Compiled (Not Exhaustive) List of Handgun Powders


April 17, 2014, 10:13 PM
Taking advantage of a long snowy winter, this list was compiled of powder that has published data of the 6 most common handgun loads. (380 Auto, 9mm, 38 Spl., 357 Mag., 40 S&W, and 45 Auto). Data was found from Lee's "Modern Reloading; 2nd Ed.", Lyman's "Pistol and Revolver: Reloading; Third Edition", Loadbooks USA, Hodgdon's Data Center, Alliant's website, and a .pdf file from Western Powders.
This list is meant only to be a help, especially for the new-comer, when one comes upon any powder(s) online or at your LGS that are unfamiliar. It's to be a help, for the powder may not remain on the shelf long enough and we all want to make a good purchase. For the most part, these powders were found to have data for lead, plated, and jacketed bullets.
As mentioned above, with powder being scarce in most parts of the country, this serves only to quickly identify powders that have a wide range of published data on hand.
If a powder was left out that has published data covering most of the common calibers mentioned above, please list the powder and the source(s) of publication.

Below are the powders with comments. The comments were copied from Lee's, Lyman's, and downloaded .pdf file titled, "Smokeless Powders"
Powders are listed by burn rate, fast to slower, from Hodgdon's Data page.
There are 3 powders that notate a negative caliber, because the lack of data, but felt the powder was note worthy.

IMR 700-X (extruded flake, good target)
Alliant Bullseye (cut round flakes, consistant)
Hodgdon Titegroup (clean, not position sensitive, uniform ignition)
IMR PB (porous base, clean, meters well)
AA #2 (D.B., ball powder, fast burn, low carge weight)
Ramshot Zip (D.B., flat spherical, fairly fast burn, clean)
IMR 7625 (S.B.)
Hodgdon HP-38 (consistant, low flash, clean)
Winchester W231 ( " ^^ " ^^ " )
Alliant Unique
Hodgdon Universal (clean, meters well)
VV-N340 (S.B., porous, meters well) -380 Auto
IMR 4756 (fine grain, meters well)
Ramshot True Blue (D.B., spherical, meters well)
AA #5 (D.B., spherical, meters well)
Hodgdon HS-6 (fine spherical, meters well) - 380 Auto
Winchester Autocomp (clean, meters well)
Ramshot Silhouette (D.B., spherical, low flash, clean) -357 Mag.

The exclusion of Alliant's Dot powders is because of the lack of data on my end.

Again, this is only meant to be a quick guide for powder that has broad use, nothing else. :)

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April 17, 2014, 11:39 PM

I sure didn't know all that! :confused: :eek:

I have found Tightgroup to be a hot burning high-nitro content powder that causes lead bullet leading that other powders don't.

I have also found Unique to be so unique, it is just almost always the first powder I reach for when loading Any standard pressure Handgun caliber. (From .32 ACP, to .38 Special, to .45 ACP, to .44 Spl, to .45 Colt, etc.
And even high-pressure .357 Magnum and such sometimes.

Thanks for your winter of powder study though.


Jesse Heywood
April 17, 2014, 11:50 PM
Alliant Red Dot - Good for most any handgun
Alliant Green Dot - anything 9 mm & above

April 18, 2014, 04:55 AM
rc, thanks! This was mainly from passing up powder that later found I could of used. I'm not a big fan of titegroup, though I have used it. And have passed on unique, which now I don't see out there.

April 18, 2014, 06:45 AM
Good for... this is what I use it for but the list goes on and on...

20 gauge shotshells
9 mm
.38 spl
.357 mag if you dont have alliant 2400
.45 Colt
.45 ACP

April 18, 2014, 06:58 AM
you need to add Blue Dot for .38 Special and on up

April 18, 2014, 11:59 AM
Bullseye & Unique are kind of like Salt & Pepper in your kitchen.

You can have a whole spice rack full good specialty seasonings, ....but salt & pepper just plain work good with everything.

April 18, 2014, 12:09 PM
I like Titegroup. I use for my light loads in 40S&W, 9mm and .380. Never had any problems. I have found it to be clean, accurate and economical. The only downside is that you must be extra careful because of the its small charge weight and range between minimum and maximum load weights.

April 18, 2014, 12:14 PM
You left off the other Hodgdon clay lines - Clays and International

As for Alliant, most of the "Dots" can also be used

Basically just about any shotgun powder can have applications in some form of handgun

April 18, 2014, 12:24 PM
HP38/231 is my overall favorite but I also like titegroup. Metering is so much more important with small charges!!! Red Dot, unique, 700x,,,,,you can have them all, I won't buy any of them again.
Meters great, not position sensitive, clean, "cheap"!!!!! Titegroup is a fantastic powder with a very low frustration factor!

April 18, 2014, 12:36 PM
I have used Red Dot and Unique for .32ACP and had no problems with metering. If you are having problems it is your meter.

April 18, 2014, 04:04 PM
Before steel shot for ducks and geese Unique was my go to for 12 ga. 1 1/4 oz. loads at 1335 fps in a 2 3/4" shell.

April 18, 2014, 04:29 PM
All my favorite powders are listed here. I just added another favorite dot, clay dot with excellent results in .38 spl. and .45 auto.
No kitchen can be without Unique and Bullseye.

April 18, 2014, 07:38 PM
As the common powders are hard to find for some folks, looking to older manuals has turned up some good ones for us straight wall guys.

I4198 Keeps popping up with amazing regularity.

I've even found .410 recipes that use it.


SR 4756 anyone ?, or its kissin cousin SR7625 ?

Acc #2 ?

For you 9mm guys, grab some HS-6- or even Acc #7

Straight wall guys... 800x or acc #9... sits on lots of shelves, untouched.

No kitchen can be without Unique

Never used bullseye, to be honest. I guess that makes me.......incomplete.

The list of powders that work on 45 auto is almost too long to list....... some that aren't on the list above : True Blue ! , WSF, Zip, Green Dot.....

Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

If you got something granular, looks like powder, these days might not be bad ones to reach out and see if anyone has tried it.

Chances are, someone has.

April 18, 2014, 07:54 PM
WST and WSF are very good handgun powders too. WSF is around the speed of Unique but is a ball powder so it actually meters accurately. WST is one of the very best powders for the 45acp for BE shooting, with BE probably being the #1. WST is slightly slower than BE but it burns clean at the low end.

April 18, 2014, 10:56 PM
Power Pistol has published loads for all of the listed calibers.I have used it for all except 380.It is nice if you can stand the fireball.I also have used Alliant Clay Dot with Clays data for everything on the list except 380 ACP. I don't own one in that caliber.

April 18, 2014, 11:30 PM
I uses loads of Titegroup for my .40s&w, 9mm, and .45acp loads. I also use a lot of WST in .40s&w, and .45acp lead loads.

Here's what I have found with these two powders.

Titegroup - dirty, burns real hot, very sensitive to temp, spiky, very soft recoil in light .40, and 9mm loads

WST- burns cleaner than TG, burns cooler than TG, reduces smoke behind lead, soft recoil like TG, and meters very well like TG. REVERSE temp sensitive.

Here's my temp test I did yesterday with Titegroup behind 180gr .40s&w. I loaded 20 rounds at 3.4gr, and 20 rounds at 3.5gr. Ten rounds of each charge were kept cool (not cold), and the other ten rounds were set out in the sun for 5 min with an air temp of 67*.

3.4gr TG kept cool

3.4gr TG in the sun

3.5gr TG cool

3.5gr TG in the sun


From this TG does pick up velocity with higher temps.

April 19, 2014, 12:05 AM
Hodgdon HS-6 (fine spherical, meters well) - 380 Auto
I have to disagree with that assessment. IMO HS-6 is way too slow for use in the .380 Auto.

I like HS-6 in the .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, 9mm, .45 Colt and a few others.

Although I have about a dozen handgun powders available to me right now I really fall back on 3 powders I use mostly.
My "powder trinity" is:
W231(HP-38), W540(HS-6) & W296(H110)

The original powder trinity is:
Bullseye, Unique & 2400

Right now I have available to me besides W231, HS-6 and W296:
Clays, Longshot, AA#5, Universal, Trail Boss, Power Pistol, Lil'Gun, 2400 and Red Dot.

There have been less but usually more at times including AA#2, Zip, True Blue, SR7625, SR4756, 4227, W571/HS-7, WST, Green Dot and probably a few more I can't recall right now.

I think my point is, in the past there were only a handful of powders available to handloaders but today there are dozens. I have used at least 21 handgun powders but like I said, I usually fall back on 3 to 5 powders for loading everything. That's my choice because I like the results. Unlike the past there are powders made or distributed by every powders company that will do the same as powders from another company and do it just as well. I think there are at least 40 handgun powders and all have their place and all have crossovers to the other company's powders.

April 19, 2014, 07:15 PM
Nice thread. Couldve really used it a few months ago when i was trying to figure out what I should buy if I saw it.

April 19, 2014, 07:51 PM
I've had great success with Nitro 100 in 45acp. Found it during the powder shortage. Good reloading, Catpop

April 19, 2014, 09:19 PM
Hodgdon's LongShot, is good for 9mm, .40S&W & .45acp.

April 19, 2014, 11:13 PM
ArchAngel, the -380 was meant that there wasn't any data for 380 on my end. Sorry for any confusion.

Was mainly trying to put together a list of powders that have a broad range of use.

April 19, 2014, 11:16 PM
Basically just about any shotgun powder can have applications in some form of handgun.

The longer this powder shortage goes on the more people are going to realize this.

I think the powder companies have shot themselves in the foot so to speak by trying to market too many different powders. People know now that 2 or 3 powders will load almost everything.

I won't be buying any more powder for a very long time now. My shotgun powder is also my pistol powder so all I really need is one shotgun/pistol powder and one rifle powder.

A guy doesn't really need a dozen different powders.

April 20, 2014, 01:11 AM
I've been using Red Dot for everything except for .40, 10mm, 357, and 30 carbine(ruger BH) and have been getting along fine.

April 20, 2014, 09:46 AM
Doesn't anyone but me use Hodgdon Universal?

April 20, 2014, 10:06 AM
Howlnmad, I haven't seen Universal in the LGS's in the past 2 years. When it shows up, there will be some tried here.

April 20, 2014, 10:42 AM
I've got a pound of unique sittin on the shelf. Apparently I need to try it. The other Alliant powders worked great in 9, 38, 357, and 45 so I didn't bother trying anything else.

I do love me some power pistol in 45 acp though.

April 25, 2014, 12:29 AM
Yes I miss my Universal Clays. :banghead::cuss: Have tried others for my pistol loads but Universal (my first choice when I stated loading 9) is/was still my favorite. Have 1lb that I just can't bring myself to open......
I would put Unique a close second, never have found any 231/HP38 to try.

Anyone heard any news on when we might see production of the "Clays" powders by ADI again?

April 26, 2014, 10:47 AM
Trail Boss. Big Cheerios flakes. I have no problem with it metering through my Auto Disk. Very soft recoil, dirty. Great for light loads and it can be loaded in ANYTHING (including rifle, not sure about shotshells though). Very forgiving powder, can't get a double charge to pass your eye. In 45ACP a double charge of 3.5 gr will fill the case to the top. I use this for USPSA shooting and it's low recoil helps with fast target acquisition.

May 3, 2014, 02:45 PM
Have seen only a mention or two here about LongShot. Superb metering with a chargebar on a 550b. LongShot give extreme performance in 10mm, excellent performance in .45, .40, good performance in 9mm and .357 mag.

I can pull the handle 100 times with LongShot and weigh every round. There will be ZERO detectable difference in weight on a balance beam. LongShot has me only cleaning barrels every 2nd or 3rd trip to the range as it burns so clean.... EXCEPTION!... In .40, I use a G22 and my partner uses an SR 40. When we started loading .40 with LongShot, his SR 40 was sooting the brass and leaving unburnt powder in his barrel. (Slightly looser chamber?)
Upping the charge .2 gn and a "touch" tighter crimp resolved this. His brass now comes out clean and no powder in the barrel.

Change of topic... Have not used SR4756 before but have 3 pounds coming. Charts say it has a very wide range of use with medium velocity. Those of you who have used it, How clean does it burn? Does it meter as well as some have said?

And to the OP, kcofohio, Nice list you made! Thanks


May 3, 2014, 09:40 PM
4756 meters fantabulously, burns pretty clean as far as Ive noticed..I really like it in 9mm, though it's on the slower side of things. Like it so much that Im afraid to use any more of my of little 1LBer in fear of me not being able to get anymore. I think it's to be discontinued.

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