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Powder for multiple pistol calibers?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by lions, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. lions

    lions Well-Known Member

    I'm looking for one powder that will work well for several calibers, specifically 9mm, 40s&w, .380, and .357 mag. There are lots of answers for "best powder for specific caliber" but I really just want one for every pistol caliber I'll be reloading.

    Is there something like what I'm looking for or would I be better off with different powders for everything? I'll be using it for target/range ammo if that is helpful. Thanks everyone.
  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    In order of increasing performance: Bullseye, Unique, or WSF. (but good luck finding WSF load data.)
  3. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    I'm kind of old school because of my age, but IMO it's really hard to not choose Unique as an all around powder in the rounds that you mentioned. You can load light or near top loads with it.

  4. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I use bluedot a majority of the time for my pistol loading as have 2 big jugs of it. It will burn clean if you keep the pressure on the medium to high side. Be sure to work up to it though. I am going to try some unique as a have a big jug of it also. If you use it watch out for double loads.
  5. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    Bullseye would do it, but be a little light for the .357 (alliant only lists it for 110 grain bullets).

    Power Pistol would do it too, and you'd get a little more oomph for your trouble.

    Those are the two I'm familiar with, but I think you'll get some posts on Unique and maybe some others.

    I use Bullseye for most pistol and then a magnum powder (VV N-110) for my .357mag.

    You will probably find that you will want to subspecialize a little when you see something your usual powder can't do or isn't optimal for.

  6. Shoney

    Shoney Well-Known Member

    I'd have to go with Hodgdon Universal. Good accuracy, economical loads, pressures are usually lower at velocities comprable to other powders, burns fairly clean, and meters very well.
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Alliant used to list Bullseye data for all .357 Magnum bullets in their printed load book. It performs a lot better than you'd expect. Luckily, I downloaded a copy before they took it off their website:

  8. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    Universal, Power Pistol, & Bullseye will do, but powders are the least expensive component in reloading. Why limit yourself to just one powder?
  9. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    zxcvbob, you're absolutely right. Some people are wary of Bullseye in some calibers, but it performs very very well and consistently under high pressures.
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I wonder if it was an issue with double charges or powder location in casings and detonation that caused them to stop publishing the data?
    The bonus of having old data books is now showing up.
  11. joneb

    joneb Well-Known Member

    I use 6.1gr of Bullseye for short barrel .357 mag. with 158gr hard cast and standard primers :)
    I switched form Unique to AA#5 for some loads in .45acp, .357 mag, .38spl and 9x18 Makarov. Not sure how well #5 does in .380acp ?
  12. procomps

    procomps Active Member

    I use primarily Universal and Power Pistol for the full range of pistol calibers I reload.
  13. Deflexor

    Deflexor Member

    I use Unique for 9mm, 38 sp (+p), 357, and 40 s&w
  14. Joemyxplyx

    Joemyxplyx Well-Known Member

    I use Ramshot ZIP for .38, .357 and .45ACP. It will also work in .380 which I'm thinking about for a CCW gun.

    Velocities for these cartridges from the Ramshot Load Guide are

    .380 90gr 800-980fps
    .38 158gr 756-840fps
    .357 158gr 1105-1228fps
    .45acp 230gr 814-904fps

    These are pretty much in the Bullseye, W231 and Unique ballpark for velocities and bullet weights. Plus ZIP is a spherical powder and meters like sand in my LnLAP.

    I also use 3.7gr ZIP in .38 for cowboy loads.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    No one powder will work for full loads in all those, but as others have posted, Unique, Universal Clays, and AA #5 will work well in all of them. You won't be able to get max loads in .357, but can get some pretty stout usable loads for plinking.

    The fellows are right about Bullseye, it does quite well at high pressures in things like .357, unlike many other fast powders. Lots of room for double charges though, so be carefull.

    In time you will end up using more than one powder, unless, like some, you just want some moderate plinking loads in all those calibers. Many powders will work for that, such as Bullseye, N320, Zip, 700X, Red Dot, & AA #2.
  16. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    I use Bullseye for all my pistol loading. Nothing hot, just medium plinking loads and no problems. I'm currently only loading for 9mm, 38, 357, & 45 and having great sucess.
  17. kenkel98

    kenkel98 Member

    One powder for all

    Winchester 231 is my goto powder. Plenty of data available. I use it in all the loads you listed. Very clean at near max loads but start low and work up. I find it to be very accurate and easier to find than other powders. And it meters very well.

    I also use Viht N-310, N-320, N-330, and N-340 in the calibers you listed. N-320 is about the most versitile. All the Viht powders are very clean at all pressures. They are a little more expensive than other powders but they meter well and are accurate.

    I have some Bullseye but have only loaded .38's with it. There is plenty of data for it as well, and lots of people swear by it. It's easy to find, most of the time, and a little goes a long way. Be careful not to double charge. I also have Unique, 2400, Universal and a few others but rarely use them.

    Just my 1 1/2 cents worth ( inflation you know ). But, like Parisite says, why limit yourself to one powder. You can experiment with different powders at different loads. It's fun to work up loads and find one that is accurate, clean and works well in your guns. I have load data from all over the place, but when I start working up loads for MY guns, I always have to change them a little. Especially when loading for the semi's.

    Like Walkalong said, you will probably find you want if not need more than one powder. I use these powders in target and plinking loads. When I want to work up a truly accurate load, I use at least 3 different powders and 3 or 4 different charges in each. Not to mention OAL and other variables.

    OOOPS, I got long winded again! Sorry guys, just love this reloading stuff and want to pass on what little I have learned.

    Have fun,
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep, forgot about W-231, excellent all around powder.
  19. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

  20. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    I have over 10lb of HS-6 that I bought originally for 9mm, but I now see that it will work in all the other pistol cartridges I am going to add soon: .40, .357sig, and 10mm. It probably won't be ideal for top end loads in the latter two, but it should work. I will probably look to acquire some AA #9 for that. I will then be fairly happy with my pistol powder stash for a while.

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