|Smarter than the |
Many years ago my dad and brother reloaded on a single stage press, mostly pistol calibers. I've thought about reloading off and on for years, but don't currently shoot enough to justify it. I bought a good bit of pistol primers a few years ago just to stash, but I don't have any powder.
I know primers are tight now, but it seems like powder is available. If I wanted to buy some powder just to stockpile, is there a good general powder you would recommend? Mostly 9mm I imagine, but also .45, .40, maybe .380 and 10mm. Is there such a thing? Not necessarily the best for every caliber, but something that would make sense and could be used across most pistol calibers?
Same question for rifle; not as likely, but I wouldn't mind buying some to have if it's usable for 5.56, .308, 30-06. Is that doable?
Thank you for any recommendations.
These lists could be quite different for each reloader but for me if I could only have one pistol and one rifle powder - for me - it would be Varget for rifle and Titegroup for pistol.....I have many different powders for both but I tend to see these two powders listed frequently in the calibers you listed....Mark
|War Damn Eagle!|
I haven't ventured into reloading rifle calibers yet, but my go-to pistols powers are Titegroup and W231.
I have a good stash of both and seem to work well across the calibers I reload.
"It pays to be a winner."
If I could have only one pistol powder, it would most definitely be Unique.......it can do it all!!
Safe loads, but not ideal for everything:
1) Bullseye/Red Dot/N320/231/HP38/Green Dot
2) Unique/True Blue/Silhouette
If I wanted to cover light to magnum loads, it would simply be:
IMR 4895 for rifle and WSF for pistol. I load 223, 308 and 9mm; more to come in time, I'm sure.
I've tried IMR 4320, and I liked what I saw for 223, but it's been too difficult to get my hands on to do more experimentation recently (covid crap started in earnest 2 weeks after I started a job that pays enough to let me play with the guns again and just after I found a place to shoot >25 yards that doesn't cost a small fortune in fees every year). It's pretty good for 308 from what I've been told, I just haven't had the time or materials to work up a load for it.
I've been trying to work on a load for CFE Pistol for 9mm, but it's been surprisingly difficult and actually ended for the moment with me getting frustrated and buying a replacement powder measure to get rid of the godawful Lee Auto-Disk I ended up with. Still need the case activated linkage there.
"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
For the pistol calibers you listed I'd say something in the WW231 / HP38 area. For the rifles, Varget or IMR4895.
After a lot of years I seem to have settled on Varget for .223 and .308, H-4350 for 6.5CM, and WW231 for almost anything pistol. If I need a really light pistol load then Bullseye (though I do have a can of Trail Boss that I keep meaning to experiment with), if I want a heavier magnum load then 2400 or WW296.
For pistol cartridges you only really need three powders to do most anything you need to do.
Those three cover everything I will need to load in the handgun world.
If powder resources are scarce you can substitute the following for:
Bullseye: AA2 or AA5; W231/HP38; Bullseye 86
Unique: Universal (direct replacement) AA7
During the great Obummer shortage powder was the last component to become very scarce... Primers seemed to go away first and come back last.
Hoist on High the Bonny Blue Flag that Bears the Single Star!!!
Certified SIG Armorer
Certified Glock Armorer
Of the pistol calibers you listed my fave is Longshot.
Kinda goes under the radar too since the packaging only lists shotgun loads, so you may have good supplies of it locally. Can't argue much with what's been stated already though...good advice there.
For the rifle loads: W748 in the shorter cases, and W760 or RL-15 in the long ones. Just general rule of thumb based on my experience only.
One really needs to have a few alternatives when powder shopping, get on a back order list when available. You can always cancel later on.
For wide spectrum handgun I like Win-231/HP-38, and H Universal. I use Titegroup for light, 9mm loads.
For small/medium rife I’ve moved over to IMR-8208, right next to TAC & H-4895. Just a tad slower with rifle I usually use one of the 4350’s.
|Plowing straight ahead come what may|
For pistol powder my go to powder is Hodgdon Clays, it’s a bulky powder and takes up space in large cases such as.45 Colt and .44 mag as well as .38/.357, so a double charge is easy to see...
Hodgdon Universal is also a useful pistol powder for a wide range of calibers (I’ve even used it for cast bullets in .308 for reduced loads especially when Unique dried up)...
I also use Hodgdon TiteGroup for 9MM and .40 but only with a RCBS powder lockout die on my Progressive presses to be on the safe side due to its low case fill volume...but is wide range pistol powder and a little goes a long way making it a good value...
For rifle powders...Hodgdon H335 covers .223, .308 and .30-06...same for Hodgdon BL-C(2)...Check out the Hodgdon website for more powder information...
Hopefully this helps and you can find what you need...
I swear I don’t work for Hodgdon but they have never never let me down
"we've gotta roll with the punches, learn to play all of our hunches
Making the best of what ever comes our way
Forget that blind ambition and learn to trust your intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may
And theres a cowboy in the jungle"
You are asking a lot of one powder to work in all those cartridges. My choice for pistol would be Unique. Not the easiest to meter, but it will work across that spectrum of cartridges.
One powder for those rifle cartridges would probably be something like 4895 or perhaps Tac.
Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. -Epictetus
Let me state this perfectly clearly, most shotgun powders meter like dog poop. BTW, Unique, Longshot, Clays, International Clays, and Universal are Shotgun powders. The Standard Deviation for thse powders in a volume based powder measure is 0.17 grains. Now, anyone who knows what 6 Sigma is raise your hands. For those who don't know it is the Gold Standard for tolerances in the Automotive Sector. One Sigma is One Standard Deviation. The gold standard is a tolerance range of +/- 3 Sigma. So, what is the result of 0.17 times 3. Yeah, these powders meter with a tolerance range of +/- 1/2 grains. Not a problem with a 16 grain shotgun charge, a bit of a problem with a 5 grain handgun charge.
If you like hand trickling every single charge on a scale that Longshot is the bees knees for high energy 40 S&W handgun loads. Downside is you will only be able to load 50-75 rounds per hour.
BTW, I fully expect we will see folks posting about "magic Taps" on the powder measure and seeing +/- 0.1 grain varation for 5 or 10 charges. Statistics is a real Science and it will reveal that these runs are common events and that Magik Taps are nothing but a placebo. Throw 100 consecutive charges and weigh every one and you WILL see "flyers", in come cases approaching 1/2 grain.
That is the point of 6 Sigma, with it you design your manufacturing process so that those "flyers" don't have any effect on function. Unique is a good choice for a Shotgun charge because a 1/2 grain flyer won't have any measurable effect on the pattern size or velocity. Unique is a poor choice for handgun loads because in a 5 or 6 grain charge a 1/2 grain flyer will have a measurable effect on velocity and perhaps group size.
Te point of all this is to choose powders that meter well for handgun charges. My list of these powders is as follows.
H110 - best metering powder I have ever used.
Accurate #2, #5, 7, & #9 - meters nearly as well as H110.
Vihtavouri 3N37 - excellent metering properties and very well suited to 38 caliber and 9mm ammunition. In terms of burn rate it's a near match for Unique but load data is lacking when compared to Unique.
CFE Pistol - excellent metering properties and a really good choice for 380 because a full case will yield +P without any need to compress the charge.
Lil Gun - Excellent metering and good for hot loads in some magnum calibers but in 357 Magnum I found the accuracy in my 1892 to be rather poor.
I've stopped counting.
|Hop head |
+3 or 4 for IMR 4895 for rifle,
or even 4064 for the calibers mentioned,
748 would be a standby,
does good in all 3, but is not as accurate in all 3
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Some good stuff in this thread. Scooter, thanks for breaking it down the way you did in your post...you make good points and it's well articulated.
Lyman, I can tell you are a Garand shooter . I like those powders as well, and have settled on 4064 for a lot of my loads. I also like H335 for .223 and Grendel.
I like HS6 for 9mm...it meters well, fills the case to a safe level to prevent double-charges, and burns clean and completely in that caliber. I have had trouble getting complete powder burn with it in longer cases like .38 and .357, so I use HP38 for light revolver loads and H110 for all my magnum stuff.
I also use unique for cowboy loads.
While I have a few others that I tinker with, I'd probably be satisfied with just HS6, 4064, H335, HP38, H110, and Unique. Ok, now that I look at it, that's kind of a lot...maybe I'm the wrong person to answer this question .
|Hop head |
4895 does good, in both 223/5.56 and 30.06.
but 4064 is my go to for Garands,
long stick, so it can be a PITA to meter, but it works, and works well
Scooter, would my use of a micrometer adjustment uniflow powder measure approach Six Sigma?
I mean, it's worked wonderfully for me so I won't be switching, but curious nevertheless.
Just shot some 9mm using CFE and Longshot and could tell the Longshot grouped much better for me. The CFE wasn't horrible, and might be great in other guns etc., but it was clearly runner up this time.
If you are using a Volume powder measure the individual aspects of your particular powder measure won't have any effect on the Standard Deviation for a specific charge. What you get with a higher end powder measure is a higher level of convenience. For Handgun and Rifle my powder measure of choice is an RCBS Competition. A design that is basically a descendant of the Uniflow. For my shotgun loading I use a MEC Sizemaster which uses bushings to control the volume of powder. I use a lot of Unique for my 20 gage loads and it doesn't matter if I am measuring a 5 grain charge with my RCBS or a 15 grain charge in my MEC, the standard deviation is the same.
BTW, early on my Statistical studies on the MEC single stage presses showed a 0.42 grain Standard deviation if I followed the instructions in the MEC Manual for the press. I've made some changes to how I run my MEC presses to eliminate parking the charged powder bushing directly under the powder bottle during tne Size and De-prime in station 1 and the primer install in station 2. That simple change dropped the SD from that huge value of 0.42 to 0.17.
BTW, I keep a log book of all of my recipes and one item recorded in that log are the micrometer setting on my powder measure. That way when I set up to run a specific recipe I have a starting point for setting the powder measure. I am also a huge fan of powders that meter well enough to allow me to Drop and Go for throwing charges. Which is something I will NOT do with Unique.
I've stopped counting.
Winchester Super Field. I use it for 9mm, 38 super, 45 acp and 38 special.
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