The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 1, 2012, 09:11 AM   #1
CowboyinIL
Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2012
Location: Midwest
Posts: 22
Have you ever taken apart a store bought round of ammunition?

If you have ever taken apart a round of store bought ammunition, what was the...

1. Caliber
2. Manufacturer
3. Grain of bullet
4. How many grains of powder were in it (and if possible to discern, what type..ie flake, ball, stick)


Just curious if this could be done to replicate a factory round.


Thanks
__________________
He who hesitates is lost.

Think of the solution, not the problem.
CowboyinIL is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:23 AM   #2
TMD
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 9, 2011
Posts: 491
Commercial ammo manufacturers use proprietary powder that unavailable to the public so how much is in there is irrelevant and you can't identify powder by looking at it. So it makes no sence to pull a bullet just to look unless of course you just want to.
TMD is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:31 AM   #3
griz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 31, 2000
Location: Middle Peninsula, VA
Posts: 1,437
You can pretty much replicate the performance of most factory rounds as long as you know which bullet is being used. As TMD said, you can't just use exactly the same charge of the same lot of powder they used, but you can use a suitable powder to fire the same bullet at the same velocity as the factory round.
griz is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:31 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
It's almost impossible to identify a powder visually.

Knowing that it's "ball" or "stick" doesn't tell you a thing.

As mentioned by TMD, many factory rounds are loaded with powders or blends of powders that we couldn't buy even if we knew what they were.

If you want to duplicate factory ammo, shoot some in your gun over a chrony and then find load data that gives you that velocity.

"Velocity chasing", which is blindly trying to reach a speed without consulting known safe data because you managed it with factory ammo is very dangerous.

If you want to get even closer to duplicating factory loads, you can do as you say and disassemble a round, weigh the powder and then find load data that matches the speed you get and the powder charge. The problem you'll find there is that charges in factory ammo will vary by a SHOCKING amount.

Ultimately, duplicating factory charge weights is pretty pointless. I care about two things in my ammo.... coming close to the cartridges capabilities in terms of velocity and consistent accuracy. Neither matters to me without the other.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:49 AM   #5
CowboyinIL
Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2012
Location: Midwest
Posts: 22
Quote:
The problem you'll find there is that charges in factory ammo will vary by a SHOCKING amount.


Thanks, that is one of the things I was very curious about. If the powder varied and to what degree. I made my first rounds of 30-06 a few days ago and made absolutely sure that my test loads all had the exact same charge and wondered how much the accuracy would vary with .1 grain of powder or if it would even be noticeable.

I guess I was thinking that "factory ammo" was a standard and a starting point with which to measure my extremely meticulous nature when throwing powder charges.
__________________
He who hesitates is lost.

Think of the solution, not the problem.
CowboyinIL is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:54 AM   #6
William T. Watts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2010
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 778
You can duplicate case, primer and projectile, there's no way you can duplicate the powder, as has been pointed out the powder is propriatary usually blended and ran thru a ballistics lab to find the exact blend that produces the velocity and accuracy desired. William.
William T. Watts is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 09:56 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
I have that same meticulous nature and I like to believe that it matters.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the best shooters in the world have found that, at least "good" loads, are not very sensitive to charge variations. Many of them don't even weigh their charges, but use volumetric measures instead.

In fact, one of the better ways to find good loads, The OCW Method by Dan Newberry, results in loads that are not charge weight sensitive, which is one reason why they are consistently accurate.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 10:08 AM   #8
Sarge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2002
Location: MO
Posts: 4,911
Quote:
If you want to duplicate factory ammo, shoot some in your gun over a chrony and then find load data that gives you that velocity.
The only thing I can add to that Brian is "...and shoots to the same point of impact." I have found, over and over again, that they are not necessarily the same thing. Now there's a topic I'm a little O/C on.
__________________
I'm inclined to think if a man hasn't gotten his point across in 4912 attempts, 4913 probably isn't going to do it.
Sarge is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 10:28 AM   #9
243winxb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2011
Posts: 982
243 Winchester

http://www.imrpowder.com/history.html
Quote:
IMR7828, was made available to reloaders in 1985. Prior this powder was only sold to commercial ammunition companies.
1. Caliber 243 WIN.
2. Manufacturer-Remington
3. Grain of bullet-80
4. How many grains of powder were in it (and if possible to discern, what type..ie flake, ball, stick)
42.5 grs Looked like IMR 4350-stick type. Back in the days when Remington, IMR/Dupont were one.
243winxb is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 10:46 AM   #10
CowboyinIL
Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2012
Location: Midwest
Posts: 22
Quote:
In fact, one of the better ways to find good loads, The OCW Method by Dan Newberry [optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com] , results in loads that are not charge weight sensitive, which is one reason why they are consistently accurate.
Thanks for the link Brian. I read the linked page (peeked my interest and shows logic which is a good thing) and plan on reading the whole thing this weekend. Have you used this method for reloading, and if yes, did it work well for you?


To 243 - Thanks for posting results. Looks good and much appreciated.
__________________
He who hesitates is lost.

Think of the solution, not the problem.
CowboyinIL is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 10:54 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
I have used that method only once, with my Ruger M77 MkII. I know my guns must be weird because I don't see dramatic shifts in groups as charge weight changes, in anything I've ever loaded.

My M77, which is chambered in .204, shot so consistently from bottom to top of the charge range that I didn't even bother to analyze the results. I went to published max and stayed there.

However, Uncle Nick (moderator of this forum) is a big proponent of the Newberry method. He is highly experienced and learned in reloading. He says it works, which is enough for me to recommend it to others.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 11:48 AM   #12
LarryFlew
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2009
Location: Minnesota CZ fan
Posts: 895
In addition, some guns like varying amounts of powder etc. IE have 2 AR15, both with 16 inch (one bull one not) and both 1:9 twist. One likes a particular Varget load that I do and the other doesn't like it at all so I have to drop a full grain for the same target results. Now the one is my target gun and the other is just a plinker so I don't have to do 2 different loads. Difference for 5 shots is 1.5 groups vs 1 at 100 yards so for hunting etc it would not matter but for target it matters a lot.
LarryFlew is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 11:51 AM   #13
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 5,183
What's the attraction of duplicating mass produced ammo?
Isn't one of the reasons for reloading to make ammo that's better or different than factory?
Loads that are more suitable to one's own needs and not everybody else's?
__________________
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows.
g.willikers is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 12:11 PM   #14
CowboyinIL
Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2012
Location: Midwest
Posts: 22
Quote:
What's the attraction of duplicating mass produced ammo?
Isn't one of the reasons for reloading to make ammo that's better or different than factory?
Loads that are more suitable to one's own needs and not everybody else's?

My previous post below:

Quote:
I guess I was thinking that "factory ammo" was a standard and a starting point with which to measure my extremely meticulous nature when throwing powder charges.

To g.willikers - Yes that is true, but as stated above in my previous post, this would be a standard (bar) to measure against to start (as I'm very new to reloading)(Been researching for a year, but made first rounds a few days ago).

Additionally, I'm curious as to the info that I asked for in my original post. It's also very interesting to note from Brian that the factory cartridges powder charges vary greatly at times.
__________________
He who hesitates is lost.

Think of the solution, not the problem.
CowboyinIL is offline  
Old June 1, 2012, 12:16 PM   #15
huntinaz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 21, 2010
Location: az
Posts: 999
Quote:
What's the attraction of duplicating mass produced ammo?
Isn't one of the reasons for reloading to make ammo that's better or different than factory?
Loads that are more suitable to one's own needs and not everybody else's?
That's my take on it. As soon as I started reloading, I could care less about what the factory produces. I make what I want.
__________________
"Once you quit hearing sir and ma'am, the rest is soon to follow." - Cormack McCarthy
"Feed me, or feed me to something. I just want to be part of the food chain." -Al Bundy
huntinaz is offline  
Old June 2, 2012, 06:01 PM   #16
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,003
Performance. The proof is in the performance.

Taking apart a factory round will tell you the weight of the bullet, but little about the primer and not much about the powder.

So, you can probably find virtually identical bullets. Might produce a good guess as to the type (magnum or standard) of primer with a few test firings of the primer only.

Knowing the type of powder (stick, ball, flake, flattened ball) you could then search for loads of that type of powder with that approximate weight that promise that velocity with those bullets. Then work up safe loads that actually deliver that velocity. You will need a chronograph for this.

Then decide for yourself if the recoil, flash and report is approximately equal to the factory loads.

Lot of work, that. To what end?

Lost Sheep

p.s. I included the step of using the same grain type of powder assuming that the factory might be using a commercially available powder, or a close chemical relative.

I note that many loaders believe the the powder quickness makes a difference in felt recoil.

Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 2, 2012 at 06:08 PM.
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 12:41 AM   #17
2ndtimer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2004
Posts: 126
30/06 experiment

Many years ago, I had a Winchester Model 70 Lightweight carbine in 30/06 that was pretty particular about what it liked to shoot. I had tried a number of highly recommended handloads, and was lucky to get 3 shot groups under 2 inches at 100 yards. I happened to pick up a box of PMC ammo for it with the 150 gr soft point bullets on sale for like $6 (hey, I said it was a long time ago) and was shocked to see a nice 1 inch group off the bench. So I had to know what was in there. Now I agree it is impossible to tell exactly what kind of powder they use, but I figured I could figure out if it was ball or extruded, and also get an educated guess at the burning rate based on the charge weight. It turned out to be loaded with about 49 gr of an extruded powder that looked very similar to IMR-4895. On a whim, I picked up a pound of IMR-4895 and loaded up some cases with 49 grains (after checking multiple loading manuals to make certain it was within acceptable pressure levels, seated some 150 gr Nosler Solid Base bullets and tried them out. They shot better than anything else I had tried up to that point! So, at least in my experience, it is possible to get an idea of something to try by checking out factory ammo. I suppose I could do something similar with the Fiocchi 40 gr V-Max .223 ammo that seems to be so accurate in my 700 SPS Varmint, but I would rather enjoy shooting it! I do have handloads that approach it in accuracy and velocity, so I just flip a coin as to which to use in that rifle.
2ndtimer is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 01:29 AM   #18
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 6,816
All of the statements above have taken care of my opinion on the matter:
You can't figure it out by disassembling a cartridge.

But, for giggles...

.22 WMR
Winchester "Supreme"
36 gr HP
6.5 gr unidentifiable (super fine) ball powder

Interestingly...

.22 WMR
Winchester "Supreme"
30 gr HP
6.5 gr unidentifiable (super fine) ball powder

Same powder charge, but a 20% difference in bullet weight.
That powder is highly unpredictable, but seemed to be identical during my experimentation. The (seemingly) same ball powder can be found in the 40 gr (45 gr?) Dynapoint "HP" load, with a 5.6 gr to 6.0 gr powder charge.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 08:14 AM   #19
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 4,907
In a chat with a Federal rep at the High Power Nationals some years ago, we talked about powder. He said Federal uses the same powder that's sold to consumers. But they buy in large quantities and develop loads to their own pressure and velocity specs. So their ammo does not use proprietary powder that's mixed to some custom blend. It's the same that us consumers buy, just a different lot number as each one of us often gets.

He also said all the ammo companies do the same thing; he had worked for others. But powder making plants often mix production lots of the same powder type to get the mix to a performance standard they set. Mixing powder components is not an exact science; there's a small difference between lots sold to both customers and ammo making companies.

Most folks don't realize that the many different testing techniques and quality thereof that handloaders use to judge a given powder's performance will end up with a wide range of answers for the exact same set of components and even with the very same rifle. Which is why the smarter ammo companies used expensive test barrels both rifled and chambered to strict chamber specs. Those test barrels are clamped in special barreled actions for pressure, velocity and accuracy tests which give much, much more precise results than us humans do holding a rifle.
Bart B. is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 08:40 AM   #20
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
Certainly all the loads from all the companies aren't blended from different powders but, at least as a marketing gimmick, they often say that handloaders can't duplicate their performance. The 204 Ruger is a good example of that, they said exactly that... the powder was a proprietary blend not available on the open market and therefore handloaders could not duplicate factory velocity.

It's true too, or was for a while. Most people couldn't reach the claimed 4,200 fps with a 32gr bullet.
Of course, factory ammo, as it turns out, doesn't make it either.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old June 3, 2012, 09:14 AM   #21
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 4,907
Brian Pfleuger says:
Quote:
Certainly all the loads from all the companies aren't blended from different powders but, at least as a marketing gimmick, they often say that handloaders can't duplicate their performance. The 204 Ruger is a good example of that, they said exactly that... the powder was a proprietary blend not available on the open market and therefore handloaders could not duplicate factory velocity.

It's true too, or was for a while. Most people couldn't reach the claimed 4,200 fps with a 32gr bullet. Of course, factory ammo, as it turns out, doesn't make it either.
I would not expect factory .204 Ruger ammo to shoot bullets as fast in barrels us consumers get from factory rifles. Their test barrel probably had different chamber, bore and groove dimensions than what standard production factory barrels produce. The .308 Win. had the same issues; factory production rifles didn't give the muzzle velocity that Winchester stated in their marketing hype for the same reasons.

Compare the chamber, bore and groove specs in the following:

http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC...04%20Ruger.pdf

to what your .204 Ruger barrel has. Most folks who've done this for other cartridges are quite surprised. I doubt this one will be any different. And if the factory's test barrel was held in a solid mount (Universal Receiver), it's gonna shoot bullet out faster than us humans do holding a rifle against our shoulder. Shoulder fired rifles' recoil subtracts several fps from solid mounted test barrels.

Last edited by Bart B.; June 3, 2012 at 09:49 AM.
Bart B. is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.15716 seconds with 9 queries