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Old November 17, 2012, 03:12 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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What do these symptoms mean?.44Mag

Initially, I loaded both .38 and .44 using the same powder. This was fine to start with, but now I'm branching out.

Last week I loaded up and shot my first set of 240gr FNFMJ.
So, new bullets: 240gr, not the usual 200gr, FNFMJ, not FN plated, and a new powder: Vihtavuori N110.

This powder is the only VV that the Lyman #49 recommends for magnums.

I opted for a 19gr load due as a compromise between different load data I had and found online for 240gr bullets.

Each shot gave a decent shot, and felt recoil was about the same as a far lighter load of N350 (normally 12.6gr). None felt weak.
The shots were accurate,.. for me...

I saw no signs of over-pressure at the primer.

However, despite the size of the case, weight of the bullet and 4.2 inch barrel, I did find unburnt powder.

If I have unburnt granules now, then I imagine I'll have even more with higher loads, making the development of hotter loads seem a bit pointless.

So what could cause this?
Do I need a stronger crimp to increase pressures a bit?
Thanks
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Old November 17, 2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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I'm sure you are using magnum primers. The amount of powder probably could be increased a little. Depending on the bullet you are using, I looked at data I have and find you could be using closer to 22 grains of powder. One profile showed 20 to 22 grains of powder. Another profile showed 22 to 24 grains of powder. Some powders will burn cleaner with more powder. I have found unburnt powder in some other pistol loads I have used when loading light loads. When I increased the powder to between mid range and max using the same powder I didn't get that problem. When you are first starting out loading, it might not make sense to add powder to reduce the amount of powder not burning. I suggest working up the load none the less. You probably will find a better load for your needs.

Speer lists N110 as the preferred powder to use with 240 grain jacketed bullets.
Speer listed OAL of 1.575", 22.0 to 24.0 grains of powder. It also noted using a 240 grain JSP-SWC bullet you need to reduce max charges by 1.0 grain of powder.

I doubt you need to increase the amount of crimp.

When I load less than published data in .357 mag I use a faster powder rather than a slower powder. Slower powders seemed to work better for me at mid range and above. .44 mag loads I would think should be similar.

Last edited by Misssissippi Dave; November 17, 2012 at 07:21 AM.
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Old November 17, 2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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Powder burns faster as the pressure increases. So, adding powder raises pressure, making the powder burn faster, which raised pressure more.

That is why pressure increases much more than linearly with the powder increase. It typically increases by something like the square or even the cube of the powder charge increase. For example, increase powder charge by 5% and the pressure goes up by something between 10% (because 1.05 squared = 1.05 x 1.05 = 1.1025) and 16% (because 1.05 cubed = 1.05 x1.05 x 1.05 = 1.157625). At least, that is about how it works when the powder is burning within the pressure range it was designed for.

That is the reason for the well-known empirical result of approximately liner bullet muzzle velocity increase with powder increase. Increasing the velocity increases the bullet's energy by the square of the velocity increase. To achieve that, just adding energy in the form of more powder would not be enough. What happens is that ALL of the powder is also burnng faster, so more energy is released from the powder faster, pushing the bullet harder and earlier. That makes the overall efficiency higher for converting the chemical energy in the powder to kinetic energy in the bullet.

So, in summary, adding powder will actually give you LESS unburned powder, because it makes the powder burn faster.

But, N110 is pretty slow for a hanadgun, so you may always have a little unburned powder in a 4" barrel with a magnum cartridge, at least at pressures you want to have occur inside a gun you are holding in your hand.

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Last edited by SL1; November 17, 2012 at 06:54 PM.
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Old December 7, 2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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Today I loaded 6 240gr FNFMJ cartridges with 19.5 gr, 6 with 20gr and 6 with 20.5gr.

Initially I had started loading up 21gr loads but when I compared the level of the powder in the cartridge with the bullet depth needed to reach the crimp cannelure, the powder looked as though it would compress, so I backed it down by 0.5gr.

I fired all six over the chrono

19.5gr: av 1200 ft/s
20gr: av 1171 ft/s
20.5gr: av 1283ft/s

By comparison my 13-odd gr of N350 fired 200gr plated FN bullets at 1100ft/s.

The 20gr result was a bit odd. It had a hi value of 1277 ft/s and a lo value of 1040 ft/s and everything in between, hence the low average.

Based on velocities from a 4" barrel, I'd be tempted to go a bit hight with these bullets, but my only concern is the fact that any more and I think the powder will be compressed and I wouldn't be sure what that might do to the charge...

None of these three showed signs of over pressure. I was checking the primer and case ejection for resistance.

Thoughts on the risk of a compressed load...?
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Old December 7, 2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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How close were you to the first screen when you fired those test shots? Being a little too close will sometimes cause false readings.

Did the higher charge weights reduce the unburned powder you saw? I wouldn't expect any noticeable difference with only a half grain increase, but the 20.5 would hopefully be a little cleaner.

Sorry, I can't really comment on a compressed charge with N110 since I have no experience with it.
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Old December 7, 2012, 01:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
The 20gr result was a bit odd. It had a hi value of 1277 ft/s and a lo value of 1040 ft/s and everything in between, hence the low average.
That's a chronograph error of some sort, I'd bet.

You should be at least 10, more like 15, feet from the chrony. 15 feet is pretty much "the" standard.
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:30 PM   #7
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I would agree that the 1040fps was chrono error. You would definitely feel the difference between 1040fps and 1277 fps in felt recoil. In general, my theory is unless I have a reason to believe that an oddball number might is right I omit it. Using bad data is just as bad as cherry picking good data.
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:32 PM   #8
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I saw no unburnt powder in any of those loads.

I was tempted to give 21gr a go, but I looked in the case with 21gr in it and it was clearly about 1.5-2mm higher than where the bullet base would have eeb once seated, so I decide "no".

I must confess, also, that my primers are Large Pistol only, not Magnum. It was all the shop had and the Lyamn manual said that was OK, so....

Chrono distance was about 10-12 feet or so away.

I may try 21gr, seeing as I saw no signs of over-pressure, or I may seat the bullet a bit deeper: 1 mm perhaps. I'd like to get up to about 1300fps, if I can on that 240gr bullet.

300gr bullets, aside from plated ones, are too hard to get hold of, so this rather fine looking 240gr bullet will have to do as far as my woods load goes.
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Old December 7, 2012, 07:58 PM   #9
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Lyman shows a compressed load using 240 gr bullets and N110 in the .44 mag. I use compressed loads of IMR4227 in the .44, but have never used N110. Like others have said, unburned powder can be a sign of a light load.
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Old December 8, 2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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Going back to the initial symptom, I should say that there were very few granules of unburnt powder on the first batch and since then from 19.5 upwards, there were none.

I had mainly been worried that this would interfere with the cylinder closing again (with granules getting caught between the cylinder pivot and frame) making it sometimes impossible to cock the gun, as happened with my .38 snub.
Only an issue if you reload with a fresh six whoich would be a great luxury if you ever needed your woods gun, but still...

I may push it to 21.5gr to see, but I am pretty sure that this will be compressed, so I'm not tempted to try 22gr.

Also, if I do source some Magnum primers, should I then bcak off some of these charges are does it only affect ignition, rather than max case pressure?

In other words, if I change to magnum primers will my results so far still be valid, or could over-pressure result when it hasn't so far?
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:41 AM   #11
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If you change primers from standard to magnum, you will almost certainly increase PEAK pressure, although you may or may not see an increase in velocity.

So, you DEFINITELY need to reduce your powder charge and work-up again with the magnum primers.

That is a good idea even when just switching between brands of primers of the same strength, or even lots of primers of the SAME brand AND strength. There is a fair amount of data that showes that the different brands of primers can make really substantial differences in peak pressure. And those differences can be hard to predict, because they can change from powder-to-powder in a manner that depends on the cartridge the powder is used in. There is less data available to the handloader about the differences between different lot numbers of primers, but the people who test the powders and write the loading manuals have that data and tell us in the manuals to work-up a load again when just changing lot numbers of either powder or primers.

As for the value of changing to magnum primers for N-110, I doubt that it is helpful, unless perhaps for extremely cold weather. Of the manuals that I have which do vary primer types for different powders under the same bullet in the same cartridge, they do not use magnum primers for N-110. On the other hand, some manuals use the same strength primers for all powders with a particular bullet in a particular cartridge, so I can find N-110 data using both types of primers. You should use whichever type the data that YOU are using was developed with. (And, ideally, the same brand as the data, too, although that is just not practical to do for many handloaders due to availability issues.)

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Old December 8, 2012, 09:54 AM   #12
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I would say to not worry about it. If you like the load, keep shooting. Or try something different.
There is never any need to use magnum primers in a handgun.
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Old December 8, 2012, 12:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
There is never any need to use magnum primers in a handgun.

Is this a fact or a personnel opinion? If it's the former, can you give us a link to the proof? If it's the latter, you should probably not give it so freely without telling folks that are new to reloading. They generally need facts and can form their own opinions with experience.
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:44 PM   #14
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Given that supplies of things like primers are unpredicatble (ie the have magnum small pistol one day, and standard the next, ditto for large pistol), I should probably devise loads for each.

One thing I do know is that, prior to this thread, I had not known about the variation in peak pressure based on primers before and some some of my .44 cases may have some CCI, some other Fiocchi.
However, none are magnums...

Quote:
As for the value of changing to magnum primers for N-110, I doubt that it is helpful, unless perhaps for extremely cold weather.
Well it does get cold here, but on the plus side if I were carrying the .44 in the woods, it would be under my jacket.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
There is never any need to use magnum primers in a handgun.
False information, not helpful.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:31 PM   #16
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I say check your crimp. When using the slower powders hard crimping is needed for good start pressures that as close to the same with each other as can be had. Your crimps should be at the point of not quite buckling the case, just almost. That will also help with a lot of the unburned powder. If there is just a tad bit of powder, and everything else is working shoot them.

Though I am going to say try crimping a tad bit more. You may have to sacrifice a case, and bullet or two to get it right. Oh and make sure your brass is trimmed to the same length to get a crimp in the same spot with each one.
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Old December 8, 2012, 11:46 PM   #17
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When you never know which primer is going to be available for a while, it is nice to work up a load with both standard and magnum primers. Just don't think you can change one for the other. Both are different. You can get good loads with either but you will find you will have to adjust the amount of powder you use. Anytime you are in doubt with any change you make, work up the load again with the change. It is the smart and safe way to do things.

There are some pistol powders that need a magnum primer in cold weather to get the powder to burn. Squibs have been know to happen with these powders without a magnum primer. I can't see that happening to a pistol when carried under a coat and only removed when you are going to use it.

When I think of carrying a pistol in the woods I think of it in a holster outside of my clothing exposed to all the heat or cold of nature.
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Old December 9, 2012, 03:43 AM   #18
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When I think of carrying a pistol in the woods I think of it in a holster outside of my clothing exposed to all the heat or cold of nature.
I agree but rock and a hard place.

I have to balance up the likelihood of needing a gun against a bear etc and the higher likelihood of bumping into some villagers picking berries and mushrooms (in summer) and essentially brandishing if the gun is not covered up.

Law states that a carried handgun needs to be concealed...

I have to trust my dogs raisig the alarm to anything in proximity!
The times I did go out foraging last summer, with the .44, I did release the retention strap on the shoulder rig I have now.
I have also recently ordered a Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake. The shoulder rig was not very comfortable.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:37 AM   #19
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Is this a fact or a personnel opinion?
From two sources. My own experience with loading tens of thousands of rounds in .44 mag.
And, a letter I still have, from NRA Dope Bag on this subject.
No need.
Some will argue that in extreme cold like Alaska in winter, the mag primers are more reliable. I don't know, no experience there.
Regular primers help keep the pressures under control and the round will still go bang.
No need. But those who think bigger is always better will still do their own thing.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:40 PM   #20
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I have loaded and shot at least 12 pounds of N110 over the years in 357 Magnum and Ruger-only 45 Colt. If you are getting unburned powder then your load is definitely too light, when properly loaded N110 is super clean. 19 grains is just one grain less than I load 125gr JHPs in 357. According to my Vihtavuori 3rd edition manual starting loads for 240gr Hornady JTC-Sil is 19.8 grains and max is 21.9. A firm crimp and more powder will give you a cleaner burn, which it looks like you have done. I have loaded compressed loads in 357 while still being within published data with no problems at all. Being an extruded powder N110 can be compressed, unlike most ball powders. That is one of the things I like about N110, you can't seem to get enough of the stuff into cases and still seat bullets to get you into trouble. Speer uses standard primers with their N110 357 data and magnum primers in 44 Magnum. Vihtavuori states large pistol or large rifle in 44 Magnum and small rifle in 357 Magnum. They don't publish data for Ruger-only 45 Colt but Speer does and used the CCI300 standard primer with N110 while Sierra used the CCI350 magnum primer. I worked up my 357 and 45 Colt loads with CCI550s and 350s. I think N110 will work well with any primer; standard pistol, magnum pistol or rifle. Just don't substitute hotter primers in loads you've worked up with weaker primers without dropping back and working up again. N110 is perhaps the best all-around powder for magnum pistol cartridges. Too bad it is so much more expensive and hard to find and no longer available in bulk.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:34 PM   #21
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Regarding Rifleman1776's post:

Loading tens of thousands of rounds with "no problems" is not informative at all. You did not bother to specify that even one of those rounds was loaded with a powder for which the manufacturers or manual developers recommend a magnum primer.

And, a letter that you "still have" of unspecified date with a similar opinion from "the NRA Dope Bag" provides little more credibility in this day. Dope Bag has been around far longer than some of the modern ball powders like H-110 for which magnum primers are specified. Primer manufacturers even revised their primer mixtures to accomodate some of those powders, years ago.

I think it is far wiser to take the advice of the people who run their load developments with substantial test instrumentation like pressure transducers and chronographs. They should know best what a powder needs to ignite and burn properly, as well as what can produce excessive pressures.

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Old December 9, 2012, 04:45 PM   #22
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Very interesting point mmb713 raised about rifle primers in .44Mag cartridges.

If we were to put large pistol, large pistol magnum and large rifle primers on a scale of low pressure ignition to high, who would they stack up?

I ask this as I have far more access to large rifle primers than large magnum pistol primers and these could make for a nice compromise if between the two others...

I could stock up on large rifle and use them for both .44Mag and .308Win.
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Old December 9, 2012, 05:03 PM   #23
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I'm fairly sure this suggestion has come up before, and there are problems with substituting either way.

Large Rifle primers are a few thousandths higher than Large Pistol. This can cause trouble in either a semiauto pistol or a revolver, as the difference is large enough that the LR primers can no longer be seated flush.

Large Rifle primer pockets are a few thousandths deeper than Large Pistol primer pockets. This can cause trouble with LP primers whether they are seated to the bottom or not. If seated to the bottom and properly "sensitized", the firing pin might not reach the primer. If seated flush, the firing pin may simply seat the primer deeper rather than firing it.

The rifle/pistol primer substitution is done occasionally, for small primers. Those have the same dimensions. There the concern is largely limited to pierced primers if you use pistol primers in a rifle cartridge, and possible ignition problems due to less firing pin force if you use rifle primers in a pistol cartridge.

IMO, while a lot of the hobby is about experimentation, there are some things that just don't work. Rather than substitute primers when the type I need is "gone", I would keep a reserve and re-order when stock on hand reaches an appropriate level...
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Old December 9, 2012, 05:22 PM   #24
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This can cause trouble in either a semiauto pistol or a revolver, as the difference is large enough that the LR primers can no longer be seated flush.
Well, there goes that plan!!

The other day, I was shooting my Redhawk and two or three primers had not seated fully, making it actually hard for the cylinder to turn, even by hand, not hammer, so flush is where they have to be, in my gun at any rate!!
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:27 AM   #25
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If they stuck out so far they were scraping the frame, they weren't even close to being seated deep enough.
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