Alliant Promo - Reloading / Range Test


March 3, 2011, 01:59 AM
While posting for another thread, I realized I forgot about this Promo thread. I tried to update the Promo range test thread, but the forum rule won't let me.

So, starting a new Promo thread to continue posting my range test results (Here's the old Promo thread ( you can refer to).

To bring you up to speed, my Promo testing went well for 9mm & 40S&W using various jacketed, plated and lead bullets but had issues with the initial 4.0 gr load with 200 gr SWC. I figured out what was happening with the PT145's shot groups with the lead loads. Turns out the bore was slightly oversized and the light 4.0 gr load was not properly bumping (obturating) the bullet base (and that's why the 5.0-5.5 gr W231/HP38 loads were shooting fine). I ended up ordering a good stock of 12 BHN SWC so I am good for testing light loads again. :D

My pursuit back to a 1911 with CA legal Dan Wesson Pointman 7 was temporarily put on hold with 200 units/year production limit ... darn ... but wife got me a S&W M&P45 for Christmas to ease the pain.

With the .451" bore size of the M&P45, 4.0 gr of Promo with .452" sized Missouri 18 BHN 200 gr SWC did much better:

45 ACP average shot groups:
200 LSWC/4.0 gr - 7 yard 3/4" - 10 yard 1" - 15 yard 2" - Mild recoil

At 7 yards, this load kept producing single hole shot groups. Below are pictures of average 10/15 yard shot groups. This load has become a favorite of my wife due to mild recoil and good accuracy (the small grip insert for M&P45 fits her hands very well). I hope to continue with more Promo load testing with bullets/powder charges I specified earlier in the thread.

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evan price
March 3, 2011, 02:39 AM
I did a similar experiment and posted the results on the OFCC forums:

Some time ago I started toying with the idea of trying to find the absolute cheapest loads I could possibly make, while still maintaining accuracy, reliability, safety and cleanliness, and using commercially available components- no old surplus or garage sale stuff. During this time I started messing around with Alliant PROMO powder.

PROMO is a powder marketed by Alliant towards bulk shotshell reloaders and gun clubs. It is only sold in 8# kegs and Alliant publishes only shotshell data for this powder. My conversation with the Alliant techs revealed that they say it can be used as a substitute for RED DOT when measured by weight, not volume since the density is different. I was told that PROMO is actually the "old recipe" RED DOT from before the product change to "New, Cleaner Burning RED DOT" on the label, and without the red taggants.

PROMO is a double-based flake powder. It appears as thin wafers approximately 1mm in diameter, coated dark grey with graphite. It is a little bit fluffy and seems to have more static electricity issues than the ball powders I normally load. This is not a noticeable problem however. In my Lee auto-disk powder measures it was repeatable and reliable with no bridging or clumping. I did see some flakes escape between the bottom of the hopper and top of the disk but this tends to happen with very small ball powders like Accurate #9 as well. Perhaps the newer design Auto-Disk would resolve this with the wipers and better hopper design.

PROMO is commonly available for around $10.50 a pound. That's $.0015 per grain. As powder goes, you'd be hard pressed to find a canister powder for less per pound and most surplus is up at that price point.

Lee's powder drops use a calibrated orifice in a disk to dispense a given volume of powder which is converted to a weight using a number called VMD "Volume Measuring Density". This is a conversion factor to account for the density of the powder in a given volume. PROMO is not listed on Lee's VMD charts. To accurately measure PROMO I needed to figure out just how much I was throwing in a given disk orifice.

I started with measuring ten throws and then recording the average.
.43 threw 3.0
.57 threw 4.1
.71 threw 5.0
.82 threw 6.0
.95 threw 6.9
1.02 threw 7.4
1.09 threw 8.0
1.26 threw 9.0

Looking at my VMD charts it looked pretty close to 700-X, VMD .1343 on the chart.
Then I dug in my collection of old stuff and found a Lee auto-disk VMD chart from 1987.
Looking at the 1987 (and 1990, confirmed from another old chart) data showed that GREEN DOT had a VMD almost identical to what I was seeing. **NOTE** In the most recent VMD charts, GREEN DOT has had the VMD changed from .1366 to .1262, meaning it is denser now than it was then.
In the old GREEN DOT VMD chart data, PROMO follows along perfectly. I'm not saying PROMO is GREEN DOT, it is NOT the same powder. What I'm saying is old GREEN DOT apparantly shares a VMD with current PROMO and IMR 700-X powders.

In any case, now that I had a path, I could follow it.

I cast myself some 240-grain Lee Tumble-lube SWC boolits from water-dropped range scrap that checked out to be about .430"-.431" diameter and cleaned up some 44 magnum brass. I loaded sample rounds with 7.0, 7.5 and 8.0 grains of PROMO and checked each throw with my scale to be sure I wasn't making a big mistake- throws were all correct... Alliant shows 8.8 grains of RED DOT as max for a 240-lead SWC in .44 Magnum, and recall PROMO should be loaded to RED DOT data by weight. I seated to OAL of 1.585" which left me roll-crimping in the top groove of the tumble-lube drive band. Nice looking finished rounds, by the way. After letting the boolits set a week or two I could just barely scratch them with my fingernail. I'd guess hardness was about 10-12 bhn.

In my 7.5" Ruger Super Redhawk all rounds chambered and fired normally. The SRH is a hand cannon so it's no surprise that recoil wasn't a concern. The best results for accuracy were the 8.0 grain loads. There was ZERO powder fouling, no unburnt powder flakes, and hardly any smoke. The ALOX tumble lubed bullets actually left the bore cleaner than it had been before I started test firing. Extracted cases came right out and looked shiny and clean with only a hint of darker color in the cases. My best estimation without a chronograph using Alliant's data for RED DOT has me giving a velocity of around 1000 FPS.
These are not barn burners but they are a good solid target load that won't beat you up.

I called it a resounding success. I have since developed other PROMO loads for other calibers and they all perform well. I'm not giving up TITEGROUP but PROMO shows significant promise, even in cast-bullet rifle loads as a substitute for RED DOT in "The Load".

Total cost-

I cast the bullets from mixed range scrap comprised of roughly 2/3 jacketed bullets, and the balance shotgun slugs and cast boolits. I smelted it myself and the copper jackets were sold as #2 copper to the recycler- this left me a net cost of $-0- for the lead, since the copper sale paid for the propane to smelt and the electricity to cast and the ALOX to lube. Brass was free range pickups. Primers were Wolf for $18/thousand. 8 grains of PROMO cost $12/thousand.

Total cost- not including my time- was about 3 cents per shot, $1.50 a box of 50 rounds for 44 Magnum.

Now that's what I call cheap!

March 3, 2011, 03:02 AM
Now that's what I call cheap!
4.0 gr charge for 200 gr 45ACP load that is accurate? Cheap indeed.

This is what Alliant's website ( says about Promo:
Promo® Smokeless shotshell powder

Promo has the same burn speed as Red Dot, but is more dense, thus requiring a smaller bushing to obtain the same charge weight.

I based Red Dot load data for my Promo test loads but weighed the test powder drops from Pro Auto Disk to determine the Auto Disk hole to use (I did not go by the Auto Disk chart for Red Dot).

Alliant currently publishes 12 load data for Red Dot ( in pistol/revolver calibers. Here's a sample load data for 38 Spl and 45ACP:
38 Special 158 gr LSWC OAL 1.44" Red Dot Max 3.4 gr (793 fps)
38 Special 148 gr HBWC OAL 1.155" Red Dot Max 3.0 gr (806 fps)

45 Auto 200 gr LSWC OAL 1.19" Red Dot Max 4.5 gr (831 fps)
45 Auto 230 gr LRN OAL 1.27" Red Dot Max 5.1 gr (841 fps)
45 Auto 230 gr TJM RN OAL 1.26" Red Dot Max 5.3 gr (839 fps)

SteveC posted the following older Alliant's online load data for 9mm in another thread:

Marlin 45 carbine
March 3, 2011, 09:43 AM
a good write-up. I just ran out of my stock of Red Dot which gave me best results with cast slugs in several different chamberings from .32acp to .45acp.
I'll likeley give promo a try, it appears it's even cheaper (if that's possible, seemed like a lb of RD last me forever) than RD!
however everything I read concerning RD was to use much caution when approaching max which I did as MOF. all my 'plinking' loads are cast slugs a bit under the max data - about 5% lower.

March 30, 2014, 02:40 PM
Did some 15/25 yard testing with 45 Herco loads (for another thread) and shot some of my reference 200 gr SWC loads with 4.0 gr Promo for comparison and decided to update this thread.

Previous 10/15 yard testing was done with M&P45 with a trigger job done by me using the Burwell pdf ( This time railed Sig XO TacPac 1911 was used with 12 BHN 200 gr SWC (Bullseye #1) loaded to 1.240"-1.245" (any longer than 1.245", bearing surface of the bullet base will hit the quick start of rifling) at 15/25 yards.

15 yard group measured 1" and 25 yard group measured 2". The Sig 1911 has 7000+ rounds shot through. I think not bad for a "plinking" load.

March 30, 2014, 04:31 PM
I use Promo for almost all my pistol loads..

March 30, 2014, 04:57 PM
Alliant currently publishes 12 load data for Red Dot in pistol/revolver calibers.

If you eMail them and ask, they will tell you that this data is still valid:

March 30, 2014, 06:14 PM
If you eMail them and ask, they will tell you that this data is still valid:
For some reason, ATK/Alliant removed the 2004 load data pdf from their servers last year.

Unless you downloaded a copy, I don't know of a current official download source and after failing to locate an official source after Googling for it, I uploaded the pdf to THR server for downloads.

Since current online Alliant load data is quite limited, 2004 Alliant load data is an invaluable reloading resource for many popular Alliant powders, especially for FMJ/RN and lead bullets.

March 31, 2014, 08:36 AM
I was one that saved a copy before it was taken down from GLARP.ATK site...

I had been pointing people there for a couple of years...I now point them to your upload...

The copy of the 2005 manual at CastPics has the same data, but the quality is pretty bad...

March 31, 2014, 09:24 AM
Oh GREAT! Now us shotgunners aren't going to be able to find Promo either? YIKES!
(nice groups though ;))

March 31, 2014, 11:32 PM
If you want another shocker, American Select performs like Bullseye with 200 gr. bullets.

October 15, 2014, 08:37 AM
I keep hearing good things about American Select and plan to test it in 9/40/45 when I am able to buy it. Another powder I am looking to try is Solo 1000. Sure looking forward to the end of "powder shortage".

October 15, 2014, 07:13 PM
The only positive of the great pistol powder shortage has been my discovery that Promo makes a great powder for 40S&W and 357 Sig midrange target/practice loads.

Average Joe
October 15, 2014, 07:46 PM
These days, whatever I can find is a great powder.

October 16, 2014, 09:26 PM
20/28 is SOOooo close to unique it ain`t funny ! & measures like ww231!!

October 17, 2014, 09:25 AM
While I found published load data for American Select and Solo 1000, I was not able to find any published load data for 20/28 for 9/40/45 calibers.

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