A little powder can make a big difference when reloading pistol cartridges. A pound of powder can often yield over a thousand reloads. Brass casings can accept dangerous double-charges of powder. However, this can lead to minimal visual differences. Charge weight is not an issue as it does not affect the cost of reloading. Reloading pistol cartridges are most expensive if you include the bullet and the case. I don’t care whether I use 4 or 12 grains of powder to get the desired results.
Physical form: The three most common forms of smokeless powder are flake, spherical, and extruded. Because of the small number of powders used, this is crucial for pistol reloading. For pistol reloading, I do not recommend powders other than the small flake and spherical varieties. Many reloaders have experienced a “squib load” when a cartridge receives very little or no gunpowder IMR 8133 for sale during reloading. Operator error is not the most common reason for a squib load. The powder does not flow freely from the powder measuring device into the case.
This risk can be reduced by using a small flake or spherical powder. I have yet to see medium or large flake gunpowder meant for shotgun reloading produce so many excellent results it is worth taking the chance of squib loads. This is something I cannot stress enough. It is a rare “low density” powder. This powder has all the benefits of a spherical powder but has significantly more volume per weight than other options.
This has two benefits. It allows for a more satisfactory adjustment of charge weight on most powder metering devices, as they measure powder by volume rather than weight. This is especially useful when using a powder measuring device like the Lee Auto-Disk, which uses interchangeable cavities. Every change in the cavity size results in a minor shift in charge weight. This allows for more adjustments.
You don’t have to use one type of primer. They all burn differently and can impact your accuracy. CCI 200, CCI 250, and WLR are my preferred primers for large rifle cartridges. Federal 210, Federal210M, Federal 215, and Federal 215 primers are also available on my shelves. Federal 215 magnum primes burn longer than CCI 250s. In almost all cases, however, one will be better than the other.
My druthers dictate that I prefer slower powders and higher loading density. Many people use IMR 4350 in.338, but I have always had better results using IMR 4831, which is much slower. I prefer powders that can be used to fill the case up to 90%. It is okay to use compressed loads if you don’t get excessive pressure. About 70% of my hand loads have been shortened at some point.
You don’t want your gun to explode if pressures are not substantial. Excessive pressure can be seen in battalions as well as single signs. A primer that has been flattened is the most obvious sign. A primer that is flattened is the most obvious indicator. Sticky extraction is the second. The third is a case-head extension and excessive case stretching. If your loads are too hot, you usually get two to three of each.