Safely Downloading To Extremes...
I'm aware of potential detonation with certain light loads, 45/70 and 38 special immediately come to mind. I'm also awarw of the practice of loading say 1 grain of powder to slug your barrel.
I'm thinking is there a way to safely download big handgun cartridges (44 Special/ Mag) to super low levels in order to allow indoor shooting or even outdoors for youngsters to enjoy dropping the hammer on dads/uncles big guns. Some people will slip in a full house load on a newbie/youngster because they think its funny to watch their reaction. I think this is rude and counterproductive. I'm toying with the idea of going the other way and loading light so these newbies can comfortably get the feel for the handling of big guns. Here's my idea, tell me if I'm wacked out or not, or what experiance you may have in this area.
First off, I think that a fast burning powder would be mandatory, like Bullseye. Perhaps magnum primers to help ensure ignition. Take a starting load and cut it in half? Then (loading one round at a time, and having a dowel rod to push squib loads from the bore if it happens) then point the pistol at the ground to ensure that the charge goes against the bullet (!) and squeeze off the round. Immediately check the bore for stuck bullet. If no bullet in bore, try 10 or 20 more, one at a time, checking in between as outlined. If no squibs occur, cut load in 1/2 again and retest. Keep reducing the load in this manner. When I finally start getting squibs, increase powder back up by 1/2 grain and test again until no squibs occur. Test the loads first with powder charge against bullet and then against primer. Eventually an ultralite load will surface that has no possibility of squibs and is very low noise or recoil, and safe to let the (5 yr old?) pop some caps with. ("I shot a real 44 mag!" etc.)
I haven't done this, its all pure speculation. I think it sounds good on paper but am I missing anything? I realize that each load would have to be 'worked down' to and for each particular weapon and barrel size etc., just like working up a load for each weapon. I could let my little nephews shoot my Bulldog and Redhawk and so forth. Am I playing with dynamite here or does it sound feasable? I'm thinking 2 grains would do it but.................??????? that remains to be seen.
What problems may I encounter? Jacketed slugs would probably take more powder. I'm aware that some powders can not be downloaded, like H-110 for instance, any others that you know of? (I'm thinkg about using Bullseye). I await your comments and critisisims (sp). Flame away!
(Disclaimer: Don't do this, I've never done it. I'm just theorizing at this point, this is potentially dangerous, shooting a bullet behind a bullet stuck in your barrel would be dangerous no matter how low the powder charge.)