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Need a versatile cast lead powder.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by atblis, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    Getting setup to crank out some cast lead loads for (in order of how much I shoot them)
    38 Special
    40 S&W

    Any particular powder you guys recommend? I currently use Power Pistol, but am trying to get away from that.

    The current front runners are
    Solo 1000
    IMR 700X

    EDIT: Cheaper is better. I am very value conscious.
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I have shot beaucoup 700X over the years and like everything about it except its rather spotty metering, it is a large flake powder. The little bit of Solo 1000 I have tried seems to meter better.

    For standard loads, not very mild midrange type loads or +P, I prefer a Ball powder like W231/HP38. WST gets good reviews, but I don't know if it is listed for all your calibers.
  3. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that 700X doesn't meter well--but if you are not concerned about any sort of workflow other than batch, it is not an issue.

    Jim H.
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I like 700X as well. Even though it does not meter as well as some, it doesn't show it on target. It shoots real well, and will work fine in all but the 10MM.

    Solo 1000 is very good as well, but I think 700X is a bit more versatile and does very well in 9MM, at least with 115 Gr bullets. It should work well in .40 if you don't push it too hard. I have used 700X in .38 Spl & .44 Spl for years and it works great, although Clays is getting my attention in .38 Spl & downloaded .357 right now.

    For 10MM you will want a slower burning powder unless you are just going to shoot light target loads in it.

    W-231 will do quite well too, it just won't push that 10MM hard.

    Two more to consider would be Universal Clays or Unique as they are more of a medium burn rate and could push the 9MM and 10MM harder than 700X etc.
  5. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    This will be going through a XL650. How badly does 700X meter? As bad as 800X?
  6. tlen

    tlen Well-Known Member

    Take a look at Alliant's HERCO
  7. loosecannon

    loosecannon Well-Known Member

    Unique has been a favorite cast bullet powder for decades and is ideal for the calibers you listed. Its slower burning rate allows it to load standard velocity ammo as well as heavier loads in your cartridges. Unique does not burn as clean as some other powders; for a flake powder it measures ok but not as smoothly and evenly as the ball powders.

    You might consult a loading manual for a chart listing pistol powders in order of their relative burning rates. Faster powders will reach maximum pressure quicker and do so with a lower charge weight than a slower powder. You will notice in a loading manual in the section for data about a specific caliber that some powders require heavier charges than others to reach the same velocity level. The slower the powder, the more of it is needed. Or, faster powders do it with less. Beware of pressure problems using faster powders in the wrong application.
  8. Hutch

    Hutch Well-Known Member

    For a 650, I'd stay with a fine flake or ball powder. I'm using some milsurp equivalent of AA#2, and it works well. If I had no powder, I'd start with 231. Fast powder, meters well, and the cost per charge is low. Won't churn out big velocities, but works well up to mid-range. Next big jug of pistol powder I buy will be 231.
  9. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Well-Known Member

    AA #2. Clean, accurate, meters well, and cheap ($15.00 a lb, and uses small amount per load).
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    IMO HS-6 will do everything you want to load. The only slight problem will be the .38 Special. It will produce slightly hotter rounds than would be considered target loads. I use HS-6 for hotter .38 Specials and .38 Special +P rounds. HS-6 is a clean powder and it's also low flash. I've found HS-6 to be a very accurate powder especially when loading lead bullets.

    As the others have said, W231 will also do a good job on all but the 10mm but only lacking in high end velocity, not accuracy. As for value, HS-6 is also a shotgun powder so it can be bought in 8lb jugs for ~$110-$115.
  11. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    I like the HP38.
  12. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    My choice has always been Unique because it is a slightly slower and more versatile powder. I use it in 32 ACP through 44 Mag.

  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    No. It does not meter nearly as well as the ball powders like W-231, AA #2 & 5, HS-6, WST, WSF, etc, but not any worse than most flake powders like Unique, American Select, Red Dot. Smaller flake powders like Clays meter better, and very small flake powders like Bullseye meter almost like ball powder, most of which is "flattened ball" anyway.

    If you are very picky about powder measuring consistently, it will bug you. If you just care about results on target, cleanliness, etc, you will like it I think.

    Agreed. Very good stuff. I have shot a lot of it. Meters superbly, not just well.
  14. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    I don't actually need a single powder for every thing, but if it covers a couple things really well, that's what I am looking for.

    Best metering powder I've ever used is IMR 7625. It is a powder I really like, but it doesn't seem to be ideal for cast lead.
  15. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    I vote for Universal Clays or Unique very similar burning rates. I use it in all my pistols and revolvers and some cast rifle loads.
  16. Sport45

    Sport45 Well-Known Member

    Look at Titegroup. Don't know if there's data for 10mm, but I find it to be very economical. It meters well too.
  17. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Well-Known Member

    If you want cheap, then it's all about red dot, or even better, PROMO, in the 8lb kegs. Promo was about $75 for 8lbs compared to $90 at powder valley (granted, that was six months ago). Combine that with low charge weights, and pretty good metering, it's about as cheap as you can get without going the surplus powder route.

    It works decent for 9mm and 38special. Don't know about 10mm or .40sw. Using promo and home-made cast bullets, I can load .38 special for about $2 per box of 50, maybe a little less. I haven't done the math recently, but it's about a half a cent per round. Roughly half the powder cost of anything else. It's also good if you reload shotgun or cast bullets in rifles. (my mosin ammo is less than $0.10 per round including ammortizing the cost of brass)
  18. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    I can't remember a worse propellant with regard to poor metering and measure bridging. The one and only time I used it was when it first came out in 1991 or so for fairly stout 44 mag loads. Ballistic performance seemed sound enough, but using it turned me off. Perhaps it's metering characteristics have improved over 17 years?

    I have always found Unique about as good as it gets for many cast bullet pistol/revolver loads, and even moderate speed 30 cal loads.
  19. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    800X is the Nuklur powder for 10mm. AFAIK nothing can touch it for 10mm velocities.
  20. 38 Super Auto

    38 Super Auto Well-Known Member

    I like Universal Clays, Titegroup, and WSF

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