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Old February 19, 2007, 06:20 PM   #1
mutski
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Fast vs slow powder?

I've been using HS6 for .38 specials with 148 gr WC or 158 gr SWC for a Taurus Tracker revolver with a 4.5" barrel. I see a lot of people talking about Bullseye, Red Dot, Unique and other powders that burn faster than HS6. What difference does this make?
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Old February 19, 2007, 09:24 PM   #2
Trapper L
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If you are shooting plinkers, you can get more rounds out of a one pound can using a quicker burning powder. Its been my experience that each weapon will react differently to the powder used. Some like it hot and quick, others like it slow but fast. Most of my autos like HS-6 and AA#5. The 357s like H-110. The 38s seem to like Unique but it is kinda messy and dirty. While I have a good supply of Unique, I don't really load that much of it. If you are happy with the loads using the HS-6, I'd leave it alone.
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Old February 21, 2007, 04:19 PM   #3
gb_in_ga
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For me, it boils down to these factors:

> The faster burning powders require a smaller charge, meaning that they are cheaper on a per round basis -- more loads per lb of powder.

> The faster burning powders tend to burn somewhat more completely when loaded lightly.

> The slower burning powders are more appropriate for when loading at the top of the power spectrum, as the time/pressure curve is less "peaky".

> It is easier to notice "double charging" when using slower burning powders, since each charge has a larger physical volume. Depending on the load in question, it may be impossible to actually fit a double charge in the case, which is a dead give-away for catching any double charge you might make.

FWIW, I also use HS-6 with .38 Spl, but only when loading at the top of the power spectrum. I also use that powder when loading 9mm at the top of the spectrum, and for loading mid-range .357 Magnum. Currently, I use HP-38 for light to moderate strength .38 Spl loads such as the 148 gr WCs and 158 gr SWCs with good results.
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Old February 27, 2007, 07:59 PM   #4
mutski
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Thanks, GB, that is helpful. I went from W231 to HS6 for .38 special because I was having trouble measuring small volumes of W231 in my Lee disk powder measure.
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Old February 27, 2007, 08:38 PM   #5
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gb in ga

"double charging"
Just curious, do you load by "the books", or just dump in what will fit?
I have much to learn, but your post seemed to me as if you take your loading not to exact, as if you like to "walk the line"?
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Old February 27, 2007, 09:14 PM   #6
gb_in_ga
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Quote:
Just curious, do you load by "the books", or just dump in what will fit?
I "load by the books", all right. But, I don't happen to have a progressive press (yet), and as such find myself needing to manually drop charges and all.

The point I'm making is that even when using a powder measure (which I regularly do), there is a human element involved here. It is possible -- I repeat, possible -- to be distracted and erroneously double charge a round. Just like it is possible to be distracted and erroneously neglect to drop a charge at all and end up with a squib (although those are relatively easy to catch, all you have to do is just look and see that it is empty). The point is that a double charge of a fast powder is harder to visually detect than a double charge of a slow powder just due to the differences in volume. In some cases, like when loading slow burning powders in magnum calibers or when loading autoloader calibers, it is physically impossible to fit a double charge in the case. In some cases, like .38 Spl with faster powders, it is not all that obvious just by looking that a double charge is actually a double charge.
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