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Thread: H110 - How cold is too cold?

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    Default H110 - How cold is too cold?

    I've read a bunch that H110/W296 is not a good cold weather powder. Hard to ignite and large variations in velocity. But, how cold is cold?? 30 above or 30 below?

    I've never let my rounds sit outside for any lenght of time and then shot them. Maybe it's time for a test. Has anyone done any testing or have experience with rounds/gun being outside at 10-40 above?
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    Twenty below is too cold. I think I got hang fires with a few different calibers at about zero. I don't think +30 is a problem but don't know about the 0 to 30 gap.
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    I have to check my notes, but as I recall I did get hangfires at as I recall +20, but it also might have been due to an aftermarket lighter hammer spring on my SRH. I used to do alot of shooting year round, but haven't done much winter shooting in the last few years.
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    Iíve got the hang fire at +12f and odd velocity around +20f.
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    I'll try and get out this weekend. It's been between 0-25 above. I'll let some 454 ammo sit outside overnight and see how it shoots.

    I'm thinking about taking the 454 levergun on an interior griz hunt in April. At this point the plan is to snowshoe in about 5 miles for 4 days. Temps are usually 25-40ish but spending all day on a windy ridge might cool the tube/ammo on the levergun. 355wfns at 1700 or 435ers at 1500 x10 in the tube should work if needed- as long as they go bang. My buddy will be the primary shooter and he'll be packing his 338 RUM.

    I guess I could work up new loads with different powder but I know how these shoot with H110.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Iíve got the hang fire at +12f and odd velocity around +20f.
    you posted after me...hmmm.... maybe I should get some lilgun or 2400 or N110. Thoughts?
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    I would go with some LilGun, itís very like H110 but lights better and isnít bothered by cold. Well I should say it isnít bothered by South Central cold, I donít know about Fairbanks 40-60 below cold but your not gonna have that for spring bear anyway. You will be able to mimic your H110 velocity with LilGun very easy and not be changing sights and such. Same could be true of N110 but I donít know much about it and I know LilGun will do you proud.
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    I've had the primer go off, shoved the bullet about 1/4" into the barrel. None of the H-110 went off. +20d.
    That was a .454 in a revolver. Got rid of all I had after that. I switched to imr 4227.
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    I've had the primer go off, shoved the bullet about 1/4" into the barrel. None of the H-110 went off. +20d.
    That was a .454 in a revolver. Got rid of all I had after that. I switched to imr 4227.
    Yea I had that in the past and it sucks, ether locks it all up or leaves you with a pluged barrel. Which is why I hate a hang fire and will pack up soon as I get one. If one hangs the next one might be that major nuisance squib I hate so bad . . . last thing ya want on a bear hunt is your gun rendered useless by a squib..
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    I am not doubting anyone's experience with H110 in cold weather. There was a similar mention in a recent issue of Handloader magazine too.

    However, my experience is different. In all the instances where I can be sure of the load, H-110 doesn't work so well in cold weather with medium to light for caliber bullets. I load H110 (42.5 grains of the stuff) in 500 smith behind the 350gr Sierra JSP.

    I wrote a letter to the editor of Handloader magazine a few months ago and pointed out my load density in 500smith is about 90%, where a mid range load with mid weight bullets in .44mag for instance is "about" a 50% load density. He emailed me back and basically told me I am an idiot. Didn't publish my letter in the next issue either.

    So I stuck some loaded ammunition in the (unheated) trunk of my car, in Fairbanks, left it there a couple weeks.

    Finally got to the range on a day it was -32dF. I loaded five pieces of Starline brass, CCI#200 LR primer (not exactly a barnstormer on the primer tree), 42.5 of H110 and the 350Sierra.

    So inside the house temperature pistol (4" Smith and Wesson), ambient temperature ammunition. The first four rounds fired just fine, maybe a tiny speck of smaller perceived recoil, but certainly still enough to stop a bear. Couldn't fire the fifth one. I had generated so much water vapor the gun froze stuck, iced it right up. Thawed the gun out back home, functions flawlessly. My chrono is only rated down to +20dF, figured that out the hard way last year.

    I have heard from enough different people that H-110 can have trouble in colder weather that I do believe it can happen. I have no problem lighting it with standard primers myself, but the variable I have been able to tease out from specific cases could all come down to load density. Haven't emailed hodgdon to ask em what they think.

    I have read quite a few times Lil Gun works better in cold weather for the folks who have trouble with H-110, don't care for that powder myself.

    UPDATE!! See Post 27 below... http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...=1#post1089556
    Last edited by Snyd; 03-08-2012 at 16:00.

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    swmn. I wonder if I ran in to you at the S. Cushman range this winter. I was shooting my 4" 454 converted Redhawk and talking to a guy with a 4" 500 smith. I think I was shooting the levergun that day as well, can't remember. He also was shooting a black powder pistol. Sound familiar?
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    Well try it with a acclimatized gun that doesnít act like a heater to your cold H110/W296 then shoot it and have a look at your extreme spread . . . watch out for squibs though,. it doesnít like cold no matter what cold gun you try to light it off in.

    Lots of people donít like LilGun but usually they have been reading the internet and never tried it. Try it yourself before you form an opinion on it, it will give you same velocity for less pressure or better velocity for same pressure as H110. LilGun doesnít mind the cold, isnít as dirty, doesnít need such a hard bullet pull to light right, gives better extreme spreads and no worse erosion than any other powder at that pressure. Iíve burned a heck of a lot of H110/W296 and LilGun . . . LilGun is a superior powder to H110/W296.
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    Snyd, does sound familiar. I do recall having my black powder muzzleloader pistol out once this winter, I just love the smoke clouds.

    ADfields, my first pound of Lil Gun was the first one pound cannister I threw away empty when I started reloading. For 500 Smith it is actually my second or third choice depending on if you count H110 and Win296 (my two favorites) as one powder or two. I have two pounds of Lil Gun in stock, factory sealed and then stored in FoodSaver bags. I bought them during the great powder shortage immediately following our last presidential election. Yes, it cleans up easily. Yes, it performs very similarly to H110/Win 296. I just don't like it.

    I am not anxious to leave an expensive pistol locked in the trunk of my car for an extended period - mostly because anything on my winter beater is subject to self destruct at anytime - however I will watch for an opportunity to test your hypothesis.

    Finally, I dug out the emails I traded with the editor at Handloader, and forwarded them to helpathodgdondotcom. I linked Hodgdon into this thread, or offered to quote their reply here if they choose to not register. Pertinent quote:

    Quote Originally Posted by email to Hodgdon
    So:

    1. Would you care to respond on the outdoors directory, alternatively may I quote you there re q2?

    2. What is the long version of the official Hodgdon company line regarding using H110 from say +32dF down to -50dF?

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    NB: The three powders I read about over and over as cold weather substitutes for H110 are already mentioned in this thread, Lil Gun, IMR 4227 and H4227.

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    Something I noticed this winter with IMR4227, and it might do it with other powders, the first shot is always 25fps or so slower than the second shot.
    The second is about 25fps than the third shot. Then the rest stabilize speed wise.

    So is it the powder getting warmer causing this?

    Or revolver + powder + primer all getting warmer causing the increase in fps.

    I noticed this in colder temps, I need to check this out more when it warms up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    ADfields, my first pound of Lil Gun was the first one pound cannister I threw away empty when I started reloading. For 500 Smith it is actually my second or third choice depending on if you count H110 and Win296 (my two favorites) as one powder or two.
    Per Hodgdon H110 and W296 are the same powder off the same line with only difference being the label on the jug and lot numbers. Same exact stuff so I donít see why you would count it as two.


    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    I have two pounds of Lil Gun in stock, factory sealed and then stored in FoodSaver bags. I bought them during the great powder shortage immediately following our last presidential election. Yes, it cleans up easily. Yes, it performs very similarly to H110/Win 296. I just don't like it.
    Is there a reason you donít like it? Did you have some negative results using it or is it just a baseless dislike like my dislike for the 44mag? I donít like LilGun in my Hornet because its finicky in that for some reason but in handgun cases 41mag and larger volumes itís been flawless and I buy it 8 pounds a whack and been through several of those jugs without a single issue ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    NB: The three powders I read about over and over as cold weather substitutes for H110 are already mentioned in this thread, Lil Gun, IMR 4227 and H4227.
    N110 is also highly recommended as a superior powder to H110/W296 by many knowledgably guys, Iíve never tried it but have little doubt itís good stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    N110 is also highly recommended as a superior powder to H110/W296 by many knowledgabl guys, Iíve never tried it but have little doubt itís good stuff.
    I have about half a pound left of Vhitavhouri N-110. In 4" barrel .500 Smith I was getting incomplete combustion, except in 400 and 440 grain bullets within 1.5 grains of max. Below that, lighter bullets or smaller powder charges I was finding cylindrical shaped ashes, crisp litter suckers, all over. I was using Federal GM210M primers at the time, during Fairbanks summer. Haven't tried it longer barrels or other primers. That was before I owned a chronograph and I didn't have any other issue with it.

    My dislike for Lil Gun is empirically baseless. No measurable quality like hard to clean up or big nasty group sizes, I just don't like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    I have about half a pound left of Vhitavhouri N-110....
    Want to trade it for 90% of a lb H4350? Or trade off a lb of that Lil'gun you've got left? I could throw in some WW lead muffins if you cast. Or some primers or....?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Well try it with a acclimatized gun that doesnít act like a heater to your cold H110/W296 then shoot it and have a look at your extreme spread . . . watch out for squibs though,. it doesnít like cold no matter what cold gun you try to light it off in.

    Lots of people donít like LilGun but usually they have been reading the internet and never tried it. Try it yourself before you form an opinion on it, it will give you same velocity for less pressure or better velocity for same pressure as H110. LilGun doesnít mind the cold, isnít as dirty, doesnít need such a hard bullet pull to light right, gives better extreme spreads and no worse erosion than any other powder at that pressure. Iíve burned a heck of a lot of H110/W296 and LilGun . . . LilGun is a superior powder to H110/W296.
    I've done enough reading now to be fairly well convinced that there are much better options these days than H110/W296 in cases like the 45 Colt. I'm still curious though about the issue of case capacity vs. powder bulk. Most of the recommended powders for the stouter (Ruger) loads in the 45 Colt are very dense (not bulky) ball type powders, and even with warmer loads only occupy perhaps 60 percent of the case capacity under many bullets in the 260-320gr range. Is there any erratic ignition being experienced as a result of lower density loads with these medium-slow powders?
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