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Old August 1, 2010, 01:34 PM   #1
WNTFW
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Ramshot Zip - is it a dirty powder?

My shooting buddy used Ramshot Zip in a .45ACP and found it very dirty. He upped the charge to near max and it is still on the dirtier side. Has anyone else tried Zip? If so how did you like it? Findings for other calibers beside .45 or other Ramshot powders are welcome.
I have used the Ramshot rifle powders with good results and even bought some Silohuette. I just have not tried their pistol powders yet.

Last edited by WNTFW; August 1, 2010 at 01:44 PM.
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Old August 1, 2010, 01:38 PM   #2
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Was your buddy shooting lead bullets by chance?

If so, it wasn't the powder making the mess, it was the bullet lube.

Personally, I don't care how dirty a powder is, as long as it performs well.
You have to clean your guns anyway, and I have never seen any smokeless powder dirty enough to make the slightest bit of differance on how easy or hard it is to clean guns.

All powder fouling just wipes off with a solvent wet patch.

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Old August 1, 2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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Zip isn't the cleanest out there, but definitely not dirty. Good stuff IMHO.
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Old August 1, 2010, 02:01 PM   #4
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I didn't get any of the particulars as I was kind of centered on my own stuff. I will check on the particulars. I did see a case. Probably right on the lead/lube. He never loaded pistol before. I have only used plated bullets.

I shoot a lot of .22lr so any centerfire seems on the clean side to me. I am always a bit leary about reports of a powder being dirty. I have heard of some powders being dirty and have found them to be clean when I use them. A lot of guys don't know how dirty the primer is and low charge weights not burning as clean.
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Old August 1, 2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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Every powder I've ever tried leaves carbon fouling.
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Old August 1, 2010, 03:00 PM   #6
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I use Zip in a number of loadings, and it's no dirtier than most.
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Old August 1, 2010, 03:13 PM   #7
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Why buy powder that is more expensive than, say, Unique, and that has no data in any of the popular reloading manuals? A quick check of the Powder Valley website, for example, shows Unique at $14.35/lb., and Zip at $16.10. Four pound kegs are $54.00 and $59.25 respectively. Just trying to understand. If it were significantly cheaper than the name brand stuff, I could see it.
http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/
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Old August 1, 2010, 05:11 PM   #8
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For quite some time, Wideners was selling Zip 8lb jugs for significantly less than anyone was selling Unique. More to the point, Zip is faster than Unique and works better in several of my loads.
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Old August 1, 2010, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
works better in several of my loads
Which is the reason most people buy what they do, it works better for them.

Of course some still buy the cheapest they can. Nothing wrong with that. I was there for the first 5 to 10 years of reloading. Always eyeballing for a good buy for W-231 and 700X. If I found a bargain, I bought it all. Shot the cheapest cast bullets I could find, and then started casting from free wheel weights with some 95/5 solder thrown in.

Cheap? I can do cheap, but fortunately these days I can loosen up the purse strings a bit. AC
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Old August 1, 2010, 10:05 PM   #10
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RC & Walkalong,
Thanks for the info.

I called & he did use lead bullets. Also mentioned the smoke cloud when shooting. Problem Identifed. Or misidentified originally.
Moxie,
I won't venture to guess why people choose what they do. Some guys can't understand why everyone does not use Varget like they do. They forget Varget was almost impossible to find for a while. I am actually so impressed by the Ramshot rifle powders I decided to get some pistol powder by them. As far as price goes by the time I add up all the fixed cost the difference in cost of powder is neglible. I drove 72 miles one way to shoot rifles yesterday. The cost of primer and bullet is the same and getting 12 more rounds of .308 out of a pound is not the goal. If I have 2 loads that work the same I'll pick the cheaper one. I do understand on pistols the gains are more significant. I use unique in .45ACP.
I see why some guys get a load that works and don't change it. I also see why people try different things.
Load data on Ramshot is probably the biggest criticism I have against it.

Last edited by WNTFW; August 1, 2010 at 10:11 PM.
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Old August 1, 2010, 10:49 PM   #11
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I have found that Ramshot's load data covers pretty much all my needs, although I admit that I don't shoot any of the WSSMs or similar.

As far as economy goes, it should also be noted that I can often use less powder (10% or better) to achieve a given velocity with Zip than when compared to Unique (which is my traditional do-it-all handgun powder) in my range/light practice loads.
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Old August 2, 2010, 12:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Walkalong: I was there for the first 5 to 10 years of reloading.
That would have been the late Jurassic period, when there was no bag limit on dinosaurs. Right?

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Old August 2, 2010, 05:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxie View Post
Why buy powder that is more expensive than, say, Unique, and that has no data in any of the popular reloading manuals?
First, Ramshot Zip meters like water. Since I am loading on a progressive press, repeatable and consistent powder charges are obviously key. Unique disqualifies itself, IMO, because it doesn't meter well. I have personally measured the charge weight standard deviation for both powders with a sample size of n=30 (statistically significant). I don't think Unique is repeatable enough to be safe from a standard powder measure. The LASC agrees with me in their rproduct reviews published as Chapter 6.4 Powders And Powder Measures. Here is an excerpt:

Quote:
Unique has an average SD of .140 for all the measures tested. Five percent of the time a set of five charges or shots will have a range or spread of .5 or half a grain. For ten shots, five percent of the time the range will be .6 grains, for twenty shots the range will be .7 grains.

In my opinion, based on these results, no measure tested will dispense charges of big-kernel extruded powders or Unique repeatably enough for bench rest match shooting or load testing. Weighed charges are required for any powder-powder measure combination that dispenses charges with a standard deviation above .1 grain.
Second, Ramshot is the only powder manufacturer that consistently publishes loads for varied lead bullet weights in semi-auto pistols for all of their pistol powders.

For example, Alliant publishes ZERO loads for lead bullets in .38 Super, .40 S&W, or 9mm Luger. That is across all their powders, not just Unique.

In contrast, Ramshot published at least a half dozen lead bullet loads for each of those calibers.
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Old August 2, 2010, 06:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
no bag limit on dinosaurs. Right?
Yep, until we elected some clan "elders". Pretty soon they wanted all sorts of limitations. It's been going downhill ever since.
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Old August 2, 2010, 06:23 PM   #15
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In my opinion, based on these results, no measure tested will dispense charges of big-kernel extruded powders or Unique repeatably enough for bench rest match shooting or load testing. Weighed charges are required for any powder-powder measure combination that dispenses charges with a standard deviation above .1 grain.
I disagree to some degree. Some loads that vary weight wise can shoot really great at 50 yards and in. Far better than most of us can shoot. When you start shooting at greater distances, then it really starts showing.

One of the reasons I like AA #2 is it measures like fine sand and usually gives great ES & SD numbers. I think the reason it gives such great numbers is that it is possibly the most position insensitive pistol powder there is.

Zip is almost identical to W-231 in size, shape, and color. It meters very well, as do Bullseye and other small flake or flattened ball powders.

I shot some Berrys 230 Gr bullets and a light charge of Zip once and if I had not "choked" on the 5th shot, I would have had 5 in one hole at 7 yards shooting through the chrono.
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Old August 2, 2010, 06:59 PM   #16
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WNTFW and Jumping Frog,

Thanks for the detailed responses. That's what I was looking for as opposed to "it works better."
Rough metering is Unique's weak point, but not sure I agree that it is a safety issue.
Many have run many charges of it through powder measures creating loads that fired safely. Many millions? I'll give you that it isn't a great choice for BR.
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Old August 2, 2010, 09:03 PM   #17
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Moxie,
Thanks for having a good discussion.
I left out metering. I was also getting Ramshot for $12-14 (locally - no Hazmat) a pound when I could not get Varget at all when it was $24. As one guy told me "For that price I figured I'd learn to like it."
My first experience with Ramshot was putting together a .270 starting load and Rem Core Lokts that shot 1.188" @ 200yds. So that kind of vexed me.
I also like that no one else was covetting it. Did I mention how I could not get Varget?

Walkalong,
More good info there

Thanks again.
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Old August 9, 2010, 05:27 AM   #18
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If a powder won't measure well, it's not worth messing with for bulk progressive loading. I need to be able to focus on lots of processes, and if I am constantly baby-sitting the powder drop, it's not worth it. I'm not a bench-rest pistol shooter (is there such a thing?) and 5.0 vs 5.1 grains won't cause me undue stress.

Ball powders or small flake/flattened sphericals for me.

Unique meters like dumping dimes! That's just too much slop.

800-X, one of IMHO the BEST .40 S&W powders there is, is a little better, but not a whole lot compared to W231, Zip or Titegroup.

Oh, yeah, from the one guy I know who uses it, Zip is no dirtier than Win 231 when used with jacketed.
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Old August 9, 2010, 08:46 AM   #19
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Low Power Loads Dirty

I didn't see it mentioned..... remember once you get down to lower power limits, the gas generated doesn't have enough oooomph to seal the brass against the chamber, so you get some sooty burning. You can see this as a longitudinal stripe along the side of the case. Just about any powder will burn dirty when you get to lower pressures. It's not just Zip.

If you bump your load up towards the high end, you'll find that things look much cleaner all of a sudden and the soot on the side of the case goes away.
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Old August 9, 2010, 10:50 PM   #20
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Low Power Loads Dirty
I agree, but that expensive Vit is less dirty than most. It's not as expensive as it sounds either. It takes less than most other powders to make that light load, that's not that dirty and meters very well, and hasn't proved position sensitive or temp sensitive, thank you---
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Old July 20, 2014, 05:41 AM   #21
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I am aware that this is a very old thread. I started hand loading in the spring of 2013 when you could not get powder. I found several pounds of zip and started using it for .380 and .38 special. A couple of months ago I bought 1911's for my son and I and am now loading .45 ACP. I found some Unique back in the fall and tried it. For me it is much dirtier than Ramshot Zip. I use a RCBS Chargemaster Combo for metering powder and have not had any problems with it.

I originally started loading b/c high velocity ammo in 6.5x55 was so expensive and also b/c my 17 year old burns through so much .223 in his AR. Loading for handguns came about b/c I already had the press and figured I could load for handguns for much less than I could purchase ammo, which has turned out to be true.

I find zip to be very accurate in the three cartridges I load for, do not find it to be dirty and it requires less powder than other brands. I had a huge stash of 9MM Luger ammo that is finally getting low, so I'm fixing to buy dies, I have a ton of brass. If Ramshot Zip proves to be accurate in 9MM I will use it. Zip doesn't give top velocities in every cartridge I shoot but I only use my handgun reloads for practice, for carry I use commercial SD ammo.
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Old July 20, 2014, 08:05 AM   #22
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I have used a pile of TAC and love it. Now ZIP I have never used but a reloading buddy swears by it as well. The lack of data is no problem as their balastition will return an email about a propellant combo that is not listed on their website, usually within half an hour when they are open. Ramshot has a printed on paper loading guide that is free for the asking as well with a lot of the popular calibers in it. Way back when, I would always buy a bunch of the propellant that was on sale at Midway (often Ramshot brand) along with whatever others I needed at the time in amounts that justified the HAS-MAT fee and found some really good ones that I never would have tried otherwise. YMMV
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Old July 20, 2014, 09:26 AM   #23
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Zip is awesome. I like it better than HP38. Its been pretty clean for me.
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Old July 20, 2014, 10:07 AM   #24
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I use a lot of ZIP for .45ACP and 9mm target rounds. I have not found it to be particularly dirty.
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Old July 20, 2014, 12:38 PM   #25
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Most Ramshot powders are the same as others in the Accurate line of powders. Load data is abundant on each of their sites. Great powders that meter like water.
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