A few questions from a soon to start reloader.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Trashyshoots, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Trashyshoots

    Trashyshoots Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    442
    So I've been gearing up to start reloading now for about two years, but have been to chicken to actually pull the lever. I've acquired many manuals, watched extensive youtube how to videos and I've been diligent in my research, and I take load data starting points very seriously.

    With that out of the way, I have a few questions.

    I've recently discovered a local shop that seems to have EVERYTHING in stock for reloading except for a few diameter bullets and primers (go figure) and I scored 2 pounds of Vihtavuori N310.

    I plan on weighing every charge, because my goal with this is absolute accuracy.

    Can someone give me a quick rundown on N310 pros and cons (besides its expensive, cost isnt an issue when the end goal is perfection)

    I know that guns are individual entities and it may not like n310 or specific bullets, I've learned this from extensive .22lr precision shooting.

    Also, this is a load for a custom 1911 that is basically irreplaceable cost wise. Would it be stupid to buy a cheap colt 1911 to use as a "piece of mind test mule"?

    I also have a 223 contender I'm 100% geared up to load for, but havnt yet. Should I cut my teeth on that first to get comfortable first, or grab a 1911 in 45 to put me at ease? Or both, haha.


    Sorry about the rambling.
     
  2. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2018
    Messages:
    2,087
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    The only real way to learn is to just do it. First hand.

    As to guns, absolute precision, what one gun likes another may dislike. No two barrels are the same.

    45acp is much simpler to load than 223 in that there is a lot less case prep involved for the pistol.
     
  3. Trashyshoots

    Trashyshoots Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    442
    The cheaper 1911 wouldn't be for load development, just for piece of mind, while honing my new skills.
     
  4. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2018
    Messages:
    2,087
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    If you can get them as close as possible to one another would be best. We have 2 45acp and 8 different 9mm and none of them shoot the same even with the same ammunition. But yes a second one would put less wear and tear on the first.
     
    stillquietvoice and .308 Norma like this.
  5. otisrush

    otisrush Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    816
    IMHO if a different 1911 helps you feel calmer for the first time rounds are loaded and fired then I say it makes sense. Getting a bit philosophical: While we need to "do things by the book" we ALSO have to think through what is right for us. What is important for me to do because of how my brain works may be different for what is right for you. If a pistol that isn't as irreplaceable will help with getting the first rounds down range then go for it. Eliminating a worry will enable more focus on what is going on.

    The point has already been made about not using the "cheaper" 1911 for load development for your prized gun. But also realize this applies to chamber size/fit as well. Make sure you do plunk testing on both guns. Just because you have a round that fits the starting gun's chamber doesn't necessarily mean it'll fit your prized gun's chamber.

    Enjoy! I, too, found it incredibly nerve wracking the first time I pulled the trigger. And, frankly, I still get pretty uptight when I pull the trigger for the first time on a caliber that is new to me. But OMG what a gratifying hobby.
     
  6. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    New Mexico
    South Prairie Jim likes this.
  7. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,029
    I still remember my first reloads and wondering what was going to happen when I pulled that trigger. It happened to be a 700BDL in .22-250, but being methodical and meticulous, and staying within the lines meant I’m still here with all digits. It’s still a rush with any load workup especially with new components.
    I load a lot of N320/N330/N340, but don’t have N310 on the shelf yet. I can tell you N310 is the fastest they sell, and one of the fastest on the burn rate chart, and I use their data as a starting point. It’s labeled a pistol powder, so unless their load data has N310 listed for .223, I’d stick to .45 first, or 9mm if that’s what your treasured 1911 is chambered in.
    You didn’t mention the bullet or goals, but N310 will work fine for a light/target load. A lead, coated lead or plated bullet would be an advantage over a jacketed bullet. The good thing about VV powders is they are single based and well behaved , that is they tolerate differences in reloading better than other powders, like Titegroup. They meter well despite being a stick, and they burn fairly clean with low smoke.
    If you stay within the lines, you’ll be fine. It’s your gun, but I wouldn’t be afraid of testing in it. Of course, if you need a nudge to get another gun.... by all means! Good luck.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,831
    Location:
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    All fast propellants need to be in smaller volumes. That said, be extra careful not to end up with a double charge. I use two loading blocks one on the left with primed brass primer up (empty) and after charging it put it in a block on the right. Then check all charges with a flashlight for fill. A bad one will show more easily this way. Only then place your bullet and seat. You need to figure out a process that works for you and stick to it every time, modify it as needed for safety but always follow your process. Good habits make good safe ammo. Just sayin'.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  9. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Messages:
    5,278
    Location:
    Clarkesville, GA
    Welcome Aboard !

    N310 will do very, very well in 45ACP. When buying bullets realize that 230gr RN is the standard Army bullet, but 200gr SWC is a much better target bullet and where you'll most likely end up. So you might seek out a few of both.

    Accuracy is enhanced by having fewer differences between rounds. Then of course you want the same powder in each and the same bullet, but also hunt up one brand of brass. Although I use "mixed brass" for general shooting, only one brand of brass gets used for testing.

    A chronograph will really help. Besides "dialing in" the velocity, you can make sure you're not over pressure. And low SD numbers will confirm that your reloading process is well refined. With Vit N310, it should be easy to get SD numbers for 8-10 shots in at 10 and under.

    Two things to remember: In reloading Process is everything, and all the steps we take within the process are to control Chamber Pressure.
    .
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  10. Archie

    Archie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    3,013
    Location:
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Two things about reloaded ammunition to remember.

    1. The precision (of uniformity) of powder charges is possibly the least important factor in accuracy. Consistency in case preparation, bullet choice and distance of bullet from the lands are more important. Charge uniformity is important, but it is not the main thing. And on that subject, all the reloading care, precision and concentration will not make a poorly assembled rifle shoot well.

    2. Handguns are generally far more forgiving of loads than rifles. I have several (bunches) of specific calibers of handguns that shoot the same load and bullet well. Most of my rifles will do 'okay' for hunting or combat but are only breath-taking with custom loads. With defensive handguns, load for reliability primarily; then extreme accuracy. With defensive handguns, the accuracy standard is all shots on a IPSC/USPSA cardboard target at fifty yards. Pretty loose. If one is real picky, head shots at fifty yards. More a problem for shooters than for ammunition.

    I suggest you concentrate on preparing cases for reloads. Cleaning them does not make them shoot better of itself, but detecting cracks and abnormalities is easier Clean, bright (not necessarily 'shiny') cases give one a feeling of confidence, which is never bad.
     
    Demi-human and Bfh_auto like this.
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    66,648
    Location:
    Alabama
    N-310 will do well for Minor PF, I would be surprised if it worked for Major PF where medium/medium slow powders rule the day.

    But it didn't look like the OP was looking for Major loads, so N-310 could serve him well for light target loads, although if the shop has N-320/N-330/N-340 they would be more versatile in 9MM for him. My "light" (A 124 at 1050ish from a 5" 1911)9MM load uses N-320.
     
    rfwobbly and jmorris like this.
  12. TEXASJD
    • Contributing Member

    TEXASJD "COME AND TAKE IT"

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2021
    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
    If you it would help to have someone who a experienced reloader it really helps when getting started.
     
    JeffG and Juiceking like this.
  13. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    West TN
    A little fear is healthy. When you lose fear is when you will most likely make a mistake.. We all probably experienced the same apprehension you are the first time we pulled the trigger on our own loads.
    My reassurance came from double checking my data. I write my plan in a journal, then record each round. I record general notes as to what prep was done to each case,, if they are once fired, twice fired, range brass, etc. I recorded the case weights, primer weight, powder, and bullets down to 1/10gr for each. I kept each round separate and labeled in a snack size sandwich bag. Before firing, I verified that the sum equalled the parts, matched the info wrote on the bag, and the COL was correct. If not, pull the bullet from the case and figure out why and then put it back together.
    You'll pull a couple bullets only to realize you missed something in your math or wrote something wrong, but you'll develop your own system for consistency and safety checks in the process and this will help with confidence.
     
    BOISE BADWOLF likes this.
  14. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2020
    Messages:
    2,574
    Location:
    Memphis
    If you have money and fear then the best thing you could buy is a high accuracy scale and check weights... they will provide a layer of safety and piece of mind nothing else will. If profection is the goal rounds with propellant measured accurately to .02 grains consistently is hard to beat.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  15. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    6,340
    Location:
    Southern CA
    Buy another 1911 if you want, never hurts to have more guns.
    However you need to look at it this way even with a cheaper 1911,
    your eyes and fingers are kind of irreplaceable as well....

    Never used N310 but it is a fast pistol powder. Most fast pistol powders tend to be not forgiving of overcharges.
    If it was me I would stay away from anything close to MAX loads until you have some experience under your belt.
    upload_2021-2-23_13-16-42.png

    If you are in the middle of the charge range and your charge is say .1gr heavy probably not much to worry about if you are at the max might be a different story.
    Make sure you check your ammo to make sure you are not getting bullet set back.
    Bullet set back in semi auto pistol rounds can take a safe load and make it unsafe real quick.
    Note - more crimp in semi auto pistol rounds is not the answer to set back issues.

    I remember shooting my first reload, I think I closed my eyes before pulling trigger:D

    Have fun, be safe, shoot straight!
     
    Bfh_auto and drband like this.
  16. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    11,054
    Location:
    Middle Tn
    223 or 45 to start on is a no-brainer... the one you want to load first. Your tooled up for 223, the contender is a fantastically strong firearm and is a single shot so your going to be more focused and less likely to rip away and end up with a squib once you start building confidence. Just follow the instructions on the dies, use printed load data, and double check everything. I learned as a halfwitted teenager more focused on Mariokart and females than the words coming out of dads mouth, so if I could learn in that condition then anybody can do it if they are paying attention. Learn the basics, then learn to do it better.

    Just like golfing... you aren’t doing anything but flailing around until you slow down and learn to be consistent in how you do your thing. And everybody’s “thing” is a little bit different in reloading. The process is there, but we all have our quirkiness. As long as you resize the cases, measure to make sure they aren’t too long, have consistent primer feel as you seat them, carefully measure your powder, and consistently seat a bullet then you have done your part. The only thing left to do is make sure there is enough neck tension to not let the bullet move around.
     
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  17. Trashyshoots

    Trashyshoots Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    442
    Lots of great info so far gang. Thank you.
     
    JeffG likes this.
  18. __steve__

    __steve__ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    N Charleston
    You sound like you're well overdue for starting your first batch. I did the opposite and started loading before I knew what I was doing and it all turned out fine. You just kind of learn as you go through each step. I used an old RCBS O press I bought for $40 and started loading 500 S&W.

    If you have read all the requirements for safe loading multiple times, and you know your load and its expected pressure, go for it! A chronograph will be handy
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  19. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Messages:
    4,454
    If you follow the steps. It will turn out fine.
    I also like two loading blocks. (This is one of the biggest helps for safety)

    Don't be too scared to dive in. But be scared enough to look for sharks.
     
  20. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2020
    Messages:
    146
    A 1911 will take about 2x the pressure of a standard 45 acp load. 45s are great to get started on due to lower operating pressure. That gives you a bit of latitude. No need for 2nd one. Use 230 gr, it always works the best. I like to keep primed cases upside down till I charge & immediately seat. Great first time handload cartridge.
     
    Demi-human and Hugger-4641 like this.
  21. brassbullets12

    brassbullets12 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    110
    Location:
    kentucky
    I would suggest to try and find someone that has experience, but if not, relax, start slow, walk before you take off running. Just my opinion. Just start it's not that hard.
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    17,186
    I agree my N310 loads are high pressure despite only being minor loads. For 9mm major, slower powders like 3N37 & 3N38 are used. Slow powders allow the compensators to do their job better too.

    Unlike your .22 work, you are likely to find a JHP being most accurate.

    I would like you to view every round you make as something that could destroy an irreplaceable item, not just cost cost wise. Lack of attention and/or complacency are the enemy. How susceptible humans are to this is why things like powder check dies and such exist.

    Obviously, to err is human, so I won’t say it’s a bad idea but unless your using a ransom rest and are pulling the arm with a string, there are things nearby that are also irreplaceable, even if money were no object, despite using a firearm you care less about.

    As others have said, a double charge will be a deal breaker and a possibility with small charges of fast powder, even more so if you charge a big loading block full of cases vs put a bullet on top and seat it over each case right after it has been charged.

    The good news about N310 over powders that one couldn’t throw doubles, as they would overflow and spill out, is that you will be able to load many more rounds per pound of powder.

    If you haven’t already come across it, this might be helpful.

    https://www.vihtavuori.com/reloading-data/handgun-reloading/?cartridge=52
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
    kmw1954 likes this.
  23. film495

    film495 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2019
    Messages:
    1,305
    do a straight wall pistol cartridge first if you can. also, you can do and practice the entire process with no powder or primers - several times to work the kinks out and improve on shortcomings you find, and build confidence. IMHO, the primer and powder charge are pretty easy ... prepping the brass correctly IMHO is the most likely challenge, followed by crimp, if any is applied. neck tension and bullet seating can be nuanced, but if the set up and dies are all standard, should pose no real issues. I still run myself through a few dry runs, even on cartridges I've already loaded for, just to get back up to speed, and go through the process for that cartridge, and only after I do it with no confusion or issues do I get powder and primers out.
     
  24. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Messages:
    5,278
    Location:
    Clarkesville, GA
    This is one thing I dearly love about VihtaVuori powders... the numbering system. I can tell exactly, which is the next slower or next faster powder from the one I'm using. No charts needed.
     
    ballman6711 likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice