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Old February 17, 2013, 11:51 AM   #1
DMNichols
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Powder Equivalents

I am new to reloading. I’ve been doing a lot of research. I am looking for a single source of information for equivalent powders. With today’s shortages, it’s pretty much buy what you can get. For example, I’ve read in this forum that W-231 is a good overall pistol ball powder. Okay, my local gun shop is out (along with all the others in reasonable driving distance). What are the alternatives?

I will be loading .380 Auto, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, .45 ACP for pistols and .223 and 300 Blackout for rifles.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks for your help.
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Old February 17, 2013, 12:27 PM   #2
Gdawgs
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I don't do much rifle reloading, so I'll let others chime in on those.

231 is a great choice for the handgun calibers you listed. Hodgedon HP38 is the exact same powder so keep a lookout for that.

Other powders to look for that will cover your handgun loads(or at least most of them) are;

Aliant - Unique, Power Pistol

Hodgedon - HS6, Universal, Titegroup, HP38

Accurate - #5

Ramshot - Zip

There are others as well, but this should be a good start. If you can get your hands on any of these, it should keep you busy for a while.
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Old February 17, 2013, 01:07 PM   #3
dacaur
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get yourself a reloading manual, and mark the pages for all calibers you want to shoot, then look and see if any powders are on all pages. For me in pistol, locally available it was unique and power pistol... I tried Unique , but it meters like crap, so I got some power pistol, and it works great in all my pistol calibers....

for your rifle, its harder because, while the two you listed use the same action, they are VERY different. Yes you CAN find powders that will work in both, but those powders will not be optimal in either, and if you choose a powder that works great in one, it probably wont work so great in the other. Sometimes its best to get each caliber its own powder, and this is one of those time.
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:38 PM   #4
Sevens
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Quote:
What are the alternatives?

I will be loading .380 Auto, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, .45 ACP for pistols and .223 and 300 Blackout for rifles.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Is this one of those "give a man a fish/teach a man to fish" moments?!

One way you can begin to learn about your options is to look at a "relative burn rate" chart. These come from different sources and sometimes vary by a little bit but you can glance at it and get a little bit of idea for options for a different powder to try. Do be warned -- a burn rate chart is a very GENERAL reference and nothing on it can be swapped or substituted and no specific conclusions with regards to formulas or data can be drawn from it.

What you can do is to look for powders near it in the chart and consider them as a powder in mind -- then go look for load data for that powder.

For this to work, you need some published data sources. There is a current thread in this forum that has hyperlinks to published data sources. Some of the easiest are to visit Hodgdon (including IMR & Winchester), Alliant, Accurate, Ramshot and Vihtavuori websites for clickable published load data or links to .pdf files of published load data.

In this instance, I'm aware that Accurate #2 is also in the realm of a fast burning powder like W231, so if I couldn't get W231 and I were willing to try something else, I'd go chase down some published data for Accurate #2. Or Hodgdon Titegroup. Or Ramshot Zip. Or Alliant Red Dot. Etc etc.

In other news -- there is definitely some "cross over" with powders where a particular powder can do a decent shop in a few different calibers. That's one of the reasons they get SO POPULAR in the first place, making them hard to find. But keep in mind that using one powder across a wide array of different calibers simply gives something up for the convenience of doing many with just one. It's very typical for a new handloader to want to use as few powders as absolutely possible...but most of us tend to widen our horizons a bit as we learn more about how they work...and we end up picking better powders for specific jobs -- and we end up keeping a number of different powders on hand.

If someone gave me your list of calibers and told me I could only buy one powder, I'd buy Hodgdon Universal and I would not load the .357 Sig, .223 and .300BO. Of course...Universal is very popular, so you wil likely have trouble finding it, too.
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Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:09 PM   #5
Marco Califo
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I want add that with very few exceptions, different powders are NOT equivalent!
You need obtain a good reloading manual and study it. Also study the powder makers free reloading data for each specific powder, caliber, and bullet weight. Primers can also make a difference between regular, military, and magnum. There is no such thing as an equivalent powder table. To even think so is dangerous, IMO.
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:22 PM   #6
chiefr
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Concur with poster #3
I have accumulated at least 50 load manuals over the years. If you own a copy of every bullet & powder manufacturers manuals, you will be surprised how many different powders will work with your cartridge.
Many powder load manuals do not cover another brand of powder. Also consider different bullet weights require different powders. If you use a bullet manufacturers manual, it will only list loads for their bullets & weights. Some manufacturers make heavier or lighter than common bullets.
I have picked up used, older manuals at gun shows for very little which come in handy for vintage rifles & milsurps.
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Old February 20, 2013, 01:50 PM   #7
DMNichols
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Thanks everyone for your advice!! I really appreciate the time and effort you took to pass along you experience to someone new to reloading.

Thanks again!
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Old February 20, 2013, 01:56 PM   #8
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As an alternative to buying manuals which mainly sit around and accumulate dust and take up space, use the powder manufacturers' web sites as well as handloads.com and reloadammo.com to cross-check powders and loads for reasonableness. I have been reloading for handguns for over 3 years and have accumulated exactly zero reloading manuals, having learned the process from the Lee die instructions and reading a lot here as well as at the aforementioned internet resources.
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Old February 20, 2013, 03:50 PM   #9
serf 'rett
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The burn rate chart I like can be found online at Vihtavuori. Instead of one long list, the powders are in columns by maker, giving a side by side rough comparison.
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Old February 20, 2013, 04:02 PM   #10
BigD_in_FL
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For your smaller caliber pistols, most any fast shotgun powder - such as Red Dot, Clay Dot, Clays, Universal, Unique, etc. will also be listed on the Alliant and Hodgdon web sites
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Old February 20, 2013, 04:18 PM   #11
black mamba
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There are equivalent powders, meaning they are the same powder marketed under a different brand name. Here are the ones I know of:

W231 and HP-38
WAP and Ram Silhouette
W540 and HS6
W571 and HS7
A4100 and Ram Enforcer
W296 and H110
IMR4227 and H4227
A2230 and Ram X-Terminator
W760 and H414

What you must always remember is that although these are the same powders, they are different lots. If you have a max load worked up with W231 and run out, you CANNOT simply buy some HP-38 and use the same weight of powder charge as before. You need to drop down 8-10% and work back up to the new max, or whenever you are happy with the load.
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Old February 20, 2013, 04:51 PM   #12
Sevens
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I'm not sure about the others, but I don't believe that H4227 and IMR-4227 are the same powder and interchangeable.

I do know that this does NOT work with IMR-4895 and H4895.

A quick run to Hodgdon's online source shows different load data between H4227 and IMR-4227.

Be careful.
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Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
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Old February 20, 2013, 05:34 PM   #13
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Try Lil Gun for the 300 AAC.
I use it (Lil Gun) for my subsonic rounds in my 300 Whisper, aka 300 BLK,aka 300 AAC. Actually get better groupings with it than with H110 or AA 5 or 7
It has worked out really well for me.

You MIGHT be able to find lil gun but in todays overheated market who knows what is left out there to purchase.

Gary
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Old February 20, 2013, 05:39 PM   #14
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H4227 is no longer manufactured. It is now IMR-4227. Hodgdon markets both Hodgdon and IMR powders.
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