Author Topic: Consolidating Powders  (Read 8289 times)

nelson96

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Consolidating Powders
« on: December 29, 2013, 10:11:43 AM »
I have a desire to consolodate powders and limited time for a while to do my own research and more so practice.  Can anyone offer suggestions on what works for you?  I also have issues with certain cylinder type powders causing bridging problems in my measurer, so this is a concern and tyoes of powder I can use.

I load for accuracy (tight groupings) and I don't want to limit my rifles to obtain accuracy out to long ranges (up to 1000 yards).

My calibers are:
.380 Auto
9mm Luger
38 Special
.357 Magnum
.40 S&W
.223 Rem, 5.56x45
7mm Rem Magnum
30-30 Winchester
.308 Winchester, 7.62x51
.338 RUM

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 11:30:57 AM »
Fact is that you do not have two types of firearms to consider, rifles and pistols.  You have five types of firearms, magnum rifles, standard rifles, small rifles, magnum pistols and standard pistols.

Each one needs a different powder if you are going to get anywhere near top performance.

Secondly, forget using the measure for throwing rifle charges!  Each rifle charge should be weighed separately if you are going after accuracy out to 1000 yards (good luck with that). 

Pistol loads can be thrown with a measure but most pistol powders are spherical or flake and meter well.  Even magnum pistol loads I approach with care and weigh the charges when I use near max loadings.

Additionally, powders are a very opinionated subject.  If I give my list of 5 powders someone else will have their own list blah-blah-blah.  Additionally I am an old guy and I prefer the "old guy powders" that I have used for 50 years.  Rifle powders with IMR in front of the numbers and pistol powders that Annie Okley would have considered good.

You need a magnum powder for the magnums, a medium burning powder for the mid caliber standards, and a fast powder for the 30-30/.223.  You also need a magnum pistol powder and a fast to medium burning pistol powder for the standard pistol calibers.

I could get by using only Unique for all the pistol applications, but I would want at least three separate applications for the rifle group you list.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 11:36:24 AM by Mortblanc »

endurance

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 11:45:46 AM »
 :popcorn:

I'm in a similar boat, but a far easier one with just 9mm & .38 right now in handguns (98% 9mm) and .30 carbine, .223, .270 and .308.  The .270 and .308 are no problem using one powder (usually H380), but I've actually never worked up loads for .223 and .30 carbine.  My understanding is that the .30 carbine works best with magnum handgun powders.

nelson96

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 12:07:59 PM »
Fact is that you do not have two types of firearms to consider, rifles and pistols.  You have five types of firearms, magnum rifles, standard rifles, small rifles, magnum pistols and standard pistols.

Each one needs a different powder if you are going to get anywhere near top performance.

Secondly, forget using the measure for throwing rifle charges!  Each rifle charge should be weighed separately if you are going after accuracy out to 1000 yards (good luck with that).

Yes, I understand my problem and realize it's probably a pipe dream, but it can't hurt to see if their are options to get close and I've never attempted this before, for the reasons you listed.  As for my long distance loads, I do measure those manually.

Thank you for your attempt to slap me in the face and wake me up.  But if I'm going to dream, might as well dream big.  ;D

nelson96

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 12:11:52 PM »
I've actually never worked up loads for .223

Me either.  When ammo prices were less than they are now ($300/1000) I bought decent quality Remington ammo instead of relaoding.  I fear those prices will never come back and need to look at my options as some day my stash will be depleted.

endurance

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 12:22:47 PM »
Me either.  When ammo prices were less than they are now ($300/1000) I bought decent quality Remington ammo instead of relaoding.  I fear those prices will never come back and need to look at my options as some day my stash will be depleted.
Yep, I couldn't justify the time to reload 9mm when I was buying $154/1,000 for FMJ reloads.  Now I get excited when I see it for $240/1000 and that's probably twice what I could be reloading it for. 

Offline never_retreat

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 07:28:19 PM »
I burn clays in all my hand gun loads 9mm, 45 auto, 38, 357. I know it can be used for 40 cal as well.
I burn win 748 in 223. I can use it also in the 270, 30-30 and 30-06 but have not yet, been using some other stuff.
The clays will obviously work good for shot shells but I don't load them(yet).
I shoot for fun no long long distance bench rest type stuff. I don't have more the 200 yards to shoot easily.

I guess I will have to pick a different powder for the 50bmg once the gun is done and I start shooting it.


Niccolum

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 07:31:34 PM »
I think there's two different issues and you're trying to tackle both. ;D One is loading for optimal performance and the other finding common powder loads that work well across a variety of applications to consolidate powders for long-term storage in the face of supply unavailability. Not sure there's an overlap between them when you start talking about precision shooting. If we're talking good performing powders, but perhaps not the best for each cartridge, HS-6 is a good performer that can be used on every pistol cartridge on your list save .380 Auto. Universal would work for all them and some people swear by it, although I've never used it. Conversely, 2400 will be powerful tack-driver for your .357mag but isn't going to overlap with anything else.

Offline trekker111

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 07:35:50 PM »
Not sure I can help much, but I've used both H335, and Varget, for 223, 308 win, and 30-30, I would lean toward the varget, which is the powder for my accurate 308 load. I don't load for any of those pistol calibers, but you should be able to find 1 powder that will load all of them, depending on the various bullet weights you load. For the 7mm and 338 mags, you should be able to find 1 powder for the 2 of them, maybe H414, that's what I like for my 375 H&H Mag.

That may get you down to 3 powders, but it would be alot of trial and error on your part to see if they will fit your needs and expectations.

Offline Ronin4hire

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 12:28:07 PM »
Back in the 1990s when I did experiment with reloading, I used GreenDot for both 12g shotshell and the 9mm.
I liked the flexibility to stock ONE can for both, but as I recall nothing was listed for the 30-06 I was going to eventually try.
However, dirt cheap commercial reman load were available under $90/k for 9mm so the Lee Presses started collecting dust!
Sounds like rifle & pistol powder needs are generally different- so stocking TWO may be an option?
One for the 9/38/45 and another for 556/06 would be nice.     
OOPS where does 30carbine sit?     Maybe try to feed the AK762x39 too?
Sounds like time to dig thru powder mfr manuals...



endurance

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 02:13:30 PM »
Well, after spending a few hours perusing the Hodgdon website, it looks like Varget is the best for my .308, .270 and .223, but it won't work for the .30 carbine.  Likewise, I can't find a single powder for the 9mm that will work in the .30 carbine, so I'll probably look at staying with HP38 for 9mm and .38.

I'll probably end up with IMR 4227 for the .30 carbine, so I'm stuck with three so long as I love my M1 Carbine. ;)

Offline TheRetiredRancher

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 02:48:38 PM »
Unique or 231 work well in all of the pistols listed, although it will not be the best in the larger cases.  Varget works well in intermediate rifle cases from 5.56 to .30-06.  It is a "match" quality powder so it is often one of the tops for accuracy.  The 7 mag and .338 Remington Ultra Mag will not work well with the same powders as the smaller cases.  H4831 tends to work well for the 7 Mag, but I have no experience with something as overbore (Large case for small bullet diameter) as the ultra mag.  There should be some overlap between it and the 7 Mag though.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 05:55:36 PM »
I have a desire to consolodate powders and limited time for a while to do my own research and more so practice.  Can anyone offer suggestions on what works for you?  I also have issues with certain cylinder type powders causing bridging problems in my measurer, so this is a concern and tyoes of powder I can use.

I load for accuracy (tight groupings) and I don't want to limit my rifles to obtain accuracy out to long ranges (up to 1000 yards).

My calibers are:
.380 Auto   Universal
9mm Luger  Universal
38 Special   Universal
.357 Magnum   AA9, 2400, or W291
.40 S&W   Universal
.223 Rem, 5.56x45  BL-C2
7mm Rem Magnum  no experience, but likely same as .338 RUM
30-30 Winchester   BL-C2
.308 Winchester, 7.62x51   BL-C2
.338 RUM  see 7mm RM

You may not get optimal loads but you can cover most of your handgun cartridges with a ball or small flake powder.  I think the .380 and .38 favor the faster end such as W231 or Universal, where as 9mm and .40 favor the slower end like Universal, AA5, Power Pistol.   So Universal would be my compromise powder unless I wanted to favor one end at the expense of the other.  This can partly be mitigated by loading lighter bullets in the 9mm and .40 and heavier bullets in the .38 and .380.  You can get medium velocities in .357 with powders like Universal, AA5, and Power Pistol, but to get full magnum velocities you have to use a slow powder as listed above.

BL-C2 is a great powder in .223 and .308 so no compromise needed there.  It is a little slow for the .30-30 but Hornady still lists it for the .30-30.  H335 would be better for the .30-30 and great for .223 but a bit on the fast side for .308.  I would stick with BL-C2 and load 170 gr in .30-30, 55-69 gr in 5.56 and 150-168 in the .308.

I have no experience with the magnum rifle cartridges but would suspect one magnum powder could work in both.

endurance

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 07:39:02 PM »
How is Varget for muzzle flash on a shorter AR barrel (12" barrel with 4" flash hider)?  Is if fast enough burning that you don't go blind from muzzle flash in low light conditions?

Offline trekker111

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 09:56:34 PM »
How is Varget for muzzle flash on a shorter AR barrel (12" barrel with 4" flash hider)?  Is if fast enough burning that you don't go blind from muzzle flash in low light conditions?

In my experience, not to bad at all. Our issued ARs are Colts with a 10.5 inch barrel with A2 flash hider, and I can't tell a noticeable difference between the muzzle flash of varget handloads, and factory ammo. A difference may exist, but I can't tell it in the normal course of shooting.

I think I could get my powders down to Varget, H414, and black powder, but I have no intention to try. I think the best plan to keep yourself supplied through a shortage is just to stock up on the stuff you use now, plus maybe a few extra cans of some ones that would be a versatile powder for you in a pinch.

nelson96

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 10:17:29 PM »
You may not get optimal loads but you can cover most of your handgun cartridges with a ball or small flake powder.  I think the .380 and .38 favor the faster end such as W231 or Universal, where as 9mm and .40 favor the slower end like Universal, AA5, Power Pistol.   So Universal would be my compromise powder unless I wanted to favor one end at the expense of the other.  This can partly be mitigated by loading lighter bullets in the 9mm and .40 and heavier bullets in the .38 and .380.  You can get medium velocities in .357 with powders like Universal, AA5, and Power Pistol, but to get full magnum velocities you have to use a slow powder as listed above.

BL-C2 is a great powder in .223 and .308 so no compromise needed there.  It is a little slow for the .30-30 but Hornady still lists it for the .30-30.  H335 would be better for the .30-30 and great for .223 but a bit on the fast side for .308.  I would stick with BL-C2 and load 170 gr in .30-30, 55-69 gr in 5.56 and 150-168 in the .308.

I have no experience with the magnum rifle cartridges but would suspect one magnum powder could work in both.

Thanks NWP that's a great list to check out.  I've been considering BL-C2 but haven't tried it yet.

endurance

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2013, 09:02:17 AM »
In my experience, not to bad at all. Our issued ARs are Colts with a 10.5 inch barrel with A2 flash hider, and I can't tell a noticeable difference between the muzzle flash of varget handloads, and factory ammo. A difference may exist, but I can't tell it in the normal course of shooting.

I think I could get my powders down to Varget, H414, and black powder, but I have no intention to try. I think the best plan to keep yourself supplied through a shortage is just to stock up on the stuff you use now, plus maybe a few extra cans of some ones that would be a versatile powder for you in a pinch.
Thanks, Trekker.  I think that was my only remaining concern.  I definitely need to work up some loads and see if I can make the powder work for me.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 02:00:10 PM »
It is quite disturbing to me that we have folks here advising some powders as being "slow" when they are very much on the fast burning side of things.


http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html


There are also two truths that are being ignored.

1.  It is just as easy to order eight 1# bottles as it is to order one 8# keg, and get the powder you actually need for the specific rifles.

And the opposite end of the spectrum, which dictates our purchases of today...

2. You will have the powder you use dictated to you by what is in stock when you order.

You may find you must take what you can get and make it work.

nelson96

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2014, 02:46:37 PM »
It is quite disturbing to me that we have folks here advising some powders as being "slow" when they are very much on the fast burning side of things.

http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html

There are also two truths that are being ignored.

1.  It is just as easy to order eight 1# bottles as it is to order one 8# keg, and get the powder you actually need for the specific rifles.

And the opposite end of the spectrum, which dictates our purchases of today...

2. You will have the powder you use dictated to you by what is in stock when you order.

You may find you must take what you can get and make it work.

Maybe I read the post differently?  I think the comment you may have been referencing was simply stating that one powder was slower than another.  Not necessarily that is was a slow powder itself.  The list you provided (a great resource by the way) is mixed with rifle and pistol powder used for various cartridges which include magnum, non magnum, and short magnum (rifle), so that scew's your concerns unless I'm wrong about why you mentioned this.

Sure it's as easy to order eight 1# containers, but if you you've done your research (tried true and tested) and you can save money and add convenience buy ordering an 8# container, isn't that better?  Especially if you've saved some 1# containers to poor the 8# in to as you use it.  This has been mentioned already, but it never hurts to elaborate again, thank you.

The point of this thread was to insure myself and others are not dictated to use what's in stock or make a powder work for them based on what they can get at the time.  Personally, I'm taking in information that others have suggested (some I've already tried and others I haven't) and plan to do my own testing to see if it will work for my uses.  If I find a solution, I will then and only then, purchase in quantity.  I of course will have to wait until it's available but that's the point of this excercise; to figure out what works for me and stock accordingly so that I don't have to go without or use something I'm not familiar with.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2014, 04:02:52 PM »
The reason I posted the link is to give available powders compared to each other for burn rate.  They are not "mixed together", they are listed from fastest to slowest burn rates.

Reasonable exchanges can then be made based on possibly using the powder above or below the one desired, of those powders are available.

In today's market it is a lucky reloader indeed that can simply jump on the internet and order exactly what he desires and have it in his hands a week later like we could 2 years ago.

nelson96

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2014, 04:46:53 PM »
The reason I posted the link is to give available powders compared to each other for burn rate.  They are not "mixed together", they are listed from fastest to slowest burn rates.

Reasonable exchanges can then be made based on possibly using the powder above or below the one desired, of those powders are available.

Yes, but what I meant is that the powder list, in its entirety, aren't intended for any single cartridge, so your point (as I understood it) could be skewed. . . .  You can't shouldn't use all the powders listed on a single given cartridge.

Niccolum

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2014, 07:06:11 PM »
Sure it's as easy to order eight 1# containers, but if you you've done your research (tried true and tested) and you can save money and add convenience buy ordering an 8# container, isn't that better?  Especially if you've saved some 1# containers to poor the 8# in to as you use it.  This has been mentioned already, but it never hurts to elaborate again, thank you.

It always bears reminding, especially on forums in case someone later wanders by, if one is to do this make sure to update/strike-out/mark-over the lot # on the canister even if you're filling the same powder in an identical factory-marked container. Doesn't happen often, but powder recalls do occur.

(removing safety-fascist hat now  :P)

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Consolidating Powders
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2014, 10:34:27 PM »
It always bears reminding, especially on forums in case someone later wanders by, if one is to do this make sure to update/strike-out/mark-over the lot # on the canister even if you're filling the same powder in an identical factory-marked container. Doesn't happen often, but powder recalls do occur.

(removing safety-fascist hat now  :P )

Few of us who purchase 8# kegs are buying it to compromise.  I guarantee my 8 pounders of Varget, H4895, H335, and BL-C2 will be used in very accurate loads for the corresponding cartridges and bullet weights. As will the ones in W296.  And yes, for .30-30 BL-C2 is on the slow side for that cartridge.  Most experienced reloaders can read such comments in context, and Nelson is no neophyte.

Also, not everyone is trying to get loads that are under 1/2 MOA.  If you are a hunter the availability, interchangeability, cost, and velocity of a powder's load may be more important as long as it gives acceptable accuracy for the ranges and game being hunted.  It is a mistake to project one's own priorities onto others.  I can easily get sub-MOA loads with several bullet weights in .223 with H335, BL-C2, H4895 and Varget so it does not pain me too much when I run low on BL-C2 and need to switch to one of the others until I can resupply.  Likewise in .30-06 although I favor Varget, I also get MOA loads with H4895 and IMR4064 so I would not have a problem using any of them.  Same for pistol.  I have several good loads worked up for multiple powders in each cartridge so although I stock up on a few, I have cans of several others and at 1,500 loads per 1# can that goes a long way.

I was fortunate to plan ahead and stocked up on all of them prior to 2008 and 2012 so I can choose which 8# keg to use.  A one pound can only loads 150 rounds of .30-06 at best, and that is only one or two range sessions so that would be a real hassle to buy in one pound cans if you do much shooting.

Even with hazmat fees a single 8# keg is 10% cheaper than eight 1# cans and takes up a LOT less space, and it is all one lot.  If you buy 4 8# kegs and 5,000 primers the hazmat fee and shipping are negligible and you get much more like 20% savings.  Supplies are sketchy, but I have bought powder in the last few months.  If you can only buy 1# cans then that's your only option, but if 8# cans come up then it is cost effective to grab one or more if it meets your needs and you do anything more than a few rounds per range session.