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Thread: Does Anyone Recognize This Powder?

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Default Does Anyone Recognize This Powder?

    I was wondering if any of y'all could tell me what powder this might possibly be or at least point me in the right direction, especially those of you loading big bore revolvers. I pulled a bullet from a commercial round after I discovered it shot like a laser out of my Redhawk with good speeds over the chrony.

    The powder granules are tiny short, cylinders with a hole going through the length like little spools. I remember reading an article in the Propellent Profiles column of Handloader with these particular physical characteristics, but I don't recall right off hand what it was.

    Just thought I would take the lazy way out and ask before I went back and searched through 10+ years of Handloader back issues.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails powder.jpg  
    Now what ?

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    Well TrailBoss is more of a donut shape where what you got looks more like a roll of toilet paper. So not Trail boss.

    What sort of speeds were you seeing with what weight bullet?

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    Close to impossible to tell with any certainty what a powder is by looking at it. Any guess would be just that, a guess, and dangerous at that.
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    That powder, once removed from the case without any other identification, is known as "Fertilizer (tm)".It is almost certainly a non-canister powder (i.e., not sold in 1, 4, or 8lb containers, but only for factory loading).

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    True it would only be a guess but only dangerous if fool enough to not know itís a guess and just assume X grains of the mystery powder is the same as X grains of whatever you guess it is. But itís perfectly safe if the mystery powder looks like ďXĒ powder then you find data in your caliber using ďXĒ powder to work up your loads from in the normal way.

    Iíve seen powders like that but only in rifle rounds.
    I can tell you itís NOT:
    LilGun
    H110/W296
    2400
    Bullsye
    Unique
    Trail Boss
    Titegroup
    Bluedot

    Look at 4198 and 4227, both good large bore handgun powders but I donít remember their shape right off. But I suspect its something in the Vihtavuori line that Iíve never used like maybe N110.

    What brand and caliber is it from?
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    I'm not going to claim I know what it is either, although I would expect a "custom" blend for this manufacturer.
    A general question though - If you replicate the muzzle velocity with the same bullet using whatever available powder will do the job - would the shappe of the pressure curve really affect the accuracy very much? I have seen the pressure transducers used for rifles, do they make any that would work on a revolver?
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Remember that commercial ammunition does not always use the canister powders that are available to reloaders. Hence not only is it impossible to determine a powder by visual inspection, there is no gurantee that you can purchase the powder that the manufacturer used.

    I've found for both top accuracy and velocity in big bore handguns, it's difficult to top H-110 or W-296. I highly recomend sticking with known powders and published data. The gun and hands you save, may be your own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    (sic)
    A general question though - If you replicate the muzzle velocity with the same bullet using whatever available powder will do the job - would the shappe of the pressure curve really affect the accuracy very much? I have seen the pressure transducers used for rifles, do they make any that would work on a revolver?
    Mike
    I can't say if the pressure curve and matching velocity will affect the accuracy, but in an accurate revolver I've seen the "sweet spot" accurate load that put 5 shots into 1" at 50 yds open up to a 2" group by adding or removing 1/2 gr of powder. Accurate revolvers definately respond to tuning loads just as you do a rifle. The key is scoping the revolver and shooting from a shooting from an appropriate rest. An good revolver is mechanically capable of moa accuracy.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    But I suspect its something in the Vihtavuori line that Iíve never used like maybe N110.

    What brand and caliber is it from?
    It's not N350. I too am curious what brand/caliber?
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    A general question though - If you replicate the muzzle velocity with the same bullet using whatever available powder will do the job - would the shappe of the pressure curve really affect the accuracy very much?
    If achieving accuracy was as simple as matching a given muzzle velocity, regardless of powder choice, then there would be nothing to distinguish one powders performance from another. The distinguishing characteristic is the pressure curve, which affects obturation, acceleration, and stabilization of the bullet. The pressure curve absolutely influences accuracy.
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    IMR SR-4759 looks like that... I just verified it by looking at some in my shop.

    To extrapolate you need to collect more info.

    1. How many grains of powder were in the case?
    2. How heavy was the bullet?
    3. What type (brand) of brass?
    4, What type of velocity were you obtaining across a chronograph?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Look at 4198 and 4227, both good large bore handgun powders but I donít remember their shape right off. But I suspect its something in the Vihtavuori line that Iíve never used like maybe N110.
    I own some of each of 4198, 4227 and N110. It is none of them.

    The only cannister powder I have ever seen with a through hole is Trail Boss, and we both agree that isn't it.

    It should have a really smooth burn rate though, as the outside of the cylinder burns down and gives off less gas per unit time, the inside hole should be burning bigger giving off more gas per unit time.

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    It's from a custom maker I would consider local and I really like it, so I don't want reveal too much about it that would perhaps give away a secret recipe that could cut into someone's livelihood.

    However, it is from a .45 Colt cartridge. The bullet is a 335gr hardcast WFNGC and I was getting 1080+fps from a 4" barrel. I did weight the powder charge, but I prefer not to reveal that either at least not at the moment.

    I agree it's not:

    LilGun
    H110/W296
    2400
    Bullsye
    Unique
    Trail Boss
    Titegroup
    Bluedot

    Look at 4198 and 4227
    Someone else also suggested SR-4759 too so I guess I'll give that a closer look.
    Now what ?

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    I have a lot of different powders and I have no clue what it is. I really doubt if that is the only powder that will work well in your gun. I would suggest matching the bullet making sure to match whatever diameter it was sized. Then load it with 296/H110, 2400 or possibly 4227 and I think you will find the accuracy and velocity you are wanting.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelyn View Post
    It's from a custom maker I would consider local and I really like it, so I don't want reveal too much about it that would perhaps give away a secret recipe that could cut into someone's livelihood.
    Folks buy commercial ammo because either it's more convenient or they're not interested/capable of loading it themselves. There's not really any such thing as a secret recipe, at least at this level of the market. The big boys sometimes use powders not available to the rest of us to gain a marketing edge. But the smaller custom guys such as this one likely are using the same powders we handloaders have access to and rely on marketing niche ammo to those not interested in loading their own. Realistically, nothing discussed here will reveal any trade secret or threaten anyone's livelihood.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Folks buy commercial ammo because either it's more convenient or they're not interested/capable of loading it themselves. There's not really any such thing as a secret recipe, at least at this level of the market. The big boys sometimes use powders not available to the rest of us to gain a marketing edge. But the smaller custom guys such as this one likely are using the same powders we handloaders have access to and rely on marketing niche ammo to those not interested in loading their own. Realistically, nothing discussed here will reveal any trade secret or threaten anyone's livelihood.


    Okay.

    It's Alaska Backpacker.

    When I load out of here to go hunt, I don't carry any ammo with me except for my rifle due to weight and all the other crap I'm carrying. So I just buy a box for my pistol when I pass through skAnchorage or Wasiland.

    I'd like to be able to shoot it more often and mebbe fine-tune it, so I pulled one one my rounds and found the mystery powder in an attempt to possibly duplicate it for practice.
    Now what ?

  17. #17
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelyn View Post
    ....it is from a .45 Colt cartridge. The bullet is a 335gr hardcast WFNGC and I was getting 1080+fps from a 4" barrel. I did weight the powder charge, but I prefer not to reveal that either at least not at the moment.
    Someone else also suggested SR-4759 too so I guess I'll give that a closer look.
    IF it's SR-4759, you can find occasional data for 45 Colt out there. Some guys have dabbled with it in strong revolvers and posted velocities in the range you observed. I haven't seen any that were actually pressure tested tho, and it should go without saying that you must proceed with extreme caution.

    For what it's worth to you; VV N350 is a great powder for heavy cast bullets in 45 Colt...
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    I know nothing about SR-4759, but it sounds like it's not very forgiving and I'd be better off continuing with the line up of the usual suspects.
    Now what ?

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    How much was in the case? It can only be a guess and all guesses regarding the identity of a powder are dangerous. H4227 (or IMR 4227) is a common powder for heavy bullet, full power loads in the 45 Colt. It would take about 20 to 22 grains. It looks very similar to that. SR4759, another lookalike, is not used much now days but would take about that same charge.
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  20. #20
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    It is not Vihta N110 as the coating on that powder leaves it very shiney, not dull as pictured.
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