Mil-Surp Powder Question


August 18, 2003, 10:01 PM
Just acquired 4 lbs of WCC-846 through a friend who purchased it at Wideners. Can't find a thing on Wideners about this powder. General searches reveal nothing as well.

I'm told this powder is similar (EEEK!!!!) to BL-C(2). Well, that doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I have found a BL-C(2) recipe in my Lee manual.

Anybody have experience with the powder? I'm looking for an under 50,000 pressure load for 150 grain jacketed bullet, regular primer, 308.


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August 18, 2003, 10:38 PM
I've used it in .223 and .308 loads. My batch was really close performance wise to W748 or h335. I'd be comfortable starting with data for either of those, or BL-C(2). It's good powder and works well IMHO. Mine came with starting load info on the jug for .223 and .308.

edited because I can't spell BL-C(2).

August 19, 2003, 07:25 AM

Ditto what org said.....

WC-846 is a PD powder from USGI 7.62 Nato ammo... BL-C(2) load data seems close enough.

I've used it in both .223 and .308 with very good results. Tried it in 30-06 with not-so-good results.

Best regards,

August 19, 2003, 12:52 PM
TM 43-0001-27 states that for 7.62mm M80 ball that 46 gr. of WC 846 is used. The bullet is listed as 146 gr. and 50,000 psi as the chamber pressure.

It also lists 46 gr WC 846 for the 7.62mm M59 Ball, pushing a 150.5 gr projo at 50,000 psi.

August 19, 2003, 12:57 PM
Thanks for the information. I'm a little spooked shooting 50,000, as I was repeatedly told to keep my handloads below 50,000 for the FR8.

August 19, 2003, 02:16 PM
I tried 45.8 in Lake City cases and had flatter primers than I liked, using M80 MOLY bullets. :eek: They were flatter (CCI 200s) than my prior load of 45.5 748 under M80 regular bullets--that load was spot-on for desired velocity (2700 muzzle = @2650 at 78 feet), but follow-up research indicates it was for copper-jacketed Sierra MKs of 150 grs.

Next load is 44.8 of WC846 with the molys. I'll let you know what I get. The prior load with flat primers was exactly what I wanted for velocity--2790 or whatever at 10 feet. Wish it didn't look hot.:(

Edit to add: All my M80s have had copper-plated steel jackets--even those bought in bulk from Winchester. The WC846 data should be "better" for those than for SMKs...? I expect them to run a bit higher pressure than SMKs, but I may be wrong. That steel is better described as iron, it's sooooo soft.

August 20, 2003, 08:35 PM
Whoah!! I misrememberd the M80 Ball specs and thought it was 2650 fps at 78 feet. If it's really 2750, either my batch of powder is fast, my primers are squishy (unlikely-CCIs this time), there's a headspace/primer mushroom problem, or those bullets are funny somehow.

The earlier "hot" looking primer load (cases looked okay) came out just under 2700 at 78 feet, 66% humidity and 80° F when re-tested right after the lighter load. IIRC, 20 degrees hotter, 40% less humidity and using WW primers had it at 2730 fps at 78 feet.

I might need to rethink this....

August 20, 2003, 09:15 PM
You're obviously more sophisticated at the hobby than I am. Thanks for the information.

As soon as my new toolstand from Dillon arrives (tomorrow), I'll start setting up the dies.


August 27, 2003, 02:40 PM
Well, I loaded up 10 44.0 grainers which are rated at 50,500. A guy on gunboards says that load is too dangerous for the FR8. My last batch, loaded at another's house with 4895, was 45,000 and worked fine. Bolt felt OK to me.

I would like to tone it down a bit, if possible, so does anybody have any load data for CUP around 41,000, the alleged recommended pressure for ammo in the FR8? I'm using a 147 grain bullet.

Can't afford to buy another manual at this time and I have 4 pounds of the powder.

Thanks again.

Jim Watson
August 27, 2003, 08:26 PM
Well, that is strange, Lyman says a 150 grain softpoint and 45 grains of BL C-2 gives 40,700 CUP.

I have noticed that a lot of these surplus powders are reported to turn out faster burning than the commercial equivalent, so the same load of WCC 846 is probably some hotter. Jeff Barnett at says military 7.62 ball was loaded with 44 to 45 grains WCC 846. Try 40 or 41 grains, that would be the minus 10% starting load.

The FR-8 is on a '98 pattern action, originally in 8mm, which is a good deal stouter than the FR-7 on the '95 7mm action.

August 27, 2003, 09:03 PM
Darn, this is turning out to be the Perplexing Problem of the Week! The loads I did last night from the Lee manual: 150 gr jacketed bullet, 44.0-49.5 grains of powder starting load, 50,400 pressure. :( Wish I knew how to calculate the pressure at 44.0.

Anyway, I was basically talked out of using such a high pressure for the FR8. Lots of discussion all over the internet on this subject.

So, then, a fellow on gunboards suggests using 303 Savage or 300 Savage recipes, since the bullets are the same size and he says the cases basically hold the same volume. I found a 303 Savage recipe - 150 gr bullet, 31.4 powder charge, 33,840 pressure, which is extremely conservative and looks like worth a try.

My maximum pressure to stay NATO safe with this weapon is allegedly 41,000 CUP, 7.62x51.

What do you guys think about the 303/300 Savage idea? I'm just learning, so don't laugh at me too hard. :(

I appreciate your help.


Jim Watson
August 27, 2003, 11:27 PM
I don't know exact case volumes, but .303 **Savage** is pretty much a slightly overgrown .30-30, operating at the same pressure range and ballistics, just with a 190 grain bullet instead of 170. Absolutely nothing in common with .303 British or .300 Savage.

The .300 Savage is an entirely different thing, in fact the early experimental cartridge leading up to .308=7.62x51 WAS a .300 Savage. Case volume is a little smaller, max pressures for Savage 99 lever action were lower. That might be a good place to start.

Better yet, don't do experimental handloading with scrap powder in a gun you consider weak.

August 28, 2003, 12:00 AM
Jim I'm talking about 150 gr bullet weights, different charges, basically, a different world. I'm going to do a "gut load."

Through all the compilation of all the internet queries done today, I have a load, I'm going to feel comfortable to shoot.

I'll do a range report, by the end of the Holiday Weekend.

Remember this ain't your average 308 load. This is a load created for a Spanish FR8, the CETME trainer.

Thanks again for all your kind and prompt responses.

August 31, 2003, 01:52 PM
Well, I went out with three different configs - 35 grain, 38 and 44 grain powder charges.

In my opinion the 35 grain felt and shot the best; i.e., 3 out of 5 clays at 85 yards, standing up. I'm pretty happy with this, and will chrono the round next week at the bench at 100 yards. The others shot OK, but I liked the 35 grain the best.

With this config, I'll get 800 rounds out of the 4 lbs of powder. Thanks for your responses.

David Wile
September 1, 2003, 10:15 AM
Hey Carlos,

I was glad when I read your last post and found you getting your loads down. To me, you started out getting all wrapped around the axle from starting at the wrong place.

In the beginning, you were talking about loading your rounds at the upper end of the loading spectrum without any mention of working up to these loads. You were concerned about the specific speed and pressure of the loads. Instead of worrying about speed and pressure of high end loads, start loading at, or, better yet, lower than starting loads, and then work up from there until you find what you want. Along the way up the loading spectrum, you will look for signs of pressure when they begin rather than when they are already too excessive. Chances are, you will find a satisfactorily accurate load long before you are at some bone crushing load that beats the heck out of you and your rifle.

Remember, there is no law of reloading that says you have to shoot the hottest fire breathing loads to be a real man. Actually there is an old reloading standard that says you should start low and work your way up, and that is the best practice.

WC-846 is a great powder and a great value today. In addition to 308 and 243 use, I also use it in my Marlin 1895 Cowboy 45-70. Having said that, I am not suggesting that it is good for everything you own. However, it is a fairly flexible powder that you might try in a variety of calibers and find it works well in some of them.

WC-846 is often equated with BL-C(2) and H380 in burn rate, but you can also consider published data for Win 748 and IMR 4064 powders if you start out low and work your way up.

Remember, if you start low and work your way up, you are a whole lot less likely to get into trouble in your reloading activities. I would also suggest that you get a Lyman reloading manual rather than relying on the Lee manual. Lee does not do any test firing, and all his load data is simply reprinted from data supplied by the powder manufacturers. The Lyman manual is a far greater wealth of information, and it is what I would recommend as a "first" manual to buy. There are other good manuals to be sure, but the Lyman has been the mainstay for many folks for many generations - not just years.

If you start low, work your way up to a good load, and find no signs of pressure along the way, you don't have to worry about how many CUPs or PSI your load is producing. As long as it is working properly in your rifle, that is the main thing.

One more thing to consider, if you have a good working load that is safe in your rifle, do not assume it will be a safe or good working load in another rifle. Once again, you have to start low and work up for each rifle and each load. If you have a good load for your rifle and then decide you want to change to a different bullet, there are some new things to consider. If the bullet is a different weight, you should start low again and work your way up. If the bullet is the same weight but simply a different nose shape, you are not likely to have much of a problem using the same powder charge - unless your load is already a hot load in your rifle. The hotter you load, the less room there is for any variation in the recipe. If your loads are in the medium range, there is a lot more margin of safety which allows you to make safe substitutions of components if thought through before doing it.

Surplus powders are good. You just need to follow sound reloading practices of working up loads rather than starting at high end load and seeing if anything is wrong.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

September 1, 2003, 11:49 AM
Thanks for your response.

Actually, at first I did go with a recommended 308 load from the book, and shot 100 rounds prior to this batch of rounds. Pressures were about 50,000.

Then, again, the argument arose about the safety of shooting a FR8 at 308 commercial or NATO surplus pressures. Again, I read and asked for days, and 50 percent of the people say Yea, and 50 percent say Nay.

So, paranoid me, I decide to reduce the load. My manual contained no reduced load information, so I compromised a load through much research and asking.

This load is only for the FR8, is fitted precisely for the rifle using the candle sooting the bullet method, and I'm happy. I'll chrono the round next weekend, so I have some actual data to possibly work the load up a bit more.

On payday I'll get another reloading manual.

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