I've got 500 Lead RNFP bullets (240 grain) that I'd like to load for use in my Dan Wesson 44 magnum (6" barrel). I'd like to push the bullets as fast as I can without excessive leading of the barrel, but I don't understand anything about lead bullets, gas checks, blah blah blah.
Id love to have a load using Hornady HS-6 or Hornady Longshot, but I'd rather have a good usuable load with another powder than a crappy load with one of the above.
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January 27, 2006, 07:06 PM
Do you mean hodgdon?? No experience with Longshot but HS 6 is best with medium loads. For more velocity(and less pressure) 2400(still good after a lot of years) Win. 296, Hodgdon H 110 or maybe Accurate 9 and a few other powders are a much better choice. Most of all, use data from a good manual and start low and work up.
January 28, 2006, 04:18 AM
If the box of bullets does not say hard cast, they are not. If there are no copper cups on the bases, they are not gas checked. If they are neither, than they are a soft lead bullet, assuming they are not full metal jacketed. For a soft lead bullet, keep the velocity low, around 900-1000 fps. Most manuals will have a table for lead 240g bullets that give these velocities.
240g @ 950fps makes for a very nice load, usually quite accurate and easy to shoot. If they are copper jacketed, you can push them faster, just use your manual.
February 3, 2006, 01:03 AM
Bakert - yes, I meant Hodgdon. Trying to make a quick post, at night, while talking to someone else and being surrounded by gun stuff isn't conducive to a cast-iron train of thought. Sorry, I'll proofread more often. :scrutiny:
In reference to a load I just found in the "IMR Smokelss powder Reloader's Guide" (April 2004): 44 Rem Mag - 240 Gr HDY LSWC 800-X 13.4 gr 1395 fps 39,600 CUP
I'm reading that as "Lead Semi Wad Cutter" - is this a hard cast bullet that somehow withstands the load and doesn't excessively lead the barrel?
IMR 4227 seems to be a popular powder (in the Hodgdon books) - any pros and cons to this one? I also saw a load on a jar of Hodgdon powder - think it was HP-38 - haven't seen this one mentioned much in forums or manuals. Odd, since the load is right there on the jar label. New powder?
February 3, 2006, 08:35 AM
For loading with cast bullets, I quite often turn to the Lyman cast bullet loading guide, 3rd edition.They list the 245gr cast bullet with Unique at 13gr with a velocity of 1147 in the handgun. They used a 4" universal receiver and you should get more velocity with a 6".
I don't really like the heavy loads in the 44mag, but shoot the 44special round and, properly loaded, will achieve almost identical results hunting as the 44mag. I'm not talking bear or moose etc, but here in S. TX. white tail and feral hogs as a rule.
What the other gentlmen say about hard cast bullets is right. Meister, Northeast bullets and other sell the hard cast bullets and if you cast, you can get the same bullets when properly mixed. Just easier to buy them. Make sure they say hardcast. Soft cast will lead up the barrels. Most bullet makers don't gas check their bullets and it is hard to find a maker who makes a bullet that accepts a gas check.
February 3, 2006, 01:31 PM
Topgunner, 800X works well in a lot of handgun loads but is a SOB to meter. H 4227 or IMR 4227 are both good with lead bullets. Similar but not exactly alike. Hp38 is way too fast a burning powder for the .44 mag. Like calaverasslim said you might take a look at Unique or maybe Hodgdon's Universal Clays. Be very sure of what you buy. The HDY SWC I would assume to be Hornaday's Semi Wadcutter swaged bullets which are pretty soft. They might work pretty good at speeds under 1000fps but each gun is different and a load that works well in one might lead like crazy in another. For top velocities you need hard cast. If the bullets have grease groves with lubricant in them they're hard cast. If not they're probably swaged and you'll need to keep the speed down.
Hope this helps a bit.
February 5, 2006, 12:11 AM
I'm warming up to this, and see lots of fun and a few billion dollars spent on powder and bullets as I investigate all the glorious permutations.
Forgive me, but I'm a scientist - either by birth or by training - and I like to ask detailed questions and get detailed factual answers. It will certainly appear that I'm emulating a 4-year old when I ask "WHY?" about EVERYTHING. "Well, because. . . ." just doesn't cut it with me. Because has to be followed by a logical and verifiable reason.
"HS-6 is best with medium loads." What is "medium" and WHY is it best?
"H 4227 or IMR 4227 are both good with lead bullets." OK, WHY? I'm not fully tracking with why some powders are good for some things and not for others. In theory [this is just a question] can I just start working up loads with any damn powder I pick at random? What makes a powder especially suitable for pistol, rifle, or shotgun? What does the burn rate have to do with what cartridge and bullet you're using?
"take a look at Unique or maybe Hodgdon's Universal Clays." WHY?
"Be very sure of what you buy." WHY? What do you mean?
"If the bullets have grease groves with lubricant in them they're hard cast."
The bullets I have are Manufactured by Proofmark, Burgess, VA. Cowboy Action Bullets. Cast bullets, hardness tested. They have a wide, red wax-filled groove in them and a V-groove for the crimp.
February 5, 2006, 03:08 PM
Topgunner, forgive me for asking but are you putting me on just a bit?? If you're the scientific sort suggest using the internet to research cartridge reloading. Also some libraries have good books on the subject. The idea of just picking a powder at random and start reloading can be done but is sorta like playing with a pissed off rattlesnake, maybe worse. Some places to look for.
The Reloading pages of MD Smith.
and many other sites with the sort of info if you want. Reloading is a safe money saving and interesting hobby but a casual attitude and /or lack of knowledge can ruin ruin an otherwise beautiful day.:confused:
February 5, 2006, 04:07 PM
I'm not putting you on, and I think you're somewhat misreading or misinterpreting what I wrote.
"Picking a powder at random" is just a device for illustrating the basis for my question, "Why are some powders used for some things and not for others." What attributes make one powder especially suitable for one thing and unsuitable for another? Do certain powder burn rates correspond to certain bullet weights or barrell transit times? Are powder burn rates constant (linear) or are they dependant upon the degree to which the granule is burned, or the pressure that it's burning under?
I don't think that it's unfair of me to ask "Why?" about some of the statements you have made. If you don't know, just say so. You suggested that I research in forums, well, here I am. I'm assuming that you and lots of other people know way better than I do what the score is with powders and bullet design, etc. etc., so I'm asking you.
Most folks don't have the time to get a mechanical engineering degree or become a ballistician in order to understand the underlying fundamentals of cartridge loading, and so they ask people who already understand these things. I'm just trying to get away from the "Betty Crocker cartridge recipe that some guy on the internet said would work" and ground my understanding of the process in objective, sound, reasonable, verifiable, reproducible fact.
I don't know the answers, that's why I'm looking for them. Maybe you don't either. But I was JUST ASKING. :confused:
I wasn't trolling or trying to start a fight or a pissing contest. :uhoh:
February 5, 2006, 08:56 PM
I think you're questions are valid, but you have to consider people piping up because this is firearms reloading, not a bad batch of lollipops or something.
The consequences of poor judgement can be annoying to downright dangerous to the integrity of your person and people are trying to stress to you, be careful, follow directions. I think that is all, some of us just pipe up louder than others regarding safety of fellow enthusiasts.
I do have a BS in Mech Engr, but I am not a ballistician. I follow the relaoding manuals at all times and have never exceeded the printed values in the loading books. (not yet, but I have a 10mm coming and they are historically under spec'd down to a .40S&W when compared to the original NORMA specs for this cartridge. I have a lot of homework of my own on this matter to do.) You can research every powder manufacturer there is and read up on their recipes for your cartridge. Thus far, I have found that all the manufacturers have their recipes available on their websites for their powders and respective rifle/pistol rounds.
As you well know, there are many different types of powders and some are not safe in pistols (namely rifle powder) due to differing burn rates. Again, I have no technical knowledge regarding powders, so I stick with printed publications from manufacturers and don't tamper with anything. I feel the manufacturers do not provide a huge amount of data to the reloader because people like to tamper too much and the stakes are too high in this arena. Or I just haven't looked hard enough.
My concern is to find a clean burning powder, not necessarily the 'hottest' powder I can find. Clays is regarded as very clean, but I have not used it personally, yet. I have used Unique and like it quite a bit. Leaves a blast residue on my pistol, but it doesn't smear and get everywhere like the Bullseye I recently purchased.
February 5, 2006, 11:39 PM
Besides the give away recipe books from the powder manufacturers, understand that many of the bullet manufacturers have really detailed reloading manuals as well. There are also some very detailed books that list well tested recipes and also detailed discussions of what and why the process is handled as it is.
Different powders react differently to the amounts of pressure, resisitant, case size, primer choice, bore vs capacity, and several other variables.
A powder that works really well with a given case, primer, bullet, and powder weight may have a completely different reaction when just one of the variables is altered, sometimes, with disasterous plans.
There are other reasons why some powders react differently, some work well in bottle neck cartridges as the pressure curve matches the expansion ratio of the powder as it transfers from a solid to a gas. The science of modern propellants is to create the perfect pressure curve to meet the application. This is done by the exact composition of the powder, if it is single base, or double base. meaning does it have just nitrocellulose as a energetic component or does it have nitrocellulose mixed or collided with nitroglycerine. There are differences also in the shape that the powder that contributes to the burn rate and thus the rate of the pressure curve. There are also deterents that are applied to coat the grains of powder, that act as flame retardents, slowing the oxidation rate and thus, the burn rate of the powder.
Now powder also generates pressure at a rate that is reliant on pressure. In plain terms, as pressure increases, so does the burn rate, and as the burnrate increases, so does the pressure in a nice tight circle. Now add all this together. and you get the reasons people say, "never freelance. always use tested recipes and always follow the components exactly as listed."
The Guru of reloading has been Ken Waters, who for thirty years wrote exhaustive studies every other month in HANDLOADER magazine. His works are collected in the Pet Loads books. Although some are getting outdated. The knowledge base he presents should be read by any one who wants to become a good reloader.
as for terms. Light loads are loads which do not stress the limits of a particular case. compare it to a softball pitch. moderate or midrange loads are just that, middle of the road loads that have a lot of use but are not as fully taking advantage of all the power a case might offer. Heavy or full house loads are just that, the nolan ryan fastballs of the cartridge world.
Now, Understand we are not ballisticians or CE's or in any sense Pros at this. There are pro's at this. They work for the powder and ammo component companies. They write books. very good books, with hundreds of pages of very intensly proofread instructions, explanations and recipes for reloading. Please, you want us to help you, but this is not a subject to be looking on the internet chat rooms. This is a subject to go to experts for help with. seee if your library has any of the reloading guides. Better yet, go buy the Nosler, AA, hornady, speer, and Hodgdon guide. You will not be sorry that you spent the money for it.
February 5, 2006, 11:58 PM
Topgunner, If I misread you I'm truly sorry but to be honest you're going to have to do some reading to understand more about reloading in general. If you're really wantng to get into it you should get at least one(or more) manuals. My recomendation is the Speer nos. 12 or 13 because they have sections explaining the process for both rifle and pistol. There are other manuals also that others like, but read and study all of the information you can find. Don't be impatient and try to learn it all in a short time. Although a lot of reloaders keep old manuals you might pick up one or two used but either way it's the best investment you can make. A lot of powder companies have free booklets with recipes for their powders and bullet combination. No way I or anyone could explain all about reloading on a forum like this. You can get some good tips here but don't believe everything you read here either. You don't have to have a degree or the most expensive equipment(I don't have either) to load good ammunition. Following the directions in the manuals is most important as jeepmor stated. Safety is number one. After reading up on reloading in general I think you'll understand much more. Most of the questions you asked will be found while reading the information you'll find and you can always ask more questions here later and understand better. I'm in no way trying to discourage you just want you get started on the right path.
February 7, 2006, 12:11 AM
I understand the safety concerns - but if we're going to calmly discuss the intimate details of powders in a calm and rational manner, you're all going to have to understand that just because I ASK something, doesn't mean I'm going to DO it.
I worked in a chemistry lab, and we could talk about all sorts of things that would blow someone into the next county, but no one ever got the idea that somebody was going to go back to their bench and DO it. It was an academic, theoretical discussion. That's what I was trying to have in this thread.
Jeepmor: The cleanliness of a powder's burn process is something I hadn't thought of. I'll try to keep an eye on that since I hate shooting ammo that burns like Wolf in my guns. Blech.
Pete F - You rock dude. I suspected that the internal ballistics of a load acted in the way that you describe.
If I (mostly) understand correctly, the primer (small/large/reg/mag) affects how much of the powder is ignited at once, which gives us a pressure somewhere around T-0 for the burn process. The coating, grain composition, and shape of the powder grains affects whether a powder will burn - I'll make up a word here until I get a chance to look up the proper term - degeneratively, that is to say the grain combustion rate slows down as the grain proceeds in burning, linearly - no change in burn rate given a constant chamber pressure, or progressively - the grain burns faster as it proceeds in burning. Like a solid rocket, each grain being its own rocket propellant.
I'm under the impression that modern, smokeless powder which is double-based (nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose) burns faster as the pressure is increased. So, switching to a magnum primer jacks up the T-0 pressure, which makes the entire combustion process speed up exponentially and may exceed safe pressure levels resulting in a Ka-boom. Switching powders, one may inadvertantly go from a linear powder to a progressive powder and the chamber pressure will likewise skyrocket. Using a thicker brass case with less volume will also affect the pressure curve in a similar manner: P1V1 = P2V2.
Now, if we muck about with the bullet mass, the inertia of a heavier bullet will cause the bullet to accelerate more slowly down the barrel than a lighter bullet - which means that as the powder burns, it will be burning in a smaller volume at any given time and therefore generating higher pressures for the duration of the burn (vide supra, burn rate varies with pressure). The crimp and the resistance to the bullet passing through the bore will also delay and slow down bullet acceleration, thus decreasing bore volume and increasing pressure. Consider: 2 Ruger Super Blackhawks in 44 Magnum may have barrels with different coefficients of friction, etc., and so a load will behave and chronograph in completely different manners in the 2 different firearms.
A short barreled firearm may allow the bullet to exit before dangerous pressures are reached, and problems may occur when using the exact same load in a firearm with a longer barrel. Similar differences can be expected when transitioning between semi-automatics with different bolt masses, gas port sizes, delay mechanisms, etc., and revolvers with different cylinder-forcing cone gaps, or bolt-actions that are closed for the entire combustion process.
Would I be wrong to guess that pistol powders are the fastest, followed by rifle/shotgun?
I vaguely remember something from physical chemistry (amazing isn't it?) about how force progressively applied to an object is more efficient that just slamming it all at once. Would this be why some slower powders generate higher velocities (all other things constant) than some faster burning powders? A simplistic approach would be to assume an infinitely strong gun where both powders would burn completely and instantly, generating the same volume of gas at the same temperature. Since this would be a state function, it doesn't matter how we got there - fast or slow - the bullet would accelerate down the bore and exit at the same velocity for both powder loads. But empirically we find this not to be the case, which means that real guns and cartridges are more complex than this.
If a fast burning powder were [over]loaded in a cartridge to give a certain velocity, you'd blow up the gun. Decreasing the powder charge would maintain acceptable pressures, but once all the powder burned, as the bullt travelled down the bore the pressure would steadily decrease and so would the acceleration of the bullet - leading to low velocities. Changing to a slow-burning powder would allow the powder to burn in a small volume with a safe pressure, but as the bullet moved down the bore and increased the volume behind it, the slower burning powder would continue to burn, thus maintaining relatively constant pressure behind the bullet and maintaining maximum acceleration of the projectile. Depending on how fast the volume of the chamber increased and how low the pressure dropped in response, the powder would have to be linear or progressive in order to maintain a sufficient overall burn rate to acheive maximum acceleration. Selecting too slow a powder would cause the bullet to leave the barrel at a low velocity and then the remaining powder would burn unproductively.
I feel another "I wish that I had learned way more math" moment coming on.
What do you think, does most of the above sound like it's mostly on track?
Thanks for the patience, and I promise that I'm not in a big hurry to blow my damn self up. I just want to get an overview of what's going on and UNDERSTAND why the Betty Crocker loads are what they are. I've seen reloading manuals with errors in them, and though I will try to follow the instructions therein, I will not blindly trust what is written there and proceed to blow my damn self up. I want to be able to look at a load and say: "that's too big of a primer" or "that's too fast of a powder for that bullet weight."
I know it's gonna take time, but I'm going to start and learn NOW rather than never.
I look forward to further enlightening discussion. Peace.
February 7, 2006, 12:18 AM
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April 14, 2006, 10:59 PM
So much for spurring what I thought would be really educational discussion and a grand oportunity for me to learn a LOT.
Looks like all I did was shut down the thread.
April 15, 2006, 12:29 AM
April 16, 2006, 02:04 PM
1550 FPS? :what: Are you sure it's still a bullet and not a bolus of molten lead when it exits the muzzle? :p
Is there a lot of muzzle flash and unburnt powder with the AA9?
What primer are you using? LP or LPM?
When you load that high, are you using initially newly purchased brass, range brass sorted by manufacturer's headstamp, or mixed range brass?
The next time you go to the range - can I come play? :evil:
April 16, 2006, 06:06 PM
The general assumptions you are making are for the most part correct, topgunner, but some play a lesser role than others. Powders are basically generating differing amounts of gasses. Faster powders occupy physically less volume, but generate less gas. They also seem to be much more sensitive to pressure. Slower powders require more pressure even to burn properly, but give off a greater volume of gas, and occupy more room in the case. Different powders achieve the different burn rates in different ways, ie. coatings, composition, shape, etc. While there are many variables that affect pressure, these are taken into account with the SAAMI pressure spec( in my mind). That meaning a firearm designed to function properly with a 60K PSI round wil be safe to fire with rounds under that limit. The reloading manuals show many ways to make ammunition that falls into the safe category. As far as barrel length and lessening velocity, The only loads that would lose velocity with barrel length would be extremely light loads in long barrels. Read that as a few 3-6 grains of fast powder( bullseye) and rifle length or longer barrels. Any normal loads will keep generating velocity. I think a 22 lr continues to accelerate up to 32 times the case volume, or a little more. Have fun... And yes primers make a difference, check the manual.
April 16, 2006, 06:24 PM
I did not realize I was restating some of what Pete had said. Also, I believe the pressure ramps up considerably faster than you are thinking. In handgun barrels, the barrel has to be extremely short, like <1 1/2" to realize an advantage in a faster powder, if reading only velocity. However, the short barrel is extremely wasteful of gasses and any unburnt powder. It is not only pressure which produces velocity, but time at pressure. This is changed by the expansion ratio of the gasses produced. A powder that gives a huge amount of gas, like a magnum rifle powder, has a very slow, even burn rate. So while it may make high pressure, it keeps that pressure for a LOONG time. That is why magnum barrels tend to be so much longer, and lose more velocity for each inch you chop off. :)
April 17, 2006, 01:54 AM
Low flash, all burned, little dirty, used brass and Winchester Large Pistol primers.
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