Recommendations ? One powder & primer for pistol, and powder & primer for .223/.308


October 27, 2008, 12:10 AM
Yes, I did use the search engine and I did go through several pages of results- so please bare with me.

I've got a Lee Loadmaster Reload Kit. I have dies coming so that I can reload .45ACP, .40S&W, .44 Special, and .38 Special and .223 Remington. My kit came with the .308 dies.

I'm just a beginner, so I'd like to buy one powder and one primer that would work for my all pistol calibers, and another powder and primer suitable for both .223 and .308.

Thanks for the advice.

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October 27, 2008, 12:34 AM
for bullets 55grains and heavier in .223 or any 308 load VARGET is THE powder.

As for sharing primers for these two cartridges, NO DICE. The .223 uses a small rifle primer and 308win uses large

October 27, 2008, 12:42 AM
Yes, I did some more reading- amazing stuff that reading- and I think I can get two powders, but I'll need small and larger pistol primers and small and large rifle primers.

I'm about to get discouraged with all the stuff I've bought and still have left to buy, sell what I've got, and then just buy a bunch of PMC, Przi, and Wolf ammo.

October 27, 2008, 12:57 AM
Varget for use in your rifles. I got pretty good accuracy out of it.

Pistols, many powders to choose from.

Personally I like Longshot, however it isn't listed for all of your cartridges. I would say that Titegroup or Unique should fit the bill. Be extra careful with the Titegroup; it is very easy to double charge since it doesn't take up much case space.

35 Whelen
October 27, 2008, 01:10 AM
Don't despair. Pistols: Hands down, Unique, but you'll need large and small pistol primers for the calibers you listed.
Rifles: The Varget others mentioned is fine, or 4895, either IMR or Hodgdon. Best thing is the that 4895 can be had as military surplus.
Hang in there. Handloading is VERY rewarding and much, much cheaper than factory loads. Especially when it comes to handgun cartridges.

October 27, 2008, 01:14 AM
Keep reading.

Books. Not the internet. Half of us on the internet are liars, and nearly the other half of us are truthfully repeating what the liars told us on the internet. Just a few guys are knowledgable and open minded.

Although a surprising amount of information posted online is reliable enough to get you started safely, virtually 100% of the information published in books is correct and completely safe for your new hobby.

To begin reloading you need three things: Educate yourself with published manuals, buy the equipment, and select your components (brass, bullets, powder and primers). I guess it doesn't matter what order you do these three things, but you must do all three before you can begin.

Books: Lyman, Hornady, ABC's of Reloading, Lee, Speer, Sierra. Best to choose at least two and review everything cover to cover. At that point, you will have a better understanding of the selection of powder and primers.

And you'll understand whether or not you need some extra parts (not just three dies) to convert your Loadmaster from rifle to pistol, unless you bought Lee deluxe die sets with the powder-through expanding dies.

October 27, 2008, 01:57 AM
Yeah- I don't trust online sources. If I did, I wouldn't have bought a Lee Loadmaster- after all, they should all be rounded up and melted down to make Wolf cases out of.

I've been reading the two reloading manuals I bought- one from Lee, one from Hornady.

Thanks for the responses- I appreciate it.

October 27, 2008, 02:02 AM
I vote for Reloder 15 for your rifles...its just as insensitive to temperature variations as Varget, just as accurate (in my guns anyway), and it produces higher velocities in both calibers.

Varget is good...I wont argue with that, but in my experience Reloder 15 is better.

I know, most of the competitive shooters use Varget...that is most...most of the rest use Reloder 15.

The military also uses Reloder 15 in the M118LR sniper round.

evan price
October 27, 2008, 02:53 AM
Try H335 in your rifles, too. Measures nice and easy. iirc it is the current milspec for .223 and it will work in .308 also. I use Varget in my accuracy loads and H335 in my "bulk" mil-surp equivalent rifle rounds.

Winchester 231 is as close to a universal beginner's pistol powder as you will find (Also called Hodgdon HP38).
I use Titegroup myself but as has been said it is easy to doublecharge.

October 27, 2008, 06:06 AM
Good, VE2RF, sounds like you're on your way. Looking back over the last 40 years, I know what powders I should have started with.

With the powder measure that comes with a Loadmaster, I do believe I would use HP-38 and/or W231 for the pistol cartridges. Both powders are the same and both are distributed by Hodgdon, but W231 has a Winchester label on it. Identical powders other than the label. Not only is this powder a common standard bearer for pistol, but because it is a spherical ball powder it meters extremely well in Lee equipment.

For your rifle calibers I believe I would stick with another ball powder for ease of measuring. Winchester 748 is the Winchester factory standard for both your cartridges, 223 and 308. There are dozens of other choices that also perform extremely well, but I would load a few thousand rounds with a Lee-user-friendly powder before I start experimenting with other choices.

Fine grained ball powders can sometimes drop a granule or two from the Lee powder measure. Just check to make sure everything is tight, and gently blow the droppings away from the equipment so they don't upset the system. It's totally surprising how a tiny little granule will throw a case or a primer out of whack. But blow it out of the way and you're good to go.

For primers, use standard primers from Winchester, CCI, or Remington. You can't lose with any of them. Make sure you seat the primers fully in the pocket for 223 if you're using it in a semi-auto. If you seat the primers fully, you won't have to bother reading the online horror tales and urban myths about slam fires.

Read up about crimped primer pockets. If you wish, you may consider starting out with non-crimped commercial brass until you learn more about your craft. Believe me, there is plenty to learn and the Loadmaster does require you to focus. After you get the feel of primers being properly seated in commercial pockets, you can use your leisure time to cut crimped pockets. It takes a good sense of feel to tell if you have reemed or swaged the pocket properly.

October 27, 2008, 07:13 AM
i don't think there is a "do all" powder that will handle all of your reloading needs. rifle powder has to burn slower to keep peak pressures down while pistol powder has to burn very fast. if you use pistol powder in a rifle, the presures will spike while the bullet is very near the breech creating a very dangerous over pressure spike. using rifle powder in a pistol, while i am not certain of what the pressures will do, certainly will not get much velocity out of it as most of the powder will burn outside of the barrel. you are just going to have to have at least two different bottles of powder. if you do not understand this concept, you NEED to get into a couple of reloading books and READ! there is a world of great information in there. i have read cover to cover 4 of them. and i still dont know jack compared to guys like reloaderfred, and rcmodel for instance. they have the best knowledge in the world, lots of EXPERIENCE!

October 27, 2008, 08:05 AM
I use IMR 4895 for 223 and 308. And Win 231 is a good choice for the pistols.

October 27, 2008, 08:53 AM
AA2460 for the two rifles, Unique for the pistols.

October 27, 2008, 09:11 AM
i don't think there is a "do all" powder that will handle all of your reloading needs.

He didn't ask for just one powder, he asked for two. One for pistol, one for rifle. :)

I'm just a beginner, so I'd like to buy one powder and one primer that would work for my all pistol calibers, and another powder and primer suitable for both .223 and .308.

October 27, 2008, 09:30 AM
I don’t even use Win 231 any more but at one point or another I’ve loaded it into all of the pistol rounds you mention and then some. For .223/308 there are a bunch of powders that will cross, I prefer Win 748.

The Bushmaster
October 27, 2008, 09:37 AM
So many powders. So many bullet styles. So little time...

There is no "one powder" for handgun or rifle. I load 9mm X 19, .38 Special, .357 magnum, 45 ACP, .30-30 and .30-06. I have two .45 ACPs and they like different powders just as an example. The same with my three .357 magnums.

I have 7 different canisters of powder and 4 different primers on my shelf.

Experiment. That's what reloaders do...

If you purchased a Lyman 48th or 49th Edition it will indicate which powder was the best in their tests. It's not the holy grail, but it is a good start.

October 27, 2008, 10:31 AM
4895 or H335 for your .223 & .308. Either will do quite well.

N320, W-231, AA #5, Universal Clays, or Unique will all do well for all your pistol needs, but you will end up using two or three powders for all those. The .40 cal is a much higher pressure round than the others and would benifit from a slower powder if you want top velocities in it.

There are many choices that will work just fine. Don't sweat it to much. It can be frustrating sorting through all the choices. :)

October 27, 2008, 11:26 AM
Like stated, there really isn't a be all pistol powder or a be all rifle powder.

Here are the powders I use (no particular order.)



October 28, 2008, 12:14 AM
Picking the heads of experienced local reloaders, I started with Unique and Varget for my pistol and rifle loading needs.

A couple of the locals have been having interesting problems with Universal, so I'm going to be shying away from it.
(3 pistols killed in short order, with verified mid weight loads, double checked by the manufacturer...)

October 28, 2008, 12:20 AM
I like Winchester 748 for both 223 and 308. It meters better than Varget, no matter what the Vargetophiles say.

October 28, 2008, 12:30 AM
I like ramshot TAC. Their load data sucks though so I have developed some loads of my own. I only buy it because it is the cheapest and I can still shoot amazing groups with it.

October 28, 2008, 12:58 AM
so I'd like to buy one powder and one primer that would work for my all pistol calibers, and another powder and primer suitable for both .223 and .308.

Varget is great for both 223 and 308, thing is, 223 will require small rifle primers while 308 will require large rifle primers. Try CCI.
IMR-4895 will also work.

Unique will work for all pistol calibers for now. primers will need to be fitted for each caliber as well, small, large, ect. so on and so forth.

Eventually, you will want to tailer each load for each pistol/rifle of each caliber, to create your own pet loads. This will require several different powders, Projectiles, and primers and many many man-hours of work at the loading bench, But hey, that's part of the fun.

Welcome the wonderful world of handloading...



October 28, 2008, 01:08 AM
For my .223 , .308, and 45/70 - I like IMR4198 -- burns very clean in all my rifles.

For my .32Long , .32H&R ,.380, 9mm,
.38Spl,.357Mag , 38Super , 10mm , 41mag , 45acp , .44mag etc -- I use Win. SuperTarget {WST} --- very good results in all the above.

evan price
October 28, 2008, 02:08 AM
I mentioned Varget above for accuracy work- and stand by that- but Varget, 4064, 4895, and all the stick powders will not meter well in the Lee powder measure. Stick powders don't measure well in many powder measures, not just Lee.

I recommend H335 for rifle in your Lee because it is a smallish flattened spherical powder similar to Titegroup and will flow very very well in powder measures especially for a beginner. BL(c)2 is also a good choice being more spherical, and Winchester's powders.

October 28, 2008, 11:40 PM
H4895 is my current go-to powder for 7.62x39, .308 and .30-06, but I'm always open to experimenting with other powders. I've got some IMR-3031 loaded up for the FAL for the next range trip, and I hear AA1680's the ticket for the x39.

I just started loading pistol ammo (9x19) again and really like W231, but Accurate #7's not too bad either. I still have most of a pound of Unique I need to try out, though.

Ideally, I think you should try to develop a few loads for your rifles and pistols using different powders, so you can keep on loading and shooting with confidence if your one favorite powder choice is somehow unavailable.

So many powders, so little time...

P.S. Keep a reloading log!! I only have enough room in my brain to remember 43.0 grains of H4895 under a 147gr. pill for the FAL. Don't ask me for particulars about the 9mm rounds I loaded up last month...

October 29, 2008, 12:23 AM
AA 2520 will work in your .223 and .308. And it's only $81 for 8lbs at

October 29, 2008, 01:58 AM
Yes, a reloading log is a GREAT! idea. It will help you work up loads in the pursuit of accuracy.

October 29, 2008, 09:02 AM
double post

October 29, 2008, 09:10 AM
Go with what ANTS said;

HP38/Win231 is superb in the .38, 9mm, .40S&W, and .45acp. Good enough that when Precision Delta ammo was setting a bunch of National records in PPC competition, it's what they were using in their factory ammo. Others are good (Unique, Universal) but, for ONE powder, give me HP38/Win231.

For the two rifles, Win748/BLC2 (again, the same powder- just different labels/lot#'s) is one of my favorites. Yeah, I really like Reloader15, but, push comes to shove, I'll stick with BLC2. My Rem M-7 in 7mm08 has a definite preference for BLC2 for velocity AND accuracy. (Sorry, but I've never gotten the velocities listed for Varget, neither has it exceeded BLC2 or IMR4064 for accuracy, in my dozen or two rifles.)

Use Federal (NON MAGNUM) primers in the appropriate size (You'll need 4- lg and small pistol, large and small rifle).

October 29, 2008, 09:14 AM
Another good combo powder for 223/308 is BLC#2. Good velocity with lower pressures and it's better to be used with magnum primers, being a ball powder. Measures very consistently. Check the site to compare.
BLC#2 was originally designed for the 308 military round.(7.62x51)

I have found Unique to be a very versatile pistol powder.


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