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Which powder to use

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by chris93555, Oct 20, 2011.

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  1. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    I will be reloading the following calibers and wanted to know which powder I have listed would be the best all around, con and pros

    9mm, 38 special, 357 mag, 40, and 45 colt.

    The powder that covers all these calibers are listed below. I don't want to buy a bunch of different powders, just one that's covers all of them good

    231
    AA No. 5
    Blue dot
    Bullseye
    Power pistol
    Unique
    H. Universal

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. StandingTall

    StandingTall Member

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    I reload every one of those rounds and use HP-38/W231 for all of them.
     
  3. REL1203

    REL1203 Member

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    W231 or Universal can do all those
     
  4. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I like Unique.
    It's a little dirty, but it's versatile and meters well for me. I've heard people say they can't make it meter well, but I've never had a problem with my Uniflow.

    Be careful with Bullseye. It's a really fast powder. I like it ok for .40 S&W, but an overcharge can be bad with it.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Any of them except Blue Dot will work.

    Unique is my goto powder for most of the calibers you listed except .357 Mag.
    I use 2400 in them.

    And something like Bullseye or W231 for light .38 Special.

    Unique is about it for me in 9mm, .40, and .45 Colt.

    rc
     
  6. bangaway

    bangaway Member

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    unique powder loads all your cartridges as does 231 and bullseye. I use bullseye for light loads and unique for heavier ones. I have just started using 231 and find loading data for all your shells and it runs light to heavy loads. If you are considering loading .45 colt, ruger/TC only, power levels buy H-110 or 2400. This goes for .357 too. Have fun and bangaway.
     
  7. lturford

    lturford Member

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    I'm right with you on the calibers except I don't load 45's..... yet anyway - I have a gun show in the area this weekend and plan on picking up 231/hp-38 or bullseye in quantity if it's available -
     
  8. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    Thanks for everybodys help, I decided to go with unique. I use 231 on 9mm but found that it gives off a smoke cloud when I use pure lead bullets but does not when I use FMJ, what causes this?
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    The only caliber you listed that will be lacking by using a powder suitable for all the others is the .357 Magnum. From the list you posted I would use AA#5 even though I'm a huge W231 fan and use a lot of it. In the .357 AA#5 will get you as close as 100 fps of AA#9. AA#5 will work very well in the 9mm and 45 Colt as well. I usually use AA#5 for .38 Special +P ammo but you can download it well enough I guess. In the 40 S&W you will loose some velocity compared to AA#7 but not enough to worry.

    If it weren't for the .357 and 40 S&W I would go with W231 hands down but IMO AA#5 is probably the best choice of the powders you listed. (although I can't understand why anyone would want to cheat themselves but using only 1 powder)
     
  10. svsup3r

    svsup3r Member

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    The smoke you are seeing is caused by the lube on the cast bullets. FMJ's don't have lube on them hence you don't see near the smoke generated. If the smoke bothers you try shooting a coated bullet like precision or bayou.
     
  11. Maximumbob54

    Maximumbob54 Member

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    Lube burning. Too much liquid alox used or lube on the base of the bullet. I used to tumble lube with too much alox before I learned to thin it out some with mineral spirits. Now I'm using a Lyman 450 and keep getting lube on the base of the bullets. I'm wiping it off but sometimes I don't bother. I'm at the point where Win 231/HP-38 is the only powder I use in handguns. It meters like a dream unlike the gray micro corn flakes that are Unique. Try metering out a light load of Unique. Have fun with that.
     
  12. leman

    leman Member

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    With a RCBS Uniflow powder measure with a powder baffle and the small charge cylinder, light charges of Unique actually meter pretty well. With consistent motions, I can keep the charge to .1-.2gr even when only throwing 2-2.5gr
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, but if you want to load full bore .357, you will need two powders. One really limits themselves trying to load everything with one powder.
     
  14. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I use Unique in most pistol loads except when mag velocity is my goal. It meters very well in my Dillons and the charges are large enough that double charges on most calibers will overflow and be clearly visible.
     
  15. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    I have used Unique and it seems to be a little better, but there is no lube on these bullets because they are moly coated
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  16. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    There is no lube on these bullets, they are Bear Creek moly coated
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    A single base or low nitro content powder will smoke less with "moly" coated bullets like Precision and Bear Creek.
     
  18. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    what is a single base, also in my reloading book it says ex 9mm, 115gr BC .129 / SD .130, what does BC and SD mean? Also does #2 Alloy also know as a cast bullet?
     
  19. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    I like Unique.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    A single base powder has no nitro glycerin content. A double base powder is a single base powder with nitro added for more energy output for the weight. Nitro content makes it burn hotter. American Select is a low nitro content powder, where Red Dot and Bullseye are a high nitro content powder. American Select is a good choice. Bulky, accurate, clean, meters OK.

    I emailed a couple of powder companies asking about nitro content, but do not have the info handy right now.

    BC = Ballistic Coefficient when speaking bullets

    SD = Sectional Density when speaking bullets

    SD = Standard Deviation when speaking of velocities recorded on a chrono

    #2 alloy is an old Lyman recipe of lead, tin, and antimony used for casting bullets.
     
  21. chris93555

    chris93555 Member

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    wow thanks for the info
     
  22. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Compromise is optimal?

    It depends on bullet weight and power level.

    Every powder has a pressure range to which it is best suited. Clean burning powders can get very sooty at lower pressures. H110 is GREAT at full power, but reducing the load lowers the pressure and gives rise to "spikey" behavior that can spontaneously disassemble a firearm. 9mm and 40 S&W have relatively small cases for the bullet size. The 45 Colt has a relatively large case for the bullet size.

    What I am saying is that each cartridge/bullet/power level will have relatively few powders that give the best performance (recoil, cleanliness, lowest pressure for velocity, etc).

    Any one powder that performs acceptably across the entire range of your cartridges will WORK. But it may not be optimal for any. Likely to be close to optimal for a few, though, and acceptable for all. If that compromise makes you happy, good.

    For example, with Unique, you are definitely not going to get the maximum power level available from a .357 firing a heavy bullet that you can with H110. Unique gives its pressure quickly. H110 burns slower, giving its pressure over a longer period of time. Loading each powder to the maximum pressure the cartridge can stand, the longer burning H110 will always deliver more power. So, if maximum power is your goal H110. But H110 is not so good for small cases and DEFINITELY not good for reduced powder loadings.

    I hear you. Having an inventory of many, many powders gets to be a logistical pain (Do I have enough of this for my next session? Do I have enough room for that?) and can be dangerous if you accidentally get one powder mixed up with another. But getting each chambering you load for "dialed in" to its optimum does give you a good feeling and tight groups.

    Thanks for reading. Armed with the information you have here, you can decide what will make you happy. That is what is so great about handloading. Choices.

    Good luck.

    Lost Sheep
     
  23. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Bullseye and Power Pistol will load any handgun cartridge. Use Bullseye for the light-to-medium stuff, and PP for the medium-to-heavy. They overlap.

    Unique is a good compromise if for some reason you want one powder to do everything. Universal is similar and works better for some apps, but Unique has a wider range.

    Blue Dot is the worst powder you listed, although it has some niches where it does really well.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Everyone should have one "fast" pistol powder, one "medium" pistol powder, and one "slow" pistol powder, at the very minimum, to maximize the potential of different calibers. :)

    If you like Alliant powders, Bullseye, Unique, and 2400 would fill the bill. If you have the powders listed in your post, you already have two out of three.
     
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