Powder volume?


April 3, 2010, 03:06 PM
Being frugal I'd like to get a few different practice loads for 9-40-10mm-45 from the same powder.
Researched and found a couple, now I'd personally like to achieve loads with great performance with only a single grain of powder:neener:
Well - that ain't gonna happen, but my reloading goes back literally decades with shotgun shells and rifles , but less than a year with pistol calibers; always got free handgun ammo from the powers that be.
My question is this - is it prudent to use a faster (lower volume/weight ) cheaper per load powder in the face of safety?

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April 3, 2010, 03:10 PM
For light/low velocity target loads? Yes, perfectly safe.

For full power SD or hunting loads? No.
Especially in the calibers you mentioned.

Think of my old Bowling ball analogy.
You want to move a bowling ball.
You have two choices of how to move it.

Hit it with your fist as hard as you can. (Fast powder)
Or shove it with the palm of your hand to get it moving & up to speed. (Slower powder)

Which would you chose if it was your hand or fist you were going to use?

For your calibers, you could use one medium burn rate powder like Unique, Longshot, HS-6, or similiar and get good perfoormance out of most of them.

Truly fast powders that use tiny charges will not do them justice except in the low pressure .45 ACP.


April 3, 2010, 03:23 PM
Bullseye comes closer to what you want than any other powder. I use it for my 9mm +P loads. It behaves more like an medium-burning powder than one would expect from its position on the burn rate charts, and it has more energy per grain than any other powder except Power Pistol. (Power Pistol is just a much slower verison of Bullseye.)

If you just want cheap and accurate and don't care about power, use Alliant Promo.

April 3, 2010, 05:40 PM
I'm not comfortable, personally, with Bullseye, Red Dot, 700X etc. Good powders all, but not versatile.

Unique, 231, AAC5, HP38 will all serve you well. :)
And they're all versatile.

Steve C
April 3, 2010, 06:38 PM
is it prudent to use a faster (lower volume/weight ) cheaper per load powder in the face of safety?

When using fast powders with low volume its important to use good quality control and safety checks to make sure you don't get a double charge. With a higher volume powder a double will show up with an overflow or obviously filled case.

If you load with a single stage its best to batch process doing one stage at a time. Charge 50 cases, standing them up in a loading block. Take the loading block under a good light ad look into each case for powder and consistent level between cases. Pull any suspicious charges and weigh them. Pick a sample out of every 10 cases and weigh them to see if the amount is remaining uniform and correct. This is the safest way to charge cases with fast powder.

Where most people get into trouble is when they use a progressive or turret press and try to load fast rather than carefully. They don't check the consistency of their charge levels. When something goes wrong like a distraction, a bad case or other issue they don't pull all the cases from the press and start them over as they try to clear the problem, this can lead to a second charge being added.

If you want to make full power loads you will need a powder like Unique or other of similar burn rate. An even slower powder would be needed to maximize the 10mm.

April 3, 2010, 06:48 PM
Steve makes a good point. I always choose my powder/load combo so that a double charge will overflow the case.

That gives you a good margin of safety even in a progressive loader.:cool:

April 3, 2010, 06:50 PM
A very experienced reloader taught me that using powder that mostly fills the case is an excellent method for maintaining a margin of safety. You can't get a double-charge w/o the powder spilling out of the case.

While some powders use less in grains of weight, and appear to be a more frugal alternative, the reality is you save so little per-round that IMO it's a poor reason to choose a powder.

I've been using WST for both 9mm and .45 (no experience with it in the other calibers you mentioned). It fills the case well, and I've found it an excellent choice for .45, and it's the nuts in 9mm under the 124gr Hornady XTP bullet. Softest recoil I've found in 9mm and still it produces 1150fps. And it works wonderfully under the 125gr Missouri Bullet smallball.

While I can't speak to how some of the uberfast powders do for accuracy in certain competitions--there may well be good reasons for using Bullseye or Titegroup in such scenarios--I like the added safety factor of a powder that tends to fill the case.

That long-time reloader was the same one who put me on to WST. :)

April 4, 2010, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the advice -
The double charge actually happened to me with some Power Pistol in a 45 case a few weekends ago; it did overfill.
Kinda' was a slow go as I only had my PACT dispenser and scale - took forever to get to 9.0 grs.
I was multitasking while waiting.
Lesson learned.
Still loaded 300 rounds with a LEE hand press ~ didn't impress the wife very much.
I HAVE to get the powder dispenser out of the shed for this task to happen any faster.
Never had to worry with rifle cartridges when I double dropped a 90% charge (capacity) ~ it was all over the place.:banghead:
Loading for the pistol rounds, I'm getting the notion to keep it simple with powder, I don't expect a .375" group @ 100yards. Just want to have a decent volume of plinking ammo on hand to use around the place.

April 4, 2010, 07:44 PM
I use Win231 for both 9mm and 38special....the latter is a huge case and I use tiny charges for a 2" snubby range practice (3.0 grains for one charge).

On 9mm it is pretty easy to spot a double charge, but on 38spc it is pretty much impossible.

You can take a paperclip and bend it up so that it has two horizontal ears that catch on the case rim, and a "U" in the middle that goes right down to the top of the correct load. Add in a vertical part at one end, and bingo, you have an almost instantaneous way to check powder.

I can check 50 rounds in probably 30 seconds. Wife had some plastic coated paper clips in differnt colors. White is for the really weak 38 load, hot pink is for the hotter load.

Sure makes me feel better.

April 4, 2010, 07:55 PM
231 is a good 9/40/45 powder, unless you are into warp-speed loads. I seat my bullet immediately after charging the case, therefore there is no chance of a double charge.

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