urnoodle wrote:I'm still a newbie to reloading. I haven't yet reached that confidence level where I play around with the loads yet. If I don't see load data published by the powder manufacturer that matches my bullet, I won't load it. I'm sure the more experience I gain, I'll probably get to where I want to color outside the lines a little bit. I'm still nervous that I've forgotten to put powder in the case or that I stuck the wrong powder in it. Knock on wood I haven't gotten a squib load yet. If I don't have an FTE or FTF then I count it as good load and continue to load it the exact same way. So I have 9 loads, 3 for each caliber that I've stuck to. How did you all find the powder you like best? Did you stick to the first one you've tried or did you try one for a while with all your calibers and then move to a different one until you figured out which powders work the best for each caliber?
I have been reloading since 1960 when my dad started letting me help him. I have tried many different powders over the years and like a lot of them. So, how did I arrive at my favorite powders? By doing what you are doing asking questions and trying different powders. Back when I started reloading the selection of powders were nothing like they are now. Handguns were loaded with Bullseye, Unique, or 2400. There were a few other powders, these were the most popular and most widely used. There were only 2 big powder manufacturers back then, Hercules, and DuPont now Alliant and IMR. Hodgdon only sold surplus powder, Accurate and Ramshot weren't even on the radar.
A good way to see if you might like a certain powder is to get a small sample from another reloader and try it. Most reloaders I know are very willing to share a little of their powder with a newbe. Now, my favorite powder - - - Unique. Why? Because I can load all the different calibers I shoot with it, Is it the "best?" No but, it's not the worst either. I can produce accurate, safe, factory level loads with it in .38, .357. 40 S&W, .45 ACP and, 9mm with it. As a bonus, it is useful as a propellant for reduced power cast bullet loads in rifles and as a shotgun powder.