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Old June 16, 2006, 08:07 AM   #1
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Low Flash , max velocity Powders for 40 S&W , 45acp , and .357 Magnum

I've been a reloader for years and have never considered loading rounds designed for low muzzle flash before but think it may be something to consider with a CCW weapon .

I have been using Winchester 231 for years and love the stuff .

How does it compared to other powders as far as muzzle flash is concearned ?

I picked up some Power Pistol for my new 40 S&W but I have read it can produce a pretty bright flash so I am guessing this isn't a good choice .

Would appreciate any help in finding one powder for the 40 and 45 as well as one for a 4 inch .357 with 125gr bullets that will push them at near safe max velocities .

I have honestly never fired a single round at night so I have no knowledge of just what an excessive flash is .

Thanks for any help you can provide .
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Old June 16, 2006, 10:30 AM   #2
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Anytime you use slow-burning powders in a revolver application you'll get a big fireball. Use a medium burning powder. AA#5 is supposed to be the least flashy of the over the counter powders.
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Old June 16, 2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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In .357 Mag I've found that I get pretty decent performance & accuracy with relatively little in the way of flash (as compared to other "slow" powders) when I use H4227 and either 125 gr or 158 gr JHP's from my 4" S&W 686. Yes, I use magnum primers (Federal). While you won't get the absolute highest performance with this powder, you can still get decent results that pretty well duplicates the better factory rounds in performance and relative lack of flash.

BTW --I am limited to shooting at a local indoor range, but the lighting there is such that "flashy" rounds are readily apparent.

Sorry, I really can't help you on the .40 and .45 loads, I really don't have that much experience with them.
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Old June 16, 2006, 04:42 PM   #4
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Actual experience:

357 Magnum = Vihtavuori Oy N110

40 S&W = 3N37 / WAP

45 ACP = this one is much more difficult, because I've noticed different guns can create differing flash levels firing same-lot ammo, but N350, AA5, 700X, and W231.
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Old January 18, 2007, 02:40 PM   #5
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BigO01, I am in the same situation...I have started to look at flash. I know you should compare apples to apples...but now that I have started to pay attention, my 44 mag with specials loaded with Unique there was hardly any flash. Switching to 44 mags loaded with H110, was a fireball. Hopefully here I can do some more comparing. I will do most of the testing in my 357 and 45s. If I find anything with low flash, I let everyone know...
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Old January 20, 2007, 04:51 AM   #6
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Best low flash powder I’ve tested VV N340, next WAP, then 231, then AA5. And those results were consistent in 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP.
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Old January 21, 2007, 01:37 PM   #7
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Would appreciate any help in finding one powder for the 40 and 45 as well as one for a 4 inch .357 with 125gr bullets that will push them at near safe max velocities .
Power Pistol is a great choice for high velocities in auto pistol cartridges, but as you mention, it produces a terrible muzzle flash. I have recently started working with Longshot, and it is much better behaved. Not flashless, by any means, and it might still produce more flash than some of the other powders mentioned, but it does produce high velocities at reasonable pressures.

I haven't tried loading WAP, but it is supposed to be what is in 9x23mm Winchester loads, and I can confirm that they are both low flash, and high velocity! No longer in production under that name, Silhouette is supposed to be a good replacement. Was going to buy that, or the 3n37 last opportunity I had to buy powder, but the VV price was so high, and the Silhouette unavailable, so I settled for Longshot. So far, it seems to do what I want it to do. There are Longshot loads for the .357 magnum, But I have no experience using it in anything but 10mm, .40S&W, 9x23mm, and .45 ACP.
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Old January 21, 2007, 05:39 PM   #8
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I've been a reloader for years and have never considered loading rounds designed for low muzzle flash before but think it may be something to consider with a CCW weapon .

I’m like you I never thought about using a powder for low flash until I read about this on the net. Low flash seems like a good idea for carry ammo so I bought some Speer Gold Dot factory ammo. Speer says they use clean burning powder for low flash. Plus I like the uni-core bullets. Now that I have some quality carry ammo (low flash) I can reload what ever I want for practice.
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Old January 23, 2007, 07:04 AM   #9
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I've been honking-around with this flash stuff ever since I got waxed at a shooting event by other shooters with less than 70% percent of my daytime shooting ability.

Military & LE aren't too concerned with this flash concept because (A) They don't pay for thier ammo, and (B) The gunpowder in thier ammo already has an anti flash element or compound in it specifically for reducing flash. Yea, Yea. Call me nuts. I only shoot with them all the time, at night, and can see it for myself every time. They see it too but don't care.

If it's revolver, especially Magnum anything, you better get him with one sight picture because that's all your gonna get. Regardless of powder.

.45acp, 9mil & 40 you have a lot to work with.

You will need your friends, ammo marked, 'FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY', or US Military ammo, and your reloads. Now compare. It won't take long to see the difference.

Here is the kicker:
W231 is all the same when it comes to pressure. But I think the LE & Military rounds are loaded with 231 or a powder similar to it. I can't prove that-what they use is a trade secret. More importantly for reloaders, if they watch W231 lot numbers they will see some 231 lot numbers have sometimes more & sometimes less flash between 231 lot numbers. I've had best results finding the low flash stuff with the 231 in Eight lbs. keggers. It is hit or miss with regards to flash. Again, pressure is the same between lots but flash is not.

None of the powder manufactures will release what is low flash & what is not.

I do not dought that some of the VV may produce less flash, but I have not tested any of it yet. All the old powders such as Bullseye, Herco, 700x, color dot anything, and the American newer stuff mentioned before, will produce more flash than 231.

Smoke is a real 'bit.. two'. Using a jacketed bullet is all you can do. I've had guys tell me they shoot indoors all the time and smoke is no big deal. That's correct. A well ventilated indoor range-indoor shooting my foot. Come to think of it, I've never seen a exhaust system at an indoor crackhouse.

With all that said...Only use factory stuff for carry use. See your lawyer about that liability issue. In the meantime you can practice with your reloads.
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