Accurate #2 (Improved)

Accurate No 2 (Improved) is a modern fast-burning pistol powder that is optimized for light loads, although the manufacturer also advertises it for full-power defensive loads in short-barreled firearms.

The powder is sometimes called “Accurate #2 improved“, because at some point it was made more bulky to give better case-fill. Volumetric data changed, but formulas by weight are still valid. Since the powder became more bulky, old data would fail by sticking bullets in the barrel, instead of exploding the firearm. But beware of compressed loads, unless they are noted as such.

Bottom line: 👍 Still evaluating. I haven’t chronographed any loads yet, but so far this has been an excellent powder to work with.


  • Very fine granules meter well. Most consistently metering powder out of my Redding 3BR so far. Also, no “hangup” feel as with True Blue.
  • (Claimed) Low Flash.
  • (Claimed) Position insensitive.


  • Can be a bit messy, because the fine grains get everywhere.
  • Volumetric data may be obsolete.

Density (per manufacturer) 9.800 grains/cc ±5.5%

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ (Grains)/0.12 – 2.5

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.3 + 0.12 * pistol_insert_number

Pistol Insert #

Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 2.7 27.4
40 5.1 51.4
46 5.8 58.8

True Blue

Ramshot True Blue is a modern pistol powder suitable for moderate to heavy loads in many calibers.

Bottom line: 👍 Meters superlatively, nearly universal application in handguns, low flash.


  • Very fine spherical granules (.0083 to .0165 inches in diameter) meter well
  • Low spreads and standard deviations when fired
  • Can be used in many different cartridges.
  • Low flash. Even indoors with 454 Casull rounds going 1400fps


  • Can be a bit messy, because the fine grains get everywhere.
  • Despite the fine spherical shape giving very repeatable throws, there is an occasional “hangup” feel in the Redding 3BR — as if granules sometimes get cut.

Density (per manufacturer) 15.046 grains/cc ±3.6%; But Lee dipper chart says 14.6 grains/cc

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ (Grains – 0.5)/0.18

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.5 + 0.18 * pistol_insert_number

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 4.1 41.1
35 6.8+ 68.8
36 7.0 70.5
40 7.7 77.8


The SAECO #58, is a .451 caliber 215gr SWC with a huge meaplate. It was made for bowling-pin shooting from a 1911. The huge meaplate was thought to grab pins better. It’s interesting to me, because it’s about the flattest thing that feeds well. In paper, it cuts clean holes, but unfortunately they’re surrounded by a “torn” halo (like a round-nose leaves) from the more-rounded shoulder. Load data is surprisingly potent! The slug is only 7% lighter than the classic 230 grain ball, but it’s driven about 100fps faster.

I had great consistency with True Blue.

Montana Bullet Works sells high quality cast SAECO #58 bullets, nominal Brinell 15 hardness. Missouri Bullet Co. has a coated version called the .45 Express-Grooveless, nominal Brinell 20 hardness.

Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Ed. says 1.185″ OAL, Remington cases and #2 1/2 primer, bullets sized to 0.451″

START 6.6 grains PowerPistol 880fps @ 13,800 CUP

MAX 7.3 grains PowerPistol 966fps @ 17,600 CUP

START 6.9 grains True Blue 875fps @ 14,200 CUP

MAX 7.6 grains True Blue 955fps @ 18,000 CUP (most accurate load tested)

I did: Brass Guys (full length resized and mixed) brass, but fired were Winchester headstamp. Rem 2 1/2 primer. .45 Express bullet sized .452. #45.5≈6.6gr Power Pistol. 5″ Les Baer 1911.

LabRadar Series: 120, steel target at ~25 yards, except last 3 where the target was 100 yards.

Velocity: 901 feet per second

Spread: 46 = 923-877=46

StdDev: 12.88 (17x)

Using the Montana Bullet Works slug, and totally unsorted “Brass Guys” brass I got: (NOTE loaded and shot on different day):

LabRadar Series: 38

Velocity: 904

Spread: 47 = 934-887

StdDev: 15.64 (7x)

Using the same .45 Express bullet as above, Nickle plated Winchester brass (from Southern Belle Brass) and 7.0 grains of True Blue:

LabRadar Series: 129

Velocity: 900 feet per second

Spread: 26 = 911-885=46

StdDev: 7.29 (10x)

Universal + 45 Colt

Overall impressions: Universal works pretty well in 45 Colt! The only downside is significant unburned powder at light loadings — enough that it can make rotating the calendar gritty. I did not type up those loads. But for mid-to-high standard-pressure loadings, it works well. Just not remarkably enough to be worth keeping on hand. Currently I like Power Pistol more. It can deliver this performance and do more.

Loaded May 1, 2017

Cartridge: 45 Colt

Firearm: Ruger Blackhawk, 5.5″ Barrel

Brass: Mixed, all 3x fired

Primer: Rem 2½ Large Pistol

Powder: 9.0gr ± 0.1 (#75 on pistol measure) Universal

Bullet: 250gr Speer LSWC

LabRadar Series: 84

Velocity: 1047fps ES: 33 = 1066.47 – 1033.76

StdDev: 10.45 (7x)

Notes: max of 9.2gr @ 941 fps per Speer #14

Powder: 8.0gr ± 0.1 (#67 on pistol measure) Universal

Bullet: 225gr Rim Rock DEWC

LabRadar Series: 85

Notes: Tons of smoke.

Velocity: 1046.7fps (1046, 1041, 1066, 1049, 1050, 1034, 1040)

Red Dot + 45 Colt

👎 So far I’m not impressed. Red Dot has a reputation for being insensitive to position, and is relatively bulky, all good for 45 Colt. But the far more bulky Trail Boss works far better for me in the giant 45 Colt cases.

I used Rem 2 1/2 primers, 7 grains Red Dot, and 155gr SWC or 230gr (LabRadar S117) round-nose from Missouri bullet co.

230 Grain

LabRadar Series: 117, shooting 100 yards.

Velocity: 840fps (855, 825, 836, 884, 808, 831, 838, 861)

Spread: 76fps = 884 – 808

StdDev: 23.62 (8x)

Notes: This had somewhat sharper recoil than I expected. I had trouble keeping it at steel at 100 yards — admittedly it was the end of the night and I was tired, but anecdotally this has poor accuracy. UPDATE: Tried again at the start of another night, and had better luck on steel. Nothing on paper yet.

Winchester 231

Wincheser 231 is a classic (when??) pistol powder “ideally suited to the 38 special, 45 Auto, and 9mm standard loads” advertised to have “consistency, clean burning, low flash”. It is currently made by Hodgdon and identical to HP-38.

There are consistent rumors that Win 231 may be discontinued in the future, because it is more costly to produce than newer powders.

Bottom line: Good, but seems like a bad idea to get attached.


  • Meters well, it has a slick coating and medium-small grains.
  • Low static cling
  • Claims to be flash suppressed
  • Good amount of load data.


  • Likely to be discontinued.
  • Unclear how much historical load data has changed now that HP-38 and 231 are identical.

Density (per Lee dipper chart) 10.7 grains/cc

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ (grains – 0.226)/0.139

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.139 × pistol_insert_number + 0.226

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 3 30.4-30.8
40 5.75 58.7, 58.5
48 6.9 69.4, 69.5
49 7.0 70.6, 70.8
50 7.15 72.2 (2x)
52 7.5 ???
53 7.6 ???

👎 Aguila Brass

I’ve had bad luck with Aguila brass from loaded ammunition. I have never bought their brass new.

Aguila 45 ACP brass is so thin that it sizes differently.

45 Colt brass had serious problems with split necks. I actually had necks split on the very first reloading. It also had very aggressively chamfered rims, which were noticeably more angular than any other brand I’ve seen. To be clear, that’s not a problem, just an observation. It does make the brass look more streamlined.

152 grain Penn LSWC + 45 ACP

45 ACP using the 152 Grain Semi-Wadcutter Bevel Base “Penn-Maxx” 7th generation bullet. They are supposed to also be accurate at very low speeds.

Rem 2 1/2 primer and Clays @ OAL????????
Clays (Grains) Avg Vel StdDev Notes
3.0 639 43 S93. Never ejected or cycled the slide, but always fully cocked the hammer. Worth investigating with an ultralight action-spring

3.5 738 28 (9x) S94. Mostly cycled, some failure to lock back slide with firm hold.
4.0 833 16.23 (10x) S95. Cycled slide, but failed to lock-back on empty when limp-wresting.
4.5 914 11.2 (10x) S96. Starting to have well-cut holes in paper, but still not totally crisp.

From the table above, Velocity (fps) ≈ 91 + 184*grains_of_clays.

435 Grain Cast Performance + 500 Linebaugh

500 Linebaugh loads using the Cast Performance 435 grain WFNGC “wide flat nose gas check” bullet (sized .511 nose .380 meplat .410″). This is the older version with blue lube.

Because of the gas-check I only pushed these hard. The wide nose and supersonic velocity means a lot of drag (I measured a loss of 2.2 – 2.5 fps/yard). But it also means a lot of damage on impact.

All brass is Starline and previously fired. All loads used CCI 350 primers, to match load data. I seated to the cannelure, not a specific OAL. 7.5″ mag-na-ported barrel.

Charge (grains) Velocity Spread StdDev LabRadar
H110 27 1229 28 = 1244 – 1216 12.64 (5x) S108
Acc. #9 23.9 1216 134 = 1245 – 1111 38.32 (10x) [11.82 removing only min] S109
Acc. #9 24.2 1220 103 = 1255 – 1152 40.74 (5x) S110

Approximate drag – 2.2 fps/yard at 1230 fps.

Notes: Lots of recoil. Accurate #9 performed well, but sometimes had an unusually weak load.

H110 Notes

H110 is highly reccomended by gunsmiths, but no manual has data for it with this slug. I used 27.0 grains of H110 to start, and felt safe with this because:

Taffin Tests used 27-29 grains of H110 with 440 grain projectiles.

Lee Martin says his “top-end 500 Linebaugh” load is “29.5 of H110 with a 435 WFN”. (Almost certainly the same Cast Performance slug I used.)

Hodgdon says a 468 grain LFP is 31,700PSI with 30.0gr H110 and 35,100 PSI with 31.5gr H110. A 425 GR. LFP (w/GCK) is 29,100 PSI with 31.5gr H110 and 35,200 PS with 33grains.