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Thread: OLD,(like 1961) Powder

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    Default OLD,(like 1961) Powder

    Hanging out with Grandpa-in-law the other day and out of his old powder refrig, in the corner of his barn we pull out a jug of powder he recalls sealing up in 1961, Improved Military 4350. I had asked him for some to try and brought out some containers so he pried off a masking tape seal around the lid of a plastic jug, remembering about '61 was when he got a Jag of this stuff at surplus prices and was the last it had seen light of day... Very Near 50 yr old powder! Has Been stored in an old refrigerator, not cool, just isolated from temp fluctuation to some degree.

    Smells exactly the same as Fresh stuff, pours really nice, looks good so, as it is quite a bit of free powder, (he gave me four lbs+) I want to figure a use for it vs. just burning it in a pile which is what I heard him mention the other day.

    So loading up some fresh IMR 4350, (according to Propellant Profiles this is the equivalent in todays powder and I am 100% sure it was labeled correctly tho not in original cans) I tagged a couple rounds of this 1961 stuff (marked batch 60) as following three shot groups of Fresh IMR 4350 and let 'em fly,

    Thought this might be interesting and maybe you guys can give some advice on how to use it, all the stats are on the targets, notice both the POA drop and especially the velocity drop in these lot 60 rounds but also that the group is not all over the place, Hmmm not too bad, I guess

    Well, all the stats are not there, these were Speer 100gr Varmint HP bullets, .270wsm, 2.875col, and using Fed215's, a 45F day and very humid, slightly windy, and I'm definitely not great shooter but, it looks like definite patterns there, eh?
    Isn't it interesting that the velocities are Very Uniform for these Lot 60 loads at least the first six? See the variance figure beneath the Avg vel. (68gr "0"variance, 68.5 "7" var, and 69 "0" variance?) hadn't seen that before, does it mean anything?






    So with the poor velocity, (notice it is about 400fps slower?)but somewhat tolerable accuracy, should I just buy some inexpensive bullets and use this stuff for offhand shooting practice with proven loads from fresh powder workups?

    Or should I work up loads with this stuff and try to use it otherwise? The velocity drop is the thing that makes me think just use it as practice stuff.

    What do you think? Would a different primer, LR vs. LRM make a diffference?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Thats a good test. You need more rounds with the old stuff but it appears that you could work up with the old lot. It is obviously slower burning. Make sure your entire supply is the same. Not showing signs of discoloration or clumping and is the same throughout. Then using where you are as a starting point, go up .5 grs at a time and stop when velocity is equal to the new lot or pressure signs show. Remember at pressure signs, back down a whole grain.

    With your chrony, keep tract of the velocity gain per grain or half grain and chart it. When the gain is 1/2 the normal gain, back up to the last normal gain load and call it max.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Yup. Sounds as though at least that jug is okay, but each will have to be examined. Murphy's technique for using is great, as usual.

    In my experience (with old surplus 4831), I'd expect burn rates to be slower. There have been lots of newer versions of 4831 put out, but the oldest has always been and still is the slowest. I don't have any recent experience (like, since 1975) with surplus 4350, so for whatever it's worth I can pass on my experiences with surplus 4831.

    I sealed up close to 200 pounds of surplus 4831 in 1968 and am down to my last 8 pounds or so today. It's still my favorite powder, and to date I've had exactly one 1-pound container go bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    With your chrony, keep tract of the velocity gain per grain or half grain and chart it. When the gain is 1/2 the normal gain, back up to the last normal gain load and call it max.

    Murphy,

    You told me that a couple years ago, I've used this technique ever since. I follow that step with seating depth variations in .020 increments. These two steps have improved my accuracy immensely.

    Thanks for the tips...

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I'll go back to this old thread to bump the discussion,

    I am currently trying to use this powder Improved Military 4350 to load for a 30-06, hoping to use it for hunting loads.

    I am getting some pretty good accuracy through a 22" barrel on a Ruger M77 MkII.
    (sorry no target pics and stats are from my memory for now)

    have found a load hitting .66" for five shots, tho the groups are 7shot groups and there seem to be regularly two that Fly a bit, spreading it out to 2.7" or so.
    This is probably a result of a Very Scratchy trigger that I have yet to get straightened out.
    (Possibly barrel heating also, been getting in a bit of a hurry maybe, and also doing a lot of shooting at one time due to the lack of good shooting weather lately, so I may be pushing that some)

    My question is concerning the Velocity (demonstrated above on my .270wsm) seems to be not as bad a difference on this 30-06, about 250fps slower than fresh IMR 4350

    So for hunting loads, 180 gr Hornady BTSP Interlocks, and Speer 180gr RN,
    will these somewhat accurate loads will be flying too slow for the bullet to do it's job ?
    and I should not use this old powder for Hunting but just offhand shooting practice or something?

    With Fresh IMR 4350, the Speers are doing about 2650, so these older powder rounds, doing 2400, will that give me unacceptable problems with Bullet Performance ??

    pardon my being too cheap maybe, but as stated earlier, I have over three pounds of the stuff, just can't toss it, and as the '06 seems to do better for Velocity drop, (than the 450 less found with the wsm above) I'm thinking it may be fine. But is it fast enough?

    What do you guys think on using a Magnum Primer, would that likely do anything for speed ?

    Is there anywhere I can find the Minimum Velocity requirements for any specific bullet construction?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    As for velocity, heck, that's a little faster than I'm loading my 30-40 Krag with 180's, and it kills deer like lightning. If I had better eyes or the rifle had better sights, it's easily a 200 yard load. I know guys up North who think the Krag is one of the best moose rounds, using factory loads that are slower than yours, too.

    All you can do is try the Mag primers and see what happens. They don't do a thing velocity-wise with 4831, and in fact group a little worse. But some guys are religious about using them with slow powders, even in smallish cases like the 06.

    The Hornady manual probably has a recommended velocity range for that bullet, or at least the older ones do.

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    Try a standard Federal Match primer as well; they come in both Standard and magnum power.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    Round nose bullets reliably expand down to 1700 fps, so even at 2400 fps at the muzzle, it's an honest 250 yd load, and will be very effective. For moderate velocity and range, there really isn't a finer bullet than a rn, and in my experience they tend to be very accurate.

    Years ago Handloader had an article that was a very thorough test of every 180 gr 30 cal bullet then available with impact velocities from 1700-3000 fps, and 3 bullet impact tests at every 100 fps between that range with pictures. I remember you used to be able to buy posters of the results, but my google fu is lacking. It may have been June 1998.

  9. #9

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    The more I think about the differences in velocity between your powder and new 4350, I'm starting to wonder if in fact it's the old 4831 like I have rather than 4350. That would pretty well account for so much difference I think. I got my 200 pounds of 4831 in 1968 if I recall correctly. And I never could get enough of it into an 06 case to do any good. Used the heck out of it in 25-06, 270, 7x57, 257 Roberts, 6mm Rem and 243, but I had to go up to heavier bullets in a 300 H&H or 300 WM before I was getting velocities comparable to commercial powders in 30 cal. You might go back to some of the old manuals from that era and compare the velocities form your loads with those for the original surplus 4831 for a "confirmation" of sorts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Round nose bullets reliably expand down to 1700 fps, so even at 2400 fps at the muzzle, it's an honest 250 yd load, and will be very effective. For moderate velocity and range, there really isn't a finer bullet than a rn, and in my experience they tend to be very accurate.
    .
    Thanks for the words on these bullets and Reliable Expansion Speeds, guys, that is what I was hoping to hear.

    BrownBear, I am about 99.5% sure the Powder was labeled correctly, The guy who gave it to me was a pretty serious HandLoader/Gunsmith type throughout those years so can't imagine him mislabeling it. Tho it was sealed in Plastic Jugs and handwritten on there "Improved Military 4350. It was nearly his only powder, like he used it for everything Rifle.
    He came back from the occupation of Japan (Navy)with a bunch of Japanese rifles that he then was converting to 30-06, apparently they liked that powder. I have taken a gander at his Load Logbks and there's a lot of 4350 being used, almost exclusively.

    He did also give me one can (1lb) of 4831, from approximately the same era, maybe I will do a side by side "Loaded" comparison of those and see what that shows.

    I have a little room (to the lands) for longer Coal, room for a bit more powder, but not much before compressing, so maybe I'll try that as well as the mag primer. Hard to imagine I'll be able to make up the 250fps tho as you mention, "never could get enough of it into an 06 case to do any good." I think I may be able to get another grain or so, maybe, I am just right at 54.5 at this point. 3.13 COL for the Speer, 3.245 for Hornady

    But they do seem like they'll Knock down Blacktails just fine. Probably Moose also, and that's all I need it to do well

    I'll post the results, when I get 'em
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Murphy,

    You told me that a couple years ago, I've used this technique ever since. I follow that step with seating depth variations in .020 increments. These two steps have improved my accuracy immensely.

    Thanks for the tips...
    Very interesting thread guys - good job Kodiak on the info !
    I am curious Marshall, how far "backed off" do you start when working up the optimum seating depth when using .020 as the increase constant?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    It certainly sounds as though he had his act together and mislabel. I wish I was more familiar with the 4350 line, starting with the surplus. In parallel developments, the original surplus 4831 was noticeably slower than IMR-4831, to the point you couldn't begin to swap them. Then when Hodgdon ran out of the surplus, the brought out a "new" version from Scotland as I recall. It too was faster. And though I haven't used any, I hear accounts that the current offerings of H-4831 are faster still. Not as fast as IMR-4831, but faster than the surplus.

    Long story short, I wonder if there's some kind of parallel in the 4350 family tree.

    I just checked some of my old manuals for 180 grain loads with 4350.

    Hodgdon #22 (1974) doesn't even list 4350.

    Hodgdon #23 (1977) doesn't either.

    Speer #1 (1954) used a 24" barreled Springfield lists a start of 52 grains for 2539 fps and a max of 56 grains for 2715.

    Speer #6 (1964) lists identical numbers, so obviously they didn't retest for the newer pub.

    Speer #10 (1979) used a 22" Remington 700, but used only IMR-4350. Top load is actually a little higher, for a little more velocity in spite of the shorter barrel.

    Identical #'s as #10 in Speer #11 (1987), but still no H4350. Speer #13 lists both H4350 and IMR4350, but you probably have access to that one.

    Hornady's first manual (1967) lists IMR 4350, but no H4350.

    Same for Hornady #2 (1973).

    Sierra's 1971 manual lists IMR, but not H-4350.

    Lyman #39 (1953) lists IMR, but not H4350.

    Lyman #45 (1970) is the same.

    Sharpe (1953 edition) doesn't even list 4350.

    Ackley goes over 60 grains for over 3,000fps, but I won't even dignify the specifics by posting them.

    I don't know what that accomplished, but I had fun looking!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    It certainly sounds as though he had his act together and mislabel.
    I just reread my post and need to correct something. That should say "It certainly sounds as though he had his act together and DIDN'T mislabel." Sorry for the confusion. He sounds like quite a guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I just reread my post and need to correct something. That should say "It certainly sounds as though he had his act together and DIDN'T mislabel." Sorry for the confusion. He sounds like quite a guy.
    That's Cool BrownBear, actually, I figured it as you meant it,
    (my wifes Grandpa, he's nearly 91yrs wise now, has some good stories ......)

    I appreciate the idea on the comparison of those powders, should be fun to do. I have used the 4831 he gave me a bit in my .270wsm but it was way slow, not looking worth using there,.....??.
    But by your research and experiences,
    I may just find an interesting use for it yet.

    I'm writing up the load comparison now. Probably use Speer 180gr Magtips, (closest to the 180 RN I could find in town) and run maybe seven of the old 4831 alongside seven of the old 4350, and maybe get really into it and do tthe same in Fresh IMR 4350 and H4831sc ?? (all same grain of course, just to look at Velocity?)

    My Propellant Profiles book has not been returned from a lending out lately. Shucks, that book is incredible for info on old and new powders.
    If anyone has that and felt like telling me what it says, would be awesome. I'm not up for buying another, yet

    Hey, I just found something pretty interesting, the original can from the Hodgdons 4831, it'll take me a minute to post pics, all the info is right on there, pretty interesting for sure
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Default A Classic Can, with interesting info on back

    This should be interesting to the "Old Breed" Reloading guys on here,

    I saved this can, 'cause I thought it was a cool souvenir, sitting on the shelf over my Reloading bench. Then as this thread is developing, I picked it up to look again,
    the original can for the Hodgdons 4831 I have (only a half pound or so left)

    Maybe one of you guys can give a shot at the year this came out ?
    BrownBear, does this look familiar, I have little idea on the age of this powder, but it's probably close to the Improved Military 4350 I am talking about here. 1960's ??

    There was a bit of rust on the top of the can but the powder inside smelled Fresh, pours good, have used it somewhat in .270wsm cases but it's a bit slow there,......



    Then turning it over, check out the clear and concise Load Numbers, quite a jump back without having to research the specific load data from old reloading manuals.
    Interesting to notice, there is no Min to Max, just the facts, for 180 grain bullet of any type.



    So, I filled a 30-06 case, Lake City '69 Brass I have, FL sized and ready to load, with 59.5 grains of this Hodgdons 4831, just to see, as that number 59.5, seemed pretty high.

    Fills the case pretty well, I shot a pic to show for kicks, Looks near to a compressed load, not quite tho, right at max for case capacity. That's a Speer 180 mag tip laying there alongside. If I seat it right out there, should be an interesting load


    Interesting stuff, eh?

    Thanks for the help guys
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Yeah, that's definitely an early 60's can. Might even go back into the 50's, but I wasn't doing any of my own loading then and can't remember. By the late 60's they switched away from the "IMR" type can and went to one that's more square in profile rather than flat, and changed to a label with lots of red and black. Comparing with their Manual #22 (1974), that load is a half grain below their max, which they say generates 46,600 cup pressure.

    Interesting enough, PO jumps a fair bit higher than 60 grains, so no telling what is pressures amount to. He could have got that particular charge into the case I'm sure, but it would be compressed like crazy. I've got no objection to compressing 4831 and do it in some cases, but it's an interesting comparison with what Hodgdon themselves say, isn't it?

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    yeah, it's interesting to say the least,

    for what's it's worth, Grampa's load for the Speer 180gr Round Nose is written down as 52gr of the Improved Military 4350 he was using,(same stuff I am now trying, which is closer to the minimum for the current Speer #'s and IMR 4350)

    I started there, but as the current Speer manual goes up to 54.5 for Max, with IMR 4350,
    I am up to that point, plenty of room, but not anywhere close to 59, and this is with 4350
    Is there that much difference in the "settling in" qualities of 4350 to 4831 ??

    So, I am more than a little surprised, to see these old numbers for 4831 going so much higher, filling the case like that.
    It probably is a compressed load at 3.13 COL. I've also been using that COL, out of the book, but have room to go out to 3.16 for .025 off the Lands on this rifle so, thought maybe I can get more in there, searching for more speed with the old powder.
    Not sure I need to get the speed up if these bullets will still work well at 2400fps

    PS, I don't get this sentence, "PO jumps a fair bit higher than 60 grains,..." what do you mean there? PO, stands for ....??
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Kodiak,
    He is referring to PO Ackley and their charts exceed 60 grains to push over 3000fps...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  19. #19

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    Yeah, PO Ackley's manuals that I referenced earlier. I fell into old shorthand.

    The old surplus 4831 is waaaay slower than contemporary 4350's of any label. In fact, during that era it was about the slowest powder around and the only real choice for comparatively large capacity cases. The differences you see between max for 4350 and 4831 don't surprise me at all.

    Looking at the 6th edition Hornady manual and 100 grain bullets in 257 Roberts for example, the max of 45.2 grains with the modern H4831 (compared to a max of 48.4 with older powders in the 1973 manual) is only a little higher than that of either AA4350 or IMR-4350. Go to the 257 Roberts Improved and the spread is closer to 5 grains, with a max of 50 grains for modern H4831.

    Interesting enough my favorite 257 Roberts is a "long throat" that RCBS built for me in 1971 or 1972. It has a custom size die to mate with the chamber, and sitting right beside Fred Huntington himself, we worked up a max load of 52 grains of the old surplus 4831. I've been shooting that load for very close to 40 years now without excess pressure signs, and getting close to 20 reloads from a set of cases, as another indicator of reasonable pressures. Yet when I tried contemporary H4831 recently, I couldn't push to 50 grains without excess pressures.

    Those old surplus powders are waaaay different than the powders that wear the same numbers today. Thankfully the original surplus 4831 and apparently the 4350 are lots slower, so it's a little harder to get into pressure troubles using today's manuals. But velocities with the same weights of powder are lots lower, too. While I'm clocking over 3100 with 52 grains of my old powder and 100 grainers in my long throat, if I dropped loads with the old powder down to the 45.2 grain max for today's powders, I sincerely doubt I'd be getting much over 2700 fps, much less the 3000fps reported in the manual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    I started there, but as the current Speer manual goes up to 54.5 for Max, with IMR 4350,
    I am up to that point, plenty of room, but not anywhere close to 59, and this is with 4350
    Is there that much difference in the "settling in" qualities of 4350 to 4831 ??
    Ok, in case anyone is Really watching this, I need to correct that quote,
    the Max is listed at 56.0 compressed, not 54.5 of IMR 4350 (Speer #14)

    and then the current Max for H4831 is listed at 59.0 and also compressed.

    So, how do they suggest 59.5gr of H4831 for the same case back in the 60's ?? Hmmmm
    In that photo above of the full case, I did tap the case, as I poured it in slowly, and afterward.
    Pretty close to a compressed load.....

    Anyway, as I got to my Reloading log, for accurate numbers I found the reason I stopped using the old 4831 was not that it was producing low velocities but this,
    It wasn't too slow, but they were "all over the place" Bad Groups. Well in comparison to fresh anyway.

    for .270wsm, CCI 250's, 2.85 col for a Speer 150gr BTSP I did a comparison of H4831sc, and Hodgdons 4831(from 60's)
    Five shots each of 58gr and 58.5, the 58 gr load went from 1.13" out to 2.98" groups but the Velocity was only 58fps slower,

    For the 58.5 grain loads, the Groups went from 1.66", out to 2.15" and again Velocity only dropped 26fps

    So what do you think, the old powder became less effective for accuracy but kept the velocity, after 50 years of storage ??
    I don't have enough to work up any loads anyway, just thought an interesting fact from just my 20 round test

    So that's why I just put it away, I only have about 3/4 pound of it, so it is also a History Piece on the bench

    Got a few more interesting pics for ya
    these I haven't found numbers for anywhere, Any ideas ??
    As I recall, I couldn't even find them in Propellant Profiles. So they sit on the shelf,





    and that 4676 has numbers on the back, pretty versatile stuff

    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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