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Old September 27, 2012, 09:14 PM   #1
WilliamC
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Powder Question

I am just getting back into reloading after about 16 years. I've pulled all my equipment out of storage and picked up a set of 9MM dies. I don't want to buy a bunch of different powders to start off. I am hoping to get maybe 2 different types that I will be using for 9MM only. I will be using 115 and 124 gr Berry Plated Bullets. My question is what would be the 2 most versital powders to start with.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:18 PM   #2
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I am new to reloading but have been pointed towards using Winchester 231 Ball Powder.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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I think it's safe to say 231 is one of the most common powders for 9mm. i've also had good results with Universal.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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Can't go wrong with 232/hp-38 or unique.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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I have had great results with UNIVERSAL Clays too. Nice and clean burning too.
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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W231/HP38 (same thing) will work in 9 mm. I have used it. I prefer AA5 for 9 mm. It is a slower burning powder and I believe it is better suited for 124 grain bullets compared to W231. It is also a ball powder and works quite well in most powder measures.

I found once you get to the point of a load that will cycle your pistol and is accurate using W231 powder it might be necessary to increase .1 or .2 grains of powder to get it to burn clean enough. I found W231 worked better with 115 grain bullets than it did with 124 grain bullets for me. I use jacked bullets so it might be different with plated.

Mid range to upper mid range loads seemed to do the best using AA5 powder. Also using a little shorter OAL seemed to improve things as well. AA5 seems to work best when the base of the bullet is close to the powder. This is probably why I got better results using 124 grain bullets.

Your results may be different.
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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HP38/W231 and N320 works well for me in .380/9mm/.38/.45
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Old September 27, 2012, 11:02 PM   #8
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Bullseye.
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Old September 27, 2012, 11:03 PM   #9
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I like Power Pistol for 9mm.
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Old September 27, 2012, 11:25 PM   #10
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I currently use Power Pistol for 9mm with 124 gr Berry's plated or hardcast lead RN. But AA5 is also good. Unique, Universal, W231, and Bullseye can also be used. 9mm seems to like the medium to slightly slow powders, but the fasters can be used but won't get top velocities.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:33 AM   #11
serf 'rett
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I use W-231 for my target loads, Power Pistol for high velocity loads and Unique for somewhere in between loads. Both W231 and Power Pistol meter well for me, but Unique doesn't; however, a unique thing about Unique, in my pistols, is a +/- 0.2 spread in charge weight doesn't appear to have much effect on the shot grouping.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:58 AM   #12
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I use Win 231, and am pretty happy with the results. My nephew swears by PowerPistol.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:00 AM   #13
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Bullseye and Unique will do it all.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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I've had real good luck with certain boolits with Unique. WW-231 is in second.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:31 PM   #15
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And if you buy HP38 instead of 231 it is a dollar per pound cheaper, whether you buy the one pound, four pound, or eight pound container.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:35 PM   #16
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Another vote for HP38/Win 231.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:07 AM   #17
Mike Irwin
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When I loaded 9mm the only powder I used was 231.

If I start loading it again, it will be with 231.
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:10 AM   #18
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You can’t beat HP-38/W231 for light to standard loads with most bullet weights. For hot loads I recommend Power Pistol.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:05 PM   #19
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I like all the suggestions and I'd make any of them work, but hands-down, I'd recommend that you buy Hodgdon Universal. It will be listed in the manuals as UNIVERSAL or Universal Clays. The bottle says Universal (Clays Technology).

Universal can be thought of as a more modern version of Unique. It cannot be directly swapped in/out for Unique, you must find Universal specific data for it.

It meters better than Unique, but will work in any role where Unique works.

Why I am recommending it for you? Because you don't wish to buy a whole bunch of new powders... this one will work very well for 9mm and will serve you well in many other roles if/when you start to work with some other cartridges. It's also economical, especially if you take the plunge and buy it in an 8-lb container.

I've tried more a half-dozen different powders in 9mm and I've never even used W231 (a fine powder for sure) and it's a fact that you have MANY choices and most of them are great choices. But if I'm recommending the first one to get that will serve you well across the board, it's Universal.
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Old September 29, 2012, 03:18 PM   #20
Mike Irwin
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"But if I'm recommending the first one to get that will serve you well across the board, it's Universal."

Actually, insert WW-231 at the end of that sentence and I'd agree with it.

Over the years I've used 231 for:

.32 Auto
.32 S&W Long
.32-20 WCF
.380 Auto
9mm Makarov
.38 Smith & Wesson
.38 Special
.357 Mag.
.41 Mag.
.44 Special
.45 ACP/.45 Auto Rim

Granted, it's not able to go full power on the .357 or .41 Magnums, but with lead bullets it provides very good mid-range loads.

I quit using it in .44 Special because there was such a tiny amount of powder in such a big case I was getting erratic performance.

For everything else, though, it's a wonderful powder, meters spectacularly, and burns cleanly.

I have used Universal, but at this point not much. I picked up a pound because it was recommended for my .45 Long Colt, and I have to say that I am exceptionally happy with its performance.

One of these days I'll get around to trying it in some of the other cartridges for which I load.

Looking at the data, though, 231 and Universal seem to be so close that they're virtually interchangeable -- if one is useful in one cartridge, the other will be, as well.

The big difference for me is that I've been using 231 since the early 1980s...
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Old September 30, 2012, 10:10 PM   #21
WilliamC
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Thanks for the replies, decided to go with Unique, will let you know my results when I can.
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Old October 1, 2012, 07:39 AM   #22
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115g and Unique

5.5g. Will even work in sub-guns.
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:59 AM   #23
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I agree with Mike Irwin's assessment.

I've been using 231 ever since it was changes from 230. Used that too and was sad when it was changed out till I used the 'new' 231.

The word is that 231 and HP38 is the same thing. I haven't made a one on one comparison, yet. But as both come from the same place and with other sources, that I consider valid, I think I would use HP38 as a direct replacement.

It can be used for a full range of loads in just about every pistol round out there. I have read of a fella using it in a 300 AAC Blackout with sub-sonic loads.

For use in your 9MM, it will do the job. This doesn't degrade other powders, many of them do as well. Oh, hard magnum loads are better served with other powders like 2400, H110, 296 and others. But 9MMs don't fit into this class.

Be safe and enjoy,

OSOK
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
The word is that 231 and HP38 is the same thing. I haven't made a one on one comparison, yet. But as both come from the same place and with other sources, that I consider valid, I think I would use HP38 as a direct replacement.
All of the published load data the Hodgdon supplies in any form these days is exactly, and I do mean EXACTLY the same for either powder. It was not always this way, but they standardized it at some point in the last 10 or so years and now Hodgdon is very clear on their stance-- as far as they are concerned, it is the same powder.
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:02 PM   #25
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I've had good luck with HP 38, AA#5, and Bullseye
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