Powder Types
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default Powder Types

I'm new to reloading. Am starting with 9mm Luger ammo. I have a Lee powder measuring device. It appears that powder is available in several forms, (1) circular flakes or wafers, (2) small cylinders and (3) small spheres or flattened spheres. Since some of these forms might plug up the measuring cylinders, some care probably should be taken when selecting a powder, especially since the individual powder load can be pretty small.

Trouble is, this type of form information doesn't seem to readily available and I think I should probably be looking for spherical powders.

Does anyone know of reference material or a web based source that describes the powders available on the market by their basic type, regardless of manufacturer?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:51 PM   #2
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Powder Burn Rates

I would focus more on what types (specific designations) are suitable for your needs rather than whether it's ball or flake. Your reloading manual will give acceptable powders for a certain load along with the charge weight. Look at what powders are recommended then determine what fits your needs.

Ball and flake powders tend to flow better through the measure than larger grain extruded powders, but I don't know of any that will "plug" a measure.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:33 PM   #3
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"Jeep" is correct, we buy powder for it's performance/burn rate, not it's shape.

Most measures have adjustable internal cavities that accept whatever volume we set them for and NONE of them will clog!

The little Lee "Perfect" powder measure is good but not perfect in that how well it works with fine grained powders depends a whole lot on how well the user has it set up. Done properly, it works very well. Done sloppy, it will leak ball powders and allows flake powders to get jammed in the drum.
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Roger, when I started reloading I use a powder measurer when loading handgun, now I weigh each load on the 505. Granted my buddy loads 500 rounds per hour on his Dillon press whereas I'm lucky to load 500 a week. I really get a kick out of hand loading and I'm never in a hurry.The basement has become my special place when I'm not in the woods.

As stated earlier, pay attention to burn rates. I have had luck using fast burning powder for handgun loads. I use Hodgen Clays for most of my handgun reloading and this powder also works well for shot gun reloading. Clays is a very clean burning powder which in turn saves on the time I send cleaning the gun.

You're going to have to experiment a little and my advice to you is to throw a couple dozen loads through the measurer weighing each one for consistency until you find a powder that meters to your liking. Shoot straight and Be Safe.
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:12 PM   #5
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For accurate powder throwing you need an accurate powder measure. You shouldn't have to select your powder based on your powder measures' ability to throw a particular type of powder accurately. While the Lee is ok for larger volume throws, as in rifle cartridges, I would look for something better like a Redding. They are expensive, but they are very heavy, very solid, very smooth, and very accurate...but as in anything, you get what you pay for. Most bench rest shooters use Redding. The mass of the metering cylinder (solid stainless) makes shearing long-extrusion powders such as IMR4350 barely noticeable. You won't find a higher quality powder measure.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:17 PM   #6
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"While the Lee is ok for larger volume throws, as in rifle cartridges, I would look for something better like a Redding. They are expensive, but they are very heavy, very solid, very smooth, and very accurate...but as in anything, you get what you pay for. Most bench rest shooters use Redding. The mass of the metering cylinder (solid stainless) makes shearing long-extrusion powders such as IMR4350 barely noticeable. You won't find a higher quality powder measure. "

I have a Redding 3 and love it...mostly. It is more consistant and somewhat easier to set up than my old RCBS measure was. But, fact is, my buddies little Lee "Perfect" measure is as good with ball powders (once it's properly assembled and adjusted) and a bit more consistant than my Redding with coarse powders. Price is a poor predictor of performance; some times, if the design is right, we CAN get more than we pay for!
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
"While the Lee is ok for larger volume throws, as in rifle cartridges, I would look for something better like a Redding. They are expensive, but they are very heavy, very solid, very smooth, and very accurate...but as in anything, you get what you pay for. Most bench rest shooters use Redding. The mass of the metering cylinder (solid stainless) makes shearing long-extrusion powders such as IMR4350 barely noticeable. You won't find a higher quality powder measure. "

I have a Redding 3 and love it...mostly. It is more consistant and somewhat easier to set up than my old RCBS measure was. But, fact is, my buddies little Lee "Perfect" measure is as good with ball powders (once it's properly assembled and adjusted) and a bit more consistant than my Redding with coarse powders. Price is a poor predictor of performance; some times, if the design is right, we CAN get more than we pay for!
I have the 3BR and love it. I bought my brother a Lee Reloading kit a few years back and was not impressed with the quality of the Lee Powder measure, or scale - very cheap and too much plastic. I'm sure it works good or they wouldn't sell as many as they do, but it just wasn't right for me. I also use a 30 yr. old OHaus triple beam balance for a scale.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:38 PM   #8
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Well roger Im going to slightly disagree with the above responses. For right now because of budget constraints all I use is lee products and my lee auto disk measure kit that came with my turret press. I think it is a lot easier to use ball powders like bullseye,hp-38 and tight group if your using the lee auto disk system. I have found with these types of powder I will be within 1/10th of a grain of a powder charge for every round. Ive tried flake powders like green dot and 2400 and herco in my auto disk and they just dont measure out accurately.
I cant wait till I can afford one of those electronic powder dispensers it will make things way easier for me when im using flake powders. Basically I think it is just easier for the beginning reloader to start out with a spherical powder cause it meters easier.

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Old 09-28-2009, 02:33 AM   #9
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Spherical powders will always throw more consistently than extruded powders in ANY powder measure, but with some of the cheaper measures it's crucial to maintain a full hopper also. The weight of the column of powder ensures a consistent throw. Fill it up before it gets to the half-way point and you should have no problem.
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:07 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. The key to this whole discussion is that I am new to the whole subject and have no experience with powders. Based on what you have all said, I am narrowing in on sperical powders so that my Lee Auto-Disk powder measure has a reasonable chance of delivering fairly good small loads (4 to 7 grains).

My choices have narrowed to Hodgdon Titegroup, Winchester 231, Accurate 5, Hodgdon HS-6, and Accurate 7. I will go to my local supplier and try to buy powder at the slower end of the burn rate chart so the individual loads are larger.

Again thanks. You have gotten me started.
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