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Load info using W296 in my GP100.

This is a discussion on Load info using W296 in my GP100. within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Pam, I'm going to add to Iowegan's response to your question. First, your question is a very valid one. Second, I totally agree with Iowegan's ...


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Old May 6th, 2017, 11:04 AM   #16
 
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Pam, I'm going to add to Iowegan's response to your question.
First, your question is a very valid one.
Second, I totally agree with Iowegan's response to your question.

Here's the bonus info. A lot of powders will fill a lot of roles well. For example, Unique is famous for being useful in a large number of handgun cartridges. However, in just about every combination of acceptable cartridge components, one or two powders will "shine" and provide the best performance with a particular combination of components.
When loading 38 Special wadcutters - Bullseye and ww231 have proven to give consistently good results. (some will claim Bullseye has an edge)
When loading .308 Winchester cartridges with 168 grain HPBT bullets, IMR 4895 and IMR 4064 almost always give the best accuracy with 4064 often giving a bit of a velocity edge.
When loading .357 Magnum cartridges and 44 Magnum cartridges - the powder that always provides the best performance is H110 (ww296 is the same powder as H110).

Now, As Iowegan pointed out, there are some caveats. When using H110 in 357 magnum loads you must use more weight of powder per cartridge to achieve those excellent results which means you will get fewer cartridges out of a pound of powder when compared to some other powders for 357 magnum loads. It's a small price to pay but it is a price. Another issue is the need for magnum primers when using a slow ball powder like H110 / ww296. Again, a small price to pay.

One of the many great pluses of being a reloader is the vast amount of knowledge you get to tap into. Reloaders have done a LOT of experimentation over the years and they are generally happy to share what they've learned.
While I can tell you that I've burned a lot of different powders in 38 Special and 357 magnum casings over the years; I can also tell you that the old knowledge shared by others proved to be true for me as well.
When loading 357 magnum cartridges with 125 grain bullets and 158 grain bullets - I always found H110 (ww296) to provide the best results - just like everyone said it would . Go figure

Good Luck !




Last edited by Petrol and Powder; May 6th, 2017 at 11:06 AM.
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Old May 6th, 2017, 02:24 PM   #17
 
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OK, Im sold. Next trip to the Dillon store I'm gonna buy a pound of Win296 and a box of magnum primers. I'll use this combo exclusively for my 357 magnum loads, and continue using BE-86 for 38 special and 9mm.

Thanks,

Pam
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Old May 6th, 2017, 02:35 PM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pampurrs View Post
OK, Im sold. Next trip to the Dillon store I'm gonna buy a pound of Win296 and a box of magnum primers. I'll use this combo exclusively for my 357 magnum loads, and continue using BE-86 for 38 special and 9mm.

Thanks,

Pam
Yep me too . I will try between 15-16 grs of w296 with some 158gr berry's plated Bullets with hopefully good results.
Lowegan's advice and experience is good enough for me!

Last edited by gunna1day; May 6th, 2017 at 02:37 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2017, 07:31 AM   #19
 
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Pam, Sounds like a good plan.
I don't have experience with BE-86 but it looks to be roughly in the same class as Ramshot Silhouette (formerly known as Winchester Action Pistol or WAP). I used a lot of WAP back when WAP was available. I gave up on it because of cost and found other powders to do the job.
BE-86 on paper looks to be a decent candidate for 9mm and 40 S&W but I have no actual experience with it. When you get close to using up your BE-86 for loading 38 Special and 9mm, I would suggest that you consider trying something different in those cartridges. I'm not saying BE-86 is bad, I have nothing to draw from there. However, you may find something that works better than BE-86 in 38 Special.

I started using ww231 in 38 Special decades ago because ww231 was locally available and cheap. Over the years I burned just about everything suitable in a 38 Special casing but always came back to ww231. I'm not saying it's a great powder for 38 Special but it does have some real advantages in 38spl.

In 9mm I use WSF and have found nothing that will beat it in terms of performance and cost.

Good Luck !
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Old May 7th, 2017, 08:06 AM   #20
 
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What improvements should I be expecting when I switch powders? I haven't had any issues with BE-86, but being the rookie that I am, I don't know what I don't know.

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol and Powder View Post
Pam, Sounds like a good plan.
I don't have experience with BE-86 but it looks to be roughly in the same class as Ramshot Silhouette (formerly known as Winchester Action Pistol or WAP). I used a lot of WAP back when WAP was available. I gave up on it because of cost and found other powders to do the job.
BE-86 on paper looks to be a decent candidate for 9mm and 40 S&W but I have no actual experience with it. When you get close to using up your BE-86 for loading 38 Special and 9mm, I would suggest that you consider trying something different in those cartridges. I'm not saying BE-86 is bad, I have nothing to draw from there. However, you may find something that works better than BE-86 in 38 Special.

I started using ww231 in 38 Special decades ago because ww231 was locally available and cheap. Over the years I burned just about everything suitable in a 38 Special casing but always came back to ww231. I'm not saying it's a great powder for 38 Special but it does have some real advantages in 38spl.

In 9mm I use WSF and have found nothing that will beat it in terms of performance and cost.

Good Luck !
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Old May 7th, 2017, 08:17 AM   #21
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Petrol and Powder, BE-86 is basically Power Pistol with a few additives to make it burn cleaner. It hasn't been out that long so reloading data is not plentiful. That said, it has an excellent reputation for 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. It can be used as mid-range powder in a 38 Special or 357 Mag but there are many powders that do a better job. I'm with you on standard 38 Special loads .... it's hard to beat W-231. I like Bullseye for 148gr HBWC target loads.

I'm not suggesting BE-86 is a bad powder because it isn't .... it was engineered specifically for semi-auto ammo and does an excellent job. Like most powders, it can be used for different applications but there are other powders that do a better job in revolver cases.

With the vast number of powders available, there's always a couple that are the best burn rate match for the desired results. When you find a powder that matches your load criteria, chances are it will be accurate, but not necessarily cost effective. W-296 is a classic example. At 20 bucks a pound and 435 rounds per pound, each shot costs you about 4 1/2 cents. In my opinion, this is a modest price considering the performance, however it is NOT a plinking load unless you are a recoil junkie.
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Old May 7th, 2017, 08:19 AM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by Pampurrs View Post
What improvements should I be expecting when I switch powders? I haven't had any issues with BE-86, but being the rookie that I am, I don't know what I don't know.

Thanks!
Everything has a context. BE-86 is not a magnum powder. Just keep using BE-86 for moderate loads. 7.3 gr behind 158 gr lead seems to be the sweet spot and with no concern about pressure. Great to shoot in a medium frame or larger gun without all the stunning recoil and fire What I get is smoke, because I add alox to my purchased bullets..
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Old May 7th, 2017, 08:28 AM   #23
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
I'm not suggesting BE-86 is a bad powder because it isn't .... it was engineered specifically for semi-auto ammo and does an excellent job. Like most powders, it can be used for different applications but there are other powders that do a better job in revolver cases.
Iowegan, can you define "Better Job" in revolver cases? I'm open to making a switch, based on the opinions of the experts, but I'm curious as to what I would get that I'm not getting now, or conversely, what issues I would eliminate.

Would you suggest that I stay with BE-86 on my 9mm loads, and use W296 for my revolver loads?

Thanks!
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Old May 7th, 2017, 09:58 AM   #24
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Pampurrs, In a word .... performance. Performance can be defined as optimum accuracy at the desired velocity. It can also include such attributes as good metering, clean burning, minimal muzzle flash, cost effective, and last but not least .... availability. I don't know of any powder that has all the attributes so I tend to go for those that best meet my needs. As an example, for light 38 Special target loads, I want something with light recoil, exceptional accuracy, and because I will shoot a lot of them, I also want something that is cost effective. Bullseye powder and lead hollow base wad cutters fill the bill quite well for being inexpensive and very accurate, however it burns dirty and because of the low powder charges, it isn't the most reliable when it comes to metering. So basically it's a compromise and in my situation, I'm willing to deal with a dirty gun in favor of superb accuracy and low cost.

Next is what I would call "factory equivalent" loads ... those that produce about the same velocity as factory ammo with the same weight bullets. In 38 Specials, I prefer W-231 for this task. It burns much cleaner than Bullseye and meters about as perfect as possible. It also produces very accurate loads with a minimal muzzle flash and because the powder drop is very conservative, the cost per round for powder is pretty low. W-231 will easily cover the spectrum of bullet weights for a 38 Special yet will keep chamber pressures under 17k psi. W-231 can also be loaded hotter for 38+P loads (18.5k psi). W-231 is probably one of the best powders for snubby 38 Special loads you can find. That's because it burns up in about 3" of bullet travel so muzzle flash is minimal while velocity is quite high considering the short barrel.

The great part about reloading is .... you can tailor your loads to your specific needs .... in fact you can produce ideal loads that are not available at your LGS. The most robust revolver on the market is a 357 Mag. It can be used to shoot very light target loads in 38 Special cases (or 357 Mag cases). It can also shoot "factory equivalent" or 38 +P loads. Then comes the beauty of a 357 because it can shoot "mid-range" loads that are more powerful than a 38 +P but not as powerful as a 357 Mag factory load. Finally, you can shoot serious "knock 'em down" 357 Mag loads. This give a wide spectrum of power that just can't be matched in any pistol.

Semi-autos are the most accurate and reliable with a mid-burn rate powder. For many years, Unique was the powder of choice for 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. It is still a great powder but better powders are now available that produce better results. Power Pistol and its close sibling BE-86, are about as good as it gets for the popular semi-auto cartridges. BE-86 has the right burn rate to insure there's enough residual barrel pressure to operate the slide without exceeding max chamber pressure. Worst case for a semi-auto is to use fast burning powder. It generates way higher chamber pressure and burns so fast that there may not be enough residual pressure to operate the slide.

The primary difference in various handgun powders is "burn rate". You can quantify burn rate based on how many inches of bullet travel it takes to totally burn up. For best accuracy, a powder that takes more barrel length to burn up than your actual barrel length is usually the most accurate. Why? Let's assume you have a 6" barrel and use a powder that takes 4" to burn up. That means the last 2 inches of bullet travel won't continue to make the bullet accelerate as much. Now let's use a different powder that takes 8" of bullet travel to burn up. It will still be pushing the bullet faster and faster until it exits the 6" barrel. Also, only "X" amount of powder will burn so velocities will be way more consistent than with a faster burning powder .... almost like a pressure regulator. Bullseye and some other fast burning powders contradict the above concept. Instead, they burn up very quickly in just an inch or two of bullet travel. From there, the bullet literally coasts out of the barrel. Again, this acts somewhat like a pressure regulator and tends to produce tight velocity spreads and great accuracy. The worst powder choice will be one that burns up right as the bullet exits the muzzle. This will make your powder drop very fussy .... just a minor change in powder drop can have a major impact on accuracy. Many people strive for the best efficiency where all the powder burns up just as the bullet exits. Little do they know, they just created a fussy load.

When loading for a semi-auto, the powder drop range isn't very wide because the cartridge must produce enough pressure to operate the slide but not so much where it can damage the pistol. The cases themselves were designed for medium burn rate powder so there is not enough internal space to use slow burning powder and still generate enough velocity.This limits your choices .... and your choice of BE-86 is a good one .... the right burn rate, clean burning, generates factory equivalent velocities, meters well, and produces the necessary pressure to make the pistol function .... plus it is pretty accurate and has a low muzzle flash. What more could you want???

Because 357 Mag revolvers are so robust when it comes to shooting a variety of loads from flea farts to major serious thunder boomers .... your first task is to identify your needs. Are you going to shoot a lot of ammo where you are more concerned about accuracy? Do you want to simulate a self defense load? Are you going to hunt with the cartridge? Are you a recoil junkie? I suppose there are at least a dozen more categories to choose from .... all being related to the bullet weight and velocity you want to achieve. Once you identify your needs (there may be more than one set of needs), you can then concentrate on what powder burn rates will work the best. The general rule is .... the faster the burn rate, the lower the velocity and of course the slower the burn rate, the higher the velocity. A powder burn rate chart will add some prospective to this concept.

Because this thread is about W-296 powder, it would be a very poor choice for anything but full power hunting or self defense loads .... way too much recoil, a huge muzzle flash, and a dirty burner ..... but with the highest velocity and excellent accuracy. It takes at least a 4" barrel to take advantage of W-296 properties .... a 6" or longer barrel is even better. W-296 takes about 15" of bullet travel totally burn up. This makes it an excellent choice for rifles too. Because of the long burn time, W-296 will chronograph with very tight max velocity spreads, which is why it is so accurate.
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Old May 7th, 2017, 04:39 PM   #25
 
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Pam, Iowegan has pretty much covered it.

While a lot of powders will work in 38 Special, ww231 and its twin HP-38, have a number of positive traits. WW231 meters beautifully, has about the perfect burn rate for the task at hand and is inexpensive when used in 38 Special loads.

So in a nutshell, WW231 is powder measure friendly, efficient and economical in 38 Special loadings.

Bullseye has been the favorite for 148 gr wadcutters about as long as Bullseye and wadcutters have existed. I've used both Bullseye and 231 (and a bunch of others) in 38 Special loadings but always came back to 231.

When there was a shortage of 231, I tried CFE Pistol and had good results but went back to 231 as soon as it was available again.

For full power magnum loads in a .357 mag, I would go with ww296 (H110) and never look back. I occasionally load and shoot .357 magnum loads but no where even close to the volume of shooting I do with 38 Specials. In light of the small number of magnum loads I shoot, the added expensive of WW296 is a non-issue. Even when using 296 for both my 357 & 44 magnum loads, A pound of ww296 lasts a long time.

I can't speak much to BE-86 in 9mm because I haven't used it, but it sounds like it's a decent powder for 9mm.
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Old May 11th, 2017, 09:41 PM   #26
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Pampurrs, A couple reasons .... your BE-86 load generate more chamber pressure but less velocity than a magnum load with W-296. .... a lose - lose situation. Why? Most of the wear in a revolver is related to chamber pressure. It will increase endshake and will cause the gun to "shoot loose" with fewer rounds fired. BE-86 IS more cost effective though.

A lot depends on what performance level you want to achieve ..... a good mid-range BE-86 load may be just the ticket for your purposes. I used to hunt with my 357 Blackhawk so I wanted as much velocity as safely possible. I also believe a magnum cartridge should behave like a magnum .... no wimpy stuff, just a huge muzzle flash and a very fast bullet going downrange. The trajectory is much flatter at 1250 fps than at 1075 fps, which increases your effective range. I use momentum as a unit of measurement for power. A 1250 fps load with a 158gr bullet produces a momentum of 28.2 .... a 1075fps load with the same bullet produces a momentum of 24.2 ... about 15% less power. For a self defense load, either would get the job done, however for hunting, you stand a better chance of a one shot kill with a heavier load.

Most people do not "plink" with heavy magnum loads. Instead, they usually find a lighter mid-range load such as your BE-86 load .... way less recoil, equal accuracy but more punishing on the gun. When I shoot targets, chances are I will use light 38 Special loads. They still go bang and make a hole in the target .... plus they are cheap to reload and your gun will last forever. Then there are recoil junkies .... I know this because I used to be one. The bigger the bang, the bigger the smile on my face. Now I'm plum tickled with light 38 Special target loads. Talk about efficient, 3 gr of powder per load will get you over 2300 loads per pound and that even allows for some spillage. Lead wad cutters are about the cheapest bullets you can buy. So if you are into cost savings and still like to hear a bang with low recoil, try some lead wad cutter loads.
Just another note to add to Iowegan's excellent response, the Alliant listed velocities for their load data are based on a 10" test barrel. It is pretty unlikely that your BE-86 load is getting anywhere near 1075 fps, even though it may well be close to maximum pressure for a .357. The W-296 (and H-110) loads will get you maximum velocity and performance out of a .357 Magnum revolver, achieving over 1300 fps out of a 6" barrel GP-100. If you want maximum performance, then W-296/H-110 or Alliant Power Pro 300-MP are your best bets. Not the most economical (the Power Pro 300-MP uses even more powder than W-296/H-110), but they are the way to go with heavy bullets when you want peak performance out of a magnum revolver.
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