Looking for a powder substitution


crooked stripe
April 28, 2012, 04:08 PM
I have some 78 gr. lrn in .32 cal I am in need of a powder. As you probably know that is not a popular caliber and the listing are real scarce. Best match I could find is in the Lees Manual with 77 gr lead bullet. It calls for VEC BA10. This powder is not showing up in any of my manuals. The net states it is a very fast powder but not much else. Without making this into a long hunting for info session can you guys help out? I am to new at this to be making this kind of decision without some qualified help. John

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April 28, 2012, 04:19 PM
Are we talking about .32 S&W, .32 ACP, .32 H&R, 32-20 WCF, or something else?

Regardless, Bullseye, Red Dot, 700X, Unique, W231, AA #5, and many others will work just fine.

Any data for a lead bullet in the 75 grain LRN range would be fine with your 78 grain bullet.

The VEC BA10 powder is Vectan powder, made in Germany, and unavailable in the USA as far as I know.


April 28, 2012, 04:20 PM
.32 ACP?
.32 S&W?
.32 S&W Long?
.32 H&R
.32-20 / .32 WCF?

big variables, bro'

RC is posting while I'm in the loading room looking in manuals...

crooked stripe
April 28, 2012, 07:15 PM
Sorry, ACP. I even reread just to make sure I had all the info. Leave it to Lee's to write something like that. On my first long trip to the supply store I took a list from Lee's manual of powders to buy. I only got 1 out of the 3 I was looking for. There are powders at the supply store that I swear are still there because they don't sell and the popular ones are sold out as soon as they come in. I don't think the guy that orders that stuff knows anything about reloading. Where do you folks learn things like substitutions and all the tricks you know. I must be reading the wrong things. Thank you for the information.

crooked stripe
April 28, 2012, 10:15 PM
rcmodel, when you state those powders I can see the resemblance but where do you start with the powder weights?

April 29, 2012, 03:56 PM
One guideline we can use - and it's only a guideline, not a hard & fast rule! - is to use the powder burn rate chart available online to see which other powders are in the similar burning rate range. That gets you the name of the similar powder, then you can look for data for it. Do Not just use one powder's load data for another!
All powder makers and most bullet makers have load data for thier products, and there are many handloading data sites out there too. Google is your friend here.

April 29, 2012, 04:06 PM
rcmodel, when you state those powders I can see the resemblance but where do you start with the powder weights? A good reloading manual would be a great place to start.

The one in front of me right now, Lyman #49 lists 8 suitable powders for the .32 ACP & 75 grain LRN bullets.
They even highlight one load using W231 as potentially most accurate.

The Lee manual is fine as far as it goes.
But since Lee has no ballistic lab to do any testing, all the data in it is copied from old powder & bullet manufactures data.

And in many cases, they don't even tell you what bullet brand or mold design the data is for.


crooked stripe
April 29, 2012, 07:05 PM
I did see the 75 gr. lrn with win 231 but didn't pay much attention to it. I was looking for a 78 grain bullet. I guess this is one of my major problems. I am looking for exact matches and in most cases there isn't one. I myself think Lyman's #49 is by far the best manual to have. I also have the Lyman Pistol and Revolver Hand Book. Spear and Hornady are alright but they are just pushing their product. Thank you for all your help. John

April 29, 2012, 07:21 PM
The thing is, a cast lead bullet can vary +/- 5 grains or more, depending on caliber, just by changing the hardness of the alloy you cast it from.
Soft alloys cast heavier, hard alloys cast lighter.

Use, the Lyman bullet pictures, get close on the weight, and match the bullet shape & style as close as you can.

Thats as good as it is going to get with an unknown commercial cast bullet.


April 30, 2012, 11:09 AM
With the versatility of Unique, I've used it in many calibers over the years, and have loaded 2.5gr of Unique under my own 77gr as cast bullets in 32 ACP. I shoot them in my 1907 Savage pistol.

I am looking for exact matches and in most cases there isn't one.

Many novice reloader's go through that phase, and soon realize that bullets of similar construction and weight can safely use start loads for that weight or a bit heavier bullet. Data for jacketed and cast bullets are usually kept separate because of different charge weights. The Lee manual is better than nothing.

I use the online data from the powder manufacturer/distributor's most of the time and only use a printed manual for a cross reference.




April 30, 2012, 11:18 AM
I would add Universal Clays, Clays, Clay Dot - all shotgun powders that also work well in small handgun cases. I load Universal for my 32 SWL

July 25, 2012, 08:47 PM
Caution: The following post contains load data derived from experience and cross referencing similar data. No specific published load data was found for the following load. I do not recommend the following load outside of use in a Kel-tec P-32

I know this thread started in April, but I am currently developing a load for the Rimrock 78 gr. LRN (.313) in .32ACP. I have found that a charge of *2.3 gr. of W231 works well in cycling the slide on my P-32. The primers appear to be slightly flattened, however, I know from other cartridges and articles in Handloader magazine this is not a sure indicator of pressure. I will back the charge off to 2.2 gr. of W231 and see if this alleviates the flattened primers. My goal is to get just enough velocity to operate the slide and obturate the bullet into the lands for accuracy.

It does lead somewhat near the chamber so I am reluctant to increase the charge. For .32ACP, I have never been the one to hot rod the cartridge. Creating reliable and accurate ammunition for small automatics is a challenge all by itself so there's no need to complicate things.

*Data used with Lyman #49, p. 331, 75 gr. #311252 cast bullet. Published load data for 2.3gr. of W231 for Rimrock 78 gr. LRN (.313) has not been found.

Mr. Farknocker
April 18, 2013, 04:51 PM
I just reloaded 32 ACP using a 78 gr RN cast bullet using Hodgdon's Universal starting off with 2.0 gr of powder. Firing the rounds from my Colt 1903, the rounds were anemic compared to factory ammo with the cases falling very close to the pistol. Out of the 50 rounds fired, two empty rounds stovepiped indicating that the rounds were undercharged.

Does anyone have suggestions on what incremental workup I should incorporate into my reloads?

April 18, 2013, 10:49 PM
I would try 2.2gr of your Universal and check for function. I would not exceed 2.4gr. If you want, work up in .1gr increments if your measure drops it accurately. Should be a sweet spot in between 2.0-2.4gr that will still be easy on the old Colt.


Mr. Farknocker
April 23, 2013, 12:17 AM
Made a dozen 2.1 and 2.2 gr loads over the weekend and tried them. The 2.2 worked perfectly. I'm sticking with that combo. Thanks.

April 23, 2013, 12:48 AM
Looking for a powder substitution

You don't just substitute powders. There are several powders that you could use, however you need to get a load for those powders from a manual.

My Hornady manual lists 11 powders for that caliber.

Matt Dillon
April 23, 2013, 01:34 AM
My recipe for .32 ACP is 2 grains of bullseye underneath a 78 LRN bool it.

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