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Thread: Alternate powders

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    Member RC23's Avatar
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    Default Alternate powders

    Possible to substitute a powder that is close to the burn rate for a powder listed in published load data?
    What about charge weight? Use the same and/or extrapolate through the chart?

    OK; let the floggings begin.

    RC23

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    Burn rates and charge weights are not necessarily tied together. The energy density of the powder is what gets you to the charge weight, but that doesn't really give you the burn rate. Different powders have different energies, which means it would be tough to just use a powder that has a similar burn rate and assume the same charge weight. If you knew the energy density, you might be able to work up a correlation that way.

    BTW, the energy density is also not necessarily tied to the volume density either. Volume density is how many units of space does a specific weight of powder occupy. Energy density is how much energy is stored in that weight. It's possible to have a very compact high power powder that takes up little space, but has a high energy. Etc.

    Burn rates will give you a reasonable idea of moving up or down the chart to approximately reproduce your favorite powder. For instance, I like Hodgdon Universal in my 9mm rounds. But, Vitavouri N330 is pretty close in speed and so is Alliant Unique. So if I used either Unique or N330 I'd get a close (not exact) reproduction of my favorite load. However, for instance, a 115gr JHP would use max 5.0 gr in Universal, but 6.3 gr in Unique, and 5.3 gr in N330. Etc, etc. This is on pistol loads where the volumes are very small, it amplifies when talking rifle loads.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Iím assuming you canít find your usual powder and looking for suitable replacement?
    So Iíll take this more from a practical ďhow-toĒ than from the theoretical view.
     
    Yes the burn rate chart is a good starting point to narrow down the list of possibilities but thatís about it. There is no exact replacement for any powder so you donít need to work up the load all over new, even new batches of the old stand-by powder will need new workup if your running close to max because true energy density changes a bit from lot number to lot number.
     
    So to simulate a load you like look at the chart, spot close burn rates to the old powder then go hunting load data specific to the new powder. If there is no data for that powder and your chambering it usually means itís not a good choice, but could also mean that ether the powder, your chambering, or even both just are not real common.
     
    In the case of not common you then find similar cartages (similar case volume, caliber, bullet weight and type if not same bullet, and pressure rating) and extrapolate from that load data. 308win is very common and someone had worked up data for every suitable powder possible but if you have a 338fed and a somewhat obscure powder data will be very hard to come by. Find several similar cartages data to work from, look for the pattern of charge weights, take an educated guess then start low and work up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RC23 View Post
    Possible to substitute a powder that is close to the burn rate for a powder listed in published load data?
    What about charge weight? Use the same and/or extrapolate through the chart?

    OK; let the floggings begin.

    RC23
    If you're gotta do it, then Andy's way is the way, IMO. But, you shouldn't have to do it.

    I wouldn't do it. I say, don't load any powder without data.

    This is about pressure.

    I have no faith in "working up", as far as telling where you are pressure wise, when you don't have data.

    If you have data, and a chronograph, at least, you can extrapolate pressure, somewhat from the velocity.

    We do enough extrapolating already when we substiture bullets of the same or diffferent weights, primers, brass, and whatnot.

    Sometimes folks use UNSAFE loads for years, and get away with it. I mean unsafe in that, the pressure is much higher than what pressure tested data, considers safe. The least little thing can go wrong or be different, and pressure skyrockets.

    Handloaders do blow up guns, and sometimes they don't know why. This is why some folks WILL NOT use Handloads, and Handloaders won't use other folks handloads.

    Too much extrapolatin goin on.

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    RC23- While some powders are close in burn rate not all react the same to pressure. When you say substitute I assume you can't find it in published data. If that is correct there are a couple of computer programs that can help. Quick Loads is one and Load from a Disk is another. Although not gospel they can get you close, provided you correctly input the data the program wants. These are primarily for Rifle Loads. By the way what are you trying to load for? Rifle or Pistol.
    I've shot a lot of wildcats and Minimal load data was available when they were made. Some of that data was seriously out dated. Powders suggested are not produced anymore.
    ADFields said it: If you can"t find the round you're looking for, find one with very close case capacity/ bullet wt/ caliber/ pressure/ bullet style, start low and work up from there. Keep in mind some powders need 80% load density to operate properly. So you want to be careful. SubChaser

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    Can someone plz recommend the best powder to use for reloading on my 303 British using a 215 grain bullet? Lookin to bring down a moose and or caribou next season so I figured I would start getting things lined up now. Thanx fir your advise... Bob...
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    It's not impossible to work up a load for a powder that doesn't have published data for a given chambering, but as with anything there are several caveats. I'd say a chronograph is essential because traditional pressure signs are really over pressure signs and in weaker guns they are vastly over pressure signs. A chrono is no gurantee you'll be at safe pressures, but you won't be flying blind.

    It's important to realize that powder burn rate charts are relative, they are not absolute. That is to say while powder A may be relatively faster than powder B, in some chambering's powder B will be a faster powder, or more correctly it will achieve the same velocity as powder A at a higher peak pressure.

    To be on the safe side, if I were looking for a substitute powder I would generally choose a powder that was slightly slower than my first choice powder. I might not get the accuracy I'm after, but more than likely I won't have pressure issues.

    The other option is to stick with milder loads. I've used a variety of faster shotgun/pistol powders in my 357 mag that I wouldn't normally use, but with relative mild charges they make for excellent plinking ammo.

    That said, there are some powders that can show pressure excursions and you're advised to steer clear of them when there is no published data for them. Blue dot can be an outstanding handgun powder but I've also experienced pressure spikes are loads that should be mild. H-110/W-296 is outstanding for magnum handgun loads but cannot be safely downloaded. Partially filled rifle cases with medium to slow rate powders can cause hang fires and on rare occasions SEE. So starting too low and working up can have it's own hazards.

    It might be helpful if you mentioned what round(s) you were looking to load for and what powders you have available.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the fisher View Post
    Can someone plz recommend the best powder to use for reloading on my 303 British using a 215 grain bullet? Lookin to bring down a moose and or caribou next season so I figured I would start getting things lined up now. Thanx fir your advise... Bob...
    Sorry didn't see this sooner. Any of the well thought of 30-06 powders will be fine, like H4350, RL-19, or the old 06 ball standby 4895.
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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    ADfields, thanx so much for your reply, I greatly appreciate it..

    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Sorry didn't see this sooner. Any of the well thought of 30-06 powders will be fine, like H4350, RL-19, or the old 06 ball standby 4895.
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    I Use Varget with great results. Ramshot TAC works OK as well.

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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    Thanx a lot to all of you, now I just have to find some of that powder. Been lookin around and it seems to be same as the brass, hard to find. I'm sure it's out there somewhere, just gotta keep looking. Good hunting fellas. And Happy Turkey Day to you all as well...

    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I Use Varget with great results. Ramshot TAC works OK as well.
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    SW gets powder in every once in a while. Also, Three Bears.

    I got some H414 at 3 bears, and another day, SR 4759, a kind of specialty powder, at SW, then a cupla 3 days ago, some A 2400. Just dumb luck, I just happened to be there at the right time. The also had IMR 4227, which I use, but I got enuff of it.

    It would help to know what you need and watch for it. I've seen folks at SW standing by the powder reading the Hornady Loading Manual. I hope this shortage ends soon.

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