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Powder for reloading rifles
#11
Pistol Packin Preacher;31800 Wrote:I know there are slower burning powders, fast burning powders, and in between.

How do you determine which is best for your reloading?

I do have a reloading manual and that gives best powder for each bullet type.

But I was wondering how you look at a situation and know a faster burning or slower burning powder would be best for that situation.

Thanks.

God bless!!

PPP

General rules of thumb:
Bigger cartridges use slower powders, smaller cartridges like faster powders. Magnum rifle powders burn a lot slower than pistol powders.
.223 gets along well with faster powders, .50 BMG needs slower powders.

To refine this a bit more, longer barrels typically like slower powders and shorter barrels like faster powders. Ideally, your powder is burnt completely just as the bullet exits the barrel, longer barrels give the powder more time to burn and continue to push the bullet, shorter barrels don't have as much room to completely burn the powder and waste the potential energy, you'll see that as muzzle flash. Powder that burns too fast will be spent before the bullet exits the barrel causing the bullet to actually lose velocity before it exits. It will also create higher initial pressure where slower powders don't build pressure as quickly. Bore diameter comes into play as well.
In some respects it sounds pretty simple but in reality it comes down to cartridge capacity, bore diameter, barrel length, bullet speed and several other factors. There are middle of the road powders, like Varget, that perform satisfactorily in small to medium cartridges but as you get more advanced you'll start to see the differences and determine which one(s) are best suited for your needs.

I tried to give you a quick, simple view of it, I hope I didn't confuse you and please be aware that I didn't intend this post to be a comprehensive lesson, just a brief introduction based on generalizations.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#12
Mauser:

Your post was very, very good.

All you stated makes sense and really gives me an idea how the process (though in a somewhat simplified manner) works.

One guy demonstrated to me a slow burn powder vs. a fast burn powder in an ashtray once.

But there was no explanation as to why or how each might excel in a given situation.

I have looked at the burn rates chart at the back of the reloading manual while looking at the various bullet charts for different calibers and wondered how each would effect and why.

That was a great reloading physics lesson.

I am now able to look at these two charts again but in a whole new understanding.

Thanks!

God bless!!

PPP
Proud to be a member of pa2a.org since 11:18 PM Sept 7, 2012!
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#13
Here is a site with some info to add to what mauser said. About half way down the page there is a section on powder information that includes basic and advanced info. http://stevespages.com/table3.html Check out the section on load density. Also was having a discussion with a knowledgable handloader about cutting to one rifle powder to do all. While we were in agreement it could be done I had to concede that my particular pet loads would include several powders. He said something along the line that I'd buy 4 lbs. of the same powder to load 4 rifles why not just buy 4 lbs. of what you really need. Has me thinking.
From a trailer park on a strip cut where my neighbors call me Mister.
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#14
While reading through the Powder Density article on the page Cephas linked to it made me want to post more thoughts about powders and some of the thought process that goes into my selection.
I like to use a powder that completely fills the case, "compressed" loads are my preference for 2 reasons.

1) Uniform ignition. There's no chance that ignition will vary by the way the powder happens to be distributed in the case. If it's packed in there's no room for it to shift.

2) Safety. You can not double charge a load if you're using a powder charge that fills the case. I personally know someone who blew up a revolver with reloads. He told me the load he was using and it was on the high side but not an overcharge, it should have been safe. I wasn't there so I can't know what happened but I do know that with that load there was plenty of room in the case for extra powder, even a complete double charge. When reloading you have to be very careful to not overcharge or you'll have disastrous results, when using a moderately heavy load using a smaller charge of faster powder you have to be even more careful.
He was lucky, there were no injuries but pieces of the gun hit the awning above the bench and went right past another shooter to his right and hit the bulletin board at the end of the line 5 benches away.

You've seen the pictures online of revolvers that went KABOOM, I saw one in person. It blew out the top of the frame, the chamber that the errant round was in and opened up the chambers on each side of the one that went bad.

I'm not laying blame anywhere but something went wrong and if he would have been using a compressed load it would have eliminated the possibility of an overcharge of powder.

My favorite load for .357 Magnum and .22 Hornet is a powder that was designed for .410 shotgun. Talk about versatility!

13 grains of Hodgdon Lil' Gun for a .22 Hornet and 18 grains of Lil'gun in a .357 Magnum will fill the case, deliver velocity and accuracy that rivals the most carefully crafted custom loads and the chamber pressure is considerably lower than other powders that produce anywhere near the same velocities.

Although I don't recommend this, you could literally scoop the case full of that powder and seat the bullet, no measuring or weighing needed, it won't be over loaded. Depending on the thickness of the brass, some .22 Hornet cases won't even hold 13 grains unless you fill the case partially and tap it a bit to make room for the rest.
Always weigh your powder, even when filling the case completely. If the case doesn't hold the desired charge, scale it back to what the case will hold. 12½ grains of Lil' Gun in a Hornet works fine if that's all the case will hold.
You may get more loads per pound using less of a faster powder, but all things considered, safety, accuracy, and chamber pressure, I prefer to sacrifice that little bit of economy in favor of the other benefits.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#15
Here is an article that helps explains load density and choosing powder better than I can: http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.rifl...owder.html Here is another one with a chart for cartridge case capacities to help figure density: http://kwk.us/cases.html Only had a minimal understanding of this when I first started to reload. Started with a choice in the manual that looked promising and worked up. Sometimes took several tries to get where I wanted to be. Looking at it now I find that the jacketed pet loads powder choice that I've settled on fall into the recommended density range.
From a trailer park on a strip cut where my neighbors call me Mister.
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#16
I came to conclusion that I needed a chronograph to get real data on what different loads produce. Manuals provide starting points, but I need to know the data for my loads to know what and how to change.
cgk, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#17
cgk;59718 Wrote:I came to conclusion that I needed a chronograph to get real data on what different loads produce. Manuals provide starting points, but I need to know the data for my loads to know what and how to change.

Barrel length, primers, seating depth, amount of crimp and many other factors influence performance. Velocity isn't the overriding factor though. The chronograph is vital to know when you reach the point of diminishing returns and need to back off to avoid excessive pressure, but the most important consideration (in my opinion) is accuracy while staying within the acceptable velocities. A miss at an accelerated velocity is still a miss, a .22 LR can be lethal beyond 300 yards with a properly placed shot.
Missing fast isn't as good as hitting square.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#18
mauser;59746 Wrote:the most important consideration (in my opinion) is accuracy while staying within the acceptable velocities.

Agreed. There is a paucity of velocity data published for SBRs with 77 gr bullets, and a lot of discussion on the web about what range at which they can be "effective." If my range is just 30 meters then accuracy concerns will be much reduced.
cgk, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#19
I have a quick question about primers.

My Lyman Manual states to use Small Rifle Primers while two gun shops said they use Small Rifle Magnum Primers.

Which is correct?

Thanks.

God bless!!

PPP
Proud to be a member of pa2a.org since 11:18 PM Sept 7, 2012!
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#20
Pistol Packin Preacher;60095 Wrote:I have a quick question about primers.

My Lyman Manual states to use Small Rifle Primers while two gun shops said they use Small Rifle Magnum Primers.

Which is correct?

Thanks.

God bless!!

PPP

They could both be correct.
What is the cartridge and the load?
The magnum primer will give a different initial ignition spark that will most likely change the way the powder burns, perhaps a little bit, perhaps a lot. If you're experimenting with different primers you should back off your powder charge to the starting load and start from scratch like you would when working up a new load, watching for signs of pressure, paying attention to accuracy and if available, use a chronograph to watch for the point of diminishing returns.
If it's published load data or something that several trustworthy people agree on I'd be more comfortable with starting closer to their recommendations but I'd still back off a little bit to start with.

I have used small pistol primers in loads for .22 Hornet and .222 to get better accuracy. If substituting pistol primers in rifle cartridges you have to watch pressure signs even more closely as they have a tendency to perforate easier as well as flatten easier, they're made with slightly thinner cup material.
Primers can be substituted but not as a direct interchange. You may find a load that will work with either but you have to pay attention and be careful while working up loads like that.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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