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Thread: Small but big variation in load

  1. #1

    Default Small but big variation in load

    Something that kind of concerned us was the charge coming out of our Hornady Progressive loader. We loaded up some 185 grain copper with 4.2 of Bullseye.

    The charge was right on 4.2 for about 10-12 rounds then we got 4.4, 4.1 etc.. I thought flake and ball powder was supposed to measure very well? Is it reasonable to expect that much of a difference in the charge? We are being very careful and measuring about every 10 rounds to make sure the charge was right on at 4.2 which is why we discovered the slight variance. Is this normal in a progressive loader? Is it normal for flake powder like the Bullseye? what should we expect from other powders?

    I'd also like to asked about accuracy. I know that a small variation in loads can effect accuracy. We are experiencing about .1 or .2 in our charges (up and down). Is this enough to effect accuracy in a 40 or 45 cal load? I haven't touched my rifle loads yet and plan on setting up a separate bench for that with a Rock Chucker or some other single stag so I can measure and load one at a time more carefully. the pistol rounds we are loading now are more fun on the range rounds..

    I do appreciate all the feedback you guys have given me so far and yes, reloading is very addicting but I am finding, being new, I am a little paranoid with the whole process.

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    Great question, sounds like you are thinking the right way. Measured steps and repeatability is the key to reloading.

    Answer, I have no idea about pistols. You asked about rifles, and I have found .1g (and sometimes .2g) +/- to be of no noticeable difference to about 300 yards with standard hunting rounds. That being said, I measure all my rifle charges. I have found some powders just do not measure well, and I like the redundancy of checking each one. If I was making larger quantities for plinking and such, then I might not worry as much.

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    Some powder measures work better than others. Bulleye usually throws pretty close. Powder measures that are set up to throw small charges usually work better that ones set up for throwing large charges. I am not familiar with Hornadys powder thrower so I can't comment on your thrower as far as expected accuracy. My Dillon does a very good job with Bulleye using the small powder slide, easily keeping it within .1 +or -. When using stick type rifle powders such as 4350 and such I don't think they make a powder dispencer that works all that well. Most of the ball powders dispence very well but I usually weigh each one when loading rifle.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Some powder measures work better than others. Bulleye usually throws pretty close. Powder measures that are set up to throw small charges usually work better that ones set up for throwing large charges. I am not familiar with Hornadys powder thrower so I can't comment on your thrower as far as expected accuracy. My Dillon does a very good job with Bulleye using the small powder slide, easily keeping it within .1 +or -. When using stick type rifle powders such as 4350 and such I don't think they make a powder dispencer that works all that well. Most of the ball powders dispence very well but I usually weigh each one when loading rifle.
    So it sounds as if we are right in line with the norm running plus/minus 1 or so which is what I was looking for.

    I do plan on setting up a separate bench for rifle rounds and measure each load. Being new to loading I just wanted to make sure I was following a safe practice not necessarily the best practice.

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    You should be plenty safe throwing the 4.2 charge in the 40 or the 45. Accuracy shouldn't be greatly affected by even a .2 + or -. I don't know what your set up is but if it doesn't have a powder baffel get one. Also keeping the powder thrower from getting really low on powder helps. If your using a beam type scale. make sure the contact points of the beam are very clean. If it has a magnetic damper, make sure there are no real fine metal hairs sticking out from the magnet rubbing on the copper plate on the beam. One of my beam scales was acting weird the other day and I found some very fine steel hairs sticking out from the magnet. I don't use some powders because they won't throw under .1 + -. Bullseye has always worked well for me but I went to W230 and then to W231 as it meters a little better than BE and works well for the light to med power loads. Ball powders meter the best with some of the flake powders being good and some not so good. The stick powders are the worst and I don't use them on my progressive. Small differences in powder charges may or may not make much difference in accuracy whether pistol or rifle. Even if you have two guns of the same caliber, it can make a difference in one and not the other. You just have to try different charges in your gun to see what the effect will be. I also like loading rifle cases on a single stage or a turret and leave the progressive for the pistol rounds. Sounds like you're doing fine. Keep up the good work you're hooked now.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    You should be plenty safe throwing the 4.2 charge in the 40 or the 45. Accuracy shouldn't be greatly affected by even a .2 + or -. I don't know what your set up is but if it doesn't have a powder baffel get one. Also keeping the powder thrower from getting really low on powder helps. If your using a beam type scale. make sure the contact points of the beam are very clean. If it has a magnetic damper, make sure there are no real fine metal hairs sticking out from the magnet rubbing on the copper plate on the beam. One of my beam scales was acting weird the other day and I found some very fine steel hairs sticking out from the magnet. I don't use some powders because they won't throw under .1 + -. Bullseye has always worked well for me but I went to W230 and then to W231 as it meters a little better than BE and works well for the light to med power loads. Ball powders meter the best with some of the flake powders being good and some not so good. The stick powders are the worst and I don't use them on my progressive. Small differences in powder charges may or may not make much difference in accuracy whether pistol or rifle. Even if you have two guns of the same caliber, it can make a difference in one and not the other. You just have to try different charges in your gun to see what the effect will be. I also like loading rifle cases on a single stage or a turret and leave the progressive for the pistol rounds. Sounds like you're doing fine. Keep up the good work you're hooked now.
    That is what I was looking for.. I wanted to make sure that the variance was within acceptable standards and I wasn't outside of acceptable variations in loads. The press we have is a Hornady Lock and Load Automatic Press so I'll have to read up on cleaning and such to make sure it is functioning properly. We have a RCBS digital scale that we measure about every 10th round as a quality check.

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    .2gr over in your 4.2gr example represents a 5% difference in charge. That would be a lot if you're pushing the limits, it appears that you are not. That same 5% difference would be 4.7gr difference in a 300RUM example, that would be hair raising. On the other hand, a .2gr difference in a 300RUM would only be 2/10th of 1% in charge, hardly worth considering. Work on your set up and try to get repeatability in your charge. Bullseye should meter just fine.

    I'm not familiar with the Hornady progressive system. Perhaps pause for a second while in the powder charge station to insure a full drop. I do that with the 550B Dillon when throwing a large charge. Your charge isn't large but a pause may insure a complete load. Make sure you don't have moisture or a static issue causing your powder to stick rather than drop.

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    I don't use an electronic scale for powder so I have no first hand experience, but people say they can be affected by external electric devices. Floresent lights can affect some and most need some warm up time before they read steady. If you have a beam scale, you may want to compare the two to see if the electronic is wandering. Marshall is quite right in that a percentage of total charge is more important than a given amount ( .1 .2gr ) of powder. Considering that a max charge of BE in a small case like a 32acp may be less than 2 gr a difference of .2 is very significant. BE is usually pretty good for consistant charges so I would expect better than .2 + - but because I'm not familiar with Hornadys powder thrower, I'm not sure if it's that or something to do with the scale.

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