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Selecting The Best Performing Powder For Your Given Gun/Bullet

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Load Master, Jun 15, 2018.

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  1. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    A few years back powder choices were limited. Of recent the available selection has greatly improved. I use to make my choice based on what was available more so than what would be best for the give application. Now that I have more choices I'm looking to improve my selection based on the gun, the bullet, and efficiency.

    So, when you want the best choice for the given gun and bullet, what are you looking at as far as the specs?

    I am looking for my 44 Rem Mag with 240gr metal jacketed soft point, shot from a 7.5 inch barrel, Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter. This list shows my considerations to choose from. Am I missing any that I should add?

    Alliant 300-MP 1,575 @25gr 240gr bullet
    Alliant 2400 1,434 @21gr 240gr bullet
    RAMSHOT ENFORCER 1,520 @22gr 240gr bullet
    Winchester 296 1,522 @24gr 240gr bullet
    Hodgdon H110 1,522 @24gr 240gr bullet
    Hodgdon Lil'Gun 1,582 @24.5gr 240gr bullet
    Vihtavuori N110 1,541 @22.1gr 240gr bullet
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  2. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Depends on what your benchmark of 'efficiency' is. Velocity? Accuracy? Fully burnt powder charge?

    You could probably add IMR4227, but it's velocity would be around 2400's.
     
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  3. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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  4. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I just remembered Vihtavuori powders. N110 & N105 Super Magnum are really good clean burning powders. Only thing is they usually cost a little more. I've been using N105 and have become a big fan of their powders.

    https://www.vihtavuori.com/about-vihtavuori/
     
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  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    There are a lot of different characteristics people look at in choosing powders. Looking at load data performance/stated velocity is just one of them. Some other commonly-used criteria include:
    • Ease of metering
    • Charge density/case fill
    • Shots/loads per pound of powder
    • Recoil mitigation
    • Flash (or lack thereof)
    • Cleanliness (at the intended load level)
    • Window of operating pressures (i.e., ability to download out of near-max range)
    • Gas volume generation to operate comps/ports/brakes
    • Low measured SD of velocity
    • Accuracy
    • Temperature of combustion
    • Linearity of velocity/pressure in relation to load variance
    There are others. Some of the ones I've listed are in tension. Different people value different things. Someone who loads a lot of bare or poly-coated lead may care about temps, as hot powders are sometimes blamed for leading. Someone loading for an M1 garand has to choose from a powder that will play nicely with the gas system (powders outside the right burn rate can bend op-rods, even if that same powder works well in a bolt action .30-06). A very high volume shooter might like a small charge of powder (more shots per canister = money saved), whereas a loader focused on safety above all else might prefer a powder that literally cannot be double-charged without overflowing the case. These are just some examples, and not particularly relevant to the specific cartridge/gun you're examining... just responding to the broader question about what people are looking at (and why there is such a profusion of powder choice).
     
  6. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    What I mean by efficiency, IMR 4227 compared to Winchester 296 is an excellent example. For my gun, the Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter with a metal jacketed soft point 240 grain bullet is my focus.

    IMR 4227 @22.0gr 1,301fps and 28,400 CUP - @24.0gr 1,458fps and 36,100 CUP
    Winchester 296 @23.0gr 1,413fps and 25,200 CUP - @24.0gr 1,522fps and 36,200 CUP

    From Hodgdon's website data I would call Winchester 296 more efficient compared to IMR 4227.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Why? Because the measured velocity is higher? At the same charge weight?
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Most guys who have spent much time loading 44mag - full house loads, mind you - will all land on H110/W296. VV powders are great, but expensive, 4227 and 2400 are ok, Lil’Gun can cause damage to your revolver. H110/W296 (same powder, different can) will deliver the best velocity without premature damage, at a relatively reasonable cost. It’ll have a little more flash and blast, and use a little more powder, but the performance is well worth it to most of us.
     
  9. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    All excellent points for "broader question", in my case, I'm trying to focus on my gun and bullet I am loading for.
     
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  10. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Gotcha. I couldn't tell whether you were asking a conceptual/broader question along with the specific one. If you were only asking the specific one, I apologize for the digression.
     
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  11. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    No, more of the low end numbers. For the same mass of powder the 296 gives greater velocity and lower pressure compared to 4227. To me, this means it is more efficient for the load I am focused on for my gun and bullet.
     
  12. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    Hey, no apologize needed. That's what the post is for and sometimes I lack writing skills to convey my question or my thoughts. It's all good.
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I wouldn’t really say H110/296 is “more efficient, but rather it yields a higher net energy density. Greater result per input. When guys talk “efficiency,” it’s typically about the combustion efficiency - how much is consumed per input. H110/w296 isn’t always as good as some others in that regard, but it is almost always better in terms of the maximal performance comparison.
     
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  14. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I've haven't heard about LIL'GUN causing damage to revolvers. Can you elaborate on that for me? I'm clueless.
     
  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    @Jack B. google forcing cone erosion lil gun, you’ll be busy all weekend.
     
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  16. murf

    murf Member

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    and it is extremely accurate with most any powder charge at any distance .

    murf

    p.s. note: powder charge must be within reloading book range. no fair reducing h110 below book minimum.

    p.s.s. note: extremely important to use a magnum primer with this powder. i use cci 350 almost exclusively here.
     
  17. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    Thanks , I'll check that out as I have been using LIL'GUN in a load for a Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger per a recommendation in the Lyman Pistol & Revolver Handbook Third Edition. In an article written by Brian Pearce titled "Handloading Big Bore Revolvers".
     
  18. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I have used both H-110 and N-110 in a couple of handguns. Between those two, the N-110 has hardly any flash, while H-110 has a MUCH louder report and big flash. Load some of each, and shoot them back-to-back and you will see what I mean. I get roughly the same velocity out of either, and I think the N-110 is cleaner. Just thought I would mention that, if those are considerations.

    I really like 300-MP in longer barrels, especially my 20" rifle.
     
  19. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I can't give advice for your specific load, but I can answer the question about what I look for in specifications.

    Probably the first thing that narrows it down is the relative burn rate. For a given load, there may still be a range of burn rates that might work and a lot of powders within that range, but I can probably narrow it down based on the cartridge size and the barrel length.

    The burn rate is probably going to determine the possible powder types, but I'm going to prefer a spherical powder for metering unless it's certain I'll need to use a flake or extruded powder for the application.

    I'm going to prefer a brand/powder that I can have a reasonable expectation will be available now and in the future. I'd probably look at Hodgdon (esp. Winchester line) and Alliant first, and consider less popular imported powders second.

    I'm going to try the powder in Quick Load. If there is a powder profile in Quick Load, that's going to be a big plus for me. I just quit working with BE-86 on a load because I wasn't able to model it in Quick Load, but HP-38/W231 was there and I could see worked well for what I wanted to do. I also analyzed similar powders like Unique, Power Pistol, and Universal in Quick Load before I decided what I wanted to start working with on the bench. Besides that, I was able to validate what would happen with slower powders (HS-6, Longshot, 110) and confirm I was where I wanted to be.

    Since I started working with Quick Load, a powder profile is a BIG plus for a powder.
     
  20. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    After reading the posts I'm still confused as to what constitutes the "best" load.

    Personally I couldn't care less about efficiency. There are 7,000 grains in a pound of powder and if one load uses 3 grains more than another that means it cost and extra 1 cent per round. When shooting full bore magnum loads the powder to use shouldn't be determined by saving 1 penny. Accuracy, velocity, and almost every other item mention by ATLDave in post #5 would be more important in my book.
     
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  21. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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  22. Ireload2

    Ireload2 Member

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    Selecting powder goes way beyond the highest velocity.
    If you want to be shooting years from now you need to use a combo that will not be discontinued.
    You need a powder with lots of readily available data.

    I have rejected ball powders for most of my loading because they do not work well with reduced loads.

    Some powders produce a huge flash and muzzle blast.
    BL-C(2) was not used for my .222 because a week after it was cleaned the bore had black cobwebs from some component.
    I have never used Reloder 7 because it had been discontinued 2 or 3 times.
    I use lots of 4895 because it is so predictable and there is so much data and I know 4895 will still be around 10 years from now.
     
  23. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yeah, that particular criterion is far more likely to be relevant to a competitive shooter who is approach 50,000 rounds in a year. Titegroup is loved by a lot of those guys because it is cheap per pound and requires low charge weights. It can save them nearly $1k/year versus some other choices, despite its other drawbacks. Unlikely to be material/relevant to people shooting big bore magnums!
     
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  24. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    In regards to magnum primers, what about Winchester 296? Most publish recipes I see use standard primers.
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Are you sure? For several brands, their standard LPP is a magnum primer.
     
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