Starting Load...where to really start

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mbruce, Jan 1, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mbruce

    mbruce Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    Western NC
    I've been reading some posts about how the starting load may not be powerful enough to cycle in newer semi-autos and/or produce squibs. If this is the case then why start with the "starting load?" Is it better to start with a middle load? If so then what is considered a middle load -- a # in between the starting load and the max? I'm only reloading for semi-autos.

    Is it pretty easy to tell when you have fired a squib load?
  2. chineseboxer

    chineseboxer Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Rhode Island
    Every time I have tried a "starting" load, they have functioned fine. A squib will typically happen with Zero powder. even if you cut a starting load in half it will usually be enough to send your bullet our the barrel. Start at minimum and work your way up. It is the safest way.
  3. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Hopewell Big Woods
    First you check 3 sources for loading data for your caliber & bullet weight. If there is a wide range in the powder charge, start by loading 3 rounds, using the lowest starting load. Will the auto function correctly? Work from there.
    Not always, only way to know for sure is check the barrel after each shot. You may not hear a squib if shooting a light target load with others shooting next to you. An auto loader may not load the next round or eject, thats a clue. If its a max loading, then you will notice no recoil/noise. Check the photobucket link below, look for a 45acp barrel, a squib left a bullet stuck in the very end of the barrel, then he fired into it. End of barrel. :uhoh:
  4. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    The 'starting' load is/should be safe for "that" bullet in a given length barrel. Comparing with another data source is a reasonable idea.

    I shoot light loads for specific velocities through a chrono. The chrono registers when the bullet passes the sensors, so I know it left the barrel.

    With or without a chrono, always fire into a "target" with new loads. Each shot should be accompanied by a bullet "HOLE" in the target.

    I've never had a problem with the 'starting' load given in reputable data. Problems can still arise using reputable data due to bad reloading practices, such as not confirming the powder drop in each and every case.
  5. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Central Ohio
    The advice to check several manuals is good.

    As for what starting load; you need to know your gun and your manual. The older Barnes manual had pretty stiff loads so starting at the bottom of their loads and maybe not going to their maximum was a good idea. On the other hand, one manual I have, has pretty anemic 30/06 data and I ended up about 3 grains over their maximum load before I reached my guns maximum so I know not to start at the lowest loads listed in that manual if I try a different powder.
  6. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Cornelia, GA
    It may well be. It may not be. You begin with the "starting load" because you simply don't know.

    If it was better, then "starting loads" would only be a 5% reduction instead of their 10% reduction.

    No one can possibly tell you, there's simply too many variables involved. That's why you start at the beginning.

    Let's rephrase this line of questioning and make it into a statement. Then we'll see if it still sounds like a good idea. Here goes: I'm willing to sacrifice my personal safety because I'm in a hurry. I'm not willing to take an extra 10 minutes to load 10 rounds at the "starting load". Even though there are 100 variables that determine how a load behaves in a particular gun, I'm going to ignore every powder manufacturer's warning and jump to a higher load. I haven't got 10 minutes for assembling "starting loads", but I do have 3 hours to spend with a kinetic hammer disassembling over-powered loads.

    Still sound like a great idea ?

    You'd have to go way under the "starting load" to get a squib. The largest percentage of squibs is from having no powder at all in the cartridge. View this video. See if you can spot the squib. Click Here
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  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