Winchester Smokeless Propellants, a brand licensed to Hodgdon Powder Co., introduced the new WinClean 244 double-based handgun powder in 2018, announcing that it was developed for medium handgun loads. It falls into what I think of as the fast end of a medium burn rate pistol powder, ranked at position No. 31 on Hodgdon’s burn rate chart. W244 is a little slower than W231 (ranked 29) and a little faster than Winchester Super Field (ranked 38). It’s right next to Alliant Unique (ranked 32).
Like W231, W244 has small flakes, and I found it to meter smoothly and consistently from my RCBS Uniflow powder dispenser. W244 has the WinClean additive to burn clean and reduce copper fouling. Winchester says the powder has low flash and is ideally suited for handloading 9mm Luger, .38 Special, and .45 ACP.
Hodgdon and Winchester have W244 load data for 17 handgun calibers. They include .25 ACP, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, .327 Federal Magnum, .380 Auto, 9mm Luger, .38 Super, .38 Special (and +P), .357 Sig, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 GAP, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt. For this report, I tried W244 in 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP and measured velocity and accuracy.
My measured velocities were close to published data. For many of the cartridges I tested, W244 produced some of the higher velocities among the powders listed on Hodgdon’s website, and it did this with fairly low charge weights. It won’t produce the highest speed for magnum handgun cartridges. Slower burning powders are better for them. But W244 can produce near-top speeds for some standard calibers like 9mm Luger and .45 ACP.
Accuracy was comparable to what my guns usually shoot. Accuracy with most 9mm loads and with all the .45 ACP loads was better than average for my guns, suggesting that W244 has real potential in handloads used for shooting matches. I was especially impressed with the .45 ACP results. Only one of the six loads tested had a 10-shot group size over 2.0 inches.
WinClean 244 is a nice addition to Winchester’s handgun powders. It burns clean, reduces copper fouling, and has low flash. It uses fairly low charge weights, making it a high-performance, low-cost choice. Accuracy was good to excellent. You can never have too many choices for a match-winning gunpowder, and W244 looks like a good candidate. It’s available in 1-, 4-, and 8-pound containers.
MSRP: $23.99 (1 lb.), $85.99 (4 lbs.), $165.99 (8 lbs.); wwpowder.com