Hows Herco powder?


August 13, 2011, 08:01 PM
How is the Herco powder? I recently bought some for the 9mm load I was having trouble finding data for, So I bought the Hornady Manual and they listed a few. I was going for Unique but the LGS didn't have any, So I went with the Herco.

I did do a search about this powder, But there weren't any real information regarding it from members here.

Like, Does it burn dirty?
I know its a bit bulky but I used a trickler/dribbler So, Im not really worried about metering in a powder measure at the moment.

What loads have you used with it? prefer a caliber in this powder? ETC?

What say you? ( I know, Ask first then buy....But seeing as it was listed for the bullet I was using, I didn't worry about it :o :rolleyes:

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August 13, 2011, 08:38 PM
I take it we are talking about the Alliant product Herco (see link below) as I found no others. From the web page from the manufacturer, it is not the best 9mm power as its primary use is Heavy shot shell and heavy handgun loads. This means to me that it’s performs better when under higher pressure (e.g. 357mag, 38 super...). So, the 9mm is not where it will perform best.

There are still some internet loads available for it. One word of caution on loads you got of the internet is internet is “take the information with a grain of salt”. The site below has been my sanity check on loads that I have tried ( It’s more like a “do not try it unless it’s in this range” type of recommendation rather than a specific load. A better choice for 9mm from Alliant would be power pistol if the LSG only has Alliant products. If they don’t have in stock, can they order it with the next time they buy power? That way they pay hazmat, not you. So, don’t just buy what the LGS has until you have loads.


August 13, 2011, 08:47 PM
Unique or w-231, I think would have been easier for you start with. May I suggest you consider purchasing the new: Lyman "Pistol+Revolver " hand book for [reloading spec charts] its the best $20.00 I've spent. There's a lot of different brands of power charted /per calibers / bullets shown..
You can also type in hodgdon powder company, to view there data charts, print it off .It realy help to have 2-3 different reloading manuals.......

August 13, 2011, 10:48 PM
Josh - Herco is not really a good powder for 9mm but I have used it some in the past. With a 115 gr jacketed or cast, I would start at 4.0 gr and work up in .2 gr increments in your gun to where it cycles reliably and stop there. Get you some HP38 (231), Power Pistol, HS6 (540) which is more suited. PP is good. This is just my opinion based on my experience, take it for what its worth.

August 14, 2011, 12:43 AM
I thought it wouldn't be the best being that quite a few people really don't even talk about it here.

Your opinion is worth quite a bit to me seeing as you have used it before. I really had no time metering it since I used a dribbler / Trickler to do so. I did start at 4.0 grains.

Unique, 231, Power Pistol are on the buy list. A lot of people recommend them. He can buy it if I ask him. He did it before when I asked for Bullseye.

The pistol+ Revolver book is another manual Im looking to buy if I can find it locally, If not I will order it.

And yes, I meant Alliant Herco. Sorry about that.

August 14, 2011, 12:48 AM
Not to sound like I'm getting on you but, why did you buy a powder before you found out if it's good for the calibers you were going to use it for and before you found out if data was available? There are A LOT of good powders for use in the 9mm and 40 S&W.

August 14, 2011, 01:00 AM

I don't think I explained myself correctly.

I had bought the manual FIRST. Look thru it. Found out the powders and I choose Unique as a powder. I also noticed the others such as Herco and others.

I went to the LGS looking for Unique and even Power Pistol. They had none. So WITH THE MANUAL in tow, I was on the page with the load data for the bullet and caliber I was looking for.

I asked if they had any of these powders listed, We made sure what was available and what wasn't. Unique and a few others were not available, So I went ahead with the Herco powder.

I hope that helps clear up any issues.

I guess I'm only asking of what others think to get an idea of what to expect.

August 14, 2011, 01:18 AM
I must have read your other post incorrectly, sorry.

In the 9mm I like W231/HP-38 for practice rounds and HS-6 or Longshot for more serious work. The problem I see with Herco in the 9mm is, Alliant doesn't list it for any bullet weight in the 9mm. When a powder company doesn't list a powder for a caliber there's usually a very good reason so I would be VERY careful with that combination.

August 14, 2011, 01:22 AM

I notice that on the Aliiants site, They dont show it either. As for the manual, It does show it for quite a few bullet weights.

90, 100, 115, 124 and I believe 147 as well. I have the 124 FP at the moment. Being that they are plated bullets, I did start with the lowest of the loads which is at 4.0 gr.

Also, Don't worry about not reading it correctly. I need to be more clear on how I explain things :p

August 14, 2011, 01:24 AM
Herco is a good powder for shotgun reloads (I preffer Bullseye).

August 14, 2011, 01:29 AM
Unfortunately, I don't reload shotgun at this time.

At least, I know it is usable but next time, I think I will try with what is better well known for certain calibers.

August 14, 2011, 04:42 AM
Here's a burn rate chart from Hodgdon. There are other charts & generally they're not identical but give a good idea of where a powder is at.
Herco is at #35, a bit slower but in the general neighborhood of HP38/W231, Unique & Power Pistol. All popular powders.

Plenty of data available for Herco. Some seem to like it for 9mm.

Indeed, it doesn't show up on Alliant's website. It DOES show up on with contributor as "Alliant."

As has been mentioned, be very careful using data from the internet. Typos happen, and some people are just crazy.;)
What I do is find as many sources as possible and bounce the data. You should be able to tell quickly if something is kosher or not.

Use your judgement.
Start out light and work up.
Watch for overpressure signs and take careful notes. When working up a load I have the wife watch the brass so I'm sure I retrieve my own brass to check the primers.

BTW, many pistol powders are listed as "shotgun" or "shotgun and pistol" powders. That's because faster powders are better suited to both.

August 14, 2011, 05:40 AM
Pleas be VERY careful of the different peoples recommendation at "handloads .com" .... I've seem a few that where way to hot. Billy-Bob posted what he though he used after a Saturday night out on the town !
Get yourself 2-3 good reloading manuals, Also try going to the "powder" manufacture web sight for their recommendation. Be smart, be safe.....

August 14, 2011, 07:32 AM

A little suprised to see all of the posts knocking Herco as a 9mm powder choice. It is my favorite behind HS-7 for both accuracy and power.
HS-7 remains a hard to find powder in my area.

I have used Herco in calibers from .32 ACP on up for quite a few years with good results.

I am actually preparing to crank out a couple of thousand today. My load is a 124 gr. Hornady FMJ/RN with 6.4 gr. of Herco in W-W primed Federal and Winchester cases. This load chronos at 1160 with a good SD through my P99.

Not that I am recommending the load for you. Consult the Speer manual No. 9 where it is listed. As with any new loading, one should work up to it.

Never have had even the slightest sign of a problem with Herco in any load I have used.

My 9mm load fills the case towards the top. Again, not a problem to load.

As far as clean burning goes, there is no unburned powder in the cases or in the cylinders of the loads I shoot in revolvers.

Usertag is right, Herco is a good shotgun powder also. I use it exclusively to load 00 buckshot in both brass and plastic hull 12 guage.

My take, JT

August 14, 2011, 10:05 AM
Herco is one of my favorites for 45acp. It will leave a few unburnt flakes, but I've loaded up some really accurate rounds with it.

I have not tried it in any other calibers, but will eventually.

August 14, 2011, 11:18 AM
If you went back about 20 years, Herco was a primary choice for 9x19. It was very well balanced between accuracy and pressure/velocity. You could get slightly faster (near compressed loads of Blue Dot), but not the accuracy. You could get good accuracy from some faster powders, maybe, but you couldn't get the velocity.
Now we have people trying to get 9mm Major (which is outside SAAMI pressure limits except with maybe one or two powders and specific bullets) and Herco has been snubbed.
I've put about 4 lbs of through various 9x19 guns.

August 14, 2011, 02:04 PM
I see....

Herco is the type of powder that you either like it or you don't.

I did look up online data but am very cautious about what others say. I don't think there lieing but how am I suppose to know for sure?

The load I happen to have chosen is from a manual. Matter of fact, All the loads I have so far are from Manuals. Not online data. I know that it has been said many times to trust PUBLISHED DATA.

I also know that should I choose to follow anyones data, That I do so at my own risk. Given that, I will stick to the published data such as the powder or the bullet manufactures and such.

As for a bit skeptical with it comes down to it to be honest. So, I just consult the manual for my powder and bullet and stay at the low range until I have a better understanding and feel for things.

Thanks guys, I appreciate the input on this.

August 14, 2011, 03:00 PM
Josh my personal reloading style is to use slow burning powders because they will deliver good accuracy and high velocity, while making it much more difficult to accidentally over look a double charge or squib load. Herco though, I haven't honestly seen that for 9mm before. But if you have the data, use it, and if you like the performance keep using it.
I glance at from time to time, but I make sure the listed loads are from existing approved data sources. I primarily use that site to see what other's experienced with certain loads, just to get an idea I guess.

August 14, 2011, 07:14 PM
Just for grins, I pulled the Lee 2nd Ed manual out and found a load for 9mm, 115gr jacketed bullet - 6.3gr Herco (start & max), 1180fps, 28,700 PSI.

For 125gr jacketed - Herco 6.1gr min (1114 fps), 6.5gr max (1180 fps, 32,700 PSI).

August 14, 2011, 08:28 PM
Josh, I have an older Alliant reloders guide from 2002 that list 5 loads for the 9mm Luger.

95 fmj 1.055" 6.8 1,225/fps 24,400/psi

115 fmj 1.12" 6.3 1,180/fps 28,700/psi

125 fmj 1.15" 6.5 1,189/fps 32,700/psi

125 L 1.15" 6.2 1,165/fps 28,500/psi

147 xtp 1.14" 4.9 1,010/fps 30,500/psi

I hope this helps you MarkMall

August 14, 2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks everyone for their input about this powder.

I just got thru shooting them and I have to say I like the powder. It burned all of the powder and it was low recoil. Ill be posting a thread in a few...

Appreciate it everyone...

August 15, 2011, 07:52 AM
Herco is NOT listed by Alliant now because they are ONLY going to test the powders THEY designate as pistol powders for load development of pistol cartridges. Alliant only recognized the following as pistol powders:
Power Pistol
Power Pro 300-MP.
They feel that their "limited" resources for developing load data must focus on the "appropriate" powders.
Herco, like the rest of the "old" Alliant powders, is easy to work with and shows no sudden pressure spikes as you work up a load.
I stay away from powders that have almost no leeway between start and max.
Anybody older than 40 would know that Herco is an excellent 9x19, 9x21, 9x21, and .38 Super powder. This is one reason why old manuals are so valuable.
I have found that load data for .40 S&W is hard to come by, but it is no real problem to work up a load.
If someone wants Herco data for a specific weight bullet, let me know.

Cop Bob
August 15, 2011, 04:26 PM
Herco is a fine powder for medium to large cases. It has a somewhat forgiving pressure curve...

The load data that you have for the 9 is probably fine, as it comes from an acceptd industry source... just use accepted practices of started about 10% below max, and work your way up in 2 tenths of a grain incriments until you get the either the numbers you were looking for, or pressure signs...

Herco will work in the 9mm case, but there are probably better choices... Unique being a good place to jump off....

I agree, don't take unpublished load data from unproven, unverifiable sources.. taint smart....

Steve C
August 15, 2011, 04:40 PM
As a Powder with burn rate between Power Pistol and Blue Dot, Herco makes for a decent powder for high velocity 9mm loads. Sierra lists a 6.3gr load of Herco behind their 115gr JHP at 1,250 fps as the proffered hunting load.

Earlier Alliant data showing Herco 9mm loadings. Current Alliant data follows the loads developed by Speer as they are in the same ATK Corporate Family.

August 15, 2011, 07:23 PM
I like Herco! I have 1lb can on the bench right now. It's always worked well for me in 9mm, .45acp and .38's. Load data is out there.

For me it meters well and shoots soft. It can be sutty.

August 15, 2011, 08:33 PM

I have my own impression about it now that I have shot it in the 9mm. It did burn off all the powder in the case at 4.0 grains. Not really a bad powder I would think.

The barrel was dirty but then again, Show me a powder that isn't gonna dirty a barrel. The pressure was low. Ill increase the charge by the next data and see where it goes from there.

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