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Thread: Powder for 45acp, 9mm, and 38 special

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy lts70's Avatar
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    Powder for 45acp, 9mm, and 38 special

    I am going to be reloading a lot of 45acp and 9mm now that I am set up to cast full tilt. I will also be doing some 38 special from time to time.

    I have been reloading for 6 months now and have been using h38 exclusively for my 45acp rounds. I now need to buy more powder and want to buy bulk this time. Should I stick with the H38 or is there a better powder to fit all three cartridges. All bullets will be Boolits as well if that makes any difference.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    You can also use Winchester 231 which is HP/38 in a different can. They are identical powders made by the same outfit.

    W231 is a good clean burning powder that has many uses in pistol cartirdges like you are loading.

    I use it in .45 ACP, .40S&W, .44 Spec and light .44 magnum loads. It will certainly work just fine in 9 MM and .38 spec. As well.

    There are many other powders that will work for these applications, but you are already using one of the best for these particular cartridges.

    don't fix if ain't broke.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  3. #3
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    HP-38 is a good and economical 9mm powder. I don't quite achieve the velocities published. At the 4.4 grain max listed charge for 124 grain RN boolits I have in the past measured .0003" case head expansion. Note that's 3 tenths not 3 thousandths. Many max loads in a 9mm will open the primer pockets after a half dozen reloads and it looks like 4.4 grains HP-38 would be another although I’ve never tested that out. 4.1 grains HP-38 under a 122-tc or 124-rn is a good working load. I clocked some 4.4 grain loads last Sunday. Under a Saeco #377, CCI primer, fed case, COL of 1.050” with 4” barrel average velocity was 1133 fps. Same load under a 124gr round nose clocked 1063 fps. The round nose seats shallower thus taking up less case capacity and yields less pressure.
    Power Pistol will give the same velocity as HP-38 but IME seams easier on the cases runing less pressure. AA#5 has been a good one for actually delivering published data velocity without high pressure. Charges are about 40% greater with the slow powder though so you need big cans of it. If you want speed you have to dig into the cash supply.

    I’ve a new 147 grain FP load with VV 3N38 that shoots the big bullets 1143 fps. Takes 6.9 grains of powder and I had to order a $35.00 heavy weight recoil spring set in hopes of not destroying the gun. Haven’t received the heavy springs yet. Hopefully the recoil will be reduced. It’s a lot of cash to get a little bit more velocity out of the big bullets.

    Lighter laods of slower powders usually cause point of impact to shift up and right.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Skipper488's Avatar
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    I have found 800x to be a great powder for the .45acp I'm sure there are recipes for the 9mm and .38 using it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    You can also use Winchester 231 which is HP/38 in a different can. They are identical powders made by the same outfit.

    W231 is a good clean burning powder that has many uses in pistol cartirdges like you are loading.

    I use it in .45 ACP, .40S&W, .44 Spec and light .44 magnum loads. It will certainly work just fine in 9 MM and .38 spec. As well.

    There are many other powders that will work for these applications, but you are already using one of the best for these particular cartridges.

    don't fix if ain't broke.

    Randy
    Any idea how HP38 will handle full 44 Mag loads? I need to load for a 44 carbine that hates light loads and will not cycle.

    I have 5 lbs of HP38 or so and have used it for .40 in plated and jacketed only as I did not have any lead and in 38spl using a lee RN tumble lube bullet. I want to continue to use the HP38 in RN lead 9mm and again in 44 (if appropriate).

  6. #6
    Boolit Master dougader's Avatar
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    I think Power Pistol would be a great powder for all three cartridges if you plan on loading from medium to heavy.

    Unique is a great powder for all 3 as well. WSF would be worth a look, too.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    FWIW - My vote would go to AA#5. Just my personal favorite for those cartridges.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

    The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've shot up a barrel of WW231 in the 45 acp and 38 special, with a few thousand 9mms thrown in. It's been my go-to powder for plinking loads in all the pistol calibers for 20 years or so.

    But it isn't the choice for max velocities or hot loads in the magnums. As GabbyM wrote, I didn't get published velocities.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I need to load for a 44 carbine that hates light loads and will not cycle.
    I'm trying to figure out what semiauto carbine is chambered in 44 Magnum...

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by chris in va View Post
    I'm trying to figure out what semiauto carbine is chambered in 44 Magnum...
    Ruger made a carbine that looks like a 10/22 that's chambered for 44 mag. I'd love to have one if I ever find one at a price I can afford while I've got the money.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by chris in va View Post
    I'm trying to figure out what semiauto carbine is chambered in 44 Magnum...
    Ruger had two carbines chambered for the 44 magnum. They have been both discontinued. The first model (called the 44 carbine) was made from 1961-1985. It pre-dated the 10/22 and the rimfire was actually made to look like the 44 carbine. The second model called the Deerfield was made from 2000 to 2006.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skipper488 View Post
    I have found 800x to be a great powder for the .45acp I'm sure there are recipes for the 9mm and .38 using it.
    I really like 800x for alot of things(shotguns and the three calibers listed above included). It's really useful and performs well. The only real downside and it's a big one, it meters about as well as gravel. This is inconvenient for high volume loading of pistol rounds. If you have found a better to measure 800x you'd be my hero.
    Jeff

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Oh yeah, if anyone has a way to meter 800X, they are heroes !! That is my issue with the powder, its a PITA to measure . Otherwise, it shoots exceptionally in my 9mm 1911 although it is kind of dirty compared to WW231 or Blue Dot.

    I can't get 800x to meter remotely well in my Dillon progressive measure, Lee Pro measures, or my Ohaus Duo Measure. The only way I can get it to work is in a little Pacific bushing bar type measure. Tap bar twice with wood stick, then slap it to discharge powder. Only in this manner will almost identical charges be tossed. No wood tapping.... highs and lows abound.

    800X: flakes are too large for most measure but it sure does well in my 9mm !

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01SVTvert View Post
    Any idea how HP38 will handle full 44 Mag loads? I need to load for a 44 carbine that hates light loads and will not cycle.

    I have 5 lbs of HP38 or so and have used it for .40 in plated and jacketed only as I did not have any lead and in 38spl using a lee RN tumble lube bullet. I want to continue to use the HP38 in RN lead 9mm and again in 44 (if appropriate).
    Not well. W231/HP38 is a fast powder, it hits the pressure wall long before you get acceptable magnum velocity. It & other fat powders suffer the same problem, they only work well in light to moderate loads in high pressure rounds. FIne for 38sp & 45acp, they are low pressure/low vel rounds. Unique, AA#5, PP or WSF or Universal will be great for mid to full power & +P loads for all three & useful in the magnums for upper midrange down to lighter loads.
    I second 800X being a PITA to meter, not worth the effort except for +P loads in any of those IMO, has to be hand weighed.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I have been using HP-38/Win 231 for 15 years on my pistol loads. Now, I'm not pushing the rounds to the limits by any means, and the vast majority of my rounds are classified as plinking. This powder is clean, and is available most everywhere powder is sold. Knowing that they are one in the same, you can usually find one or the other a buck cheaper at the store, couldn't tell you why. A couple of pounds will get you get you a few thousand rounds. This was the first powder I ever used.
    "The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])


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  16. #16
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    What Fred said is right. For .44 mag full power you need at least as slow as Unique, and
    even it won't quite reach max velocity because it reaches max pressure before max vel.
    H110/W296 is pretty much the velocity champ, but a number of other powders, notably
    2400 are also excellent. For max .44 mag around 20 grains (use your loading manuals!)
    of 2400 is good - adjusted for boolit wt, and using multiple loading manuals as reference,
    and starting low. Unfortunately, H110/W296 does NOT work in reduced charges well, it
    gets erratic, so do not use it in lower than minimum book loads. It works best for full max
    loads. Power Pistol is another great one, but not as much loading data out there for
    it, sad to say. A great medium hot .44 mag load is 10.0 gr Unique under any cast 240-250
    gr boolit. It will run about 1050-1100 depending on the gun and is often one of THE most
    accurate loads in a given pistol.

    As to the original question - Unique works great in all of them, but to save money a
    faster powder like Bullseye or W231/HP38 are good. Just recognize that double charging is
    very easy to do and can destroy the gun with these powders. I like and use powders that
    can double charge, but I am very, very careful, as you should be. Lots of good choices, I
    use a lot of Titegroup nowdays, too.

    Bill
    Last edited by MtGun44; 08-03-2011 at 02:39 PM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Unique and AA#5
    Je suis Charlie

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    I like Blue Dot.
    Fast enough to cycle, fires POI with my .38s. Works with my .45ACP, 9mm., and .357 and .38.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    My Choices

    I use 231 powder for my standard velocity handgun and submachinegun loads. For the magnum loads I use 296. Buy them in 8 lb jugs.
    Period. End of discussion. That is from over 40 years of tinkering. Those are the ones I have settled on.
    I visually see that there is a normal powder charge in station 3 in my Dillon 550 before I put the bullet on top to be seated, simply to make sure I don't double charge the load.
    Don't ask me how I learned that lesson.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    I like Titegroup in standard pistol calibers, H110 in the magnums.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check