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

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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.

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

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 3 weeks ago

.... 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 3 weeks ago

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 2 weeks ago

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 2 weeks ago

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 1 weeks ago

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 1 weeks ago

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", 700 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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