Need a versatile cast lead powder.


November 26, 2008, 06:53 PM
Getting setup to crank out some cast lead loads for (in order of how much I shoot them)
38 Special
40 S&W

Any particular powder you guys recommend? I currently use Power Pistol, but am trying to get away from that.

The current front runners are
Solo 1000
IMR 700X

EDIT: Cheaper is better. I am very value conscious.

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Jim Watson
November 26, 2008, 07:09 PM
I have shot beaucoup 700X over the years and like everything about it except its rather spotty metering, it is a large flake powder. The little bit of Solo 1000 I have tried seems to meter better.

For standard loads, not very mild midrange type loads or +P, I prefer a Ball powder like W231/HP38. WST gets good reviews, but I don't know if it is listed for all your calibers.

November 26, 2008, 07:10 PM
Keep in mind that 700X doesn't meter well--but if you are not concerned about any sort of workflow other than batch, it is not an issue.

Jim H.

November 26, 2008, 07:33 PM
I like 700X as well. Even though it does not meter as well as some, it doesn't show it on target. It shoots real well, and will work fine in all but the 10MM.

Solo 1000 is very good as well, but I think 700X is a bit more versatile and does very well in 9MM, at least with 115 Gr bullets. It should work well in .40 if you don't push it too hard. I have used 700X in .38 Spl & .44 Spl for years and it works great, although Clays is getting my attention in .38 Spl & downloaded .357 right now.

For 10MM you will want a slower burning powder unless you are just going to shoot light target loads in it.

W-231 will do quite well too, it just won't push that 10MM hard.

Two more to consider would be Universal Clays or Unique as they are more of a medium burn rate and could push the 9MM and 10MM harder than 700X etc.

November 26, 2008, 08:23 PM
This will be going through a XL650. How badly does 700X meter? As bad as 800X?

November 26, 2008, 08:27 PM
Take a look at Alliant's HERCO

November 26, 2008, 08:40 PM
Unique has been a favorite cast bullet powder for decades and is ideal for the calibers you listed. Its slower burning rate allows it to load standard velocity ammo as well as heavier loads in your cartridges. Unique does not burn as clean as some other powders; for a flake powder it measures ok but not as smoothly and evenly as the ball powders.

You might consult a loading manual for a chart listing pistol powders in order of their relative burning rates. Faster powders will reach maximum pressure quicker and do so with a lower charge weight than a slower powder. You will notice in a loading manual in the section for data about a specific caliber that some powders require heavier charges than others to reach the same velocity level. The slower the powder, the more of it is needed. Or, faster powders do it with less. Beware of pressure problems using faster powders in the wrong application.

November 26, 2008, 09:11 PM
For a 650, I'd stay with a fine flake or ball powder. I'm using some milsurp equivalent of AA#2, and it works well. If I had no powder, I'd start with 231. Fast powder, meters well, and the cost per charge is low. Won't churn out big velocities, but works well up to mid-range. Next big jug of pistol powder I buy will be 231.

Ky Larry
November 26, 2008, 11:44 PM
AA #2. Clean, accurate, meters well, and cheap ($15.00 a lb, and uses small amount per load).

November 26, 2008, 11:55 PM
IMO HS-6 will do everything you want to load. The only slight problem will be the .38 Special. It will produce slightly hotter rounds than would be considered target loads. I use HS-6 for hotter .38 Specials and .38 Special +P rounds. HS-6 is a clean powder and it's also low flash. I've found HS-6 to be a very accurate powder especially when loading lead bullets.

As the others have said, W231 will also do a good job on all but the 10mm but only lacking in high end velocity, not accuracy. As for value, HS-6 is also a shotgun powder so it can be bought in 8lb jugs for ~$110-$115.

November 27, 2008, 03:06 AM
I like the HP38.

November 27, 2008, 06:38 AM
My choice has always been Unique because it is a slightly slower and more versatile powder. I use it in 32 ACP through 44 Mag.


November 27, 2008, 08:02 AM
How badly does 700X meter? As bad as 800X?No. It does not meter nearly as well as the ball powders like W-231, AA #2 & 5, HS-6, WST, WSF, etc, but not any worse than most flake powders like Unique, American Select, Red Dot. Smaller flake powders like Clays meter better, and very small flake powders like Bullseye meter almost like ball powder, most of which is "flattened ball" anyway.

If you are very picky about powder measuring consistently, it will bug you. If you just care about results on target, cleanliness, etc, you will like it I think.

AA #2. Clean, accurate, meters well, and cheapAgreed. Very good stuff. I have shot a lot of it. Meters superbly, not just well.

November 27, 2008, 10:41 AM
I don't actually need a single powder for every thing, but if it covers a couple things really well, that's what I am looking for.

Best metering powder I've ever used is IMR 7625. It is a powder I really like, but it doesn't seem to be ideal for cast lead.

highlander 5
November 27, 2008, 11:55 AM
I vote for Universal Clays or Unique very similar burning rates. I use it in all my pistols and revolvers and some cast rifle loads.

November 27, 2008, 10:27 PM
EDIT: Cheaper is better. I am very value conscious.

Look at Titegroup. Don't know if there's data for 10mm, but I find it to be very economical. It meters well too.

November 28, 2008, 03:54 PM
If you want cheap, then it's all about red dot, or even better, PROMO, in the 8lb kegs. Promo was about $75 for 8lbs compared to $90 at powder valley (granted, that was six months ago). Combine that with low charge weights, and pretty good metering, it's about as cheap as you can get without going the surplus powder route.

It works decent for 9mm and 38special. Don't know about 10mm or .40sw. Using promo and home-made cast bullets, I can load .38 special for about $2 per box of 50, maybe a little less. I haven't done the math recently, but it's about a half a cent per round. Roughly half the powder cost of anything else. It's also good if you reload shotgun or cast bullets in rifles. (my mosin ammo is less than $0.10 per round including ammortizing the cost of brass)

November 28, 2008, 04:21 PM
As bad as 800X?

I can't remember a worse propellant with regard to poor metering and measure bridging. The one and only time I used it was when it first came out in 1991 or so for fairly stout 44 mag loads. Ballistic performance seemed sound enough, but using it turned me off. Perhaps it's metering characteristics have improved over 17 years?

I have always found Unique about as good as it gets for many cast bullet pistol/revolver loads, and even moderate speed 30 cal loads.

November 28, 2008, 07:39 PM
800X is the Nuklur powder for 10mm. AFAIK nothing can touch it for 10mm velocities.

38 Super Auto
November 28, 2008, 08:34 PM
I like Universal Clays, Titegroup, and WSF

November 30, 2008, 02:18 AM
Are you casting your own bullet or buying commercial?

I cast my own and use 3 diff lubes. With cast bullets you can try diff. powders to help with the smoke I have had really good luck with Titegroup when used with Blue angle lube as well as Red rooster lube, red dot and bulls eye were second and unique last. When I use the 50/50 mix it doesnt seem to matter what i use its really smoky. I used to buy the RED-Line bullets and titegroup worked the best with them as well. I have a couple friends that use Trail boss and it seems to run well with cast bullets seems very light on the smoke it is a very bulky powder and Im not sure if it will work well in 9mm b/c of case volume but the rest of you calibers should have room to allow it. JMHO

November 30, 2008, 06:04 AM
700X works very very well...but mine sits in the container as a last resort, since I cannot stand the metering at all. Have to almost hand measure each load. AA#2 might be a great choice.

December 1, 2008, 03:47 AM
I don't actually need a single powder for every thing, but if it covers a couple things really well, that's what I am looking for.
Then in that case take what I said about HS-6 above and add W231/HP-38 to the mix and you will have exactly what you need IMO.

December 1, 2008, 07:47 PM
For cheap I say promo, use the same data as red dot. It is just under 80 for an 8lb keg and uses small charges, I use 3 grains for a 158 in 38 special.

tiger rag
December 1, 2008, 10:23 PM
Hard to beat Unique with cast handgun loads,Still a good value.

December 2, 2008, 12:43 AM
Yeah, Unique is near the top of my list because I can get it at a discount. Just seems to work for most things too.

Papa smurf
December 2, 2008, 08:33 PM
Unique-----4.5gr 38spl,6.0gr 357 mag,10.2 30-30 win,14.5 20ga .

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