The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 2, 2012, 11:43 AM   #1
Crankgrinder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 642
ball powder?

I was going through my selections of powders lately and what i primarily load is unique, power pistol, and 2400. So i have been using flake, and stick powders. I am thinking of adding a ball powder or two i shoot .38/.357 and 9mm in pistols. I have heard that ball is more hard on revolvers than either flake or stick is this true? any with more depth on this please chime in? I have used the search but had no luck, perhaps overlooked.
Crankgrinder is offline  
Old December 2, 2012, 01:24 PM   #2
tkglazie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 3, 2011
Posts: 558
For those 2 calibers you will be hard pressed to do better than HP38/W231. Economical, accurate, relatively clean. You will also find that it meters well.

There is no truth to one type of powder being any harder on a revolver than another.
tkglazie is offline  
Old December 2, 2012, 03:49 PM   #3
jag2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 30, 2009
Location: dallas
Posts: 378
When you read "I heard blah blah blah" you have to ask yourself, huh? How in the world would a revolver know what kind of powder you used? Some powders burn fast, some slow, that's what we have reloading manuals for. If what ever powder you use is loaded in the correct amount for that type of ammo there should be no problem. It's true that some powders burn cleaner than others but I don't see how that is harder on the gun, just means you may need a couple extra swabs at cleaning time. Some powders, especially stick, do not meter well so you may get inconsistent loads but they usually are on the light side so no damage there.
The 231/hp38 surely is a good choice and you should also check out Accurate #5, it is a very fine grain powder and thus very easy to get right on a consistent basis. It just seems to give me a very "crisp" feel but without more recoil. Kind of hard to describe but it works well for my loads in my pistols.
jag2 is offline  
Old December 2, 2012, 04:57 PM   #4
Crankgrinder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 642
thanks again folks, I believe it was on this forums i read a post stating ball powder was worse for top strap cutting in heavy loads once, but then if youre shooting very heavy loads you may experience some of that anyways so youre probably right there by all accounts. Lots of bad information out there, along with things that are just not known because either it hasnt been tested or there is no way to test it out. Ill look into some load data for these powders and perhaps try one.
Crankgrinder is offline  
Old December 2, 2012, 05:09 PM   #5
SL1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 8, 2007
Posts: 1,997
If you are going for the most powerful loads, then there are some ball powders that can give you higher velocities than flake powders. For example, WW-296/H-110 and 300MP should give you higher velocities at max allowable pressures than you can get from 2400 in your mag revolvers.

I don't know what was meant by what you heard about ball powders being hard on a gun, but I can guess: some max loads with ball powders, especially with light bullets, give a longer duration of high temperature gas at the cylinder gap and forcing cone of a revolver. That has proven to erode forcing cones and cut grooves in top straps above cylinder gaps on some magnum pistols. Lil'Gun became notorious for that, especially in the .357 Maximum, and in the .357 Magnum with 125 grain or lighter bullets.

Some slow-buring ball pistol powders (e.g., WW-296/H-110) have a narrow range of pressure between squibbing and max allowable pressure, so those need to be used as full-house loads or not at all. But, using a lot of powerful loads can erode the forcing cone and even crack it, especially with light-for-caliber bullets. So, although you could probably do the same thing with max loads of 2400, you can also take more off those max loads with 2400 and still have plenty powerful loads that are somewhat easier on the gun.

That said, I do use WW-296, but not Lil'Gun for my magnum revolvers. But, most of my shooting is done with mild magnum/hot special level loads using powders like Unique and Power Pistol. I use Bullseye and Clays (flakes powders) for target loads, and see no reason why WW-231/HP-38 (fast-burning ball powders that can be loaded to low pressures) would be any more damaging.

SL1
SL1 is offline  
Old December 2, 2012, 07:06 PM   #6
Kevin Rohrer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2010
Location: Medina, Ohio
Posts: 507
Bulky Powders Are Safe Powders

Ball powders tend to be dirtier than other powders due to the detergent that covers it.

Nothing against HP38, Bullseye, and all the other really fast powders, but from a safety standpoint, I always use a bulky powder. If I accidentally double-charge a case, it will notify me by over-flowing (which is not fun on a 550, but that's another story). Unique is my goto powder for most pistol calibers.
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA--Life, Varmint Hunters' Assn., ARTCA, American Legion, & South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

"Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery...all else is twaddle!" --Admiral Sir John Fisher, RN
Kevin Rohrer is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 12:55 AM   #7
black mamba
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2011
Location: O'Fallon, MO
Posts: 547
Two of the cleanest burning handgun powders I've ever used are HP-38 and Accurate 4100, both ball powders. HP-38 is also fairly bulky for a ball powder, at .093 cc/grain. The closer you get to max loads, the cleaner (more completely) they burn. After 20 rounds of my 44 mag hunting loads with 270 gr Speer Deep Curl and 4100 powder, the bore looks like I just swabbed it out. Immaculate.
black mamba is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 08:47 AM   #8
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,786
Consider that the cylinder gap of any revolver effectively focuses a cutting torch flame up into the top strap area each time the gun goes off.

Consider next that the higher the energy and longer the driving duration of this flame -- the greater the cutting action of this torch.

Consider last that the very factors that make for high velocity of heavy bullets are high energy/long duration of the propellant's action.

Bottom Line: It isn't so much that "ball powders" per se, are hard on the gun. It's the fact that the powder's doing what we ask
-- and there ain't no free lunch. **





**
Unless you're a Democrat, of course.
mehavey is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 12:47 PM   #9
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 35,702
Kevin,

Can I visit your universe in which Unique is cleaner than a ball powder?

I never found Unique to be particularly clean burning, especially not more so than WW 231, which is my go-to powder for just about all of my handgun loading.

But Unique is cleaner than Red Dot...




"How in the world would a revolver know what kind of powder you used?"

Obviously, the revolver, being a nonsentient lump of steel wouldn't know, but every type of powder has a distinct set of characteristics that are unique to that powder, and to a degree, that type.

For example, double-base powders, because of the nitroglycerine content, generally burn a lot hotter than single base powders.

A lot can depend on how quickly the pressure rises, and how long that rise lasts.

Some of the worst powders for frame cutting are those with a quick pressure rise but a fairly long pressure pulse.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 01:34 PM   #10
Kevin Rohrer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2010
Location: Medina, Ohio
Posts: 507
Unique = Dirty

Quote:
Can I visit your universe in which Unique is cleaner than a ball powder?
I didn't mean to insinuate that it was, although I have been told that the modern version is a bit better than what I started out with so long ago.

Dirty or clean means nothing to me. I clean my firearms after shooting no matter what. I started using Unique because it works well with just about any pistol caliber and never saw a reason to switch.
__________________
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA--Life, Varmint Hunters' Assn., ARTCA, American Legion, & South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn.

"Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery...all else is twaddle!" --Admiral Sir John Fisher, RN
Kevin Rohrer is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 01:36 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 35,702
I put somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 rounds of cast lead reloads with 231 through my 4" Model 19 over a period of years with no cleaning.

Nary a problem.

It was pretty cruddy by the end, though.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 01:51 PM   #12
Hammerhead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,559
Quote:
Ball powders tend to be dirtier than other powders due to the detergent that covers it.
I think you meant 'deterrent' coating, not detergent.
Hammerhead is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 01:58 PM   #13
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 35,702
Personally I use Dawn on my powder...

ALL powders have deterrent coatings of one form or another.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin 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 01:20 AM.


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 0.08827 seconds with 9 queries