Vihtavouri Powders

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by dsmerrills, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Afternoon guys as you can see from my profile that I am from South Africa and we have been fortunate enough to have received a shipment into South Africa of of various Vihtavouri powders and as I understand it, it will be an ongoing thing.

    I have decided to give Vihtavouri a try in three calibers for now as I am tired of our local powders being way below spec or way above spec in certain instances with regards to powder burn rate.

    Please give me an idea as to which powder would be best suited for a 308 Win, 375 H&H and 404 Jeff. A little more insight into this is that I currently use 165gr plus bullets for 308, 300gr bullets for 375H&H and 400gr bullets in the 404 Jeff.

    I am thinking of using N133 / N134 for the 308 Winchester
    N140 / N150 / N540 for 375 H&H
    unsure of powder for the 404 Jeff?

    For what it's worth I use S335 for 308 Win, S355 for 375 H&H and S355/S365 for 404 Jeff and these are all powders from our local manufacturer Somchem.

    your advice will be much appreciated as to the powder you guys suggest is best suited for the above mentioned calibers bearing in mind the bullet weights mentioned.

    Cheers
    Darren
     

  2. Wayne t

    Wayne t AH Veteran

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    Hiya
    I've been running N140 in most of my calibers for years now not quite as big as yours but I find it a great all round powder for lots of rounds you should do well with it
    W
     

  3. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Hi Wayne thanks for the response, is N140 a medium burning powder?
     

  4. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    In my experience, N133 will generate much lower peak pressure than most other popular powders. I use it in my .405 WCF and match velocities (2225 - 2250 fps) of factory Hornady 300 grain ammo at 0ver 8,000 psi less peak pressure. :)
    I also use it in my .45-90 with similar results This is also true for the .45-70.

    PS Years ago, my older brother was loading for bench rest shooting and hunting and discovered N133 and since then I have used it to reduce worries about high pressure spikes on heavy loads. PS good accuracy also.
    I recommend you buy the most recent VV loading hand book as it contains a wealth of information, including load data. If their manual does not have info on your caliber of interest, try contacting them.
     

  5. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    From an old Vihtavuori loading book.

    375H&H 300grain bullet N140 69.6grains. N160 81.8 grains These are MAX loads in the book.

    308 165 grain bullet they list N133, N135, N140, N150 & N550. Once you go heavier they do not list N133 or N135.

    In my book they do not list any loads for the 404. Try google.

    Woodleigh list N160 for a 400 grain bullet in the 404J. 85grains for 2185. This is max for a soft point and 83 grains for their solid.

    N160 is equivalent of AR2213sc a slower powder. The ADI (Aussie AR powders) manual showw them using faster powders for the 404J. Fastest to slowest burn rate, AR2206, AR2208, AR2209. 2209 is the ADI equivalent of N140.

    If google dose not help I would contact them as crs advised.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
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  6. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Wow thanks Rule 303! I'll play around on Quick Load tonight and see how they do!
     

  7. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Try a Google search on "404 Jeffrey load data" and you will find a few things to read.
    You may have to use Kentucky windage (compare loads for different powders, pick a VV powder and experiment - keeping good records) to come up with a VV load as the 404 is not one of the more popular big bores now days. There are many .400-416 caliber rifles though and a lot of load data to work through.
    Or you could just buy Norma factory ammo.
     

  8. 30winmag

    30winmag AH Enthusiast

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    My .375 likes N140 pushing 225 and 270 grain Hornady SP's. It is a good medium burn rate powder that does darn well.You can't get screaming velocities out of it but it works well up to 2800 fps with no pressure issues. (I load mine to 2500 fps and it does just fine with low recoil) As a side note, it has a tendency to get hotter if it sits for extended periods of time. So use the powder/rounds within a couple of years otherwise you may run into pressure issues. Have fun working up the loads!
     

  9. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    Quick load will be the way to go.

    The 404 is not a straight wall case but there is not a massive constriction at the neck, because of this I feel medium burn rate powders would be your best bet. Similar to the 375 H&H case in ratio between body length, diameter and neck diameter if I have explained myself properly.

    Below are a mates loads for his 404J. Just including these to highlight the results of a medium burn rate powder. Built on a Brno magnum action. If anybody wants to use these loads then the usual caution. Work up from a few grains under these loads and different brands of bullets can cause different pressure to occur.

    400 grain Kynoch RN 82 grains 2209 = 2250 fps.(mild as I have been to 85 grain,no chrony though)
    400 grain Hydro 82 grains of 2209 = 2270 fps.
    450 grain Woodliegh RN 82 grains 2209 = 2160 fps (getting up there)

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2017

  10. ZG47

    ZG47 AH Enthusiast

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    @30winmag Do you mean that pressures increase when you store the canister of N140 propellant for a while? OR do you mean that your handloaded cartridges develop higher pressures when you have stored them for a while. If it is the latter, you may be experiencing pressure increases due to increased bullet-pull. If you have read Hatcher's Notebook you may recall the various 'bullet-pull' figures related in the account of the tin-plated bullet saga. These figures can affect chamber pressure.

    A gunsmith acquaintance of mine, who hunts with a rifle, and shoots local and U.S. NRA competitions out to 1,000 yards, has adopted a safety practice for stored target (7.62x51) ammunition. If he is going to use loads that have been sitting around for several months, i.e. from the last NRA season, he seats the bullets slightly further into the case, just enough to break any seal that has occurred but not enough to affect accuracy.
     
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  11. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    I have used both the "standard" VV powders and the 500 series powders. VV powder is good. Better than other choices?? Dunno. Two issues to consider- future availability and temperature sensitivity. For the carts mentioned, I imagine Varget (or its twin direct from Aus) would also be worth considering.
     

  12. 30winmag

    30winmag AH Enthusiast

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    In this case it is an increase in pressure after ammunition has been stored for an extended period of time. it is definitely a powder issue and not a bullet pull issue. But this takes years to develop so I simply shoot the stuff in under a year. For almost every reloader this isn't an issue but it does exist. I use the powder so obviously I'm not worried
    Thanks for the input! It is always great to trade info with those who participate in the madness that is reloading.
     

  13. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Awesome discussion guys!
     
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  14. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    @dsmerrills,

    I've only worked with VV powder a little. My best results were with N560 in one of my .300H&H M70's. It really loves that powder. It also works pretty well in one of my .300WMs.

    For .308 Winchester, I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone not get good to great results with Hodgdon Varget and 165gr bullets. VV N140 seems to have the closest burn rate to Varget.

    While I've never used Varget in .375H&H, I know lots of folks like it for that caliber. So again N140 may be a good choice. My .375H&H gets along well with 300gr projectiles with IMR4350. N150 looks to be closest to IMR4350.

    For 250gr bullets, my .375 really loves Hodgdon H4895. It's closest VV powder would be N530 or N135.

    For whatever it's worth, those I know that have used the VV powders really like them even those it's expensive.
     

  15. 30winmag

    30winmag AH Enthusiast

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    I have to agree that Varget is an amazing powder wherever you use it. If you can find it, the "black gold" can get expensive if its available.
     

  16. rifler

    rifler New Member

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  17. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    As you say Varget (AR2208) is the better powder by the book however - there is always an However:)- there is no VV powder equivalent and I think obtaining powders in RSA is very problematic.
     
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  18. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    Yes, long term availability is and will always be a problem and for certain something to consider. Even here in the "land of plenty" I remember an inability to get certain types and brands, sometimes never available again and sometimes at least 2-3 years between times. I saw it happen with Norma powders in the 1960-70s, fairly recently with Hercules-Alliant powders and, at least here, with VV powders. I learned if a good powder is found for an application or better yet several…. get enough when available. I think The closest to Varget (A2208) in VV would be N140. Other similar powders would include IMR 4064 and Accurate XMR4064 and Accurate 2520. I worked up some loads for a 35 Whelen AI and 338-06 a few years ago using N140. It seemed to perform well for 250 gr and 225 gr bullets respectively but the pressures did get a little "spiky" at the upper end. Just an FYI. I no longer have the 35 and my go to powder for the 308 Win, 338-06 along with a 416 Rem and 450 Watts is Varget.
     
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  19. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    N150 and N160 work perfectly in my 8mm rem mag - slightly better accuracy from the N150

    have not been able to get N140 for a few years

    but they are excellent powders - in my practical pistol days - they were my go to powders -
     

  20. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    Given the VV choices and calibers, my thinking would probably be N150 or 550 for 308 and 375. I'd lean toward N140 or 540 for the 404. While N140 or 540 may yield the top accuracy in the 308... I'm still thinking high temp/high pressure and hunting applications so would lean toward slightly slower powder like N150 or 550 for both the 308 and 375 especially in the heavier bullet weights. Just 2 cents worth
     

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