Which powder to start with

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Pheroze, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I am hoping I can get some initial advice on powders. I am organizing myself to start loading for my 375 H&H. As dictated by my genetic affliction, I am at the stage of analyzing it to death. :D One thing that strikes me is the incredible number of powders to choose from! Should the novice reloader start with one brand and just tinker away with it. Or, do you get a selection of powders to start to compare them? My thought is to get one and use it a lot before trying another powder.

    On a related topic, which powder should I choose first?
     

  2. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Which weight bullet will you center your loading on?

    My favorites for 300gr are IMR 4350 and WW760. IMR4064 and 4320 are very good, too.

    Like you said, there are quite a few that can be pressed into use, from IMR 4895 on the fast side to IMR 4350 on the slow side. Lots of powders from various makers in between those two. All of my full power loads with anything from 235gr to 300gr use powders in that range.

    Have fun!
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    My priority is ACCURACY out of the rifle at hand.

    Choose a bullet you want to use.
    (Pick your Brass. Get some Magnum primers that suit your fancy.)

    Then look up the reloading data for it (bullet) and since most powders have been tested extensively, you'll get a selection of options to start with.
    As you'll note from tarbe's suggestions above.
    (Note extensive testing already done. Hand loaders are all crazy, me included. It is just another addiction.)

    Reload a range of volumes in a selection of one or more powders.
    See which one your rifle likes.

    I was amazed when I started out just how much any particular rifle likes a particular bullet and then on top of that the powder combination.
    I have witnessed the Browning, Ruger, CZ, SAKO all react differently in the same caliber to the same bullet/powder combo.

    Have fun! (Do I hear an echo in here?)
     

  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    In both the North Fork and Barness TTSX 250gr bullets, H4895 works very well for me. Varget in those bullet weights would be an acceptable alternative.

    The 300gr versions from North Fork, Swift A-Frame and TSX, IMR 4350 works great.
     

  5. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Hey Pheroze,
    You're headed for a lot of fun and enjoyment! And you've chosen a great cartridge to start out with. In addition to being one of the greatest rounds ever created, the .375 H&H is pretty easy to load for. It's a very rare occurrence that one behaves in an overly finicky fashion when it comes to the loads it likes.
    As you've already discovered there a ton of good powders to choose from. Pretty hard to go wrong with most. One of the most consistent proven performers in the H&H is Alliant RL-15. Another is H-4350, or IMR 4350 if you prefer. Both are extremely versatile powders that work great in a TON of cartridges. RL-15 may have an edge with bullets on the lighter end and 4350 more towards the heavier end, but either will work across the range of bullet weights. Those are the two that I use in my .375.
    Some other great powders would be H414, H4895/IMR4895, Varget and IMR4064. My experience has been that H414 is just a little on the temperature sensitive side but due to it being a ball powder as opposed to an extruded powder it throws more consistently. Meaning, you can get away without trickling each individual charge if you don't want to. 4064 doesn't meter real well out of the powder thrower due to the long length of the individual granules of powder (long grain extruded powder) but it usually performs well.
    One quick note, although you may already be aware of this. Hodgdon and IMR both produce powders that share the same "number". Such as H4350/IMR4350, H4895/IMR4895, H4831/IMR4831, etc. These powders are similar in burn rate but NOT the exact same. Do not assume they are interchangeable. They are not. Just FYI :)
    Hope that's at least a little helpful.
    Best of luck and have fun.
     
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  6. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I can see why this is fun! It's like putting together a puzzle. The thought process is: What am I hunting? Over what ranges? which bullet is best suited for that task (consult ballistic tables here)? Finally you get to, which powder does the manufacturer recommend for that bullet? (start shopping here).

    In looking at various catalogues I see that finding the bullet first is key because its not easy to find the one you want!

    Thanks guys. :)
     

  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Pretty accurate assessment @Pheroze but you won't always get a powder recommendation from the manufacturer. Even if you do, it doesn't necessarily mean the powder they found most accurate in their test barrels will be the most accurate in your rifle.

    One thing I'd like to advocate to you as a new reloader is to take your time and read all instructions carefully. If you're confused by something and not sure if you're doing things right, you've got plenty of reloaders here on AH that will happy to help you. Reloading / handloading your own cartridges is not difficult, but there is a bit of a learning curve. So please don't hesitate to ask questions.
     
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  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    The only bullet weights I've ever shot in my 375 H&H Magnums have been 270 and 300 grains. I've found RL-15 has worked well in 2 different rifles and a handgun.

    The above target was shot with a handgun at 200 yards and measured about 1.5 inches.
     

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  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    You got it.
     

  10. Grady

    Grady AH Enthusiast

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    Pheroze, Most of the guys here have pretty much said it all, but I will add just a few words.

    Starting with the bullet/weight that you want is a great place to start. But remember, just because you may want a 300 gr Barnes bullet, your rifle might like the 300gr Nosler, Speer, Hornady or others. While reloading is fun and addictive, it can also get very expensive. The fun part is the multiple trips to the range, trying to figure out the combo that your rifle shoots best. The expensive part is the multiple bullets and cans of powder you will go thru. When you buy a box of bullets only to find out that you rifle does not really like that brand, than you may need to drop some more cash on an different bullet. In the end, I still believe it is far cheaper to reload if you can vs. purchasing factory and I think you can get better accuracy if you try.

    For the different bullet selections, there are a few stores in the states that you can purchase "sampler packs" of a specific bullet, normally 10 or 15 slugs per pack. I can normally determine if my gun like the bullet by the time I shoot 3 group with different powders. That may be a good place to start, of if you have a favorite bullet company, start there. My first choice has always been the Nosler family. I can normally find a combo that will shoot good in my rifles. Once I get an acceptable load with Nosler, I will venture off into the Barnes, Hornady and Speer families to see if I can find something better. Sometimes I do, other times, I stay with Nosler.
    (NOTE: this is not an advertisement for Nosler, it is just the bullet that I started my loading with 20 years ago and I am comfortable with it. I am sure others that like the Barnes, Northforks ect, this is just my personal preference for a "starting point")

    For powder selection, my thought process has changed lately with the chronic shortages. If you are going to reload multiple calibers, after my initial bullet selection, I look at powders that will server more than one gun. For example, Reloader 15 is listed in the Barnes, Nosler, Speer and Hornady book for the 375, and also for the heavier slugs in the 30-06. So if you have two or three rifles, that may be a good place to start your search. If you 375 does not like the powder/bullet combo at least you can use the powder in a different rifle. Also, with the current shortage, you may end up starting with what ever powder is available locally!

    I am similar to Brick, ACCURACY is my goal. That may mean that I am at the bottom of the velocity scale on some of my load selections, but if I can shoot sub MOA at the distances I am looking at (100 or 200 yards depending on the rifle) I am OK with that. My selected target will not care if the bullet is traveling 2700fps or 3000fps...a well placed shot in the boiler room is going to put it down.

    My final suggesting is this....As a new reloader, stay within the published load data. Many people like to venture past the max listed loads. If you know the pressure signs and have lots of experience reloading, that may be OK. But not always the a good place to start or venture if you do not have a good understanding of what you are looking for. I have been loading for well over 20 years, and have VERY RARELY (read as once or twice) felt the need to go beyond the max listed loads to find one that works well in any of my rifles.

    Have fun!
     
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  11. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Ok, took the plunge! Ordered the Lee kit, RCBS balance scale, chronograph, shell holder, bullet puller and nifty measuring thingy (looks accurate enough to measure something as small as the brain of an anti)....ummmm when exactly does one start saving money?......lol
     

  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Accuracy, just think accuracy.

    Then if you need some $ justification, run over to the store and look at Premium 375 ammo prices.
     
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  13. Grady

    Grady AH Enthusiast

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    Don't forget there is a $50 rebate for the RCBS stuff right now.
     
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  14. JTEX

    JTEX AH Veteran

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    .375 H&H is easy. IMR or Hodgdon 4350, RE15 or IMR 4064, any of the three will do whatever you want.

    I try to stay away from 4064 because of the long sticks it's a pain to throw, but for accuracy and velocity any of the 3 will work well.
     

  15. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I like 4350 and IMR4831 with a 300gr Nosler Partition or Hornady solid. And you don't necessarily need magnum primers either, especially if you use some of the faster powders but even with the powders I mention I never used mag primers and never had any issues. Mag primers are really good with hard to light powders like Win748 and others but not for all, and they do boost pressures a bit.
     

  16. William W.

    William W. AH Senior Member

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    If you are planning to load for a hunting trip costing thousands of dollars, please considering weighing each load to at least 0.1 grain of powder.
     

  17. Grady

    Grady AH Enthusiast

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    +1
     

  18. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I thank you for all the advice. I ordered a Lee starters kit but, acting on some advice I got from matt85, I also spent more to get a better scale for more precise measurement. I will go "by the book" in terms of weights and primers until I develop enough knowledge to change it up safely.
     

  19. rainierrifleco

    rainierrifleco New Member

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    This day and age you should probbly ask which powder is available that will work. But really there won't be much to worry about as the 375s that I have loaded for have been really easy to get shooting..
     

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