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I have standard loads for the .45acp with 230gr. FMJ and 200gr. cast SWC's. Both use HP-38, are very consistent and boring, in a good way. I have tried new things with many go-to cartridges using new powders. Because of the last 18 months of insanity and because I want to and can. Several months ago I purchased five half-kilogram(1.1lbs.) containers of a powder called ba 7&1/2 by Vectan out of France from Graf's & Son's for just over $20 per. It is comparable to Accurate #7, SR4756 and VV N350. I bought it because it was there and at a more than reasonable price. I am preparing to load 1,000 230gr. FMJ's, so I thought I'd give this a go. Six rounds of two loads(6.3 & 6.5 grains) were fired through four guns at exactly 20 yards. I would have done the chronograph, but when I realized it wasn't in the car I decided I'd do that tomorrow. The manufacturer's data says this powder is for "extending reloading possibilities in 9mm, .45acp & 10mm".

The first target photo shows 6.3gr. and on top is a 20-plus year old TRP and bottom is my pet DW A2. The second target is the same load and on top my SA Vickers gun and Kimber Classic on bottom. The 6.3gr. load shot very well out of the Vickers gun. The second load was 6.5gr. and though it was not as tight in the Vickers gun, it shot better in the three others. I fired several more magazines at various targets from 20 feet out to my old propane tanks at just shy of 150 yards. The 6.5gr. load is the one I'll be shooting over the chronograph and testing further. The powder burns clean and it pours out of a measure wonderfully. I don't use many powders that are otherwise great because they come out of a measure inconsistently and as smooth as sandpaper. I think it will be interesting to look at the 9mm data and see if there's a load I'd like to try. I doubt that I will use this powder to load what's left of the 1,000 FMJ's for the .45 but they are accurate enough that I need to be sure I know what exact load is "best" in a pinch if nothing else. I don't currently own a 10mm, so that isn't relevant for me. I would gladly give the other powders in the line a chance and the price is great when it's in stock and being sold at honest retail. .
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Whoops. The first photo should have been the last photo. The others are in proper order.
 

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I have a pound of 7 1/2 and some coated 200gr SWC's. I've been wanting to try to come up with a load. Info on the Vectan powders is kinda scarce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a pound of 7 1/2 and some coated 200gr SWC's. I've been wanting to try to come up with a load. Info on the Vectan powders is kinda scarce.
My 200gr. SWC's aren't coated and I haven't seen data for that bullet, but I have thought of starting at 5.5gr. The Vectan data that I have found on the Graf's site shows a 200gr. FMJ and a starting load of 5.9gr.

It does seem as though it would be good powder for 10mm and hopefully 9mm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a pound of 7 1/2 and some coated 200gr SWC's. I've been wanting to try to come up with a load. Info on the Vectan powders is kinda scarce.
This morning I have been reading about the fact that VV had a strike years ago and Vectan started making copy powders of the Vihtavouri powders and they stuck. It appears that the Vectan Nobel powders are inexpensive versions of the VV stuff with ba 6&1/2 being equal to N110, ba 7&1/2 to N350, ba 9 is right between N330 & N340 and ba 9&1/2 to N320. Like VV, they are single based powders and I am so far impressed with this company and can't wait to try some of the other powders.

I have seen evidence that ba 7&1/2 data shows the same results as N350 and many people are simply using the VV data. I think there is evidence there that supports this and I'm going to move forward with VV data, starting at the lowest charge, naturally.

I do not want to tell you what to do, lead you astray or even have any hard feelings, so please don't just take my word for it. I am going to try the VV data and I will relay my results here. I'm not suggesting anyone else do it or not, just relaying my experiences. I'm not suggesting you are putting your reloading successes and failures on me, just clarifying that I am not a ballistician outside of as a hobby.
 

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This morning I have been reading about the fact that VV had a strike years ago and Vectan started making copy powders of the Vihtavouri powders and they stuck. It appears that the Vectan Nobel powders are inexpensive versions of the VV stuff with ba 6&1/2 being equal to N110, ba 7&1/2 to N350, ba 9 is right between N330 & N340 and ba 9&1/2 to N320. Like VV, they are single based powders and I am so far impressed with this company and can't wait to try some of the other powders.

I have seen evidence that ba 7&1/2 data shows the same results as N350 and many people are simply using the VV data. I think there is evidence there that supports this and I'm going to move forward with VV data, starting at the lowest charge, naturally.

I do not want to tell you what to do, lead you astray or even have any hard feelings, so please don't just take my word for it. I am going to try the VV data and I will relay my results here. I'm not suggesting anyone else do it or not, just relaying my experiences. I'm not suggesting you are putting your reloading successes and failures on me, just clarifying that I am not a ballistician outside of as a hobby.
Thanks for this info! I'll look into this and see what I can dig up. It sounds like we're in the same boat.
 

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Thanks for sharing this. Never heard of Vectan, will keep this in mind. Good job on the research into their background! I'm a huge fan of VV powders for .45 ACP, .38/.357, and .32 H&R/.327 Federal, even though VV tends to be pretty pricey.
For .45 ACP, have had great results with N340 for 230 JHPs. Very clean burn, just a little crunchy coming out of the powder measure. Compared to other powders (W231/HP-38, HS-6, N350), notably better accuracy in my Kimber Eclipse Target II, especially with a somewhat lower-power load of 5.8 gr. of N340. My all-time favorite with 185 gr. JHPs is N310. Cleanest burn of any powder I've tried, and measures out beautifully. Great results anywhere from 4.4 - 5.0 gr.
Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for sharing this. Never heard of Vectan, will keep this in mind. Good job on the research into their background! I'm a huge fan of VV powders for .45 ACP, .38/.357, and .32 H&R/.327 Federal, even though VV tends to be pretty pricey.
For .45 ACP, have had great results with N340 for 230 JHPs. Very clean burn, just a little crunchy coming out of the powder measure. Compared to other powders (W231/HP-38, HS-6, N350), notably better accuracy in my Kimber Eclipse Target II, especially with a somewhat lower-power load of 5.8 gr. of N340. My all-time favorite with 185 gr. JHPs is N310. Cleanest burn of any powder I've tried, and measures out beautifully. Great results anywhere from 4.4 - 5.0 gr.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much! I have only used N110 in any quantity and it is a dream all the way around. It measures so nicely and consistently and is a clean, consistent burning powder as well. I have heard many good things about N310, but never tried it myself. The VV powders get really spendy when you shoot high volumes. Otherwise, they are worth every penny in my experience and the Vectan by Nobel Sports(the entire name as it is printed on the label) brands seem to be worth looking at, especially if they mimic VV performance at a discounted price.

I'm a big fan of HP38 in the .45 and I have a long relationship with it. I am interested in getting the other pistol powders in the Vectan "ba" line and seeing if there are some that I still use if and when options go back to normal and we can pick and choose again.
 

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I wonder if there's any data out there that would enable you to place the Vectan powders in a comparative burn rate chart. I've used that approach a lot in load development but, again, haven't seen the Vectan name listed in such charts. Best of luck with your loading!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I wonder if there's any data out there that would enable you to place the Vectan powders in a comparative burn rate chart. I've used that approach a lot in load development but, again, haven't seen the Vectan name listed in such charts. Best of luck with your loading!
I started by googling "vectan nobel ba 7&1/2 load data" and one of the first things that popped up was data posted at Graf's, where I bought my powder, and it was a download of the manufacturer's data. They have a burn rate chart comparing their powders to the one's we know and love. It has a fair amount of data, especially for the more common rounds.
 

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All things being equal, I am of the belief that pistol powder has little impact on handgun accuracy.

Good metering=consistent charges. Consistent charges matter more than the actual makeup of the powder.

If you drive a 230-grain bullet to 800 fps with 5 grains of one powder or 7 grains of another really doesn't matter as long as the burn rate is compatible with the primer, cartridge and the pressure is within the limitations of the design.

There are so many other variables that impact accuracy to a far greater degree.

Does it meter well, does it burn clean, can you get appropriate velocity without overflowing the case.


Bingo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All things being equal, I am of the belief that pistol powder has little impact on handgun accuracy.

Good metering=consistent charges. Consistent charges matter more than the actual makeup of the powder.

If you drive a 230-grain bullet to 800 fps with 5 grains of one powder or 7 grains of another really doesn't matter as long as the burn rate is compatible with the primer, cartridge and the pressure is within the limitations of the design.

There are so many other variables that impact accuracy to a far greater degree.

Does it meter well, does it burn clean, can you get appropriate velocity without overflowing the case.


Bingo.
I agree. I have said many times that a powder like Herco would get a lot more use from me if it metered well. I am currently using AutoComp for 9mm, a big part of the reason being how well and consistently it meters. Unless you're willing to trickle each charge, consistency in each throw of the measure is where it's at, for sure.

With this particular powder I just loaded my first 9mm loads with 124gr. Berry's RN. I am happy with how clean it burned in the .45 and I think the higher pressure of the 9 is where this powder will be best. I am looking at 5.5gr. and when I threw six times it weighed exactly 33.0gr. It seems to be very consistent and clean and I will be putting them over the chronograph tomorrow.

I bought this originally because it was available for about $20/lb. when things were crazy and it looks like it could be a winner for the reasons you describe. I really wasn't expecting it to be as clean as it is.
 

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All things being equal, I am of the belief that pistol powder has little impact on handgun accuracy.

Good metering=consistent charges. Consistent charges matter more than the actual makeup of the powder.

If you drive a 230-grain bullet to 800 fps with 5 grains of one powder or 7 grains of another really doesn't matter as long as the burn rate is compatible with the primer, cartridge and the pressure is within the limitations of the design.

There are so many other variables that impact accuracy to a far greater degree.

Does it meter well, does it burn clean, can you get appropriate velocity without overflowing the case.


Bingo.
Hmmm. Interesting thought. I guess I made an assumption that it was the powder that made a difference. Perhaps the "sweet spot" has more to do with velocity. I also get that consistent metering is critical. That said, 5.8 gr. of N340 gave notably tighter groups driving 230 gr. JHPs, and it's kind of crunchy through the powder meter, being more stick-like in shape, so presumably a little less consistent in its metering.
My presumption about powder choice being important may be a hold-over from developing .308 loads, where powder choice definitely proved to be the key element in producing super-accurate loads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This powder meters amazingly well and even shoots well in the .45. I am shooting two-handed while standing and I accept that is not scientific. The first eight rounds are from 20 yards and the second eight at 30 yards. The hole in the extreme low right was already there and can be seen through the trigger guard in the first photo. I'm happy with the consistency, but I figured the velocity wouldn't quite be there and it wasn't. Over 16 rounds 6.5gr. averaged 751fps with an ES of 35 and an SD of 14.

I like the powder and I will try the others as they are available, but this seems like it would be a good .40, 10mm or 9mm powder and the 9 is where I'm going next.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hmmm. Interesting thought. I guess I made an assumption that it was the powder that made a difference. Perhaps the "sweet spot" has more to do with velocity. I also get that consistent metering is critical. That said, 5.8 gr. of N340 gave notably tighter groups driving 230 gr. JHPs, and it's kind of crunchy through the powder meter, being more stick-like in shape, so presumably a little less consistent in its metering.
My presumption about powder choice being important may be a hold-over from developing .308 loads, where powder choice definitely proved to be the key element in producing super-accurate loads.
Powder choice does make a difference, but I agree that it is only in the way it meters and of course some powders are cleaner/dirtier than others. I absolutely feel as though "crunchy" throws of the measure will lead to more inconsistency than a load that really pours like water. Still, if your load of the "crunchy" stuff shoots, how do you argue with that?
 
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