Powder

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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:

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

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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.

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I use that as well but with .44 mag.

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For pistol I like blue dot.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Went to load up some Berry’s 230 gr Hollowpoint with 4.2 Titegroup, but Berry’s recommended at least 830. Feet per second for reliable expansion, so I switched to Vitn N 320 5.2 gr as the Tightgroup would have exceeded safe pressues at that velocity. Are shooting very well, by the way in all 3 of my 1911’s.

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Wow, my first question is are you ok and did you damage your gun at all? Exceeding recommended powder charges is not a good idea. You have some good questions there, but my first suggestion is to find a local place that teaches reloading or if you can’t find one, find an old local guy that can help you through the hoops… safely.
FMJ vs copper plated? FMJ use an actual ‘jacket’ similar to a piece of copper tubing around the lead core. Where as the plated bullet is a swaged lead bullet that has had a thin layer of copper plated to it. Some use a single layer, others a double layer. Rainier and Berry’s both use a double layer so it is thicker.

Lighter vs heavier bullet loads? Yes, good question, as I hear it a lot. Yes it is pressure related. Heavier bullets which are longer s less powder because of the increased pressure they generate (because they are heavier).

Hard cast bullets? Advantages are they are cheaper, but require a little more care to your gun due to possible leading. Copper plated are a good choice for on a cost basis compared to full copper bullets or jacketed bullets, but a lot depends upon what you are doing with them. For plinking they are a good choice usually.

Again, strongly suggest, do not exceed what the current data books give for max recommended load. Start on the low to medium end, and test it for the best accuracy, then move up slowly and carefully so you don’t hurt yourself or others nearby (or your weapons).

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Oh, and before someone sues me for age discrimination and being a sexist. It should have read ‘someone with extensive experience in reloading and has the time’. So it could be a woman as well.

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