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Thread: Beginning Reloading Powder Suggestions -

  1. #1
    You'll Shoot Your Wad Out RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Beginning Reloading Powder Suggestions -

    I'm finally going to get into reloading after all these years. It'll be another 4-6 months before I pick up a press, but with gun sales rates going up, I'm seeing panic buying on the horizon in the near future. I want to go ahead and start ordering powder and primers.

    I'll be reloading in bulk:

    9x19
    .45 ACP
    .38 Special

    Sparingly:

    .357 Mag

    I know I'll want to experiment with a few different pistol powders - so I figured to order a pound of each to try - Sitting in my Brownells cart I have:

    Unique
    Bullseye
    HP38
    TiteGroup
    Trail Boss
    N320

    ___

    Am I on the right track? Is there a powder I absolutely should try? And any (including any of the above) I should absolutely avoid until I have a bit more practice reloading?
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  2. #2

    Beginning Reloading Powder Suggestions -

    Rob, of the powders on your list, HP38 is all you need. It will produce good loads for each of these calibers, though not top velocities for .357.

    Start with that one, first, and then see if you want a faster powder for very light loads, or a slower powder for hot magnum loads.

    Trail boss is only appropriate for lighter .38 spl or cowboy .357 in the calibers you’re reloading.

    Titegroup overlaps HP38 to a large extent. There’s no need to duplicate. It very high density, so there’s more risk of double charging.

    Bullseye and Unique are great powders, and versatile, but older technology and harder to meter well. They’re dirtier than newer powders. On the plus side, there are many, many established great loads with these powders, and a ton of data that wouldn’t be developed today. HP38 does everything Bullseye will do in a pistol, and most of what Unique will do.

    N320 is an excellent powder, but again, a duplicate of HP38 that costs more. It’s very clean, and meters great.

    In your shoes, I’d get a 4 or 8 pounder of HP38 and get shooting.


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    Last edited by john c; 09-10-2019 at 12:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter gringop's Avatar
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    I've settled on HP38. Here's what I load with it.

    380
    38sp normal and +p
    38-40
    9mm light and normal loads
    40 light loads
    45ACP

    For heavier stuff like 10mm and 45 Colt I use Blue Dot and Universal for full power 40, but HP38 seems the most versatile for most pistol loads.

    Gringop
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  4. #4
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    Concur with John C. Of what you listed, HP38 is a safe and flexible choice.

    I have been a reloader for 20 years. From your list of cartridges and powder, I've reloaded 38special and 357mag with Bullseye, HP38, Unique, Trail Boss. I like Trail Boss, but more in rifle (lots of fun in 308Win) and large handgun (ie 44special/mag, 45Colt, etc). I never liked it much in 38 or 357. In those two cartridges, I could be happy with only Unique (I have about 5lbs on hand), but I don't know how well it works in 9mm or 45ACP. Being a fairly large flake, it can be a bit tedious to meter, but it's oh so flexible (10gr Unique is kind of the standard cast bullet starting point for a huge number of cartridges, including many rifles).

    For non-rifle use, I have in my stash:
    Bullseye
    HP38
    Unique
    2400
    H110
    Trail Boss

    I use Unique the most, with Trail Boss a close second.

    Chris

  5. #5
    I love Unique. One neat thing about Unique is that it's a great reduced load rifle powder! I use it for my cast bullet loads in my 30-06.

    It's also good for shotgun loads, which I believe is actually its primary purpose. But I don't reload for shotgun so I can't comment on that side of things.

  6. #6
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    I have had good results with Alliant BE-86 in 9mm, .38 special, .40, and .45. Produces service load velocity and energy with less pressure than some other choices available. Haven't tried .357 yet.

  7. #7
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    One of the nice things about using Unique in .45 ACP is case volume. A double charge is easy to spot. Typical Unique loads are in the neighborhood of 6.0 grains. A double charge will fill the case almost to the rim and sticks out like a sore thumb. The likelihood of not noticing this and placing a bullet on a double charged case is minimal. Some other powders at their specified loads do not occupy anywhere near the volume and a double charge is not as apparent.

    I will drop two loads of Unique in the same case just to witness what a double charge looks like. I usually do this when starting each loading session. I'm running my press and checking for proper powder measure drop and consistency. Visually reminding myself what a problem looks like is a safety measure I practice.

    One of the practices I use came from a conversation with Brian Enos. He told me not to go crazy trying to adjust the powder measure by checking individual drops. Brian said drop 4 loads and if your average is the amount you want for each load and you can repeat this you are good to go. For example: Your required load in 6.0 grains, drop 4 loads and if your scale measures 24 grains and this is repeatable you are good. I've adjusted my powder measure like that for years.
    Last edited by JohnO; 09-10-2019 at 01:31 PM.

  8. #8
    I am also a HP38 (W231) loader for non-Magnums.
    I use Bullseye for .45 Midrange and could use it for the others except I have so much data with HP38.
    Titrgroup, Unique and N320 didn't show me anything special, nor did several others.
    Trail Boss good in .44-40.

    Been a while since I loaded any Magnums. My .44 is more accurate with 4227, the .357 got good old 2400.
    If I were experimenting for speed, I'd try N110.
    Last edited by Jim Watson; 09-10-2019 at 02:17 PM.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  9. #9
    I started with Bullseye in 1976. Unique came along shortly afterward and I still
    use a lot of it. Only use other powders, usually H110 for Magnum pistol loads.

    Bullseye and Unique are still good places to start.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Titegroup is a very versatile and economical powder. I keep a decent amount around in case there's another component drought. But it's not my first choice--and definitely not a good choice for beginning reloaders. Especially in .45 or other large cases because of the risk of a double charge. Fuck, you can even put a triple charge of TG in a .45 case.

    VV N320 is the best 9mm minor powder in existence, but you pay double for it. It meters well, is clean, not smokey, and shoots well. Importantly, it is also temperature insensitive.

    HP38 is temperature sensitive, so I don't use it. For casual use, it's fine.

    Since powder isn't a huge component cost, I recommend n320 unless you're really low budget.

    If you can afford a press with an extra station for a powder check die (e.g. Dillon 650/750), you can add an RCBS lockout die and safely use Titegroup.
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