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Old February 7, 2013, 07:57 PM   #1
grumpa72
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Reloading .223 with WC844

I just finished a couple dozen reading links to surplus WC844 and other than the usual "start 10% lower and watch for over pressure signs" warnings is there anything I need to worry about? I normally use H335 at 24.5 grains over 55 grain new production milsurp bullets but H335 is currently unavailable. So. I have just reloaded 10 each at 24 grains and going up in .5 grain increments to 26. Do I have any worries because I don't have a chrony? My reading tells me that 26 grains of WC844 doesn't exceed or even come close to the maximum.

Comments?

Thank you,

Gumpa72
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:18 PM   #2
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What load data are you using? I agree with the cautions to start below 90% of max and work up. Hodgdon lists 25.3gr as max for 55gr cup and core bullets. Are you trying to load these to 223 Remington max pressures or 5.56?

To me it seems very easy to start a 80%, which is 20.2 grains, and work up 5 rounds apiece in half grains until you get to your 24gr loading you have already loaded.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:27 PM   #3
grumpa72
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In most post I stated that I have loaded 10 each starting at 24 grains and increasing in .5 increments. If you are asking me what published data I am using it was multiple online posts as well as an Army document showing all of their bullets, starting at .38 special and I stopped reading at .50 cal. armor piercing. Most, if not all unverified respondents, stated that WC844 was very similar, if not identical, to H335 results. Note that I said I said similar to as far as results.

Edit - oops. I forgot to add that I am trying to load to max velocity but max accuracy and reliability.
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:10 PM   #4
rg1
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Having loaded several different lots of WC 844 I can state that they do vary in burn rate. Most lots have been close to H335 but I've had one lot that I stopped at 24.5 and another where 26 grains wasn't quite top loads. Just work up looking for pressure signs and accuracy. Also, don't use load data from the Army Ammunition Data Sheets TM 43-0001-27 . All powders I've loaded for 30-06, 50 BMG, and .223/5.56 at the charges in the Army pdf. files would most always be dangerous. Use the Army Ammunition data for types of bullets, possibly seating oal and not much else.

Last edited by rg1; February 7, 2013 at 09:15 PM.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:28 PM   #5
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Rg1 has made the important point. H335 is a canister grade powder whose burn rate is kept within 3% of average by blending fast or slow held back lots into a new bulk lot as needed. That's how they keep load manual data valid for the powder. WC844, though. is the raw bulk lot. It's not at all unusual to see 10% or up to 20% difference in burn rate from bulk powders like that. If you tear down much military ammunition you see quite a variety of charge weights in different lots because of this, but they have pressure guns to test with and don't rely on recipes as handloaders do. So unless the vendor has done testing to show the H335 data really applies to this lot, you need to start with about 70% case fill under the bullet and work up while watching for pressure signs. Keep in mind that in the worst case the WC844 was surplused out because the military couldn't meet desired velocities and pressure profiles with it simultaneously.
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:12 AM   #6
grumpa72
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Thank you all for your help.
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:59 AM   #7
FWest
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With the lot of powder I have 23.6 is accurate with 55 gr in my AR.
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Old February 8, 2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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If you are going to use this stuff a chronograph is a must. If you have a load for H335 that you use and you know the velocity of that load.(as tested by you)

Then just load up a run of wc844 loads, Maybe 3 each from the starting load, going up 1/2 gr per 3.
Then run them across your chronograph. When you get to the one that matches your velocity. Stop... Thats your load.
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Old February 8, 2013, 06:12 PM   #9
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Unfortunately that chronograph method is not safe with surplus bulk powders. They vary enough to act like significantly faster or slower powders on a powder chart would do. It's therefore possible to go well above healthy peak pressures with a new lot number when trying to match your previous lot's velocity. This is one reason for powder lot rejection by the military: when that lot can't reach their velocity window inside their pressure window. There's a good description by a former Aberdeen Proving Grounds Test Director in post 25, here.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:33 PM   #10
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I guess I can see that. You would still want to check for pressure signs while your running them up.
If your best load is a max load of H335, You've not left very much wiggle room to find the sweet spot of WC844.
Lucky for me my most accurate loads have been well under max loads. I have been able to hit my Velocity ether a 1/2 gr up or down.
Any way if your not using a Crono to check your work. Your just guessing.
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Old February 10, 2013, 11:45 PM   #11
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I agree with others, load some at lesser amounts and work your way up while shooting, watching for pressure signs. 24.5 gave me totally flattened primers in one of my guns.
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