Good Powder for Newbie?

Good Powder for Newbie?

This is a discussion on Good Powder for Newbie? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I just got all my supplies in the mail and started leafing through the manual. I didn't realize how many different powders there are. Can ...

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Thread: Good Powder for Newbie?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    Good Powder for Newbie?

    I just got all my supplies in the mail and started leafing through the manual. I didn't realize how many different powders there are.

    Can anyone recommend a good powder for someone just starting out?

    Also, i see the manual calls for small or large pistol primers, but doesn't specify brand. Does it matter what brand of primer is used? Or do I just pick any?

    Will be reloading for 9mm, 45acp, and possibly 38/357.
    Last edited by zeppelin03; March 17th, 2011 at 06:25 AM.


  2. #2
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    You just pick either if there is none specified. The catch though is once you develop a recipe you don't want to deviate from it. As to the powder choice, you should just look at your manual and figure out a powder that appears in multiple calibers that you load. In other words if you are going to load 9mm, .40 and .45 then look on all three of those pages and pick a powder that is listed for all three.

    The first thing you want to do is read the front of the manual and it will tell you most of what you need to know about reloading. :)
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  3. #3
    Member Array Hiker1911's Avatar
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    Winchester W231. (If you're reloading for .45, or .38, .357, or 9mm).

    This powder has lots of fans. Buy a 1 lb. container, and you'll see!

    I started with CCI primers, and have been loading Federal pistol primers lately-since they were out of CCI at the time.
    Fast is good but accurate is better.

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    Senior Member Array Chevyguy85's Avatar
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    You can reload a lot of calibers with bullseye and it's what I started on and continue to use 4 years later. For me it seems like it's cheaper to use bullseye as it uses less powder for most loads vs other powders. One problem you might find is that grain wise it isn't too forgiving about being off a bit as it uses so little powder, a half a grain makes quite a difference. What calibers are you reloading for?

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    I would say start with Unique or W231, both are good multi caliber powders. Personally I say start with a harder primer like CCI since they will be a little more forgiving while you are learning to seat primers. You can always buy single packs and try out a few brands if you want.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    First, don't "leaf" through the manuals or guides, but read them and understand. IMO, primers (standard pistol, not magnum) are pretty interchangeable IF you are not near the max load for a cartridge. All the above suggestions for powders are good for the calibers listed, but my usual recommendation to a new reloader is to use something in the moderate burn range like Unique and WST. I have trouble with metering Unique (but it is still a good choice), and 231 is decent choice for a versatile powder for mid-range loads. To add to your list, I've used AA#5 in the 9 and 357 with good results.

    Good luck, be safe, and enjoy!
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    Will certainly be reading it fully before reloading. I am leaning towards W231.

    I've notice with unique the difference between starting load and max load is rather small. Figure I'd go with something that has a larger spread

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker1911 View Post
    Winchester W231. (If you're reloading for .45, or .38, .357, or 9mm).

    This powder has lots of fans. Buy a 1 lb. container, and you'll see!

    I started with CCI primers, and have been loading Federal pistol primers lately-since they were out of CCI at the time.
    If you choose W231, get HP-38 instead. It's the exact same powder, both made by Hodgdons, and for some reason is a couple bucks cheaper. The load data for both is identical. I use-38 in my 9mm Mak and .45, and it's good stuff.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I use unique and American Select,during the shortages American Select was available and fit my needs.I use Wolf primers,bought 20,000 small pistol last month for $16.00 thousand,Powder Valley,or Wideners usually have great prices
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  10. #10
    Member Array Gunsmoke16's Avatar
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    Unique for 9mm... think it is 4.0-4.6grn is what I used to use. Always had better accuracy with SWC bullet (cone shaped, flat nose-lead). The .45acp round for shooting out of 1911 styles, 4.2grn Bullseye with a 200grn swc bullet and CCI/Winchester Primers. Don't shoot lead out of a Glock or any hexagonal hammer-forged barrel-it builds up and could explode the gun.
    PLEASE NOTE: If you're using LEE RELOADING equipment, especially the hand-loader with primer tray, DO NOT USE FEDERAL PRIMERS...they are softer and will most probably explode, igniting some in the tray (knew a shooter this happened to-thank God he was wearing eye protection. It pockemarked his face and they went around the hallway all way into the other room). Lee specifies this in their manuals.

    That being said, the Federal primers are the most accurate (If you're loading one at a time and not on a progressive press) and produce about 2000lb more cup pressure psi than others. If loading them, use minimum powder load and work up from there. I prefer CCI as they are the "hardest" and work flawlessly in the Lee Pro 1000, cranking out about 400rnds per hour (if you keep constant vigil on every aspect of powder, bullets & primers).

    I would "not" start with a progressive press-lots of stuff to pay attention to and if you squib load one (no powder) or something...not good. The Lee Breech Lock Challenger Reloading Kit @ $104.99 from Cabella's is a great bargan and has the Breech lock (hot swappable) threaded mounts. It allows you to set the die perfect (like depriming/repriming-sizing) and swap it out for another(belling mouth) and another (seating/crimping bullet) and swap it back without having to readjust stuff, making reloading much faster. Also, for accuracy, the guys I used to shoot with when reloading the .45 would "always" use a taper crimp die (I swapped this out with the regular crimp die that came with the set-its an xtra $10, but well worth the effort).

    The 9mm uses Small Pistol, whereas the .45acp is the Large Pistol primers. Used to have a friend that made his own .45 bullets out of tire weights and they were "very" hard and super accurate. As with all lead, when loading it, I would wear gloves. If you don't and about 600rnds later from handling it, the room starts spinning and you feel dizzy ...you are getting lead poisioned. BTDT...I wear cotton gloves now. Have fun and be safe.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    A beginner should start with a powder that will overfill the case if double charged ! Unique will do that in most cases and is what I would recomend.

  12. #12
    New Member Array jcr2689's Avatar
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    I started with universal clays. It is a low pressure powder and fills cases up well. In 9 and 40, a double charge will be up almost to the lip of the case. Burns clean and meaters well in my lee autodisk. Also have some 231, good powder, but runs higher pressures.

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