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Old May 27, 2013, 09:14 PM   #1
pathdoc
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Help! Who do I believe?

Am just about to charge my .303 British cases with Varget, my powder of choice, and I am torn between two lots of load data. (NB: BEST EFFORT FOR ACCURACY MADE, BUT NO GUARANTEE ON TYPOS; CHECK ALL THE LOADS FOR YOURSELVES BEFORE USING.)

If I believe Hornady (9th edition manual), their 174 grain bullets (both the .3105" FMJBT and the .312" RN SP) are good for a minimum charge of 31.6gn of Varget and a maximum of 39.1 grains (Hornady/Frontier case, Winchester LR primer).

If I believe Lyman, the Hornady 174gn RN is good for 38gn of Varget as a minimum and 42gn as the maximum but data are not given for the FMJBT. These are also the high and low points given in the Lee Loader data sheet IIRC. In addition, ADI powders report their AR2208 (basically Varget in a different bottle or as near thereto as makes no difference) with the same minimum and maximum loads (38-42gn).

Lyman specifies Remington cases and Federal LR primers, and the same COAL as Hornady. Neither Lee nor ADI make any specification as to primer or case, and ADI doesn't even care which type or make of bullet you use as long as it's jacketed and assumes milspec COAL wherever there isn't a cannelure. The only other generic loading books I have predate Varget - in fact one of them was written when IMR was still Dupont, Nobel's powders were still in use, and reduced loads were listed as using shotgun Ballistite.

Turning to Hodgdon's site, the Hornady heavies don't even get a look-in, but they do offer loads for the Sierra MatchKing in that weight (38 to 42 grains; sounds familiar, doesn't it?) and for the 150gn Hornady SP, which I have a box of. That load runs 39 to 43 grains (ADI's loads for AR2208 are exactly the same), while Hornady says 33.0 to 40.8; Hodgdon, like Lee and ADI, does not specify case or primer type. Hornady and Hodgdon give COAL within 0.003 of each other, which might easily be within the margin of error of some reloading presses.

We have a problem here. I know that switching cases and primers can cause pressure variations, and the proper thing to do is to drop back down to minimum and work up again. But surely the variations aren't that steep? And whose minimum do I use, especially if I can't match the primer and case combinations found in the specific manuals? Hornady's load range is way, way down on everyone else's and the manuals warn you not to underload by too much, while everyone else's minimum is so close to Hornady's max loads it's almost scary (especially in an SMLE).

I suspect that Hornady are making allowances for the fact that the base of the 174gn FMJBT protrudes much further down into the case than does the base of the RN of the same weight when both bullets are seated to their cannelures. But it doesn't explain the marked differences in the 150gn data (unfortunately Lyman didn't shoot the 150gn SP with Varget, but other powders that the two books have in commmon show similar underloadings on Hornady's part).

*sigh* Life was easy when I lived in Australia and all I had was ADI powders, which didn't seem to give a damn about whose bullets, primers and cases you used so long as you worked up from minimum every time you changed something.

(EDIT: I have Winchester large rifle primers and a combination of Privi and Remington brass.)
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Old May 27, 2013, 09:24 PM   #2
Jimro
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Hornady makes bullets, generally bullet makers list lighter charges than powder makers. I've noticed this with Sierra as well.

I generally stick with the powder makers data.

As long as you are getting more than 60% case fill I don't think you are in the danger zone for a detonation. That way the powder covers the flash hole even when the cartridge is horizontal.

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Old May 28, 2013, 06:27 AM   #3
steve4102
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You have enough sources listing 38gr as a Min charge to rule out the Hornady Min. of 31.6gr.

BTW, Lee data will always mirror another source, usually the powder manufacturer's data because that is where Lee gets their data from. They do not test loads, they borrow other's data.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
BTW, Lee data will always mirror another source, usually the powder manufacturer's data because that is where Lee gets their data from. They do not test loads, they borrow other's data.
I would like to understand this, because the Lee book generally shows more loads than any powder maker's site.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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I wanna be taller

But surely they may be.......
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Old May 29, 2013, 05:49 AM   #6
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I would like to understand this, because the Lee book generally shows more loads than any powder maker's site.
Because they 'borrow' from more than one source, and publish all of them together...
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:08 AM   #7
mehavey
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This is where QuickLoad -- and a chronograph -- are absolutely indispensable.

Postscript. I just happened to be trying the following this evening:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
303Brit/P14 by weight 05/28/13
174SMK/ VARGET/ 40.0gr /CCI-200/PrvPrtCase**(1st)/OAL3.075"
QL=40,005psi/2,420fps(25.5")**56.0grH2O/ 90.6%Vol/95.6%burn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Film at Eleven.....
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Old May 29, 2013, 07:14 AM   #8
Real Gun
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This is where QuickLoad -- and a chronograph -- are absolutely indispensable.
Do we really want to say that once given a starting load, credible only by a leap of faith, all other reload recipe data is worthless?
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Old May 29, 2013, 07:16 AM   #9
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Because they 'borrow' from more than one source, and publish all of them together...
Is there something wrong with that? Maybe I misunderstand, but there seems to be a resolve to put down Lee (or anything bearing that name).
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Old May 29, 2013, 08:44 AM   #10
steve4102
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I'm not putting down Lee, I like Lee products. All my handgun dies are Lee, I have several Lee Collet dies and all my molds are Lee. I'm just saying Lee data is not their own.

I quote from the first page of "Modern Reloading" 2nd Ed.

" Comprehensive load data, compiled from all the major powder suppliers published information, sorted in logical cartridge, bullet weight, and velocity order"
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Old May 29, 2013, 08:45 AM   #11
mehavey
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Quote:
Quote:
This is where QuickLoad -- and a chronograph -- are absolutely indispensable.
Do we really want to say that once given a starting load, credible only by a leap of faith, all other reload recipe data is worthless?
I'm not sure how those two sentences are related, But...

I'll usually pick a load in the middle range as predicted by (many, several, and whole bunch of) loading manuals; check that against tailored predictions by QuickLoad as to probable pressures associated with eventual velocities; and Mr Oehler then tells me where I probably am on that pressure curve for that gun under those conditions.

After that, my initial Leap of Faith is replaced by Chemical Engineering projections.
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Old May 29, 2013, 08:48 AM   #12
steve4102
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I would like to understand this, because the Lee book generally shows more loads than any powder maker's site.
Have you checked out the New data from Ramshot and Accurate?

I don't there is any published data out there more complete and extensive than Ramshot's and Accurate's 223/5.56 data.
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Old May 29, 2013, 09:04 AM   #13
Jim Watson
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I bet Ramshot doesn't have any data for Varget.

Just to add to the general hilarity, Sierra stops at 38.4 gr Varget for either their 174 gr .303 boattail spitzer or their 180 gr roundnose.

Speer goes to 40 gr.

Ken Waters didn't have Varget but loaded up to 43 gr of 4064 and a 180 gr bullet in a Lee Speed. Varget and 4064 are within a half grain of each other in other sources of data I have.

I think I would try a few at 36 grains and see how they shot.
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Old May 29, 2013, 09:09 AM   #14
steve4102
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I bet Ramshot doesn't have any data for Varget.
LOL, no I'm sure not, I'll bet Hodgdon doesn't have any data for Tac or 2230 either.
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Old May 29, 2013, 11:08 AM   #15
Real Gun
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Quote:
steve4102 wrote in part:

I quote from the first page of "Modern Reloading" 2nd Ed.

" Comprehensive load data, compiled from all the major powder suppliers published information, sorted in logical cartridge, bullet weight, and velocity order"
That would make the Lee book one of the best collections.
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Old May 29, 2013, 11:50 AM   #16
steve4102
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That would make the Lee book one of the best collections.
Collections of data already available for Free both online and in printed form. Also a collection of old and often times obsolete data.

What is the copy write data on Lee's second addition?
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Old May 29, 2013, 12:18 PM   #17
Salmoneye
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Because they 'borrow' from more than one source, and publish all of them together...
Quote:
Is there something wrong with that? Maybe I misunderstand, but there seems to be a resolve to put down Lee (or anything bearing that name).
Nowhere have I ever 'put down' Lee, and am unlikely to in the future...

The question (to me) seemed to ask if Lee 'borrowed' data from one place and published it, how could they have more data than the one place they borrowed from...

I was simply pointing out that they published more data than any one place, as they borrow from many places in order to get a larger list...
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Old May 29, 2013, 02:16 PM   #18
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steve4102: Collections of data already available for Free both online and in printed form. Also a collection of old and often times obsolete data.
Do we need to cover what makes load data "obsolete"?
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Old May 29, 2013, 02:21 PM   #19
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steve4102: Collections of data already available for Free both online and in printed form.
Nonsequitur maybe, but does this mean that people are foolish to buy load reference books?
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Old May 29, 2013, 03:44 PM   #20
steve4102
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Do we need to cover what makes load data "obsolete"?
Sure. How about new and improved pressure testing equipment. Or powders changing formulas from old to new. Or just an update of old data.

How about this for example.
http://www.ramshot.com/load-data/

Note the differences in 40 S&W data between version 4.5 and their latest 40 S&W update.
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Old May 29, 2013, 03:48 PM   #21
pathdoc
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What is the copy write data on Lee's second addition?

The Second Edition book in my possession is copyrighted 2003 and I actually don't recall Varget featuring in it at all.

I believe there is a Revised Second, current to 2012. The data card in my Lee Loader box is copyrighted 2011, so at least they keep those up to date. The useful thing about these data is that they advertise one scoop (as included in the .303 Lee Loader box) for both the 150gn and the 174gn bullets. What's even better is that the nominal scoop capacity is also smack-bang in the midrange for Woodleigh's 215 grain softnose (36 to 39.5gn of Varget or AR2208, as stated on Woodleigh's website). I'm congratulating myself on choosing Varget; the scoop size fits almost everything (except my 125 grain Sierra softpoints).

Using the data they give, and deliberately taking the sloppiest heaped scoops I possibly could, I determined by experiment that the highest charge I can scoop is two grains under the "Lee maximum" for the heavier bullet and three grains under for the 150gn. So if Lee are right, I am safe on the high side. The only problem I have is that inconsistencies in scoop technique mean I'm throwing significant undercharges, which ironically implies that Hornady's data seem to protect me on the low side. (But I will work on that.)

In short, it seems not-inappropriate to take a levelled scoop of Varget (as per instructions), toss it in the case and throw my Hornady bullet of choice on top, seated to the cannelure. I'm prepared to take my chances with the inherent charge weight variations for the first 20 rounds or so; if they're all over the place compared to factory fodder, it's back to the usual methods.

The Woodleighs are another matter; some of my highest throws are close to maximum for that bullet. Those charges get individually weighed. At least that bullet has consistent load data everywhere I've looked.

Last edited by pathdoc; May 29, 2013 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Clarification of context in the face of new posts.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:31 PM   #22
mehavey
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For what it's worth, I ran the load below at the range:

303Brit/P14 loaded by weight 05/28/13
174SMK/ VARGET*/ 40.0gr /CCI-200/PPU_Case**(1st)/OAL3.075"
PressQL=39,310psi/2,411fps(25.5"barrel)

*default burn rate was 0.6150/sec
**56.5grH2O/ 90.6%Vol/95.6%burn

ACTUAL velocity 12ft in front of muzzle (Oehler): 2,327fps (90°F)
PROBABLE PRESSURE (using cube of velocity ratio): 35,343psi

Adjusting the QL burn rate to O.5692 and temperature to 90°F to match the data, my objective of
~ 2,415fps (@70°F),
QuickLoad tells me to use/expect:
42.0gr VARGET (this lot#)
39,206 psi

This is pretty much what Hodgdon's web reference lists as max for that bullet, OAL, and powder -- and way more than Sierra.
Note, however, that this load generates less velocity in this rifle (even w/ a longer barrel than Hodgdon's test setup),
which would indicate less pressure for that load.

...which is why multiple references, something like QuickLoad, AND a chronograph are important in this day & age.
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Old May 31, 2013, 06:57 AM   #23
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there are reasons to laugh

Quote:
Just to add to the general hilarity, Sierra stops at 38.4 gr Varget for either their 174 gr .303 boattail spitzer or their 180 gr roundnose.

Speer goes to 40 gr.
I would note that Speer offers data using their bullet, while Sierra offers data with their bullet.

Pretty funny, ay?
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