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View Poll Results: Which company do you think makes the best/most consistent smokeless powder? Any why?

70. You may not vote on this poll
  • Hodgdon

    15 21.43%
  • Accurate

    6 8.57%
  • Alliant

    23 32.86%
  • IMR

    7 10.00%
  • Vihta Vuori

    14 20.00%
  • Winchester

    3 4.29%
  • Norma

    0 0%
  • Other

    2 2.86%
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Thread: Which powder companies tend to make the best smokeless powder?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Which powder companies tend to make the best smokeless powder?

    I've been impressed recently with Accurate. But I really like some powders from Hodgdon, Alliant and Winchester...

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    dragon813gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Somewhere in SE PA
    First, define best.
    Second, define application.
    And then wait for everyone’s opinion. There is no one best powder manufacturer. There is no one best powder. I have jugs from all the manufacturers. And they each work for the given application.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    For competitive long range shooting I don't purchase smaller the 8 pound jugs to minimize lot to lot load development. Powders like Varget are purchase 32 pounds at a time requested to be all the same lot. Normally with matching velocities accuracy is the same but it may take a little more or a let less to get the same velocity. On your list Norma is the only one that I have limited experience with. For most applications in handgun, shotgun and non-competitive shooting smokeless powder variables are not detectable.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Boise, Idaho
    It us an interesting question because several of the powder companies listed don't actually make powder. E.g. Hodgdon, Winchester, Accurate, Etc. And others source powder from a variety of manufacturers abroad.

    General Dynamics in St. Marks, Fl makes powder for a few on the list.

    That being said, a scan of my load journal shows that I've used more Alliant powders than any other.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    N. IL. Kankakee County
    Best will be completely subjective.
    My needs are simple, i am not an accurate enough shooter to notice small differences.
    I hope to get better.

    I run a progressive so easy metering is important to me.

    Also I believe in using powders with over 50% fill rate for safety reasons.
    Hard to double charge if powder is flowing out of the case and I cannot seat a bullet.
    Also easier to see charges and make sure the case is charged.

    Cost is a factor, as is availability, so while I know of some that love the Vihta Vuori powders I have never tried any.

    Also I am more interested in shooting than testing a bunch of powders so now that I can get powders easily I have standardized on just a few powders that meet my needs, HP38 for most pistol and TAC for 5.56 cover all that I reload now.
    I am stocked up on those and just trying to use up all the other powders I picked up during the shortage.

  6. #6
    This is kind of like asking which automotive company makes the best vehicles.

    like mj said "Best will be completely subjective."

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    The best powder is the one I have loads worked up for. I have a big jug of a new-to-me pistol powder, due to cost/availability at the time of purchase. I have created only a couple of loads for it as of yet. But after my current powders run out and I am forced to learn how to use this stuff, I predict it will be my next and potentially last favorite... simply because I have enough to potentially last that long.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Mid atlantic area
    I have consolidated my powders to four. I only reload for revolvers and pistols. I use bullseye, unique, 2400, and h110. They all serve a different purpose.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    Honestly they are all good. Like mentioned earlier there are only a few manufacturers. They are then sold in bulk to be labeled by the brand name. I have found the equivalents powders to be very close and only require a minor tweak to bring in normal accuracy. As long as you match the powder to the purpose you wont have any troubles.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

    jmort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Color Me Gone
    Agree, they all work. If there is a run on powder, Alliant will disappear first and be the hardest to get.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    I've used IMR, Hodgdon, Hercules(Alliant), Winchester, Accurate, Norma, and V-V and they are all good!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    It is hard to say because of how it was before 2017 , if you did not have in stock enough of what you use normal ,you find what is about the same or close to it and go from there.,with different make of powder.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Central VA
    I voted for Alliant because for all around general reloading, I could get by with Bullseye, Unique and 2400 for a whole bunch of the metallic reloading I do, and Green Dot for most of the shotgunning. That said, for some specific applications (notably Schuetzen) I've long used IMR 4759 and some 4227 for my 32-40 and Hodgdon's H-108 for lead bullet bench rest. Note that 4759 and H-108 are both discontinued, but I've squirreled away a large enough supply of each to cover my shooting in those venues until I turn at least 80, so that's probably enough!

    As others have indicated, this poll is to some degree influenced by what powder is available, by what kind of shooting the respondent does, and the old "Ford vs Chevy" phenomenon involving just which powder the respondent likes best without a real objective standard to base it upon. I will state I'm glad I have a backlog of powder work with and that over the years I've had the opportunity to evaluate a wide variety of powders.

    "It aint easy being green!"

  14. #14

    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    The Best?
    That's easy.
    While Herters didn't make powder, the smokeless powder they sold was the World's Best, cleanest burning and always Guide approved...that with their Perfect Primers...you just knew you had the BEST.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Rick Hodges's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Taylor, Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    The Best?
    That's easy.
    While Herters didn't make powder, the smokeless powder they sold was the World's Best, cleanest burning and always Guide approved...that with their Perfect Primers...you just knew you had the BEST.
    Loaded on a Model Perfect press and measured in the Model perfect scale as well?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    St.Germain, WI
    The best one I've found is the one on the shelf when the others aren't available. Had to switch from Universal to 20/28 for 28 gage, and from H110 to Lil'gun for the .410. And I'm not going back!
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
    mdi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    So. Orygun
    I agree with most above, it's a personal choice and it depends...

    I weigh most of my reload charges so while metering is important, not 100% essential to me. I'm not a "cleanliness nut" so if my load leaves some soot/debris, I'm OK with that. In 30+ years of reloading, I can't remember a "bad" powder and I've been able to work up good loads with almost every applicable powder. I have chosen some "classic" powders and made them preform quite well in my guns (Bullseye and W231 in my 38 Specials, Unique and 2400 in my 44s, IMR 4895 and IMR 4064 in my 30-06, etc.) but I will try "new and improved" powders too.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Southernmost State of the Union
    Alliant seems to maintain a consistent burning rate from lot to lot.
    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.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    I would have to say ADI Powder is the "best" since they are the source for much of what I would buy under the label of the brands in the survey.


    Very useful list of equivalent powders from the different brands. We know that some powders are "really close" to a powder from a different brand. With ADI making the same powder for both brands one can see why they would be "close". The charts and load data on the ADI site can be most useful. Provides a good way to find what you need that is almost the same as what you wanted when you can't find what you wanted.

    A shopping situation we have seen in the recent past and will probably see again, unless one has sufficient quantity on hand to weather the next panic or disaster induced shortage. ADI had a fire in the pistol powder production facility. That was one major reason for the shortage of pistol powders a few years back. Production Shortage + Sandy Hook = Panic Buying and stockpiling
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, SE Minnesota
    RD, Thanks for the chart link. It does look useful.

    OP, & All,

    I did not vote, since while I use powders from more than one maker, I still try to use powders that are compatible with what I caliber I am using, as well as have options.

    I primarily use Red Dot/Promo for many calibers as well as shotguns, due to it accomplishing what I want, it seems to be pretty accommodating thru a wide range of use in different calibers/gauges, & it is inexpensive as compared to other types of powders. ("Bang for the buck", literally)

    While I have about 20+- different powders from Alliant, IMR, Hodgdons, etc., I don't choose what one is "best" for "All", but rather what is "best" for my use in whatever caliber /gauge I am using, & what I want the resulting cartridge/shell to do.

    So far, since RD/Promo has been doing what I want, for most of what I want done, I would have voted Alliant, but that would not be fair, IMO, since I some of the other powders do a better job than Alliant in other calibers/gauges, so they would be the "best" in those types of uses. Picking one over the other would be difficult for me to do honestly, and so far all have been fine so I have no complaints one way or the other to say which one might be the "Worst" powder either.

    Interesting topic for a, "What/Which is the Best.... ??" type topic, though.
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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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