Winchester 452AA - who has used it, what worked for you?

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Ed Harris posted this 28 November 2018

Years ago I loaded thousands of rounds of .38 Special and .45 ACP wadcutter ammunition using Winchester 452AA shotshell powder.   This powder, last made in 1991 was replaced by WST, which is very similar.  Its burning rate is faster than 231 and it is more bulky.

Back in the day if your Star loading machine was set up to assemble target wadcutter loads with Bullseye, you could refill the powder hopper with 452AA and the same volumetric setting would meter a safe target load with 452AA and give normal, if somewhat lower than Bullseye target velocity.  I have used WST the same way for years with nearly identical results.  Both powders are extremely clean burning and meter like water,

WST also works well for plainbased gallery rifle loads in .30 cal. rifles, about 8-9 grains in the .30-'06 with 160-170 grain plainbased bullet.

Back in the day I never tried 452AA for reduced rifle loads, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work within its conservative limits.

Recently I came upon a "buy" for two TEN POUND caddies of 452AA from the estate of a local trapshooter who passed.  Nobody knew what it was, so I bid $100 for BOTH caddies and got them.  So now I'm going to explore 452AA in a variety of rifle and pistol calibers and report back.  This may be interesting.

Looking at the charge table for the RCBS Little Dandy rotors, they show 452AA being very close in its charge weight to volume ratio as Bullseye.  The #3 rotor which meters 3 grains of Bullseye for .38 wadcutter meters 2.8 grains of 452AA.  The #8 rotor which meters 4.5 grains of Bullseye for .45 wadcutter meters 4.1 of 452AA. The #9 rotor which meters 5 grains of Bullseye for a "full-charge" load meters 4.6 of 452AA which gives 780 fps with the #452374 225-grain LRN bullet or 820 fps with the H&G68, either of which cycles an M1911.  

Data from Speer #11 for 38 Special
-148gr HBWC lead---2.8 to 3,1 gr. @ 772 to 802fps
-158gr. SWC lead ---3.6 to 4.0 grs. @ 763 to 842 fps
-110gr. JHP ---------4.5 to 5.4 grs. (+P)934 to 1072fps
-125gr JSP-----------4.3 to 5.1 grs. (+P) 877 to 968 fps

Data from Speer #11 for 45 acp
185gr tmj match-----4.3 to 4.7 gr @757 to 819fps
200gr tmj combat----4.3 to 4.8 gr@ 745 to 804 fps
200gr jhp-------------5.0 to 5.5 gr @868 to 916 fps
230gr jrn-------------4.7 to5.3 gr @780 to 825 fps

he smallest RCBS rotor #00 meters 1.7 grains of Bullseye, which is a good plinker in the .32 ACP with 80-90 grain bullet.  Ric Bowman made me two micro-rotors just for "Cat Sneeze" loads. The one he marked 000 meters 1.5 grains of Bullseye and the 0000 is for 1 grain of Bullseye.

The 0000 rotor meters 0.9 grain of 452AA.  Loaded in the .38 Special and flush seating a 158-grain Magtech LRN cupbased bullet into the .38 Special case BACKWARDS, flush seated like a wadcutter, a couple test rounds exited the 24 inch barrel of my rook rifle with no more noise than an air gun!  Loading the LRN bullet in the normal manner in .38 S&W brass at 1.25" OAL and trying in the 20 inch Lettuce Protector also exited the bore reliably and was very little louder.

Time to shoot some groups, confirm reliability of bore exit and measure some velocties!    

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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beagle6 posted this 28 November 2018

Ed, where do you go to find such bargains? All the estate sales around here are " collectibles" and golf clubs and the trap shooters live forever.

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Ed Harris posted this 28 November 2018

The secret is to make a CASH! offer while the tire kickers are offering nothing.

Like buying a used car, you must be prepared to walk away.

Hold up the $100 bill,, "My only, best and final offer is good for ten seconds!"

Look at your watch, then turn and start to walk away.

"SOLD for $100!"

Also, estate sales here where guns, ammo etc. are restricted here to FFL, C&R, LE, WV concealed carry permit holders or military.  You must show picture ID to enter the room. Good precaution to avoid prohibted prosessors from trying to buy a gun. 

The FFL dealers want to buy stuff cheap enough they can mark up for resale at retail.  C&R guys want antique treasures below GunBroker auction prices. Military guys want black rifles, AKs, SKSs, Glocks, M1911s. Old cop revolvers and ordinary plain vanilla hunting guns often go begging.  

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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GP Idaho posted this 28 November 2018

Nice find Ed. There are always a lot of uses for fast shotgun powders for those of us who enjoy the mild recoil of bunny style loads and pistol plinkers. Now, using up 20lbs. of it a couple grains at a time will require some doing. Pretty sure one of the caddies at least would end up in my estate sale. Gp

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BigMan54 posted this 28 November 2018

Great Deal, sorry I can't help.

I switched to WW452AA from 700X for 12ga Trap/SKEET loads, supposed to give lower pressure. When I ran out, I switched to Clays. Never looked back. 

It seemed that Winchester introduced & discontinued all types of powders in the 1980's & 1990's like a little kid looking for the prize in a Cracker Jack box. Get loads developed with a new powder, and then it was gone. Got to the point I just gave up on new Winchester Powders.

I just never found anything better then Bullseye for .38spl & .45acp target loads.

Wish I could really help.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Ed Harris posted this 28 November 2018

One caddy will become a community pot for assembling .30-'06 gallery loads for our group, once we re-confirm the sweet spot.  With 8.5 grains of WST we got wonderful results in the '03 Springfield, I'm hoping that the Little Dandy Rotor #17 will meter a charge in the same range between 8.5-9.0 grains, which we used with WST and give similar results.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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lotech posted this 29 November 2018

When it was still manufactured, 452AA provided the best accuracy I've seen in the .45 ACP. I don't recall ever using it with jacketed bullets or in the .38 Special. We have such a glut and duplication of powders today, I'm sure my results could be duplicated with another powder, but 452AA remains a good .45 ACP cast bullet powder if you can find any.  

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Eutectic posted this 29 November 2018

The big gun shows are a waste of time here. Before the show opens, the dealers walk around to the private sale tables and snap up the gun bargains. Then they mark them up on their tables.

Low interest stuff like bullet molds are the only good deals. I use Ed's method: Make offer  - no deal walk away. Come back on the way out "I am leaving my $ offer is still good" I always leave satisfied, but not always with the item.

I tried 452AA a long time back because some pistol match shooters were using it. It worked fine, just like the other dozen powders I tried in the hunt for the magic powder which I was sure would turn 2" groups into 1" groups.

Folks there is NO SUCH POWDER! Most of the fast powders can make excellent target/standard level pistol/revolver ammunition. If you do not believe this pull several brands of factory match ammo. You will find ball, round flake, extruded, and even cut flake if you look long enough. The same brand years apart is likely to have different powder. I think (no evidence) commercial ammo loaders use whatever is the least expensive powder at the time.

The only important factor is measuring precision with small charges. Large flake powders like Red Dot do not measure precisely, but even this limitation disappears when the charge is over 7 or 8 grains.

Good gosh Ed 10 pounds of 452AA is 23,000  38 Special loads, and over 8,000 in the 06. How about I come over and help you use it up before it goes bad? big_grin

Steve

 

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 29 November 2018

.... I use Ed's method: Make offer  - no deal walk away. Come back on the way out "I am leaving my $ offer is still good" I always leave satisfied, but not always with the item.....

Steve

 

YUP.  The fast nickel beats the slow dime.... 

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M3 Mitch posted this 29 November 2018

The big gun shows are a waste of time here. Before the show opens, the dealers walk around to the private sale tables and snap up the gun bargains. Then they mark them up on their tables.

Low interest stuff like bullet molds are the only good deals. I use Ed's method: Make offer  - no deal walk away. Come back on the way out "I am leaving my $ offer is still good" I always leave satisfied, but not always with the item.

I tried 452AA a long time back because some pistol match shooters were using it. It worked fine, just like the other dozen powders I tried in the hunt for the magic powder which I was sure would turn 2" groups into 1" groups.

Folks there is NO SUCH POWDER! Most of the fast powders can make excellent target/standard level pistol/revolver ammunition. If you do not believe this pull several brands of factory match ammo. You will find ball, round flake, extruded, and even cut flake if you look long enough. The same brand years apart is likely to have different powder. I think (no evidence) commercial ammo loaders use whatever is the least expensive powder at the time.

The only important factor is measuring precision with small charges. Large flake powders like Red Dot do not measure precisely, but even this limitation disappears when the charge is over 7 or 8 grains.

Good gosh Ed 10 pounds of 452AA is 23,000  38 Special loads, and over 8,000 in the 06. How about I come over and help you use it up before it goes bad? big_grin

Steve

 

In my experience, Steve is right, although, it does seem to me that Unique sometimes gives better perceived accuracy for me in "oddball" calibers like the 30 Luger.  That said this is just my impression and opinion, I don't have any real data to support this idea (I should get busy shooting some data...)  But  accuracy with cast, in these "squib" loads, seems to me to depend on the gun, on a bullet that fits, and particularly for handguns, on the loose nut holding the gun.

 

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JSH posted this 04 December 2018

I was gifted a large amount of AA473 from a trap shooters estate. I know he reloaded large amounts of 410, but saw none of that powder. I think I know why I ended up with this, very very little data. Every time I see AA452 data, I have to go look at those kegs, nope, still 473. Drat........ Jeff

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M3 Mitch posted this 06 December 2018

I was gifted a large amount of AA473 from a trap shooters estate. I know he reloaded large amounts of 410, but saw none of that powder. I think I know why I ended up with this, very very little data. Every time I see AA452 data, I have to go look at those kegs, nope, still 473. Drat........ Jeff
If you don't load .410, you could swap or sell the powder to someone who does.  I *think* this old powder is roughly similar to Green Dot: https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=265741

 

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Rich/WIS posted this 08 December 2018

I used a lot of it in 12 gauge for skeet loads, and when I stopped shooting skeet had about 15 lbs left,  A reloader on the other castr forum was looking for some so sold him half and figured the remainder was a lifetime supply for 45 ACP.  Wrong, a few years later had to switch over to my stash of AA473.  Per my notes loaded 4.5 to 5.0 grs behind a 200 gr LSWC with factory spring, and 3.5 to 4.0 with reduced power springs.  

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Ed Harris posted this 08 December 2018

I am currently loading test samples with Mag-Tech 158-grain LRN, cup-based bullets bracketing the loads in Speer No. 11, using the RCBS Little Dandy Rotors #6, #7 and #8 which will cover the range from 3.4, 3.7 and 4.1 of 452AA. Plan is to fire these from my S&W 10-5, 2", a transitional 4", .38 Special Hand Ejector (Pre-Model 10) C-prefix and a postwar (Pre-Model 10) 6" barrel S-prefix, to benchmark against period (1950s) 158-grain LRN ammo of WRA and Rem.-UMC.

Once I find the revolver sweet spot, will shoot in the rook rifle.  Best guess we are looking for 700 fps from 2", approaching 800 fps. from 4" and maybe 850 fps form 6" and just shy of 1000 fps from 24" rook rifle.

Stay tuned.  

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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melchior posted this 10 January 2019

Back in the day I loaded 45 ACP with 5.6 gr of 452AA and a 200 gr. SWC.   Was accurate and made IPSC Major quite easily.

BUT, 5.7 gr. was definitely over maximum.   I finished out my supply of that powder just last fall.   I'm using Tite-Group these days.

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xgrunt44 posted this 25 May 2019

Hi, Ed - sorry for the late response - I understand your problem (?) has been solved anyway, but just FYI:  I started using 452AA back around 1978 in my .38 Special/.357 Mag. revolvers, and all these years later, I am still using it - I think I have the last 452AA in captivity (in Australia, anyhow).  Got enough for maybe another year or so and then it's on to WST, I guess.  In 2004, I chronographed  my 120grTC cast bullets at an average of 847fps in my 6" barrel S & W 686.  For our Police & Service Match (sort of similar to your PPC Match, I think), I'm now using my cast 100gr swc bullets with 2.5 gr of 452AA, again in my 686 (velocity average of 766fps.  Bullets are seated about 1/4" below the case mouth.  The overall results I've been getting for the past 40 years have been excellent.  In my IPSC days (1980's & 90's) I also used 452 in my Redhawk, with a 5 1/2" barrel, for IPSC Revolver; I used 5.0 gr of 452AA behind 240gr swc pills and got an average of 728fps - not a very high velocity, but it made a power factor of 176 and was very comfortable and accurate enough for IPSC purposes.  I also used 452AA in my .45 Hardballer for IPSC, but haven't got the loads to hand; I think the WST loads would be comparable, anyway. Sorry if I've rambled on a bit.  All the best

Alan

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Dale53 posted this 25 May 2019

Ed, I can't help you with 452AA. However, a number of years ago, I decided your suggestion to use up all of the "extra" powders I had and simplify my powder usage. I was doing really well with the end in sight. Then, I stopped in a local gun shop and there was a bunch of powder from an Estate for sale. It was partial cans but easily identifiable powder. I bought something like 14 pounds for $25,00 and I ended up worse than before I started "simplifying". I gave up with a smile on my face.

My experience over the years pretty much agree with Eutectic. I have gotten pretty much the same accuracy for target loads with a variety of fast burning powders. Many of them were discontinued, but gave excellent results. As I remember, when E.H. Harrison did his work on .38 Special target loads using a machine rest (in the NRA Reloading Handbook) he found that powder was not a critical item. I had access to a Ransom Rest for many, many years, and shot a LOT of test loads (nothing compared to your experience, you understand, but a lot by my standards) in many revolvers and auto pistols. Again, my experience mirrored his.

Ed, even tho' I have plenty of powder for my handguns, I have to envy your great buy of the 452AA. Congrats on your "buy technique" and your success!applause

 FWIW

Dale53

P.S. I suggest that anyone buying opened cans of powder, like I did, make sure they are not only easily identifiable, but check their performance against known data with a chronograph. That will help prevent a "surprise" which NONE of us needs. rdm

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mashburn posted this 25 May 2019

Hello Ed,

Glad to see this post. I have a bunch of this powder and had no idea what I could do with it. Very interesting.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Ed Harris posted this 26 May 2019

3.7 grains in .38 Special with 158-grain LRN bullet at 1.54" OAL  approximates standard pressure old fashioned "Police Service" load.  3.3 grains with 148 HBWC Remington component bullet flush-seated at 1.175" OAL matches factory wadcutter.

7 grains with 45-259EB in .45 Colt is a good "full charge" load for Colt New Service.

4 grains with 45-264H in Starline .455 cases is a similar "full charge" load for Colt New Service, reduce to 3.7 grains for Webley MkVI.

Accurate 45-264D RCBS LD#8 rotor 4.1 grains 452AA, Starline case, Rem. 2-1/2 primer, 12 shots at 25 yards.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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tony1960 posted this 27 May 2019

I used to use 452AA by the bucket load prior to it being discontinued, only for pistol though. I found three things wrong with the powder

1. Too much unburned powder, we could literally pile it up after a mornings shoot and set alight to it. Using 3.8gn in a 38 SPL with 148 BNWC to make power factor in my 586.

2. It gravity segregates, found this out by accident after "storing" some in a glass jar for a friend and finding it a month later. On close inspection, the larger particles had made their way to the bottom, just from natural ground movement, trucks etc. I always shake every tin of powder since then.

3. It loses velocity and pressure when the weather is hot, from bad experience where at a National championship they left the ammo out in the sun fro 30 mins or so whilst we finished, my ammo came 40fps less than it ever has. I tested the ammo the day prior on the "official" chrono, well within tolerances but not the next day which was considerably warmer. This was the big reason for me to change over to AP30 (back then)(Clays) then when they brought out WST I believe due to the temp issues down here at least that's when I changed. Something xgrunt44 doesn't have to worry much about down there in Vic laughing

I use WST solely in the 38 for APSM (Police and Service match), but unlike xgrunt44 I seat my 100gn pills flush with 2,5, I find it doesn't size the base on the projectile being down in the case so far, no less accuracy. 

There was some talk, don't know how much was true regarding the way it was manufactured, there was talk that it is made in a slurry as oppsed to the process for Win's other ball powders, I may be wrong. Same sort or reason they dropped 473AA.

 

If anyone has any loads for a 308 they wouldlike to share, much appreciated. I am always cautious about flashover with such a small amout of powder in the case. Obviously wotrks in the '06.

 

Tony

 

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Ed Harris posted this 27 May 2019

Good info Tony!

In the .308 I think you could start a grain lower than in the '06 with a 160-170-grain plainbased bullet.

The 8.5 grain load in the '06 is about 1200 fps and not at all "hot."  I never tried loading it heavier with cast in rifles, as I was looking for the economy gallery load.  Once we started getting groups better than Ball M2 we decided we were in the right place and stopped there.

I have not noticed unburned powder in my current revolver loads, but I am loading heavy bullets for the caliber and about 10% greater in charge weight than I would for Bullseye, so they are standard-pressure, but "full-charge" loads in the .455, .45 Colt, .45 Auto Rim, .38 Special. 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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xgrunt44 posted this 03 June 2019

Hi, Tony - interesting comments.  I've never had any problem with unburnt 452, unlike, say, WW231.  I was also interested in your P & SM loads (I shoot with 3MDPC and Army Vic) - I thought about seating the pills flush with the case mouth, but was worried about possible pressure spikes (with so much space behind the bullet).  Obviously not a problem, I guess.  Do you have many people up there who actually cast?  In my circle, I know of only 5 or 6, it seems to be a dying art.

Regards

Alan

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tony1960 posted this 04 June 2019

Hey Alan, sorry to say that you are dead right, casting is well and truly a dying art around here. I think due to the ease of buying cast and powder coated projectiles, and you can name all of the businesses as I can, people are getting lazy. Yes the bought pills shoot fine, but can you tweak them to fit your gun, no. At Metro pistol club of 800 members I could only name 10 that actually cast, there may be a number that come out during the week when I'm not there but the regulars all shoot HRBC or one of the others. 

I've never had any issues with pressure spikes in the case using low loads of WST, 231, BE or AS30 using the same load, yes some have a very low velocity, and if I can find my results I will post here for you and others.

My standard P&S load is 2.4 BE with 100SWC flush with the mouth, interchanged with WST if I need to.

The issue I had with sinking them down in the case was it stretches the case too much, if they are not hard then the case web will resize the projectile too. Plus it's exceptionally easy to just push them down flush.

Accuracy is more than acceptable even with my poor eyes these days, off the post at 25yds I can keep all 6 within 2 inches double action and hold the 10 ring out at 50yds on a good day.

 

cheers

 

Tony

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