Shooters reload pistol ammunition for many reasons. These include cost savings, availability in commercial markets, and customizing a load for specific requirements. Bullets, primers, and smokeless gunpowder are the three essential components every reloader should purchase. The most crucial step in reloading pistol ammunition is choosing a smokeless powder. Because no powder is suitable for every application, it is essential to know which powder you should use for safety and function. Sometimes, the confusing first step in a new reloader is difficult because there are many options.
Just over 20 years ago, I began reloading before I was old enough for ammunition shopping. Reloading bulk ammunition for competitive shooting is my specialty. I was hoping you could continue reading to learn about my five favorite pistol powders for reloading. Let me tell you why these powders are IMR 8133 my favorites, and what they don’t all have the same properties. If you are new to reloading and have not started yet, I encourage you to read the entire article. Many seasoned reloaders will give you the worst advice: “I use X product, and I like it.”
Understanding the reasons behind something is just as crucial for me as knowing how to do it. This is true even when choosing a smokeless powder for pistol reloading. Before I share my top five powders, let me first explain the concepts that help me make my decisions. Load data is the information published by gunpowder makers and bullet manufacturers in the firearms sector. They will contain information about the cartridge, bullet weight, and the importance of any powder charges. Current load data will list the same bullet and primer that were used.
The free load data that distributors of gunpowder provided has been invaluable to me. The internet has made load data more readily available than ever before. You can also buy manuals that contain load data, but I have never felt the necessity to. Every reloader has to work out a safe load. This is where a person takes the published load data and determines it to be safe and valuable in their firearms.
Start with a smaller powder load to reduce variances in the firing process. You can also choose a different primer, bullet, or bullet than the one listed in the load data. Also, consider the overall length and crimp.
I will generally work each load until it reaches the recommended powder charge and watches for pressure signs. A clock is helpful in the interpretation of results. But it’s not necessary. Good loads will be characterized by the consistent function of the firearm, externally cleaned brass, good recoil, and velocity for the cartridge. This is a crucial aspect of gunpowder. It makes it possible to have one powder suitable for the—45 ACP cartridge and another ideal for the rifle cartridge.
The burn rate of smokeless powders is a measure of their ability to generate pressure quickly. Burn rate charts are published by some manufacturers, which list the relative rapidity of various powders.
It’s essential to determine if a particular powder is fast, medium, slow, or both for reloading. It is easy to see various powders compatible with a specific cartridge and bullet size. The powder will work faster for that cartridge if the maximum charge is lower. The slower the powder is for that cartridge, the lower the total cost.