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Old November 29, 2011, 04:19 PM   #1
serf 'rett
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W231 and HP38 - The Same Stuff?

Questions for the elders:

I've read a number of comments that W231 and HP38 are the same powder.

Is this true?

As in made in the same factory and plastered with different labels?

And if it's true, then why is the W231 price 5 to 8 percent higher?

And yes, I know that powder is the least expensive component and that I may be straining at gnats while swallowing camels, but if the powder’s the same, why pay more? If I want to pay more, then why not get VV-N320, and use the same logic of powder being the least expensive component.
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Old November 29, 2011, 04:58 PM   #2
mehavey
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If you believe this source, "Yes"

http://www.adi-limited.com/handloade...quivalents.asp

As to why Winchester might be higher-priced, consider that 'W' is much further along in the alphabet.
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Old November 29, 2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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It the same. I get that both from talking to Hodgdon's technical support and from reading the MSDS sheets. Quite a number of differently named powders are the same thing at the time of manufacture. The military and manufacturers will buy bulk grades that have sometime significant lot-to-lot burn rate variations. The versions sold to handloaders are called canister grade, and for these the maker has gone to the extra expense of testing his lot burn rate than adjusting it by blending with held back lots that turned out to be exceptionally fast or slow, until the net burn rate is, according to Hodgdon's standards, withing 3% of nominal. This is done to keep load manual data valid. With bulk versions it cannot be counted on to be valid, which is why you have to be careful when buying surplus powders, as they are bulk powders and their burn rates cannot be counted on to be close enough to the canister versions to use the manual data.

Below is my list of equivalent powders based on information published in their MSDS's. The ones under military and OEM are bulk grade numbers. Those under handloader powder company names are canister grade versions.

Code:
                   | St. Marks  |                        |          |
     Hodgdon       |  Military  |      Winchester        | Thales   |  IMR
                   |  & OEM     |                        | (ADI)    |
___________________|____________|________________________|__________|_______________________
                   |            |                        |          |
HP-38              |   OBP231   |  231                   |          |
H110 --------------|--- WC296 --|- 296 ------------------|----------|-----------------------
H414               |    WC760   |  760                   |          |
H380               |    WC852   |                        |          |
Lil' Gun ----------|-- OBP516 --|------------------------|----------|-----------------------
Hybrid 100V        |   SHP771   |                        |          |
HS-6               |    WC540   |                        |          |
H335 --------------|--- WC844 --|------------------------|----------|-----------------------
BL-C(2)            |    WC846   |                        |          |
Titewad            |   OBP132   |                        |          |
Tightgroup --------|-- OBP242 --|------------------------|----------|-----------------------
Longshot           |   OBP473   |                        |          |
US869              |    WC869   |                        |          |
-------------------|--- WAA90 --|- WST ------------------|----------|-----------------------
                   |   WXC170   |  WSF                   |          |
                   |   OBP124   |  AALite (WFL)          |          |
-------------------|-- OBP465 --|- Super-Handicap (WSH) -|----------|-----------------------
                   |    WC748   |  748                   |          |
                   |   WMR780   |- Supreme 780           |          |
-------------------|-- SMP224 --|  AutoComp -------------|----------|-----------------------
                   |            |                        |          |
Clays              |            |                        |  AS30N   |
International Clays|------------|------------------------|- AS50N --|-----------------------
Universal Clays    |            |                        |  AP70N   |
H4227              |            |                        |  AR2205  |  IMR 4227 second source
H4198 -------------|------------|------------------------|- AR2207 -|-----------------------
Benchmark          |            |                        |   BM2    |
H322               |            |                        |  AR2219  |
-------------------|------------|------------------------|- AR2210 -|- IMR 8208 XBR --------
H4895              |            |                        |  AR2206H |
Varget             |            |                        |  AR2208  |
H4350 -------------|------------|------------------------|- AR2209 -|-----------------------
H4831              |            |                        |  AR2213  |
H4831SC            |            |                        | AR2213SC |
H1000 -------------|------------|------------------------|- AR2217 -|-----------------------
Retumbo            |            |                        |  AR2225  |
H50BMG             |            |                        |  AR2218  |
-------------------|------------|------------------------|- AR2215 -|- IMR 4198 second source
                   |            |                        |  AS25BP  |- IMR Trail Boss
As to why Hodgdon distributes multiple versions, that's just because when they and Winchester were independently buying and distributing the same blended grades from St. Marks, their load data was separate. As a result, you will find many manuals that only list the Winchester branded version or only list the Hodgdon branded version, and Hodgdon doesn't normally want to lose the business for either data listing by making one of the labels unavailable.

They will do that if the usage is low enough, though. They have discontinued H4227, for example, as the IMR lable product is currently the same thing and the H branding apparently wasn't popular enough to their sales to be worth the cost of keeping it separately inventoried.

BTW, you also get some instances where both Hodgdon and Winchester brands of something are listed, but because the manual author bought test samples that came from different lots, the listed charges aren't quite exactly the same. It's a good way to get a sense of how much lot-to-lot burn rates can affect a powder even with the same label.
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Old November 29, 2011, 05:30 PM   #4
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First of all, several burn-rate charts show HP-38 to be faster than W231 with several other powders in between them. However, since burn-rate is partially controlled by an inhibitor applied to the powder or by how much the ball powder is flattened, I suppose that the same powder could then have 2 slightly different burn rates.

Personally, I have loaded both powders extensively and will say that W231 does not look like nor feed through a measure like HP-38. But again, I have read too that graphite is also added to prevent caking and help with flow. JMO.
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Old November 29, 2011, 06:31 PM   #5
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I think you're just seeing lot-to-lot variations. One of the reasons for the invention of the spherical propellant process is that it can recycle nitrocellulose from aging stores of deteriorating powders or use it from multiple sources of varying quality. Where the nitrocellulose comes from can affect appearance, going from brown to white, so what shows through the graphite may be a factor in appearance.

Also, if you look at a large enough number of burn rate charts, you see the orders of the powders can change considerably. I've seen Bullseye ranked anywhere from number 3 to number 15 in different charts, so I expect the charts (where they aren't just kluged together from other charts) just reflect whatever the lot numbers available for testing did at the time. The charts have to be taken only as rough ballparking. If they were definitive, they would provide an historic range of values for different lots and you'd see a lot of those ranges overlapping.

231 is 26 on this chart and HP38 is 22.

On this chart 231 is 39 and HP38 is 42.

On this chart (from Hodgdon, which ought to know its own powder) they are 28 and 29 just because they didn't have room to put them on the same line, I suppose.

So, there you have one chart where HP38 is faster, one where it is slower, and one where the two are the same.
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Old November 29, 2011, 07:57 PM   #6
res45
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I also got the same info from the Hodgdon Tech that W231 & HP-38 were the same as well as W296 and H-110 there are also several more. The only difference is between lot to lot variations.

If you look on the Hodgdon web site load guide and select 9mm,357 Mag. 45 Colt for example where the above mentioned powder are both used with a particular bullet weight all the data is exactly the same across the board for the Win. and Hodgdon version of those powders.

What also might be confusing is that the term "ball powder" is owned by Winchester. The other suppliers that make powders for Hodgdon have to use the term "spherical powder." The spheres are flattened to control burning rate.

I use both variations of both powders and get whatever my supplier has in stock,usually Hodgdon version is cheaper by about a $1 per lb. It may just be my lots but both my W231 & HP-38 look the same meter the same and shoot the same on targets and chrono data variations is no more than lot to lot variation.

I save this email from awhile back.

Quote:
"Win. 231 and HP-38 are exactly the same powder. Any data you see for one you can safely use with the other.

Dave Campbell
Hodgdon/ IMR/ Winchester"

Last edited by res45; November 29, 2011 at 08:10 PM.
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Old November 29, 2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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Uncle Nick, you have the COOLEST STUFF... Thanks for sharing your research with the rest of us. If we should ever meet in real life, Steaks are on ME!!
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Old November 29, 2011, 09:33 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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W231 and HP38 are the same stuff NOW.
They have always come out of the same plant, most recently St Marks, built by Olin/Winchester but now owned by General Dynamics.
Hodgdon does not own the factory, just the Winchester distributorship. But that makes it convenient for them to label powder off the same truck whichever way they have the orders for.

Some older manuals that bother to show both W231 and HP38 load them more than 3% apart, I had one book with them about 10% different for the same caliber. My last smidgen of W231, kept in its cone-topped metal can for use in my fixed bushing CH powder measure, it nearly that far from my present big jug of HP38.

I think the grades have been merged for convenience but were not previously the same detail specs back when Winchester packaged and distributed their own products.

Oh, by the way, Accurate powders are now Made in USA. Being of the Ball process, they have to be coming out of St Marks.
Does anybody have an equivalence chart of the AA powders vs St Marks factory designation and Hodgdon or WW powders?
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Old November 29, 2011, 11:28 PM   #9
serf 'rett
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The elders have spoken..

..thanks for the information guys (and gals if there one of those in the responders). I just finished working up and testing some loads, three bullet types in 9mm and two in 40S&W, using W231 and was pleased enough with the results that I'm thinking of relieveing Powder Valley of one of their 8 pound jugs. Just need to decide if I want to pay about $1 per pound more for W321.
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Old November 30, 2011, 03:39 AM   #10
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Now everybody that RJ meets will be calling themselves "Unclenick".
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Old November 30, 2011, 08:32 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the good info, everyone. It's great to have a site like TFL to get straight answers without snobiness or ridicule.
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Old November 30, 2011, 12:16 PM   #12
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Jim,

I still think it's all in the lot differences. Hodgdon told me they have tightened QC on both the St. Marks and IMR powders since taking over distribution. They now order them controlled to ±3% of nominal burn rate (so a possible 6% extreme spread between lots) but they didn't used to be held that tightly (Hodgdon started out selling repackaged surplus bulk powder, don't forget).

I've deduced from some old data that 10% used to be the more common extreme spread in canister grade burn rates. Indeed, QuickLOAD's database has almost 10% burn rate difference in H110 and 296 (Ba 0.8000 vs. 0.7300, respectively), based on data first measured in the early 90's. QuickLOAD's author won't model the IMR pistol powders at all because he says they historically changed sources so frequently he had no confidence in the models remaining close enough to be valid. I don't know if Hodgdon has addressed that or not, but I would suppose they have, since QC improvement has been one of their objectives.

Hodgdon started selling WC296 to handloaders as H110 before Winchester came out with it as Winchester 296, but both numbers have always been WC296 (originally developed for .30 Carbine, I believe). I got that sales history from Hodgdon. We could ask, but I'm pretty sure you'll find the same thing is true of the other St. Marks powders.
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Old November 30, 2011, 05:31 PM   #13
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I have a pound of 231 and HP-38 that have the same lot#. This leads me to believe that they are the same powder.
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Old November 30, 2011, 05:34 PM   #14
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Here's a link to Hodgdons Basic Reloading Manual. As you will see in the pistol section, WW231 and HP38 given the same load, have the same velocity and same pressure for every cartridige listed

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...1&d=1322692209
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Hodgdon Basic Manual.pdf (4.07 MB, 68 views)
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Old November 30, 2011, 07:34 PM   #15
serf 'rett
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I had already looked at Hodgdon online manual for 9mm, 40S&W and 45ACP and noted that everything was identical except this 100 PSI listing in 9mm:

130 GR. BERB RN Winchester 231 .356" 1.150" 3.9 903 27,600 PSI 4.3 1005 33,000 PSI 130 GR. BERB RN Hodgdon HP-38 .356" 1.150" 3.9 903 27,600 PSI 4.3 1005 33,100 PSI

Typo maybe, but perhaps not an earth shaking difference in 9mm.
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