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Old September 5, 2000, 03:51 PM   #1
Don Gwinn
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Since I'm just starting out, I have the luxury of buying a fairly small amount of powder for use in a single caliber (I gather that one powder is often purchased as a compromise for use in several different calibers and loads.)
I'll only be loading .45acp for right now. Is there a single powder that's appreciably better than others for fairly standard .45 loads? +P is not an issue here.
The next caliber I start loading will probably be .44 magnum, followed by special. If you suggest a powder for .45 that would somehow be a bad idea in .44 magnum, let me know. I assume .45 acp and .44 spl are close enough not to matter much. Thanks!
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Old September 5, 2000, 06:23 PM   #2
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I've had pretty good luck with AA#5. I shoot mostly 200 gr cast bullets from my .45

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Old September 5, 2000, 07:25 PM   #3
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My best success has been Unique for both as long as the loads are on the mild side. For heavier loads in the .44, I prefer 2400. They do tend to have a lot of soot, but both meter well through my Lee powder measure giving very consistant weights.
4.7gr of Unique under 230gr RNL, in the .45acp is the most accurate loading in my Kimber. In .44, I use a variation of the Cowboy data from Alliant's website for both the .44Mag and the .44 Special using a 240gr LRN over 7.0 gr in either the Special case or the Magnum case. If all you have is a .44Mag, I would suggest avoiding the .44 Special brass unless you get a super deal on it. No problem with it, but since it costs the same, at least in my area, I see little point in using it.

Winchester 231 is a good powder also, and a bit cleaner than Unique. I found it doesn't meter as consistantly through my Lee measure though.
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Old September 5, 2000, 07:30 PM   #4
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VihtaVuori N340 works good in 9mm to 45 ACP and burns clean.
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Old September 5, 2000, 07:34 PM   #5
Stephen A. Camp
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Hello. My vote goes for Unique. Best.
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Old September 5, 2000, 07:49 PM   #6
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I think Bullseye is the best powder in .45 acp.

You can use it for the .44 mag, but only up to medium loads.

If you want one powder for both, go with Unique.

Good Luck...


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Old September 5, 2000, 08:18 PM   #7
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I use tite group for my 45 and find it works fine and burns clean. sj
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Old September 5, 2000, 08:36 PM   #8
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I have used:
Power Pistol

They all work great, but the Unique is dirty. I like to clean guns, but it is sooo dirty, it started jamming.
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Old September 5, 2000, 09:23 PM   #9
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Ditto on Unique. Shoots well in 44spl, 44Mag and 45acp. I use it in the 357 as well. It's my old faithful. Great midrange powder. If I was limited to 3 pistol powders they would be WW231, Unique and 2400.

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Old September 5, 2000, 10:39 PM   #10
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Titegroup or Bullseye

Titegroup is also a lot cleaner then Bullseye. Both can be used to make some very accurate load. My favorite "hot" powder is VihtaVuori but it's expensive and can be tough to find.

There's only two powders in which I buy LARGE quanities of, VihtaVuori and Titegroup.
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Old September 6, 2000, 12:20 AM   #11
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For 45 ACP and 44 Special Winchester 231 is hard to beat.
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Old September 6, 2000, 12:52 AM   #12
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I use 231, but a lot of people recomend Alliant Bullseye or Blue Dot. I don't like Alliant/Hercules because they tend to be smokey and dirty. Someone bring back my Winchester Super Lite!!!
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Old September 6, 2000, 01:26 AM   #13
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231 or AA5
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Old September 6, 2000, 01:50 AM   #14
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Unique is the single most versatile powder there is. It makes great handgun loads, some pretty fair shotgun loads, and I'm told it does okay for light gallery rifles loads, too.

Unique with lead bullets and the old black bullet lube is pretty messy for indoor use. It will NOT make a pistol malfunction in just a few rounds, though. Twenty years ago, I used to make it a point to clean a .45 after about 150 or 200 rounds with Lyman black lube, 230 RNL bullets, and 6.5 gr. Unique. You don't need to go this heavy. 5.6 gr gives a little over 800 fps from a 5" bbl with 230 RNL. With modern bullet lube, Unique is not bad about fouling, but W-231 IS a bit cleaner.

Load 6.5 Unique with 230 FMJ or plated for about 832 fps.

Same charge with 200 gr jacketed for 860, or 200 LSWC for 890.

I use .44 Special cases to keep light loads separate from heavy, using same bullets. The 240 LSWC with 5.7 to 6.3 gr. Unique is a joy to shoot. Excellent for small game and plinking.

You can use same bullet and powder in .44 Mag cases. 9 gr, gives some 1000 fps in a 7.5" bbl. Or use jacketed 240 gr. bullets with 10.3 gr for 1175 fps. This is getting fairly warm, still using the same powder. Again, Unique is NOT dirty with jacketed bullets.

And, is you start loading for other cartridges---I have pet loads with Unique for - - -

.25 ACP
.380 ACP
.38 S&W
.38 Special wadcutter, RNL, and +P
.38 Super
9 x 19 mm
10 mm Auto
.40 S&W
.44 Special
.44 Magnum
.45 Auto Rim
.45 Colt

I don't say that Unique is the absolute BEST powder for each of these--But it works darned well. I've come to like Universal Clays--loads much like Unique, and a little cleaner. But it doesn't have the wide range of applications. Not nearly as good in .44 Mag, for instance.

Whichever way you go, be safe and have fun. Handloading will increase your enjoyment of handgun shooting a lot. More bangs for the same bucks!


---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---
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Old September 6, 2000, 12:01 PM   #15
Desert Dog
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I load for .45 ACP extensively; everything from a 650 FPS 230gr.RNL to a screaming 1400 FPS 165gr. JHP. The powders I have settled on after trying ALL suitable powders for my loads are:

Red Dot (a little dirty for my taste but accurate)
Accurate Arms #5
Accurate Arms #7 (hot load powder)
Accurate Arms #9 (heavy bullets, 230gr.+)
Power Pistol

For general target use the W231 seems to be the cleanest, and the most efficient. Since I have never loaded for .44 (.429") anything I haven't a clue if any of these are suitable.

Good luck, and be careful...

.45 Super... Fat and FAST...

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Old September 6, 2000, 01:38 PM   #16
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Unique is the single most versatile pistol powder out there. If you were just shoting target practice, Bullseye would be good. 6.0gn of Unique and a 230gn FMJ is what I use for IDPA and it does around 800-ish in my gov't model. And for the 44 Mag, you have two, maybe three real choices for max power. The two best are W296 and H110, basically the same thing. Vihtavouri N110 is good also, I use that for a really accurate 300gn load at 1300fps that I use for silhoutte. 2400 is good, but it's old technology. Works great in 357 Mag, and 44 with light bullets, but for max power still have to go with W296 or H110. Lil' Gun is new and may have some potential, but I haven't tried it yet and so won't pass judgement. Semper Fi....Ken
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Old September 6, 2000, 07:50 PM   #17
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Best 45ACP = W231

Best all-around = Hodgdon Universal Clays (the modern clean-burning easy-metering Unique alternative), good in 45, good in revolver cases, too.

"All my ammo is factory ammo"

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Old September 6, 2000, 10:24 PM   #18
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Hey Desert Dog,
I want to start loading 45 super but can't find any recommended powder charts for it. I like VV320 for 45 ACP but am wondering what Triton used for their loads? ANy ideas?? Also since VV is a large volume powder what would you recommend? Too bad Triton stopped making this stuff. Thanks for anything you can share...

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Old September 6, 2000, 10:37 PM   #19
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This is straight from Triton's Web Site when it did contain load data for the 45Super.

Bullet Powder Starting
Charge Starting
Velocity Maximum
Charge Maximum

Sierra 165 gr. JHP Power-Pistol - - 12.0 grs. 1,380 fps

Nosler 185 gr. N-350 9.2 grs. 1,112 fps 11.2 grs. 1,275 fps
Power-Pistol 9.5 grs. 1,105 fps 11.3 grs. 1,307 fps
HS-7 13.0 grs. 1,148 fps 14.7 grs. 1,304 fps
AA-7 14.0 grs. 1,199 fps 16.0 grs. 1,306 fps

Hornady 200 gr. XTP N-350 8.8 grs. 1,048 fps 10.2 grs. 1,179 fps
Power-Pistol 8.5 grs. 1,037 fps 10.3 grs. 1,196 fps
HS-7 12.0 grs. 1,073 fps 13.7 grs. 1,226 fps
AA-7 13.0 grs. 1,093 fps 14.6 grs. 1,214 fps

Hornady 230 gr. XTP N-350 7.8 grs. 963 fps 8.9 grs. 1,040 fps
Power-Pistol 8.0 grs. 933 fps 9.4 grs. 1,104 fps
HS-7 10.5 grs. 924 fps 12.3 grs. 1,110 fps
AA-7 11.0 grs. 942 fps 13.5 grs. 1,108 fps

The above loading data is only for handguns converted to .45 Super and only for use with Triton or Starline .45 Super cases. All loads were assembled with a Federal 150 primer to an OAL of 1.220". The velocities are from a 5" barrel.
Standard .45 Auto dies are utilized in loading the .45 Super. Various brands of primers have been used in developing the .45 Super. The Federal 150 offers the best overall performance. The use of a magnum primer is not necessary nor recommended. A heavy taper crimp is recommended when loading the .45 Super.
WARNING: The .45 Super cartridge generates higher pressure levels than conventional .45 Auto or .45 Auto +P ammunition. The .45 Super cartridge case is constructed to withstand higher levels of pressure than conventional .45 Auto brass. Under no circumstances should .45 Super ammunition be used in a firearm not chambered or converted to .45 Super. The use of .45 Super ammunition in anything other than an authorized .45 Super firearm or conversion will cause excessive wear and possible damage to the firearm and injury to the user. DO NOT attempt to use the above data in standard or +P .45 ACP cases.

[This message has been edited by G35 (edited September 06, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by G35 (edited September 06, 2000).]
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Old September 7, 2000, 06:28 PM   #20
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It's a dirty bastard but a little goes a LOOOOOONNG way!

my favorites:
45, 38, .357: Bullseye
.40, 10mm: AA#7
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Old September 7, 2000, 08:05 PM   #21
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I'll have to put in my plug for W231, it's the only powder I load .45ACP with.
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Old September 7, 2000, 10:09 PM   #22
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It depends on what you wanna do with it.
My favorites:
For 185 or 200gr target loads. WST or Bullseye.
For 230 LRN. Bullseye
For 230 jacketed. AA#5

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Old September 7, 2000, 10:30 PM   #23
Robert Foote
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Unique; does it all and too bulky to double charge a case. Works very well in medium to heavy loads in nonmagnum cartridges. Have used it for years (shucks, decades!) in .38 Spl. .44 Spl., and .45 Colt. Still using it.

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Old September 8, 2000, 12:51 AM   #24
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W231, TiteGroup, Universal - all good.

The Seattle SharpShooter - TFL/GT/UGW/PCT/KTOG
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Old September 8, 2000, 06:00 AM   #25
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I like Unique, but I've had problems with it over the years in both .45ACP and .45 Colt. I can never get it to meter consistently. Just a few days ago, I was loading for .45 Colt and was using a 7.5 charge. Since I was only doing a small # of rounds and loading for accuracy, I measured each powder charge. They varied from 7.8 to 7.2. This is with a Dillon 550.
I had the same variations years ago when I was still using an RCBS Rockchucker with their powder measure.

I have my best success with WW231. I've also heard lots of good things about Titegroup, Universal, and Power Pistol. I think I'll be standardizing with VV in the future, though. Meters well, burns clean, and seems to give higher velocities while staying within pressure limits.

FWIW, the only powder I've ever found that will duplicate Hydra-Shok (891fps) or Black Talon (895fps) velocities while staying within pressure limits with a .45 230 gr. bullet is VV N350.

(I once managed to get about 1263fps from a .45ACP VIC 152 gr. bullet with WW Super Lite...but it turned out to be just a tad over pressure. Don't ask, 'cause I ain't gonna tell nobody, no way, no how.)

Shoot straight & make big holes, regards, Richard at The Shottist's Center
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