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Alliant Promo - Reloading/Range Test

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bds, Apr 18, 2010.

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  1. bds
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    bds Member

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    Some in our shooting group did a bulk buy of powder to save on HazMat/shipping fees and 8lb of Alliant Promo got added for us to try. It was cheap ($82.60/8lb at Powder Valley) but only came in 8lb container. I believe it is primarily a shotgun powder.

    According to powder burn rate chart, it shows right next to Red Dot and many forums/threads have posted that they use Red Dot load data.

    It is a large flat flake powder that didn't meter too well in my new Pro Auto Disk - charges varied up to 0.2 - 0.3 grains with no consistency. When I used my 15+ year old Pro Auto Disk, it did a better job with occasional 0.1 - 0.2 grain variation. About 80% of the charges were fairly right on.

    Since I was doing test loads for my ongoing jacketed/plated/lead bullet comparison test, I decided to load some test samples of Promo in 9mm and 40S&W. For more accurate load development, I would weigh every charge, but since this was just a test run, I used the press mounted powder throw.

    125 gr lead RN 4.2gr at 1.08" and 1.10" OAL - Glock 27 with Lone Wolf barrel
    180 gr lead FP 4.4gr at 1.125" OAL - M&P Fullsize

    Since Promo wasn't metering consistently, I was expecting Promo groups to be worse than my match reference W231 groups. The Promo shot groups came close to matching the W231 groups. This is really promising and not what I expected from this "cheap" bulk powder. :eek:

    Will be doing more comparison tests along with the ongoing jacketed/plated/lead bullet tests.
     
  2. Encoreman

    Encoreman Member

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    Keep up the info BDS, I was thinking of buying some of this "cheap" powder and I figured I could use it in the 12 ga. and some pistol plinking. I need to buy some before it isn't cheap anymore. Thanks Mac
     
  3. evan price

    evan price Member

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    I have been using it to good result in .45 acp.
    What I was told is this is the "old recipe" Red Dot (BEFORE it said "New, cleaner burning Red Dot!" on the label. They deleted the red taggant dots and sell it in bulk for shotshell loaders. You may load using Red Dot data by weight (and yes, it is fast, like Titegroup or Clays) and because of the flake size it is as bad as Unique for measuring.
    But, dang, it is cheap, and not much is anymore. And it works.
     
  4. bds
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    bds Member

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    Update:

    I have done more tests (2 more trips to the range) with different powder charges and at greater distances (it was closing time at last range test and I only had enough time for 5-7 yard tests).

    I am continuing to use my older Pro Auto Disk with better consistency - most charges are right on or vary 0.1-0.2 gr on occasion. I am finding Promo to be less sensitive to slight variance (0.2-0.3 gr) in powder charge than W231/HP38 for close range shot groups (7-15 yards).

    Shooting impressions (All shots were fired off hand using front sight flash rapid fire):
    40S&W Promo loads were all accurate. Recoil was firm/snappy with spent cases landing behind me and to the right.

    7-10 yard groups averaged 1"-2"
    15 yard groups averaged 3"

    9mm Promo loads were all accurate. Recoil was firm/snappy with spent cases landing behind me and to the right.

    7-10 yard groups averaged 1"-2"
    15 yard groups averaged 2"-3"

    Since I had more time to shoot on these trips, I taped up my usual four 1/2 sheet 8"x11" copy paper targets on the card board.

    I fired total of 500 rounds (some were slow sighted shots but most were rapid fire with front sight flash target to target and some double taps). There were 5 flyers. All 495 shots hit inside the 1/2 sheet targets. I even got a 3" 9mm 3 shot group at 25 yards from the G27.

    Since I am moving over to more practical shooting mindset, the more firm/snappy recoil of the faster burning Promo replicates closer to factory FMJ/JHP felt recoil. In comparison, W231/HP38 produces milder recoil for faster double taps that's good for match shooting.

    In all, I am growing more impressed with this "cheap" bulk powder. It doesn't meter as well as Bullseye/W231/HP38, but for plinking/range/training practice, shot groups are accurate enough for me even with the occasional 0.2 gr variance. These latest test loads also produced the most accurate 9mm/40S&W lead shot groups (comparable to jacketed/plated bullets). So if you are looking to economize, Promo would be a great powder choice for Missouri lead bullets as well.

    I am planning to do some 45ACP load/range test next with Promo while I do some more final range test with 9mm/40S&W loads.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    700X is another one that meters poorly and shoots well. The proof is on the target. Sounds like Promo is a good one for the frugal pistol reloader.
     
  6. Roccobro

    Roccobro Member

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    Frugal? You calling me names now Walkalong? :p

    Thank you BDS for the continued updates.

    I'm CHEAP and think I'll be trying out some "Promo" soon...

    Justin
     
  7. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

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    I've had good results loading RDot in sveral pistol chamberings under cast slugs for practice ammo. I use dippers though and Lee powder thru expander die.
     
  8. mineralman55

    mineralman55 Member

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    This is interesting, keep the results coming. I use a lot of Red Dot in my 9mm, and find it meters very well thru my RCBS Uniflo. No, not as well as ball powders, but quite well nonetheless.

    Promo/Red Dot is a fine all-'round pistol powder for mostly light loads. Excellent in the .45acp, tricky but satisfying for plinking loads in .357mag and .44mag. Pretty clean burning as well. Great stuff.
     
  9. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Some of my most accurate loads were made with 700x. Some of the most aggravating time spent with my powder measure was with 700x too. Although, when loading it at target velocities, as intended, I have noticed that you can vary .2 and not have a huge difference with 700x also. Anymore I like my AA#2. Its cheap and meters like nobodys business.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep. I like AA #2 a lot as well. Bought a 4 pounder recently when I finally ran out of the 1 pounders I got a good deal on. Meters dead on every time.
     
  11. bds
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    bds Member

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    I had plans to get off work early this afternoon to do more range testing with Promo loads in 9/40, but something came up at work and had to stay till 5 PM. :mad:

    Will be out of town this weekend to deliver 1000 rounds of 40S&W to my sister so she could get "familiar" with her new pistol.

    So no range testing until next Thursday/Friday. Well, at least this will give me a chance to load some 45ACP test rounds with Promo. :D
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I know the feeling. I always tell people...yea, I get off at 3:30PM...well, unless something is happening, then I might leave at 3:30AM, the next day, never can tell. Stuff just won't break on a nice neat schedule.....:)
     
  13. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    Keep it coming!

    Hey, great to see some data......... I'd heard what Evan (post 3) had heard - that Promo data for handloading handgun ammo is supposed to be same weight as Red Dot charges. IF that's true, Promo would be fairly handy for us cheapskates......... and ;)I know at least one reloader's who's a "titewad."

    Please keep posting results! I'm putting Promo on my shopping list!
     
  14. bds
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    bds Member

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    jjohnson, gladly. Planning to return to the range Friday/Saturday for more testing with Promo (this time to include 45 loads).

    I also finally picked up a pound of Green Dot - burn rate is between Promo and W231/HP38. Unlike the large flake Promo powder that's harder to meter/powder charge, Green Dot is smaller grain sized (similar size as Bullseye/WSF/W231/HP38) that meters better.

    Since W231/HP38 is often out of stock/harder to find, I thought Green Dot would make a good lower cost alternative ($98.50 for 8 lbs at Powder Valley). I am planning to test load some Green Dot loads for Friday/Saturday also.
     
  15. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    bds - I've been running 5.2gr of Green Dot behind the 200gr MB IDP #4-XD (45 acp). Seems to work rather well. A double charge doesn't quite spill out of the case.
     
  16. bds
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    bds Member

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    Wife's honey-do-list got my range trip scrapped for yesterday, but I am good to go for this afternoon.

    GaryL, thanks. I am finishing up my Promo test loads for 9/40/45 and plan on loading some initial test loads for Green Dot. For 45 lead 200/230 gr bullets, I was planning on starting around 4.0, 4.3, 4.6, 4.9, but will add 5.2 as well.
     
  17. ants

    ants Member

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    jjohnson

    Cheapskates Rejoice!!!
    Alliant themselves are the ones who say to use the same charge weight as Red Dot. Since it is more dense, it fills the case less. Grain-for-grain you use the same charge by weight as Red Dot.


    Promo in powder measures: Try tapping the side of the powder measure once or twice before dropping the powder. Tap with a key, a bullet, or any small tool. I get consistent throws within 0.05 grains (not a typo, I have an electronic scale that resolves to 3/100 grain) from a Lee disk powder measure seasoned with graphite.


    I like Promo in 9mm. It is one of my all time favorite 12ga shotshell powders. I'm not so impressed with 180g bullets in 40S&W, but I haven't tried lighter bullets. Promo works just fine in 45acp with any Red Dot load, almost as well as Clays but doesn't peak so much at max load. Promo is sorta velocity-challenged, it generally hits max load well before you achieve high velocity, it's just too fast for that.
     
  18. bds
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    bds Member

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    ants, that's what I thought at first (too fast burn for 40S&W), but I really liked the last range trip with 155/180 gr and 4.8/5.2 and 4.6/4.8 respectively with Promo. Very nice firm/snappy recoil similar to factory JHP and accurate too. I will be doing more comparison tests this afternoon with Promo loads and initial Green Dot loads.

    I did have some metering variance (up to 0.2-0.3 gr) with my new Pro Auto Disk, but Promo meters well in my old (15+ years) Pro Auto Disk (probably large flakes needing more tolerance). Most of the charges are right on with like 5%-10% varying up to 0.1 gr. If you are getting 0.05 gr variance, that's great. What I have noticed is that even for loads with 0.2-0.3 gr variance (from my new Pro Auto Disk), shot groups were fairly consistent.

    All in all, I think Promo makes for a great plinking/range/practice powder at just about the lowest price of all available powder (only comes in 8 lb container). But at like $82 at Powder Valley, that's $10 per pound and I think a good alternative to Bullseye that's at $12 per pound. So far, I have only done comparison with my match reference W231 loads, but plan on doing some comparisons with Bullseye loads in the future.

    As to W231/HP38 being hard to find, I think the new Green Dot (a bit faster burn rate) may be a good alternative. I have not used Green Dot before so I will find out this afternoon how it compares to W231/HP38. :D
     
  19. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    bds - I should probably mention (sorry, didn't think of it earlier) that the canister of Green Dot I'm currently using is probably 30 years old. Bought from an old fart a few years back at a great price, so.... Anyway, my 5.2gr might not be exactly the same as your 5.2gr, but it should be close and it's well below max. Thought I'd better let you know.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I like them. They are less snappy than fast 155 or 165 Gr loads, and I tend towards heavier bullets for serious work anyway. Many people use fast powders (mistakenly IMHO) with the .40 and full loads. The fast powders generally will not give the accuracy in .40 that medium speed powders will when loading to max or near max. They do fine for light plinking loads. The 180 Gr bullets especially benefit from slower powders. More of a push than a snap, which I like.

    For light plinking loads in my lightweight XD SC, I do like the 155's with a small dose of powder.

    It was 90 degrees in the shade and 99 in the sun this afternoon at the range. I was pouring sweat. I had to towel off my face, neck, hands, and arms constantly. I could not lean over anything for the sweat dripping off. Summer time has arrived.

    Looking forward to your test results bds.
     
  21. bds
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    bds Member

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    Update: I decided to wait to load 45 ACP Promo loads until I got more different bullet types (actually, I was eager to test out the Green Dot loads in 9mm and 40S&W - I will post my Green Dot report in a new thread). Since I have a week off starting end of May, I wanted to do a 45 ACP comprehensive range test comparisons for Walkalong using Promo and compare to Bullseye, W231/HP38, Green Dot, WSF. :D

    This is my third trip to the range with Promo test loads. This time (based on range test #2 for accuracy) I loaded the best two powder charges for 40S&W in 155/180 gr FMJ/plated and expanded the powder charges for MBC lead bullet.

    Range tests were done with G22/G27 using Lone Wolf barrels (believe it or not, shot groups from G27 are comparable to G22). About 200 rounds were shot. FMJ bullets were shot first, followed by plated bullets and lead bullets last. All barrels were cleaned with Hoppes #9 solvent soaked for 15 minutes and copper bore brushes. There was very minimal leading after range test #1, but virtually no leading after range test #2.

    Shooting impressions (All shots were fired off hand using front sight flash rapid fire):
    All loads cycled the stock Glock recoil spring slides well and spent cases were ejected behind me and to the right.

    40S&W average shot groups:
    155 FMJ/4.8 gr - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil
    155 FMJ/5.2 gr - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil

    180 Plated/4.5 gr - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 2" - Firm recoil
    180 Plated/4.8 gr - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil

    180 Lead/3.5 gr - Accuracy all over the 8x11 copy paper - Light recoil
    180 Lead/3.8 gr - 7 yard 2" - 10 yard 3" - 15 yard 4" - Mild recoil
    180 Lead/4.1 gr - 7 yard 1.5" - 10 yard 1" - 15 yard 4" - Moderate recoil
    180 Lead/4.4 gr - 7 yard 1" - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 2.5" - Firm recoil

    The 180 gr Rainier plated/4.5 gr was very accurate off hand. My first shot group produced 1" group at 15 yards with the G27! :eek: The 180 gr Missouri Bullet/4.4 gr was also very accurate off hand. Many 3 round 15 yard shot groups had two holes near/touching each other. The 180 Missouri Bullet/4.1 gr load also shows promise as I kept getting 1" group at 10 yards. I am going to load some more of these combinations for range test #4.

    I came back from the range with a big smile on my face for Promo. The G27 1" group at 15 yards was witnessed by range staff and we were all surprised. Mind you, I have hard time getting a 2" group at 15 yards with W231/HP38 using G22. Many kept saying, "You are getting those groups with Promo? Really?" :D
     
  22. ants

    ants Member

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    I should clarify, Walkalong, that I wasn't impressed with Promo as the propellant for 180g bullets in 40S&W. Indeed, 180g is all I shoot in that cartridge. I buy them by the thousands. And they sure knock down steel. Lately I've been shooting them in L10 in a Beretta 96 (actually a 92FS with a 96 slide).

    bds, I didn't go all the way up to 4.8gr Promo behind the 180. I quit at 4.5g. I should give it another try. Right now I'm using some old powder I picked up cheap. Vintage Alcan AL-7 and Win 571 ball powders. I got 3 pounds of each for $10 a pound. We used those for 12ga trap loads in the 70's. They meter great!!! Like tiny little ball bearings rolling through the powder measure. Darn shame they quit making both powders. Just a little faster than Green Dot and they leave almost no carbon when you load to Major PF.
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Agh... My bad. :)
     
  24. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    Nice Work!

    Hey, great to hear that Alliant's telling us Promo and Red Dot are "grain for grain" compatible.

    Now, if only they'd sell Promo in smaller containers.... let's see..... 8 pounds, 7000 grains to a pound.... that's a LOT of .380, 9mm, .38 special ammo.... heck, it's a lot of .45 ammo.....

    It takes me awhile to go through that much fast powder, but since we just don't know what politics might affect supply in the future (like PRIMERS), I may just buy 8 pounds for ..... well..... a rainy day or something. :scrutiny:
     
  25. ants

    ants Member

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    Uses for Promo

    I also use it for shotgun, hundreds of Red Dot loads have been listed over the last 50 years.

    I also use it instead of Red Dot for reduced-load rifle loads listed in Lyman's and other sources. Also see, "The Load".
     
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