I think H4895 is the best all-around rifle powder. I mean you can use it in just about every rifle round out their. Of course it won't be top velocity in but a few, but if I could only have one jug of powder, it would be 4895. doug
Excellent post and good information!...After reading this post, I started thinking back over the years as to what kind of powder I always keep plenty of....Since I use jacketed bullets most in my rifles, I have always keep a few sealed cans of IMR4064. You can't get the max velocity out of it, but I've never found a more accurate rifle powder across the board. My old Camp Perry .30-06 Spring. load for many years was 49/50 grs IMR 4064 with a 180 gr Sierra BT.
As for pistol powders, for both cast and jacketed bullets...old tried and true Unique will get you by! No it will not go up to 296/H110/2400, but will serve all across the board. It also works great for mild rifle cast bullets. Yes, I have a cabinet full of others, but you can bet there will always be some IMR 4064 and Unique.
Best Regards, James
Hmmmmm..... if limited to two or three powders.... for EVERYTHING!<!--emo&???--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt='???'><!--endemo-->?
Although these wouldn't be my top pick for the majority of the loads I use, if forced to narrow down my inventory to just three powders, these would have to be it!
These will cover most centerfire rifle cartridges with a reasonable degree of efficiency, virtually all handgun cartridges, most to near perfection and many shotgun shell needs as well.
Sorry, it's not exotic or imaginative, but darned sure versatile!
Looking back,I've bought a LOT more IMR#3031 and IMR#4198 then any other rifle powders.
But I don't have any Kaboomers,and I don't even shoot the 30'06 much,anymore.
My serious loads in the 30/30 and the 30/40,use the #3031 and my 45/70 uses the 4198.
I think the spectrum is too broad for one powder to do it all. I've cut my powder back to just two. Hodgdon Varget, which has a burn rate close to that of IMR-4064. The other powder is Hodgdon-4350. I load for quite a few cartridges and these two seem to do the trick. Good luck
What are the characteristics of a powder that make a person"not like to load with it" ? I am not asking which powder is better for a given chartridge. What are the things that you have found you like or don't like about working with certain powders?
Basically, I've only found a couple of things that will disqualify a powder for use (my opinions):
#1 is if it's hard to meter, ie the long stick powders like IMR, and older (non short-cut) Hodgdon. They work, but.... are a pain. Once in a while I will use them, if only loading a few rounds (like for my Swede which doesn't get shot much).
#2 is if it is 'hard to ignite' and I am trying to run less than full throttle. Example.... 44 mag works great with 296/H110, but only at top-end loads. It's not suitable for mid-range loads. So in that case I go with something else.
#3 can't get enough in the case (too slow). Don't use 4831 in the .22 Hornet, obviously.
#4 I guess some people might have a problem if a powder burns 'dirty' and leaves a lot of crud in the barrel. I view this as an extension of #2, and rarely encounter this problem.
#5 Too fast ... can't get the necessary (or desired) velocity for the application, within safe pressure limits. Example - AA#2 is not a good powder for top-end .44 mag loads with heavy bullets, but works fine for light and mid-range loads.
Personally I'd rather spend my time tinkering with bullet diameter, seating depth & crimp than trying many powders and primers. That is what works for me, I have been able to get good accuracy in a number of guns just picking a powder/primer and perhaps trying some different bullets, and checking my ammo to see that it is being loaded precisely (ie bullet runout/concentricity).
If I had to stick with only one, would have to go with IMR 4895, but would seriously miss having #2 which would be 2400 because I shoot a lot of cast in many different rifle ctgs, and load for 357 and 44 as well. Good thread-interesting replies.
I don't think there is such an animal. There are several powders with which you can get a wide variety of bullets to go down range with, but that's a long way from being " the best". The '06 is a good example of this. With the broad range of bullet weights available, three different burn rates can be useful. Besides, this is one of the main points of fun about loading. Just one old goats opinion, Good luck. <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo--> <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo--> <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo-->
Interesting approach. I use just the opposite. I start with a specific bullet, then try to find a suitable powder. I can't say I have a favorite, there are things I like about many. My least favorite are the WW ball powders. They work well for small cases, but 760 in a 30-06 case for example, does take up enough room. I'm also a fan of IMR4064, but IMR4350 only works well in one of my rifles (8x57). H4831 is a good powder for my 270 and 30-06, but my M71 seems to prefer other powders. So I guess my answer is that I reload to give me precisely the control through variety that you want me to discount. If all my rifles shot their absolute best with one powder, I'd limit myself. But can that ever be possible?
Actually, I also start with a specific bullet also. It's just that I've always been able to get the accuracy that I want by fiddling with things other than the powder / primer type. Mostly seating depth, neck tension, crimp, and so on.
I'd switch powders if I have to, but so far haven't found this to make a big difference. So my first choice is what's available in the big jug on the shelf (correct burn rate and load data of course), and go from there.
No, I don't think that one powder can do it all. But I don't want to have 20 different cans sitting around either.
I ran accross some powder sold in 1/2 lb containers. Can't remember the brand. Great idea for workin' up loads. Maybe even a few ounces would be nice. I learned along time ago that anything more than 10 rounds with a new charge was a waste. I hate pullin' bullets.
I load for 7 different rifle calbers and I use 4895 for 90% of my loads. I just start working up a load with it and I can usually find the right combination. The other 12 cans of powder are there because they were on sale and I couldn't pass them up for the price. The only pistol caliber I load is .38 Special for my K frames and the can of Bullseye I bought 5 or 6 years ago is still about a quarter full.
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