Tell me about Powders...

This is a discussion on Tell me about Powders... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I am laying in stuff to start reloading. I will be starting with .45 ACP, and I expect to follow soon thereafter with .40S&W and ...

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Thread: Tell me about Powders...

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Tell me about Powders...

    I am laying in stuff to start reloading. I will be starting with .45 ACP, and I expect to follow soon thereafter with .40S&W and .223. I may start reloading 9mm, too, if prices/availability get bad enough.

    I have a couple of reloaders I talk to at my local IDPA club and have gotten some good advice thus far. One thing I would like to get a better feel for, though, is what different powders are available and what the differences are. It seems like that is the area with the biggest variability in the whole reloading process.

    For the record, my IDPA buddy swears by Hogdon Titegroup for all his pistol loading.

    So, what can you tell me? Thanks!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    It really boils down to personal preference. Some calibers prefer certain powders, ie burn rate, and volume.

    I try to use powders that work good for a variety of calibers. That way I don't have so many things laying around. I try to use one powder for .380, 9mm, .45 acp, and 44-40, then use a different powder for the .357 and .44 mag loads. I try to stay away from compressed loads, and try to stay away from loads that use very little powder charges. You get less loads from the high volume powders, but more loads from the low volume powders per pound, but I prefer to stay in the middle somewhere so there is sufficient fill in the case.

    Of course rifle loads you have to use differnent powders all together. Bullet weight, and velocity make much more difference in rifles than pistols.

    Basically, talk to folks, if your buddies have good luck with titegroup, try it out, you might like it and they may be able to give you some pointers on loads they have already spent time working up.

    Good luck, half the fun of reloading is learning about the things that make the loads work better or worse than other loads. Besides, it is always good to have gun powder and lead, or copper residue on your fingers.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    Member Array gunnerdd2's Avatar
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    I use clays universal in my 45 acp and 45 lc. clean burning which means less cleaning between range visits. universal and bullseye are good but are more dirty. In the 45acp I use 3.5 to 4 grains fro plinking . works good for me.......I use the 230 grain fmj bullet from berrys mfg.
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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    My personal favorite load for .45acp?

    5 grains of AA2 over a 200gr bullet. It can be cast, SWC or round nose. Jacketed or not, all bullets in that weight work great with that charge.

    Another great load is 5 grains of 231 with a 230gr roundnose bullet. Either load will easily make major in ISPC or IDPA.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    For pistol reloading, I've had excellent luck with the Accurate Arms line of powders. With a stock of AA2, AA5, and AA9, I can reload just about any pistol cartridge out there. Loading for a handgun is a bit different than precision rifle reloading in that with a handgun, you are not usually striving for that absolute, MOA accuracy load. With a handgun, you are more than likely looking for a clean load that provides reliable functioning.

    I use Hodgdon TiteGroup for all of my 45 Colt CAS loads and have found it to be very position insensitive making it a good choice for small loads in large cases. It does tend to be a bit dirtier than some other powders but not so much as to prove a problem with lever rifles or revolvers. I have not used it in an auto, so don't know if it would create any functioning problems for an auto.

    When you start to load for your 223, things change a bit. I have found AA2015 and H322 to be two excellent powders for the 223 with bullet weights under 60 grains. These have proven to be very clean burning which is an asset in an AR type rifle. However, when seeking ultimate accuracy in a rifle, every rifle can be different. I've seen the exact same load perform differently in two identical (same make, model) rifles. That's why you'll find most rifle reloaders with a dozen or more 1# cans of powder with only a few grains gone from each.

    Hoss
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    I reload for 9mm and 38 spcl and I use Titegrup. But like they said, it ends up being a personal choice.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    For pistol, titegroup is your friend, good for 9mm, .40cal and .45acp

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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback so far, all.

    So, is there any even vaguely scientific way to choose powders, or does it usually boil down to, "Bob said this worked in his .45 loads, so I tried it, and whaddya know, it works great in my .45 loads!"

    It seems from this discussion the other main considerations are faster/slower burning (when would you want slower burning?) and how much/little powder it takes to achieve desired velocity (i.e., how full is the case?). That sound about right?
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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    Senior Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I've probably tried/tested more different powders than most folks even knew existed. Still go back to the old standard---Unique, for most of my handgun loading. It can also be used for lead bullet loading in centerfire rifles and some medium duty shotgun loads.

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazzaerexys View Post
    Thanks for the feedback so far, all.

    So, is there any even vaguely scientific way to choose powders, or does it usually boil down to, "Bob said this worked in his .45 loads, so I tried it, and whaddya know, it works great in my .45 loads!"

    It seems from this discussion the other main considerations are faster/slower burning (when would you want slower burning?) and how much/little powder it takes to achieve desired velocity (i.e., how full is the case?). That sound about right?
    The other method is to get a good reloading manual. I use a Lyman, and look at what they recomend for each caliber. They will have one or two loads that they pick as the "best" loads based on bullet weight. You can try to replicate from there.

    I use the Lyman manual in addition to the powder manufactures manual and cross reference between the two, and work loads up based on both. Of course most of my loads are simply for practice so they are a little on the light side. When I am working a load up for hunting that is when it takes more time, and getting the chronograph out, and making sure they are shooting accurately. Once I find a load I like, I write it down and can then replicate it at a later date.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    The other method is to get a good reloading manual. I use a Lyman, and look at what they recommend for each caliber. They will have one or two loads that they pick as the "best" loads based on bullet weight. You can try to replicate from there.
    Oh, I have a manual on the way (Speer to start with; probably pick up Lyman soon), and have fiddled around with manufacturer's recipes on their sites, too.

    But I guess why I asked the question in the first place was that I'd already have to know which powder (or two or three ) I would want to use, because I can't make all the recipes based on all the powders even for one given bullet. Hence, how do I choose a powder?

    Fortunately, I have all you wonderfully knowledgeable folks to pester!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    BTW, if you haven't found it yet, here's a pretty good site:
    The Reload Bench.

    Hoss
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    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    I like Titegroup also. And its pretty economical. Last time I bought powder they were all out of Titegroup so I am gonna give Unique and Bullseye a chance in .40 and .45 colt.
    AA#5 isn't too bad but I'd rather use Titegroup.
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    Member Array nuparadigm's Avatar
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    Good advice given above. In the end, it is all about personal preference. Titegroup can handle both your 9mm and .45ACP. So can 231 or Universal Clays.
    The Edge ... there's no honest way to describe it. The only ones who know where it is have gone over.

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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    My choice is personal and I don't have a lot of reloading experience, but I will post my powder selection method for your consideration.

    I followed the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle.

    I looked through loading manuals and found one pistol and one rifle powder that would work well for every caliber I own and intend to load.

    I have used or will use good ole Unique for 38/357, .40, .45acp., & 9mm.

    I have used or will use Reloader 15 for 30/30, .308, .223., 30-06, (7.62x39 maybe someday, but I don't think I have a recipe for this one)

    My idea was to only have to have two types of powder on hand to fill my needs. YMMV.
    Last edited by sgtD; November 19th, 2008 at 12:36 AM.
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