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Hodgdon H4831 Question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JohnDog, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. JohnDog

    JohnDog Well-Known Member

    Back when I was a young pup (mid 70s), I'd go over to my Uncle's and he would load up some special "hunting loads" for my .270 Win for the fall deer and elk trips. I remember that my special "load" (and I called him and he dug up an old notebook up out of his garage to verify this) was 57 grs of H4831 behind a 150 gr Nosler partition. Well, I just got a new .270 rifle and am in the process of building some new "hunting loads". And the loading manuals I've checked (Nosler and Hodgdon) list 55.0 and 55.7 grs of H4831 as the max load for a 150 gr spitzer bullet. I also have Ken Water's book 'Pet Loads', and he lists 57 grs of H4831 w/150 Nosler as a good big game load (although he probably wrote that article a while back).

    So my question is: did H4831 get faster over the intervening years? Is 55 grs (or 55.7) a max load. I was getting ready to build some loads running from 52 up to 57 to take to the range, but maybe I need to start around 50 and work up to 55. What kind of H4831 . 270 loads are you all running?

    Or maybe I just need some better manuals?

    Thanks - JohnDog
  2. Poodleshooter

    Poodleshooter Well-Known Member

    Powder weight isn't everything. Odds are that your uncle's load was either hotter or that it used a cooler primer, brass with more capacity, or simply seated the bullet out farther that the manuals list. It could possibly be that the mix for H4831 has differed somewhat over the years as you mentioned.
    I'd load from 10% below the manual's max loads, and work up looking for pressure signs.
  3. Dave R

    Dave R Well-Known Member

    Rifles are individuals. Max pressure on one might be over-pressure on another. That's why you start low and work up.

    Could be the manuals are just getting more conservative over time? Dunno.

    Watch for pressure signs on YOUR rifle as you work up towards it.
  4. JohnDog

    JohnDog Well-Known Member

    Thanks - Poodleshooter and Dave

    Yeah, looks like I'll start around 50grs and work my way up from there. I guess I was just amazed that I was shooting a load that was above a max load by 2 grs as listed in Nosler's manual.

    I sold that .270 back in 1979 (I still regret that mistake). I remember alot of trips out to the hills to go shooting, and various boxes of handloads that got shot with lots of scrutiny of the brass by the "oldsters". Me - I was in to blasting away at rocks, boxes, stumps, etc. So I'm sure that my uncle made sure that load was ok in my rifle - it wasn't just something he threw together. Maybe next time I get out to see him I'll see if he can dig up an old loading manual from that time frame.

    Thanks again - JohnDog
  5. hps1

    hps1 Well-Known Member


    If you have not tried it, you should try the H 4831 SC. Loads interchange with H 4831 according to Hodgdon manual and it measures much better than the longer cut granules.

    As has been stated, each rifle is a study unto itself so you are taking the proper approach by starting low and working up on your new rifle. Have a pet load that has worked in every 30=06 I ever tried it in until I had a couple of target rifles rebarreled and had to cut the charge 1.5 grains due to pressure indications.

  6. kudu

    kudu Well-Known Member

    Looking through some older reloading manuals the published data is getting more conservative. It's a CYA thing so if someone drops a full charge in a rifle that they are not familiar with and it blows up they won't be in a lawsuit.
  7. sebago

    sebago Well-Known Member

    All of the above plus I'm betting that they're using much more accurate testing equipment than was available in the '60's and '70's. In the new Lyman manual (No. 48) they specifically state that the maximums they show are real and are not held artficially low.
    BTW, they list 56 grs. of H4831 as a maximum in the .270 WCF with a 150 gr. Hornady SP., vel. 2788 fps.
    Changing to a different bullet could also change the max charge due to the differance in construction and length of the bearing surface.
  8. Delmar

    Delmar Well-Known Member


    I'm looking in Hogdon's No.26 manual, dtd 1993, and it lists a max charge for 150 grain bullets for H4831 @ 58 grains, the starting load being 54.5 grains. Bullets/cases/primers are not specifically listed.

    Noslers 5th ed. lists the 150 grain Partition/Partition Gold and BT max at 55 grains using Fed 210 primers and Winchester cases, the start charge at 51 grains.

    There could be a number of reasons why the charge weight is lower-Nosler may have changed the shape of their bullets slightly, giving more bearing surface to the bullet, and Hogdon's powder may well have a slightly different chemical composition.

    I would follow the latest data and work up slowly as the others have stated.

    Made my boo-boo's a long time ago by jumping right into the full throttle reload mode on my 308 and Lyman's 47th manual listing a max charge of W748. Was shooting a Rem 700 heavy barrel, and the first round fired kicked like a 300 win mag. The bolt opened with some resistance and I had case flow into the ejector slot.

    Best advice I ever got was from a local gunshop owner who competed in longe range shooting. Told me to get the latest/greatest reload manuals and pick the powder with the highest velocity on the starting charge, and work up carefully from there.
  9. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    seating depth and land engagement make a difference on maximum charge.

    when i work up, i start 2 grains below the listed max and keep increasing the powder weight until i have reached that rifle's max - which may or may not coincide w/ what is in my manuals.

    also note that different manuals have way different max loads. i have speer, lyman, and sierra, and in some instances, they are so different from each other that their data is near worthless. so, when in doubt, i go to speer #13.
  10. JohnDog

    JohnDog Well-Known Member

    Thanks all!

    Got a bunch of loads ready to go to the range. Started them at 50grs and increased them by half a grain up to 57grs (in 5 round groups). Now i just got to get out to the range! Cough-Cough-Cough!! Hmmmm starting to feel a little ill - better call in well to work tommorrow.

    Thanks again - JohnDog
  11. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Another possibility is he was using some of the older surplus 4831. I don't know if it was slower than new 4831, but Hogdon did run out of the surplus stuff and had to start over for the new production.

    It was before my time but the thought of buying a KEG of powder for pennies a pound has a lot of appeal.:D

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