Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

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Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by mikemyers on 4/16/2018, 4:48 pm

People here and in other forums convinced me years ago to switch to Bullseye powder for 38 Special (M-52) and 1911 wad guns.  Good to have one powder for both.  Bullseye has been around forever, and the only complaint I can find is that it is "dirty".  I've never been concerned about that - it is what it is.

Question - are other types of powder equally good, equally available, and less "dirty"?  

I reload, but I'm not "a reloader".  I accept a load that others recommend, and use it.  I'm not good enough (yet) to worry about a tiny increase in accuracy due to the powder, when I'm not shooting well enough yet to take advantage of that.  Bullseye nowadays seems easy to get.

Am I missing something that all the rest of you have changed to?
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by jglenn21 on 4/16/2018, 4:54 pm

Bullseye or WST are probably the two most popular for a 38 and 45 combination
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by desben on 4/16/2018, 5:20 pm

I'm a fan of WST as well. If I could not find that, I would probably use HP-38/Win 231.
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by USSR on 4/16/2018, 6:36 pm

Mike,

Regarding the "dirtiness" of a powder.   All powders tend to be dirty when used at a pressure level below their optimal pressure level.   That being said, ball powders in general tend to burn cleaner than flake powders like Bullseye.   Like you, some dirtiness doesn't bother me.   If you find Bullseye easy to find in your area, get it.   For most of the last 10 years, components have been hard to find and pricey when found.  I guarantee you it will happen again.   Should you come across some ball powders such as WST, AA#2, or W231/HP38, buy them as well.   Hope that helps.

Don
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by mikemyers on 4/16/2018, 7:06 pm

According to Bass Pro Shop, an easy place for me to get reloading gear:

  • WST Super-Target is available (they think it's for Shotgun??). $31
  • WST 231 is out of stock, $ 33
  • Bullseye is available, $ 35


I'm using an RCBS Pro 2000.   I read that you use less WST than Bullseye.  For use in a progressive press, it seems to me that the accuracy of each load will be improved if one is using "more" powder, not less.  The same "error" in dispensing powder will have less effect on a larger amount of powder.

Everything else being equal, it sounds to me like Bullseye is preferable for me....    and based on what you wrote, I should probably buy extra, in case the scarcity of powders happens again.  Thanks!
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by james r chapman on 4/16/2018, 7:09 pm

WST is indeed a shotgun powder.
Many shotgun powders serve dual usage for pistols
Red Dot
Clays/ClayDot

But you can safely cover most with Bullseye/WST for .38 & .45, WSF for 9mm
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by USSR on 4/16/2018, 7:23 pm

Mike,

Forget about Bullseye at $35.   I bought some 2 years ago for $19.   Actually, since WST has a little slower of a burn rate, you use just a little more to find the same pressure level as Bullseye.

Don
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by zanemoseley on 4/16/2018, 7:38 pm

Don't buy powder at Bass Pro its super overpriced. Find a range that sells components or a reloading store. I jist bought a 4 pound jug of WST for about $75. I'd like to go into the next election with lots of components but we'll see if my wallet will allow.

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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by rich.tullo on 4/16/2018, 8:05 pm

Why Bullseye, its accurate, and its consistent at all temperatures. 

I like WST for 38 and 45. I have used it for 9mm but its inaccurate in that round and you cannot go much past 4gn in 9mm. 

VV310 is nearly identical as Bullseye and clean, but a touch more temperature sensitive than Bullseye but not as accurate or temperature sensitive as WST. 

I have tried VV320 but it is not my favorite for Bullseye shooting although its a great powder for 38 special. 

I checked my inventory today and I have plenty of powder , I forgot I have 6x VV310. 

But If I were to try a powder Vectan BA 9. 

https://www.grafs.com/uploads/technical-resource-pdf-file/20.pdf


Last edited by rich.tullo on 4/17/2018, 5:42 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by Tim:H11 on 4/16/2018, 8:47 pm

Bullseye, although dirty, is not nearly as sensitive to temperature changes as some other powders can be. In Georgia at the regionals last couple of weeks ago I noticed on the last day when the temperature had dropped (30's and 40's) a shooter was keeping several mags loaded in his pockets in effort to keep is ammo warm or warmer. I did not do anything of the sort and my results were great. 

I do not know about the temperature sensitivity of Hodgdon Titegroup but I will share what Terry Labbe (Magnus Bullets) told me once. "I shot Bullseye for a long time and switched to Titegroup. It's cleaner." His loads are listed in the "Pet Loads of Top Shooters and Loads From The Past" thread. It's a sticky under the "Ammunition" forum. 

Some shoot Bullseye, some shoot Titegroup, some shoot a lot of different kinds of powders. I don't mind cleaning up after Bullseye because it shoots dang good in my gun. Others might too and would be cleaner but I don't want to bother with the time to test. If it aint broke don't fix it kind of thing.
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by mikemyers on 4/16/2018, 8:48 pm

USSR wrote:......Forget about Bullseye at $35.   I bought some 2 years ago for $19.   Actually, since WST has a little slower of a burn rate, you use just a little more to find the same pressure level as Bullseye......
I wanted to buy more small pistol primers.  Called all over, and nobody in the Miami area seems to have them - well, nobody I could find using Google search.  Midway has them, but shipping is $30.  I'm getting them at Bass Pro Shop tomorrow morning.  I will call around for Bullseye tomorrow, but if nobody even sells primers, not sure I'll have any more luck.  I don't think reloading is a big thing in Miami.  Maybe I'm wasting $10 or so, but I'd rather waste the money and have the powder, than worry about finding any to buy.
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by zanemoseley on 4/16/2018, 9:33 pm

That pound will cost you $40 nearly after tax. Look at buying in bulk from Powder Valley, you'll get your per pound price less than half that, you will spend some on shipping and hazmat.

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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by jglenn21 on 4/16/2018, 9:36 pm

Check some local/state gun forums and ask there..
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by jglenn21 on 4/16/2018, 9:40 pm

Also get on brownells email list. They just had a day long sale with .01 hazmat and free shipping and $15 off.. They do this every now and then. I paid 139 for 5000 win small pistol primers delivered..
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by weber1b on 4/16/2018, 10:22 pm

Best place to buy powder is at Perry each July. And if you are not fortunate enough to be able to be there, work it out with someone who will be. I was amazed my first year watching guys buy $1,000 worth of powder to take back to their friends. I have since done the same for others. And I always make sure I buy enough for myself to make it at least to the next year. No haz-mat fees and shipping cost which is what kills you on small purchases of powder.

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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by Wobbley on 4/16/2018, 11:44 pm

If you want to try another 38-45 “combo” powder, try 700X. Burns about the same as Bullseye. Decent accuracy in 45 at the 3.5 to 4.0 level.

Bullseye, Titegroup, VV320, 700X, WST and Red Dot are all top candidates for target ammo.

Ww231, HP38, Green Dot, Accurate 2 &5, Unique, Universal Clays, with Universal or Unique being the slowest recommended for Target Pistol ammo; but these powders either work for your gun and recipe or not. Mostly the latter. I’ve never found great accuracy with 231 but I have had good luck with Unique. Other people like Green Dot but I’ve never had a reason to try.

I can get Bullseye, Titegroup, WST, Red Dot and 700X. I don’t load shotgun and if I did I’d load WST or Red Dot...
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by USSR on 4/17/2018, 6:58 am

zanemoseley wrote:That pound will cost you $40 nearly after tax. Look at buying in bulk from Powder Valley, you'll get your per pound price less than half that, you will spend some on shipping and hazmat.

+1.   I did that for many years to build up my stock of primers and powder.   If you order enough, you will spread your shipping and hazmat fee out and come out saving a lot over what you would pay at your LGS.

Don
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by teg2658 on 4/17/2018, 7:35 am

CAC Associates in PA, $13 hazmat and the freight is reasonable. WST came out about 1988/89, it was the replacement powder for 452AA. I tried many powders in the 45, always went back to WST. I wore out a set of 1911 inserts in the Ransom Rest, WST always came out on top.
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by Chris Miceli on 4/17/2018, 7:56 am

I only shoot bullseye now.... not because its the best, but because if i use anything else my friend ben might be hospitalized for mental health.
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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 4/18/2018, 8:18 am

Bullseye powder has been around for a long time.  It is reliable, temperature stable, has a wide range of usable loads, and is reasonably inexpensive. An equivalent powder (per: http://www.adi-powders.com.au/handloaders-guide/equivalents.asp) is VV N310. 

N310 is reliable and useable for a wide range of loads.  Also N310 is noticeably less 'dirty' than Bullseye.  However, several dedicated shooters I have talked to and read about on the internet found N310 is temperature sensitive. 

Most of the dedicated (i.e. Master+ level shooters) seem to prefer Bullseye and deal with the 'dirty' part by cleaning their pistol more.  The reason for choosing Bullseye over others is the temperature stability and knowing the ammunition will shoot repeatably, regardless of the weather.  I don't have that much personal experience with N310, but it meters better than Bullseye and will reliably operate my .45 with a few tenth's of a grain less (at 70 degF).  N310 powder I have purchased (on sale) is about 1.5x more expensive than Bullseye.

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Re: Puzzled about Bullseye powder compared to others

Post by Toz35m on 4/18/2018, 4:56 pm

from testing I have done and looking at standard deviation of velocities.  BE was always the lowest.  Always seems to be among the smallest groups along with WST and N310.

I have been shooting BE-86 for a year now and getting good results.  you need about 5.4-5.5gr of BE-86 to get about the same velocity as 4.0 of BE.

I like using one powder all season and with the season starting and ending when it can be in the 30's I want a powder I can count on and not change mid season and need to worry about POI changes.
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