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Powder=Accuracy?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by DynoDan1, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. DynoDan1

    DynoDan1 Member

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    I have read, heard and been advised to try such and such powder, it will improve accuracy.
    Can someone explain how a certain powder can improve accuracy.
    All gunpowder manufacturers claim their powder is the best, or at least that's the way it seems to me.
     
  2. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    For rifle, Nosler publishes load data and flags the most accurate powder. I’ve read case fill is pretty important to a more consistent burn but suspect it’s just one of many factors. I’m interested in the responses as well.
     
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  3. TEXASJD
    • Contributing Member

    TEXASJD Contributing Member

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    Getting as close to the correct burn rate for case capacity will tend to increase accuracy, that's one reason more efficient cartages tend to be more accurate. A full case of powder with less air space is the idea.
     
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  4. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    For rifle loads. It's about matching the harmonics of the barrel with the shock wave the powder produces. I have yet to find a "most accurate load" be that in my gun. When they say/mark as such it's just the results they got that day when they tested with their equipment. Every powder even different lots produce a different shock wave going down the barrel. It's a matter of finding what your gun likes. In a perfect world you would like to find a load that has 1gr + window where every thing aligns up. When perfect a slightly lower velocity will exit the barrel higher compensating for the velocity. Most all powders have a preferred pressure range they work optimum at. This is normally near or at 100% fill.
     
  5. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Speaking of manufacturers marked accuracy loads, make sure you know exactly what those loads were developed and tested in. You may be surprised to find out, almost every load is shot in a test fixture with a barrel that looks nothing like a gun you have at all. For me finding 357 loads shot in 10 inch barrels is not at all going to give similar results. I've never seen a 10 pistol and that's sbr territory and I'm out going their either.
     
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  6. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    ...to include your specific rifle barrel and length, with your specific bullet weight. The list goes on... ;)
     
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  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    How and why one powder typically produces greater accuracy in a given cartridge is an extreme multivariate system, including dependencies upon typical bullet weight, bore drag, expansion ratio, primary ignition pressure, dwell time, and barrel harmonics... a largely academic discussion which yields no means of estimating an ideal powder for a given cartridge beyond the loose correlation of “near 100% charge density typically = good,” and aligning that with a desired muzzle velocity target for a specific bullet weight in question... very loose.

    That said...

    Powder type and charge weight are the biggest control knobs we have for dialing in on accurate loads. Absolutely, one powder will be more accurate than another.
     
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  8. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Considering all of the variables mentioned thus far and several more too numerous to get into your best bet is to try a few loads using a few powders and see what works best for you. Yes, all powder manufacturers want you using their powders so each makes claims. The ultimate best is what works best for you under a given set of conditions. This is why we all work up loads and try different powders, primers, bullets, brass and about any other variable we can find. :)

    Ron
     
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  9. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Ask about a favorite load in any cartridge.
    You will get lots of different powders and bullets. That is what works in their gun.

    Gather enough data and you may see a powder or two being in the majority.

    Check those powders and they most likely, fill the cartridge.

    There is a reason certain powders are preferred by lots of shooters.

    Testing is part of the fun.
     
    stillquietvoice likes this.
  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    In my opinion, just ask the good shots what they use, and copy. What you will find is that there are a number of well characterized loads, that shoot well in just about everyone's guns, and if you tinker, one of them will do slightly better than the others in one of your firearms.

    So there are powders that do better as a class, than others, in particular applications, but it is extremely difficult to prove with any certainty, that anything new on the market, is actually, all that better than what is out there.

    A huge problem with pistol powders is that few can shoot a pistol to its accuracy potential. And I mean few.

    How many pistol shooters can do this at 50 yards, with a rest?

    9uK7aUJ.jpg

    How many pistol shooters can do this at 25 yards, offhand, one hand?

    VOPjztG.jpg

    I can't. There fore what is "accurate" or "not accurate" in my hands, may or may not be accurate or inaccurate because I can't shoot straight. The vast majority of accuracy claims are based on the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Shooting is a skill, and it takes lots of practice to get good at it. I have my original test targets with my first SuperMatch M1a, and I am holding the ten ring on the reduced SR-1 target at 100 yards. But, given a couple decades of competitive shooting, I am holding the X ring. Any ideas I had about accurate loads, when I first started, were obviously more or less bogus, as my aiming error was greater than the ammunition error.

    And due to delusions of self grandeur, everyone thinks they are the greatest shooter in world history, and that the bullets are going exactly were aimed.

    The current advertising trend is accuracy uber allis. The market and advertising bureaus work in tandem, we want sugary sweet, they give us sugary sweet, and of course, the current sugary sweet is sold as the sweetest that ever was and ever will be. It used to be power, big, awesome, world killing galactic power, (expressed as velocity), was what the shooting community wanted, and if you look at old magazines and manuals, that is what they are dishing out. Accuracy was more or less unneeded because the wallop would do the rest.

    lq4gQjf.jpg

    these Dagmar's on a 1957 Cadillac more or less tell what us what the male mind was thinking of. And bigger was better!

    iFfCYH1.jpg


    There is much to be skeptical about any in print shill's claim about accuracy. They shoot, at most, three shot groups, which prove nothing about accuracy, consistency, or accuracy potential. One of the "greatest", Ken Warner, never put down the number of rounds he fired, he grouped test results as accurate, very accurate, poor, etc. It is telling, in one 45 ACP article he wrote, he "gave up on W231" but was extremely positive about the accuracy of HP38. Which is the same powder in a different colored bottle. It is obvious that Ken's test procedures and techniques are nonsense. However, he was just what industry wanted. It is as Noam Chomsky says: "the purpose of advertising is to create ill informed consumers who make irrational choices"

    Chase after the powder du jour and you will end up with a shelf of partially used powder cans that sit around for decades, because they were not the end of history,
     
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  11. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Strange enough the most accurate powder may not even be tested or listed for your cartridge. Powder doesn't make decisions of it's own, it just burns. I am shooting a lot of siholloette in 357 and it's not listed at all. Is it the best powder, it is for me.
     
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  12. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    Now that I'm loading again in the modern era, I have started looking beyond just the published loads in the manuals to try to understand they "why" of it and am seeing all kinds of stuff that on the surface appears contradictory.

    For example, a 243 Win, 260 Rem and 308 Win are basically identical cases, differing only in the diameter and weight of the bullet. A guy might think the same powders could be used and would only result in changes in velocity......perhaps the lighter bullet going faster is all. But such is not the case. Worse, even in the same caliber, heavier bullet requires LESS powder? How can that be. A lot of it seems to run counter to what ought to logically happen. From a ballistics standpoint, there is a lot going on that is hard to understand.

    But the one thing that keeps turning up consistently is the idea of a full case of powder being the optimum, and presumably this gets you a consistent burn, with corresponding consistent pressure wave such that there is repeatability from shot to shot. From there, it is a matter of getting the right amount of a powder of optimal burn speed to time the movement of the bullet to the harmonics of the barrel.......the pressure waves that run up and down the barrel, and you then get the opportunity to further fine tune that by several means such as seating depth, etc.

    But from what I'm seeing, once you get into the right ballpark, there is no "perfect" powder. Once upon a time there probably was a best choice, but these days, there seems to be a lot of overlap. For example, I have found several powders described as being developed or "optimized" for the 308, yet even those are broken down into categories such as light loads (like a 150 or lighter) vs. powders for heavier bullets like the 175 or heavier. And no fewer than 4 powders in the 4350 speed range, not counting Ramshot Hunter.

    So the abundance of choices (at least on paper) is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how deep you want to plow this field. These days, I consider it a blessing as having choices means all the eggs are not in one basket.....so we get the opportunity to experience "good enough" vs. never knowing what "perfect" would get us.
     
  13. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    To elaborate.......for me, good enough means that in the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to buy from normal retail sources N140, Varget, A2495, IMR4064, A4064, A2520, IMR 4166, IMR 4895, Ramshot Tac and a few others for 308. If I was holding out for H4895, Shooter's World Precision or Rl15, I'd be screwed.

    But combined, that is at least a dozen powders, any one of which can be used to load an accurate round that will go BANG and get the job done, which for me is taking down deer. I'm finding the difference being shades of grey, not black and white.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  14. TEXASJD
    • Contributing Member

    TEXASJD Contributing Member

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    Load development IE powder primers seating depth... is really the last step to accuracy in rifles it really all starts with the 3B'S barrel bedding bullets
     
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  15. Mostly Lead

    Mostly Lead Member

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    Powders used to be a lot more accurate 20-30 yrs ago. You know, back when I had younger eyes and steadier hands. ;)

    Your mileage may vary...
     
    d31tc, Dudedog, Riomouse911 and 12 others like this.
  16. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Back in college days ('75), there was an old man (my age now, and I'm not old) out west of town, that raised turkeys.

    A couple of us helped him "round up and ship" the birds, for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And he let us deer hunt his ranch. He always had a beat up, Marlin .30-30 with him.
    One day, he emptied the Marlin, shooting at a coyote. He was cussing not being able to see the sights. I say, " why don't you put a scope on it? "
    He says, " I don't like them things. They make my rifle top heavy and cause it to wiggle too much. "
     
    Austin Albright likes this.
  17. Mostly Lead

    Mostly Lead Member

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    Long ago, I had some time off and spent it at the range. Got fairly accurate. But some time later I was out punching holes in paper and having trouble with one of my revolvers. It just wasn't "on target" and I said something about the sights having been bumped. Wife picks it up and drops one round on top of the X... "You mean these sights?" :confused: She still mentions it occasionally and I'll never forget it.

    A big part of reloading for me was working up loads that worked "best" in my pistols. For the revolvers, it was getting the groups tight. For the pistols it was reliable cycling and getting the brass to drop consistently where I wanted them to fall. My .38 special had many "best" loads depending on what powder I was using. Picking a favorite had many factors: recoil, burn temp, load density, clean/dirty, noise, smell, etc... I think getting one powder to shoot more accurately than another is somewhat dependent on how much time you spend with load development and how good your record keeping is. It does take quite a bit of time.
     
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  18. RashQuestion

    RashQuestion Member

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    Test, Test, Test, Isn't that the fun, as well as the challenge, of what we do with our load receipts? I like to experiment with different combinations handicapped by my own shooting ability! Slamfire said it better than I could!!!

    It will be great getting back to a time when more powder flavors are available to try!!!
     
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  19. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    All the better if handloading is one of your favorite pastimes.;)
     
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  20. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I originally started out with W748 and 168 gr bullets in my .308. Got decent groups. Then I tried W760. - Ball powders measure SO nice...! -
    Then IMR 4350; AA4350, RL15, IMR4166, Varget and half a dozen or so others. The all-star for my old Remington 788 was RL15. IMR 4350 was really good, but RL15 in that rifle was outstanding.
    Rifles are like kids: They are all different and have different needs to be able to be their best. JMHO, of course... :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
  21. DynoDan1

    DynoDan1 Member

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    WOW!!! Lot's of info to go over and evaluate!
    So far it seems that powder choice is quite subjective, to the shooter and to what the rifle likes.
    You like Ford's, he likes Dodge's and I like Chevy's.
    Whose to say which is better?
    I've been primarily using Accurate 2460 for the last 2.5+ years and have had outstanding results and dismal results but mostly outstanding or pretty close to it. Of late I've tried Accurate 4064 and IMR 3031. Have had decent results for the most part.
    I'm not a hunter but if I was I'd kill what I was shooting at for sure even out to 600 yards. But since I'm a target shooter, I'm looking for groupings as small as is possible. I shoot at 100 yards 95% of the time but do stretch out my efforts to 600 yards from time to time. Would like to try 1000+ yards but there aren't many places (legal) to do that here.
    And since my budget is limited and powder prices are no longer reasonable (along with most everything for this hobby) compared to 2 years ago, I tend to stick with what I got and know. I don't think I need to invest big money in rifles/scopes/accessories to achieve my goals, there are plenty of folks on YT that shoot well beyond 1000 yards with stellar results using off the shelf rifle/scopes under $1500-$2000 I think it takes skill, practice and patience more than anything else. Would a big buck rifle and scope help? Sure but do I need them, I don't think so. But then what do I know, I've only been doing this for a little over 2.5 years.
    I guess I just have to keep planting seeds of freedom until a forest pops up!!:)
     
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  22. DynoDan1

    DynoDan1 Member

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    For me, I think you've hit the nail on the head.
    Just the act of shooting at a target is where the thrill comes in for me.
    I seriously enjoy the reloading aspect. It's cathartic...usually!!
     
  23. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl:
    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I never thought of it that way, but in my experience, you're right. My wife has an old Ruger 7mm-08 that likes Hdy BTSPs about as much as one of our daughters likes fish. My wife's old Ruger 7mm-08 wouldn't put 3 or those Hdy 139gr BTSPs inside of 4" at 100 no matter which powder and how much of it we used. And our youngest daughter would gag and throw up if my wife even tried to cook fish in the house.:oops:
     
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  24. DynoDan1

    DynoDan1 Member

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    Yeah, I don't want to be that guy that has 20 years of all kinds of powders sitting on a shelf that are pretty much near empty!!
    Not to mention the amount of money spent!
    I am probably slowly progressing in this hobby against what most folks do mostly because of financial constraints. I try to make what I got work the best it can work. Once I think I've reached that point I move on. (I'm not there yet.)

    And ya know, I've bought supposedly the best of the best that money can buy of boxes of ammo and I really couldn't tell the difference between them and my reloads. I'm not saying I found the way to make my ammo superior to any of the factory stuff, it probably has more to do with the shooter and the rifle/scope combo than my reloads. But it was a way for me to quantify my reloads against supposedly the best of the best.
     
  25. stillquietvoice
    • Contributing Member

    stillquietvoice Contributing Member

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    A friend I f mine asked me what the best powder was for his guns, my first thought was best for what. Any way he wanted to know what will working all 4 of his calibers, 5.56, 3030, 303 brit. And 3006. It'll him that no one powder will be the best in all of them, but there are quite a few that will function in all of them, now considering the famine were in the best is the one you can get.
     
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