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Old December 24, 2012, 11:20 AM   #1
DiffyDoc
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How full should the cases be?

I started to load a batch of .308's with 150gr fmj's. The powder is 48gr. H-380. It seems to be too full??!! When I seat the bullet there is no "shake" in the case. Is this ok or should I lighten up on the powder? The Hornady Book shows this to be a less than max load for the powder and bullet. It just feels wrong to me. I'm not comfortable with compressing the powder. Seating depth .322. OAL of 2.250".

Last edited by DiffyDoc; December 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 11:33 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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There's nothing mysterious or dangerous about compressed charges. Some would argue that it's a good thing.

I assume that you've worked up this load from official published minimums or this load IS an official published minimum?

If so, you're fine. If not, what you're doing is potentially dangerous/deadly and it's doesn't matter if it's a compressed load or not.
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Old December 24, 2012, 12:09 PM   #3
DiffyDoc
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Yup, I worked this up from the Hornady Bible. I have loaded a bunch with IMR4895 and of course the case is never this full....that is why I questioned it. Thanks!!!
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Old December 24, 2012, 03:53 PM   #4
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48.gr. of H380 is at the compressed range, also your seating should be 2.500 - 2.750. Your target shooting with FMJ at what distance and what type of rifle. H380 is a medium burning powder, what barrel length & twist. Have you worked up this load.
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Old December 24, 2012, 05:49 PM   #5
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BIG red flag.

EDIT: This post is off the mark because (as Unclenick points out in the next post), I did not notice that the original poster SAID it was a different powder.

That I did not notice is evidence that mistakes do happen.

I am not deleting the post because I believe the principles I expressed are still valid. And I don't feel I deserve to hide my shame over missing an important detail.

Merry Christmas.

Alarm bells ringing all over the place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiffyDoc
case is never this full....that is why I questioned it.
I WOULD NOT SHOOT THIS LOAD until I found out why there is a difference between prior experience and the current situation.

Pulling the trigger on rounds about which there is some mystery (any mystery) is risky business.

I would check again to ensure that I did not get a different powder than what I am sure you are certain is what you intended. Impossible mistakes do happen.

I would pull the bullet and measure the volume inside the case and compare that volume with other cases loaded in the past that did not fill so full.

I would cross-check my scale. Re-zero, run through whatever verification tests you have available (check weights, other scales, laddering up with BBs, whatever you have).

I would not stop until I had solved the mystery.

Please have a Happy New Year. And take whatever steps are necessary/prudent to ensure that you do.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; December 24, 2012 at 06:17 PM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 06:01 PM   #6
Unclenick
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Not a mystery. The powder that did not fill the case overmuch was 4895. The powder that is filling the case a lot is H380. H380 is canister grade WC852, a powder designed for the larger .30-06 case. It's a slower burning powder than 4895 and that is really too slow for good ballistic efficiency in the .308 case with that light a bullet. WC846, sold in canister grade as BL-C(2), is the nearest equivalent actually intended for .308 Win/7.62 NATO and bullets close to 150 grains. The manuals have H380 listed for 150's because you can get away with it, but IME it is not a good choice for .308 until you get to 180 grain bullets. Even then, there are better choices.

For accuracy with 150's in .308 Win, IMR4895, H4895. IMR4064, Accurate 4064, Varget, Reloader 15, Ramshot TAC, Accurate 2520, and Winchester 748 are all powders I would look at first.
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Old December 24, 2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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Full/nearly full cases eliminate positional variations (all the powder at the front or back of the case) ... 50%+ load density also prevents a double charge fitting in the case.

I have heard that load densities below 30% can cause major problems (detonations?) .....
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Old December 25, 2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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Some reloading guides like Nostler will give a case fill % for each powder charge they list. Though that is using the brass that they tested with. Though for most cases it gives a close enough estimate to know if you are over charging the case.

Oh and every compressed load I have seen listed had some form of notation that showed it as a compressed load.
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Old December 25, 2012, 10:48 AM   #9
William T. Watts
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imrpowder website

My 7th edition Hornady handbook (2007) doesn't list H380 as one of the powders tested, further, imrpowder website doesn't list this number either as an option. I did however find H380 in a Hornady book 39 years old, my thoughts are your using very old data that at best is suspect, the powder your using I assume is a current production lot, to carry that a bit further you should be using current data.. William

Last edited by William T. Watts; December 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
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Old December 25, 2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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I think you mean the Hodgdon web site, as H380 is a Hodgdon powder and Hodgdon also distributes IMR and Winchester. What's odd in the data there is they don't list H380 but they do list the even slower H414 (WC760). The only thing I can figure is that because H380 was developed for .30-06, it is more bulky than H414 and so it is harder to get enough in the case.

Personally, I don't like using slow sphericals with light bullets because of the potential for muzzle pressure spikes. I tend to favor stick powders for their greater immunity to exact charge weight, charge position, and more easily achieved ignition consistency.
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Old December 25, 2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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In my .308 loads with 44.5 grains of IMR-4895, 168 grain Nosler HPBT and Remington cases.....the powder will come up to the base of the neck.

This loads shoot's very well, one inch groups consistently, about 1 out of 4 are at .75 inch.

From what I've read.....the .308 likes a full case of powder to be accurate.

Anything much slower than IMR-4895 will probably generate a compressed load, which still isn't a bad thing.
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Old December 25, 2012, 01:06 PM   #12
William T. Watts
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imrpowder.com is where the load data for all (three) Winchester, Hodgdon & IMR Powder is available, since Hodgdon distributes all three one website has all the loading data. Personally I do not like the idea of compressing ball powder, ball powder is a bit harder to ignite and in most cases I would use magnum primers especially if the ammunition were to be used in cold temps.. William

Last edited by William T. Watts; December 25, 2012 at 01:25 PM.
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Old December 25, 2012, 02:24 PM   #13
Jim Watson
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On the other hand, a .308 Win with 150 gr spitzer is shown with 48 gr H380 as a STARTING LOAD and as an ACCURACY LOAD in Lyman 49th.
Mild and accurate, what is not to like about it?
True, even pushed up to the maximum and well compressed, it will not give as high velocity as several others, but it is sure not useless.
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Old December 26, 2012, 11:46 PM   #14
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Alright, I admit my Hornady Loading bible is "old." My powder is new (not 39yo powder). I had never loaded the 380 powder in the .308 and relying on others with way more time at the bench and at the range it makes sense to ask prudent questions. So I do, and I get intelligent answers most of the time. I have shot a few of these with confidence and they performed with expected results. Nothing too special, just 1" groups at 100 yds. Consistantly
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