Powders for Cast Loads


September 8, 2009, 04:51 PM
In general, what powders produce the least leading in cast pistol loads? I will be loading 38spl, 44spl, 45acp and a little 9mm.

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September 8, 2009, 05:00 PM
IMO: Powder selection has little to do with leading or not leading with cast bullets.

The alloy used, the bullet lube used, and proper sizing for the bore or cylinder throats have a much greating bearing on leading.

Through the years, I have used Bullseye, Unique, 2400, Red Dot, Green Dot, Titegroup, HP38, and several others.

Leading has never been a problem as long as the bullet was matched to the gun and the power of the loads I was using, and Alox lube was used in the more faster loads.


September 8, 2009, 05:10 PM
rcmodel is right, powders play little part in leading. Powders that burn really hot, such as high nitro glycerin content Titegroup, are said to be worse than other powders with low nitro content, and especially single based powders with no nitro content.

700X, W-231, Unique are a couple of proven cast bullet powders I can think of off the top of my head.

Many powders work well with cast bullets, so there is no real set answer, besides, as rcmodel posted, get the alloy wrong, or the size wrong, or have undersized throats, you will have leading no matter what powder you use.

something vague
September 8, 2009, 06:05 PM
Well said rc and Walkalong. I will say though, that fairly recently I have discovered IMR's Trail Boss for my 38spl. and .357 mag plinking loads. I have had especially good luck with a 148gr HBWC sitting on top of the trailboss in a .357mag case. But again, the powder isn't even 1/4 of the reason I have had no leading with this load...it's all the other more important factors that rc and walkalong have repeated.

September 8, 2009, 07:22 PM
If you want to run maximum velocity, pick a powder that gives the lowest pressure. The bullets alloy hardness(BHN) tell you the maximum pressure you can load too. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/th_LeeChart.jpg (http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/LeeChart.jpg)

Marlin 45 carbine
September 9, 2009, 01:46 AM
of the 3 powders I've used under cast slugs Red Dot seems to be the cleanest with the commercial bought slugs I used - one of them was not lubed so I ALOX'd 'em. I loaded just moderate practice/plinking loads, nothing 'hot'.
only the .357 load had any noticeable fouling and that was around the cone area. the others were auto pistol loads.

September 9, 2009, 04:24 AM
I use standard wheel weight lead, over AA#2 in 38 Special, and AA#7 in 9mm. Very little leading issues, Lee Liquid Alox used.

September 9, 2009, 10:43 AM
I have been using wheel weight lead over bullseye in 9mm, 38, 357, & 45 with no leading. Make sure you have slugged the barrel to determine your size and make/buy your bullets .001-.002 over.

September 9, 2009, 11:16 AM
I pair Unique with most of my cast loads in 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP, 38 Special, and so forth. It's a fine combination that has worked well for many decades.

Ben Shepherd
September 9, 2009, 11:29 AM
Given the lower pressure calibers you'll be loading, I'd use unique or universal across the board. Magnum calibers(357, 41, 44 mag, etc) OTOH, do VERY well with 2400 for full power magnum loads.

As the others have already noted- PAY ATTENTION to the sizing of your bore, cylinder throats, and slug size for best performance.

September 28, 2009, 07:07 PM
Has anyone found a "serious" .357 load using Trail Boss? IMR says max load is 4.2 gr. I tried 4.0 behind a 158 gr LRNFP and it felt like a light .38 target load. How much do I have to use to get the flame-throwing performance of a factory .357 load? Should I be using a different powder or is IMR just being overly cautious? Thanks

September 28, 2009, 07:12 PM
For real flame thrower performance use jacketed bullets and H-110. You won't be dissapointed!!

September 28, 2009, 09:24 PM
I have been using Ramshot ZIP with good luck in the 9mm. Haven't tried it in other calibers yet.

I have used:

For 38 and 357 and 45 I have used Unique, Bullseye, Titegroup, W 231

All with good results.

All these powders serve well for cast bullets.

September 28, 2009, 10:08 PM
my dad uses red dot for 9mm, .45acp, and .38spl.

i use bullseye and unique in .40 loaded really light.

September 28, 2009, 10:14 PM
rcmodel is right, powders play little part in leading.

Walkalong is right about RC being right.


September 28, 2009, 10:17 PM
Walkalong is right about RC being right.
LGBLoader is right about walkalong being right.

I use Universal across the board for lead out of my .38, very light .357, 9mm and .45ACP.

AA#5 works great for .45ACP. Not as good for others - lots of residue.

Bullseye works great for .38 and .45ACP. Can't remember if I've used it for 9mm or not. My complaint is it's smokey. No leading, per se, but lots of smoke, esp in my .38 loads.

Titegroup works well in .357, 9mm, and .45ACP. In fact, I really like TG for a good .357 Magnum load. It runs about 1100fps (per the manual) with a Missouri Bullet .357Action bullet.

But, If I had to do a bug out bag and could only grab one bottle of powder, it would be Universal.


September 28, 2009, 10:22 PM
for 38 special I load 3.0grains trailboss behind a 100 or 105 grain swc for a light 25metre load

My heqavier load is 4.5grains trailboss behind a 158grain swc

Both are winchester/pmc/remington/starline cases with federal small pistol primers.

The trailboss in the 158grain load basically fills up the case to the projectile.

Both loads are totally safe.... I have loaded up to 5.3 grains of trailboss behind the 158 but it did just start to show some mild pressure signs, and was too heavy. The 100 grain load is almost like shooting a .22

You can also load 4.5 trailboss behind a 148 grain bnwc for a similar result to the 158.

July 11, 2012, 03:02 AM
Can anyone offer reload data for a 148 grain BNWC for 357 or 38 special using IMR 4227 powder?

July 11, 2012, 07:31 AM
IMR 4227 is too slow to be suitable for .38 Spl. It is suited to full power .357 loads with many bullets, but probably not a solid wadcutter, and certainly not a hollow base wad cutter.

Not sure what a BNWC is.

Welcome to THR

July 11, 2012, 08:32 AM
Cad 4340, I doubt you will find a "serious" load using TB. Try 2400 under a 158 grain cast bullet for good results.

July 11, 2012, 10:05 AM
Walkalong is right about RC being right.
LGBLoader is right about walkalong being right.

My PT145 barrel is oversized (groove diameter around .456") and Missouri 18 BHN 200 gr SWC (IDP #1) loads with 5.0 gr W231/HP-38 and 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot that do not lead in Sig 1911/M&P45 leaded in PT145 along the rifling and accuracy was erratic.

When I used softer 12 BHN 200 gr SWC (Bullseye #1), the bullet base deformed/obturated enough to seal with the oversized PT145 barrel and produced accurate shot groups with no leading, even with the lighter 4.0 gr Promo target load.

I used to shoot commercial hard cast bullets with 20-24 BHN and needed to push them at high-to-near max load data to minimize leading. Now using Missouri 18/12 BHN bullets in 9mm/40S&W/45ACP and W231/HP-38/Promo(using Red Dot load data), I can use mid-to-high range load data without leading.

Missouri offers .38 Spl bullets in 10/12 BHN, 9mm bullets in 15/18 BHN and 45ACP bullets in 12/18 BHN so you can match the softness of the bullet to the power and charge.

Of course, bullet-to-barrel fit is still key to reducing leading but many factory barrels are oversized by .001"-.002"+ and if you are not shooting oversized lead bullets, try shooting softer (lower BHN) lead bullets to reduce leading.

Glen Fryxell covers bullet hardness and leading in chapter 7 of his free ebook (http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm).

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