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  1. #1
    Ark
    Ark is offline
    Sharpshooter Ark's Avatar

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    Powder for service rifle calibers

    What's a go-to, affordable (or at least not outrageously marked up) powder that is suitable for use in a wide variety of full-power service rifle calibers (30-06, 8mm Mauser, 54R, 6.5 Carcano, etc)? Currently use Varget for my 30-06 loads with great success, but it's sometimes hard to get and seems to come with a significant brand tax.

    4064 and 4895 seem popular. Again, my results with the Varget have been great, just curious if I'm overspending or otherwise leaving benefits on the table by continuing to use it for service rifle-y applications.

  2. #2
    Master spencer rifle's Avatar

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    Really like 4895 - wide range of applications, good temp stability.
    Rights are only as secure as the ability to wield sufficient force to defend them. - J. Neil Schulman

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  3. #3
    Grandmaster red_zr24x4's Avatar

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    BLC-2, 2015
    If your just plinking with them I've had good luck 844 and 846 surplus powder
    "Courage is Being Scared to Death, but Saddling up Anyway" - John Wayne

  4. #4
    Master AmmoManAaron's Avatar

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    IMR-4064. Exceptional accuracy in 30-06 Garand spec loads and very useable in all of the other calibers you listed. Other good options include IMR-4895 and IMR-3031. 4895 is very versatile as mentioned above, but I seem to use more 4064 and 3031 just because a few of my favorite loads use them. 3031 uses slightly lighter charges because it is faster burning, but still has good case fill. Over time, it will save you a little money because of the lighter charge weights. In my experience, it works very well in 6.5 Carcano with the lighter and medium weight bullets. It gives up a little bit of velocity with heavy bullets in all of the calibers, but it's not a huge loss by any means. 3031, 4064, and 4895 typically all cost the same per pound, so the only cost difference will be from your charge weights - pretty minor, but worth noting. If you start loading 7mm Mauser, don't overlook IMR-4320 - it's been my best performer in that caliber. If you don't mind powder diversity and aren't buying 8-pounders all the time, try a pound of each and see which one works best for you in your various calibers. Like me, you may find that you have a valued place for each of them.

    BLC-2 can be good if you like muzzle fireballs (sometimes flash is fun!) and generally works ok in a variety of calibers...but best accuracy for me only seems to come near max loads and generally even that wasn't anything to write home about (except maybe 30-30, which you didn't list). FWIW, for some reason, my 7.7 Jap didn't like it at all (you didn't mention that caliber either, but it fits with the military theme).
    "2016: The year that hackers became more trusted than government or reporters."

  5. #5
    Expert Robert Richardson's Avatar

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    4895 for me also.
    1911s are like Glocks except they are for grown-ups.

  6. #6
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar

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    3031 and WW 748 are my go to powders for auto/semi auto army type rifles. I didn't have much luck with 4064 in the M1A and over the years quit using it. Hard to describe, but it seemed to shake the receivers of the M1A and Garand.
    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

  7. #7
    Master AmmoManAaron's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadeye View Post
    3031 and WW 748 are my go to powders for auto/semi auto army type rifles. I didn't have much luck with 4064 in the M1A and over the years quit using it. Hard to describe, but it seemed to shake the receivers of the M1A and Garand.
    Hmm, interesting observation. I've actually never tried that powder in an M1A, but my particular Garand likes it - it's set up sorta like a faux M-1D. I never noticed the thing you describe, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Individual Garands and M1As can also be quirky...was it a tuning fork type ringing/shaking?

    Certainly nothing wrong with WW 748 or BLC-2 in the M1A...seems like the smaller case capacity maybe makes the ball powder work better in .308 vs. 30-06.
    "2016: The year that hackers became more trusted than government or reporters."

  8. #8
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoManAaron View Post
    Hmm, interesting observation. I've actually never tried that powder in an M1A, but my particular Garand likes it - it's set up sorta like a faux M-1D. I never noticed the thing you describe, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Individual Garands and M1As can also be quirky...was it a tuning fork type ringing/shaking?

    Certainly nothing wrong with WW 748 or BLC-2 in the M1A...seems like the smaller case capacity maybe makes the ball powder work better in .308 vs. 30-06.
    It was a vibration that may have been OK, but was disturbing. It's an early M1A, but the Garand is straight WW2 surplus. I've never fed 4064 ammo to the BAR maybe it wouldn't make any difference there.
    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

  9. #9
    LoaderHolic billybob44's Avatar

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    ^^^+1 here..For non sub MOA rounds these powders work fine..Bill.

    Ha left this part off??=If your just plinking with them I've had good luck 844 and 846 surplus powder


    PS: For med power loads: 844=H-335 powder.
    846=BL-C(2) powder.
    "It's more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone".

    NRA Life Member since 1976+Outdoor Sportsman

  10. #10
    Sharpshooter 55fairlane's Avatar

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    For my 03a3 I use varget for my RRA NM I use 8208XBR

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