 12,000 CUP 11.0 1334 38,100 CUP

240 GR. LSWC CAST Hodgdon HP-38 .430" 1.620" 5.5 800 12,000 CUP 11.0 1334 38,100 CUP

Some manuals show a difference, and I have seen it, too; but powder can vary lot-to-lot no matter what the label. I have some W231 in the old metal can that is noticeably slower burning than recent production HP38. I will use the W231 for .38 Specials as long as it lasts because my .38 press has fixed powder bushings for my standard loads. Changing to HP38 gives higher velocity than needed.

Ol` Joe
July 28, 2008, 11:50 AM
Call Hodgdon or drop them a E-mail. They should tell you, both are distrubuted by them.

BTW, I`ve heard they are the same from a few sources. The same as with W296/H110, W760/ H414, ect. Hodgdon repackages powder from various manufactures with own label. The difference is, they are different lots of powder then the one the makers label as their own. The next batch can and will alter burning rates for both brands, and they could swap places on the charts.

July 28, 2008, 09:31 PM
Look at "Hodgdon's 2008 Annual Manual Reloading" and you will find that in several instances where one powder is listed, another powder is usually also listed with EXACTLY the same data including starting and maximum loads, velocities and pressures. This could only happen if they were the same powder. The following powders are equivalent:

HP-38 = Winchester 231
H110 = Winchester 296
H414 = Winchester 760

In the case of H110 and H414 I also confirmed this via e-mail with Hodgdon.

July 28, 2008, 10:22 PM
Good to know about H414. Scarce around here.

I already knew about these.

HP-38 = W231
HS-6 = W540
HS-7 = W571
H110 = W296
Ramshot Silhouette = WAP

July 29, 2008, 12:05 PM
This is great information. After all these years of reloading, this old dog learned something new. Woof, woof.

July 29, 2008, 07:11 PM
Grumulkin-that would only happen if those writing the manual just used the same data from one powder.

Even getting exactly the same pressure and velocity from 2 different trials of powder from the same jug is near impossible.

July 29, 2008, 11:29 PM
Sometimes you will see slight differences in load data with these powders for the same cartridge in various manuals. I suspect this is due to nothing more than the lot to lot variances (usually slight) with all smokeless powders.

July 30, 2008, 01:03 AM
I have confirmed by writing Winchester that W231 and HP-38 are the same exact powders. (and so are the others mentioned in this post) Just as I wrote to get the confirmation so should you. You should never trust anyone when it comes to loading components and recipes.

November 20, 2008, 01:49 AM
Does anyone know what year they became the same powder?

And which of the formulas "went away" to be replaced by the other?

Steve C
November 20, 2008, 12:54 PM
Just because HP38 and W231 are the same powder doesn't mean they have the same burn rate or load data. Canister grade powders for reloading are blended from lots of bulk powders bought by the selling companies. HP38 was always blended a bit faster by Hodgdon than W231 by Winchester.

If you look at load manuals published other than by Hodgdon you will see loads using HP38 where always a bit lower than those with W231. As Hodgdon took over the marketing and distributing of W231 they simply lowered the charge level in the data they publish for W231 to HP38 levels as it was perfectly safe to go to the lower level.

I'm not sure if Hodgdon controls the blending of W231 powder now or if its still being done under Winchester control. If Hodgdon standardized the burn rates for both powders to the HP38 level then for all intents and purposes any W231 powder bought after that may be exactly the same as HP38 but more information is needed to confirm this as a fact.

November 20, 2008, 02:44 PM
Similar Powders

1. Accurate Arms #9 Ramshot Enforcer

2. Hodgdon H-110 Winchester 296

3. Hodgdon HP-38 Winchester 231 Ramshot ZIP

4. Hodgdon HS-6 Winchester 540 Ramshot True Blue

5. Hodgdon HS-7 Winchester 571

6. Winchester Action Pistol Ramshot Silhouette

Jim Watson
November 20, 2008, 04:30 PM

I have a little W231 in the old metal can that does indeed take about .2 grain more powder for a given .38 or .45 velocity than late date HP38.

But current Hodgdon www site data shows EXACTLY the same loads with W231 and HP38. The pressures are the SAME. They can only be testing that grade of powder once to get everything EXACTLY the same. Have they fudged their HP38 spec to match W231, vice versa, or just decided to CALL them the same? I dunno.

November 20, 2008, 08:13 PM
I have a little W231 in the old metal can3 pounder? Me too.

November 20, 2008, 11:02 PM
The reason I asked about the date is because I have a load book with not very much info on .380 acp, which lists a load for a 100gr FMJ using HP-38 but not W-231 and based on the published date of the manual I was trying to determine if I could use that info.

November 20, 2008, 11:26 PM
Go to the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center (http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp). They show the same load for 231 and HP-38 with 100gr FMJ.

November 21, 2008, 01:10 AM
I read as much as I felt I needed to make a rational decison and I dumped my small lot of HP 38 into my large lot of WW231.
The sun came up, my Model 14, 15 and 642 were happy with 4 grains of mixed powder with a 158 grain load.

November 21, 2008, 08:14 AM
...and another 3-lb. metal can of 231.

Great minds think alike, I guess.:)

But I didn't know about HS-6 / 540 / True Blue--at least for HS-6. That'll save some money.

Jim H.

November 21, 2008, 08:59 PM
...that I saved for just such a post, but, I'll be darned if I can find it now. This was a photocopy signed by the president, CEO or what have you stating that the powders are the same. As so many others ahead of me have attested to that, I feel comfortable throwing this out.

If you enjoyed reading about "HP-38 vs. 231" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!