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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to buy two bulk powders which will hopefully cover most any need with a variety of the calibers I own. Bullets weights per caliber are for the most part mid to upper end, with the upper end weights on the small 6mm's and mid to heavy on the upper end 7mm and 30's. After looking through numerous manuals, I realize that there really isn't one powder that will cover everything nor will two cover them all tp perfection, and htis isn't my main goal. The goal is to have two powders, which will overlap through the range, and be able to produce useful loads on a wide variety of weights and calibers, if that makes sense. So after all the looking and debating on which brand does what the best, I decided on getting H-4895, and H-4831. I have used both though the years for different loads in various rifles, but am now looking to standardize things to just these two. What do you think? Do you all figure this will work out in the long run, or am I just spinning my wheels, only to be wanting for more on down the road? The load range runs for something chambered in every caliber from .223 through .312. Most are all based off either the .308 or 30-06, or in the case of the magnums the .300 Win. Anything bigger has already been taken care of.
 

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H4831 will handle anything on the '06 case or larger and also works in small diameter 308 case cartridges like the 243 and 260.

H4895 or IMR 4895 will cover 223, 308, 708, 30'06 [with lighter bullets], and maybe other '06 based cartridges shooting lighter bullets. Win 748 would also be one to look at when comparing to medium burning powders.
 

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RL-22 or 4350 would be a good choice also. I would definitely use the 4831 as one of my options though. It is a fairly versatile powered across the different calibers within it's range. I have often bought a certain powder for a certain caliber and found out that it shot better in another caliber than what I originally bought it for.
 

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You should be able to handle the calibers you describe with those two powders without feeling deprived.

In my own case, I have settled on 7 powders (2 for pistol, 2 for shotgun and 3 for rifle) and I have been building a "lifetime supply" of each, and buying primers for many years as well.

I am now at the point where I think my "lifetime" will probably end before my "supply" does. It is a depressing thought...
 

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That's about right, though I will disagree on bullet weight in the '06. I think you will find you can get closer to maximum pressures and highest velocities with any of the various 4895's in that cartridge with light bullets.

For the .223, though, you will find even 4895 too slow for good efficiency with light bullets. The 69 and 77 grain Sierra MatchKings do well with it, though you don't want anything slower than a 9" twist with them. If you have a longer twist, you really are going to want lighter bullets and a faster powder, like Reloader 10X or either IMR or H versions of 4198.

What gets lost when the powder is too slow is ballistic efficiency. It's not uncommon to use 10 to 30 percent more charge weight of a slower powder to get the same velocity as you can with a faster powder that runs a bit higher peak pressure. The faster powder burns more completely during the time the bullet is in the barrel, offers lower pressure at the muzzle when the bullet exits, and expels less total mass when it does. That reduces recoil, even though the bullet is going the same velocity.

For example: I load 49 grains of H4895 into the '06 under a 150 grain Berger flat base target bullet seated to 3.34 COL. Using Lake City '72 cases, it gives me about 2800 fps from my Springfield '03 (24" barrel). The gun weighs 9.5 lbs with a leather sling, and the recoil impulse I get with it is 13.2 ft-lbs. If I load the same rifle to the same velocity with H4831SC, it takes about 61 grains, a compressed load of 24% increased powder weight. That costs me 24% more powder money per shot. The ballistic efficiency drops from 27.4% to 23.0% and recoil increases to 15.4 ft-lbs from the higher muzzle pressure expelling a larger propellant mass (mix of gas and solids). (Note: I have loaded the H4895 load before, using a Federal 210M primer, but not the H4831SC load, which, along with recoil, was a computer projection calculated by QuickLOAD to match velocity using the same case and chamber.)

I suppose the point I want to make is that while standardizing on two powders is an interesting technical challenge and intellectual exercise, it can be a false economy if you wind up running powders too slow for the application. Given that an 8 pound canister saves you about 15% on purchase cost over 1 pound canisters, if you have to use 25% more per charge to avoid buying a one pound canister of a more appropriate faster powder, you are losing money.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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There are so many fine powders out there these days its really hard to tell if one is better than the other. It can drive you nuts trying to figure out just which is THE powder for your particular combination of cartridge, bullet weight/type and primer.

For centerfire rifles, if I were actually limited to just two types, think I'd opt for Hodgdon Varget and H4831SC for the shooters in my vaults. Results may not be as great with some as with other powder combinations, but the accuracy would be minute of animal I'm loading for.

The newer ball powders on the market today are fine, I'm sure. My problem is I started loading when stick powders were the most available and habits are hard to break! :D
 

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Both are truly fine powders, but looking closely at your stated chambering's I would make an adjustment.
-- IMR 8208XBR -- http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/hodgdon-releases-impressive-new-imr-8208-xbr-powder/
This powder is meant to measure almost like a ball powder, but is extruded. It is extremely temp stable. This link tells the story quite well. It is in the general burn range of Varget / 4895 roughly. Does pretty good in .223, looking at the load data for it.

-- H4350
This does extremely well even in a 300 win mag up to and including the 200gr bullets. It also does extremely well in -06 based cases.

Not knocking either of your choices, both are truly excellent powders!

Good shooting,
Gary
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I've tried to go the "one powder" route myself and decided to quit trying. I have to many calibers to go "with just one". I can't expect Benchmark to work in the 300RUM or IMR7828 to work in the .222. I doubt there is "one powder" that will work in a spread that far with any efficiency. I considered myself lucky to get one powder to work well in my three .223's

RJ
 

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Limit yourself to two powders? Where the fun in that? :)

I don't care if the powder cabinet is full when I kick the bucket.

Scruf
 

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hey my thought also, 1 powder for pistol=unique or tightgroupe 1 powder for rifle=imr4064 or h4895...or was it h4198 or 5744....iam so confused....






learnmore---=---livemore :eek:
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I figured out I could do my rifle reloading with Varget and H4350. Isn't perfect for everything but it works, sometimes need to juggle bullet weights a bit. Don't worry about 100 feet per second lost if it's accurate.
 

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H4895 is certainly a keeper but H4831 seems slower than necessary. Take a look at loads using H4895 alone. If you can live with velocities 1-8% lower than maximum for a 10-15% saving in powder then maybe this will do everything you want. I now use it for everything, although I have to admit I've gotten away from the magnums. Still, the performance with magnums is still better than respectable in my opinion.
 

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I decided on getting H-4895, and H-4831.
Well, this is my 45th year of handloading rifles. I like and use both.

There are a few calibers that might not fit your plan, .22 Hornet, and .444 Marlin come to mind. But as rifles go, you can get good to outstanding performance, from a large percentage of cartridges in between.

Actually, I can't really think of a better pair myself.
 

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For your mid range powder with the .223 in the mix I would go with a ball powder near the same burning rate as 4895 packing more in the case of the small one and easier to use lot of them do well in the mid range cases. W748 is one, H335, BLC#2 and so on.
 

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If you load for the '06 you can't enough powder in the case to make factory fps with 4831( i've tried). The advice you've gotten from others about ball powders is also my way of thinking, especially in small cases like the 223. Stocking up on just two different powders would be great but would leave you seriously handicapped. Some of these new powders are really great. Think the fun you'd be missing out on!:)
 

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That's pretty close to true. In QuickLOAD a 5% compressed load of H4831 in the .30-06 will beat a maximum pressure load of H4895 behind a 220 grain or heavier bullet. But with anything lighter it loses ground to the H4895. In the chambering mentioned the H4831 is really only going to be best in the .300 Win Mag.

Spherical powders often have better energy density, but not always the best for accuracy. On the plus side, they generally burn cooler and let your gun's throat last longer. On the minus side, you are more likely to run into a maximum load that doesn't fill the case well. They are generally harder to light so they can require things like deburring flashholes to be as consistent as they can. I found that with AA2520. I cut groups in my M1A by about 40% when I started deburring flashholes for that powder. But Varget and the other stick powders didn't care whether I deburred or not. They worked great either way.

No rule applies all the time, though. Winchester 748 does well in service rifle match loads with conventional primers. In the .223, though, you're still stuck with the heavier bullets using it, if you want it to burn clean and consistently. I think the bottom line here is, if you genuinely want to narrow to two powders (I would go for three - fast, medium, and slow) you will have to buy small quantities of a number of them to find out which two work best throughout your collection?
 

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I've seen this question posed a number of different ways and just can't wrap my head around it. :confused:

At last count, I had 14 different rifle, pistol and shotshell powders in the cabinet and while a few of them could certainly be replaced, I can't think of a good reason to restrict myself to what will "sorta" work, for any given cartridge. If the goal is to buy 8lb canisters, instead of 1lb, then I'd do as Nick suggested and go with 3 powders.

If I HAD to pick only 3 powders they would be, Unique, IMR4895 and 4831SC. You could put some kind of load together for almost anything, with those options, but in many cases, you would still be sacrificing performance for some measure of simplicity or convenience. Finding the right combination for optimum performance is far more important to me than finding the least number of powders that I can "make do" with. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I appreciate all of the replies. I might have been a bit vague in my initial post. For the most part, I would say that more than half of my shooting is done with only a couple of rifles, and by and far with one in specific a .308 with a 16.5" barrel.

I understand, and very much appreciate the info provided, about how much it takes of this, to do that for peak efficiency. My main reasoning behind this was to have two powders which would more or less be used in a .243, .25-06, .270, and the .308.

Granted there are better powders for the .223, and for the, 30-06 and for my STW and, so on, and so on. I know this, and am not looking to crank out several hundred rounds of any one caliber specific load. I have loads which shoot very well in all of the rifles I am loading for, and most, if not all, will shoot something good with these two powders. I love H4350 and it was one I had a hard time getting past, but for the heavier bullets in the bigger stuff, it just doesn't get the accuracy that the H4831 does. Since I don't shoot them but on occasion I figure that will be fine. Same for the .223, I have probably enough ball powders to shoot the barrel clean off my Contender. Yep that one is a 14" barrel, and it simply loves a 45gr bullet over anything else, for which there is a load or two for H4895 that works really well. Granted they might not be the utmost in efficiency, but when I load X powder in Y caliber, it goes bang, and odds are high it will hit where I aim, and drop just about any critter it is pointed at right then and there.

I have other powders on hand for specific loads, I am simply tired of and do not want to have thirteen or more different half bottles of powder around for the once in a blue moon chance, I decide to crank my 303 British up, or drag out the .300 Savage, or run my '06 at 3000fps with the 165gr loads.

I have been through all of the powder testing, and bullet swapping I care to, and while new powders are wonderful, they also might be like the Accubond or the latest ultra super short whatever, and just be something else to sit on the shelf. I have come full circle and am trying to get back to the standards, and cup and core velocities. Heck I even got a couple of bullet molds to try out here shortly. I am looking for simplicity, or standardization of my stuff. I have had enough of wondering whats coming out next. Just gimme a truck that will get from point A to point B, and I will worry about the mileage.

Heck for excitement, I have some 150gr cast bullets to try out in my Ruger Blackhawk in 30 Carbine, or work up some 300gr loads for my 454.

Thanks for sharing, adding to the mix, and all. I do appreciate it, it has given me more to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, but how you going to keep current on bullet pulling if you don't try other powders?
Heck I still have mil-surp ammo my pop stashed away from back in the early 60's that I pull the noses off of on occasion, then I neck size the case and put a 150gr Nosler BT in them and head to the woods. They work fine for general hunting and if I loose the case it ain't no biggie.
 
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