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there are a lot of "good" powders - but some have characteristics that make them better or worse from a gun standpoint.
...and particularly the M14/M1a. I'm not a reloading adventurer... I don't have the time or the spare parts to chase something that may never materialize, particularly at my skill level, that's why the 'tried and true' loads work well for some of us.
 

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I've tried most powders over the years, including Varget, RL15 and several ball powders.

Accuracy has never been my primary concern. Clean burning and temperature stability are above it.

I eventually settled on IMR powders.

3031 for lightweight bullets
4895 for medium
4064 for heavy
 

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My latest loads use 180 Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets over AR-Comp. The accuracy is great, the velocities and pressures are actually relatively low so recoil is a little less.

I think you know my attitude about powders Art, I've always felt that there are many more powders that will work in an M1 or M1A than most people believe. Our science and technology has changed drastically since the days when most of the "common knowledge" was created by competition shooters.

I agree that most of the commonly used IMR powders will produce numbers that look very similar to what the military produced and the results on the target are usually good to very good. But I do use ball powders and others from time to time.

I control my loads based on functionality and accuracy, in that order. I use my QuickLoad software to estimate both. Functionally I look for a powder that will produce good pressures at the port and good impulse values and accuracy is always verified at the range.
 
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Discussion Starter #24
With all the talk of not have access to powder preferences, I thought this might get some of that dusty stuff on the back shelf out in the light. Funny how we get hung up on a particular powder and forget there are others that work as well or better if we give them a chance.
 

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With all the talk of not have access to powder preferences, I thought this might get some of that dusty stuff on the back shelf out in the light. Funny how we get hung up on a particular powder and forget there are others that work as well or better if we give them a chance.
Bingo, I have 7# of n135 and 1# N140 I’m gonna burn up on 14’s this year. They are old but still a stable powder.
 

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Funny how we get hung up on a particular powder and forget there are others that work as well or better if we give them a chance.
...and sometimes you are reminded why you have stuck with certain powders.

I've been fooling around with some other powders, mostly just to find viable substitutes for one of my standardized powders given the availability problems these days. In my M1 Garand, where IMR4895 is all I've used, basically, in the 30 years I've been loading for it... I've fiddled with H335 (because I have it on hand for 5.56mm) and IMR4064 (because I load heavies with it,) both with 150grn bullets. The results were not very promising. The H335 gave me a fireball I wasn't expecting and mediocre accuracy, and the IMR4064 mashed my #34 primers pretty flat... something else I wasn't expecting. They DID work, so I have that in my kit bag for future reference, but my original plan to replace IMR4895 with something else didn't quite pan out...

I'm also looking for alternatives to IMR4895 and IMR3031 in my Socom16, with 150grn bullets, too. I posted here some time ago about subbing in H335 (for the same reasons above...) and got a pretty tepid response. I'm going to go ahead and work with it, just to see, but I don't expect anything earth shattering to come of it... except another powder alternative. IMR3031 will still be my primary powder most likely.
 
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My attitude toward propellants is similar to that of the Army.

Once I find something that works to my satisfaction, I stop looking, and stock up, so I use mainly IMR 4895 for everything, even though I know there are other good choices out there.
 

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Does anyone know the temp stability of the usual powders. I would like to find a substitute that works both summer and winter. Using H4895 at the moment, it shoots better than I do so far.
 

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I really like RL 15 for my M14, however I am almost out. H4895 is my second favorite, I am running lowish, and Imr 4895 works good also, I have plenty. A fall back powder for me is Varget, I have plenty but it's not my favorite powder. Another good powder is Imr 4064, but I like to save it for my bolt gun. Another powder that should get mention is Imr 8208 XBR. It's also a good powder up to 168 gr bullets. Recently, I have been using some TAC for bullets between 125 gr and 135 gr and it seems to work very well. Just my opinion on powder for the M14.
 

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Does anyone know the temp stability of the usual powders. I would like to find a substitute that works both summer and winter. Using H4895 at the moment, it shoots better than I do so far.
Here is a good article about temperature sensitivity
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thanks RAMMAC. Good information. Varget and H4350 have been my main burners for some time but with the Varget down to only a few pounds it was time to start using others that are on my shelves.
While digging I found a bunch of IMR 4198 on the back shelf and had to look through the books to even remember what I used it for. That was my powder for .223 which I haven't loaded for in a dozen years and the a few pounds of IMR 4227 appeared . Again, had to look and that I used for M1 carbine and 22 Hornet which I probably haven't loaded in 2 decades or maybe even longer. Time flies when you are having fun.
 

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I have had the best luck with Reloader 15, but I like Varget, and IMR4895, but 4895 I only use at mid-range and closer.

Danny

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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Since 2009, I have tried H4895 with 147 pull downs, 168, and 178 amax. Varget was too was too slow and would beat up my op rod, 2 bullets would be touching but then next rounds would be touching also but 3 inches apart. Maybe just coz I was a newbie then didn’t work out too well for me. I will edit this as soon as I find my targets that I saved up.
Then I tried A2230 which was ok with the pull down 147’s.
Then I found Ramshot Tac. Easy to tune and plentiful and it flows like water on my powder dispenser.
This week I got a jug of A2495 which is supposed to be like imr and h4895 so stand by. I just shot my first loads and its promising.
 

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I personally prefer n140. Tac though not on any service rifle data list ive found works very well with 175s. Shooters world Percision out preforms Varget in my rifle. Cfe 223 I've found out why its in no ones service rifle data. It is very finicky but is capable of excellent groups. Shooters world match i found does function well in the minimum to mid charge weights but accuracy is compable to factory ammo, that has been the case with this power in every cartridge ive tried load developments for using it. I personally have no use for any 4895 in any cartridge but alot of people swear by it. I've had best luck using Hornady service rifle data tailored to my rifle. Though Sierra's 150 grains btsp recommended accuracy load preforms outstanding, i use it as my hunting load (charge weight, I sub a 150 btsp Speer in general) even though its considered over what hodgdons and Hornady recommended for the m1a. N140 constantly gives me sub moa in the 150 to 168 ranges with a high rate of 3 shot groups be 1/2 groups, but in general a 5 shot group being 3/4 at most and 10 shot groups still being just under an inch. Depending on grain weight between 2500to 2600 is generally my rifles sweet spot with 165s to 175s. 2600 to2750ish is for the 150s. Speer 150s preform just as good as sierras and the 168s preform just as good as Hornady but I've found 155 Amax abd 175 Sierra's to not be as comparable to competitors. Nosler is always a top choice but honestly SST's preform just as good for most applications. Strangely I've found that flat based bullets preform well and alot if times better in my rifle but my rambling is starting to get alway from propellants. My rifle is a percision with the SS NM barrel, scoped, i've replaced the stock with a USGI, no accuracy was gained or lost with that change. Long answer shortened n140/varget/percision burn rates preform best for me. Blc2 is acceptable but I honestly don't prefer it.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Loaded up 100 German DAG berdan cases today with 50 gn of BL-C 2 under Berger 115 gr fb bullets. Should give me right around 3K fps to work with.
 

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Started for discussion purposes only and for use in the M14 type rifle. We are not talking bench rest rifles in this thread please.
The question continues to be raised as to which powder is consider to be " best" for our favorite rifle's menu. Having tried many different brands, I have come to the conclusion that within a broad range of burn rates , there are many that are more than acceptable for personal use. Haven't really found any one more " accurate " than any other. I realize I only shoot when the ambient temperature is between 20 degF and 95 degF so within that 75 deg range every thing I try seems to be effective after ladder tests have been completed.
During 10 dot test targeting I have had no trouble cleaning a 10-10 using BL-C 2, 4064, 4350, 4895, 8208, N-135, RE -15 and Varget pushing bullets from 110 gr to 175 gr.

Finished up my tests using 100 rnds of each RE-15, N 135 and IMR-8208 XBR this past week. Maybe the fact that I only shoot out to 300 yds is a handicap that should be taken into consideration, but for my purposes I have decided that powders make very little difference overall. Sub moa in my test M14 rifle is sub moa consistently over all choices.

In conversations with some that swear by one particular propellant over another, when the question is asked, what others have you tried, the answer is almost always the same.
Joe Schmo said this or that was the best so I bought some and haven't really tried anything else. Or when so and so googled "best powder for the M14" this one came up so it must be the best if the internet says so. Geesh! Another good question is " how many rounds using this wonderful powder have you put down range" ? Funny some of the answers received. Most of the time it is not enough to make any conclusion at all. Most prolific answer has been 41.5 gr of IMR 4895 and everyone knows it. Really?

So the final brain fart is, " dance with the one that brung ya and be happy you can dance at all".
I chose to simplify by using only Varget powder, 168gr bullets in my 30 calibers and 75gr bullets in my 5.56/.223 also use CCI 34 & 41 primers. Found a good load and stick with it.
 

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Well.... I have the Carlos Hathcock White Feather M-25 Springfield Armory addition M1!/M14 still going strong. I only shoot 168-grain and 175-grain out of her. Her name is Precious. Anyway I've shot 178-grain and 180-grain out of her, I didn't like it, she performed well, but I think it's two hard on her (Piston). So I'm sticking with the 168-Grain and 175-Grain for my long range applications. I keep one mag loaded with 178-grain and 180-grain for what I call close range hard target interdiction, those mags are marked with red tape. She shoots good with them other lower grain rounds also. But I prefer the above. I really like the 168-grain, oh, and SMK. Thanks for having me onboard.
 

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Loaded up 100 German DAG berdan cases today with 50 gn of BL-C 2 under Berger 115 gr fb bullets. Should give me right around 3K fps to work with.
110 vmax 42.2 of imr4198 is about 3100fps and shoots lights out and a lot cheaper, stacking 5 under a quarter.
 
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