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Thread: modern loading techniques?

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    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Default modern loading techniques?

    So reading some of the descriptions of hornady light mag ammo they are saying they are getting 200 FPS faster velocities by using cooler burning powders and new modern loading techniques.

    Anybody there have an idea of what the technique is?

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    I think it is a euphemism for higher pressure!

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    Default Magic Loading Techniques.

    Who is the "they"? Do they claim no increase in pressure?

    I am guessing completely in the dark, but "cooler burning powders" might mean powders that produce a slower pressure/time gradient but ultimately deliver equal or even greater ultimate energy. Or it might just be marketing hyperbole.

    Modern techniques might mean better crimping regularity or better metallugy in the cartridge casings. Or it might just be marketing hyperbole.

    Modern techniques might mean better bullet lubrication, Or it might be just marketing hyperbole.

    You see any common threads emerging?

    Velocity is the cumulative addition of all the acceleration a bullet experiences between case mouth and muzzle. Acceleration is proportional to the pressure behind the bullet (less friction drag).

    Absent magic, pressure governs all. The only way to get more power out of a bullet is to reach high pressure quicker and stay there longer. If "they" have discovered a way to regulate burn rates to supress pressure spikes and fill in pressure valleys, that might be the secret "technique" of which they speak.

    But then I am shooting in the dark, all this is just so much conjecture. But that last idea is the only one I would give credence, and then only if "they" convince me they are actually chemists or physicists, and not just advertising wonks.

    Write to "them". They might answer.

    Good luck and good shooting.

    Larry


    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    So reading some of the descriptions of hornady light mag ammo they are saying they are getting 200 FPS faster velocities by using cooler burning powders and new modern loading techniques.

    Anybody there have an idea of what the technique is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 35gibber View Post
    I think it is a euphemism for higher pressure!
    Me too, but I think they add some HYPE to the mix.

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    Default Techniques

    The more I think about it, the more I tend to believe that the "modern techniques" that allow higher velocities has got to be that they have formulated the powder to be self regulating to slow down the burn rate at higher pressures. That would reduce size of pressure SPIKES during the burn.

    A powder that had smaller spikes would be able to be safely loaded closer to a cartridge's pressure limit because those pressure spikes are less likely to get high enough to blow a primer, separate a case head or blow out a chamber.

    A marketing wonk might term such a powder, "cooler".

    Anyone know any insiders at Hornady?

    Larry

    Originally Posted by rimfirematt
    So reading some of the descriptions of hornady light mag ammo they are saying they are getting 200 FPS faster velocities by using cooler burning powders and new modern loading techniques.

    Anybody there have an idea of what the technique is?

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    Red face

    I cant remember where I read it and I cant find it now, but I thought I remembered reading that the light magnums were a blend of powders. But if so, I dont know why they wouldnt sell the powder itself. In any case I have never used them!
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    Default Cool Runnings

    Commercially loaded cartridges are not necessarily loaded with the powders that reloaders purchase off the shelf. It may be that one of the "commercial powders" is being used in the higher energy cartridge loadings in greater quantity to produce better velocities but still be safe. There is a margin of safety built into commercial cartridges and perhaps greater loadings can still be used safely. Then too, as has been stated, marketing might very well play a part. The advertised ballistics are not always what we get, for various reasons.

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    Default Why it is unsafe to use blended powders for reloading

    Quote Originally Posted by Sollybug View Post
    I cant remember where I read it and I cant find it now, but I thought I remembered reading that the light magnums were a blend of powders. But if so, I dont know why they wouldnt sell the powder itself. In any case I have never used them!
    First let me clarify my subject line. Blended powders are perfectly safe in the proportions they are tested at. If your ratios change unpredictably, you can have unpredictably dangerous cartridges.

    If you have a quantity of a blended powder, you can never be sure that the bottom of the can has the same ratio as the top of the can. Different grain siize or shape can cause settling of one of the components more than the other(s).

    Imagine if you mix 10 pounds of sand with 10 pounds of BBs. Shake the container thoroughly. Then scoop out (or drop from a powder measure) a spoonful of the mix. Your first spoonfuls will have a certain ratio of BBs to Sand. Your later spoonfuls will have a very different ratio. The burn properties of a gunpowder like that will vary dangerously.

    If you set the ratios for EACH AND EVERY CARTRIDGE your ratios will be consistent. That is how you blend powders, 2 grains of this, 8 grains of that, 20 grains of this other, put them in a single cartridge and you have 30 grains of a blended powder. Next cartridge.

    If you start with 2 lbs of this, 8 lbs of that, and 20 pounds of the other and THEN scoop (or drop) 30 grains of the mix, you have the same weight of powder in each cartridge, but no way to tell what the ratios are.

    Very dangerous, or at least unpredictable pressures and velocities.

    That is why no manufacturer sells a blended powder in bulk. You CAN blend your own, but be VERY AWARE of what you are doing.

    Larry
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 02-04-2008 at 22:23. Reason: add last line

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    Talking

    I bought a box of light magnum 140s for my .270 when they first came out. Then I got a chrono and found that the couple i had left were no faster than a top load of H4831. I seem to remember that there was a warning on the box, "only to be used in modern rifles and not in semi-autos etc." I presumed that meant that they were running higher pressures but maybe the powder burn rate was not appropriate. Of the 4-5 guys I know who tried them, none could get them to shoot accurately.

    Still i would like to know what they were using..........other than hype. of course my can of hype ran out and without it my .270 is so slow that i should apparently throw it away and get a .270wsm which of comes ready loaded with hype and the ability to pick up an elk and throw it clean across Alaska at 800 yds.

    Cheers

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    Default Stumbled across some new information re: Cooler Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    So reading some of the descriptions of hornady light mag ammo they are saying they are getting 200 FPS faster velocities by using cooler burning powders and new modern loading techniques.

    Anybody there have an idea of what the technique is?
    I stumbled across this guy "shakeypete" who seems to agree with my assessment, and seems to have a lot more familiarity with the source of his information than I.


    http://shakeypete.blogspot.com/2005/...smokeless.html

    (Quoted from shakeypete's blogspot and excerpted for brevity)

    Single-based powders are made of nitrocellulose. Double-based powders are made of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. .. A Company in Finland actually makes a powder with yet another ingredient, besides nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine, making it a triple-based powder. The company is Vhita Vouri...Anyhow there are only three of these triple-based powders and I'll pretty much ignore them except to note that they give a velocity boost of some 50-150 feet per second over conventional propellants, at equal pressures.

    Larry

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    To understand the issue we need to describe how a powder accelerates a bullet in a barrel. It acccelerates the bullet by producing a gas that pushes on the bullet and the amount it pushes is related to the area under the curve when you chart pressure over time. We have two constraints on that curve, the peak pressure the rifle can safely handle, and the amount of time the bullet spends in the barrel, which is related to the length of the barrel.

    A "fast" powder will achieve it's peak pressure quickly, but will also drop that peak pressure relatively quickly. A slower powder will generate that peak pressure a bit slower, but will hold a higher pressure for a relatively longer time. Smaller cases can't hold enough of the slower powders to achieve peak pressure. That is why a larger cartridge will produce higher velocities, the increased charge of powder will produce more work by keeping the pressure higher over a longer period of time.

    The ideal powder for peak velocity would instantaneously reach the peak pressure of a round, say 65,000 psi, and hold that pressure so long as the bullet was in the barrel. But that is physically impossible.

    What the high energy loadings do is use a powder that can hold it's peak pressure longer, which is based on it's burning characteristics, and the quantity of the powder used.

    Many years back there was an article on how to achieve light magnum performance in the .308 by using VV N550 powder. I emulated the loads in my .308, and for the first and only time I had a load hot enough to expand a primer pocket. I was new at loading, and hence the high velocity held an allure to me. No I figure if I want 300 mag performance, I'll simply buy a 300 mag and not try to hot rod my .308 or 30-06.

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    Years ago when Dick Casull was developing his 454 Casull handgun cartridge, he mixed multiple powders together in order to get his desired velocity, we all know how dangerous that can be. There are a lot of powders available to ammo makers that aren't on the market for handloaders like us, so they can achieve velocities that we can't. A prime example is the 338 Federal, maybe some of you guys can get advertised velocites out of handloaded 308 or 30-06 based cartridges, but i can't. I have a 338-06, the ballistic twin to the 338 federal, and i can't safely touch Federal's advertised velocities with handloads.

    As far as modern loading techniques goes...sounds like advertising hype to me.

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    I think some of the "new loading techniques" is marketing hype as several have indicated. There are a few things I know about commercial loading and for the most part it does involve the use of powders that are never and will never be put into a one pound jug. Powder makers sell powder in bulk, made to the requesting parameters of the ammo maker. This primarily is just a ball park burning rate of the powder. It is bought in very large quantities and in some cases the ammo maker does the testing on the powder. They determine, with expensive equipment, what the burn rate is and how it behaves at certain pressures and volume then load it as appropriately as they can and it is generally a mid range powder so it can be used in several different calibers. The emphasis here is economy. Cheap powder, high profit.

    As an example, the 30-06 and 30-06 sized cases were loaded with the same powder by one maker for 40 years until the supply of powder ran out. This was military surplus powder and was used to make about 20 million rounds for the 30-06 M2 round used to fight WW-II. It takes a lot of rounds to use up 40 tons of powder. Bruce Hodgdon bought powder by the train load and stored in in grain silos in Kansas after the war and sold it loose in paper or muslin bags for .20c a pound. He did all the testing on it and other powders to determine it's characteristics and appropriate uses for different calibers. H380 was named because it was his best load (38.0 grains) for the 22 caliber varminter (22-250) the was using.

    Now days many new powders are made just for the sporting application and we don't have to take pot luck with the military powders. Many powders are the same batch of powder but separated then coated differently then tested and given different labels with a different burn characteristic. The way powder is made has also changed a lot in the past two decades.

    New loading tecnique for ammo makers is more like what we as handloaders have done for many years. Using a powder that very closesly matches the case volume and bore size of our rifle. This wasn't ecomically possible in years past, for the ammo makers, but then they do charge extra for this new light mag ammo. It is still powder that we can't buy. (The ammo maker bought the whole batch) but there is so much research that goes into powder by firms like Hodgdon's, and Alliant that we still get a very good product.

    It is easy today to get 2800 fps from a 180 grain bullet in the 30-06. The M2 ball loading was 150 grains at 2600 fps. If we use the "new" powder it will wreck the operating rod (slower burning powder will give a higher pressure at the port and put greater force on the mechanism) of the Garand rifle but it's performance is much better. The exact same powder used for the M2 ball round, and the same charge weight, when used in the 270 with a 130 grain bullet will give the velocity of 3030 fps (at higher pressure than the M2 round). That's is how the 270 was born (remember it was 1925).

    We have a lot of new powders develped for specific purpose and don't need to use surplus powder. This is part of the new loading technique. Double base powders have been with us for over 100 years, nothing new there. Also we have had triple base powders for a very long time, I don't know how long but Blue dot is one of them, also green dot and red dot, etc, I think. The RL series of powders are double base as are most of the Norma and Vihta Vouri powders. The V500 series of powders are double base but have higher percentages of Nitro glycerin than the 100 series of comparable burn rates.

    As has been mentioned here, it is the pressure over time that imparts velocity to the bullet. It can be said that the area under the curve (pressure curve) is what determines the exit velocity of a bullet. If I can make this curve reach a higher peak pressure, I'll get more velocity. If I make the width of the pressure curve greater, same result. Or any detail that will increase this area under the curve, will increase velocity. Many deterrent coatings are responsible for this improvement. Another factor which controls the rate of consumption and gives greater area under the curve without increasing the peak pressure is kernal shape. We have just recently begun to make changes in the traditional powder kernal shape.

    If you pull the bullet from the new "high energy" of "light mag" loading you will see some very funny shaped powder kernals. They look more like tiny little blobs of coal, nothing like the extruded or ball powder we're used to seeing. Slower burners that fill the case are the way to go. A problem with slow burners is that as the bullets sweeps the barrel the pressure drops off and the powders burn rate slows down which causes the pressure to drop more. This results in less velocity. If we slow down the initial burn with deterrent coating, we could make it "last longer" as the bullet goes down the barrel the pressure peak will last longer and velocity is increased. Here again greater area under the curve. By slowing this rate of cunsumption we can load heavier charges without exceeding the normal peak pressure and boost velocity.

    I heard (actually read as we cussed and discussed on another forum) a very well know gun writer say that if velocity is higher then peak pressure is higher. Saying that if you handload to a velocity that is greater than the "norm" you have exceeded max peak pressure. To some extent that is true but there are certain exceptions. You can get higher velocity with the same caliber/ bullet/ gun combo and still be at or below the accepted peak pressure. Certainly with, say the old 30-06, to use that as an example again, we load to max pressure with a quick burner like Blue Dot, we can in fact reach the max peak pressure of 62,000 psi and not reach the normal velocity for the caliber/bullet/ combo. Now if we compare more sensible powders such as 4895 to H4831, we can and do safely achieve higher velocity with the slower powder when using the 180 grain bullet.

    Also many old name powders, such as H4831 and H4350, are not the same powder they used to be. They have different composition and different coatings and yield higher energy under the same peak pressure curve. They can be used in the same charge weight but will give higher velocity than their decades older namesake.

    Some powders burn at a lower temperature, generally this will result in less pressure and less velocity. I guess it sounds better to have you powder burn cool. Loading technique is also case volume. Now it is common to fill a case with slow burning powder and then compress it with the bullet, and the powder behaves predictably. In years past ammo makers would only partially fill the case with a mid burning powder. Yeah, I think the ammo makers are using the technique that handloaders have been using for many years. Fill the case with the right powder.
    Last edited by Murphy; 02-06-2008 at 09:18. Reason: That darn new alphabet.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigby257 View Post
    Years ago when Dick Casull was developing his 454 Casull handgun cartridge, he mixed multiple powders together in order to get his desired velocity, we all know how dangerous that can be. There are a lot of powders available to ammo makers that aren't on the market for handloaders like us, so they can achieve velocities that we can't. A prime example is the 338 Federal, maybe some of you guys can get advertised velocites out of handloaded 308 or 30-06 based cartridges, but i can't. I have a 338-06, the ballistic twin to the 338 federal, and i can't safely touch Federal's advertised velocities with handloads.

    As far as modern loading techniques goes...sounds like advertising hype to me.

    Well, I've had a dozen 338-06's to load for and I exceed 338 Federal ballistics easily. Also the well equiped lab at Nosler bullets exceed those same advertised numbers for the 338 federal. They are not ballistic twins nor can they be except in the mind of the marketeers. The 338-06 holds more powder, same bullet size, same pressure, it is and will be faster. The results with only one gun of each and the same powder for both won't gather any uuseful data. Many of my loads have been pressure tested with the Oehler M43 and have been duplicated by different labs and are below the max pressure limit for the 30-06.

    It may well be true that the 338 federal with it's innovative loading technique will exceed the performance of the prior wildcat 338-08, but it cannot equal the level of the 338-06. Maybe you should select another powder.

    Also, I think Dick used a primer charge of Bullseye in the bottom of the case then a charge of Unique then W 296 on top of that. I don't think there was an actual mix. That must have been some exciting "loading technique" for him.
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    Murphy:

    That's a great explanation.

    I think I see whatchewmean. If ammo can be safely loaded to higher velocities than in years past, the case could be made, by advertisers, that the increase is due to "modern loading techniques".

    Their job is to exploit anything, and everything to improve sales. I think a lot of "new and improved" products, are really only the result of cheaper manufacturing, and cheaper materials.

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    My fault Murphy, I should have clarified. The difference between the 338 Federal and the 338-06 is less than 200fps with 225 grain bullets. This difference shouldn't be recognized in the field or at the bench. The point I was trying to get acroos by saying they are ballistic twins is that they are about as close ballistically as a short action caliber and long action caliber are going to get in terms of sheer velocity, amongst non-belted cartridges.

    Please send me some of your 338-06 load data, i'm having trouble getting much higher than 2570fps with 210 TSX's.

    Your right, i bet Dick Casull did have some exciting things happen at the old loading bench/range in the old days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigby257 View Post
    My fault Murphy, I should have clarified. The difference between the 338 Federal and the 338-06 is less than 200fps with 225 grain bullets. This difference shouldn't be recognized in the field or at the bench. The point I was trying to get acroos by saying they are ballistic twins is that they are about as close ballistically as a short action caliber and long action caliber are going to get in terms of sheer velocity, amongst non-belted cartridges.

    Please send me some of your 338-06 load data, i'm having trouble getting much higher than 2570fps with 210 TSX's.

    Your right, i bet Dick Casull did have some exciting things happen at the old loading bench/range in the old days.
    So true. There proabably isn't a full 200 fps between them anyway, at the same pressure and unless you were used to the trajectory of one and swithched to the other you likely wouldn't notice. Then trajectory doesn't come into play until we get out yonder a ways and I prefer to get inside that window.

    When the 308 came to be it was labeled as "duplicating the old '06 in a smaller package". That is true, it duplicated the '06 ball round just by loading to a little higher pressure. But it could not equal the '06 at similar pressures especially with 180 grain and heavier. Now when both are loaded to the same pressure, we can see the actual difference.

    Both the 338-06 and 338-08 are great calibers for many reasons and I would prefer the 338 Federal to the 308 for deer, caribou and such, because of the way I hunt.

    Trajectory charts are a big marketing point for the new calibers, and it only has to be one half inch less drop to be better. Also it makes no difference if the new round is a lighter bullet to achieve the velocity, if it has a sharp point, and of course made of plasic, hard or soft, it is just going to be better. When I read that I can't figure out how we ever got along without those bullets.
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