Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Picking the right powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Alabama2010, Apr 5, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Alabama2010

    Alabama2010 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    135
    I would like to know if any of you use a specific source when it comes time to choosing a powder for any given round you intend to load. The problem I have is that I apparently chose a less then ideal powder to load up 45 ACP (Red Dot). IIRC, I chose it because it was listed for several bullet sizes and maybe another caliber I intended to eventually load. I now know there are ideal powders used for specific bullets (AA2230 for .223's,) and firearms (IMR4895 for Garands). My Speer #14 makes very little mention about the process of chosing a powder except occasionally (e.g. When giving the basic info about a cartridge they may suggest a fast burning powder if you're going to work up light loads). So how do you all go about picking out a powder?
     
  2. Gadzooks Mike

    Gadzooks Mike Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    411
    Let the scoffing begin, but I use the Lee book mostly. It has more information about more loads per caliber than any other single source I've seen. I also use Lyman and Hornady books, but the Lee book is what I depend on the most. If I could only have one book, that would be the one. The Lee book doesn't say use this or that, but it does give enough information that you can figure it out for yourself.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    First there is no ideal powder for any caliber.
    It certainly isn't AA2230 for .223, and it isn't IMR4895 for the M-1.
    Although those are both very good choices.

    As for Red Dot in the .45 ACP?
    Nothing wrong with that either is that's what you have.

    I pick a powder based on several load manuals.

    For rifles, I look for one that is near the top of velocity listings without being a compressed charge.
    That will insure good load density in the case, and generally will result in something that will be fairly accurate without a lot of load development.

    For Magnum handguns, the usual suspects are all there is. (2400, H110, WW296, AA #9, etc)

    For standard calibers? I have used Bullseye, Red Dot, and Unique far too long to remember how I selected them.

    But it was probably because there wasn't much else in the loading manuals back then.
    And the fact I used Red Dot in shotguns and had it on hand.

    You could do worse.

    rc
     
  4. alfack

    alfack Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Check out Loadbooks' "One book, One Caliber" series.

    They list data from all of the major powder and bullet manufacturers all in one spot. It's a good place to start.
     
  5. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,477
    Location:
    South-Western North Carolina
    actually RDot is a great powder for cast slugs in not only .45 but other pistols. it's also low flash makeing it good for rounds fired at dusk/night with either cast or jacketed slugs. it's peaky though so when loading to max measure carefully.
    there are surely better powders for hi-pressure cartridges but low pressure it's fine.
     
  6. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3,221
    Location:
    Northeast TX
    Red Dot and the 45acp go together like pancakes and syrup in my opinion.

    Why do you think not?
     
  7. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    7,330
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    I try to find the highest velocity with the least pressure and start there.
     
  8. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,245
    Location:
    High up in the Rockies
    A good rule of thumb, as far as I'm concerned is to first choose a powder that will overflow the case if double charged. That's for safety.

    Second:
    Fast powder for light loads
    Medium burning powder for medium loads
    Slow burning powder for heavy loads

    For the .45 ACP, I find Unique, AAC #5, Power Pistol, HP-38 all seem to work well.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    45,612
    Location:
    Alabama
    For pistols I try 2, 3, or 4 (sometimes more) powders in a certain burn rate and see which one is the most accurate. If 2 or 3 are accurate, I start culling them by other criteria. Clean, dirty, PF numbers, smoke, felt recoil, etc.

    Red Dot is a good powder. It's fast, and peaks quickly, but very clean and usually accurate.

    Like rc said, you could do worse........a lot worse IMHO.
     
  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    7,519
    Location:
    Alabama
    Heresy! :D

    After reading all the informercials in Gun Magazines, and trying powders on my own, I have found three gun powders that cover the entire pistol spectrum with perfection: Bullseye, Unique and 2400.

    If I had to go with one, it would be Unique.

    Red Dot is not bad, I have used it in 44 Spl, it shot well.
     
  11. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    2,273
    I look for high velocity and low pressures. I also want a powder that won't be compressed. IMR 4895 really works well in my .308 bolt gun and I use it for my .223 rounds. For 40 S&W, I like Unique, gives the velocity I'm looking for, fills the case, and pressures are not excessive.
     
  12. ScratchnDent

    ScratchnDent Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    546
    Location:
    Tampa Bay area
    I like the Lee book too, because it lists the charges by weight and by volume. I look for a powder that fills a higher percentage of the case, both for safety, and because I seem to get better consistency from powders that fill the case more.

    Though, like Slamfire said, if I could only have one powder to cover all my handgun reloading, it would be Unique.
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    15,710
    Location:
    Hot and Humid FL
    After running out of Unique one time, I now use Universal Clays - works well in everything I have from 32 SWL through 357 and 20 and 28 gauge
     
  14. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    12,879
    Location:
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
    While Bullseye, Unique, and 2400 are good for most
    handgun applications; I like Hodgdon's Universal Clays. Why~?
    Because we all know that Unique is a very flithy burning powder,
    and that 2400 leaves a lot of unburned grandules even in magnum
    loadings. Also,we know that Bullseye should be used CAREFULLY;
    and only in light handgun loads. Finally, I have had great success
    with Universal Clays and as a back-up Tite-Group or AA-5~! :scrutiny: ;)
     
  15. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,245
    Location:
    High up in the Rockies
    If I had to get by with only one pistol powder for all my handgun loads, it would be either HS-6 or AAC#7.

    Both do well in moderate loads, which I use a few of, and both are great in +P and +P+ loads, which I load literally by the thousands.

    While they aren't as nearly as good as H110 in the magnums, they're acceptable even there.
     
  16. Alabama2010

    Alabama2010 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    135
    I've read that it's "dirty". My opinion is that the rounds I loaded with Red Dot were liked much better by my 1911 than the ones I loaded with 700-X. Whether it is ideal for 45 ACP or not really isn't what I was driving at...what I'm trying to figure out is how to determine the most ideal powders for a given cartridge. I know it will almost always be arguable whether any one specific powder is the "best" for a given cartridge, but there's no doubt that there are some powders that are generally conceded to be ideal for a given cartridge. I want to find out how to know which ones are ideal for a given cartridge. When you go to a reloading manual and it lists 12-15 or more powders, some of those will be considered by most to be excellent choices, and others will generally be thought of as less than ideal...that's what I've been mulling over.

    RC said..."For rifles, I look for one that is near the top of velocity listings without being a compressed charge.
    That will insure good load density in the case, and generally will result in something that will be fairly accurate without a lot of load development." This is great advice I think, but I don't have the luxury of time or money to invest in experiementing with a wide array of powders, and was hoping there was a resource that was reliable that was based on years of reloading experiences by many shooters and manufacturers.
     
  17. bds

    bds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    12,995
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    Alabama2010, faster burning powers (Bullseye/Red Dot) give more "snappy" recoil and slower burning powders (HS6/WSF) give more of a "push" recoil. W231/HP38 are happy median for pistol powders.

    I usually use Bullseye/Red Dot for shorter barreled compact pistols and HS6/WSF for full-length 1911/full power loads, but have successfully used all of above for 9mm/40S&W/45ACP loads (the difference being the "snappy vs push" recoil depending on the burn rate of the powder).

    FYI, It's been mentioned on previous threads that 700X, Ramshot Zip and Green Dot have similar burn rate as W231/HP38, which are my "go-to" and accurate match load powders (easy to meter, consistent powder charge, clean burning and plenty of load data for most pistol calibers).
     
  18. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,245
    Location:
    High up in the Rockies
    Redneck with a .40,

    What is your objection to "heavily compressed powder charges???"

    I've used them for decades in some of my most accurate rifles and pistols. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  19. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    I use only Unique and Bullseye for all of my pistol reloading. The only thing I use Bullseye for is .45 ACP, because that was what all the "pros" advised me to use, about 50 years ago.

    I've thought about converting my .45 loads to Unique, thereby reducing my pistol powder inventory to one powder ;), but the performance of Bullseye gives me no reason to abandon it after all these years. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  20. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,548
    Location:
    LGB
    Easy...

    "Eanie.. Meanie, Mynnie, Mo... catch a..."

    RC & Walkalong explained it well.

    LGB
     
  21. Steve C

    Steve C Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Messages:
    4,640
    Most of my loading is for handgun. I've bought lots of different powders and don't turn down a good deal when I can find it. Last one was an unopened 4# keg of Green Dot from '98 for $30. Burning it now in 9mm with MB "small ball".

    I select which powder to use mostly by burn rate matched to the velocity goal of the ammo. I have some favorites for particular cartridges. For top magnum loads with heavier bullets in the .357 and .41 mag its 2400, for cast bullets in either of these its Unique for light jacketed bullets its Blue Dot. For military ball and defense ammo equivalents in the .45 its Unique, target ammo its one of the faster powders I have on hand like Red Dot, Green Dot, AA#2, W231. For factory +p in the .38 spl its either Unique or W231. For jacketed 9mm defense equivalents its Power Pistol or Unique.
     
  22. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    2,273
    No objection to compressed loads, I have found that my compressed .223 loads with IMR4895 are not as accurate as ones that are not. Also, in my .308, 4895 fills the case right up to the bullet, but not compressed. These load's are giving me very good accuracy at 44.5 grains.
     
  23. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,245
    Location:
    High up in the Rockies
    Okay. I thought that you had a concern about compressing the charge. We're on the same page. :p
     
  24. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,062
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    The more I reload (having done it for 15 years) the less powders I try. I pick something clean and cheap and deal with it. When I began I tried everything and every bullet. Now I pick one and go shoot.
     
  25. bds

    bds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    12,995
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    Is that like dating vs marriage? :D

    JK - back to OP.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page