Powder choice?

MtPockets

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Hi all.
I'm looking at working up loads for a couple of different rifles. I've talked to a few seasoned handloaders and gurus about how to pick a powder with various responses.

So I'd like to ask you all the same question-

When you are starting out with a new gun/caliber/bullet, how do you decide which powder to try? Do you just get on the internet and look or is there a science to it?

Since many of you have been doing this since way before the internet, I'm guessing the latter of the two...

Lately, I've been looking at loading for my 243. I'll initially try 100 gr Hornady Interlocks, which should work for everything from paper to prairie dogs to 1000 and the occasional deer at reasonable ranges.
In deciding which powders, I simply looked at the manuals and picked a couple of "middle of the road" powders, but I'm wondering if I'm leaving some performance on the table- which will be especially important when/if I ever get to a point going long with it.

Thanks for the help!

Ron
 

Deputy819

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Agree with jimbires. I'll have a custom heavy barrel .243 in a couple months and will be doing the same thing you are now. I've got IMR7828sc, RL19, H4831sc, IMR4831 (all 98%-101%case fill) and a wild card of IMR4451 waiting to try.
 

BJH

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There is a great article one the 6mmBR / AccurateShooter website on the 243 Winchester. Give it a read, it has great pointers on bullet and powder selection. There are a lot of powders out there that will work. But the only way to know which one YOU like best is to try a few and find out. I always read and learn as much as possible about any cartridge before starting to load for it. Then pick a powder and load. Learn what others are using successfully and give it a try.
 

HARPERC

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I used to use multiple manuals, most of that is available on the internet these days. I use Loaddata.com a fair amount. They list multiple sources usually, I go through and see if there is a powder that seems consistent in multiple sources/rifles. I generally go with something that gives the best fill.

Most of it's been done, and simple searches on the computer usually work, some common sense can be required sorting that out.

Seek out those that have been there done that. I had lunch with Rich Sherman yesterday, and came away with a lot of new thoughts.

Steve from Hammer is always interested in pushing the envelope, and is quite helpful in unique situations. Like a start load for a 395 grain bullet in .375 H&H.

I haven't got quick load, but there are those here that will give their time to sort something out.
 

lancetkenyon

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Since all of my rifles perform hunting duties, I look for powder temp stability and lot to lot consistency first in known well used burn rates. I will take 50-100fps less than absolute top speeds for stability and consistency any day in most of my rifles. I like the Hodgdon Extreme powders for most of them, like H4350, H1000, H4831SC, etc. I have found the new Alliant RL23 & 26 to be pretty temp stable as well, while delivering better speeds.

I do have a speed demon in my 6.5SS that I went for top speeds, but have yet to see any big swings in speed in temps ranging from 25 to 90°. So that is a nice bonus.
 

Wedgy

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Since all of my rifles perform hunting duties, I look for powder temp stability and lot to lot consistency first in known well used burn rates. I will take 50-100fps less than absolute top speeds for stability and consistency any day in most of my rifles. I like the Hodgdon Extreme powders for most of them, like H4350, H1000, H4831SC, etc. I have found the new Alliant RL23 & 26 to be pretty temp stable as well, while delivering better speeds.

I do have a speed demon in my 6.5SS that I went for top speeds, but have yet to see any big swings in speed in temps ranging from 25 to 90°. So that is a nice bonus.
Ditto on the temperature swings, we can pig hunt when it's over 100F in the summer and that takes a lot powders off the list. Reloder 26 & 33 IMR 7828 really pick up speed/pressure above ~84F rendering them useless for me during the hot months. Varget, H4350, & H1000, have all been steady for me when it gets hot.
Reloder 26 is the speed powder for many and very stable if you stay under 84F. I ran a Berger 105 over 3,400fps before I hit pressure in a 243 WIN with it.
 

cross

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Yep to all these guys. Availability is a big concern lately. I love H4350 but it was almost unavailable for years. The Hodgdon extreme powders are great as are the new Reloader powders. Old standbys like IMR 4831 are also good. I too tend to lean to the high side, I don’t need my rifles to shoot heavy bullets super fast but I’m disappointed if they’re slow
 

MtPockets

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I look for availability to purchase , high velocity , case fill between 90% to 105% .

Thank you for that, Jim! I've got a few others that I'll be loading for soon, and I was hoping to have an idea of what to look for without posting a question every time I do.

your 243 with 100 gr bullets , give IMR7828sc a look .

Have you experienced the temp instability that Wedgy mentioned? This particular gun is used in everything from sub-zero to upper 90's+.

Thanks to everyone who responded!
 

jimbires

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Have you experienced the temp instability that Wedgy mentioned? This particular gun is used in everything from sub-zero to upper 90's+.

Thanks to everyone who responded!


temps in the upper 90's would concern me . I think about any powder is going to act differently when temps get this high, especially with high humidity .as a rule I don't shoot in these temps .

I just don't see the wild temp swings the guys talk about . I'm sure powder behaves differently according to case fills . maybe by me using high fill % I kind of stabilize the powders , I don't know . in my first post I put up 90% as a minimum case fill . I'd reluctantly use 90% , I'd prefer 95 % - 105% case fill . case fill % much over 105 can cause problems too , one is pushing the bullets back out . I think a lot of temp testing could be flawed . I just don't believe you can take ammo out of a freezer and shoot it on a 90* day and get meaningful info . I'd rather put all the gear in the truck over night and go shoot the next morning . this way everything is at that temp , and the bullet is flying through air of the same temp . I recommend you work up a load and shoot it . shoot it when it's cold , and shoot it when it's hot . this is the only way you'll know how it acts for you .
 

jrock

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IMR 4350 was a one and done for me. Shot well enough not to bother with anything else. I've mapped the temperature curve with it and adjust my ballistics accordingly. If I found some H4350 I would try and switch as the IMR brand is pretty sensitive. After I use up the 3 lbs of IMR 4350 I have, then I'll go to RE-23.
 

RockyMtnMT

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IMR 4350 was a one and done for me. Shot well enough not to bother with anything else. I've mapped the temperature curve with it and adjust my ballistics accordingly. If I found some H4350 I would try and switch as the IMR brand is pretty sensitive. After I use up the 3 lbs of IMR 4350 I have, then I'll go to RE-23.
Rl-23 is a bit slower than the 4350. You might look at the rl-16. Right in the same wheel house as the 4350 powders.

Steve
 
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