Powder Volume


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adrumm
February 1, 2008, 11:35 PM
I am starting to reload my first batch of .38 nd have a question about the amount of powder I should be placing in each case. I am using Titegroup, and the reccomended charge is 3.6gr. I placed some powder into my powder measure and dropped my first charge into the scale to fine tune everything. What I thought was an acceptable amount of powder weighed out to over 6gr. I readjusted to drop less and was surprised to see just how small a 3.6gr charge is.

Is this correct? It seems like there would be alot of empty space between the powder and the bullet.

I placed a 158gr bullet on the scale to make sure I was measuring correctly and it came out very close.

Can anyone give me any guidance here?

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bertus
February 2, 2008, 05:28 AM
It is quite possible that a charge is very small in volume or very large,if for instance you would load a 9mm with unique powder the bottom of the case would barely be covered,if you would reload the same case with vv n330 the case would be half full.
Lee has a vmd factor list on its site that would give maybye some ideas about powder volume

dagger dog
February 2, 2008, 09:33 AM
adrumm

the first time i used my powder measure i did not remove the drum and graduated cylinder and clean it. it was wet on the inside with some type of lubricant. that caused the charges to drop erraticly.

until you are sure of the reliability of your measure to drop consistentley
i would weigh each charge until i was. better yet make a dipper out of a used case ,file it down gradually untill it throws the charge desired.

small charges in large volume cases are a disaster waiting to happen. double charges = missing digits.

always inspect the loading block full of cases with a flash light before you start to seat bullets! the double charges are obvious.

i use 3.5grs bulseye behind 158grLSWC. i know of one magazine article about this charge it was called the" 3.5 Bullseye SUPRISE" and it was about exploding handguns .

the load i shoot is is out of a revolver and i always elevate the muzzle before shooting the next round. this keeps the charge against the primer, and gives consistent ignition. if you shoot over a chronograph you wouldn't believe the difference in standard deviation and speed . i don't think this holds true in pistol.

keep all your fingers bud! dagger dog

Grandpa Shooter
February 2, 2008, 09:48 AM
To answer your question without scaring the heck out of you, "Yes the 38sp in most flake or granular powders does not look like enough". That does NOT mean you are doing anything wrong or that your gun is going to blow up in your hands.

Exercise due caution and make sure you have a good scale to check the throw of your powder measure. Other than that, just relax and enjoy. No need to be paranoid or scared.

Walkalong
February 2, 2008, 11:19 AM
A small charge of many fast powders does not take up much space in the .38. If you want to fill more space look at Red Dot, American Select, Trail Boss, Universal, Unique, and other bulkier powders. Trail Boss is VERY bulky and is supposed to be great with lead bullets at low pressures.

adrumm
February 2, 2008, 11:55 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I just wanted to double check before I seated any bullets that what I am seeing is correct. I am definetly going to take the powder measure apart and clean thouroughly, it is new and may have some lubricate on it.

Unfortunetly I don't know anyone that reloads, so I am trying to learn everything by reading and doing. I never expected that my rounds cintained such a small amount of powder. Especially when I shoot blackpowder and consistenly shoot 30gr loads from my percussion pistol.

Well, thanks again, I am sure I will be back soon.

rcmodel
February 2, 2008, 12:34 PM
Especially when I shoot blackpowder and consistenly shoot 30gr loads from my percussion pistol. Well, that right there might be your problem! :D

Just a little smokeless pistol powder goes a very long ways!

If you think .38 Spl. is bad, you should try loading .25 ACP sometime!

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

evan price
February 3, 2008, 08:54 AM
adrumm, I am loading .38 specials with Titegroup also, and a 158-grain lead swc. I use 3.5 grains of Titegroup. It is literally a pinch of powder and not much more. There is a lot of empty space in the cartridge. Titegroup is a non-position-specific powder, meaning it can be anywhere in the cartridge and still ignite. It is also not prone to slow ignition in cold temps. Titegroup is a very fast burning powder.
I shoot mine out of a 5" barrel Colt and it shoots just fine.

CZ57
February 3, 2008, 11:03 AM
EP hit the nail on the head. TiteGroup was formulated specifically so it wouldn't be affected by powder positioning, so it is a very good choice for very low charge weight loads. AA#2 is also a good one, and one reason the name changed to AA#2 Improved.;)

Diggers
February 3, 2008, 11:15 AM
Just trying to learn about all this reloading stuff too.


So :confused: what about the issue of having too little powder and too much volume in a case causing over pressure problems??

I read what the ABC's had to say about it.......which was it could be a problem because maybe weird things could happen in a case....but it might not actually be true.......:confused:

So, if using a fast powder, is too little powder really only a squib issue? :(

jfh
February 3, 2008, 11:36 AM
"...So what about the issue of having too little powder and too much volume in a case causing over pressure problems??


I chased this one down fairly well last summer, when I embarked on 'translating' 38 Special recipes for use in 357 cases. Although I didn't keep the links, it appears that this might be an issue with large capacity bottle-neck rifle cartridges. There apparently has never been a documented overpressure ka-boom from light loads in stright-walled pistol cases.

Those that purported to be so often turned out to squib loads followed by a second shot--that sort of mishap, as oppposed to an out-of-spec pressure initial pressure wave.

Jim H.

adrumm
February 3, 2008, 11:50 AM
Evan Price, can you weigh a completed cartridge for me? I know there may be some fluctuation with the brass weight, but maybe that would help calm my fear, and to ensure me that what I have done is right before I go any further. Thanks

Nom de Guerre
February 3, 2008, 12:34 PM
There can be noticeable variations in the weight of cases even with the same brand, let alone different makes of brass. I wouldn't rely on another person's completed cartridge weight to put your mind at ease or not.

Walkalong
February 3, 2008, 12:40 PM
Yep, too much variation. It will prove nothing.

Jim Watson
February 3, 2008, 12:47 PM
Titegroup is a high density smokeless powder. 3.6 grains is enough.

.38 Special is a black powder cartridge with room for 21.5 grains.

You cannot sort loaded cartridges by weight unless the brass and bullets were match weighed to start with. You just have to get in the right amount to start with.

If you are afraid of Titegroup, get some Trail Boss which is a low density powder intended to take up lots of room in BP cases.

Y'all be careful, now, you hear? And RTFM.

evan price
February 3, 2008, 01:30 PM
I would have no problem helping you out, however, weighing finished cartridges, as was pointed out, is not going to point out under or overcharged ammo in this case. 3.5 grains is such a small amount of weight... I have seen 158-gr bullets be +/- 2 grains, and cases be +/- 3 grains.

JohnMcD348
February 3, 2008, 03:09 PM
I chased this one down fairly well last summer, when I embarked on 'translating' 38 Special recipes for use in 357 cases. Although I didn't keep the links, it appears that this might be an issue with large capacity bottle-neck rifle cartridges. There apparently has never been a documented overpressure ka-boom from light loads in stright-walled pistol cases.

Those that purported to be so often turned out to squib loads followed by a second shot--that sort of mishap, as oppposed to an out-of-spec pressure initial pressure wave.



I was looking that up also before I got started reloading a few months ago. It seemed to be that teh pressure buildup in the large "cavern" of the bottleneck cartridge allowed for teh burning powder to expand faster when there was excess space in the case and then attemp to push out that same pressure through the restricted opening of the cartridge prior to the bullet actually seperating from the case.

Sort of like how you can actually burn Non-Dairy creamer by sprinkling it over a flame but if placed in a pile and a lit match were thrown on it, the match simple extighuishes itself. The "air space" between the grains is what causes the excessive and rapid degeneration of the powder.

But like was asid previously, it could not be reliably reproduced in a clinical setting. It's just one of those things that seem to happen with no real explanation.



or I could be totally wrong.

Diggers
February 3, 2008, 03:12 PM
jfh,

Thanks for your info. :) I would feel like the OP and think "That little amount of powder goes into this big case?? That can't be right......wait isn't that dangerous??"

After I read what ABC said and the small amount of powder the OP said he used, AND what other people posted about the small amounts they use. The idea that too little powder in a straight walled handgun cartridge could cause an over pressure started to sound fishy to me.

I guess I could see how it might happen in a rifle cartridge.....maybe.

Thanks for the mind peace.

zxcvbob
February 3, 2008, 03:19 PM
What I thought was an acceptable amount of powder weighed out to over 6gr. I readjusted to drop less and was surprised to see just how small a 3.6gr charge is.

That's why I don't like Titegroup much. Red Dot, Green Dot, or Promo will fill the cases a lot better -- Titegroup does a good job, but a normal charge and an overcharge look the same.

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