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New to reloading - powder charge confusion

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Tux, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Tux

    Tux Member

    My father passed away last year and I inherited his reloading equipment. I'm looking to get into loading .44 special for the Taurus 445ti he had.

    Looking at this book below for loading 180G Hornady it recommends 6.1-6.6g of Unique. Loading for 180G Sierra it recommends 6.9-8.8g of Unique.

    Why the disparity in range? Why would the Sierra bottom number be higher than the Hornady max?

    Thanks for any advice to a newbie.

  2. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Make sure you aren't in the Rifle or Thomson Contender section of the sierra book.

    You'll often find calibers listed multiple times - it was confusing in 4th edition.

    Which edition of Sierra do you have?

    When in doubt start on the safe side. I'd start with 6.1 and work up in .2 increments.

    You know how to check for signs of overpressure? What to look for?
  3. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Also, 44 is one of those oddballs where there's "old" guns and "new" guns. Older guns can't take NEARLY the pressure that modern alloys allow.

    Run in to the same thing with 45LC. Originally a black powder cartridge, the old SAA designs can't take the high PSI of modern loads. "New" guns can run 45LC at pressures and velocities that would leave you missing digits if fired in an old gun.

    Just something to be aware of. :)
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    They arn't built the same. Pressure comes from barring surface of the bullet & case volume.

    Then there is the fact that 2 differnt people loaded them. Did both of your Grandmaws make cookies the same way?
  5. hang fire

    hang fire Well-Known Member

    Think for the Sierra, you are looking at the 210 grn load.

    But for the 180 grn and looking at pics of the bullet shapes and diameters and if fired in the same gun, this is what I would reason. The Hornady has a greater bearing surface and a .430" diameter. The Sierra has less bearing surface and a .4295" diameter. Hence a larger diameter and greater bearing surface = more friction and resistance, which can jack pressures up and sometimes with fast burning powders it doesn't take much.

    Look at the velocity differences, 6.6 grn for Hornady=850 fps, 7.3 grn for the Sierra=700 fps.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Right, different bullets, different lots of components, different testers, different test equipment, different atmospheric conditions, a few other different things, and last but not least, different lawyers.

    Of course, your firearm is different again and will probably yield slightly different results from the published data.

    Clear as mud?
  7. Tux

    Tux Member

    The book is a compendium of various load data. The cover of the book is the first image.


    Over pressure would bend, ripple the cases or push the primer backwards?

    I ran some 6.3g of Unique on 180G Hornadys and they all felt pretty good.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  8. Tux

    Tux Member

    So a thousand of an inch in diameter and fraction in Ballistic Coefficient can account for that much difference in performance/pressure/velocity?
  9. Tux

    Tux Member

    Yep clear as mud, but I think some of the dirt is settling.

    I agree on the different lawyers...sheesh....they are annoying.
  10. Tux

    Tux Member

    On a second question I pulled a few of my dads 44mag loads apart with a bullet puller and they had a polyester fiberfill in the case.

    There was a bag of fiberfill in with his reloading stuff. Why the fiberfill. Is it actually a good practice, or was this a old myth or something?

    Thanks you all for imparting you wisdom.....very much appreciated.
  11. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Oh I thought that was two DIFFERENT books. That's all from the SAME book.

    But judging by the pictures, all the author of THAT book did was snip out pics from DIFFERENT books and compile them in one volume. Because those Sierra tables look like straight photocopies of the Sierra book, whereas the Hornady ones look like they're from the Hornady book. (Formatting of the tables matches the respective books; author didn't even bother to do new graphic design to uniform them.)

    Isn't that... Plagiarism?

    Regardless.. that's a hell of a difference. 7.3 min on one 185 gr, vs. 6.6 max on another.

    Just be careful. :)
  12. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    It will rise the pressure. I quit playing with it couple of years ago.
  13. Josh45

    Josh45 Well-Known Member

    I have 2 of those books regarding .40 and 30-30.
    I like to call them " Last Editions" because they technically are the last edition books. You might wanna buy a new reloading manual. Yes, You will come across the same thing really but it will be more up to date information.

    You can also go online to the powder mfgr website and they will have data for your powder & bullet combo in that caliber most of the time.

    As for whay the big difference, Like said it is because those are different bullets, components, barrels, ETC....Anytime you start doing something new, Start low and work up your loads in your gun. Safety first.
  14. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    Plus two different labratories tested them. Different bullet, different testers, different test equipment, prolly different test parameters too (bbl length, bbl. I.D.,etc.).

    Those one caliber load books are OK, but I'd suggest a regular loading manual (with a "how to" section) of the manufacturer of the bullets you're gonna use.
  15. hang fire

    hang fire Well-Known Member

    When playing with things that loudly go Bang, a little can quickly become a "LOT."
  16. chrome_austex

    chrome_austex Well-Known Member

    First off, those are slightly different bullets even tho they are the same weight. They're also loaded to different COAL lengths. The amount of bullet in the case (due to bullet shape and OAL) is a big factor for pressure.

    And finally, different publishers have different ways of determining what a safe pressure might be. All things being equal (and in this case bullet and OAL are not equal), Hornady published loads tend to be lower than other publishers, as is the case here. This is one of the reasons you consult a bunch of published books, as they are never going to 100% agree. Those two in particular are very far apart, but frankly, that's not surprising if one of the books is from Hornady. :/
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    These Load Books have been around for quite a long time, at least since the mid nineties, maybe longer. They generally are copies of the pages from the original reloading source.

    So, they have some kind of approval to re-publish the data otherwise they would have been forced out of business long ago.

    As Josh45 said, they probably are not data from the current manuals. I have one or two of them but never bothered to compare the pages with my manuals. I stopped buying them because the Load Books did not give me any new information that I did not already have.
  18. M.Weier

    M.Weier Active Member

    ^ Yep, thats why we are VERY careful and meticulous in what we do.....:cool:
  19. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Trent, they ARE from different books. The publishers/editors of the One Book/One Caliber books gather together the data previously published by various authors. I suppose they must have gotten permission.

    This is helpful to us handloaders since we don't have to own all the different books.

    This is unhelpful to us handloaders since we discover that all the different books do not agree all the time.

    As mentioned before, different firearms will show different pressures to different laboratories. Not to mention that different tests will be using slightly different lots of powder, primers, brass and hardness/size of lead. (Those variables are what induce handloaders to re-work up loads every time they change any component.)

    And then, of course, there is the tolerance of the editors (and their lawyers) to narrower or wider safety margins.

    Tux, the variations you saw are what we have to live with when we cook up our own loads and what makes life delicious. Many of us find our own recipes for our guns perform better than anything we ever find on retailers' shelves.

    Independence from the judgement of the established ammo makers carries with it the responsibility to have your own judgement. Learn the signs of high (and low) pressure, go forth and be happy.

    Welcome to our obsession.

    Lost Sheep
  20. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Kapok, fiberfill, cornmeal, fillers of all kinds have been used to keep the gunpowder close to the primer. It makes ignition more consistent.

    You can get quite a lot of pressure variation from whether the powder is near the primer or far from it.

    Some powders are supposedly more "position sensitive" than others. Do a search on the term for more details.

    Thanks for asking our advice.

    Lost Sheep

    p.s. edit to add this link:
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012

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