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Thread: How precise are you with gun powder?

  1. #1

    Default How precise are you with gun powder?

    I was working up some loads in H322 the other night. I am using a Lee dispenser which is set to cc's. I always get within .01 grains when I varify on my scale. How much difference does 1 or even 2 tenths make. It works out to be like 10-15 pellets of powder to put the scale right on zero. Is it a waste of time to be this precise? Just wanted to hear some of your thoughts.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I would not get my shorts in a bind at .3 tenths of a grain. Weight each charge? Not in the last 45 years.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3

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    I would say it depends on what you are satisfied with in the end result. Maybe you should load a few with the variation you are experiencing and see how they perform at the range. Personally, I tend to be a precise kind of guy down to a couple of pellets. I figure there are a lot of variables in the hand loading equation and I try to get it all as close as possible. I got an automatic dispencer once and I ended up manually adjusting almost all the charges it threw. I've seen on this forum where a .5g difference in powder was the difference between a 3" group and a 1/2" group. My $.02

  4. #4

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    it all depends on what I am loading. For my hunting rifle, I weigh every charge (haven't gotten the automatic dispenser yet). I have noticed that my groups are better when I am more precise like this. Before I used to get one flyer in a 3 shot group. Now, they stay pretty close. For my .44, nope, I don't weigh every charge. I just throw a few charges and make sure they stay close to what I am trying to load.

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    You write .01 grains then say one or two tenths...hmmmmm.

    I don't think you scale can measure .01 grains (hundredths) But to the point.

    We don't care about a tenth of a grain (.1 grains) In the case the size of the 223 and with H322 powder, I think with a very accurate rifle I would limit the error to two tenths (.2 grains) You might start to see velocity variations at .3 grains, which could effect accuracy. Also when working up loads in that small case I would go in .3 grain increments or if you are well under max .5 grains will do.

    My powder dispenser will all throw charges to within .1 grain (Redding BR-30 measure) and that is more than good enough. For the larger cases the bigger measure (#3 BR) will stay within .2 grains with a 60 grain charge with extruded powder, and that is an extremely accurate powder measure. I don't think weighing every charge is necessary with good powder measure technique.
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  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replys. Sorry Murphy, I meant .1 grain (1 tenth). I think a hundredth would be a little anal I figured it wouldn't matter that much considering I don't weigh my brass, bullets or any of the other things i'm sure bench rest shooters rely on. I just read in my reloading manual that CC's was the safest way to go but there is always variation (however slight). I guess you would want to pay closer attention when working with maximum loads? or is there enough play in there for a couple tenths? I know to check for signs of high pressure.

  7. #7

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    I have a progressive press. Dillon 650. Every crank of the handle sizes, deprimes, primes, bells, powder charges, seats a bullet and crimps. I only weight about 1 out of 100 charges just to make sure it's still throwing the correct charge. It always has so far. I load 45acp, 9mm, and 38 sp on the press. (10k+ rounds so far) It varies 1 tenth either way at times. Good enough for me.

    I also use a turret press. For my s&w 500 I weight every charge. I'm going to reload for my 300 win mag and I'll do the same.

    AK

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    i weigh every charge.

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    Thumbs up weigh every charge

    I weigh very charge by RCBS 1500 or scale............I quit using a RCBS powder depenser....years ago.....never could get the same charge.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    Default

    I weigh every charge. I also re-zero the scale and re-weigh every so often and get oh so frustrated when a piece hides out or I get off by some other means. I am convinced the magnetic dampening is picking up the moon lander or something. Anybody ever have a problem with that where you just trickle and trickle and nothing then all of the sudden blamo over weight? I get that with a nice clean scale all too often. Danged gremlins.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

  11. #11

    Default know what you mean

    Raingull, I have had that happen with my rcbs scale. It's a 10-10 model or something (the top end one I got at a pawn shop for a steal). Usually happens with lighter loads under 20 grains. very frustrating indeed!

  12. #12

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    Raingull,I get that trickle,trickle,kaboom with my powder scales too here in Australia. Danged Alaskans,exporting their bad habits down under. Col M.

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    Default Yes

    Weigh every 5th or 10th round if you are worried about safety. If you are concerned with accuracy weigh every round, use the Lee powder measure cups and use the one that is close, but below what you are trying to get with powder weight. Then use a trickler to deliver the last few grains. A nice RCBS digital scale/powder thrower would save a lot of time. Reloading is like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. I guess it depends on what you want to get out of it.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    I also trickle every charge for most rounds I load. While it is probably not necessary, I do it anyway. I get way too caught up in that "precision thing"...it's a sickness.

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    Default Doc...

    You are a wise man.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Thatís the question all handloaders have to come to terms with, one way or tother.

    For years I didnít even own a powder measure. I weighed each charge. Later when I began to use a powder measure, I checked it against the scale, and the variation was such that I didnít trust it, so if I used a powder measure, it was in conjunction with a powder trickler.

    Now, Iím learning to trust and use a powder measure, for most loads.

    We measure by Volume and check it by Weight. Thatís fine to check and compare for insuring a safe load, but it could be the wrong way to go about it, as far as consistency goes.

    Which is more important to accuracy, consistent weight, or consistent volume, or consistent powder placement in the case?

    I understand that powder doesnít weigh the same every day you weigh it, and it follows that all powder in a jug, may not weigh the same either, then again, maybeso, the diff isnít enough to consider. I do not know.

    I also understand, have been told, by the dudes that do it, the BR people measure their charges, and the 1K yard BR types weigh them.

    I am moving towards measuring my charges, and have been researching powder measures that have a micrometer setting that I can record and use again next time. (Iíll probably get a Redding.) The setting is for volume, not weight, and I recognize that charges thrown and weighed on one day might not weigh the same as those thrown on another day. However, the setting/volume will not change. I hope that loads charged in this manner will be as accurate as the ones for which Iíve been painstakingly weighing, all these years.

    Just this afternoon I began loading cartridges for which I am using only the setting on my Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I dumped a few charges in a can, then weighed a couple/three charges, and they were OK, so I will now concentrate on technique in using this Plastic Wonder Machine.

    Iíll just have to see how this method works for me, before goin totally to measured charges. All my existing hunting loads have weighed charges.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject. Maybe Iíll learn something.
    Smitty of the North
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  17. #17
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default weighing loads...

    Anyone that is looking for accuracy in their reloads will be weighing to the nearest .1 of a grain. I would not have believed that until a buddy of mine proved it to me a few years back. I had a 300 Weatherby that I could barely get to shoot 1.5" at 100 yards. I put a Burris Signature series 6-24 on it. Lapped the rings, checked torque on the screws, checked every thing I could. I tried every load I could buy and nothing bettered 1.5 inches. I spent over $200 on various Weatherby ammo. All different grains of bullets were used. My buddy tells me to buy some dies and he will fix the gun. I do and a few weeks later we get together on a Saturday morning. We started working up loads with 2-3 powders, then made 4 batches of each (5 shot groups in different grains). The powder weights varied by 1-2 grains per load. We isolated one powder that was a more consistent performer. We then loaded only with that powder. We found the best 5 shot group of the four, then made four more batches of 5 shots each (20 rounds). We then had the weight of powder seperated by .5 grain on each of the four loads. We found one of those four was more accurate than the other three. We then made a final batch that was seperated by .1 grain each group. Sure enough, even separating the weight of powder by a measely .1 grain made a difference. After three stages of powder changes in 60 different rounds, we found the "magic load". That gun that shot 1.5" was then shooting 3/4" consistently. We were shooting dip cans at 300 yards with the gun that was doing good to hit an apple at 100 yards just a few weeks earlier. The gun I almost sold off because it was not accurate enough was now my most accurate rifle. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Powder weight/pressure/barrel harmonics are all related. While there are other variables (particularly the bullet), I got a nice lesson in physics that day.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  18. #18
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Thatís the question all handloaders have to come to terms with, one way or tother.

    For years I didnít even own a powder measure. I weighed each charge. Later when I began to use a powder measure, I checked it against the scale, and the variation was such that I didnít trust it, so if I used a powder measure, it was in conjunction with a powder trickler.

    Now, Iím learning to trust and use a powder measure, for most loads.

    We measure by Volume and check it by Weight. Thatís fine to check and compare for insuring a safe load, but it could be the wrong way to go about it, as far as consistency goes.

    Which is more important to accuracy, consistent weight, or consistent volume, or consistent powder placement in the case?

    I understand that powder doesnít weigh the same every day you weigh it, and it follows that all powder in a jug, may not weigh the same either, then again, maybeso, the diff isnít enough to consider. I do not know.

    I also understand, have been told, by the dudes that do it, the BR people measure their charges, and the 1K yard BR types weigh them.

    I am moving towards measuring my charges, and have been researching powder measures that have a micrometer setting that I can record and use again next time. (Iíll probably get a Redding.) The setting is for volume, not weight, and I recognize that charges thrown and weighed on one day might not weigh the same as those thrown on another day. However, the setting/volume will not change. I hope that loads charged in this manner will be as accurate as the ones for which Iíve been painstakingly weighing, all these years.

    Just this afternoon I began loading cartridges for which I am using only the setting on my Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I dumped a few charges in a can, then weighed a couple/three charges, and they were OK, so I will now concentrate on technique in using this Plastic Wonder Machine.

    Iíll just have to see how this method works for me, before goin totally to measured charges. All my existing hunting loads have weighed charges.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject. Maybe Iíll learn something.
    Smitty of the North
    Gee Smitty, somewhere in this mess I've got a Redding BR measure that has not been used for a heck of a long time. It has been looking for a new home. I think it even has the stand with it? They are a good measure. I just no longer need it as I shoot with a Harrell.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Big Al:
    Why did you go to the Harrel when you had a Redding?

    Is the Harrel better?

    I asked about a Harrel on one of these forums and someone said the Redding was as good, and cheaper. What's your take?
    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
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    You can't out-give God.

  20. #20
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Smitty. The Redding is a vary good measure, but it is vary limited in the size of charges it will throw. That of course is for the BR-30 measure.

    I don't throw many charges under 55 grains, if I do they are through Dillion measures as in .223 Remington. Most of the stuff I use is stick powder and goes about (worst case) .3 of a grain + or - with the Harrell.

    So the answer is, you don't need a Harrell, you can get by with a lot of different powders measures. I know as I have over a dozen. But I don't use but one manual measure, and that's the Harrell.

    Strap on anyother measure to your bench, throw 10 charges. Set the Harrell's up with the same powder and throw ten charges. The weighted charges from the Harrell's will be better. The biigest differnce is the easy of the throw (less friction) with the Harrell.

    Anybody that tells you their measure will throw with-in .3 with 4831 or 4198 and 4350, must be telling you they have a Harrell measure.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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