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Old February 10, 2011, 08:10 PM   #1
Praxus
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Powder Burn Rate

I'd like to learn more about the various burn rates of available powders. I'm wondering how burn rates affect different loads/calibers and how the burn rate may affect accuracy and muzzle velocity. Is there any way to gain insight into a powders effectiveness and efficiency in a given caliber/bullet weight or for a specific gun with a certain barrel length based on the powders burn rate relative to another powder?
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Old February 10, 2011, 08:24 PM   #2
GP100man
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Think of pressures not burn rates ,then imagine what happens when ya put ya foot to the floor on a car summtin breaks or breaks loose , then imagine slowly pushin the accelarator to the floor , both ways your to the floor but 1 way was more comfortable !!!

There`s more scientific ways but that`s as good as this ole fat redneck can do !

& what your askin for is an ongoing learnin process on each caliber on each individual firearm !!!
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Old February 10, 2011, 08:37 PM   #3
pmeisel
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Yes, but

it's not simple.

There are a lot of factors to consider in how a powder behaves in a particular cartridge design, with different weights and types of bullets...

A good place to start IMO would be to buy a copy of Ken Waters' Pet Loads and read the articles in there. Ken spent about 40 years doing load development and experiments, offering his observation on what powders worked better than others in a bunch of different guns. Fascinating reading.

There are some other good sources, but I think you might like this one.
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Old February 11, 2011, 02:04 AM   #4
Ideal Tool
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Hello, Praxus..just don't start igniting small piles of different smokless in basement! It seems someone did just that..after he finished lighting several types of powder, he went upstairs and to bed. Bedroom just above where this burning took place. He was found the next day deceased in bed! It seems the British were losing tank crews during pre WW2 training..the smokless powder fumes did these people in.
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Old February 11, 2011, 01:02 PM   #5
rsrocket1
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If you had the Interior Ballistics program called Quick Load, you would get a very good idea of what different propellants to for different bullets. You could run lots of simulations with different powders and charges on different cartridges and barrel lengths. While it should not be used for loading max or min loads, it is very accurate in the mid range when it comes to calculated versus measured performance. You always work up a load from a safe starting point with real components because even a 10% difference in performance could mean the difference between too wimpy a load and a blown up gun.

You can download the demo version which only has 3 cartridge, 3 bullet and 3 powder types, but you can very the charge, bullet weights, barrel lengths, seating depth and get a general idea what happens to the max pressure (how safe is this to use in your gun), the bullet velocity and even generate tables of how different incremental charges affect the pressure and bullet speeds.

This way you can see how a light charge of fast pistol powder can actually work as a reduced rifle load for low recoil practice rounds. You can also see why big bullets with big cases really benefit from big charges of slow powder. BTW, I've tried lighting a pile of fairly fast rifle powder and it won't burn without a lot of help.

Since you are only seeking general ideas, this demo is all you need. Another item of incredible value also comes for free with the demo. That is the user guide. Read the section entitled "Reflections on Interior Ballistics" especially the section called "the process of ignition" and the "process of combustion". Skip the equations or other things that may be over your head and read the narrative. It gives an excellent description of how smokeless powder ignites in the case.

Surprisingly, it's supposed to ignite almost all grains at once, then burn from the surface to the center of each grain, not spread from one grain to the next which is the way a pile of powder burns.

Do a search for Quick Load by Neconos and download the demo. If it's way over your head, at least it didn't cost anything. If you're really interested, it's well worth the cost of the software and is an excellent tool for picking out candidate powders/bullets for a specific cartridge (great for tinkerers).

Hope that helps.
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