Suggested Powders for Rifle Cartridges

By Chuck Hawks


All hunting rifles are individuals, but normally bullets have a bigger impact on accuracy and performance than powders. I usually test bullets first in any new rifle to find a projectile that it prefers using one or two powders generally recognized as suitable for that cartridge and bullet weight. Then I experiment with different powders (if necessary) to refine the load. Often my first powder choice does not turn out to be what my particular rifle likes, so I end up using something else. This illustrates the problem with attempting to suggest powders for any rifle cartridge/bullet weight combination--there are a many acceptable powders and it is impossible to predict which one a given rifle may prefer.

That said, I decided to go ahead and do this article anyway. Perhaps it will give a few new reloaders the confidence to get started. Besides my own 40 years or so as a reloader, I used as source material the major reloading manuals from both bullet and powder manufacturers. My reasoning being that if my experience and their recommendations agree, while the powders so chosen may not be optimum in a given rifle, at least they are unlikely to be disastrous.

This article is intended to help the beginning reloader choose an appropriate starting powder for a particular cartridge/bullet weight range. I cannot list every possible cartridge or bullet weight, so this article is going to be limited to common calibers and bullet weights used for hunting. If your cartridge is not listed below, consult a reloading manual for powder/load combinations when selecting a powder. Because most retail stores that sell reloading supplied do not carry every brand of powder, I will try to list at least one powder from each of several major powder companies for each cartridge. For specific powder charges, consult an appropriate reloading manual.

Many other powders may work as well or better in your rifle, but these should be suitable to at least get started. Okay, for better or worse, here are some suggested starting powders for common cartridges/bullet weights:

  • .17 Remington, 20-25 grains - Accurate 2520, Varget, IMR 4895, Ramshot X-Terminator, Viht N140
  • .204 Ruger, 32-45 grains - Accurate 2520, H4895, IMR 4895, Ramshot TAC, W748
  • .222 Remington, 50-55 grains - H335, IMR 3031, Ramshot X-Terminator, W748
  • .223 Remington, 50-55 grains - H335, IMR 3031, Ramshot X-Terminator, W748
  • .243 Winchester, 80-90 grains - Accurate 4350, IMR 4064, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19
  • .243 Winchester, 95-105 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-22, Viht N560, WMR
  • 6mm Remington, 95-105 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4831, Ramshot Hunter, RL-22, Viht N160, WMR
  • .240 Wby. Mag, 95-100 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 7828, RL-22, WMR
  • .257 Roberts, 115-120 grains - Accurate 3100, H4350, IMR 4831, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, W760
  • .25-06 Remington, 115-120 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • .257 Wby. Mag, 115-120 grains - Accurate 3100, H1000, IMR 7828, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, Viht N560, WMR
  • 6.5x54mm M-S, 140-160 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350 and H4831, IMR 4350
  • 6.5x55mm SE, 120-125 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, W760
  • 6.5x55mm SE, 129-140 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22
  • .260 Remington, 120-125 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, W760
  • .260 Remington, 129-140 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Hunter, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • 6.5mm-284 Norma, 129-140 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Reloader 19 and 22, WMR
  • 6.5mm-06, 129-140 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • 6.5mm Rem. Mag, 129-140 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, RL-22
  • .264 Win. Mag, 129-140 grains - H870, IMR 7828, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, WMR
  • 6.8mm Rem. SPC, 110-130 grains - Accurate 2230, H322, Ramshot X-Terminator, RL-10x
  • .270 Winchester, 130-150 grains - Accurate MagPro, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • .270 WSM, 130-150 grains - Accurate MagPro, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • .270 Wby. Mag, 130-150 grains - Accurate MagPro, Hodgdon Retumbo, IMR 7828, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, Viht N560, WMR
  • 7mm-08 Remington, 139-154 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Big Game, RL-19, Viht N160, W760
  • 7x57mm Mauser, 139-154 grains - Accurate 2700, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, Viht N160
  • .280 Remington, 139-154 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4831, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, Viht N160
  • 7mm WSM, 139-154 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-19, Viht N560
  • 7mm Rem. Mag, 139-162 grains - Accurate MagPro, Hodgdon Retumbo, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22, WMR
  • 7mm Wby. Mag, 150-162 grains - Hodgdon Retumbo, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, WMR
  • 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag, 150-175 grains - Hodgdon Retumbo, IMR 7828, Reloader 25
  • .30 M1 Carbine, 100-110 grains - Accurate No. 9, H110, W296
  • .30-30 Winchester, 150-170 grains - Accurate 2520, H335, IMR 3031, Ramshot TAC, Viht N135, W748
  • .300 Savage, 150-180 grains - IMR 4064, Reloader 15, Viht N140, W748
  • .308 Winchester, 150-180 grains - Accurate 2520, Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4064, Ramshot TAC, RL-15, W748
  • .30-06 Springfield, 150-180 grains - Accurate 4064, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, W760
  • .300 WSM, 150-180 grains - Accurate MagPro, H414, IMR 4831, Ramshot Hunter, W760
  • .300 Win. Mag, 150-180 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831sc, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-22, W760
  • .300 Wby. Mag, 165-220 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 4831, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, WMR
  • .300 Rem. Ultra Mag, 180-220 grains - Accurate 8700, Hodgdon Retumbo, IMR 7828, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, WMR
  • 7.62x39mm Soviet, 123-130 grains - Accurate 2015, H4198, RL-7
  • .303 British, 150-180 grains - Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4895, Ramshot Big Game, RL-15, Viht N540, W760
  • .32-20 Winchester (rifle), 85-110 grains - H110, W296
  • .32 Win. Special, 170 grains - Hodgdon Varget, H4895, IMR 3031, W748
  • 8x57mm JS Mauser, 150-200 grains - Accurate 2520, Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4064, Ramshot Big Game, RL-15, W748
  • .325 WSM, 170-200 grains - Accurate 2700, H414, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19, W760
  • .338 Federal, 200-225 grains - Accurate 2230, Hodgdon Varget, IMR 3031, Ramshot TAC, RL-15, W748
  • .330-06 A-Square, 200-250 grains - Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4064, RL-15, Viht N150
  • .338 Win. Mag., 200-250 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Hunter, RL-19
  • .338 Rem. Ultra Mag, 225-250 grains - Accurate 3100, IMR 7828, Ramshot Magnum, RL-25, Viht N560
  • .340 Wby. Mag, 225-250 grains - IMR 7828, RL-22, Viht N165, WMR
  • .357 Magnum (rifle), 140-180 grains - Accurate No. 9, Alliant 2400, H110, W296
  • .35 Remington, 180-220 grains - Accurate 2015, Ramshot X-Terminator and TAC, W748
  • .358 Winchester, 180-250 grains - Accurate 2015, Hodgdon Varget, H335, IMR 3031, W748
  • .35 Whelen, 200-250 grains - Accurate 2495, Hodgdon BL-C(2), IMR 4064, Viht N140
  • .350 Rem. Mag, 200-250 grains - H4895, IMR 4895, Viht N140, W748
  • 9.3x62mm Mauser, 250-286 grains - Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4064, Viht N135
  • 9.3x74R, 250-286 grains - H4350, IMR 4004 SSC, IMR 4350, RL-15
  • .375 Ruger, 260-300 grains - H4350, IMR 4350, Reloader 15, W760
  • .375 H&H Mag, 260-300 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350, Ramshot Big Game, RL-15, W760
  • .375 Rem. Ultra Mag, 270-300 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 7828, Ramshot Hunter, RL-22, Viht N165
  • .378 Wby. Mag, 270-300 grains - H4831, IMR 4831, Viht N165, WMR
  • .405 Winchester, 300 grains - Accurate 2015, H4895 and Benchmark, Viht N133
  • .416 Rem. Mag, 400 grains - Accurate 2495, H380, IMR 4007 SSC, Ramshot TAC, RL-15, W748
  • .416 Rigby, 400 grains - Accurate 3100, Hodgdon Hybrid 100V, IMR 4350, RL-22
  • .416 Wby. Mag, 400 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, IMR 7828, RL-19
  • .44 Magnum (rifle), 240-300 grains - Accurate No. 9, Alliant 2400, H110, Viht N110, W296
  • .444 Marlin, 240-300 grains - Accurate 2015, H335, Ramshot X-Terminator, RL-7, Viht N133
  • .45-70 (Marlin), 300-400 grains - Accurate 2015, H335, IMR 3031, Reloader 7, Viht N130
  • .450 Marlin, 300-400 grains - Accurate 2015, H322, IMR 3031, RL-7, Viht N130
  • .458 Win. Mag., reduced loads 400-405 grains - SR 4759
  • .458 Win. Mag, 350-500 grains - Accurate 2230, H335, H4895, IMR 3031, Ramshot X-Terminator
  • .458 Lott, 500 grains - H4895, IMR 4895, Ramshot TAC, RL-15
  • .460 Wby. Mag, 500 grains - Accurate 4350, H4350, IMR 4350
  • .470 Nitro Express, 470-500 grains - Accurate 3100, H4831, RL-22



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Copyright 2007, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


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