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Posted: 11/1/2009 12:11:09 PM EST
I'm looking to decide on a powder to reload for .380, 9mm, .38 spl, and .44 mag. These loads will just be for plinking and practice, training class, etc. If SHTF I may use it for loading social ammo when I run out of factory JHP.

I'm currently using Herco for .38 special but there's only 0.2 grains between the starting and the never-exceed weights in the Lee manual. That and it doesn't meter well, so I have to throw each charge 2-3 times and weigh it before I can put it in the case. I'd like to get a powder which meters more consistently, and I've heard that ball powders do that.

I'd also like a powder which is more bulky, so a double charge would be obvious. Some of the powders I've looked at could fit a triple charge in the case and not look much different.

It looks like AA #5 fits the bill. Unique would be good except it's a flake powder, which I hear doesn't meter well.

Any comments? Other powder suggestions?
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:20:02 PM EST
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:42:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.




Herco, which is a flattened ball, sort of halfway between ball and flake, can't keep better than 0.3 grains weight consistency. Is there a technique to make it more consistent?

Also I've noticed that sometimes a grain of powder gets stuck in the RCBS charge thrower, so it kind of jams. I have to either crush the grain of powder or wiggle the lever back and forth until it turns smoothly. Is that related?

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:52:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 1:12:10 PM EST by RedFalconBill]
I would not use Herco for .380 ACP. I have burned pounds of it through various 9x19's. I think that there are better powders out there then Herco for the .38 Special.

I would go with AA-2, AA-5, or WW-231.

Oh, HP-38 and WW-231 are the same thing, so if you see this on the shelf at a store, buy with confidence.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:59:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.




Herco, which is a flattened ball, sort of halfway between ball and flake, can't keep better than 0.3 grains weight consistency. Is there a technique to make it more consistent?

Also I've noticed that sometimes a grain of powder gets stuck in the RCBS charge thrower, so it kind of jams. I have to either crush the grain of powder or wiggle the lever back and forth until it turns smoothly. Is that related?



In 38 special using a dillon 550, Unique will deviate .2 grains once it's vibrated down. That's about as good as it gets for Unique.

W231 will deviate a little less than .2 grains once it's vibrated down on my 550.

I don't know what to say about the RCBS powder jam, they do have good tech support though.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 1:02:19 PM EST
AA#5 is a fine ball powder, should meter just fine in a RCBS measure.
W231 is a flattened ball, sort of a cross between a flake and a ball, should also meter pretty good.

For flake powders I really like Universal. One tip for metering flake powders is to tap the measure. Move the dispenser handle up, tap the measure with your index and middle finger, move it down tap the measure again.

I'd really recommend a slower powder like AA#9 for .44 Mag though.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 1:03:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 1:07:15 PM EST by barrysuperhawk]
I use Universal Clays for all of those calibers and more...

It meters well, is very tolerant of temperature changes. It also shoots well at somewhat less than max loads, so any metering inconsistancy isn't as critical because you can back the loads off a bit.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 1:06:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.




Herco, which is a flattened ball, sort of halfway between ball and flake, can't keep better than 0.3 grains weight consistency. Is there a technique to make it more consistent?

Also I've noticed that sometimes a grain of powder gets stuck in the RCBS charge thrower, so it kind of jams. I have to either crush the grain of powder or wiggle the lever back and forth until it turns smoothly. Is that related?



In 38 special using a dillon 550, Unique will deviate .2 grains once it's vibrated down. That's about as good as it gets for Unique.

W231 will deviate a little less than .2 grains once it's vibrated down on my 550.

I don't know what to say about the RCBS powder jam, they do have good tech support though.



Not really a "jam" so much as I can feel a single grain of powder getting stuck between the hopper and the cylinder. If I push harder on the lever, i can crush that grain of powder, but I know the pressure is dependent on a certain surface-area ratio, and crushing some grains of powder could possibly cause pressure spikes, so I don't want to do that.

The powder thrower works great, it's the powder I'm concerned about.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:19:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 2:20:11 PM EST by pdg45acp]
Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.




Herco, which is a flattened ball, sort of halfway between ball and flake, can't keep better than 0.3 grains weight consistency. Is there a technique to make it more consistent?

Also I've noticed that sometimes a grain of powder gets stuck in the RCBS charge thrower, so it kind of jams. I have to either crush the grain of powder or wiggle the lever back and forth until it turns smoothly. Is that related?



In 38 special using a dillon 550, Unique will deviate .2 grains once it's vibrated down. That's about as good as it gets for Unique.

W231 will deviate a little less than .2 grains once it's vibrated down on my 550.

I don't know what to say about the RCBS powder jam, they do have good tech support though.



Not really a "jam" so much as I can feel a single grain of powder getting stuck between the hopper and the cylinder. If I push harder on the lever, i can crush that grain of powder, but I know the pressure is dependent on a certain surface-area ratio, and crushing some grains of powder could possibly cause pressure spikes, so I don't want to do that.

The powder thrower works great, it's the powder I'm concerned about.



Here's my 2 cents of crushing grains of powder.

You gotta do it with Varget and IMR4895 so why should Herco, Unique and W231 be exempt?
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:34:58 PM EST
Unique is usefull in alot of calibers but it does not meter well at all. Drives me nuts because I bought 4lb of it because I could use it in all of my pistol calibers and now I am not confident in any of my loads. I have even gone as far as to check every single load by hand to make sure I would not get a KB.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:39:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By boman250:
Unique is usefull in alot of calibers but it does not meter well at all. Drives me nuts because I bought 4lb of it because I could use it in all of my pistol calibers and now I am not confident in any of my loads. I have even gone as far as to check every single load by hand to make sure I would not get a KB.


If you make sure it is compressed down, vibrated down or what ever you want to call it you should be able to stay with .2 gr.

Also, a good rule of thumb for any powder dispenser is to toss the first one back if it's been sitting for a while.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:19:39 PM EST
For the .380 and 9mm and .38 I use AA2. Meters great and burns clean

For the .44 I only use AA9. Got a Desert Eagle and it likes 240gr hot loads. Its also pretty clean burning.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:33:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:
Originally Posted By pdg45acp:
I'm using unique for all of those.

It is a flake powder so it needs to be settled or vibrated down before you set the charge weight.

W231 is another powder that I have used in all of those, works great.




Herco, which is a flattened ball, sort of halfway between ball and flake, can't keep better than 0.3 grains weight consistency. Is there a technique to make it more consistent?

Also I've noticed that sometimes a grain of powder gets stuck in the RCBS charge thrower, so it kind of jams. I have to either crush the grain of powder or wiggle the lever back and forth until it turns smoothly. Is that related?



Read thru this Thread about throwing powder. I posted my suggestions.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:56:12 AM EST
Thanks dryflash, that is helpful.

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:18:36 AM EST
Solo 1000 will do just fine.

Or Universal.
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