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Old April 15, 2012, 07:30 AM   #26
Bart B.
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oldpapps asks me:
Quote:
Was that 'tong in cheek'????
If not, you've got way too much time on your hands.
Please report your results.
No, 'twasn't toungue in cheek.

Is there some mandate, law, subdivision covenant or regulation limiting how much time one can have on their hands? I can just imagine the "Life Style Police" knocking on my door with their stopwatch locked at some illegal value then handing me a summons to show up in the "Court of Human Behaviour" an hour later. (TIC)

But I've heard folks say "I cut stick powder with my measure so I use ball powder!" (or words to that effect) for decades. Do they really damage those pieces of powder? Or are they just assuming they do 'cause they hear the powder crunch as the metering chamber closes on the powder column but don't hear it when using ball powder?

Personally, I think it's a myth. There's dozens of myths in the firearms industry and shooting sports. Most often they're dreamed up by consumers. Sometimes manufacturers pass them off as the truth in advertising and othe marketing claims.

I'm not going to inspect a bunch of extruded powder charges from my old Redding or RCBS measures. Nor will I inspect extruded powders in my 1 and 8 pound canisters that was thrown from large measures putting those weights of powder in containers for public use. Doesn't matter to me if some damage occurs from metering through a measure. I might check out some charges of W231 and W296 ball powder I use in my 9mm and .357 handguns; they're small enough to be worthwhile. I doubt the ball powder afficianados would believe me if I reported some damaged ball powder balls were seen. Photographs of them would have to be posted so all would see they don't survive intact going through powder measures.
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Old April 15, 2012, 08:18 AM   #27
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I use TAC & H335 mostly.
Recently I bought a # of 8208 XBR & it metered extremely well, burned clean & was accurate. 8208 has the smallest granuals of any spherical powder I've ever used.
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Old April 15, 2012, 08:31 AM   #28
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If you like to shoot light bullets in short M4 barrels go with H-322.
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Old April 15, 2012, 09:17 AM   #29
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BLC-2 and H335. I'm hoping to try the new CFE next.
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Old April 15, 2012, 10:23 AM   #30
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The H335 meters well because it's a ball powder, but we got lousy accuracy with it.

We found we are better off with Varget, despite the small variances we get with the metered charges.

Only one way you'll find out. Just because it may meter more accurately, does not mean it's the best load for your bullet/rifle combination.
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Old April 15, 2012, 02:25 PM   #31
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I can't imagine the burning surface area difference from a few damaged grains would make any measurable difference to performance any more than a little loose powder dust would. The main reason to avoid cutting grains is to avoid the jostling of the measure that occurs when the rotor snaps through a grain. I don't think I've ever had a cut charge weigh differently from the previous charge thrown, but I have had the charge right after a cut charge and sometimes the second one after come up a little heavy. The jostle rearranges the grains some.

As Bart says, the record setting powders are stick, though Glen Zediker likes 748 alright for service rifle matches. The fact the stick powders can work well despite a bit a charge variation has something to do with their ignition characteristics, and big sticks seem more immune than small ones. Hatcher's got an example. He wrote that he worked with two powders about like modern IMR4320 in burn rate when choosing the National Match load one year. One was short grain and the other was long grain. The Frankford Arsenal loading equipment could only meter the the coarse grains to a spread of 1.7 grains, but could meter the short grains to a spread of 0.6 grains. Nonetheless, in the test guns, ammo loaded with the long grain powder made consistently smaller groups at both 600 yards and 1000 yards, where you expect velocity variation to show.

I've thought before that perhaps as the sticks pack tighter the flame front passage between them becomes enough slower to compensate for a small charge increases. However, I don't see why that bulk density difference wouldn't just vibrate out during transport or change when cases were shaken or handled. So I expect there is actually something more complicated going on.
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Old April 15, 2012, 11:07 PM   #32
Bart B.
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A bit of history from Winchester............

http://www.wwpowder.com/history.html

{Edit: Sorry. I find this inconvenient myself. You can put a link in, but the board policy on copyrighted material requires express permission to actually paste a copy. Some lawyers have been making a practice of suing sites for cut and paste copying that takes eyes off the source's advertising. The link is OK because then they get the eyes on their ads. Nick}

Last edited by Unclenick; April 17, 2012 at 09:10 AM.
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Old April 16, 2012, 12:07 AM   #33
oldpapps
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Bart B.
"A bit of history from Winchester............"

Very interesting.
Please continue.

One story I picked up, I have no idea if it has any validity, was that old government stores of smokeless powders dating from 'The War to End All Wars' were deteriorating. As it is a nitro cellulose mix, it was becoming hazardous. This 'waste' was bought up by Winchester and was loaded into milk trucks filled with water and chalk, nullifying the dangers, for transport to their facilities.
The story sound good, how true it may be is up in the air. Inaccuracies are probable.

Back in the mid 70s, I got a good deal on 630 powder, two 8 lbs tube cans. As I only use it for my heavy .44 loads, I still have 4 to 5 pounds in one of the cans. It (the 630 powder) meters like water, is very consistent and provides all of the capabilities I want in high energy pistol powder.

As of late I have been using H110/296 for a totally different loading need. The H110/296 seems to be a rougher surfaced product. It meters well enough and does what I desire.

More directly to the subject of this thread. Of all of the powders I have used over the last 48 or so years, I have liked the 'ball' types better for metering.
Yet, some of the old stand by extruded/stick powders do have their places and I use them, a lot.

Thanks,

OSOK
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Old April 16, 2012, 10:09 AM   #34
Bart B.
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OSOK, back in 1991 when Sierra Bullets' finished their prototype Palma bullet, a 30 caliber, 155-gr. HPBT match bullet, I and half a dozen other former US Palma Team members were asked by the Team coach to develop a good load for it. We had to use new cases weighing about 170 grains, Federal 210M primers, any powder we chose and were given a 1000-round box of bullets. All powder charges had to be metered; exact weights were not allowed as two Dillon 1050 progressives would be used to load a few hundred thousand rounds of it. 20-shot groups at 1000 yards was the test.

We used both extruded and ball powders with medium burning rates; IMR 3031 and 4895 and similar. After we all shot a few dozen 20-shot groups with all sorts of powder, 45.3 grains of IMR4895 was picked. It didn't produce the lowest spreads in metered charge weights, muzzle velocity and peak pressure as tested in a lab, AA2520 did that by a decent margin. But AA2520 produced the worst accuracy and the other ball powders tested were also near the bottom of the accuracy list. IMR4895 metered to a 3/10ths grain charge weight spread but shot well under 1/2 MOA at 600 properly tested for accuracy.

Even more interesting was when that ammo was first used in an international long range match later that year, top shooters from around the world reported it shooting 1/2 MOA at 600, too. Not too shabby for doing well in a wide range of barrel contours plus a variety of chamber, bore and groove dimensions.
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Old April 16, 2012, 12:08 PM   #35
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H-335 and Varget get it done for me. Meter just fine and no magnum primers needed.
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Old April 16, 2012, 02:31 PM   #36
oldpapps
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Bart B,

So if I am extrapolating this correctly;
Ball dumps better.
Stick dumps worse.
Ball isn't as consistent.
Stick gives better groups.

The physics are far beyond me. I have a headache now.

Thinking out of the 'box', so to speak. Is it the shape of the propellant or the makeup of the paste used to make the shape? Extruded is/was higher in free acid, thus the shortened usable life span. Could that have a burn/pressure effect on consistency? Or, maybe the graphite added to ball for various reasons that upsets the burn/pressure mix?

I am so not wanting to be a chemical engineer for a powder manufacture.

You know Bart that I will worry about this. Can I blame you

Good info. Thanks,

I will still be using 748 for the majority of my .223/5.56 loads.

OSOK
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:02 PM   #37
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Quote:
Was that 'tong in cheek'????
If not, you've got way too much time on your hands.
Please report your results.

For now I'm going to continue watching the weather channel.... I get a kick out of how they butcher little towns' names. Or I could punch out some primers.
Quote:
No, 'twasn't toungue in cheek.
Never underestimate the OCD-level attention to detail of serious bench rest guys...... though to hear them discuss internal ballistics reminds me of reading about medieval Church Scholars debating how many Angels could dance upon the head of a pin.....

IM(comparatively limited)E, ball powders meter better, but are more prone to muzzle velocity variations with temperature change..... the load you are hunting with on Opening Day in November does not act like the one you worked up and sighted in with in August ...... even though you developed and loaded it out of the same components at the same time..... using a magnum primer mitigated this somewhat, but I moved on and found better loads with extruded powders......
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:16 PM   #38
Bart B.
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OSOK remarks:
Quote:
You know Bart that I will worry about this. Can I blame you?
Sure, go ahead and blame me. Other's have done so for decades but I'm getting used to it nowadays.
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Old April 17, 2012, 09:24 AM   #39
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Bart,

I was surprised by the 170 grain cases. Were the new Winchester Palma cases not yet available at the time you were doing the testing?

I had a similar issue with 2520. I tried using it in my M1A in '94 IIRC. I had a decent barrel that would shoot Brigadier 3032 under 168 grain SMK's into 0.7 moa at 100 yards, but the 2520 would never do better than 1.25 moa with those bullets. At the time I was using LC and sometimes Remington brass and Federal 210M primers. Then one day, on a whim, I took my flash hole deburring tool and went over all my Remington cases. I didn't really expect anything, but the tool was a new one I'd got that I could chuck in my drill press, so I just wanted to try using it. Next time out, though, the 2520 groups shrank to 0.75 moa. About where the stick powders shot without the special treatment. The 3032 loads stayed the same and didn't notice the deburring, so I may have been at that barrel's limits.

On reflection I expect that 2520 needed magnum primers. I improved the ignition with what I did, but Alan Jones says CCI altered their magnum primer formulation in 1989 specifically to optimize it for spherical propellant ignition requirements, so that might be something to try. If I ever have some time an money to waste, I may replicate the 2520 experiment. I've never bought any more of that powder after I used up the jug I purchased to try it out in '94, so this won't been a high priority with me.
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