cleanest, most accurate, most versatile powder for revolver cartridges...

This is a discussion on cleanest, most accurate, most versatile powder for revolver cartridges... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Hi Folks, I've got a bit more than half a pound each of HP38 and Universal that I'm working on using up loading my wheelgun ...

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Thread: cleanest, most accurate, most versatile powder for revolver cartridges...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    cleanest, most accurate, most versatile powder for revolver cartridges...

    Hi Folks,
    I've got a bit more than half a pound each of HP38 and Universal that I'm working on using up loading my wheelgun calibers, .38spl, .357mag, .44spl, .44mag., and .45 Colt...The powder's over 15 years old and still works like a daisy, the thing is, someday I will have to buy new powder. I don't really have any complaints with the Hodgdon, it is a bit dirty, but other than that seems to work in my applications. Is there a cleaner burning powder from some manufacturer out there with the same versatility as HP38 and Universal? Funds are limited, so I'm trying to stick with the most versatility within a powders uses to get adequate performance from all or nearly all of my firearms without buying 3 or 4 specialty powders.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    I haven't used it in all the cals you list, but AA #5 is fairly clean and meters quite well. I like the versatility of HP38/231, Universal, and Unique (the new Unique is supposed to be much cleaner than the old), and probably use more 231 than anything else. I don't find the two you name to be a problem since I clean my guns after shooting. Also, keeping your loads in the mid to upper range will cause the powders to burn with a little less residue.
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    Each firearm is a law unto itself as to the best propellant as are that propellant's relationship to each of the other components making up the load.

    If I had to make a single powder suffice for every handgun cartridge I reload then the choice would have to be Unique or other similar powder such as Universal, HS-5, or Power Pistol.

    FLSlim is telling a truth when he says keep loads in the mid/upper ranges to keep Unique burning cleanly. Mild loads of Unique are not satisfying, either to shoot or for consistency in shot-to-shot velocity.

    I too never cared how "dirty-burning" a powder was if it delivered the goods otherwise for I clean after each use anyway.

    If shooting lead bullets then the bullet lube can have much more to do both with smokiness and with residues than the powder.
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    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    "Most accurate..." is dependent on the firearm involved. All guns are a rule unto themselves in that regard.

    Having said that, 231 or HP38 is probably as universal a powder for general handgun use as possible. Unique also is usable in nearly anything handgun, rifle or shotgun.

    They're all clean when they burn properly; which is - as has been said - in the upper half of the useful pressure range.
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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys...I was looking for any substantial information which would convince me that I need to switch brands or powders...so far I'm not seeing that I do which is just fine with me. I've been happy with the results of Universal in .44 spl. But haven't used it in .38 yet, deferring to the HP38 for that caliber, mostly because of it's name and I needed a place to start with the powders that I have. I think, between those 2 powders, the loading manuals mention Universal in more calibers than HP38 though so I should probably load up some .38 spl with the Universal and give 'er a go in that round.

    I think I remember reading somewhere that AA#5 would be a good round for mild .357 loads, so, if I can confirm that, I might try some of it as well. While I like my .38 spl. in the +P range, the magnums tear the heck out of my wrists anymore.
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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Each firearm is a law unto itself as to the best propellant as are that propellant's relationship to each of the other components making up the load.

    If I had to make a single powder suffice for every handgun cartridge I reload then the choice would have to be Unique or other similar powder such as Universal, HS-5, or Power Pistol.

    FLSlim is telling a truth when he says keep loads in the mid/upper ranges to keep Unique burning cleanly. Mild loads of Unique are not satisfying, either to shoot or for consistency in shot-to-shot velocity.

    I too never cared how "dirty-burning" a powder was if it delivered the goods otherwise for I clean after each use anyway.

    If shooting lead bullets then the bullet lube can have much more to do both with smokiness and with residues than the powder
    .
    I'm pretty much with you and the others there, I'm just new to this reloading business, after a 15 year lay off and not being very experienced in my previous life. I read some post somewhere about Hodgdon manufacturing "dirty" powders and, since it's virtually all that I have, was wondering if I was missing something.

    Thanks for the info about Unique. I do have some of it left over from years ago too, but have been debating whether I should mess with it or not. I have some trepidation about this particular canister of powder but I'll be digged if I can remember why. I have loading manuals from the same era, though so the data for it should be accurate.
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    Found Alliant 2400 to be very good in the big revolver cartridges.
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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    Probably the most versatile powder (or at one of the most versatile) is Unique. I could probably cover all my revolver/pistol loading needs using 231/Bullseye and Unique.

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    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    I use Unique for my .45 Colt loads. W231 in .380ACP, .38SP. W296 in .357 MAG. HS-6 in normal 9mmP, VV N350 in +P 9mmP.

    I have a shelf of powders for rifle cartridges from Lil'Gun for the Hornet to Retumbo and IMR7828 for the 7mm magnums.

    Fitch
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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    AA2 is probably the cleanest powder in my experience, but if you must have something that will work with everything 231 is hard to beat...... Unique, AA5 (which was designed with the 45acp in mind) are definitely dirtier.....
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    Since I started loading my own .45 ACP and .38 Specials, I've used Titegroup and it shoots well with cast bullets. My only comparison 'data' is with Bullseye-powered reloads (from shooting buddies) which left my guns looking almost like I'd been burning black powder... probably really light loads. The Hodgdon web site lists Titegroup recipes for all the calibers you listed.

    The nice thing about Titegroup is that it's pretty economical and allegedly is insensitive to powder position in the case. The 5 grains I load in the .45s looks like nothing in that fat case.
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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    gasmitty,
    I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Titegroup. I have swapped most of my pistol loads to this powder. My favorite before it was WW231. Titegroup is nearly identical in speed, and lends even more flexibility. It is clean, predictable, and usable in a wider range than it is given credit for. Tough sell on most though, who are set in their ways, and have not tried it yet.

    Terry

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    Most of my stuff is done with AA#5.
    I've been using it for 25+ years.
    I see no need to change.
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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks for the Titegroup recommendation gasmitty and Exsimguy. I've just browsed the Hodgdon data and you're right, there are loads for all of my calibers, + 2 that I didn't mention, but that I'll no doubt want to try loading for...45 ACP and 9x18 Makarov. I hope someone carries it locally, but I guess with the addition of a couple of new chain sporting goods stores, including Cabelas, around here since I last bought powder, the selection should be better than it used to be!

    Why would it be a tough sell? Is it just new or something?
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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Dadsnugun,
    Titegroup is relatively new (6-10years?) as compared to most of the old standby's. Most of my old loads with WW231 are from the early to mid 1980's.
    I like Titegroup for large cases, as it can be used for light loads on up to near Magnum velocities with none of the usual problems associated with pressure curves/density loading/detonation. It works as good as ANY powder in the small to large auto cases as well. Hodgdons site probably has the most data listed for the most cartridges, as most of the mainstream manuals haven't really updated most of the old standby loads much. Check their Cowboy data as well as the regular data.

    Titegroup was listed in forum on the THR in 2003.

    Good luck, load safe,
    Terry
    Last edited by Exsimguy1; January 28th, 2012 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Added Date

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