What is the best pistol powder on the market for all-around general use? Let’s start the discussion by going over some powder basics.

Powders Are Not Interchangeable

As pretty much every reloader knows, smokeless powders are not interchangeable, and an improperly loaded round can put you at serious risk. Different brands may use the same numbers (for example, Hodgdon 4350 and IMR 4350), but they won’t be exactly the same. Before you get started, make sure you check the reloading data provided by your powder’s manufacturer to make sure you’re using the right powder for the rounds you’ll be using. Once you’re set on the burn rate, pay close attention to your metering to make sure every shot is consistent and safe.

For the purposes of our best all-around pistol powder selection, we’re going to highlight candidates that work well with a variety of bullets, but it’s worth keeping in mind that even the most versatile powders won’t work in every situation.

Best Smokeless Pistol Powders

When we talk about all-around smokeless pistol powder, we mean powder that can be used to produce good ammo for a variety of handguns. In addition to using quality cases, primers, and bullets, selecting the right powder will lead to the shot-to-shot consistency that target shooters are looking for.

One of the best all-around pistol powders is Winchester 231 smokeless powder. This premium ball powder is easy to measure and is perfect for a wide range of light to medium bullets.

If you’re loading magnum rounds, you might want to try a slow-burning powder like Hodgdon H110 or Accurate 5744, but for a 38, 380, 25 auto, and 9mm, Winchester 231 is always an excellent choice. A powder that deserves a place in every handgun reloader’s arsenal.

Winchester 231 powder is also clean-burning and has low muzzle flash.

Explore Your Pistol Powder Options Online

Powder Valley is proud to carry Winchester powder, as well as smokeless powder from leading brands like IMR, Alliant, Accurate, Norma, Vihtavuori, Hodgdon, RAMSHOT powder, and more, all at the lowest possible prices. Select a 1lb container and experiment with something new. If you like it, purchase an 8lb jug and save.

Reloaders can be very committed to their favorite brand of powder, and if something works for you, great. However, using a new powder could surprise you, even if you’ve been reloading for decades.

Whether you’re new to reloading or looking to experiment with a new type of powder, our wide-ranging selection of industry-leading brands gives you a bounty of high-quality options.

The ammo market is filled with high-quality rifle powders for reloaders, so with a little research and maybe a few firing tests on the range, you are guaranteed to find the right powder for your shooting style and preferred firearm. Candidates for best all-around rifle powder are those that can be used with a wide variety of ammunition. Consistent performance is absolutely key, though metering and availability are crucial, too.

There are a lot of premium, highly specialized powders on the market, so it’s basically impossible to crown one powder king. The best powder for you will ultimately come down to your choice of firearm, and your needs – chiefly, whether you’re a target shooter or a hunter.

Here is our guide for finding the right powder that you can use for your whole rifle collection.

Do Your Research

We all know there is no “one-size-fits-all” gunpowder, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right power and burn rate for your cartridge. Too much pressure in the barrel can ruin your gun, and might even cause serious injury, so please read up on the data provided by powder manufacturers and make sure you’re using a suitable propellant.

The Best Smokeless Rifle Powder

Many shooters are fans of Hodgdon H4895 and Varget smokeless powder, as well as Accurate 4350 powder. They’re fine choices for a large, diverse set of bullets and cartridges.

Another popular candidate for best all-around smokeless rifle powder is IMR 4350 smokeless powder. It can be used with everything from small rifle loads to small magnum rifle loads, and is ideal for deer and other North American game. Due to its larger granular size, it flows and meters well in most powder measures. However, the large granular size can make drops from a volumetric powder measure inconsistent, so it’s worth taking the time to verify the weight of each charge on a powder scale if you’re looking to produce match-grade ammo.

For super light loads as well as magnum rounds, you might need to find another type of powder, but for the vast majority of rifle cartridges, IMR 4350 smokeless powder is an impeccable match.

Stock Up on the Best Rifle Powder

You’ll most likely find yourself using a lot of a versatile powder like IMR 4350 and Hodgdon H4895, so it makes sense to buy in larger 8lb containers. Powder Valley carries in 1lb containers too, just in case you want to test some out before mass producing your own ammo. For IMR and Hodgdon powder, as well as other leading brands like Alliant, Vihtavuori, Accurate, and Norma, Powder Valley has got you covered. Browse the best smokeless powder on the market at the lowest possible prices today.

If you’re a reloader, it’s because you value having extra control over what goes into every round. Of course, you can also end up saving a substantial amount of money. Of all the cartridges out there, 223 Remington/5.56mm NATO cartridges are popular for a number of reasons. They’re versatile, and because they’ve been standard military issue for almost 40 years, 223 cases and bullets are never in short supply. Today at Powder Valley, we’re going to take a look at the vast array of 223 powder on the market.

Finding the Right Reloading 223 Powder for You

There are so many varieties of 223 powder available on the market these days, consumers can be easily overwhelmed. At the end of the day, there is no single best powder; it’s really about finding the powder that fits your needs as a shooter. For starters, think about the bullet you want to use and narrow down the field to the propellant that’s fit for your projectile. Generally, shooters who favor the 223 can be broken down into three categories; varmint hunters, target shooters, and recreational shooters.

Here’s a look at excellent 223 reloading powder for each case:

Varmint and Small Game Hunting

Small game and varmint, like prairie dogs, rabbits, woodchucks, etc., are best hunted with lighter, high-velocity bullets. They won’t be as accurate in high winds, but the distances are usually shorter, and wind plays less of a factor. H322 and Varget powders are two solid choices, both from Hodgdon. They’re ideal for small 40 grain varmint bullets. Alliant Power Pro Varmint is another exceptional powder for varmint rounds. If you prefer a slightly heavier bullet, you really can’t go wrong with Hodgdon H335 powder.

Target Shooting and Long-Range Shooting

When accuracy over a longer distance is key, you’ll need to use a heavier bullet with a high ballistics coefficient. This means you’ll need powder with a slower burn-rate, too. Hodgdon CFE223 is a state-of-the-art powder with a low burn rate and additives that reduce copper fouling. It’s great for heavier bullets and will help keep your firearm in top condition. Another good option is IMR 4895 smokeless powder. These powders are also a solid choice for hunters going after medium/big game.

Versatile Powder for Recreational Shooters

Part of learning to be an expert reloader is experimenting with the different options that are available to you. Some other high-quality, versatile, accurate 223 powder includes Hodgdon Benchmark, IMR 8208, Norma 203-B, and Vihtavuori N530. Your local gun shop might not carry all of these premium brands, but luckily, Powder Valley carries both 1lb and 8lb containers from the industry’s top manufacturers at the lowest possible prices. Restock with your go-to powder, or try something new. The results may surprise you.

One of the most popular cartridges over the last several decades, the 308 Winchester has long been a favorite of both hunters and target shooters. Because of its popularity, there’s currently a massive selection of smokeless powder designed with the 308/7.62mm NATO cartridge in mind. The good news is, the vast majority of these powders are effective and reliable. As long as you use quality bullets, cases, and primers, you should have no trouble handloading consistent, accurate rounds with most of the powders out there. Below is our guide to finding the best 308 powder for your needs.

How to Pick the Best Reloading 308 Powder

It goes without saying that the reloading 308 powder you choose is going to have a lot to do with the type of bullet you choose. Generally, lighter bullets need powder with faster burn rates, and the inverse is true when it comes to heavier bullets. We’re looking for powder that is easy to measure, ignites well in a range of different environments, and always provides consistent power.

Most Accurate 308 Powders

One of the most versatile powders in the IMR line, 4064 is a great choice for most standard use cases. It’s excellent for deer hunting and mid–long range target shooting, depending on the bullets you choose. An extruded powder, it’s fairly easy to meter, though perhaps not as easy as ball powders. Since it can be used in almost any rifle cartridge out there, it’s a great powder to have on hand, even if you pick up a new firearm that isn’t a 308.

Other exceptional choices include:

  • Hodgdon H4895 and IMR 4895 (not the same powder, so make sure you follow the specific loading instructions for each)
  • Norma 203-B
  • Vihtavuori N150
  • Varget powder, also from Hodgdon

Hodgdon CFE 223 is another popular choice, and it’s designed to reduce copper fouling, which is great for the health of your barrel.

RamShot Tac and Alliant RL-15 and RL-17 also get high marks from both match shooters and hunters.

Smart Shooters Order Online

For a huge selection, quick shipping, and the lowest possible price, Powder Valley is the place to buy 308 powder from all the top brands. Find powder that is available in 1lb containers, which are perfect for experimenting, and 8lb jugs if you want to stock up.

Reload with quality powder and components, and land that 12-point buck with a perfectly placed kill shot. Help every round reach its target with the best powder on the market.

When you’re considering where to buy reloading supplies, you need to take into account three main variables:

  • Speed of delivery
  • Price
  • Selection

If you need your gear and components today, your best bet will probably be a local gun or sporting goods store. If you’re willing to wait a few days or more for your supplies to be delivered, you can save money and have access to a larger selection by shopping online. Companies like Powder Valley have large selections of the highest quality cases, bullets, powder, and primers from all the leading manufacturers and ship promptly across the United States.

Experienced reloaders usually choose to buy their supplies in bulk and online.

Get Started with the Right Gear

From cleaning brass to seating bullets, you’ll need the right reloading gear and supplies to get started. Brick and mortar stores may not carry a large range of reloading tools and components, so it makes sense to turn to the internet for your die sets, collets, bushings, and more.

The More Choices, The Better

Once you have the right gear to produce your own ammunition, you’ll need to stock up on components. Cleaning used brass is a great way to save on money, but many competitive match shooters prefer to use new brass. Every major online retailer is going to have reloading brass for sale; it’s just a matter of finding the type you want at the right price.

Whether you’re mass-producing plinking ammo or loading up for a competition, you’ll find a wide variety of bullets online. Don’t forget about primers either. Fast, consistent ignition is a key part of the firing process and can make all the difference when it comes to hitting your target. Buying primers online will also save you a lot of money in the long run, too. Shop primers for sale from leading brands, and make sure every trigger pull counts.

Finally, your propellant is extremely important. Most reloaders have already settled on a favorite brand, but if you’re looking for something new, you’ll have plenty of options when you shop for powder online. Browse powder from top brands like Hodgdon, Alliant, IMR, VihtaVuori, and more, and find the perfect powder for your ammo.

Low Prices Make a Difference

There are two main reasons people get into reloading. One, they want maximum control over every detail of their ammunition. Two, they want high-performance ammo at an affordable price. When you buy your gear and components online at Powder Valley, you can be sure you’re getting premium products at the lowest prices. Browse our massive selection today.


*The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Powder Valley, as this article was written in collaboration with an external research partner.

Powder Valley is pleased to announce that the Hornady 6mm ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge) is being released for commercial sale. Originally developed for the Department of Defense for the AR-15 platform, 6mm ARC ammunition and reloading components promise the highest level of performance in the field or at the range. Whether you’re a match shooter, a varmint hunter, or concerned with personal protection, you’ll find these cartridges offer the perfect combination of consistency, shootability, and power. Known for accuracy and low recoil, the 6mm ARC is a versatile match not only for the AR-15 but also short or micro action bolt guns.

Here’s a breakdown of the commercially-available ARC 6mm line from Hornady.

6mm ARC Ammunition

Hornady offers three product lines for 6mm ARC ammunition. Though they’re all excellent all-around cartridges, each is designed with a specific use in mind:

  • 6mm ARC 108gr ELD® Match™ Ammunition: Premium match shooting rounds. Extremely Low Drag Match ammo is engineered for accuracy, they feature a patented HeatShield tip, and are manufactured with stringent quality control to ensure consistency with every trigger pull.
  • 6mm ARC 105gr BTHP Match™ Black™ Ammunition: These 105 grain boat tail hollow point rounds are optimized for personal defense. Proudly made in the USA, they offer low recoil and impressive stopping power.
  • 6mm ARC 103 gr ELD-X® Precision Hunter® Ammunition: Available in the fall of 2020, these Extremely Low Drag match-accurate hunting bullets provide devastating terminal performance at conventional and extended (400+ yard) ranges. Heat Shield® tip technology provides advanced aerodynamic efficiency.

6mm ARC Brass

Reloaders know how important high-quality brass is to the overall performance of your ammunition. If you’re looking for AR-15 reloading supplies, Hornady 6mm ARC Unprimed Brass Cases should be high on the list of must-have components. Hornady 6mm ARC brass are produced in small lots to meet strict quality standards. High concentricity and uniform wall thickness mean consistent pressures, velocity, and accuracy.

6mm ARC Bullets

Bullets from the above ammunition selection are also sold as individual components. This lets you customize the performance of the Hornady advanced rifle cartridge by using a different type of powder or primers. It’s also a great way to save money if you like the performance of Hornady ammunition. Here’s a breakdown of the bullet selection.

Die Sets

The gear you use to assemble your ammunition is almost as important as the reloading components you choose. The Hornady Series III Two-Die 6mm ARC Die Set (.243) is designed to make spindle adjustments a breeze, and won’t wear out, even with a lifetime of normal use. Produce your own ammo that meets your exact needs with die sets from Hornady. Powder Valley is your destination for Hornady 6mm ARC cartridge reloading components, and ready to fire ammunition. Shop the full Hornady line at the lowest possible prices today.


*The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Powder Valley, as this article was written in collaboration with an external research partner.