Quick poll on starting and max loads


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BsChoy
December 16, 2005, 04:39 PM
Who here loads passed maximum recommended charges on a regular basis? Let me say I am fully aware of how different brass will take larger charges and not show pressure signs and all rifles are different...this I know...I was going to start saving a little time and powder by starting with the middle loads in my manulas instead of the minimum thats all.

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JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
December 16, 2005, 05:48 PM
I have some magnum pistol hunting loads that are off the chart. But these have been worked up for my pistols. SSRRH, RSBH. And a wildcat rifle round that's just at the extreme.

Do I ever start at the low end of the spectrum when reloading/working up a set of loads for a pistol or rifle? Seldom. If I owned lightweight aluminum framed pistols -I probably would. But I don't. I own quality stout firearms and will push the Rugers a bit harder than I would, say a, Taurus 66.

Oops... I do own a couple of 1940's Colt lightweight Cobra's. -They only get fed meals of light target loads though.

So I guess I'd reason what I'm going to load for, then determine where in the load data I'd start throwing powder.

-Steve

dakotasin
December 16, 2005, 09:09 PM
Who here loads passed maximum recommended charges on a regular basis?

very few of my rifles run at or below max powder charges.

most of my handguns run below max (except my 480... it runs a pretty hot load).

if you want to go thru your load development faster, you need to try a different method. the ladder method is fast and thorough. another method i like i is one i call the 'assumption method'... anyway, both methods get your load done in one range session. ladder will take about a 10-20 shots, the assumption method needs 4-5...

i used to bang away for hours on the range tweaking and tuning loads, but not anymore.

JDGray
December 16, 2005, 09:21 PM
I usually start at the starting load data, the loads are generaly more accurate. I did load up some .357 ammo some years back. And after loading 100 rounds, I realized my scale was off. I unloaded 50 of them, and said the hell with the other 50, and just marked the box HOT! Well needless to say, after moving and not shooting for a few years, I forgot how hot the loads were. The day came that I shot ONE of those loads. My GP100 locked up, and I thought *****, there goes a nice gun! No damage was done, but I had to knock the shell case out of the cylinder with a hammer and screwdriver. So I stay inside the max load data, after that close call! JDGray

taliv
December 16, 2005, 11:33 PM
just remember that after a gun blows up in your face, you'll probably spend the rest of your life kicking yourself for saving that extra $150 and 30 minutes it would have taken to start at the recommended pressure

armoredman
December 16, 2005, 11:55 PM
I haven't loaded TO the max yet.

BsChoy
December 17, 2005, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the replies guys...I think the economics of reloading is kicking in and its hard to justify buying a pound or two of powder every month to the wife...I think I will try medium charges first and go from there....My rifle is newer make and model and should have no problem, and my brass if pretty fresh so case faliure should not occur...thanks again

snuffy
December 17, 2005, 01:51 PM
It depends! If the rifle or handgun is new, or at least new to me, I'll load 3 at recommended starting loads and then go from the middle on up to max.

I have one rifle,(300WSM), that I went over max by 1.5 grains after the max load showed promise by exibiting smaller groups. I was running the test loads over my chrongraph, while keeping close watch on all the pressure indicaters on the brass. By doing this, you can see if the particular powder/bullet/primer combination is running into dangerous pressure.

Each incremental increase of powder should result in a steady increase in velocity, as long as the burning rate of the powder is correct. When you begin to see diminishing increase in velocity is when pressure starts to get too high. This will also show up in case head/pressure ring expansion. Having a micrometer capable of reading to .0001, you can measure that expansion. The only other way is to spend a lot of money for a pressure trace system like Oehlers.

redneck2
December 17, 2005, 02:03 PM
Only thing I "over-load" (and very seldom) is .45 LC in my Ruger. This is safe (to a degree) because the specs are super low for the old 1st generation and equivalent 45's. New Rugers are made to handle .44 mag pressures. There are guidelines published on some web sites

I think anyone's an total idiot to overload a rifle. If you want a .300 Win Mag buy one, don't overload a 30-06 and then brag about how you "load 'em hot"

As for reliable over-pressure signs....the only one that's truly reliable is when little pieces of metal fly past (and maybe into) your head. Case head expansion, flattened primers, etc have been proven bogus and totally unreliable.

IMO, it's really not worth destroying your gun and/or yourself for an extra 50 fps

snuffy
December 17, 2005, 10:27 PM
I think anyone's an total idiot to overload a rifle. If you want a .300 Win Mag buy one, don't overload a 30-06 and then brag about how you "load 'em hot"

As for reliable over-pressure signs....the only one that's truly reliable is when little pieces of metal fly past (and maybe into) your head. Case head expansion, flattened primers, etc have been proven bogus and totally unreliable. Izzat so? You of course have proff that it doesn't work!

Is that me you're calling an idiot? If so, you don't know me or my care/respect for my self or my weapons! If you can't read a mocrometer or obvious pressure signs, then don't do it. I'm saying it CAN be done in some guns, safely, if you have a chronograph and a precise micrometer and know how to use them.

HSMITH
December 17, 2005, 10:36 PM
I load everything to soft target loads to 'experimental' loads outside of printed data. It really depends on what I want to do with the load, and what gun it is to be used in.

Snuffy, I have had a rifle settle in and really like a load about 5% over listed max too. The loads are safe from -15 to 125*, and very accurate. I don't go higher as a matter of course, but I have before and will in the future. I 'read' cases too, and have never had as much as a leaking primer let alone any type of real problem.

larryw
December 17, 2005, 10:50 PM
Seeing as max loads vary with the whims of the load data source's legal deptarment, and what was a midlevel load 10 years ago is outside the max today, I think it foolish to call anyone who uses his brain instead rules set down by a bunch of anonymous bean counters an idiot.

I use load data as guidance, but base my actual loads on experience and results. Sometimes, going a tenth or four over this year's random max number just hits the sweet spot. But that's just me and I know my guns, my loads and how to use them.

MachIVshooter
December 17, 2005, 11:26 PM
Going over maximum printed data is done at one's own risk. It is not necessarily unsafe, as the listed loads are well under max pressure. But when your loads begin to exceed any data you've ever seen on a given cartridge, it might be too hot. I go over max regularly with .223, .25-06 and 10mm. In bolt rifles, primers are about the best indicators for pressure without expensive equipment. I've found Winchester primers to be particularly soft, peircing before a CCI primer even craters. I work up loads using winchester primers and then switch to CCI when I find my limits.

My top loads:

.223/ 40 gr.= 3862 FPS
.25-06/100 gr.=3580 FPS
.25-06/117 gr.=3227 FPS

10mm/180 gr=1406 FPS

snuffy
December 17, 2005, 11:47 PM
I load everything to soft target loads to 'experimental' loads outside of printed data. It really depends on what I want to do with the load, and what gun it is to be used in.

Snuffy, I have had a rifle settle in and really like a load about 5% over listed max too. The loads are safe from -15 to 125*, and very accurate. I don't go higher as a matter of course, but I have before and will in the future. I 'read' cases too, and have never had as much as a leaking primer let alone any type of real problem.

EXACTLY! The cases used during the over the top loads I mentioned had normal primer seating "feel" when reloading them after the above max loadings. If pressures had been too high, the primer pockets would have been loose, from case head expansion! The load data was from Hornady using h-4831SC. Other manuals have it listed as much more than the ammount I was using. AND I wasn't doing it for more velocity, I saw the groups shrink as I neared max, they continued to shrink up to 1.5g over what Hornady called max.

That's the only time I will ever go over max, is when accuracy increases,(gtoups size), near max, and I "read" cases saying I'm not near max pressure.

Winger Ed.
December 18, 2005, 02:48 AM
To answer your question, I normally end up about 10% below the max. loading on the .270 or .30cal. bottleneck rifle cases I reload for. Not that going through a few extra pages of old phone books isn't cool,,,, but just for shooting holes in a piece of paper, I seek the most accurate loads. And for the little bit of hunting I get to do, even these slightly lower powered loads go all the way through these little Texas whitetail deer and coyotes. And, as much as I shoot, I figure it stresses the weapon itslef a little less and they tend to to wear out so fast.

Also, something that sort of sticks in my mind was a conversation I overheard once at our gu-ru gunsmith's shop. He was hammering on a bolt to open a rifle....... and telling the customer, "If you want the power of a .300 WinMag... just buy one. Don't try to make it out of your .243".

//////

Not to steal your thread, but here's what happened to me once sort of along the lines you're asking about:

I got a large quantity, 15 pounds or so of 20-something year old IMR 4198 powder for $2. each, all in sealed, clean, unopened 1lb. cans. They sat around a few more years, and I stumbeled across a load in a old 'Cartridges of the World' book that called for 40 grains of it in 7.62NATO, or .308.

So I loaded up a bunch...... what the heck, it looked OK, and smelled ALMOST as strong as new powder.......

About the 5th or 6th one I fired blew up my Springfield M1A. The bottom of the bolt face blew out, the gases went into the magazine and it blew out/opened up like a flower. A big chunk of the stock let go under the bolt and really 'whacked' me on the right forearm arm ( I shoot lefthanded).

I sort of figured out later:
The load wasn't exceded... But the old powder had dried out, even in the metal cans over time.

(New powder is still a little moist with the Acetone they make it with when packaged & shipped from the factory. This factor is figured in with the listed charge weights.)

But;
Once dried out.... I think each little speck of powder has about the same energy as it did when new, but without the little bit of moisture, they are each a little lighter too,,,, so, you also include more of them for a specific charge weight. Hence------ a overloaded case.

In later years, I weighed some of the old 4198, and some from a new can, then put them both in a .308 case. The old stuff fit without being a compressed charge, but it did come up higher in the case than powder from the new can did. That sort of confirmed that there were more little specks of it to make 40 grains, than using the new stuff to make the same weight.

snuffy
December 18, 2005, 12:23 PM
Not to steal your thread, but here's what happened to me once sort of along the lines you're asking about:

I got a large quantity, 15 pounds or so of 20-something year old IMR 4198 powder for $2. each, all in sealed, clean, unopened 1lb. cans. They sat around a few more years, and I stumbeled across a load in a old 'Cartridges of the World' book that called for 40 grains of it in 7.62NATO, or .308.

So I loaded up a bunch...... what the heck, it looked OK, and smelled ALMOST as strong as new powder.......

About the 5th or 6th one I fired blew up my Springfield M1A. The bottom of the bolt face blew out, the gases went into the magazine and it blew out/opened up like a flower. A big chunk of the stock let go under the bolt and really 'whacked' me on the right forearm arm ( I shoot lefthanded).

I sort of figured out later:
The load wasn't exceded... But the old powder had dried out, even in the metal cans over time.

(New powder is still a little moist with the Acetone they make it with when packaged & shipped from the factory. This factor is figured in with the listed charge weights.)

But;
Once dried out.... I think each little speck of powder has about the same energy as it did when new, but without the little bit of moisture, they are each a little lighter too,,,, so, you also include more of them for a specific charge weight. Hence------ a overloaded case.

In later years, I weighed some of the old 4198, and some from a new can, then put them both in a .308 case. The old stuff fit without being a compressed charge, but it did come up higher in the case than powder from the new can did. That sort of confirmed that there were more little specks of it to make 40 grains, than using the new stuff to make the same weight.

"ANOTHER VOTE FOR START LOW AND WORK UP TO MAX" Powder doesn't "dry out", the ether used as a solvent doesn't have anything to do with how fast it is. The old powder probably wasn't stored properly, allowed to get too hot. OR you simply overloaded the powder. The max load I could find for 4198 in .308 is 38.0 grains behind a 110 grain bullet. 37.0 is tops for a 125, it isn't recomended for over 125 grain bullets! Since you didn't include the weight of the bullet, we can only assume it was a 110, and it was 2 grains over max!

grizz5675
December 18, 2005, 01:14 PM
never

Art Eatman
December 18, 2005, 01:56 PM
I started loading for an '06 back in 1950. Lots of BSing with other handloaders since then, and a lot of loading for many different rifles and handguns.

snuffy said it all pretty well.

I'll just say that loading beyond the book max is not going to provide anything needful or worth having. The downside really sucks...

Art

snbend
December 18, 2005, 02:17 PM
I see lots of arguments for and against hotter loads. Some guns will shoot better with "hot" loads than others depending on the barrel. Factory barrels will not shoot as well due to the increased friction in the barrel. After market barrels will handle the "hot" loads better because they have less friction, therefor less pressure. Another consideration is barrel life. The more pressure applied during the firing operation the more wear on the lands of the rifle. This will equal to less barrel life or fewer rounds fired. More velocity doesnt accomplish much if you cant hit the target. Ultimatley each gun has a sweet spot for a given bullet weight. Why not find the sweet spot, use it, and possibly prolong the barrel life, and shoot the gun where it will be the most accurate?

Winger Ed.
December 18, 2005, 05:03 PM
[QUOTE=you didn't include the weight of the bullet, we can only assume it was a 110, and it was 2 grains over max![/QUOTE]


Opps.. forgot to mention that--- It was regular GI hardball FMJ. 147gr. as I recall.

With that heavy a bullet, and that much powder, the pressure probably went up somewhere into Lunar orbit. But the load was printed in a reputable book,,, so it had to be OK, right?

Whew! I sure got me a education for the price of a M-14 bolt, magazine, and new stock.

Johnny Guest
December 19, 2005, 03:55 AM
With some misgivings, I leave Winger Ed.'s post concerning the charge of 4198 powder unedited. It follows the forum guidelines as to posting the source for hot loads. What's more, I looked in a 1976 edition of Barnes's Cartridges of the World and located that exact load for the 150 gr. bullet.

However, A look at a couple of other sources, including the IMR company's own Handloader's Guide for Smokeless Powders, and I see that snuffy is spot on with what HE writes.

This brings up another common-sense rule of thumb - - Try to utilize up to date loading data. And yet another - - It should be more than a rule of thumb. More like a Commandment, graven upon stone tablets: DOUBLE SOURCE ALL WARM LOADS. If you can't find your load as permissable in two published sources, START LOWER AND WORK UP TO IT.

There are other other considerations:
(1)Where we must look so hard to find loading data for the .308 Win cartridge using 4198 powder, most loading manual writers and publishers must consider it unsuitable for that application.
(2) IMR 4198 powder is currently made and marketed by the IMR Powder Company of Plattsburgh, NY, and NOT by Du Pont, as it was twenty years past. It only makes sense to have some reservations when the manufacturer of a product changes.
(3) Every rifle being a law unto itself, it hardly makes sense to take someone else's 30-year-old load data and use the full charge as your starting point.
(4) Gas operated semiauto rifle actions normally DO NOT THRIVE ON MAX LOADS which a bolt action or single shot would gobble up unfazed. I sympathize with the damage done to a fine rifle, and I am thankful that Winger Ed. was not seriously injured in the incident he related.

I think it is well that all handloaders take note of these safety considerations.

Best,
Johnny

snuffy
December 19, 2005, 11:54 AM
Thanks Johnny for the afirmation. But one minor point on this;
(2) IMR 4198 powder is currently made and marketed by the IMR Powder Company of Plattsburgh, NY, and NOT by Du Pont, as it was twenty years past. It only makes sense to have some reservations when the manufacturer of a product changes.

The IMR line of powders was sold to Hodgdon over a year ago. I'm not sure if they're still made in the same factory, but the IMR powder company no longer markets it. Hodgdon has said it will not drop any of the IMR line-up, I've seen IMR powders in the round plastic bottles common with the Hodgdon powder line-up. That's a plus, as I can never seem to be able to get the last few chunks of powder out of those flat top IMR cans!!:cuss: :banghead:

I too had a hard time locating any data for 4198 in .308. The only place I could find it was in the Hodgdon manual, listed under the IMR heading. That's just copied from the free handout from IMR. I went on the Hodgdon site, it isn't listed there either.

BsChoy
December 19, 2005, 11:54 AM
well put JG, I was just putting some loads together last night and if my POS Lee press hadn't broken on me I wouldn't have looked at my IMR load sheets that show 58 grains of 4350 is compressed and max'd...I was going off of Nosler 4th edition for the 30-06 150 grain bullet...I thought the powder was creeping up in to the neck a but...I learned two lessons...you get what you pay for and double source check! My RCBS is enroute from Midway as we speak.

Johnny Guest
December 19, 2005, 12:42 PM
Humphff. No wo ways about it: I stand corrected. Thank you, snuffy. I just haven't kept up to date, and was working from old information. GOOD information, as of a couple of years ago, but not for late 2005. :o

I looked on the back cover of the IMR guide I mentioned above and found the website listed:
www.imrpowder.com
I went there and it looked good. Then I clicked on NEWS, which took me to a site at - - http://www.hodgdon.com/news/imr.php
- - where I found this: October 2003: Hodgdon Powder Company announces the asset purchase of IMR Powder Company Inc. IMR has been the mainstay of numerous handloaders for many years. The IMR brand product names remain and are now supplied by Hodgdon.

And, right there on the same page, the offer: January 2004: The free IMR Handloader's Guide has been revised into a new format with the latest data. The next revision date is scheduled for January 2006. Of course, I immediately did the free on-line order.

Ohhh-KAY. Well, if I concentrate on keeping my eyes and ears open, I can still learn something new practically every day. Guess I'm not ready for the old folks' home just yet. :p

Best to all - -
Johnny

Poodleshooter
December 19, 2005, 03:01 PM
Hodgdon has said it will not drop any of the IMR line-up, I've seen IMR powders in the round plastic bottles common with the Hodgdon powder line-up. That's a plus, as I can never seem to be able to get the last few chunks of powder out of those flat top IMR cans!!:cuss: :banghead:

If they're putting the IMR powders in their round cans, I hope they're labeling them with a different lable from the traditional powder Hodgon cans. Most of the 'H-XXXX' powders burn pretty close to their 'IMR-XXXX" equivalents, but that might cause confusion. That said, I also like the design of the Hodgdon cans. I save them once they're empty,and fill them with cast bullets.

Multiple sets of data for a similar design+the start low and work slow rule works for me. I can't remember the last time I saw any data using the rifle or handgun that I use, the component bullets that I use (mostly Remington,home cast and pulled milsurp), or the cases that I use (usually mixed,sometimes weird foreign stuff like Korean 30/06 brass). So the idea of "going right from the book" as far as components makes me smile. It's a minor miracle if velocity is within 5-10% of the book value. It's all about educated guesses. Preferably very educated guesses....

Winger Ed.
December 26, 2005, 04:06 AM
With some misgivings, I leave Winger Ed.'s post concerning the charge of 4198 powder unedited. Johnny

Thanks. I used to monitor a forum board myself. I know how difficult it can be, and often puzzeled over posts that I called 'head scratchers' too.

I tell that story every few years or so. I run it as a 'don't make the same mistake I did' kind of thing with all the details. I do it to plant the seed of caution, and hopefully speed up the learning curve while avoiding pitfalls that I went off into during my early days, for the benifit of others that appear rather new to reloading.

Ed.

qajaq59
December 29, 2005, 12:21 PM
I don't ever recall my fastest load being the most accurate and if I can't hit it, then it wont make a whole lot of difference how fast that bullet is going.

Plus I got screwed. I was only born with 2 eyes and ten fingers instead of double that.......... so I need them all. Stay under the max. It just hurts less.

USSR
December 29, 2005, 12:51 PM
First, no reloading manual lists an absolute maximum charge. To do so would put a shooter at risk should he substitute, say, a cartridge case with a reduced capacity such as LC Match for a Winchester case that was used in the load listed in the reloading book. All reloading manuals are vetted by the company's lawyers to cover their @ss, and are well below anything that could cause a firearm to come unglued. That being said, if you are inexperienced and not cognizant of high pressure signs, you are best off staying within the listed starting loads and maximum recommended loads.

Don

newfalguy101
December 29, 2005, 04:13 PM
First of all, I generally start in the middle of the road for load data and rarely if ever go over the listed max.

I dont have a chronograph or acess to a strain guage ( probably the best way to determine the real pressure of the load) so I just go by the poor mans guide to over pressure loads and have been thus far very happy with the results.

I am also not of the speed demon or minute of mouse crowds, so I dont feel the need to go above listed max's to achieve "what might be" ( no flame to those who are, I just am not )

I have seen a couple of posters reference the fact that the load companies dont publish the absolute max loads possible for a variety of reasons, and you are correct, but I havent seen the following reason mentioned:

the loads listed need to be safe in EVERY SAMMI spec chamber cut for those listed loads, including the guns that are 100 years old or older (unless specified otherwise)

One other point, Hornady ( other may also, but i dont know) uses actual guns to work up their lods and NOT pressure barrels, which I think adds credibility to their data as being achievable.

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