Handling gunpowder


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rjfunk
October 30, 2011, 01:29 AM
I am load developing, and on my third session, I noticed my groups open up significantly (.4 to .7 MOA to 1.5 MOA) at 200 yards. I did three things different, and I'm not sure which could have affected the accuracy or all of them.

1) Gave the barrel a thorough cleaning. Then had about 7 fouling shots

2) A small amount of the powder spilled on the work surface. I figured the surface was quite clean and the powder should be ok so I scooped it up with sheet of paper and used it.

3) Some of the powder was trickled into the pan with my fingers. I always use an empty shell to do this, but didn't for some of these loadings

I'm guessing that spilled powder is for fertilizer and you should not get your hand oils on the powder as well. Beginner's error?

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Steve C
October 30, 2011, 02:05 AM
Could be all or none. Different accuracy on different days isn't all that unusual. You can isolate the differences and it may or may not make any difference in real accuracy. Did you clean from the chamber end or used a bore guide to avoid dinging the muzzle crown? Other things beyond your control can change the accuracy. Wind, weather, temperature and humidity. Did you drink coffee or any other caffeine product the day of shooting. Any other stress related things happen prior to shooting that may have pushed your BP up?

Doesn't really sound like anything you mentioned would necessarily cause much of a change in the accuracy.

rjfunk
October 30, 2011, 02:29 AM
Cleaning from the chamber end always. No real difference in the other shooting methods etc. Weather not really any different, and the groups were really opened up.

Hay Creek
October 30, 2011, 03:10 AM
Could be the powder handling. Could also be the cleaning. If you scrubbed all the copper out, it's kind of like taking the seasoning off a cast iron skillet. Some barrels perform better with a small amount of copper filling in the irregularities of the bore.

Grumulkin
October 30, 2011, 08:18 AM
Could you elaborate on your cleaning method?

Rollis R. Karvellis
October 30, 2011, 08:28 AM
I, try to keep my heavy cleaning to a minumin. This seem's to work best with my gun's, and ability. Also spilled powder should not have any afect unless it was mixed with some kind of oil, or a lot of dirt.

wingman
October 30, 2011, 08:37 AM
Does not take much at 200 yards to open groups so many variables, perhaps your scales were not calibrated,etc after loading 40+years I've found the smallest inconsistency in loading will change group size.

rjfunk
October 30, 2011, 10:21 AM
Cleaning method - brushed the bore approx 5 times. Then patched with butch's bore shine until the patch came out clean. Then one dry patch to clean out the bore followed by one run with a swab down the bore. I then take a 45 swab to wipe out the chamber. Everything done from the chamber end.

I guess that was too clean. I haven't cleaned that thoroughly in quite a while.

Wingman - I am trying to be anal with my reloading. Double weighing all loads (scale and electric), calibrating each first, so hopefully is not inconsistent powder weights. I guess I can't be totally positive that it's not.

murf
October 30, 2011, 11:47 AM
if you think it is not due to a change in the wind, or weather, shoot a group with factory ammo to eliminate the "reloading" factor.

murf

gamestalker
October 31, 2011, 01:45 AM
I'm going with the cleaning. I'm careful about how hard I clean my barrels. Even though I clean after every shooting session I don't over do it because I don't want to go back through the re-filling process of the bore. Some of those copper foulings are doing there job to fill in the low spots, so if you remove them completely it can almost be like breaking the barrel in all over again.

redbullitt
October 31, 2011, 06:21 PM
I am voting cleaning too, especially if you were scrubbing. I oil and boresnake until accuracy opens up beyond what I like. FWIW I have around 500 rounds on a couple bolt guns that do not need cleaned yet.

If I scrub the bore of any of my rifles, POI will change for a little while as opposed to a fouled bore.

Hondo 60
October 31, 2011, 06:31 PM
I'm guessing that spilled powder is for fertilizer and you should not get your hand oils on the powder as well. Beginner's error?

It depends on how "clean" the powder is.

I have 2 dogs & a cat, so if it's spilled, I won't try to re-use it.
Even if just one or two animals hairs get in the powder measure it'll totally muck it up.
Then the drops won't be equal.

If I spill a bit & it stays on the desk, then I will reuse it, no problem.

rjfunk
October 31, 2011, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'll load up some more fouling rounds before continuing with load development and learn my lesson. The powder should have been fairly clean. Maybe a miniscule amount of brass dust in it.

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