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Old April 26, 2011, 10:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: September 27, 2004
Posts: 4,693
Pistol reloading data more variable than rifle data! Why?

This actually is a kind of continuation of my earlier thread on powders for .357 mag loads, but is different enough I thought it deserved it's own input.

I've reloaded for rifle in .30 cal(s) for some time & got used to the variation of load data among different manufacturers, usually about 10~15%. I understand the differences in test equipment & the way they affect the published data. But pistol data has thrown me for a total loop Being new to pistol reloading hasn't helped either as everything I thought I knew seems wrong for pistol loads.

Example: One manufacturer's load lists a minimum load that is 12% higher than another manufacturers MAXIMUM load data. My usual technique when starting a new rifle load is to look at several manuals, pick the highest minimum & lowest maximum for the preferred powder for the bullet in use & then do a ladder load using that data. One load min, one load median & one MAXIMUM. Based on the data I get back I work a load within that range for the performance I'm looking for.

This just doesn't seem possible with the huge variation & contradictory information for pistol loads. For example using the load data quoted above I'd never load anything because I'd always be over maximum & under minimum at the same time!

Can someone set me on the right course here?
Allan Quatermain: “Automatic rifles. Who in God's name has automatic rifles”?

Elderly Hunter: “That's dashed unsporting. Probably Belgium.”
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