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Which powder to start with?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Billy_Ray, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Billy_Ray


    Aug 6, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I recieved for Christmas a new reloading press, reloading accessories and I built a sturdy bench for it, so I am almost ready to start reloading. I have read the ABCs of Reloading and studied one reloading manual (I have another on order). I have also been reading posts here for the last couple months. But I have not seen this addressed in any of the above sources...

    So my question is which recipe/powder do you start with for a given caliber/bullet combination?

    Thank you,
    Billy Ray
  2. Billy-Ray congrats on your new acquisition. To help you, refine your search, we need more information. Are you loading rifle or pistol? Are you loading target or higher speed loads? What calibers will you be loading and what bullet weights?

    Since we are on the Glock forum, I will assume that you're talking pistol here. I currently use a lot of WSF powder, but if I had to choose one powder do it all; I would say HP-38/ WW 231 (same stuff) is the one powder that can handle all your needs. Hotter loads and larger calibers Unique works well.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009

  3. tlafrance

    tlafrance Missing AZ

    Feb 5, 2001
    +1 on WW231. Loads everything from .25acp to .44mag, just about the most universal powder around. I buy it in 8# kegs :cool:

  4. Billy_Ray


    Aug 6, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I will be loading 9 mm and 45 to start and will probably add .223 soon. The shooting will be mostly target shooting, but I am hoping to do a few competitions in 2010.
  5. Billy_Ray


    Aug 6, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Can you tell me why you chose WW231 over all the other powders? Also, if you were to want to try another powder how would you decide wihch one to try? Is it primarily burn rates/ease of metering/commonality across calibers or some other reason?

    Thanks for the advice.
  6. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Yes, universal choice for mousefarts in most calibers above the service rounds.:upeyes:
    You need to define what you want your handloads to do. Punch paper, duplicate factory SD ammo, hunting, what? Then choose a powder that easily gives you the vel. level you want. W231 is a fine powder for target loads in just about any caliber, true enough, but when you want to make full power 40 or 357sig or any of the magnums, it just won't get you there safely.
    For newbs, go w/ a medium burner like Unique, Universal or WSF. Yes, you will use a tiny bit more powder, big deal, powder is THE cheapest part of a reloads. The medium burners give you a broader load range, w/ lower pressure, especially for the high pressure rounds & the magnum rounds. As always, JMO.:wavey:
  7. Kentucky Shooter

    Kentucky Shooter NRA Life Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    9MM and 45------unique, bullseye, Titegroup are some of my favorites.

    .223-------for me, its hands down----Hodgdon 322.

    Have fun--reloading is a great hobby in and of itself.
  8. WW 231 is a faster burning powder, but it is not so fast that the pressures peak real quick. WW 231 gives a wider +- range than many other powders, thus giving you more flexibility. Additionally, it meters extremely well in most powder measures. It is unlikely that you would accidentally throw A double charge of ww 231 because it takes up quite a bit of space for a small amount.

    223 will require a different kind of powder for rifles. The two that I mentioned I don't believe would work well in a rifle. I have not loaded for the 223, so I cannot recommend a powder.

  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    I load 9mm with HP38 and .38 Special with Win 231. (I still have some 231 bought before the amalgamation of the product lines, and it is not quite the same as my fresh HP38. Hodgon shows them identical now that they control the distribution of Winchester powders along with their own.)
    I have loaded a lot of .45 ACP with the pair, too.
    I think it/they is hard to go wrong with for loads above powderpuff and below magnum.

    I load .223 with Varget but my emphasis is on heavy bullets for mid and long range target shooting. The varmint hunters like H335 because it is economical and meters well, saving time in volume loading.
  10. AA#5


    Nov 26, 2008
    231 is great for range loads. I find AA#5 meters more consistenly through powder measures. Until you get more loading experience, I'd use a powder that fills 1/2 - 3/4 of the case so you would quickly notice a double charge. If you're loading 9mm, that won't be an issue since it's a small capacity case, but if you load 357 or 44, I'd use "Trail Boss" since it's designed to fill 3/4 of large cases.
  11. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    I think solo 1000 is the new powder you have to have for mouse farts.You are just not in with the in crowd in competition if its not solo 1000 or tight group.:supergrin:

    I am still flipping between power pistol, wst, wsf, 231and Universal. Hopefully at some point I will settle on one powder and buy a keg of it.
  12. dougader


    Apr 17, 2004
    WSF would be a great starter powder for 9mm and 45 auto. I use a lot of WW 231 but like Fred says its more for target loads. I even think Universal is a touch on the fast side for full power rounds, and I have a keg of it. VV powders are great but harder to find and more $$. VV340 is great for 45 auto. VV 3N37 is great for 9mm, as is Ramshot Silhouette. But WSF is a great powder for both 9mm and 45 imo.

    223 needs a slower file powder like AA2230 or 2460, TAC, WW748, H335, etc.
  13. sean665

    sean665 Semper Fortis

    Jan 8, 2008
    Personally for handgun loads I use alot of Unique and Bullseye, with the exception of the Elmer Keith .44 mag load which uses 2400. For my rifle loads it's IMR 4064, Imr 4895 and H380.
  14. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Yeah, I'm a quirky guy. When I do shoot competition, I use pretty much factory equiv. loads. I see little value in shooting mousefart loads & then trying to transition that to real life shooting in IDPA or IPSC. Pratice like you play I think is the term.:upeyes: Even for CAS, I can't shoot pure mouse fart loads, just doesn't feel like I am shooting, Might as well use a 22lr.:tongueout: Do I win a lot, no, do I win some, yep. Feels better too when yo ucan win w/ real ammo in your gun.
    I like WST for lighter target loads in any of the service rounds. Unique & WSF more & more, for light & medium-hvy loads in the magnums. Then you need 2400, AA#9 or H110 for full house magnum loads. SO I could load all 11 calibers I load for w/ 3 powders & cover the entire velocity range.:supergrin:
  15. YogiBearFan


    Nov 28, 2009
    There are 2 reloading manuals I use. Speer and Lee.

    Speer for 90% of what I load, Lee has good data that matches their equipment.

    For 9mm and 45acp, you will probably want to use different powders.

    Lots of good data on both. How heavy a bullet are you looking to load with? 115gr for 124/125gr or going heavy with a 147gr?
    Also, the type of brass you will be working with. Remington and Winchester are the most commonly reloaded. Starline brass is the best.

    My suggestion would be to use Remington brass, PowerPistol powder, and 115gr plated bullets with small pistol (NOT MAGNUM) primers.

    Start with the min load as per the powder manufacturers recommendations.

    For 45acp, again, tons of good results have been documented.
    200gr or 230gr? "ball" ammor or SWC?

    Again, just a suggestion, use Remington or Winchester brass, W231 or Titegroup powder with a 230gr plated bullet and large pistol (NOT MAGNUM) primers.

    For .223, I assume you are going to be shooting this from a 5.56 NATO chambered AR15, Mini-14, or AK.
    Full length resize, then trim/chamfer the necks. I would recommend Remington or Winchester or LC brass (where you can find it) and stick with a bullet that your barrel is rated for.

    For powder, TAC or W748 or H335 or AA2230 are going to be your best bet. Again, check with the powder manufacturers recommendations and work up the load. Small rifle primers should be sufficient. Remington 7 1/2 or Fed 205GM for "match" work. Otherwise, Wolf/Winchester/CCI primers work well enough for plinking.

    There have been some really good solid recommendations already. I have found the most consistent results with these combinations.

    Stay safe!!!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  16. I recently started loading both 45acp and 223 a few months ago. For 45acp I use Unique. For 223 I use H322 and have also ordered TAC but not used it yet. Good luck.
  17. rg1


    Aug 5, 2003
    I recommend to study and compare reload data from bullet manufacturers, powder companies and others such as the Lyman manual. I'd look at the data in each and I tend to favor powder company data. As you see the data at the top of the lists are the fastest burning and the powders at the bottom of the list are the slowest recommended powders for the caliber and bullet. I eliminate the top 2 or 3 which are fastest, and eliminate the bottom couple powders which are slowest, and pick ones that are not slowest or fastest burning and also try to pick powders that are available locally at gun shops.
    For 9MM and 45ACP I like Unique and AA#5. For .223 I like H335 for bullets up to 55 grains. For heavy match 69-80 grain .223 I shoot Reloder 15. There are other good choices. Like I said, I like to shoot powders available in stores nearby.
  18. I started reloading a few months ago and asked the same question.

    Two pieces of good advice were given as a 'newbie'. One: Make sure the powder can't be double charged by accident. If that happens, it will overflow the case and you'll know something went wrong. Two: The charge grains need to have a large spread between min and max. Some powders have .5gr between the two and it can be very easy to overcharge a case with those.

    I started with Universal on my 9mm, worked very well. 231 is also good for a 'newbie' like myself.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  19. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Good choices. I would avoid the "Gamer Powders" to start with. So very careful of Solo1000, Titegroup or other equally as fast powders. You have a good list from this thread already.

    Download and print page 3 (I think) that has the charge and volume of each powder. 9mm has a usefull CC of .74 and .45 has a useful cc of 1.14. You can look up the load data and cross reference that chart and get a idea what amoung of the case (below the bullet) will be filled. If you have Richard Lee's "Modern Reloading" you can just look at his reloading data and pick a powder that has a larger CC number. .45 is going to be real tough to see the powder in with some choices. Power Pistol is very bulky, as is Solo 1000, Unique, Universal. 231 is kinda in the middle. Burn rate will tell you how it will feel. Faster powders will feel softer in recoil. Slower powders will feel punchy. Solo1000 is a great fast powder, that is super bulky, but will NOT give max velocity. As a gaming powder for someone who is willing to find their own reloading data ( it's great. But it's very fast. To me the huge bulk of the powder makes up for this. It' fills the case to the bottom of the bullet nearly, so it's easy to see.
  20. 0-16


    Jan 14, 2007
    W231 and Unique are both good powders to begin with. Both work well for 9mm and 45