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What are the cleanest handgun and rifle powders? Plus a question on powder attributes

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by zippygaloo, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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    I'm new to reloading and am looking for a clean powder to reload 9mm, 40 S&W and 10mm. I'm also looking for a clean powder for 5.56mm. Any suggestions? Thanks

    On a side note, what other attributes should I consider in a powder?
     
  2. OR4X4

    OR4X4 Hour south of portland Member

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    I use alot of longshot, and it's reasonably clean. HS-6 is very dirty. I wasn't very happy with the blue dot.

    Varget for the 5.56 is what I use. H335 is the origional MIL 5.56 powder and is a champ.
     
  3. Abiqua

    Abiqua Oregon Active Member

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    VihtaVuori N320 is an extremely clean and low flash pistol powder.
     
  4. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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    I was considering HS-6 for pistol. Saying it's "very dirty" makes me want to reconsider. Plus it looks like it takes about 50% more powder for the same bullet over other powders. The other Hodgdon powder I was considering was Hodgdon Universal or TiteGroup. What's your take on those?
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I've found Power Pistol to be exceptionally clean and it fits well in the pistol calibers you mentioned.

    As for .223 consider one of the powders developed specifically for that round. H-335 is one but can be a little "sooty". I prefer AA2230. If you load LOTS of this caliber look for some 844 that comes from pulled down military ammo that's being recycled. Often sells for as little as $85 per 8#. At that price the hazmat fee and shipping is more than covered with the savings.

    All that said, clean burning of a powder also depends on other factors. Powder charges, amount of crimp, bullet weight and even firearm can all affect the way the powder burns. In other words, one mans clean burning powder can another's nasty mess.
     
  6. oregonty

    oregonty Salem, OR Active Member

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    +1 for power pistol
     
  7. OregonG20

    OregonG20 Junction City New Member

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    I load Accurate Arms #9 in my 10mm. Very clean burning. Pretty good performance too. 1250 fps with a 180gr Hornady XTP.
     
  8. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    I use wsf and 231 in my pistols and I thought they burn clean. I did use AA #7, but it burned pretty dirty.
     
  9. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I'd be looking for accuracy first, not just how clean it is. Accuracy counts, cleanliness doesn't unless it fouls you gun in a few shots.
     
  10. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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    What is a good "bulky" powder for pistol or rifle? When I say bulky I mean one where a double charge would spill out of the case.
     
  11. OR4X4

    OR4X4 Hour south of portland Member

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    Unlike most if not all rifle powder (every kind I've used atleast) A double charge is impossible as there isnt enough case capacity, Every pistol powder I've used did not have enough "bulk" to overfill a case on a double.
    Just be methodical and smart about your loading.
    A double charge is easy to spot if you take the time to look. You should have a small flashlight on your loading bench for looking when you were just in the rhythm throwing charges. A quick glance at every charged case before hitting the seating die should just become a normal step in the loading process.

    I prefer velocity over cleanliness as an overall guideline to powder choice.
     
  12. zippygaloo

    zippygaloo Oregon Member

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    Thanks. What manuals do you recommend and why?
     
  13. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    I prefer W231 when i load handgun ammo.

    When my daughters load, i have them use Unique. The Unique is a more bulky powder that makes it easy to spot a double charge, in the 9mm, 45 acp, etc...

    Both powders are accurate with our loads and burn clean as well.
     
  14. OR4X4

    OR4X4 Hour south of portland Member

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    Buy every manual you can afford.
    There is very little standardization in the world of each manufacturer's data, so there is no ONE perfect book. Instead reference multiple and pick the lowest (safest load) and work up from there.
    Many times there will (in rifle data) be rather dramatic differences in "max sugg loads". Since there is less cap and lower volumes in pistol rounds it's not as alarming of a difference but is still apparent.

    I can't remember which book it was but with a middle of the road blue dot charge suggested by the book, it was such an underpowered load that it could not cycle the slide.
     
  15. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    I use 748 or 2230 for .223 and both are clean. I have just switched to HS-6 for 9mm and many say it is dirty which is true on lighter loads but burns very clean on hotter loads which is what I like. One other plus for HS-6 for the beginner loader is in at least 9mm, it's pretty much impossible to double charge as it overflows the case.

    I have over 12 manuals, but I use Speer or Hornady as my first reference.
     
  16. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I am using mostly W231 now. Exceptionally accurate in my .357 magnum loads. Interestingly .38 Special loads from the same gun prefer Bullseye, which is old and dirty but accurate. Cleaning is cleaning and I do it after every session anyway, so cleanliness is a secondary consideration for me. Unique is OK in .38 and .357 but the ,45 auto doesn't like it so much. I haven't used many powders though. My .45 likes 231. Get as many different manuals as possible. I like Lyman for cast bullet load data and Lee for the sheer volume of different loads offered. I have 3 Speer manuals and use the older #12 mostly. I'll probably sell the other two when I get the time to advertise because the data is so close in them. YMMV
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't choose a powder based solely on "how many loads I can get from a pound. Powder is the second cheapest part of a hand load with primers being the cheapest and bullets being the most expensive.

    Many powders prefer being "in close company" and the load will perform better if the case is close to full. Small loads of powder will lay along one side of the case and under the right conditions even be at the opposite end of the case from the primer when fired.

    A good example of this is Varget which performs best when the case is almost full, even to the point of compression of the powder granules.

    BTW, "Weight" doesn't always equal "Volume" when it comes to powders due to their different densities. For a good reference on this take a look at the back of a Lee 2nd Edition Reloading manual. There is a chart of most powders that shows the weight/volume relationship of most powders.
     
  18. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Here is a site I like to look at when I'm cosidering new powders to try.

    Powder Burn Rates As I'm very new to reloading (Handgun only), I've been told that some guns will better use a faster and some a slower powder.

    I thought unique was kind of dirty, and the flakes would bind up the cylinder in the thrower some. I'm now trying HS-6 and W231, we'll see.

    I wish I knew what powder was in factory MagTec ammo, after 50 rounds in each .40 and .45acp there was hardly any grime on the inside of the slide.

    Mike
     
  19. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    For me, I like Hodgdon powders and have done the HP38, Universal and Titegroup circuit. I use Titegroup for cleanliness and Universal for velocity. HP38 doesn't stack up to the other two. Kip
     
  20. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If you like Hodgdon then I guess you also like Winchester and IMR powders. All owned now by the same company. Who knows which "Brands" just get containers filled from the same batch now.