Best powders for 357, 9mm and 45 acp

Best powders for 357, 9mm and 45 acp

This is a discussion on Best powders for 357, 9mm and 45 acp within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; What powders are good for medium to high velocity loads for: 357 magnum 158 grain hard cast 18 BHN 9mm 115 to 124 grain hard ...

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Thread: Best powders for 357, 9mm and 45 acp

  1. #1
    Member Array grantr's Avatar
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    Best powders for 357, 9mm and 45 acp

    What powders are good for medium to high velocity loads for:

    357 magnum 158 grain hard cast 18 BHN

    9mm 115 to 124 grain hard cast 18 BHN

    45 ACP 180 to 230 Hard cast BHN 18

    I would also like the same for FMJ or JHP for each.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Im using Titegroup for my .357 and .38s. Been very pleased with it so far.
    claude clay likes this.
    Glock 22, 27 Gen 4
    Ruger SP101 .357mag
    S&W 637 Airweight
    Ruger Single Six
    Ruger Blackhawk Bisley 45 Colt
    Mossberg 835 Grand Slam

  3. #3
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    Best is awfully subjective. "Best" velocity? "Best" accuracy? "Best" terminal ballistics? "Best" pressure to velocity ratio? "Best" reliability in feeding and function. "Best" full-power loads? "Best" target velocity loads?

    I long ago did series of chronograph tests for all three cartridges, working up loads with several powders for each of the 3 cartridges you mention. Here's what I found works for me and my guns.

    .357 Magnum with 158 grain bullet (either cast or jacketed): 2400. Runner up powders: H110 and Blue Dot.

    9mm with 115-125 grain bullets (cast or jacketed): Unique. Runner up powders: Blue Dot and 800X.

    .45 ACP, using any of it's common range of bullet weights: Unique. Runner up powders: Herco and Hodgdon HS-5.

    Single best powder for all three: Unique. While it may not be the best pick for each and every application it comes closer than all others to providing useful to outstanding performance. Unique has given me the highest velocity 9mm and .45 ACP load performance while maintaining what I perceived as reasonable pressure levels. No sane handload of any other powder I've tried beats out Unique for performance loads in 9mm or .45 ACP. It also has provided good accuracy when loaded near to maximum listed loads in published reloading manuals. Unique won't give the very top velocities with the .357 Magnum before pressure levels become excessive and is easily bested by any of several slower burning powders which will render higher velocities yet with lower pressures. Unique can still make up .357 Magnum loads with plenty of "thump" though.

    In the .357 Magnum, 2400 as published in older Lyman and Pacific manuals gives best velocity for 158 grain bullets over all other propellants along with fine accuracy. Such loads give heavy recoil in the K-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers and will be brutal in the J-Frame Smith & Wessons or similar small 5-shot revolvers. Best used in larger .357 Magnum revolvers such as the L-Frame Smith & Wessons with heavy full-lugged barrels, the big N-Frame Smith & Wessons, Colt's Python, Trooper, King Cobra, or Ruger GP 100 or Blackhawk.

    For target loads though, Bulls-Eye is what I reach for over any of the runner up powders listed. I've used a lot of Bulls-Eye in .45 ACP especially. A little dab 'ill do ya' for target loads so its economical and also is generally very accurate with light charge weights.
    aus71383 and Plan B like this.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    Senior Member Array medmunds21's Avatar
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    Very subjective as bmcgilvray said bro. Enjoy the practice and aim for accuracy!!!!
    "A free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought."

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    If you are looking for one powder that will fill the bill for the whole group I would go along with those who say use Unique. There are powders that are better but not many that are as versatile.

    Michael

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    Member Array grantr's Avatar
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    What I want is a powder for each caliber that gives me high velocity with accuracy for defense or hunting rounds.

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    Member Array RH45's Avatar
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    Look at VIHTAVUORI.
    Expensive, but, worth it!

  8. #8
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    You'll probably need a chronograph before you're truly satisfied with your propellant choices.
    glockman10mm likes this.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Member Array swmft's Avatar
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    Try this site

    http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

    you are using cast so you will have to decide if you are going to use gas checks or clean all the time. Lower velocity usually means less melted lead in the rifling. gas checks let you load hotter without the melt.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    2400 or H-110 for anything magnum velocity. Anything else use Unique.
    Like bmcgilvray stated, Unique is about the best all round powder there is.

    I could get along with just Unique for all my handgun reloading needs.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  11. #11
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    I use Bullseye for light target stuff, Unique for most medium loads in large cases or max loads in small cases, and H110 in max loads in large cases. Other powders may burn cleaner than Unique, like Titegroup, but I like the flexibility and buy in quantity.
    Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776

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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    If you are talking one powder for all of those, Unique would be a good choice. I've also used 231 and Bullseye in all three and they certainly are satisfactory for range use.
    Chose a weapon that goes bang EVERY time!

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantr View Post
    What I want is a powder for each caliber that gives me high velocity with accuracy for defense or hunting rounds.
    In 9mmP, for me that powder is HS-6. The highest velocities in 9mm +P, for me, come with a max load of VV N350. I've not found a powder that will give more MV out of a 9mm than a max load of VV N350. I can make the power floor for IDPA out of my G26 with that powder.

    In .357 Magnum I don't do hardcast - shoot all JHP or SJHP. I use a max load of W296. Do not down load (reduce the charge) using either W296 or H110. Those two powders (said to be the same powder) do not play well used in light loads. Go for the reloading manual maximum for the bullet.

    I use .357 brass exclusively in my .357's. Load to .38+P levels for powerpuff or teaching relatives to shoot. Or load 3.5g of W231 behind a 148g Hornady HBWC to get the most accurate load on the planet out of a .38/.357. The 148g HBWC load is also wonderful as the next step up from a .22LR for beginning shooters, kids, or grandkids.

    I don't load for .45ACP so I'm no help there other than to say Unique is my Go-To powder for .45 Colt ammo with about any bullet from 185 to 255g.

    Fitch
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” by H. L. Mencken

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Elk Hunter's Avatar
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    I use Unique for my .45. Winchester 231 for 9mm.

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    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    I like to use W 231 in the 9mm and some .357's....Titegroup, Red Dot and Solo 1000 for lighter bullets in the 38/357's and the 9mm.
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