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Case fillers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dudemeister, Apr 24, 2011.

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  1. Dudemeister

    Dudemeister Member

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    Preamble (I'm sometimes winded, so you can skip to Main Subject)

    I recently started reloading for my .45LC & .38spl, but this post is mostly about my .45LC.

    I started originally with Hodgdon Titegroup, but didn't like it much, as it seemed to be too sensitive to it's position in the case, also being dark in color and very low on volume, it's hard to tell how much powder is in the case. So I always was weary of it, checking and double checking every load, which made for a somewhat stressful job, which is never fun.

    I then got some Trail Boss, and I really like the stuff. It's so bulky, it's nearly impossible to double load it, which also makes it "insensitive" to it's position in the case. I like most everything about it except it's "dirty". I mean the cartridges are really sooty after they're fired, and after shooting a couple hundred rounds, your hands look like you just finished cleaning a barbecue oven.

    So this got me looking at other powders. Don't get me wrong, I like and will still use Trail Boss, but I'd like to find other alternatives. At the last gun show I picked up a bottle of Hodgdon/Clays Universal.

    Universal is bulkier than Titegroup, and being that it's a lighter brown color, I can easily tell a double load from a single. It also seems to meter very well through my Lee Pro Autodisk. The current load I like to use is 6gr. of Universal under a 255gr. LRNFP. Yes, it's a bit light, but it works well for me. At the range I noticed that it burns cleaner than the Trail Boss, but it's more sensitive to case location.

    Main Subject


    So this got me looking into case fillers. I read a whole lot of opinions here and other places and the various recipes, and finally decided to try one simple recipe: toilet paper.

    I loaded a dozen or so rounds with 6gr. powder and then stuffed a 1" square pieces of TP right behind it. The edges of the TP cling against the case and the bullet, once seated, will keep the paper there. It's possible that a few grains of powder may find their way around it, but the bulk will be nicely pressed up against the primer.

    Before I go to the range and shoot this stuff, I have a few questions:

    • How many of you are using case fillers, especially for the larger cases?
    • What is your currently preferred filler?
    • Will adding a filler such TP require a change in the load (powder weight)?
    • Will the TP burn completely in the case, or will I start fires with a flaming wad?
    • Is this detrimental to the gun, cartridge case, etc?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Many years ago I use cotton for filler for 38 Special loads. I don't think the filler improved anything but the whifts of cotton flying in the air after I shot lent a feminine touch. I've heard of people using kapok but I've never used that.

    My predictions are:

    1. The TP won't burn up.
    2. You won't start fires.
    3. You shouldn't have to modify your load.
    4. You won't hurt your gun.

    Let us know what happens!
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Never in my life for any handgun caliber.

    I have used Dacron pillow stuffing for low velocity reduced loads in bottle-neck rifle calibers. A tuft of Dacron burns completely in the bore and leaves no residue, and no chance of a bore obstruction, or a range in flames.

    I think it would be a monumental waste of time stuffing stuffing in .45 Colt, or .38 Spl.

    Use a loading block, charge your cases, then look inside all 50 of them with a penlight casting light from a side angle and compare the powder levels before setting bullets on them.
    A double charge of any powder would be readily apparent.

    If position sensitivity is that much an issue, you are using the wrong powder.

    rc
     
  4. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    I agree with rcmodel. A waste of time for .45 Colt or .38 Special. I never bother with fillers in handgun cases.

    That said, +1 to Grumulkin. I can't see any harm in what you are doing.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Agreed, although I have tried them in pistol calibers (Curiosity killed the cat ya know). I found powders that were less position sensitive and shot well. Besides, fillers are a pain to load with.
     
  6. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    If you have been seating the bullet to crimp in the regular crimping groove, you could seat it deeper and crimp over the shoulder.
    If the bullet has a crimping groove and a shoulder.
     
  7. Dudemeister

    Dudemeister Member

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    What would this do?
     
  8. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    That would, in effect, decrease the case volume.
    The 6 gr Universal load would fill a higher percentage of the case, resulting (most likely) in higher pressure, higher velocity, and cleaner burning. That is still such a mild load that the increased pressure should be no problem.
     
  9. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I have to join the "pick a better powder" crowd. There are many better powders for the application. I load a 255 gr bullet over 6.3gr of AA#2. Its also dark, a tiny amount of powder, but it gives reliable ignition regardless of powder position and I dont get scorched or sooty cases with it. I did find that 6.3 was the lowest it was reasonably clean, with 6.5 being better. I dont see these being overpressure for any 45 colt. I have loaded it up to 7.0gr and it was very accurate and super clean burning, reminded me of using 700x. I am not sure that is a safe load in anything other than my blackhawk though, so use caution if you attempt it.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I shoot 6.2 Grs AA #2 with a 255 Gr X-Treme in my 25-5 all the time. It is all you say it is, especially the position insensitive part. A big plus in that huge case with a light load. (I can't prove this is a low pressure load, but feel like it is. Use at your own risk)

    7.0 Grs of Unique and a 225 Gr X-Treme is another real good one.

    Unique is like 700X in that while it doesn't meter all that well, it shoots very well.
     
  11. wingman

    wingman Member

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    When I first started reloading some 40+plus years ago I used cotton filler with38sp on low charge rounds worked fine and seemed to give better ignition,the 38 case being long small amounts of powder will move forward in case.

    Overall I agree with finding the correct powder is a better choice simply because its time consuming using fillers.

    Run a goggle search on fillers lots of info out there.
     
  12. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I have used TP in rifle cartridges & after you shoot you can smell burnt TP & confetti is in the air but I don't see you starting any fires with it. I have never tried it in hand gun though.

    +1 on setting lower 7 crimping over the shoulder.
     
  13. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Used to use kapok in rifle cartridges when loading 4198 under cast bullets. Accuracy was vastly improved in the'06. See no reason to do so in handgun calibers. In the big cases, 44 mag, 45 Colt, if your loads are position sensitive, use a bulkier powder.
     
  14. Dudemeister

    Dudemeister Member

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    That actually sounds like a lot of fun, I can't wait to take these rounds to the range and shoot them.

    Anyway, the problem with trying different powders is that it can get expensive. I don't know anyone that is into reloading that I can "borrow" some powder from for testing, so I'd have to actually buy a bottle of every powder I'd like to try. So far I got TiteGroup, Trail Boss and Universal. Trail Boss is something I know I'll keep using, but the others, if I decide they're not for me, they're wasted money. So I need to try and make it work.

    TiteGroup for instance is supposed to be (relatively) case position insensitive, but the reality is that you can "feel" the difference in the recoil and the groupings you get at 15yd. and further. Last time I shot it, I kept tapping the side of the gun with the muzzle pointing up, and my groups got smaller, but I don't want to go through that every time I shoot.

    Trail Boss seems consistent throughout, even though I get the occasional flier, but then again I get those dirty, sooty cartridges.

    I picked Universal this time because I read it was not very position sensitive, and because it was bulkier by volume than TiteGroup. The fact that I could also see it, and judge it's fill level better was a plus. But at the range I did find inconsistencies, not as dramatic as TiteGroup, but there none the less. Which prompted me to look at case fillers. Of everything I read, TP was the simplest, least time consuming, and most "innocuous" if that word can be used for this. The idea was that a little piece of paper would simply keep the powder up against the primer, and (hopefully) burn up in the process.

    As for setting the bullet further in, I don't know... I was already concerned because my OAL is already below the recommended 1.6" (1.580"), and it's not like pushing the bullet another few mils into the case is going to make up for all that empty space. Yes it will increase the pressure, but given that Universal powder only fills up about 1/3 of a .45LC case, I don't think it will make a difference in terms of position.

    BTW, I do not have any ignition issues with my setup, I just have inconsistent accuracy due to variations in velocity, which is due to the powder location in the case.
     
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