New to Handloading


Handi Man
February 16, 2013, 07:55 PM
Im new to handloading and know little to nothing about different powders. Also are any two powders the same.

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February 16, 2013, 08:05 PM
How many reloading manuals do you have and have you read them?

Every powder manufacturer has a website that will describe the properties and burn rates of their powders.

I have chosen one manufacturer for all my powder needs, less confusing for me that way.

Good luck and be safe.

Jesse Heywood
February 16, 2013, 08:06 PM
Welcome to the forum. Since you're new to the hobby, I will recommend going to the sticky at the top and spend some time in the reloading library of wisdom.

As for powders, there are about 100 different powders available. There are a few that are identical, such as W-231 and HP-38, the same powder in different labels. There are also many that are similar, but not identical. The current issue is the availability of powders and components, many times choices are driven by the market, not by what you want or need.

February 17, 2013, 01:58 AM
What they said. ^^

February 17, 2013, 07:45 AM
Another vote for reading the stickies and one or more manuals. To answer your question: yes some powders from different manufacturers are essentially identical as mentioned above such as HP-38 and Win231. However others like IMR4895 and H4895 are different. Different enough to be dangerous. So again, read the stickies, read a manual (or three), and find and compare multiple (usually at least three) sourses of load data for a given desired work up of a bullet and powder combination.

jose wales
February 17, 2013, 05:19 PM
You are right there are a lot of powders out there but when you deciede on the one that looks good to you go with it and do as much research as you can. Dont just go with the one you first come on. What do you want to use the fire arm for?? And it's your choice.

February 17, 2013, 06:09 PM
Yes there are a few powders packaged by the same company with different names. You still need to use data from the powder you're loading. A few examples of same powder/different brands are:
HP 38 and Winchester 231 are supposed to be the same.
HS6 = Win 540
HS7 = Win 571
H110 = Win 296
These are a few examples and there are a few others. Again, use data for the brand of powder you have.

Lost Sheep
February 17, 2013, 07:18 PM
Im new to handloading and know little to nothing about different powders. Also are any two powders the same.
Welcome to the forum and to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

We could target our advice better is you shared some information about yourself: (What I use has no relevance to you if our needs are not similar.)

What calibers will you be reloading?

What quantities will you be reloading for those calibers?

What are your shooting goals? Cheap ammo? Ultimate long-range accuracy? Casual plinking, Serious competition - what kind? Cowboy Action Shooting? Strictly hunting?

The powder I recommend for most loaders starting to learn how to load is Trail Boss, but it is best suited to handgun cartridges and originally intended for lead bullets. But it has virtues abunch. Principally, that it is a voluminous powder. It is easy to see that you have missed charging a case and even more obvious if you have double charged a case.

While you are learning the mechanics of loading (working the machinery) it is helpful if all the visual cues are as easy to spot as possible.

Lost Sheep

Handi Man
February 21, 2013, 07:37 PM
To help you the caliber is .25-06 and will mainly be used for hunting. Not many rounds will be loaded for it. 150-200 a year.

I am very familiar with handloading .38 spl

A bit off topic but the other day I was depriming cases and managed to get a case stuck in the die. I unscrewed the top piece that holds the pin in and used a brass hammer to tap the case and pin from the die. To fully remove the case from the pin the case had to be cut by a dremel tool. Also many other cases were hard to lower but none were as stuck as this one.

February 21, 2013, 07:45 PM
What kind of lube are you using?

February 22, 2013, 07:51 AM
Make sure the mandrel is low enough.

Handi Man
February 23, 2013, 02:54 PM
3 in 1 oil.
What is the mandrel?

February 23, 2013, 03:53 PM
Well that's better than nothing but you can do better. Or keep sticking cases for the rest of your life.
Use some Mink Oil or Imperial Wax or something, man!

Arkansas Paul
February 23, 2013, 04:37 PM
3 in 1 oil.

Like Certaindeaf said, it's better than nothing, but you need something made for the job at hand.

I use this for lubing the cases. It's just a little over $8 and if you're only loading 200 rounds a year, it will prolly last 10-15 years. Just dab some on your fingers and you will be amazed.

And this is great for lubing the inside of the neck, which will eliminate the "hard to lower" aspect, as the problem is the expander ball sticking in the neck. Just apply with a case neck brush.

Happy loading.

February 23, 2013, 09:13 PM
Yes, get a lube designed for reloading. Or mink oil will work quite well, found in the shoe dept.

I recommend the Lyman #49 manual. Don't immediately jump to the load data-read the front half of the book. Maybe twice. You'll learn much.

In my experience, IMR 4895 and 4350 work very well in rounds similar to 30-06 and 270 etc. A burn rate chart is useful here, there are many powders with similar burn rates to these 2 powders that will work fine. I wouldn't venture much faster than the 4895's or much slower than 4350. YMMV

February 23, 2013, 10:27 PM

Lots of data on these websites, along with some descriptions of what different powders are suited for.

You will need a good reloading manual to explain the loading process though.

Lost Sheep
February 23, 2013, 10:35 PM
3 in 1 oil.
What is the mandrel?
I am not absolutely sure what "mandrel" kingmtn is referring to, but the general definition of the term as usually used in loading is

an object used to shape machined work

A metal piece around which material may be shaped

This is probably the "button" or "expander ball" that goes into the case as it is pressed into the sizing die and sizes the neck from the inside as the case is withdrawn from the die (as the mandrel is withdrawn from the case).

I don't have much experience with bottlenecked cases, but the early chapters of your loading manual should describe the process in (more or less, which is why we all recommend multiple manuals) detail.

Lost Sheep

February 24, 2013, 01:43 AM
Also are any two powders the same?

The best answer to this is "No".

However, there are a few examples of powders which are packaged and labeled differently, but have the exact same manufacturing formula and come from the same source.

Hodgdon H110 = Winchester W296

Hodgdon HP38 = Winchester W231

One of the points to note is that these powders are the same now, but might not have been identical in the past. Also, there can be significant differences in different lots of these equivalent powders, regardless of whether it starts with an H or a W, so the practice of "working up" is advised whenever opening a bottle from a different lot.

Handi Man
February 24, 2013, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the suggestions .

What about this ?

Arkansas Paul
February 24, 2013, 10:19 PM
Yes, that would work great.
You wouldn't need the brush with that product. It is pre-treated media that you just dip the case neck in.

February 24, 2013, 10:32 PM
If you have a particular brand of bullet that you would like to use, or can easily find locally, I suggest purchasing/borrowing/reading their manual first.

If all you can easily find are Hornady bullets, why buy a Sierra manual?

Hornady, Sierra, Nosler, Speer, Barnes, Lyman, etc. have similar introductions to reloading and will keep you on the right track.

You can always find an older edition on eBay cheap enough and print CURRENT load data from the powder websites listed above. The local library may have material on hand if you wish to go that route.

Personally, I like to use the slower rifle powders for the heavier bullets but I prioritize them by case fill. For me, more case fill is better for ignition. For the lighter bullets I will try the medium burn rate powders first. I think of it like compression in a combustion engine. The more squish you have, the better quench you get, and the higher the volumetric efficiency becomes is my recipe for handloading.

I look in the load manuals to find the range of powders that are called for and compare it to a powder burn rate chart. I start with the slowest powder and see what the case fill is.

If I can find one that looks good on paper (90% fill or more), I load up a few "start loads" and then bump them up in .5 grain increments until I have reached about 1.5 grains under max.

If I find a very accurate load I will load more of those up and test them again. If they don't improve over the 'ladder test' I will either try another powder or settle for the most velocity.

I never load a rifle to max and certainly never start near max. I have found that my primer pockets just don't handle max loads for very long and I don't see the reason for the "dip it in powder and squash a bullet" approach.

Don't forget there are a lot of opinions out there (web), so take what you can from it and make up your own mind. Be safe and shoot straight.

February 25, 2013, 08:07 AM
If you live anywhere near Owensboro, KY, let me know. You can come over and reload a bit to learn the basics and borrow a couple of manuals.

February 25, 2013, 10:21 AM
I suggest you spend some time reading before loading. This is not one of those make it up as you go along deals. If you can't afford to purchase two manuals,take the time to read from the first page till you get to the actual data sections on both, you don't have time to reload. Don't try to learn from a couple of internet tips or youtube videos. Read the books please sir. Unless your wife has a huge insurance policy on you that is...

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