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Favorite pistol powders

5273 Views 49 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  olfarhors
Hey guys, curious to see what everyones favorite pistol powders are, and their load data for them if you want to share.
For 9mm, 40cal/10mm, 45, .380 and so on I use a variety of these, depending on the load purpose, where/what im shooting etc. I dont have load data on me as it's all in the shop and its too early to get up and go out there =) I can post it up for each caliber and powder later.
This is my list for powders I fequently buy and use, so if you're new to handloading and unsure what some good pistol powders are, this may help you. I know when I first started loading I had NO idea what powders I could/should use!
Winchester 231 - Really good all around powder for all my pistol calibers
Alliant Bullseye - also a pretty good powder for my medium to larger loads, starting at 9mm and going up
Alliant Unique - I use frequently as a general purpose powder
Alliant Power Pistol - I rarely use but will for competition or any time I want a more accurate target load
Alliant American Select - I use this sometimes on loads above 40cal
Hodg Universal Clays - I use this a lot when im out of Unique
Hodg Titegroup - I use this on my larger loads, although Ive heard it does quite well with 9mm, will try loading it in 9 and see how it is
Accurate No.7 - I really really like this powder for my 9mm
Accurate Solo 1000 - Similar in composition to Bullseye, I use it or Bullseye whichever I have
Accurate Solo 1250 - Another powder similar to Unique but cleaner IMO. I dont have much of it but am going to start using it more
Vihtavuori N310 - Just bought this recently and havent used it yet, gave it to a friend, he told me it's like Bullseye
Vihtavuori 3N37 - I use this in my 9mm's often, another good powder
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I try to stick with W231, it's a good consistent powder that meters well in my Lee powder through die. I've got some Alliant and Unique that I can use in a pinch but I'd have to work new loads up for those again. I load primarily .45ACP with a little .40 thrown in when needed.
Tite Group is the only pistol powder I have. Burns clean and requires less. More rounds per pound.
Bullseye and Unique, been using them since 1956. I've tried most all that were developed up 'til about 2005, after that I said "no more" they all work and it's dumb to keep trying new ones that don't work any better than the old standbys. For heavy, hot magnums I like 2400, H-110 and Accurate #9; they also work in some of the smaller cased rifle rounds such as 30 Carbine, 22 Hornet, 218 Bee, 25-20; and 2400 works in cast bullet rifle rounds of just about any caliber.
I used Unique and Bullseye almost exclusively until I started reading more into burn times and such and started developing loads for different purposes. I still generally stick to a few on that list, but if somethings sold out I will move to the next on my list. I by no means always have that huge list to make loads with lol (I wish I did!) but its always good to have options, especially with the shortages on loading supplies.
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I've read HP38 and W231 are essentially the same thing. It meters well through my measure, and is my favorite to use thus far. I also am using Red Dot and will probably use it more as I start reloading lead bullets.
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Currently on my shelf:

Win. WSF - can load minor power factor loads in 9mm to major PF in 40 S&W using close to min loads - a versatile favorite that can go pretty hot as well (low gr. per round A+)
Alliant Blue Dot - a favorite for 9 & 40 hot SD rounds!
Accurate #7 - similar to WSF in versatility, meters higher but very accurately
Hodgdon Tite Group - good in 9 & 40 - meters light but min to max is tight, often .4gr but pressure is manageable.
Win. WST - fast burning, will JUST make major PF in 180 40S&W at max load. Will not buy again.
Vihtavuori N350 - taught a friend to reload, he brought this powder along to share - expensive but a very good performer in the 9 & 40 that I loaded!

223 powders (as long as I'm on a roll)

Accurate 2230
Alliant Power Pro Varmint
Hodgdon Varget
IMR 4895

I like all 4 and use 2230 and Varmint the most. All meter fairly low which starts to matter (330 rounds per lb. compared to 1700 for pistol) - all good performers in fps and accuracy in a DPMS carbine length 223/5.56 AR.
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Unique (they were out of Universal so I bought 8#)
Universal (very similar to Unique)


Most loaded is 5.0grs Unique under my 230gr LRN in .45acp
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Hodgdons HS-6. Alliants red, green and blue dots, Herco, 2400, unique & bullseye. WW231 and WW296. That about covers my handgun favorite's but in these dry times ya never know what may become my next go to powder....
My typical pistol powders and usage:

W231/HP-38 - .45ACP, .38 Special
Unique - .44 Special, .38 Special, .357 Magnum
W296/H110 - .357 Magnum
2400 - .44 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum
Dont have my load book handy for the loads, but i use W231 and load

38 special, 9mm, 45acp, and 45colt
On a side note, just got back from Bass Pro to see if maybe they got any powder...all I came home with was a big ol jar of walnut media =(
On a side note, just got back from Bass Pro to see if maybe they got any powder...all I came home with was a big ol jar of walnut media =(
If your interested, i have found that lizard litter from petsmart works great and is exactly like the walnut media, least if you get the walnut shell litter.

Up side is, its much cheaper.
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Right now I am using 2, Bullseye & Unique. I really don't have extra time to experiment with other powders yet. Besides I have been able to work up loads that I am happy with with those 2.

Bullseye - .380, 9mm, and .45acp
Unique - .32 S&W Long, .38 Spl, .357 mag

I need to pick a load for .45 Colt and .500 S&W. No rush right now as I don't have any brass for these yet.

I am thinking of trying to work 2400 in where I am using Unique and also for .45 Colt and .500 S&W, however I have a lot of research to do here first. If I can find promising load data, I will give it a try. I like the idea of having more powder in those long cases to make the visual inspection on the press easier.
I can get it done with just 3 powders, all Alliant. 2400, Bullseye, and Unique. I have a load for .357 using AA9 and I have a special rifle load in .357 using Lil Gun which doesn't count because this is handgun powders.

If your interested, i have found that lizard litter from petsmart works great and is exactly like the walnut media, least if you get the walnut shell litter.

Up side is, its much cheaper.
Very interested! I pay $18.99 for the 7lb jugs of Lyman Tufnut so anything cheaper would be fantastic. Got any replacements for corncob? lol
Probably biggest use goes to Clays, with Bullseye close behind. Got some W231, and Unique in the locker, too.

Calibers I load go .380, .38 & 357, 9mm, .45acp.
depends on whether its a range load or self defense load and of course the caliber but most of my loads are with Accurate #5 in the 38 Super, the 10 MM and the 45 acp.
Unique gets the call in 9MM and 380 .
I do very occasioanlly use some HP -38 in the smaller calibers and 38 Special with certian projectiles.
I currently use Alliant Unique for my 9mm and 40 S&W.
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