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Old July 3, 2012, 02:09 PM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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HELP!! Powders & charges driving me mad!

I have 500 200gr SWC FMJs on order for my .44 Mag cases.
I have 500 125gr SWC FMJs on order for my .38 Spl cases.
I have all my reloading gear ready mounted and set-up.

I have 100 Large and 100 Small CCI Pistol primers and I have .5kg of N350 VV powder.

I chose N350 because VV give that powder, amongst others as being an option for both .44Mag and .38Spl in the weights I have ordered.

It is also the slowest burning powder of all the powders common to both calibers and bullet weights and thus closest to the .44 Mag's N110 ideal.

Here is the problem.

I keep reading how one should follow the loading manual judicously, starting with the starting charging and working up.
I also see how you should only use the charges for the bullet type you have.

But the problem is that in the Lyman's manual the only 125gr .38 listed is a Jacketed HP, with a crimping collar.
The manual also only lists one 200gr .44.
Again a jacketed HP, with a crimping collar.

Neither matches what I have ordered.

A VV manual that I've acquired gives me N350 125gr .38 load data only for a Hornady FP/XTP , or Rainier FP ().
Neither matches what I have ordered.

The VV manual gives my measures for a Hornady 13g HP/XTP which is heavier than the 12.96g (200gr) .44s I have on order.
And so it doesn't match what I have ordered.

Finally, the company providing the bullets only lists load data for N105 for the .44 and don't even give load data for their own .38 I have ordered. The closest I get is the 125gr WC, not SWC.

How am I supposed to know what measure of N350 to even start with, let alone the max I should work up to?

So far my only option is to use the VV manual and use numbers that are not for my exact bullet types... Even the weights are a bit different in terms of the .44...

Advice?
Is it OK to use bullet load data provided that it matches your own bullet's weight?
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Old July 3, 2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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Three things-

First, this is the sort of thing you want to be thinking about before buying components, not after. No need to belabor that point though, I am sure you just figured that out

Second, you are fine using starting load data for different bullet shapes (assuming you are not talking about odd shapes, which you are not) provided that the bullet construction is the same (FMJ, Lead, Plated, etc) and that the weight is approximately the same (i.e. its OK to use starting data for a 124grain bullet with a 125grain bullet). This requires a little common sense with regard to bullet lengths, case depth, etc but basically, if you are talking about the same weight and material, you are safe with starting loads.

Third, the above is IN MY OPINION ONLY. I dont want you getting hurt, period, and especially so on my advice. So please confirm my statements with reliable sources and get you facts in order before seating bullets.

Good luck and happy shooting.
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Old July 3, 2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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Relax.

Use the data for the same weight bullets. When it comes down to traditional lead core bullets the mass is the driving factor in determining pressure, not bullet shape (which influences drag against the bore).

Don't worry about primer brand, if you start at the starting charge for each load and work up you are proofing that load combination in your pistols.

Don't worry about brass brand, I can't find much difference at all with pistol brass between brands.

But I felt the same way before I touched off the trigger on my first handload. I was scared as heck, and very relieved afterward that I still had all my fingers and eyes. I don't know how many thousand rounds of reloading ago that was, but I'm still careful to do a load workup from starting weight to published max charge. Once I've verified that the max book charge is fine in my rifle I back down to best accuracy.

You'll be an old hand at this in no time. Be careful, and always check for powder fill, and make sure you don't double charge.

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Old July 3, 2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Generally speaking lead bullets need less powder then jacketed bullets of the same weight. The different shapes of bullets with the same weight tend to be fairly close with the max and minimum powder charge. This is assuming the base of the bullet is the same depth in the case. Often the minimum charge for a jacketed bullet will be around the mid range charge for lead bullets. Sometimes it is even a little higher. This general information can get you somewhere close most of the time for the minimum charge you want to try.

When you need to find a starting point for a bullet that falls in between known bullet weights you can look at the starting load of the bullets just above and below the weight of the bullet you have. You have to take in to account the bullet will need to be lead/plated or jacketed you are comparing. Don't try using lead/plated information for a jacketed bullet. They just aren't the same. You can take a educated guess where it might be. It is always better to have published load data to keep you out of trouble. Don't load too many rounds of a given charge until you are certain you have found the load you want to keep loading. It is a pain to have to pull a bunch of bullets that just don't cut it.

You are fortunate you are loading for revolvers. Even a charge under minimum will normally be enough to have the bullet clear the barrel. If you are in doubt at all, it takes very little time to check the barrel to make certain there isn't a bullet lodged in the barrel. Work the load up 6 rounds at a time to find where they are becoming accurate. There normally isn't any need to go much above a good accurate load when punching paper. This keeps you away from maximum loads.

Remember to keep good records of what you have loaded and label the container with those bullets so there isn't any confusion later on.

The biggest difference between wad cutters and semi wad cutters is the depth the bullet is set. Wad cutters will be set deeper so they will have have higher pressure with the same amount of powder.

I hope this helps. There will probably be others along with more or better information.
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Old July 3, 2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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Are you sure that these are jacketed FMJ bullets? They may be plated lead bullets. You should use lead loading data for plated bullets.
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Old July 3, 2012, 06:50 PM   #6
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One caution when using data for other bullets, make sure the seating depth (not the same as OAL) is not too different. Usually safe to use the starting data for a heavier bullet of similar construction. Then you do the usual thing, work the load up for your gun(s).
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Old July 3, 2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Finally, the company providing the bullets only lists load data for N105 for the .44 and don't even give load data for their own .38 I have ordered. The closest I get is the 125gr WC, not SWC.
WC are seated much deeper in the case than SWC and thus the available space for powder is less. Do NOT use data for WC with SWC and visa versa.

Generally speaking, however a 38cal 125g FMJ is a 38cal 125g FMJ. The slight difference between manufactures is why we start low and work up. If all components were exactly the same in exactly the same gun we could start at max.
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Old July 3, 2012, 09:03 PM   #8
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What is a "crimping collar?" Are you referring to a cannelure?

You say that the bullets you ordered are SWC FMJs. This is not a common bullet. What brand are they?

You should know that a slow powder suitable for .44 Mag. is probably not very suitable for .38 Spl.
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Old July 4, 2012, 12:19 AM   #9
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Thanks for the pointers and reassurances.

I'll use the closest candidate in the VV manual, then.

A word on what I have and why I got it.

Firstly, the bullets. The .38s are not quite a SWC. They are a Truncated Cone. SWC was the closest I could think of when typing. The .44's are also this Truncated cone. They have a cannelure (I called it a crimping collar), the .38s don't.

Both are described as "HS" in bullet design (it is not Hydra-Shok). In the picture they look like they have a copper jacket, but I've never managed to work out. The website doesn't give a glossary of terms...

Finally, the powder. Some have commented on my powder choice. From the beginning I wanted a powder to use on both, even if it was not the ideal for either.
Powder costs about $85/lb over here. I don't have the cash right now to buy two different types, and the manufacturer tells me that they sanction its use with both my calibre and weight bullets, so I got that one....

I don't feel the urge to load up to maximums right now. Just as well as I only have the starting charges as a guide!!
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Old July 4, 2012, 12:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Just as well as I only have the starting charges as a guide!!
Are you sure about that?
I no longer have a VV print manual but their website shows both starting and maximum loads.
http://www.lapua.com/en/products/rel.../relodata/6/28

http://www.lapua.com/en/products/rel.../relodata/6/21

As said, one jacketed 125 gr .38 or 200 gr jacketed .44 is much like the next.
The small differences are what the starting load is for.
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Old July 4, 2012, 06:06 AM   #11
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Just as well as I only have the starting charges as a guide!!
Are you sure about that?
By that I refer to what some posts have said.

People have posted that, given the bullets are similar to those in the VV manual, there should be no problem using the starting loads listed in the manual.

This, however, implies that there is a potential problem with using the maximum loads.

If the max loads can't be entirely trusted, and we don't really know where the upper limit for my own bullets lies then, effectively, I can only use the starting loads, bar perhaps some very small upward increments...
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Old July 4, 2012, 07:27 AM   #12
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Agree on the small increments. The data on the Lapua website shows fairly "warm" loadings. Go slow.

Where is the "top of the Baltic stack?"
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Old July 4, 2012, 07:53 AM   #13
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Where is the "top of the Baltic stack?"
Estonia!
Northernmost of the three Baltic States.
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Old July 4, 2012, 08:18 AM   #14
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Buy the Speer reloading handbook. Read it. Don't grenade yourself.
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Old July 4, 2012, 08:31 AM   #15
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Assuming Mr Pond has SOME handloading manual to give him the procedures, the Speer book is not going to add much. Certainly not load data for European products.

You DO have a manual and equipment operating instructions, don't you?

You can certainly start at the starting loads and go up by small increments; although I have never been certain what "pressure signs" I should be looking for in a handgun operating at a maximum of 1/3 - 1/2 the chamber pressure of a centerfire rifle.

An email list - now on Yahoo - used to have a regular contributor from Estonia, "Tony from Tallinn". I wonder what became of him.
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:00 AM   #16
Pond, James Pond
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You DO have a manual and equipment operating instructions, don't you?
All that info is in the OP.

I have a Lyman's 49th, and a VV 3rd edition. Any equipment instructions I have came with the Lee gear that I bought.

Your concerns about pressures and the power of a .44 are the same that are keeping me on the inquisitive side of paranoid and posting all these questions!!

I don't really know what pressure signs to look for either, as yet.

I have some resources, but a lot of the info is geared toward rifle casings. I would a) like to reload these cases quite a lot (some folks feel they can be reloaded lots and lots of times) and b) don't want to shatter my Redhawk and c) eventually I'd like to load some nice and hot 300gr cartridges for woods duty, keeping these 200gr types for the range.
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Old July 4, 2012, 11:22 AM   #17
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If I recall you are using magnum pistols for both calibers. That being the case your pistol will be able to handle 38 special +P loads in .38 special cases easily. There shouldn't be too much problem there.

The .44 Magnum like the .357 Magnum can also have .44 special loads made using the magnum case. The only real difference being you do need a touch more powder for the minimum starting load. This is because of the additional volume of the case. A mid range special load might be a good starting point for the .44 mag. You should be able to go up into upper mid range of the magnum loads with the data you have been able to gather. You can get pretty good accuracy and have a load lighter than a full magnum load. Your revolvers do give you a lot of room to get something that should work for you.
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Old July 4, 2012, 12:49 PM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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If I recall you are using magnum pistols for both calibers. That being the case your pistol will be able to handle 38 special +P loads in .38 special cases easily.
Alas, no. My Redhawk is obviously a magnum, but my .38 is only that.... It's got a lovely trigger and had a great price, but is no +p frame!!

All the same, especially with the .38, I'm not after hot loads. Of the two, I'd be happy sticking to low power loads in the .38.

The .44 should see heavier loads in the future: if nothing else to acclimatise me to the power. It already holds far less wariness than it did 3 months back.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:15 PM   #19
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Sorry, I skimmed the OP. You have ample general references and are not likely to find "recipes" for your exact brand of bullet.

You will be fine with handbook .38 Special loads.
What IS your .38 Special? I don't worry about loading .38 Special to the maximum for modern guns, but would be cautious with an old one, however nice. DO NOT load below the listed starting load with jacketed bullets, it is easy to stick one in the barrel with a "powderpuff" load.

The .44 Magnum is more problematical. I would be completely comfortable at the starting load and perhaps halfway up to the maximum. Hard extraction or cratered primers are a bad sign, too bad to use as a routine criterion of chamber pressure.


I would save up for some dedicated Special powder like N320 for those 125 FMJs or N310 for wadcutters which should themselves be less expensive and probably more accurate. That would get you 1500-2000 shots per pound/.5kg

And budget for some N110 for full charge .44 Magnums for those forest treks in amongst the bears, boars, and elk.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:39 PM   #20
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It was quite a lengthy OP!!

The .38 is a Spanish 680 six shot snub that came with far too good a price to pass up!! On the few occassions I have carried that has been it!

I am going to climb the reloading learning curve nice and gently, so I have no problem sticking to starting and mdeium loads right now.

Certainly, later, when I feel more confident in reloading, I will looking into getting some N110, which is what the Lyman's recommends, or the N105 detailed in the bullet manufacturer's pages.

They offer a 300gr monster that I'd like to have a go at. These are the same trucnated cone, HS (see below) bullet types. For those, my VV manual quotes data for 300gr Sierra JSP bullets or 300gr Hornady HP-XTP bullets. I'd be interested to know which people would advise I use when loading up my own fairly hot loads in the future!!

Addendum: I've just found what "HS" stands for: High Speed! These bullets are copper-plated with a further plastified friction reducing coat!! Allegedly increases velocity and reduces deposits in the barrel!
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Old July 4, 2012, 02:19 PM   #21
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Ah, I find the HS bullets made by H&N.
Unfortunately they do not show any loads with N350.

I find it interesting that they say at their load data heading "Ideal specification, not min. or max. specification." Kind of like the Lyman Accuracy Load, I guess.
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Old July 4, 2012, 02:26 PM   #22
Pond, James Pond
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Ah, I find the HS bullets made by H&N.
Thems the ones!

So, I think their 300gr on a mdeium to hot charge would make a good woods round for angry elk and bear alike!
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Old July 4, 2012, 05:37 PM   #23
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Are you sure that the price of a pound of powder is 85 Euros? That's like 100+ U.S. Dollars per pound ! If those are really the prices that people pay for gunpowder over there, you need to be in the powder importing business! The heck with that; I need to move to Estonia and be in the powder import business!!!

Good luck, Mr. Pond.
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:57 AM   #24
Pond, James Pond
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Typo!!

I had wanted to write it in $. I've corrected that post!

It cost me €64 for 0.5kg, but that is still pretty steep!!
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Old July 5, 2012, 07:41 AM   #25
Pond, James Pond
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What does this mean for my comparative bullet choice in the manual?

So far, I have been faced with the problem of choosing a bullet type that is listed in my manuals as a substitute for guide to load charges in the powder I have.

I have used same-grain jacketed bullets as a guide so far, but I just found this text from the manufacturer website about the HS bullets that I have ordered, and now I am stumped again:

Quote:

High-speed bullets are not jacketed bullets! This is why they can also be used at shooting ranges, where use of jacketed bullets is prohibited. The (galvanised) copper coating is around 0.08 mm thick – in contrast to jacketed bullets, where the jacket is over 0.2 mm thick, depending on the make. HS bullets also dissipate energy more easily on account of their good plasticity when they hit a receptacle. Fragmentation is also far less when hitting steel knock-down targets (e.g. IPSC) than with jacketed bullets. If the operator of your shooting range does not accept this explanation, print our DEVA assessment on the classification of copper-plated high-speed bullets.
Should I now be using cast bullets as a guide?!
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