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Old August 18, 2015, 09:10 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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so... what replaces that elusive 231 ???

I've seen the supposed e-mail regarding 231 & how hard / slow it is to make, & how we should supposedly switch to one of the newer formula powders...

I'm curious... as I'm a bit of a stick in the mud, & like to use what has worked good for me in the past... I'm not sure what is the "best" replacement for 231???

is there a "newer formula" powder that is more readily available, that has similar burn charictoristics but also meters as well as 231???

I do a lot of smaller caliber reloading from 25 ACP on up, & I get pretty consistant powder drops with a fine ball powder like 231... I hate to see it go, or be in such short supply... as long as it has been since I've seen it on the shelf, even if it started trickling in, it's going to be like buying 22 LR ammo for the next couple years... so maybe it's time to explore what best replaces it...

I've been using AA#5 in similar cartridges with good results... any other suggestions???
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Old August 18, 2015, 11:52 AM   #2
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A feller on another forum attacked this problem with Ramshot's Zip; http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloadi...#post138670125
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Old August 18, 2015, 12:49 PM   #3
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thanks for the link...
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Old August 18, 2015, 06:31 PM   #4
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
I've been using AA#5 in similar cartridges with good results... any other suggestions???
I don't consider AA#5 to be a substitute for W231 (or HP-38, since W231 and HP-38 are one in the same). W231 is a fast powder; while AA#5 is an intermediate burn rate powder.

Back to the substitutes. . .

Believe it or not, it depends on the application. If you're making low-level target ammo for 38/44 Special, 45 ACP, or 9mm, then Bullseye will do a good job. If you're loading a 38+P, 357 with lighter bullets, or 40 S&W target, I'd move to AA#2.

Both W231 and AA#2 have a little bit of "slowness" to them, compared to many of their contemporaries. Red Dot too, for that matter. But Bullseye, not so much. So it kind of depends.

There is no true substitute for W231, as every powder is different. Pick a powder - there is no true substitute for it. But all is not lost. I was kind of giving some loose "for instance" examples up above. Point is, not having W231 can be worked around. I have about 3#'s of W231 (it's HP-38, actually) and that'll last me a couple years or so. But as it currently stands, I do not intend to buy any more. I can use Bullseye for all my W231 applications.

There is life after W231 - assuming it will continue to be so hard to get.
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Old August 18, 2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Bullseye, bullseye, bullseye.

In fact for Bullseye, W231 was the substitute.
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Old August 19, 2015, 06:37 AM   #6
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i'll just start using titegroup exclusively. almost interchangeable laod data, a couple tenths less of TG and similar velocities.
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Old August 19, 2015, 07:02 AM   #7
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As far as I'm concerned, Bullseye isn't a substitute, it's a no frigging way in hell am I using itatute...
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Old August 19, 2015, 07:12 AM   #8
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itatute ???
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Old August 19, 2015, 07:26 AM   #9
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Thats a tough call since its hard to make a ball powder to burn as fast as a flake.
I've loaded 25acp with Bullseye, Red Dot, and Unique but none of those will meter with as much prescision as a ball powder. With .25 I weigh every charge anyways, since there is such a tiny margin for error. I though WSF migh work well, but finding any load data for it is another matter.
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Old August 19, 2015, 08:21 AM   #10
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I have right at 16 pounds of W231 left over from my competition days, that should last me a while.

I have considered working up some loads with 700X for 45 ACP.

I know it will not meter as well as W231 but I have a good supply of 700X also that needs used up.

W231 is my favorite powder in 9mm and 45 ACP, however I never did care for it in 40S&W, N350 was the powder of choice for the 40.
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Old August 19, 2015, 08:58 AM   #11
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"itatute"

it - atute...

A play on words.
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Old August 19, 2015, 08:58 AM   #12
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On one hand, if Hodgdon and Gendye/St Marks see a demand, they will produce either 231 or a "new tech" powder of comparable burning rate.
Remember, Hodgdon is working on the third source of such popular powders as 4895. And AA has sourced the same nominal grades of powder from all over the world. So 231 can be copied.

On the other hand, a friend was running short of 231 during the Panic. I compiled a list of 26 powders for which I had 9mm P load data. A store in the next town over had two of them. He bought one and now prefers it.

On the gripping hand, I have a good supply of HP38 and will not have to worry about it for some time.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:42 AM   #13
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itatute ? :D

Quote:
"itatute"

it - atute...

A play on words.
. . ^^ Heh, I still don't get it.^^ My coffee must be defective

At any rate, I think we can safely say that Mike Irwin isn't a fan of Bullseye.

Why not?

Granted, in the context of this thread, Bullseye certainly can not do all W231 can. Bullseye is fast and energetic - "harsh," if you will. While W231 is a little less energetic, and more tame. As I previously mentioned, W231 has some "slowness" to it. W231 runs much cleaner and meters slightly better than Bullseye.

Bullseye is pretty much a target level propellant (45 ACP being a bit of an exception). W231 can have some other applications, because it can be pumped up a bit without it turning around and biting you. Bullseye is less forgiving that way.

But there are things that Bullseye can do that W231 can't (or at least, shouldn't). Recently, I downloaded some 45 ACP ammo to extremely light pure target level. I tested W231 and Bullseye for this application. W231 gave up and started running sooty with unburnt powder well before Bullseye started doing the same.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:49 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
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"W231 runs much cleaner and meters slightly better than Bullseye."

And there you have it.

My experience with Bullseye, while imited, was unimpressive. What it could do WW 231 could do cleaner and far better.

OK...

Substitute.

we strike the first 6 letters of substitute, leaving "tute."

Then we substitute this for the first 6 letters...

"no frigging way in hell am I using (it a "tute").

In essence, sub is replaced with NO WAY, JOSE.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
As far as I'm concerned, Bullseye isn't a substitute, it's a no frigging way in hell am I using itatute...
So, Mike, we can put you down as a "maybe"?

I'm a 231 fan, but may soon have to become a "something else" fan.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:53 AM   #16
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Titegroup seems to be the most available locally.
And it does seem to be a good substitute for 231.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:54 AM   #17
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MIKE... are you texting on the forum
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Old August 19, 2015, 10:13 AM   #18
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
Titegroup seems to be the most available locally
I've heard lots of good stuff about TiteGroup. And I want to try some as soon as I cross paths with a #. But I'm not going to pay a hazmat for just one # (I think Cabela's has it right now). And I'm not going to buy 4#'s of an untested powder - especially when I'm already sitting on about 9#'s of various fast powders as it is.

I poke my head into my LGS now and then, looking for it. Someday.
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Old August 19, 2015, 10:17 AM   #19
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I am sitting on about 12lbs of HP-38 and hope to pick up some more before it goes poof.

I like it for 45 ACP, 9mm and 38 Spls. It meters well, its accurate and burns clean.

I have read a lot of positive things about Alliant BE-86.

It might be a moot point because this was posted on Hodgdon's Facebook page yesterday.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...ing.&__tn__=*s
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:21 AM   #20
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Quote:
it's a no frigging way in hell am I using itatute...
LOL! I like it!

I've used W231/HP38 quite a bit and always found it to be OKAY powder. It was neither as economical as Bullseye, nor versatile as Unique. It meters better than the other two, but the other two meter well ENOUGH. I've never found W231/HP38 to be so wonderfully clean-burning as the rest of the world seems to, either. Cleaner than Unique, but that's damning with faint praise.

If they can be found on the shelves, IMR 700-X (very clean-burning in .45 ACP), IMR PB, or Alliant RedDot will approximate W231/HP38 performance. Their loading data is likely NOT interchangeable.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:35 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
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"MIKE... are you texting on the forum"

Wht U tkin abt, Wls?


"It was neither as economical as Bullseye, nor versatile as Unique."

I don't know about 231's economy, as I've never really compared it price wise against Bullseye or anything else. I can't imagine that the price differential would be all that much, though.

I do know that, in about 95% of my reloading, it does EXACTLY what I want it to do.

As for Unique, I've never been shy in my opinion about Unique. Personally, I can't stand the stuff. It's filthy dirty and it meters for crap.

But it is, and this is something that I've said many times over the years here, the single most flexible and versatile powder ever offered to handloaders in the United States. And by a wide margin.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
Bullseye, bullseye, bullseye.

In fact for Bullseye, W231 was the substitute.
That. I started using 231 because Bullseye became unfindable, and my local guy had 231.

Joy of joys, I managed to get a couple pound jars of Bullseye at a show at the beginning of summer, so I'm set (at the rate I use it) for a while.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:55 AM   #23
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I just tried some of the new Hodgdon CFE-pistol. Why? Because the LGS had it but did not have, have not had, any 231 for over a year. It is a fine ball powder, it's also about the same charge weight, so it fits as a replacement. As for how it works, just fine! I use almost exclusively powder coated boolits, so the copper eliminating properties are wasted.
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Old August 19, 2015, 12:22 PM   #24
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MIKE IRWIN, not to start a "flaming war" or whatever it's called, but I generally found that getting performance equivalent to Bullseye loads from W231, I had to elevate the charge weight from 0.5 grains to 1.5grains per round, depending on the caliber of interest. May not seem like much, but 4.0/Bullseye/225TC was the equivalent of 5.0/W231/225TC. Per pound of powder (assuming no spillage), that's 1750 rounds with Bullseye, vs. 1400/lb. with W231. When you're shooting a lot, that's a big diff.

Like you, I'm not a huge fan of Bullseye, but I recognize its value. UNlike you, I AM a fan of Unique, despite its tendency to "meter like cornflakes" and not burn as cleanly as many powders. I find both problems abate quickly as charge weights go above 5 - 6gr, and heavy crimps, heavy bullets, and higher velocities are sought. At it's CLEANEST, Unique will likely never be considered a "clean-burning" powder. Given its versatility, I can live with it. Herco, it's slower burning younger brother, behaves in very much the same way.
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Old August 19, 2015, 03:09 PM   #25
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Yeah, 231 isn't the cleanest burning of Hodgdon's offerings.
Unfortunately the very clean Clays selections are also being phased out, according to another thread on the forum.
So, as long as it's available, Titegroup will be it.
Of course, it might be the next hard sought after powder and we'll be back where we started.
Can't win for losing.
Best be on the look out for the recommended CFE, too, maybe.
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