New powder numbers... hype?


June 14, 2013, 06:40 PM
When I came up there were so many fewer propellant manufacturers, and many fewer products each manufacturer was making. We were able to find good, accurate, loads even so.

Today there are SO many new propellants. I look at the load data for some of them, and I'll be mystified, but the same range of charge weights for the same range of bullets with the same ballpark velocities and I wonder if many of these new introductions aren't just some other number repackaged up and given a new designation and sold to us.

Anybody experienced a new rifle propellant that really did offer something special? I guess RL17 really does offer more velocity per grain...

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June 14, 2013, 07:49 PM
It used to be that we only got powders made in the U.S., which were made by Hercules, Dupont, Alcan, et. al. Hodgdon was selling surplus military powders from WW II for years.

Now the market is truly world wide, with powders marketed here under domestic labels that are made in Hungary, Finland, Australia, Israel, etc. Once imported, they are given different names.

If you've ever seen the list of powders in the Quick Load program, you'd realize how many different powders there are world wide. We just get a small sampling of what's available.

I for one am grateful for the variety of powders we now have.

Hope this helps.


June 15, 2013, 01:30 AM
I have kept up with some of the changes, and I also like more variety, so it works great for me. Used to be that IMR-4350 was my go to for almost all my bottle necks, and one of the Dot colors for handgun. We now have a wonderful world of performance options, which previously was more difficult to obtain with the limited choices that were available. And I also feel that propellants have become more consistent in every aspect.

But I can also relate to what your saying as well, I mean there are a bunch of powders that seemingly all perform the same, that is, until you try them.


June 15, 2013, 10:36 AM
It's the free market system at work. Many reloaders enjoy 'experimenting' and finding that 'one perfect match' of home-made ammo to their gun of the day. Powder manufacturers are more than happy to create products to fill that need and be in direct competition with the other makers.

Me? I started with Win 231/HP-38 and use that one powder for the four calibers I reload. To date I have found no need to try anything else.

June 15, 2013, 10:54 AM
I use WAP for all my pistol calibers. When did they stop making that? 1994? :)

June 15, 2013, 11:10 AM
WAP is still being made at the St. Marks Powder Company, but it's now marketed as Western Powder's Silhouette powder.

Hope this helps.


June 15, 2013, 11:12 AM
I use WAP for all my pistol calibers. When did they stop making that? 1994?

They didn't stop making it. It now distributed by Ramshot as Silhouette.
Great stuff BTW.

Edit: You type fast Fred.

June 15, 2013, 11:17 AM
I've been aware of this for years Fred but it has more flash suppressants in it now. I was just trying to say that not only do I not need 1000 powder choices but that my favorite choice predates the new choices by 10 years or more. And I will never live long enough to shoot out the WAP that I have.

June 16, 2013, 04:09 AM
The scientists at the powder companies need something to do. It used to be that they were busy trying to find something that worked in a centerfire cartridge. now that they have all their bases covered, they're busy trying to perfect powders for certain applications. CFE223 and Trailboss come to mind.

CFE takes a great powder, and adds a cleaning agent to help keep your bore shiny, they designed it for the high volume rifle shooter, so it's great with .223 and .308. So while there were lots of great powders for .223, there's now a "perfect" powder for a certain subset of the .223 community. If you're a high volume shooter (think 3-gun comps) CFE is a great new powder that will help keep your gun happy.

Trailboss is the same concept. There were tons of powders that could be used for "cowboy" type rounds and down-loaded rifles, but now there's a custom, high volume powder just for that segment of the market. Haven't loaded with it yet, but can't wait to find some.

So to answer your question, yes, there are new powders that are helping reloaders perfect their rounds.

Peter M. Eick
June 16, 2013, 08:49 AM
Trailboss is a great new powder. I use it for pretty much all of my low powered rounds. 44/40, 45 colt, even 38 special target loads. It really removes the risk of a double charge so it is a good example of a new powder.

Power Pistol comes to mind. It really improved over say unique for 9mm.

XBR8208 comes to mind. It has an accuracy edge that I can show with my 7-08.

Retumbo comes to mind. It is great in the 25-06 for heavy bullets in terms of velocity over say 4350.

The real question is do you want to stock a particular powder for just one load?

I do:
aa9 for 357 Sig
Trailboss for 45 colt and 44/40
Power Pistol for 9mm
xbr8208 for 7mm

I am not saying you can't get there with other powders, you can, just not as easily.

June 16, 2013, 08:59 AM
Improvements and changes come is small steps. There is darn little difference between a 1922 Ford and a 1923 Ford. But if you compare a 1923 Ford to a 2013 Ford the advancements are huge. I'm sure most people didn't see enough difference to trade in their 1 year old 1922 models for a slightly better 1923 model. But if car builders had stopped working on improvements we would still be driving 1922 model cars today. The same is true with guns, powders, and all shooting equipment.

June 16, 2013, 10:27 AM
I have to say that I'm still getting very good performance from bullseye for 9mm,38 and .357 and Imr 4350 in my 30-06. But am just getting into.223 and there are a lot of good powders for that but its hard to find them. All that being said I'm just happy to still be able to reload doesn't matter what kind powder I'm using as long I get good results.

June 16, 2013, 11:02 AM
I also have about 4 pounds of WAP left in the cupboard which I've used in all my pistol calibers from 380 to 480. I do like some of the newer stuff though. ZIP for 45 and Enforcer for 357. I still think WAP is the best 9mm powder going.

June 16, 2013, 11:47 AM
I like win 231 for all of my hand guns except for my Dan wesson 375 & my SW 44 Mag.

June 16, 2013, 02:07 PM
LOL. I hope WAP is the best 9mm powder going too 'cause I've got about a billion rounds loaded with it sitting on my shelves. :what:

June 16, 2013, 05:05 PM
I still have two boxes of ten one pound containers of WAP.

June 16, 2013, 07:50 PM
I love this stuff. It is not so soupy like H335 that it finds its way all over my bench but it is just fine enough that it meters without a hitch. It doesn't dirty my guns any more than anything else and it is accurate as anything else.
I took the WAP in on a $800 trade. I had to or the rest of the trade would have fallen through. I knew absolutely nothing about it when I got it. It's trade value was for $50 for 8lbs. Now I have enough pistol powder to last me the rest of my life. LOL.

June 17, 2013, 02:33 PM
I have had the 231 for years. Got 16 LB at one time then 8 LB later. Jest about out now.

Arkansas Paul
June 17, 2013, 02:40 PM
I too like variety, but I see where you're coming from as well.
There is a lot of overlapping with performance. Then you have the ones that are the exact same, but with 2 different labels like HP-38 and W231 or W296 and H110.
I remember seeing Alliant's advertisement for RL17. They say it is nearly the exact same burn rate as IMR4350. Then what's the point, if we already have IMR4350? So yeah, I get it.

June 17, 2013, 02:50 PM
I'm a fan of the options. It's just fun to tinker.

RL-17 does seem to get better velocities than 4350 in my experience and it seems to hold true for a lot of guys online. Sometimes, the accuracy holds, and sometimes it doesn't. I like the added velocity in my .325WSM, but for the 30-06 i get superb accuracy with 4350 with the velocity I want so I see no reason to change. Yeah, I stock both powders. don't judge me.

June 17, 2013, 02:56 PM
Anybody experienced a new rifle propellant that really did offer something special? I guess RL17 really does offer more velocity per grain...
Suoerformance and Leverevolution are two good examples of real powder advancement today. Both deliver as advertized as long as you don't try to use them for cartridges they weren't designed for.

Right now I use mostly 3 handgun powders and 5 rifle powders. I do have 10 or 11 handgun powders and probably 8 rifle powders but I don't use the others regularly.

I use W231(HP-38), W540(HS-6) and W296(H110) for handguns.
I use mostly AA5744, H335, H4895, LVR and H4350 most for rifle cartridges.
If and when I can get a hold of some CFE223 that might replace H335 if it delivers like advertized. (and all indications point to it will)

I do have 4198 but changed over to AA5744. I also used a lot of IMR3031 but it's been replaced by LVR for my 30-30 ammo. I like Varget for my bolt action .223 ammo but rather use H335 for the ammo I send through the AR. Examples like that go on and on and I won't limit myself just to keep the number of powders i use to a minimum. most of those 5 rifle powders I listed above are used for only 1 cartridge.

June 18, 2013, 02:04 AM
300-MP is another example of a standout new powder. Take a look at the astounding .357 magnum velocities. It's not your father's H110!

June 20, 2013, 11:37 AM
Well now, there you have it. I did not know that chemists had developed a powder that would fire the bullet AND clean the bore at the same time. I can see where high volume shooters, or anybody for that matter, could really benefit from that.

Perhaps I need to break out of my hidebound traditional limited world of IMR4895 or RL15 and see what else can work out well. :)

There is much to learn.

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