What are some good pistol powders for the 45, 38 and 357? - Page 2
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:19 PM   #11
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If you're looking for one powder that will perform well with all the cartridges and bullet weights you list, hands down I would choose Alliant(former Hercules) Unique. One of the oldest, and without doubt the most versatile handgun powder on the market. Although Unique will give you near max. velocities in your 357/125 gr loads, if you're looking for the highest combination of MV and accuracy, I would suggest 18.5-21 grains of Hodgdon H-110. This powder will also give the highest MVs in almost all magnum loads with nearly all jacketed bullet weights. However, this powder should NOT be used for reduced loads.

But if I had to chose only 1 pistol powder that will provide excellent results in almost all calibers and bullet weights, reduced or maximum loads, it would be an easy choice. Alliant Unique.

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Not necessarily looking for one powder for all three, just good recommendations for all three rounds. i've got some Unique I picked up for my 16 ga loads so I could give it a try. It uses more powder then my Universal loads so I haven't tried it yet.

Tango, thanks for the tite group idea, might try that. I can get 1200 rounds out of a pound of universal the last time I did the math.

Looks like I'll be picking up some powder for my magnum loads....should be fun. Man I need a chronograph!!
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:28 PM   #12
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Not necessarily looking for one powder for all three, just good recommendations for all three rounds. i've got some Unique I picked up for my 16 ga loads so I could give it a try. It uses more powder then my Universal loads so I haven't tried it yet.

Tango, thanks for the tite group idea, might try that. I can get 1200 rounds out of a pound of universal the last time I did the math.

Looks like I'll be picking up some powder for my magnum loads....should be fun. Man I need a chronograph!!
I probably must sound like an Alliant salesman, but when you get the time some day, take a look at ALL the pistol cartridges and bullet weights and I think you will see why I am a "fan" of Unique. With many cartridges and loads it produces the highest MV of all powders and is never far from the top with any cartridge/bullet combination.

However, you are correct that the more powders you have at your disposal, the better, when it comes to finding the best combination of MV AND accuracy. When loading most magnum cartridges, H-110 or W-296 (exactly the same powder) will produce velocities with most bullets that will safely exceed factory loads, but if you're looking for a powder that gives you the most shots per pound H-110 just ain't it, and has a muzzle blast that will give you pretty good idea as to why.

As for chronographs, the prices have fallen to an extent I nearly bought one about a month ago, but after some thought decided if I had one I would probably be concentrating more on MV than a combination of Accuracy and MV so for the time being at least, don't own one, but have a feeling I probably will in the not too distant future.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:39 AM   #13
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Blue Dot works for all three as well. Although, it does burn a bit on the dirty side. I was looking at the exact same scenario when i started reloading.

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:18 AM   #14
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Title pretty much sums it up. I'm looking for input on powder to load my pistols with. Currently I'm using Universal for both my 45 and 38 with acceptable results but I think I could find something better. For my 45 I'm loading 200 and 230gr Rainiers. For the 38 I'm shoot 125gr Rainiers and I've got a couple hundred 158s around here too.

I'm just getting into reloading for the 357 so I'll be working up a new load using mainly the 125s named above but will probably use some 158s too.

Thanks for the help guys!
Spittin, for most of my .38Spl.+.45acp. I use WW 231/Hodgdon HP-38. They are now the same powder. I like Alliant 2400 for my 125gr. .357 Mag. loads. Just loaded some yesterday-17.0gr. under Hornady XTP 125 JHP, for 1375-1400fps. You'll NEVER double charge a .357 case with 2400, as is possible with TiteGroup?? Keep in mind that these may be too hot of loads for a plated bullet design, but work well with JHP loads.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:28 PM   #15
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Spittin, for most of my .38Spl.+.45acp. I use WW 231/Hodgdon HP-38. They are now the same powder. I like Alliant 2400 for my 125gr. .357 Mag. loads. Just loaded some yesterday-17.0gr. under Hornady XTP 125 JHP, for 1375-1400fps. You'll NEVER double charge a .357 case with 2400, as is possible with TiteGroup?? Keep in mind that these may be too hot of loads for a plated bullet design, but work well with JHP loads.
Yep, that can turn out to a big advantage over a powder such as Unique or Tightgroup where there is plenty of room for a double (or even triple) charge in the case of the 44 magnum. All you get with H-110 or 2400 is a mess to clean up. But far better than an $800+ revolver or pistol that will probably be "totaled", not to mention the possible injury to the shooter.

I shoot a lot of Unique, and have on 3 or 4 occasions doubled charged a case, but a quick look at the cases in the loading block made the mistake stand out. After the first time that happened, visual examination has become an integral part of the reloading process using any of the fast burners.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:24 PM   #16
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When I starting reloading for my trap gun I used Hodgen Clays. Besides being one of the fastest burning powders (number 7 on the burn list), it's one of the cleanest burning powders I have used so far. I use Clays to reload for my 40 and my 38/357 with great results and less time spent cleaning of my firearms.

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Old 10-22-2009, 07:53 PM   #17
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When I starting reloading for my trap gun I used Hodgen Clays. Besides being one of the fastest burning powders (number 7 on the burn list), it's one of the cleanest burning powders I have used so far. I use Clays to reload for my 40 and my 38/357 with great results and less time spent cleaning of my firearms.
Since I'm not reloading shotshells, (although I'm seriously considering it given the cost of ammo these days) and the uses for Clays in the .357 or 44 magnum is very limited, I have not as of yet given it a try. But many of Hodgdon's newer powders, both smokeless or black powder substitutes, are very clean burning and may have to see how some their powders such as Varget or Benchmark, designed primarily for .224 and 6mm benchrest and varmint rifles, will work in my 22 and 6mm PPC, and well as my 222, which I have shot primarily H322, IMR4198 and Reloader 7 in for many years.

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Old 10-23-2009, 03:20 AM   #18
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Unique for most loads, 2400 and H110 for magnum loads. Consult your manual for actual charges.

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Old 10-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by spittinfire View Post
Title pretty much sums it up. I'm looking for input on powder to load my pistols with. Currently I'm using Universal for both my 45 and 38 with acceptable results but I think I could find something better. For my 45 I'm loading 200 and 230gr Rainiers. For the 38 I'm shoot 125gr Rainiers and I've got a couple hundred 158s around here too.

I'm just getting into reloading for the 357 so I'll be working up a new load using mainly the 125s named above but will probably use some 158s too.

Thanks for the help guys!


i use now only vitahuori powders. vvn330 for my 9mm and vvn 320 for my .40's in combination with frontiers bullits and winchester cases....but these are in the fast burning rates class. i think you should look at slower burning rates powders. the bullseye might be what you're looking for your 357.

main reason i use vhitavuori now, is a very clean burning at -10% max loads, and their consistency from batch to batch is pretty good.

i used titegroup-hs-6 hogdon powders but found them very gonky to me.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:20 PM   #20
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Unique for most loads, 2400 and H110 for magnum loads. Consult your manual for actual charges.
Speaking of reloading manuals, apparently Hodgdon has had some problems using H110 or w296 in loads that do not fill or nearly fill the case.

My Sierra, Hornady, and Speer manual are getting a bit long in the tooth and to give you an example show the .357 load for H110 with a 125 gr bullet to range anywhere from 15.5 to 20.50 grains, and if you check the latest Hodgdon online manual, the same 125 gr JHP has a recommended starting load of 21 grs and a maximum of 22 grs.! If you happen to cook up a few of these critters, at least in my guns, 21 grs. was plenty hot. The same "tight" ranges for this powder is true of all 44 magnum loads as well.

I expect the change is probably due to an ignition problem with a reduced load when most of powder has shifted away from the flash hole, the primer providing enough force to push the round into the forcing cone, followed a split second later by a full ignition of the entire charge. Not good. I suspect that is why they are recommending charges that will fill or nearly fill the case once the bullet is seated thus always keeping powder against the flash hole. Anyway I don't believe I have ever seen a starting and maximum load differing by all of one grain with the starting load in most revolvers being what I would have to call a wee bit on the hot side. But even with those lows, the pressures showing were relatively low. H110, IMHO, the best of the magnum powders.

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