Friday, June 10, 2016

Smokeless Powder versus Smokeless Powder

I've never been much for reloading and I'm struggling a little bit to understand the differences. There's no time like the present to learn, right?

Please note, actual author's reloading bench is covered in debris and does not look nearly as "Pinterest Worthy" as this photo!
I'm attempting to reload about 1,000 rounds of 9mm. I know loaded ammo prices are pretty cheap right now but I'm tackling this project more about self-sufficiency than saving a buck or two. With the political situation in this country being what it is, there's no telling what the future of ammo will be and I'd rather be ready to reload than trying to learn in a market with scarce supplies and high prices.

I wasn't much for reloading at the time but I can remember primers being especially hard to come by about 3 months after the Newtown tragedy. Sure, ammo prices had skyrocketed as well but I figure if I can learn what I'm doing now, I won't be so hesitant to stock up on powder and primers in the fall if and when things start to get a little dicey.

Powder Options

I understand that Hodgdon Titegroup is pretty well known and a decent choice. Is there any benefit to going with it over Alliant's Bullseye Powder? Comparing the two under a microscope below, you can see the Hodgdon above and Alliant below. It's certain that the Hodgdon is less uniform than the Alliant in terms of shape and color but I'm not sure if it really matters for a 9mm load.

Thanks to the National Center for Forensic Science for the images.

The powder side of ammo is largely a mystery to me. If I understand it correctly, everything pretty much comes from the same facility in Florida and the "brands" you and I see online and at the gun shop are just basically the same powders put in different packaging. Because of that, I'm a little partial to just gobbling up the cheapest out there.

Obviously, I'm not loading defensive cartridges - just looking for some rounds to plink with and safely gain experience into the world of reloading. If you have any other thoughts on what pistol powder would be best (and cost effective) I'm all ears. Thanks in advance!