I’m currently using Hodgdon HP-38 for loading.38 & .357. It has a good yeild and goes bang. Ok here comes my first dumb question, is there a better or more commonly used powder for my loading? I don’t know what to look for in a particular powder. The guys at my local gun store recommended this powder to me so I’m starting a 1K round run. Once fired brass, 158gr copper plated bullets and 4 grains of HP-38. Any and all advice appreciated.


Hey Berry,
I’m a 63 year old noob to reloading myself and I can confirm there are no stupid questions here. You’ll get an answer soon no doubt from folks more qualified than I.

That said, when I asked the same question at a local gun show vendor’s booth he recommended to me Titegroup


The other suggestion I would make is to start with maybe 100 rounds first. Fire them and if all goes well do more. If you’re recipe is too hot or cold for you you can adjust and move on.
No need to rush.
Watch what you’re doing and avoid distractions. Then it’s a blast.


I second mquinn55. My normal recommendation to customers for pistol powders is TItegroup, However, my second choice (for revolvers) which is also pretty good is 2400. I do like Titegroup for most pistols as it is a clean burning and easy to measure powder and I can use it in almost any pistol from a 380 to a 45 ACP. On loading, we usually suggest 10 to 12 rounds as a test load, then go from there, as having to pull a large number of shells is a real pain. If you don’t have a chrono, see if you can borrow one, a lot of gun stores and ammo places do have them to loan out (we do), so check around as that will give you your best test data.


Depends what you’re looking to do. Bullet size and muzzle velocity all play in to it.

A-#5 will give you lower grain per load, but opens you up to accidental double charge.
A-#7 is a higher grain per load.
H-110 have a high grain per load removing any chance of double charge.

Accurate and Hodgdens are my choice.


Thanks guys, I used Titegroup last batch and liked it. I very much like the idea of not being able to double charge my loads. I have a Dillon RL550C so double charging is a real possibility.
I’m leaning towards Barry proofing this process with fluffy powder like H-110.


I have a progressive for 9mm, everything else is by hand.


I’ve got a 550C as well. Love it.
As long as you’re careful I haven’t found over charging a concern. I have had a few that failed to drop powder.
Now as I start a run I check the first for or five visually and then from time to time.

I intend to mount a small inspection mirror so I can keep an eye on it as I go.


I’ve been using HP-38/Win 231 for many years in .45 ACP and I’m perfectly happy with it. As a side note, 231 is the same powder marketed under the Winchester brand. There are many other good powders out there, but HP-38 is a fine place to start. Definitely invest in a chronograph, though.


Something I haven’t done yet myself.
But Christmas isn’t that far off!!


I use win 231, but I’m a little old school and there is better powders out now days.


Same here. I started loading .45 ACP with 231 back in the 1990’s. It has served me well, so I have no desire to change at this time. Plus, I have a ton of stock to burn through first. :grin:


It’s always good to have extra powder on standby!


For .38 Special I have been using Unique and Bullseye for . . . gulp . . . 40 plus years.

Yeah, modern powders are likely cleaner. But Bullseye lives up to the name with wadcutters.

For the .357 Mag - Alliant 2400 and H4227.

Although your HP-38 is a great choice as it is.


I use that as well but with .44 mag.


For pistol I like blue dot.


Chronos are a must for competition shooters.
Illegal match ammo can cause unnecessary hassles.
As well as for making safe ammo, although there’s plenty of other ways to determine higher than normal pressures.
The powder makers load data is usually very reliable or at least enough to avoid getting into trouble…
Check their web sites.
While I do use the chrono for determining the match rules are adhered to, I rarely do for practice and plinking for fun.
Your chronograph might wind up mostly just collecting dust in the reloading room, but when you need one nothing else will do.


My chrono is a pretty good dust collector as well, but I’ve used it for much more than just precision loads. I often use it to QC my powder between different Lot #'s or different brands of primers. Also, you will have more friends if you own a chronograph. :rofl: Every time I take it to the range, everybody wants to use it. :rofl:


Yours could wind up being an unexpected source of income.
Just be careful who you let use it.
Not many would offer to replace it after shooting it.


Thanks to all for your good advice, now a few more questions.
What is the difference between full metal jacket and copper plated bullets?
Why does a lighter weight bullet require more power than a heavier bullet? Is it pressure related?
Is there a benefit to using hard cast lead bullets?
They seem to be about the same price.
I loaded 20 .38 spcl with 158 gr hard cast bullets. The powder bottle said to use 3.7 grains but I tried 5 grains. ( I won’t do that again) The bullets tumbled and the cartridges smoked like black powder. Any ideas why the loads did this?
I will more closely follow the directions from now on. I did learn that “if a little is good more is better “ doesn’t apply to reloading! :roll_eyes:
Thanks for your help and patience!


I think there’s reference guides out there that tell you which combo to use. Like Lyman? My husband uses that. So you get the right amounts depending on what powder, bullet, etc.

At least I think that’s how it works.