Wolfe Publishing Group

    Accurate Rifle Powders

    Surveying an Eclectic Propellant Line

    Accurate 2460 and Sierra 69-grain bullets in the .223 Remington combined for these groups at 100 yards.
    Accurate 2460 and Sierra 69-grain bullets in the .223 Remington combined for these groups at 100 yards.
    Western Powders has been a major distributor of various brands of gun powders in North America since 1972. Since then, Western, from its home base in Miles City, Montana, created an efficient delivery system for those powders. So it was only natural to further fill its pipeline by developing and marketing its own Ramshot brand of propellants in 1998. Western bought Accurate Arms powders in 2005 to grow its business even more.

    Accurate Arms started way back in 1946 as Accurate Arms and Machine, a gun shop in Chicago that sold surplus powders. Accurate Arms was incorporated in McEwen, Tennessee, in 1980, after several years of selling surplus powders from the U.S. government. In 1987, Accurate Arms started to move away from the surplus market and began selling newly manufactured propellants.

    Accurate’s powders hung in limbo for some time, overshadowed by Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester powders – until Western bought Accurate in 2005. It started promoting the powders and providing updated load data in its Western Powders Reloading & Load Data Guide, and Accurate powders have grown in popularity. Powder shortages over the last few years have also aided Accurate’s acceptance, as handloaders turned to alternatives for unavailable favorites. Most Accurate powders are now made by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ St. Marks Powder in Florida or Valleyfield in Quebec, Canada.

    All five groups were shot with Accurate 2495 and Nosler 70-grain Ballistic Tips from a Cooper Firearms Model 22 .243 Winchester.
    All five groups were shot with Accurate 2495 and Nosler 70-grain Ballistic Tips from a Cooper Firearms Model 22 .243 Winchester.
    Let’s see what the 14 Accurate rifle powders have to offer handloaders.


    This fast-burning, double-base, extruded powder is made in Canada. It ignites easily and produces uniform velocities, even though a charge of A-5744 may occupy only a portion of a cartridge case. It can be loaded in the .22 Hornet and in the .223 Remington with 55-grain and lighter bullets. I’ve used it in the .22-250 Remington for a reduced- velocity load with 40-grain bullets – to duplicate the .22 Hornet.

    Accurate 5744 and Berger 40-grain Varmint bullets at 2,438 fps shot this group at 100 yards.
    Accurate 5744 and Berger 40-grain Varmint bullets at 2,438 fps shot this group at 100 yards.

    Its best use is for low-pressure, cast-bullet loads in the .223 on up to the .45-70. Pressures are about 20,000 pounds per square inch (psi) with 12.0 grains of A-5744 and Lyman’s 225646 55-grain cast bullet in the .223. This load shot a 1.05-inch group at 100 yards, with four of the bullets in .61 inch.


    This American-made, fast-burning, double-based powder is suited to small capacity cases like the .22 Hornet and 7.62x39, and it is also useful for lightweight bullets in the .223 Remington. My CZ 527 7.62x39 is a favorite for stalking marmots in the spring. With 27.0 grains of A-1680, Speer 125-grain, .311-inch bullets leave the CZ’s 18.5-inch barrel at 2,335 fps. Groups hover around an inch at 100 yards. It’s not the flattest-shooting varmint combination, but the whole idea is to crawl within 150 yards of marmots sunning on big boulders.

    LT-30 and LT-32

    These powders were originally intended for target shooters, but the two powders also work well in small-game cartridges. Rob

    Hornady 123-grain Spire Point bullets loaded over LT-32 and fired from a CZ 527 7.62 x39 formed this 100-yard group.
    Hornady 123-grain Spire Point bullets loaded over LT-32 and fired from a CZ 527 7.62 x39 formed this 100-yard group.
    Behr of Western Powders said LT-32 was originally a military surplus powder. Thunderbird Powder sold this surplus powder for a while, and it became popular with benchrest competitors. Western Powders obtained some LT-32, found it was a great powder, and contacted General Dynamics in Canada about producing the powder for Western. “Valleyfield added a second coating to the powder that makes it stable across a wide range of temperatures,” Behr said, and he indicated the two powders are kissing cousins, but LT-30 is slightly faster burning than LT-32. These fine-grained, extruded powders easily flow through a powder measure to produce exact charge weights.

    I shot LT-32 in two bolt-action .223 Remingtons and LT-30 and LT-32 in a CZ bolt-action 7.62x39. While velocities were a bit slower than those stated by Western, accuracy was great. LT-32, loaded in the .223, shot a five-shot group that measured .54 inch with Nosler 69-grain HPBT bullets and .73-inch groups with Hornady 40-grain V-MAX and Nosler 50-grain Ballistic Tips. The CZ 7.62x39 grouped three Hornady 123-grain Spire Point bullets in .69 inch with LT-32 and into 1.05 inches shooting LT-30.


    Western’s data guide lists A-2200 loads for the .17 Hornet, .223 Remington, 6mm PPC and 6mm BR. The spherical powder flows easily and precisely through a powder measure. Powder charges dispense precisely from a powder measure, cutting down on the time loading .223s for the spring gopher campaign. Nosler 50-grain Ballistic Tips clocked 3,323 fps with 24.5 grains of A-2200 in the .223. For the 5.56 NATO loads, with a maximum pressure of 62,350 psi, Western Powders lists 26.1 grains of A-2200 that shoots the Nosler bullet at a very quick 3,578 fps.


    This fast-burning, single-base, extruded rifle powder performs well in varmint cartridges such as the .204 Ruger and .222 and .223 Remingtons and at the opposite end of the field in the .35 Whelen and .45-70.

    For decades, I burned every powder imaginable in the .35 Whelen with hopes of firing 250- grain bullets at 2,400 fps. None of them ever did. The Western Powders manual lists Hornady 250-grain roundnose bullets with a velocity of 2,500 fps when paired with 52.0 grains of A-2015. Hornady bullets registered 2,454 fps burning 51.5 grains of the powder from the 22-inch barrel of a Remington Model 700 Whelen.

    The powder produced good accuracy and velocity with bullets cast from an RCBS 45-405-FN mould and fired in a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun .45-70. These bullets fired slightly at a velocity above 1,600 fps are pretty much at full-power from the Marlin’s 18.5-inch barrel – stiff recoil verified it. Extreme velocity spread was 12 fps.


    Accurate 2230 is a fast-burning, double-base powder. It’s the same powder as Ramshot’s X-Terminator. As A-2230’s name implies, it’s designed around the .223 Remington. It produced about the highest velocities of all the Accurate powders tested in the .223 with 40- to 60-grain bullets. Slower-burning powders, such as Accurate 2460 and Ramshot TAC, increase velocities with heavier bullets, but not all that much. When I prepare for the spring gopher campaign, I load a big batch of .223s with this powder and 40-grain bullets. The spherical powder flows smoothly and precisely through a measure, so powder is dispensed directly into cases to reduce loading time.


    This American-made, double-base spherical powder is a slower derivative of A-2230. It is a great powder for cartridges from the .17 Remington Fireball to the .22-250 Remington. Accurate 2460 shot 20- and 25-grain bullets a good 250 fps faster than other powders loaded in the .17 Fireball, and with great accuracy. The powder also shot well with 50-grain bullets fired in the .22-250.

    The Western data guide contains 5.56x45mm (5.56 NATO) load data developed in a .223 Remington chamber with Winchester .223 cases (so they are okay to shoot in either a .223 or 5.56 chamber) with a maximum average pressure of 62,350 psi. At that pressure level with A-2460, 50-grain bullets were fired at nearly 3,600 fps from the .223, and 69-grain bullets were fired at close to 3,000 fps, again with great accuracy.


    This single-base, extruded powder was developed for the .308 Winchester. The data guide lists .223 Remington loads for A-2495 with 80- and 90-grain bullets. Loads are also listed for the .219 Zipper and .225 Winchester, which are rarely seen in the varmint fields these days. I’ve loaded A-2495 in the .243 Winchester shooting 70-grain bullets. Accuracy was great, but velocity was slower than with other powders.


    This medium-burning, double-base spherical powder works best in the .223 Remington shooting 55-grain and heavier bullets. Using the data guide’s .223 62,350-psi maximum average pressure loads, I used A-2520 to shoot 60-grain bullets at nearly 3,000 fps, 65-grain bullets at 3,037 fps and 69-grain bullets at 2,788 fps.

    This powder also flows precisely through a powder measure. I dumped 19.5 grains of A-2520 directly from a powder measure into .17 Remington Fireball cases and seated Hornady 25-grain V-MAX bullets. Extreme velocity spread for those loads was only 53 fps.


    Made in Canada, this intermediate-burning, single-base extruded powder works best in the .22-250 Remington, .220 Swift and .243 Winchester. I’ve burned a lot of Accurate 4064 in the .22-250 and .243 Winchester. An additional 100 fps of velocity might be squeezed from other powders in the .22-250, but you’d be hard-pressed to improve accuracy. Five loads with A-4064 and 40-, 50- and 55-grain bullets in the .22-250 averaged .68 inch for five-shot groups.

    This is the powder I load in my Cooper Firearms Model 22 .243 for target shooting. Hornady 75-grain V-MAX bullets shoot groups as tightly as .29 inch with the aid of A-4064.


    U.S.-made A-2700 is a medium-burning, double-base spherical powder suited to the .22-250 Remington, .220 Swift and .243 Winchester. I’ve burned several pounds of A-2700 in the .22-250 and Swift. It may be a touch too slow burning for the .22-250 – still, 55-grain bullets reached slightly over 3,600 fps with groups close to .5 inch.

    The powder is just right for the Swift. Western’s data guide shows 45.0 grains of the powder in the Swift firing a 50-grain bullet at 4,035 fps. I load 44.5 grains of the powder with Sierra 50-grain BlitzKing bullets for the same velocity from the 26-inch barrel of a Winchester Model 70 Varmint. That pair shot five bullets well under .5 inch – the best the old Swift rifle has shot any load.


    This short-cut, single-base extruded rifle powder competes with H-4350 and IMR-4350. Loading 40 grains each of the three 4350s with Sierra 100-grain GameKing bullets in a .243 Winchester rifle,

    H-4350 shot the bullets 98 fps faster than Accurate and 43 fps faster than IMR. Nevertheless, there was only a .5-inch difference between the groups shot with the three powders. Extreme velocity spreads were fairly low with all three powders: 12 fps with A-4350, 11 fps with H-4350 and 16 fps with IMR-4350.

    Accurate 4350 excels in .25-caliber cartridges. In the .257 Ackley Improved, the powder shot Sierra 100-grain Pro-Hunter bullets at 3,018 fps. In the .25-06, Hornady 75-grain V-MAX bullets topped out at 3,508 fps with 56.5 grains of the powder. Shooting 20 of those cartridges is enough fun for a day.

    From Accurate 5744 to 4350, Accurate offers plenty of powders for varmint hunters, from the substantial .25-06 down to the pocket- sized .17 Fireball.


    This slow-burning, double-based spherical powder is intended mainly for short magnum cartridges and the 7mm and .300 belted magnums. The powder shot 139-grain bullets a touch over 3,300 fps from a 7mm Remington Magnum. That’s as fast as any powder has shot that bullet weight from my 7mm Magnum. MagPro loaded in the .270 Winchester shot two different 150-grain bullets a touch slower than 2,900 fps. Only a few other powders can beat that.

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