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Favorite Powders

Here collected from many sources are comments on "favorite" powders. Mostly pistol powders, but many references to fav rifle powder as well


W231 / HP38 = Ramshot Zip

W540 / HS6 =True Blue

WAP = Ramshot Silhouette

AA#9/Enforcer = W820 = H108


(called Barry’s bullet to ask about OAL for reloading their 124gr hollow point, per Bud they recommend):

124hp OAL is 1.055. They don’t have their own load data, but per one of their customers, this is an OAL working for him (or per his research?).

Bud also recommended dropping by .2-.3 tenths of grain for the hollow point vs. FMJ due to the greater seating depth (and consequently higher internal pressures as a result).

(posted by Brian Enos himself)

I'm out of the loop on modern-day powders. This would be a good resource to have all in one place, and also, since I get this question every day on the phone -

What are your favorite Powders for 9, 40, 45, 223, & 308?
(And add additional calibers if you wish.)

Please be as specific as possible, e.g., list in order of preference, and add comments if you have them.

For example, if I were listing my favorite powders for 40 S&W, I'd say;

40 S&W
Vihtavuori 320
Extremely clean burning; Very light recoil; But a little fast burning/high pressure for maximum loads; Expensive, more difficult to locate.

Hodgdon Clays
Very clean burning; Very light recoil; But a little fast burning/high pressure for maximum loads; Reasonably priced, easy to locate.

Hodgdon Tight Group
Medium clean burning; Fairly sharp recoil; Very low pressure for all loads; Reasonably priced, easy to locate.

Those are the 3 powders I use, and the comments are perfect.

I use the 320 and Titegroup for .40. I have just recently switched to the VV320 for the cleaner burn.

For .45, I use Clays. and as in .40, Titegroup is a backup if my primary powder supply is depleted.

40 Cal : Vihtavuori N320, clean but more expensive
TiteGroup, inexpensive, easy to find but smokes behind lead bullets

223 : XMR 2015, exceptionally consistent, great accuraccy with light bullets

38SC : IMR4756, don't know yet, just crossed to the dark side

Major9: Silhouette
38SC: Vihtavuori N350

Both meter very consistently, don't have a great deal of variation across temperature ranges or across lots. Silhouette is a little dirty, but not bad.

9mm = Vihtavuori N320
40 = Vihtavuori N320
45 = Clays

9mm minor (147gr) and 38 Super major (125 gr)
IMR 4756
Inexpensive, consistent metering, easy to find from many Internet vendors, clean burning, low smoke and no pressure problems. It produces a good amount of gas for my open gun comps.

.45ACP and 9mm minor (125gr)
Very inexpensive (relatively speaking), consistent metering, easy to find even locally and clean burning. It does put out some smoke with FMJs but I normally use JHPs.

This combination meets all my relaoding needs so I don't need to inventory a bunch of different powders.

9mm - N320
40 - N320
45 - N320 - Very consistent lot-to-lot. In twelve years I've never had to change charges.

Titegroup as a back up for all three.

.38 Super - N350

.223 - 55's BL-C(2) - meters beautifully
.223 - 69's Varget
.308 - 155's, 168, 175's - Varget - Clean, consistent, 1 click in elevation between my cabin at 1500 feet and Whittington at 7000.

To standardize with one powder in 9mm, you're going to have to consider a lot of issues. Most of the powder recommendations are fine for lighter loads in 9mm. And NO, reloading for 9mm is not dumb! It's about the only way to get match grade accuracy with full velocity potential. 9mm is a 35,000 PSI round. Formerly 35,700 CUP which is equivalent to today’s rating for 9mm +P at 38,500 PSI. To me, the 9mm is a high performance cartridge, so I don't load light, or cast loads for it. Blue Dot will get that done, but with a long fireball. Ditto for Power Pistol or nearly any other double base flake powder.

V-V 3N37 will get you some of the highest velocities available in 9mm with good accuracy. Flash is moderate to low depending on bullet weight and powder charge.

HS-6 is still the velocity king. It's used by more IPSC shooters loading very high velocity loads than any other. Right behind it would be Ramshot Silhouette (formerly Winchester Action Pistol, WAP), then Ramshot True Blue and V-V 3N37. Of these four, I consider Silhouette and True Blue to be better as all around 9mm powders, like say, factory load velocity. Silhouette is the lowest flash powder I've ever used in 9mm.

Flake powders are fine if flash is not a concern, but as pressure/velocity go up, so will flash. If you really want a fireball, it's hard to beat Power Pistol and Blue Dot. Blue Dot has provided some of the most accurate high velocity loads I've fired over the years.

AA#7 and HS-6 are excellent choices and if you like to spend money for powder, few are better than V-V 3N37.

The answer to this question depends on what level of performance you want and what type of bullet you will be using. Steve C is correct, Power Pistol has more flash than any sane person would want for a defense load, so I don't understand why it gets loaded in NATO spec ammo. But, it does.

If you need a NATO type load and want clean, I couldn't disagree with anyone’s choice because that performance range is within the reach of most of them except very fast burners. Universal Clays makes sense.

If you want to replicate a very good +P defense load that is clean with low flash, that's another matter. If you look to the guys that load 9mm major for IPSC, the choices will shrink rapidly. Not that you want to go to that extreme, but say for a good 124 gr. JHP load, AA#7, HS-6, WSF, V-V 3N37, or just make it easy on yourself and get some Ramshot Silhouette. Clean, very low flash with very good velocity potential. The closest rival to V-V 3N37 we have, and at a price that's easier to swallow.;)

(another post from this same guy)

Alliant makes the claim in their load guide, and I believe the statement Ramshot makes is an indicator of performance and not a claim that it is used by our military. But, it should be! Silhouette is treated to keep flash as low as you're likely to get. It's a spherical powder that meters better and the performance potential is about as good as it gets and IS used by guys loading 9mm Major. Power Pistol doesn't quite get there. It's been a few years, but I learned that Cor-Bon uses AA#7 in their +P loads, though Alliant claimed it was Power Pistol. It's easy to understand why Cor-Bon would use #7. At the velocity they achieve flash is very low and if you try that with PP and fire at night, you'll think you're shooting a mini flamethrower. Not good for the troops, but what else is new? Supposedly, the military version has a flash inhibitor. The last thing you want is an inconsistent powder charge and it is extruded flake, anyway.

Another tidbit: Power Pistol is a larger flake variant of Bullseye. This is done to slow the burn rate.

AA#7, V-V 3N37, HS-6 and Silhouette are the best choices available for hi performance 9mm. Yes, I have and use them all! You can use 231 and others (a tiny bit faster, and those slower to around Unique/Universal) to get close, or to 9mm Nato spec, but they will be at max pressure whereas #7, 3N37, N-350, HS-6 and Silhouette are just getting warmed up. WSF is a contender here also, but data above NATO performance is not commonly available except with the IPSC guys over at Brian Enos' Forum, and that's pretty much the case with most of them unless you have a manual that used the former pressure limit of 35,700 CUP that is very close to the current +P max of 38,500 PSI. Most quality made 9mm pistols are designed for the former spec, but they may be undersprung to conform to current SAAMI spec ammo that has a pressure max of 35,000 PSI/ 33,000 CUP. Longshot will also get you there, but is very loud at max pressure.

Silhouette (Formerly WAP), in my oppinion, was Primex's attempt to produce a competitive powder to 3N37 and the base chemistry is similar to two of Primex's (Hodgdon & Winchester) other powders: WSF and HS-6. At max charges, Silhouette loads will run .1 or .2 grains lighter than 3N37. A visual inspection of the two powders, Silhouette and 3N37, will sure make you wonder!

Those that I have recommended are all Ball-type powders that meter well, but nothing meters better than AA#7. It has the highest bulk density of any handgun powder available to handloaders at 985 grams/liter. One advantage #7 has is that it will push 147 gr. JHPs to the highest velocity. You won't see this with 9mm Major competitors because they prefer bullet weights of 115 and 124 grains to maximize the effectiveness of compensators on their pistols. A very honorable mention goes to Vectan SP-2, if you can find it. There is no current US importer. SP-8 is a very good powder and like AA#7, it was designed for 9mm. Data is extremely weak and hard to come by.

I currently have 4 lbs of Silhouette (a little less now) and will be working it out in 9mm and the .40 S&W, where it has already shown great potential. If interested, shoot me a PM in the future. 3N37, HS-6 and #7 are already proven. #7 is Accurate, and has very low flash with 124 gr. JHPs. HS-6 is pretty much the 9mm performance powder that all others are judged by. Blue Dot will give you even higher velocity than PP, but flamethrower flash is a characteristic it shares with PP. This will be common with any extruded flake propellant at high pressure. 800-X is a powder I never use. I don't recommend using a powder that is difficult to meter when you are working towards the pressure max of a cartridge.

Along with Silhouette, I'll be using the Montana Gold (Brass Jacketed) 124 gr. JHP, CCI-500 and Win. cases loaded to 28.5mm/ 1.122".;)

Tightgroup is much faster and will burn completely in the bore and therefore be cleaner. I've heard a few people complain it burns hot and heats a barrel up fast, but I haven't tried it.

The Acuracte #7 is slower, and you need almost twice as much to reach the same chamber pressure and only about 78% will burn in the bore. Because of the greater unburned powder mass, it will tend to make a lot more muzzle flash and will leave more dirt behind, even if that isn't a lot. For a chamber pressure near 9mm Parabellum maximum, the #7 will have higher remaining muzzle pressure at bullet exit, and because of that and the greater powder mass combined with the 120 fps greater velocity it gives (4.5" barrel), it will be louder and recoil harder. In a 22 ounce gun, the difference would be about 5.75 ft-lbs of recoil vs. about 8.25 ft-lbs of recoil. But you do get that extra velocity for the extra powder cost.

Below are my loads for 9mm. I use Titegroup or N320. I find that they can be substituted with each other using same charge. TG is 1/2 the cost and is very clean in my Bar-Sto barrel.

4.0gr Titegroup, WSP, 1.115 OAL, 124 JHP = ~130PF
3.3gr Titegroup, WSP, 1.115 OAL, 147 CMJ = ~127PF

HS6, Blue Dot, and Power Pistol are the super performers for 9mm high velocity loads.

Just getting into reloading myself and wanted to use one powder for both 9 x 19mm in a Glock 19 and .45 ACP in 1911 clones. These would be used for training purposes and shooting steel matches.

On the recommendation of my shooting club president (a very experienced reloader and competition shooter), I decided to use Win 231. I'm running 4.2 grains of it under a 124-grain plated bullet in 9mm and 4.5 grains under a 200-grain LSWC in .45. They're very soft shooting so it's easier to stay on target than with factory loads so I'm satisfied with Win 231. All I need to do now is find more of it!

Tried them all.....I use Blue Dot for 9mm & .40 S&W. meters great and burns super clean.

I have had really good luck with 3.8 gr of Bullseye and 147gr plated bullets. It burns clean works in everything i have tried it in. Get damn near 2000 charges a pound too. I love the Viht. powders they are just hit and miss locally so I shy away from them.

I use Unique for all of my 9mm subsonics. It burns much cleaner now (after they changed the formula) than when I first started using it years ago. 147gr Reinier Ballistics bullets and 4.2gr of Unique. My load table for 147gr bullets gives me starting loads of 5.9gr for Blue Dot and 3.7gr of Universal Clays. I've never tried Clays in my subsonic loads, but now that I noticed that they are on the list, I might have to try it.

Spherical powder meters through my Dillon 550B's powder measure more easilly anyway, so I tend to use Accurate Arms powders quite a bit, with #5 and #7 being the primary powders in my stash.

Win 231 has always worked great for me. Not the cleanest but cleaner than Unique. I gave up on the accurate flavors since I had to use 25%+ or more to get the same velocities and the unburnt powder got real old. When you realize how much more of the AA powders you have to use, it gets real expensive. VV's are great clean powders but theyre pricey. Im very happy with 231 for performance, metering, and cost.

This description for WAP is from Winchesters #14 reloading Guide.

"NEW WAP Winchester Action Pistol propellant is one of the two new powders introduced in 1994. After years of product development, a clean burning, low muzzle flash, low recoil propellant was completed to be factory loaded in Winchester 9mm and 40 S&W ammunition. WAP has a lower flame temperature than competitive products which extends barrel life This powder is the propellant of choice for premium factory loaded high performance ammunition. Ideal for use in competitive action pistol competition in 38 Super, 9mm, and 40 S&W."

Description for Ramshot Silhouette.

Silhouette is a double based, modified (flattened) spherical powder that performs well in medium sized handgun cases. Silhouette's low flash signature, high velocity, and clean burning properties make it a perfect choice for indoor ranges and law enforcement applications.
Ideal Calibers: 9mm, .38 Super, .357 Sig, 10mm
Bulk Density (grams/liter) 800
Packaged in 1lb. and 4lb. containers.

Just thought I would pass this along.

AA#7, best 9mm powder I have found yet, works VERY well in all pistols I have tried it in.

I've tried many different powders and by far VihtaVuori vn310 is the cleanest power for the 9mm. Of the others listed above I'd say Titegroup would be your best bet. Bullseye and 231 are cleaner now than they used to be, but are not the best choice in 9X19.

Power Pistol is very clean, meters well. The ultimate clean powder, but it lacks in velocity is Clays.

Power Pistol is the civilian canister version of the bulk powder that is used to load military contract 9mm. In my experience it gives superb velocity in the 9mm but is a bit flashy.

Universal Clays is all I use for 9mm anymore. It leaves a bit of bluish black discoloration by the rim and thats it. IME it's very accurate too.

I too have had good luck in 9mm with Universal. And pretty clean.

I'm using 4.0gr bullseye and a 124gr bullet @ 1.140 OAL and it's very clean (and accurate). 1067avg fps from my Glock 34.

I've used bullseye, unique and blue dot in 9mm.

All meter well, bullseye the best of the 3.

Bullseye leaves sooty pencil dust like buildup on the gun, it wipes off easily on clothing or otherwise IME. Gun cleans quickly when field stripped with mostly a wipedown with little if any scrubbing.

Unique and Blue Dot leave a harder carbon coating from use, but it does not have the tendency to wipe off easily if brushed against something. It does make it a little more difficult to clean, but overall cleaner to handle the gun after shooting, but before cleaning. If that makes any sense at all.

Blue Dot is a flamethrower in my 10mm. I haven't shot the 9mm in the twilight to notice just yet, but expect the same. I recall Unique being a bit of a flamethrower too.

I use Unique in .45 for hot loads, .38 special, and 9mm. I like it in 9mm because there's no chance of a double charge with it. It fills the case pretty well. It makes for a good +P or +P+ level load in 9mm and is a bit compressed which helps prevent any bullet set back.

Universal in 9mm is clean, has a mild report and little flash. 4.6gr under a 124gr FMJ gave about 1,100 fps and 4.9gr under a 115FMJ gave almost 1,200 fps. 3.3 gr is the max under 147gr jacketed bullets. I think my latest batch of Universal is somewhat faster than earlier ones.

My current load uses WSF and 115gr. FMJ. I'll switch to N-320 and 124gr FMJ for my USPSA loads in the future.

Tip for loading Universal - Letting it sit in your powder measure overnight before loading allows the flakes to settle and gives more consistent loads.

I use Universal in my 9mm IDPA rounds - 4.5g moves a 124g Rainier plated bullet at 1085fps from a Browning Hi Power, and burns cleaner than Accurate #5 (my other standard powder.)

3.1 grains of Universal behind a 9 mm, 147-grain bullet is a great, mild-mannered practice load.

I'm a fan of the 147-grain bullets in 9 mm. They're too heavy to go supersonic, so there isn't a sharp crack when you fire.

I loaded some GDHP 147 gr (9mm) using 7.2 gr of AA7 and found them to be very accurate. The AA7 burned clean and metered extremely accurately in my powder measure.

AA-7 would be my choice. AA-5 is just a touch slower but is also a slightly lower pressure load and would make a good second choice. AA-5 is also good for 115 and 124 gr jacketed bullet loads.

BTW, LEE Modern Reloading 2nd addition lists a lot more powder choices for this bullet than the Speer Manual.

9mm- 7625
38spl- Trail Boss
40 S&W- N320
38super- 4756
45acp- Win Super Target
223- H335
7mm-08- H414

40 majo: Tightgroup

40 minor: Clays

223 H335 meters well, very accurate for all loads 52-69gr.

223 69-77gr. Varget, very accurate but meters a little more difficult..

.40 S&W = WW231 works great in my Glock 35 with Bear Creek's 180gn LSWC Moly coated.
.45 ACP = WW231 " " Glock 21 " " 200gn LSWC Moly coated.

IMR/Dupont 4895 for all .223, .308, and .30-06 accuracy loads, bar none.

Though 4895 is course, it doesn't seem to matter if it's ~ .2 grain, so I load benchrest loads in my Dillon 550 and have never wanted for more consistent accuracy.

Titegroup is VERY temperature sensitive!!!

Hot weather = fast

Cold weather = slow

.40 S&W ... WST - great with lead bullets

.223 ... BL-C2

mi9mm, 3.1VV 310, 147 berry’s 147, 1.16
MA40sw, 4.5 TG, 180 berry’s 180, 1,18
MA45acp, 3.7 clays, 230 precision, 1.23
223 (ar) 25.6 748, 68 hornady #2278, 2.25
308 (ltr) 45.5 748, 168 hornady #3050, 2.80

9mm -- 231 and Universal

.38 Super -- SR 4756 and SR 7625

.40 S&W -- WST and 231

.45 -- depends upon gun, bullet; IPSC, Pins, Bullseye, plinking, etc.
Unique with 230 RN for ball equal; Bullseye for Bullseye; WST, 231 and Clays for IPSC

5.56 -- Varget and IMR 4895

7.62 Nato -- Varget, IMR 4895 and 3031 for light loads used at 200 yards.

.30-06 -- Varget, IMR 4895, 4350 and 4320.

.38 Special/.357 Mag. -- Unique, Bullseye and a very old powder that I bought lots of many years ago--5066.

.38-40/.44-40/.45 Colt -- Trail Boss and Unique

7mm Remington Mag. -- almost any bullet weight and 4350 gives excellent accuracy.

.257 Roberts -- 120 grain bullets for hunting 4320; 120 grain Match bullets for NRA Sporting Rifle Matches IMR 4895.

9mm: Vihtavuori N320
.223: Vihtavuori N135

For 9, 40, and 45, if price weren't an issue, I would use V320 for all three. clean and accurate. But it being about $150 for eight pounds has me using TiteGroup. At about $95-100 for eight pounds it fits my needs. It smokes a bit if down-loaded to minor, but if loaded normal to hot, is pretty clean. It tends to leave deposits which make me clean my gun a bit more often (well, every 2000-3000 rounds or when it quits) and it burns HOT. Run a 32 round COF in the summer time and you better not grab the front of your slide to unload and show clear

Production 9mm Loads

9mm 115gr FMJ = Winchester Super Field (5.3gr), backup VV N340

9mm 124gr FMJ = N320 (4.1gr) backup WSF (4.9gr.) or Universal (4.6gr)

9mm 135gr lead = N320

9mm 147gr lead = N320, backup WST

9mm, 115 gr fmj 700x loads recommended online:

3.5 starting, 4.5 max
OAL 1.12 - 1.125

4.0 gr 700x cci500 OAL 1.100

Manual lists 4.7 gr max for 115 fmj and I load 4.5 gr and am very satisfied

Try a starting load of 4.0 gr {1007fps} MAX LOAD would be 4.4 gr {1101fps} for a 115 grain bullet. Load a few and see what you think

Lyman #47 manual:

147 grain LRN-FP #356637 mold.

Clays = 1.9 start for 669 FPS.

2.8 (Compressed charge) MAX LOAD for 873 FPS.

700X = 2.7 Start for 803 FPS.

3.3 MAX LOAD for 921 FPS.

BTW: If you are gonna load unknown brands of lead bullets, you really need to get a Lyman manual

Simply my take, but taking one of the most unforgiving propellants for handgun loads (Clays) + a very heavy bullet for this caliber that will need to be seated rather deeply = a bad combination... Not dangerous per se when used as directed, just not what I would choose if given a choice. This is especially true if you are a beginning reloader.

For me, anything faster than WW231 for most 9mm loads is a no-go, especially if I were to use a 147 grain bullet. Even in 9mm, when I see a min-to-max charge weight range of a half a grain for a certain propellant (700x), I get the heeby geebies, especially with a propellant like 700x that some people have trouble keeping within +/- .2 grains during normal reloading. I would go with something that has a slower pressure curve, i.e. AA5, Unique, HS-6, Herco...


I couldn't agree more.

I'd probably go with a lighter bullet too!

147 grain 9mm is an after-thought that came along about 75 years after the cartridge was designed for maximum efficiency with 115 - 124 grain bullets.

By the way, rcmodel, the Lyman 48th Edition dropped the Clays and 700X listings for that 147g lead bullet

You need to get Lyman's Pistol & Revolver Handbook.

It has all the info you are looking for.

Clays and a 147gr boolet = The best!

My choices for 9mm (and I do reload for it so this isn't just a mental exercise) have never included Clays or 700-X. Those two powders are just too fast and spikey.

Of the two, I'd be more willing to experiment with 700X than Clays. A bullet with weight outside the "usual" range and a cartridge that's sensitive to darned near ANY change in the reloading specs is a situation for which I think Unique is a good powder. It might not give you optimal performance (then again, it might), but it's among the most forgiving of propellants in situations such as these.

147gr Rainier + 4gr Unique has turned out to be my favorite match load in my Glocks. Chronos at 980fps out of a G17-as with any new load start low and proceed with caution

700X is a great powder for 9mm and 3.7 grains is perfect

I agree, and Unique can easily match std velocity service loads, and can even be safely used to match many companies "+P" velocities while staying under even SAMMI's std pressure spec.

Unique is a marvelous propellant in 9mm, and likes mild to wild, cast bullets and jacketed equally. I consider it the ideal propellant for beginners because of its high, case spilling bulk with a double charge, and even us old reloading dogs know there is little better for this caliber with any commonly available bullet. Also, even with a completely full case and a 115-124 grain bullet seated normally, I am willing to bet that proof pressures are still a long way off... High bulk and moderate speed sounds like a good combination to have for a beginner.

I have seen a hell of a lot of propellants come and go, yet old fuddy-dutty Unique keeps chugging along, and a lot of folks who damned it and switched, have come back to it. Been around for about 110 years, and I'm sure many generations ahead will sing its praises, long after the every thing "EXTREME" buzzword crap is over.

You've gotten some very good advice in this thread, I hope you use it. Like said above, Clays will spike in pressure quickly especially with that heavy a bullet.

I would suggest using Unique, HS-6, Power Pistol, 800-X or Longshot for the best results using a 147gr Jacketed bullet. Using a 147gr lead bullet will limit your choices a lot. I would stay away from Power Pistol, 800-X and Longshot and try either Unique or HS-6. HS-6 would be my first choice since it works well with lead bullets. I use HS-6 in my .38 Special +P rounds using a 158gr LSWC/HP bullet with great results.

4.8 to 5.5 grains of Unique with a 125 23 bhn Lead bullet Semi Round Nose

4.8 to 5.5 grains of Unique with a 115 FMJ round nose

4.8 to 5.5 grains of Unique with a 124 FMJ round nose

I cut a shell to size for charging. I got tired of weighing all the charges for 9mm. I check them every now and then, but none are over 5.5 grains and none are under 4.8.

I shoot 2" to 3" groups at 15 to 25 yards all day long with my XD9 Service.

Also would like to add that my goal is 5.0 grains of Unique for 115 to 125 grain bullets lead or FMJ. With that addition you could say that 4.8 to 5.0 is mainly what I get with my dippers, but sometimes there might be a rounded top or two.

3.7gr Unique and a 147gr hard cast lead flat point is a sweet shooting steel plate load. Burns very clean too, Unique is pretty dirty in low pressure loads like .45ACP and .38Specal but very clean in high pressure loads like 9mm and .40S&W.

A double charge will spill on the floor and be obvious when you try to seat the bullet. Another advantage to Unique. I load everything handgun with it except the full house magnums and 10mm for whcih I use Blu Dot, but Unique does well with these too if you accept a bit less velocity.

I like 147gr zeros with 3.2 gr of VV n320 or titegroup. Super soft and accurate

I'm using DELETED of AA#7, 125 LRN molycoat from Bear Creek Supply (decent prices, shipping included), WSP primers, 1.125" OAL, light crimp, mixed cases (yeah, I know, but it's just for a Glock and they're not so hot that they should be dangerous given case variations). Getting about 1120 fps over the chrono from a Glock 19.

(Yeah, I also know people say not to run lead in Glocks, including Glock. I clean the gun and there's never been a sign of buildup in the barrel or front end of the chamber. The molycoats clean up pretty easily, too.)

125gr. Lee LRN on top of 3.5gr. 700X. Quantrill

I've had good groups with 4.5 gr of Titegroup and 124 gr Gold Dots. CCI 500 primers. Chronoed at avg of 1170 fps out of my HiPower. Very clean.

124gr plated RN

4.2gr Titegroup

All these guys above are in a cloud . Favorite load using W-231? No problem...115 gr Winchester JHP, 4.8 grs of W-231 (My favorite powder for .38 spec., short barreled .357 mag, 45 ACP), WSP all in a Winchester case...Don't listen to these guys. They all hate W-231. It must be the easy flow through the powder dispenser, the consistent charge weight and the excellent burn rate for any pistol and short barreled revolver. Other then that I don't know why they don't like W-231. Me? I love it...

WARNING: 4.8 grains of W-231 is a maximum charge by MY Winchester load manual. Work up to it slowy and carefully...

Someone mentioned that 4.8 gr. is the maximum 115 gr. load for W231. Well, my Hodgdon manual shows the same for HP-38. I don't encourage anyone to start interchanging powders based on what they hear on the Internet, but I have heard from a number of reliable sources that HP-38 and W231 are identical, and the load data that I have access to tends to confirm this.

HP-38 and W231 are the same powder, this has been discussed before.

I like 6 GR Unique with 115 FMJ or 124 GR Lead. 8 GR Blue Dot same bullet.

124 grn RN over 4.2 grains Titegroup. OAL 1.155

115 RN over 4.4 grains Titegroup. OAL 1.145

Speer 115-gr TMJ #3995

Win 231 4.6 grains

CCI small pistol primer

COAL 1.135

Hornady dies

My own used brass

This shoots significantly softer than the Winchester white box rounds that I used by the thousands over the years and I was shocked to see the significant improvement in accuracy this load offers for my particular pistol.

I end up with a round that costs more than WWB 100-packs at China*Mart, not to mention all of the time spent, but I find that the significant improvement in accuracy is worth it for me.

By the way, I had to increase the charge to 4.8 grains to ensure reliable function in my Glock 19-C, where this ammunition also shoots more accurately than WWB.

Bushmaster is making a very good point that needs to be heeded a bit more. Unless a powder manufacturer says that two powders are identical, its best for everyone if you don't assume they are. Hodgdon will only commit to two handgun propellants as equivalent to Winchester powders: 540 is HS-6, and 571 is HS-7. The thing that validates Bushmaster's statement is something you may not have considered and he's not being heavy handed, but here are the facts. First, if your loading manual doesn't give pressure values for handloads, how can you say something is equivalent? Hodgdon and Winchester ball powders are made by PRIMEX. They start off from the same base chemistry in many cases, but because they are made to the specifications (or were before Hodgdon bought Winchester powders, formerly OLIN) they will differ in pressure at the same powder charge. This is the case for W-231 and HP-38. All you need to do is consult the Lyman manual where loads were charged exactly the same and fired from the same 4" ballistic test barrels. I could understand some velocity/pressure variation because of manufacturing lot, but not the differences clearly shown in the Lyman manuals that do show pressure values. The same holds true for W296 and H110.

American companies have a provable bias against the cartridge, and always have. Companies like Hodgdon make up SAAMI. Crimp, since you've looked at my past posts you've probably seen a repetitive theme. I believe the 9 X 19mm has the strongest case head of the common auto loading cartridges. We know that ka-boom events have been more common to the .40 S&W than any auto cartridge, in my reloading lifetime anyway. Now ask yourself how it is that the .357 SIG should have a SAAMI pressure max of 40,000 PSI, since its parent case is the .40 S&W? .38 Super got a SAAMI pressure reduction about the same time as the 9 X 19mm. Both were 35,700 CUP previously (nearly equivalent to the 9mm's present limit for +P at 38,500 PSI), but the Super was reduced to 36,500 PSI while 9 X 19mm was reduced to 35,000 PSI/33,000 CUP. The 9mm is a stronger case than the .38 Super. Yeah, obviously cheap imported 9mm pistols are part of the answer and .357 SIG barrels give better case head support than pistols chambered for its parent cartridge. But who's responsible for most of the SNAFU? Does Hodgdon tell you what the SAAMI pressure max for 9mm and .45 ACP is? It ain't 28,100 CUP (or 16,800 for the .45), so I'd like to see those load levels a bit higher before I base anything on that particular data.

I can't say that Hodgdon, or more correctly Primex, (Hodgdon doesn't manufacture powder, last time I checked they just sell someone elses!) isn't pouring the same exact propellant into two different canisters on Hodgdons behalf now that they own both labels and unfortunately, IMR as well. I think it's a pretty damn dumb thing to do myself, and there are mental wimps that are concerned more about marketing than comprehensive safety concerns.

Now philbo doesn't like that I used the Lyman 46, but mentioned that Hodgdon claims 231 and HP-38 are the same and always have been. Draw your own conclusions. I trust Lyman, SPEER and Sierra testing to a greater degree than I'll ever trust Hodgdon. I use the Lyman 46 because it predates the tinkering done by SAAMI. Ditto for the SPEER #11. I just happened to get a new manual delivered with an order from Midway: The Lyman P&R III, and btw, it also lists pressure values with the data.

It's 4.6 to 4.8 of ww231 or Hp38, And what's nice is that if your using a Dillon 550B you can swap your tool head for the .40cal and reload .40 with the same powder charge. and base plate.

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

(Senior Member)

My current favorite 9mm round is:

Bulk Win 115gr JHPs @ 1.125" COL over 6.8gr Ramshot True Blue.

This will read out as a hot load in most all the books, but before y'all start yelling at me, Sierra's 5th edition shows True Blue up to 6.9 with a 115.

For the life of me, I can't remember what fps I got when I tested it last year, but I remember it had a SD of 9 figured over 7 shots and was quite accurate, decently clean and no major fireball.

There may be better powders for 9mm performance rounds, but True Blue is no slouch. I just wish Ramshot would publish a wider and more realistic group of pistol load data. If for no other reason, it should help them sell more of their excellent powders.

Oh yeh - you asked about WIN 231. I also have loaded 115gr JHPs at 1.120" with 4.8gr of 231. Got an average of 1162 fps from a 4" XD with an SD of 11. Not too bad.

4.7 grains W231

115 grain LRN

Here's one for you: 4.5 to 5.0 grains of Bullseye with just about any 115 jacketed bullet, any good brass, and Winchester small pistol primers.

5.0 is close to max, approach cautiously...and always check with the various mfgr's on line data or from a good reloading manual

9mm = Vihtavuori N320
40 = Vihtavuori N320
45 = Clays

9mm minor (147gr) and 38 Super major (125 gr)
IMR 4756
Inexpensive, consistent metering, easy to find from many Internet vendors, clean burning, low smoke and no pressure problems. It produces a good amount of gas for my open gun comps.

.45ACP and 9mm minor (125gr)
Very inexpensive (relatively speaking), consistent metering, easy to find even locally and clean burning. It does put out some smoke with FMJs but I normally use JHPs.

This combination meets all my reloading needs so I don't need to inventory a bunch of different powders.

9mm - N320
40 - N320
45 - N320 - Very consistent lot-to-lot. In twelve years I've never had to change charges.

Titegroup as a back up for all three.

.38 Super - N350

.223 - 55's BL-C(2) - meters beautifully
.223 - 69's Varget
.308 - 155's, 168, 175's - Varget - Clean, consistent, 1 click in elevation between my cabin at 1500 feet and Whittington at 7000.

9mm minor 5,7g ww231 on 124g fmj
9mm major 9.2g SP2 on 121g fmj
38super minor 5.7g ww231 on 124g fmj
38super/sc major 10.2 g vv3n38 on 121 fmj
38super/sc major 8.4 g Longshot on 124 fmj
40 vvn320 5.1g on 180 jhp
40 vvn330 5.4g on 180 jhp

We just had a long discussion on this on another bulletin board at

My conclusion, based on my testing and testing by others, is that cleaning handgun rounds in a vibratory "tumbler" for 10-15 minutes is going to have no effect on the performance of the round. Rounds are not going to blow up in the "tumbler" (and if they did, they would not represent any kind of safety hazard).

Back in 1998, rec.guns denizen Geoff Beneze decided to gather some real, rather than apocryphal, data on whether tumbling had a measurable effect on the powder in loaded rounds.

He loaded rounds with flake, (Unique), Ball (W748) and extruded (IMR 4064) powders. He chronographed and retained a baseline sample of each reload. He began "tumbling" (in Dillon vibratory cleaners) the rest.

He ran the "tumblers" 24/7 for **four weeks**. He removed a sample of each load at one-week intervals, and chronographed them along with rounds from the baseline control sample.

None of the "tumbled" ammunition was measurably different from the control group, even after sitting in the "tumbler" for four weeks (672 hours)!

He also examined the powder granules under magnification, and could not see any difference in the visual appearance of the "tumbled" powder from the stuff in the can.

Does this mean that it's safe to tumble rifle rounds using extruded powders for long periods? I dunno.

Tumbling my 9x21, .40S&W, and .45ACP rounds for 10-15 minutes removes the lube for me. Not removing lube prior to firing is an actual safety issue.

If anyone has *evidence* that shows a hazard to tumbling live ammunition, please present it.

The simple solution to the lube problem, is to use a carbide sizer die in station one. Using a carbide die with straight-walled pistol cases eliminates the need for case lube.

You'll note, that this works only for straight-walled cases. Bottle necked or tapered-wall cartridges still require lube.

Some folks will claim you should still use lube, but I've loaded hundreds of thousands of .45 ammo this way, and measured many many cases. No negative effect there I can see. Once the die gets a little burnished, there's no difference in the amount of effort used to resize. Just be sure to clean the brass well before loading it. The absence of case lube (wax) has beneficial effects for the machine too, since the dies stay cleaner, and the wax would collect particulates everywhere it becomes smeared.

One other thing I'd add for Dillon owners. Once a year, tear down the linkage and lubricate it according to the manual (grease on bearings, SAE30 on the ram). The upper link bearings in particular, will run dry of lubricant and gall without occasional service (cmon, once a year is nothing). When this starts to happen, all sorts of weird things go on, particularly problems seating primers. A little lube, and a Dillon runs like glass indefinitely.

You also want to be a little anal about cleaning the primer bar on a 550 - use alchohol.

If you clean your brass, use lube and a carbide size die you will reduce the effort of reloading by so much you will cry that you did not do it earlier.

Yes the lube is messy, but use a fine grade of media in the tumbler, or the roll around on a towel method, and its gone. I use very little lube, it makes so much of a difference. I hate accidentally getting an unlubed case in the line. You can feel the difference. It also reduces the stress on any reloading machine. Less stress more consistent.

BE. Call Midway, their plain corn cob is about the finest grain size I have found. 15lb boxes real cheap.

It's true, the pressure required on the downstroke is slightly higher, perhaps a pound or so, but this has never been an issue for me. I'll gladly trade it for the hassle of cleaning the lube off the cases before running them through the remaining stages, or the increased frequency of cleaning the press necessary. In addition, dillons should be operated briskly anyway, to ensure proper functioning of the powder measure (i.e. preventing bridging and keeping the powder settled in the hopper).

As for additional stress - these are straightwall pistol cases, and the amount of sizing force needed is minimal anyway. The Dillon compound linkage is plenty robust to handle it without any additional wear. Just keep it lubed, and crank away.

If you do lube, the "right" way, is to size and decap the case first, tumble clean, then run the cases through the press using the first station to seat primers only. Otherwise, you end up pushing wax up into the powder/expander die and seater die as well. Beyond that, using lube means cleaning a lot more often, since the stuff attracts primer residue and creates a lovely abrasive paste everywhere it accumulates.

(from Brion E himself)

OK, I'm gonna make a statement :) - If you're not using Hornady's One Shot lube (on straight walled cases), and then just forgetting about it, (meaning not tumbling it at all), you're not only loading slower, but with more strain on you, and the machine. In addition, I feel the case lube (left on from loading) may actually help feeding...


The Hornady One-shot lube that Brian advocates is in an aerosol can. How is this applied to the cases without getting lube IN the cases?


I don't worry about it getting in; it doesn't affect anything.

I use a plastic bag on my bench, with the brass spread out flat inside. Then spray, shake, and load.

The One Shot. I also doubt there is a problem with getting some in the case. But, here is what I do...

I have a carboard box that I drape a towel over...letting the towel become a liner for the box. I dump in some brass, then smooth the brass down so that it is mostly laying on it's side. I squirt on some One Shot, then grab the corners of the towel. Two corners in each hand. then I see-saw the corners up and down. This rolls the brass around inside the towel...helping the evenly distribute the lube.

Takes longer to describe than to do. Also lets me handle the brass one more time...sort out any questionable pieces.

(the box is shallow...and, about one foot by two feet)

I throw the clean brass in a large Acro bin and spray a short 1-2 second shot of lube on them. Shake and repeat a few times. The One Shot drys inside and out and has had no effect on my reloads.

I've used Alan550's method for years, even adding a light mist of brake cleaner to the rounds for super quick, problem free cleaning. Many might shudder at the thought of spraying brake cleaner on loaded rounds... I've never had a problem using it vary sparingly. And, be sure to NEVER use carb cleaner!

Berry Brake Clean will take the oil or grease off of any metal surface. It is some great stuff for cleaning a gun before smithing on it.

The good news is according to the label it only causes cancer in California.

I use Case Slick by RCBS, its the stuff that comes in the pump bottle rather than the aerosol. For rifle rounds, I generally leave it on. For pistol, i rarely use anything on my carbide dies.

You guys really need to listen to Brian on the Hornady One Shot. You don't have to clean it off and it improves feeding. Also, it's great on rifle cases, no mess and you don't get dents on the shoulder like the greasier compounds.

leave the lube on the cases! Thats the answer Heckler&Koch gave to me. I asked them whether to remove the lube or to leave it where it is. So here is their reply:

"Sehr geehrter Herr XXXX,
Sie können die Patronenhülsen gefettet lassen. Der dadurch geringfügig erhöhte Druck auf den Stoßboden
und die somit erhöhte Verschlußrücklaufgeschwindigkeit ist, zumindest bei unseren Produkten, vernachlässigbar. Gefettete bzw. geölte Patronenhülsen haben den Vorteil, daß der Ausziehwiderstand gleichmäßiger ist und aufgrund dessen die Treffleistung verbessert wird."

Where is Detlev? Please translate the H&K´s reply! It´s too difficult for my poor English and I don´t want to make mistakes!


Use an anti-static dryer sheet in your tumbler to help reduce dust.

I use "used" COSTCO baby wipes. The first use is at the range to keep my hands clean after picking up brass or before getting in the car as I'm leaving. Then I toss one or two in the tumbler with the brass to be cleaned. It does a wonderful job of trapping the tumbler dust.

One question (that probably doesn't belong in this thread)-- How do y'all get the case lube off the loaded rounds? I used to tumble them, but then I started using JHP's, and got cleaning media stuck in the hollowpoints, which would then extract itself on being loaded into a magazine or the chamber or somewhere equally irritating.

Check this website. I have purchased walnut from them in the 12/20 size. I did not see it listed, but some time ago I got some corncob media from them that was extremely fine, much finer than normal corn cob media. I have to run it for awhile, but it really puts the shine to cases.

The Prep Sol (no idea if the spelling is even close) I'm talking about is a liquid, and the only place you'll probably find it is at a paint and body supply shop. That is a brand name, however, so if they don't have that particular brand I'm sure they'll know what to substitute. It's a degreaser, that's usually used as the last thing you wipe down the car with before painting.

I had problems with getting a steady reading on my electronic scale. I put a cement block on my table and put the scale on that and haven't had any more problems with it.

You might have to use magnum primers to light the powder better. I found when using universal in my 9mm luger loads i had to use a magnum primer or i got the same symtoms (anemic performance) you have. Went to mags and have had 0 problems since.

That's odd -- I use Universal sometimes in 9mm as well, and the standard Winchester WSP primers that I usually use seem to work just fine. But, I've found that lighter loads of Universal don't seem to ignite all that well (considerable unburned powder, but still adequate performance) when loading .38 Spl on the light side, but will work just fine when loading .38 Spl +P loads, even with "normal" small pistol primers. I usually don't use magnum primers unless I'm loading .357 Mag (the only magnum revolver round I load for) with even slower powders.

I have also had the same problem with universal in 45. auto loadings .I loaded a 230 gr.lrn under the max gr. of universal according to the hodgdon manual and they were really under powered,and had several stovepipes,jams,fte,etc.Yet in the performed flawless.Like others said ,I had lots of unburnt powder from the loads.I load my 45.acp with tightgroup now and have not had a problem since.

Ive gone to blue dot in my 9mm loads. I think universal maybe just isnt a good idea in this combination?

While I know that there are many good powders available, it would be remiss not to name the one 9mm powder that all others are judged by: HS-6

My favorite loads:
147g SP TMC (.355), 4.9g
124g SP GDHP (.355), 6.8g
125g FMJ (pulled PMC .356), 6.7g
115g XTP (.355), 7.0g
90g SP GDHP (.355), 7.8g

I shoot a Ruger P89 and a KelTec P11. All of the above are excellent plinking rounds in both handguns except the 147g TMC. Too short a barrel to stabilize properly.

I've always used Unique with little issue. Pretty clean burning and a good overall powder.

However, I am going to go with many suggestions that I've recieved when it comes time to buy powder again and get the Hogdon Universal Clays. The charge weight is almost identical to Unique, but it is supposed to be a much cleaner burning powder at about the same price.

Hodgdon will tell you that HS-6 and 540 are the same powder and load data is interchangeable. Ditto for 571 and HS-7. All of the other speculation about this Hodgdon powder and that Winchester's are identical is just that, speculation. They come from the same source, but when Hodgdon and Winchester Powder were two seperate entities, they had their own spec for coatings and such. I probably already mentioned this somewhere, but Silhouette is WAP. Winchester dropped it, Western Powder Company (Ramshot) obtained the rights. Load data for Silhouette is the same as WAP. In fact, Ramshot is using the data generated by Winchester.

I've heard the same thing about #9 and Enforcer, but I don't believe they are the same powder. The bulk densities are slightly different. AA#9 comes from the Czech Republic last I heard and Enforcer is made in Belgium as is True Blue. I use True Blue and HS-6, they are definitely not the same powder.