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How does one choose a powder

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How does one choose a powder

Old 04-08-2023, 06:06 AM
Typical Buck
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Default How does one choose a powder

Just curious as to how one chooses the best powder from the list of powders that are listed in a reloading manual to start off with in reloading for a particular cartridge. In the past when powders were cheaper, I use to read articles and posts to see what everybody used for a particular cartridge. But with the prices of powder and bullets today, how can a novice choose a powder from reading a reloaders manual. Do they select as what gives you the fastest velocity with the least amount of powder or what?
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Old 04-10-2023, 02:39 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: west central wi USA
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Some of it's personal preference. Based on a good reloading manual, you try some alternatives and end up using the one that works best for you. I have found that my most accurate loads will generally have the powder fill the case to just short of the bullet seating depth. You may find that there's more than one good alternative powder for your load. That's great, gives you some options. Your mileage may vary but there's no substitute for experience.

Last edited by Wingbone; 04-10-2023 at 02:43 AM.
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Old 04-10-2023, 03:23 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Kansas
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In GENERAL, I start with H4895, Varget, H4350, and Retumbo. If one of those powders doesn't do what I need, I'm probably doing something weird - at which point I'll ask around to other folks who have done that thing at a high level, and evaluate powders which have worked for that application in the past.

I don't waste time any longer chasing multiple powders - I can say with certainty, picking good BARRELS has shrunk my groups far, far smaller and easier than has picking the "ideal powder for my rifle," and I've spent less money doing so. I pick a good barrel and a good bullet, I pick a powder suitable for the capacity, bullet weight, and expansion ratio, I put it together, and it spits out sub-moa groups. it's just not that complicated, and I got tired of trying to make it more complicated than that a long time ago.

Sure, if I got in a pinch and couldn't find one of those powders I listed above, and couldn't find whatever powder the other experienced guys have successfully used for a given cartridge and bullet weight, I might dig out a few reloading manuals and see which powders are nearby to get the job done, and I'd look at a few powders on my "back up list," like Benchmark, H1000, H110V, RL15, RL6, RL19, RL22, 8208, H4831SC, etc first. And sure, I might feel fine grabbing a couple powders I know to work exceptionally well, but overall, I tend to tell new reloaders - which are typically doing pretty common stuff - to start with exceptionally common and thoroughly proven powders like the 4 I listed (and honestly, I hardly ever count H4895 among them - I could reload almost everything I shoot, which includes some pretty weird stuff, with 5 powders: HP-38/W231, H110/W296, Varget, H4350, and Retumbo. Add H50BMG to that for my new ELR rifle, and those 6 powders will load me semiauto pistol loads, plinking revolver loads, magnum revolver loads, sub-sonic SBR ammo, varminting cartridges, big game hunting cartridges, dangerous game hunting cartridges, long range competition ammo, 3 gun competition ammo, cowboy action competition ammo... with dozens of different cartridges.

Absolutely do NOT pick powders by choosing whichever offers the fastest velocity with least powder.
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Old 04-10-2023, 05:09 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eastern wv
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Find a powder that gives max pressure at between 92 and 97% fill rate in a good barrel, behind a good bullet and it will shoot, my premium barreled customs will shoot anything very well, no use chasing powders to gain 1/100th moa in accuracy
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Old 04-15-2023, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ridge Runner
Find a powder that gives max pressure at between 92 and 97% fill rate in a good barrel, behind a good bullet and it will shoot, my premium barreled customs will shoot anything very well, no use chasing powders to gain 1/100th moa in accuracy
thats generally very good advice!

ive generally found this particular reload manual to be the best and most consistently spot on source of info
and I own at least 20 manuals
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