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Wiegh Ammo?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JellyJar, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Well-Known Member

    Reading lots of posts here about problems with reloaded ammo has led me to think that it might be a good idea to weigh all such ammo and perhaps even factory ammo using a very precise scale. That's because it appears that the main problem with ammo is either too much power in the case or not enough. :what: So if you weigh your ammo first you should be able to spot those cases that either have too much power or not enough if any.

    What you ya'll think?:rolleyes:
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It doesn't work.

    There is too much variation between rounds due to case and bullet weight variation.

    Tolerance stacking can easily cover up an over-charged case if you hit upon a light case & bullet combination.
    And the difference between a heavy case & bullet, and a light case and bullet could be more then the powder charge weight in some handgun calibers.

    Anyway, just about every one of the accidents you hear about and get into, can be traced to operator error and / or lack of quality control checks between reloading steps.

    A reloader doing all the checks he should be doing does not blow up guns or load squib loads. Period.

  3. PT1911

    PT1911 Well-Known Member

    hear that? that is the sound of RC bursting that thought bubble...:rolleyes:

    it is good in theory... actually... great in theory, but, as RC said, there is just too much variation in the other components of the cartridge for weighing to give you a good estimation of the powder charge..
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Well-Known Member

    RC pretty much nailed it. It's simply too imprecise to be of much use in regards to quality-control.
  5. mongoose33

    mongoose33 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it might be better to use a system that double-checks the loads before the bullets are seated.
  6. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    Rcmodel: I very seldom ever disagree with you, but in this case I have to. As a retired chemist who just happened to know where all the good napping places in a laboratory were for over 38 years, I would have to say that if one was predisposed to weigh a quantity of loaded ammunition on a quality balance( a scale is what you weigh yourself on) and set both high and low parameters, one would find an anomaly or two regarding a +/- in powder weight or bullet/case weight to cause further investigation further. Slow or a wasteful time...true. Impossible...no. I did spend many years proving operating/manufacturing systems by this method. :)
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I have tried it with .38 Spl 148 grain swaged wad-cutter target loads.

    The + / - weights was higher then the powder charge (2.7 grains) I was using.

    I doubt a lab grade scale would have mattered.

  8. PT1911

    PT1911 Well-Known Member

    if one were to weight their primed brass and bullet prior to adding the powder charge, then afterward making sure to mark any brass,primer,bullet that was abnormally heavy or light then the system would work.. there is no way to do this with factory loaded ammo.
  9. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    I have to go with RC on this one. Better to do it right when you are loading them, then try to catch an error afterward.
  10. dmazur

    dmazur Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with rc. The variation in bullet weights is greater than the variation in powder charge that you are willing to "live with" (accept rather than reject.)

    The accuracy of the scale and any sampling scheme you care to devise have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Unless you are loading ultra-perfect match bullets with a weight tolerance on the order of +/- 0.5 gr, you can't tell if you're looking at a powder charge variation or a bullet weight variation...
  11. gearheadpyro

    gearheadpyro Well-Known Member

    Got to agree with the consensus here. I don't think it would work.
    In my handloads I've got a +/- 2 grain difference in brass alone. Add in another .5 grain for bullet variation, and that's 2.5 full grains acceptable variation. Considering I measure my powder to .1 grains I don't think that would help.

    Doing this could stop something like a double charge in most cases, but if you load them right to begin with you won't have to worry about that.
  12. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

    The variation between components is too much to be practical in reality. Take 5 casings and weigh them. Bet there's more than a .5gr spread. Think you can find a .5gr over charge in powder when your cartridge weight variance is at least .5gr? Yeah right. no amount of lab scale will be helpful.
  13. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Weighting could deal with a skipped charge in a medium to large rifle cartridge but not a handgun cartridge. As RC says, the tiny charges are likely to get lost in the noise levels.

    It's far better to visually confirm each charge column before seating.
  14. Steve Marshall

    Steve Marshall Well-Known Member

    I once weighed 369 9MM cases to find the variance. They ranged from 50.2 grains to 63.1 grains. One headstamp in particular(Winchester) varied from52.0 grains to 57.9 grains. Do not try to find bad loads with a scale. You might be lucky once or twice, but sooner or later you'd get bit in the butt.
  15. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Well-Known Member

    I agree with RC. The only rounds it would really show up on would be rifle, and it's easy to tell a double charge with rifle ammo since there is powder falling all over the place. With pistol, the difference between cases and/or bullets can easily be as much as a powder charge.

    What I do is after my cases are primed, I put them upside down in my reloading tray. That way I can inspect all my primers at once. Then, I NEVER charge a case that isn't upside down. This prevents me from double charging. After I have charged all 50 cases, I inspect them all to make sure they are all charged similarly. These two steps prevent over, and under, charging of the cases.
  16. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    The last time this was discussed myself and another member weighed 10 pieces of brass and ten bullets. IIRC my win brass and 230gr LRN combo had a max variation of like 4 grains. Thats in rane for several common powders. Weighing will not work reliably.
  17. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    Weighing may, or may not work. But more importantly I think the main points are these...
    • Although potentially dangerous, reloading errors by a competent, un-distracted reloader using good equipment are actually very rare occurrences.

    • Where powder volume is the concern, cartridges with no powder are probably far more common than cartridges with double powder. Double powder is more exciting and gets a lot more press, but underloaded (primer-only squib loads) probably account for the inordinate majority.

    • The money and time spent weighing would be better spent focused elsewhere in the process. For instance... connecting an audible Dillon Primer Alarm type device to a Power Cop.

    • The vast majority of reloading errors could be avoided by simply hanging the Dillon calendar behind, rather than over, the reloading bench. :D

    Just my 2 cents.

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