When customers ask us which powder is the best, the short answer is always “it depends!” This article will give a quick overview of the different burn rate powders and which ones we generally recommend for different cartridges.
We will cover popular powder brands like Vihtavuori, Hodgdon, IMR, Accurate, and Western. In this specific article, we are going to rely heavily on using Vihtavuori as a starting point for a few reasons; Vihtavuori’s powder line numbers are directly correlated to burn rate, their powders are very consistent lot to lot, and we are very familiar with their product lines since they are a sister company of ours.
Premium N100 POWDERS:
N110: Similar to Hodgdon H110 and Winchester 296. Can be used in small rifle cartridges like the .22 Hornet and .30 Carbine. Also good to use with Magnum revolver cartridges like the .357, .41, .44, .454 Casull and .500 S&W magnum cartridges. And 300 AAC BLACKOUT with BERGER 115 to 230 grain .30 caliber bullets. (Call for this load data)
N120: Slower burning than our N110 powder. Suitable for small capacity rifle cartridge cases and .22 caliber cartridges with light bullets. Also good for 7.62×39, .30-30 and .444 Marlin cartridges. Needs a little higher pressure than the N110 in order to optimize burning. Burn rate is close to ACCURATE 1680, IMR 4198 and RELOADER 7.
N130: This powder is used in many factory loaded .22 and 6mm PPC cartridges. Very suitable for .223 Remington cartridge with light bullets and straight-wall cartridges like the .45-70 Government and .458 Winchester. Burn rate is close to Hodgdon H322 and Accurate 2230.
N133: The choice of many competition benchrest and standard rifle shooters for the 6mm PPC cartridge. Also used for the .222 and .223 Remington cartridges and in applications where a relatively fast burning powder is needed like the .45-70 Government. Burn rate is similar to NORMA 201, Hodgdon H335, and VECTAN SP10.
N135: An excellent powder to use for the .308 Winchester with bullet weights less than 155 grains. Also has the capability to be used for other various loads for cartridges from the .222 Remington to .458 Winchester Magnum. Burn rate is similar to IMR 4064, Hodgdon H4985 and ACCURATE 2520
N140: A true multipurpose powder that is a good choice for .223 Remington, .22-250, .308 Winchester, .30-06, 8×57 (8mm) Mauser and .375 H&H Magnum. Burn rate is similar to IMR4320, RELOADER 15, or Hodgdon H380.
N150: Typically used with heavier bullets in target or hunting loads for cartridges with midrange case volumes like .308 Winchester, 6.5×55 SE and .30-06 Powder burn rate is a little slower than N140 . Burn rate is close to Hodgdon H414 and Winchester 760. Also is listed as a TEMP STABLE POWDER
N160: Slow burning powder for Magnums and cartridges with large case volume that use small diameter bullets. Examples are .243 Winchester, 6.5×284 Norma, 7mm Weatherby Magnum, 300 & 338 Winchester Magnums. And all the WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) cartridges. Now listed as a TEMP STABLE POWDER.
N165: A very slow burning powder for Magnum cartridges using heavy bullets. These cartridges range from the 6.5×55 SE all the way to the .416 Rigby. Burn rate is in the range of NORMA MRP and RELOADER 22.
N170: Slowest burning of all the N100 series powders. And one of the slowest burning powders you can buy for reloading. Used with good performance with belted magnums like the 300 Weatherby Magnum. And very suitable for use with the .300 Remington ULTRA MAG and .338 LAPUA cartridges. Burn rate very similar to Hodgdon H1000 and ACCURATE 8700
Premium N300 Handgun Powders:
N310: Wide range of applications from .32 S&W Long Wadcutter to .45 ACP. Very fast burning. Similar to Alliant Bullseye, Hodgdon HP38, and VECTAN Ba 10.
N320: A comparatively fast burning powder with a burn rate about the same as Winchester 231 and Alliant Red Dot. Load data is available for 9mm Luger, .38 Super Auto, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .44 S&W Special, .44 Remington Magnum, .45 ACP and .45 LONG COLT.
TIN STAR (N32 C): A special powder we developed for Cowboy Action Shooters using lead bullets with revolvers and rifles. It is a low bulk density powder that fills the cartridge case very well. It is also a very clean burning powder. Its burn rate is right between N320 and N330. Also can be used with the 300 AAC BLACKOUT with BERGER .30 CAL 115 to 230 grain bullets. (Call for data)
N330: Specially designed for 9mm LUGER but also very good for the .38 Special, .40 S&W, .44 S&W Special and .45 LONG COLT. Just a bit slower burn rate than N320. But corresponds well with Alliant Unique and VECTAN Ba 9 powders in burn rate.
N340: Excellent multipurpose handgun powder that covers a wide range of cartridges. 9mm LUGER, 9X21mm, .357 SIG, .38 Super Auto, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm AUTO, .44 S&W Special, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP and .45 LONG COLT. Burnt rate is in the range of ACCURATE# 5 and Alliant HERCO.
N350: One of the slowest burning N300 series powders. Very good choice for cartridges such as the 9mm LUGER, 10mm AUTO and .45 ACP. Burn rate is in the range of powders such as Accurate# 7, IMR hi-Skor 800X AND Alliant Blue Dot.
3N37: Originally developed for the .22 RIMFIRE cartridges. But has proven to be very versatile and desirable for use in competitive shooting. You can find load data for this powder with cartridges such as 9mm LUGAR, .38 Super Auto, .45ACP, 44 Magnum and other pistol cartridges in our 2017 VIHTAVUORI RELOADING GUIDE. Burn rate is close to N350 and VECTAN AO powders.
3N38: This powder is specially designed for competitive shooting. And is recommended for high velocity loads for 9mm LUGAR and .40 S&W with moderate bullet weights (147gr 9mm. 165 and 200gr for .40 S&W)
Burn rate is similar to VECTAN SP 2
N105 SUPER MAGNUM: A slow burning powder that fills the gap between N350 and N110. Specially developed for handgun cartridges with heavy bullets and /or large cartridge case volume. Reloading data is available for 9x21mm, .38 Super Auto, .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .40S&W, 10mm AUTO, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum and .454 CASULL.
Premium N500 High Energy Powders:
(The N500 SERIES of VIHTAVUORI propellants provide the utmost in performance for added velocity and range with heavy bullets. NITROGLYCERINE has been added to the traditional single base powder to get better energy content. This series offers five different reloading powders with different burn rates)
N530: This is the fastest burning powder in the N500 series. Developed especially for the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge it can also be used with the .45-70 and loads for the .308 Winchester for bullets 155 grains or less. Burn rate is close to N135 and Hodgdon BLC-2. (Qualified STANAG 4170)
N540: Fast burning powder for where more power is needed especially for the .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield with heavier bullets. Burn rate is similar to N140 AND CLOSE TO Hodgdon H414 and Winchester 760.
(Qualified STANAG 4170)
N550: Good choice for use for more powerful loads with the 6.5x55SE, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield with heavy bullets and many other cartridges. Burn rate is similar to N150 and close to IMR 4350 and RELOADER 19.
N560: A slow burning powder for large magnum style cartridge cases. Large grain size brings out the best in large volume cases like .270 WIN, 7mm Remington and 7mm WEATHERBY magnums, 6.5×284, 300 WIN MAG, 300 and .30-378 WEATHERBY magnums, 300 RUM and .338 LAPUA when using 250 grain or less bullet weights but still meters very well through your powder measure. Burn rate is between N160 and N165. It is close to NORMA MRP and Alliant RELOADER 22.
N565: (NEW FOR 2018!) Designed to fill the gap between N560 and N570. N565 was developed specifically for military sniping applications and 250 grain bullet weight loads for the .338 LAPUA Magnum. Is an ideal choice also for such cartridges as the 7mm REM MAG, .30-06, 300 WIN MAG, 300 NORMA MAG as well as the .338 NORMA MAG. Grain size is the same as N560 so it flows smoothly through powder measures ensuring good loadability and uniformity. Our new de-coppering agent has been added also. Burn rate is closer to N570 than N560. See load data here: https://www.vihtavuori.com/powder/n565-high-energy-powder/
N570: Slowest burn rate of the N500 family of powders. Can be used with large volume cartridges such as 6.5×284, .284 NORMA, 300 WIN MAG, 300 RUM, .338 LAPUA magnum, and .30-378 WEATHERBY magnum with heavy bullet weights. Burn rate is close to N170 and faster than our 24N41 powder.
Powders for the .50 BMG
24N41 and 20N29: These single base powders are designed for use with the .50 BMG cartridge. Their burn rates are slower and their powder grain size is larger than our N100 powders. 24N41 is slightly faster burning than the 20N29. There is reloading data available for some magnum cartridges and 20N29 has gained a good reputation for performance when used with the .338 LAPUA and .30-378 WEATHERBY Magnum cartridges also.
We hope this overview will help you decide what VIHTAVUORI POWDERS will fit your reloading needs. More information can be found at the VIHTAVUORI website here: https://www.vihtavuori.com/ . For a 2017 VIHTAVUORI RELOADING GUIDE for CENTERFIRE CARTRIDGES. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free reloading guide.
ALL THE POWDERS LISTED ARE “SIMILAR” BUT THEY WILL NOT USE THE SAME LOAD DATA. PLEASE CONSULT THE MANUFACTURER OR LOAD DATA IN RELOADING MANUALS FOR PROPER LOAD DATA !