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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need to lay in some stocks of powder. I was thinking about Varget and 2230 for 5.56, 7.62 and 6.5 grendel. But there are some good prices on wc 844, about $100 per 8-lb can. That's a couple of bucks cheaper then 2230, and $20 cheaper than varget. What am I sacrificing with the surplus powder?

thanks

tk
 

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Personally, I went with Varget and Benchmark.

Can't beat the thermal stability of either IMO.

I don't load for the Grendel (I don't own one) but I went away from AA2230......

FWIW, Powder Valley gave me the best prices on multiple packages per shipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bravo,

what didn't you like about 2230?

Thanks for the tip about powder valley. I'll check 'em out.

I'm not familiar with Benchmark; you using it for .223? Just read something quick about it; it sounds interesting.

tk
 

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I score all my powder and primers at Powder Valley. Best overall deal around. I'm curious about Bravo's problem with 2230, too. Not taking exception. I honestly know very little about rifle powders. I went with 2230 primarily because I use a lot of AA powder in handguns, and have become kind of a fan of their products. The 2230 meters well, and seems to be doing exactly what it's supposed to do. I'm certainly open to suggestions, though.
 

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846 is a good powder, pretty much the same as BLC2. It's my go-to powder for anything .308. My loads print well within MOA when I do my part. As for 5.56 have only played with it a little but with the heavier it seems to really do its part to keep the velocity up. Buy in bulk and stock up!

Hornady's TAP FPD looks like they use Varget for their 75gr but their LE only TAP 75gr T2 round uses a different powder.
 

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I don't really have a "problem" with 2230, I just don't like it as much. That's like saying I have a "problem" with Chevy - just 'cause I prefer Ford doesn't mean I think Chevy builds nothing but rubbish.

What I don't like about 2230 is that it's a spherical "high energy" powder coated in graphite. Meters WELL, but is temperature sensitive (very high temps give VERY high pressures - something to beware of here in the desert, especially with black guns stored in a truck!) and dirty. If you use it in something without a flash hider in low light (or even a limp flash hider like the USGI model), 2230 blows a big white-yellow fireball that is HUGE in comparison.

Yes, I'm using Benchmark with 5.56 - but as I said in another thread, I run lightweight bullets. If I were running heavyweights in the 5.56, I'd go with something a touch slower. Although Hodgdons says that 4895 is about the same speed as Varget, that IS NOT the case. 4895 is a decent bit faster - enough to tell the differrence anyway. I've used Varget in my 16" AR behind 69 grain Sierra Match Kings with great success - it's a GREAT combo - so for 69 and heavier (especially if you've got a decent flash hider) I'd run Varget.

FWIW, Benchmark is the powder the Australian military uses in their M193. They use a touch slower powder (called Benchmark2, not imported QUITE YET, but Hodgdons is working on it) in their Mk262 type ammo. Not quite as slow as H4895, but slower than Benchmark.

If I - for whatever reason - couldn't get the "extreme" Hodgdons powders, I'd buy Vihta 1XX series. Those are GREAT powders, although they're also spherical and high nitro content. Not as high as the 5XX series though!

After that? Well, I don't want to cast stones, but my least favorite is IMR (worst of all worlds) and Winchester (not much better) is tied with AA. I'm sure I forgot someone, but I'm hungry so gimme a break ;-)

FWIW, I ran AA2520 in my competition service rifle until I used some of that ammo in my first sniper course. After that, the rest of those kegs have just sat there. It's surprising to watch your dope change by several MOA just from the temperature changes of early in the morning to the heat of the day. Without spotting rounds, it makes a difference!

And just so someone doesn't think I'm saying "Hodgdons only", let me say that there are plenty of powders I've moved away from that are made by Hodgdons. Good example: HS6. Used it for years, but it has problems too, and I moved on when something better came down the pike. But I do like their "extreme" powders.

FWIW - and only my opinion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bravo,

My only issue with Varget is that it doesn't meter real consistently through my Dillon 650. The 2230 does, but I haven't done any real head-to-head tests against the loads for accuracy. Living in Florida, temperature-induced pressure spikes are a real concern.

I suppose the pellet-shape of Varget and Benchmark slows down the burn?

So Benchmark would be OK for 55-grain points?

thanks for the help

tk
 

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What you say about Varget metering through Dillon throwers is true.
I use a modified RCBS thrower on my Hornady Lock & Load ;-)

And no, it's still not as easy as 2230 or 2520, I admit that.

The shape of the powder isn't the thing that sets the burn rate - that's determined by granule size and composition (lots of burn rate modifiers / additives - and flash suppressants as well!). There are both fast and slow spherical powders, fast and slow extruded powders. Interestingly, many of the extruded powders are tubes, not cylinders. The powder sublimates (the powder itself doesn't burn - it's like wood, the gasses are given off under heat and pressure and the GASSES burn) and gives off gas from both the center and the outsides of the cylinder. A sphere just sublimates from the outside in.

FWIW, if you purchase powder from a certain manufacturer, you'll see my name on the traceability data packets. Well, if you go far enough back anyway. And I WILL NOT recommend that brand of powder! Not that my job isn't done right, but they screw our product up by blending in so much polyester the product becomes "dirty" and leaves a slew of soot that wouldn't be like that elsewise.

That wasn't the real scare. Several years back, they wanted us to investigate making the compound for primers. THAT stuff is scary. If you paid ME to make it, instead of 25 bucks a K for primers, you'd be paying 14,000 bucks for a K! Luckily, I got into propellants for "bigger" projectiles (GRIN).

And yeah, I use Benchmark to load 55 gr bullets.
 

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I thought powder deflagrates and dry ice sublimates? ;)


Seriously and technically, I think it can be considered both. Chemistry class from way back in HS, still looking for a practical use in every day life!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I score all my powder and primers at Powder Valley. Best overall deal around.
They will ship up to 48 lbs for a single $20 fee -- that does sound like a pretty good deal. I could go for three kegs, but that would still leave room for another two. Anyone in the Central Florida area want to go in on some powder?

tk
 

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I can't say much about WC846 but I use H335 for 62 grain and lower and H322 for 75 and 77 grain. Playing with Varget for lighter tips to get serious velocity in short barrels.

AA2520 for .308
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What you say about Varget metering through Dillon throwers is true.
I use a modified RCBS thrower on my Hornady Lock & Load ;-)
Hmmm, wonder if I could do the same thing on my dillon? It's a great press, but I've heard some real good things about the hornady, as well.

OK, so, in simple terms, what is the relative advantage of extruded vs flake vs ball powder?

tk
 

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TK, Powder Valley will ship 6 kegs per box, no sweat.

That's 48 pounds of powder, doesn't include packaging. They send two kegs in a Hodgdons box, three of those in a case.

Not sure if you can change the powder thrower on your Dillon or not. The Hornady system is "case sensitive" and takes the place of a die. When the die "feels" the casing pushing up, it throws powder. Actually, that's the main reason I went with my initial Hornady over a Dillon - I like powdering on station 3 instead of station 2. On a Hornady, you just swap the set-up onto the next station over.......

But the Hornady powder thrower is cheese compared to the RCBS variant. Change the RCBS cylinder out with the pistol / micrometer parts, throw in the optional baffle, and you're good to go.

ALL presses have a weak link. All of 'em. You just get to pick which link you want as weak (GRIN). The Hornady is easier to knock out of adjustment (or "wear" out of adjustment if you prefer) than the Dillon. It's easy to adjust the pawls to make it right - just twist some set screws - but still necessary from time to time where other makes don't have that. The RCBS progressive is rock solid, it doesn't want to wear like a RCBS or Hornady - but it doesn't index the shell plate either. Go figure.

On powders, it's really not about extruded versus ball - it's about one formulation versus another. The fact that a formulation just HAPPENS to be available only as extruded is "just the way things are". If Benchmark and Varget were available as spherical powders, I'd wet my pants. Joy-joy.

But extruded powders are easier to make on old technology. Or, if you prefer, "cleaner" technology - no graphite lube required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I can't say much about WC846 but I use H335 for 62 grain and lower and H322 for 75 and 77 grain. Playing with Varget for lighter tips to get serious velocity in short barrels.

AA2520 for .308
Mickey,

Why Varget just for the lighter tips?

tk
 

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2520 is easier to meter and gives better consistency in the heavier tips.
 
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