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Now that I've finally bought reloading equipment, I have to lay in some supplies. Initially, I 'll be reloading .45ACP using Remington and Winchester 230gr FMJ and some Rainier plated 230gr ball that will be strictly for target use and trying to improve my shooting accuracy with my SA 1911 Loaded (this may take some time! :D ).

At some point down the road I will also be reloading .38spl, .357 mag, and 9mm after I gain experience with the equipment and learn proper techniques. I'll be adding dies one set at a time after I get comfortable with reloading .45ACP.

I would like to hear some recommendations for an all-around powder that will work in these calibers for target and plinking use. I've read a lot of reloading threads and it seems that a couple of popular pistol powers are W231 and Unique. I have about 500 cartridges available (Winchester and S&B) that I saved from shooting new factory ammo. I will most likely reload all of it as things progress. If two brands/types of powder is the best way to go for all 4 calibers, what quantity should I get to start? One pound each? While I see that different weights of powder vary by bullet type/weight and caliber, what is a reasonable yield from a single pound of powder?


Primer recommendations would be helpful too. The local shop carries both Winchester and CCI.
 

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231 is fine for .38 Special, 9mm, and .45 ACP. It is too fast burning for full charge .357, but you can get to about .38 +P+ velocity with it in Magnum brass.

Full charge magnums will want something like ol' Elmer's 2400 or similar burning rate. I load Vihtavouri N105 to just short of factory equivalent and have used Blue Dot that way. I know shooters using N110, H110, Win 296 with good results.
 

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Jim is 100% correct. You can't go wrong with w-231 as a beginning powder. It is a ball powder and meters through your powder measure very easy. It covers all the calibers you want except for hot 357m loads
I would buy it in 3lb cans as you save a few bucks over the cost of buying 1 pounders. Check the prices in your area stores. I would also go for WW primers. I have used 10's of thousands of various size WW primers with no problems at all. I am not a big fan of CCI primers----but that is just me. I am sure the CCI will work as well. Buy the primers in at least 1,000 packs once you decide which is the better to load with on your equipment. Try a few 100 of each before making a big buy..... I buy all mine in sleeves of 5,000.
 

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Another option - TiteGroup - it's faster than 231, cheaper, maybe dirtier at lower presures (ie 45 ACP) - no hot loads for the 357. Right now I use it for everything, but just bought some WST and 231 to try - make sure i'm not missing something better

Unique's another good general powder
 

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It`s hard to recommend one powder for the rounds you mention. The problem is the 45 & 38 are low pressure cartridges and the 357 and 9mm run at double the pressure of the other two. I would concider trying two powders for my loads, maybe Bulls-eye or W231 for the low pressure loading and Power Pistol, Blue Dot or something in the same burn range for the 9mm and 357, such as the old standard Unique. I doubt there is a cartridge out there (pistol) that you can`t find data for Unique in. It isn`t always the best choice but it covers such a wide range of cartridges that it lives up to its name quite well.
If you decide to go to full power loads in the future you will want to use a wider variaty of powders to cover all your cartridges.
 

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Blue Dot might fit the bill.

For the 9mm, I used to use 7.7 grains behind a 115 gr. West Coast Bullets plated RN.

For the .357, I use 9.8 grains behind a 158 gr. West Coast plated SWC. This isn't a full-power load, more like 75 or 80 percent, but it falls between mid-range and full magnum and is both accurate and mild-shooting out of a 6-inch 687.

In .45 ACP, I've done some preliminary testing with 8.5 grains behind a 230 gr. West Coast plated round nose (what can I say--the plateds shoot nice and clean indoors, and I can buy the West Coast bullets dirt cheap). I haven't had a chance to chrono it, but it's very accurate out of my G21, and very mild to shoot considering it's a maximum load with a book velocity around 850 fps.

Haven't reloaded any .38s, and don't recall if there's any load data out there for Blue Dot in the .38 Special or not. Maybe a +P-level load.

I'd buy one pound at a time to start with, in case your development process proves your selection isn't the right one.

Winchester and CCI primers are pretty much equivalent. I use Winchesters because I have a cheap source for them.
 

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Asking what is someone's favorite powder is going to get you a dozen different answers. Throwing the .357 into the mix clouds the issue a little. I use Titegroup for 9mm, .40 and .45ACP. It is spotless in 9 and .40. A little dirty in the low pressure .45. Understand TG is much cleaner than Unique in .45, just not as clean as in the 9mm.
Unique is a great all around powder. Even the new formula is pretty dirty.
Like others said use 296/H110 for the .357 if you need max velocity.
231 might be a good choice. I have never used it so I can't say. TG is cheap at $85- $90 for an 8# keg.
 

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what is a reasonable yield from a single pound of powder?
GES,
I missed part of your question. One pound of powder equals 7,000 grains of powder. Divide the number of grains you decide to load with into 7,000 and it will tell you how many loads you can get from a pound of powder.

Example: 5.2 grains of W-231 is your load
7000 divided by 5.2 = 1346 loads per pound. This number will probably vary a bit during use....Depends on how much you spill on the floor:p

Since you are just beginning.... my suggestion is to just buy ONE pound of powder that will work well in the 45......learn the ropes of reloading and then start thinking about other powders and calibers... Have fun!!
 

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I'm going to add another vote for 231. I use it for all my handgun reloading as I load for economy rather then all out performance. I load .357, .40, .45, .44 Spec and .44 Mag with it, all with cast LSWC heads. The data is out there from Winchester for just about any handgun caliber. It is not the powder to use if you want the top velocity from every cartridge (I don't think one powder will do that for every cartridge), but you will get useable ammo every time. I'll tell you, the .44 mag loads are as hot as i'd want to shoot in my 3" Mod 29, and that type of load is definitely not what 231 was meant for. 231 is very economical in .357 as the charges are quite low (not much higher then .45 loads) and again the ammo is quite comfortable to shoot. Good luck.

later,
AJ
 

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AA#7 will give you everything from 9mm to 44 mag in both practice and full power velocities.

Except for an occasional HS-6 or Vhit N340 load, I've moved to AA 7 for all my handgun needs.
 
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