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Falling in the "Bushing Cracks."

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by deafsg1, Jan 10, 2008.

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  1. deafsg1

    deafsg1 Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Hey everyone!

    I have the Lee Load-All II, and I'm curious about how I'm going to be able to get a powder weight thrown, and being able to adjust by .1 grains without having to weigh and trickle every charge because the closest bushing may not come close enough. I look at the bushing capacity chart for the bushings, and I see grain weight numbers for a powder I want to use in this order, Hodgdon Universal Clay, 14.2, 14.9, 15.7, 16.4, 17.3, and so on. .7 grains from bushing to bushing is too big a jump when you're trying to match up your loads to your guns and components. What if I want 21.5 grains, but the bushings are set to 21.0 and 22.1? I know about the bushing chart being off (even the loader I picked up still has the sheet copyrighted in 12-23-1996), but I just want to say that assuming it was accurate, and my bushings couldn't give me my exact weight without trickling the extra to bring it up, what do I do? Look at the numbers to the right on most of them. From 35.7 to 37.4. :what:

    The only solutions are to buy a second set of bushings and modify several of them so that each bushing will differ by .1 grains, keep using JB weld on the inside of a bushing until it throws a given weight. Another alternative would be to order another Safety Charge Bar and modify that or even build one out of wood to mechanically resemble the universal charge bar available for the Mec reloaders, but sized to fit the reloader and so that you can adjust the cavity size with a screw driver from the side without having to take the bar out.

    Ideas? Let me know! Thank you!
  2. scout26

    scout26 Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Illinois - The Deadbeat State
    Actually there's a third solution.

    Don't worry about it.

    I reload with both MEC (with Univerisal Charge Bars and with regular Bushings) and Lee equipment and they both drop "inconsistently".

    You're loading for shotgun, so as long you're not at the top end of the pressure limits, it's not that big of deal to be off by a up to .3 grains either way. Accuracy in Shotgun is a whole 'nother ballgame from accuracy in Rifle or Pistol. Again as long as you not pushing the top end of the pressure scale, it's not like Pistol or Rifle reloading, where you have to work up your loads by starting with 10% less and watch for signs of excessive pressure. The recipes in the manuals account for the fact that the drops are going to be slightly (+/- a couple of tenths of a grain) off.

    Remember that these are volumetric drops not weight, so each charge is going to be slightly different then the previous ones. Trickling each charge will put you in the loony bin. Same with modifying bushings, as each time you go to reload (and even in the same session) the drops are going to slightly off from one another. You'll go crazy just trying to get two drops in row the same. It's the nature of the beast.

    Oh, and the bushing charts in the all manuals are off (on the low side), not only for Lee but MEC, P-W, everyone. Probably a lawyer/CYA thing.

    Here's what I do. I've got a couple of powders that I use on a fairly consistent basis. I made my own bushing chart for each powder, by doing 25 drops of each powder in each bushing and got an average. Then when I go to reload using that powder I check MY chart and use the appropriate bushing. I then weigh the first 6 or so drops to make sure that it's still in the ballpark. For me that's +/- .3 grains. Temp, humidity, opening a new lot or jug, and even amount of powder in the bottles can change the drop weights. As long as it averages out with no off the chart drops, it's close enough. While I'm reloading, I also weigh every 15th-25th drop just to make sure that it's still in the ballpark.

    I normally go with the lower drop. But that's just me, I'm not a big fan of recoil. I'm also not a big fan of barrel wear which is what you'll get using max loads, you'll shorten your hull life and have more wad residue to clean out of your choke tubes. If you look at Hodgdon's manual or website, for example, they normally have a range of loads depending on the amount of powder used. (Alliant has it also) Here's an example from Hodgdon's site. I'd feel safe using a bushing that drops 18.6 grains of Titewad on average, knowing that even if it's over by .3 gains, I'm still below max pressure and I'm probably going average about ~1250 fps. Although I would probably use a bushing that gets me closer to 17 grains.

    Remington 2-3/4 STS, Nitro, or Gun Club Hull
    Load Gauge Shot Wt. Powder Primer Wad Powder Wt. (Gr.) Pressure Vel. (ft/s)

    Lead Shot 12 1 oz. Titewad CCI 209 Purple PC 17 8,200 PSI 1180
    Lead Shot 12 1 oz. Titewad CCI 209 Purple PC 18 10,100 PSI 1235
    Lead Shot 12 1 oz. Titewad CCI 209 Purple PC 19 10,500 PSI 1290

    Now if your loading for slugs, then you might want to weigh every charge, if you're doing small batches and looking for accuracy.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2008
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