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Old March 5, 2001, 11:40 AM   #1
posigian
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I just got started with reloading and recently shot my first batch of 357 & 44 mag reloads. I used IMR4227 in the 357 and Bluedot in the 44 mags. After I talked with some people on the boards, it was suggested that I use the 4227 in the 44 and the bluedot in the 357 mags.

The Speer manual reads 9.0 grains on the low side and 10.2 as a maximum using 158gr TMJ bullets. I set out to measure 9 grains, checked it on the scale, and then dumped it into the case. The problem is that it overflows the case.

So what gives?

I checked my Nosler book for a comparision but wasn't able to find anything to support the Speer book.

Any suggestions?


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Old March 5, 2001, 01:36 PM   #2
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9.0 grains of Blue Dot in a 357mag case is around 2/3 full, there is plenty of room left over for the 180 gr bullets I load. I'm not sure what's happerning, but you may want to double check your scale with some check weights (around $15 for a set), also make sure your powder has blue flakes in it (Yes, double check the obvoius too)
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Old March 5, 2001, 02:07 PM   #3
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something's seriously wrong ...

I use 10 (ten) grains of blue dot and a 158g LSWC. It fills a 357 case about 2/3 full. Like bedlamite said, check your scale with some known weights.

Just for sport, new 2000 philadelphia mint dimes average 35.2 grains on my scale.
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Old March 5, 2001, 02:20 PM   #4
Chop Farwood
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Been reloading for around 20 years, BlueDot is my favorite for .357 & .44 magnum. I've had excellent results with it over the years in both cartridges. Have gotten very consistent velocities. YMMV.

http://www.alliantpowder.com/ has searchable loading data online & they quote 10.7 grains as maximum. You need a set of check weights for your scales.
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Old March 5, 2001, 05:30 PM   #5
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Weigh a bullet and see how far off it is. Should be within a grain + or -. Sounds like you need a new scale. BTW, I always loaded mine with Green Dot. It did pretty good. Takes less powder so I put fiberfill on top of it to keep the powder close to the primer.
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Old March 5, 2001, 08:09 PM   #6
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I did weigh some of my bullets just to check the scale. The best I can figure is that all is well with the scale. My 240 gr 44 mag HP weight 240 gr and my 357 mag weights 158 grains. So Im not sure its the scale. I will order some check weights just be sure.

I never heard of using fillers. Can anyone tell me about them and should I be using them when I have cases that are only half full?



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Old March 6, 2001, 12:38 PM   #7
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Fillers can be used with fast burning powders that use a low charge weight, like Red Dot or Clays. They reduce the internal volume of the cartridge, and you also need to reduce your charge even further. Fillers can produce more consistent loads, but can also get you into trouble if used improperly. All the charges in the manuals are without fillers. If you want to use fillers, I would wait a year or two until you have a much better understanding of whats going on inside the brass when you pull the trigger, stick with the manuals for now.

It might help if we knew what kind of equipment/process you were using.
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Old March 6, 2001, 02:30 PM   #8
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posigian - We really have to get to the bottom of your scale problem for the good of a fellow TFL'er (and his fingers and gun ). A set of calibration weights, while useful, will not fix a problem like you described.

I am assuming you are using a properly zeroed beam scale, not an electronic one. I just did a little experiment to see where a .357 Mag case will overflow (I used a Starline case). It starts to overflow at exactly 19.0 grains. This, to me, is very suspicious because it is exactly 10.0 grains over what you thought you were measuring. On my scale this is two notches off on the larger sliding weight. So the question is are you setting the large weight in the correct notch so that you refine the weighing with the small weight? On my scale the large would be in the first notch away from 0 and the small would be in the 4.0 notch. What would they be on your scale?

If my assumption is wrong and you are using an electronic scale, you need to send it in for repair or replacement. It is obviously too far off on the low end. This can be caused by a binding shaft or load cell or by not having the scale on a level surface.
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Old March 6, 2001, 07:22 PM   #9
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HOLD UP! STOP THE PRESSES! PROBLEM SOLVED!

Mal H, you hit it! Your response made me think about what adjustments were made when I was at the bench last, and boy do I feel like a dummy!

This is only my second reloading session since I got started a few weeks back. My first session had measurements that were all above 10 grains (ie 14, 15, 16, & 17). What I want to load now is under 10 grains (ie 9 grains) and out of habit from my last session I still moved the main slider on my Ohaus 10-10 scale to the left one notch, which equals 10 grains. Then I still moved the dial on the right hand side until it reached nine notches equaling 9 grains. What I thought was 9 grains was actually 19 grains So there was the problem – I didn’t need to move nothing more than the right hand dial to 9.

I feel better now! I was starting to worry my scale needed to be replaced. Being a newly licensed realtor my family is living on a shoe string budget already

Thanks to everyone for your help! This place is great!


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Old March 6, 2001, 10:20 PM   #10
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Old March 7, 2001, 12:32 AM   #11
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Glad you figured it out.

One more note on those exploding reloads that ruin your day. When I first started loading 44mag, my first load was with Hodgdon HS7 that was 10% under Hodgdon's max book load. The case split and stuck in my Super Blackhawk, I couldn't even rotate the cylinder. After I got home and pounded out the case, I checked out a few other books, and it was about 20% over them and about 15% over the max 44mag load listed on the jar the powder came in. I pulled the rest and have that case on a shelf above my reloader as a reminder to always check at least three sources for load data.
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Old March 7, 2001, 01:40 AM   #12
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I couldn't agree more. Paranoia is your best friend when reloading.

I would add a fourth time to read the powder canister, and that is when you are pouring the unused powder back into the container. You want to be sure you've got the right container or during your next reloading session you might be loading 55 grains of H110 in your 30-06 cases. Can you say kaboom? I knew you could.

He hastens to add that you should have only one powder container on your bench at a time. And that one is the one you currently have in your powder measure.
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Old March 7, 2001, 05:24 PM   #13
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Posigian,

I am GLAD the case overflowed on you! I'd much rather see that than you having a double charge or overcharge condition that didn't overflow the case. BOOM!


Perhaps you should give yourself a few practice sessions with your scale to be absolutely sure you are reading it right. It can't hurt and will certainly boost your confidence level.

Try a few mock charge weights and check yourself to see that you are reading the scale correctly. Also review the instruction manual that came with your scale.


There is absolutely no hurry so, practice reading that scale correctly now.

Regards and be safe.
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Old March 8, 2001, 12:04 AM   #14
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It's hard not to like a guy who starts off reloading with Blue Dot

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Old March 8, 2001, 12:28 AM   #15
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Blue Dot is a terrific powder for .357. Everything written above is really, really good advise. You can't be too careful. I have been reloading for 15 years or more and I am still paranoid in every aspect. Not because this is dangerous, but because we can all make mistakes if we let our guard down even for an instant. I recently bought an electronic scale that I calibrate with check weights every time I use it. I think the scale is a POS, but the concept is good.
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Old March 8, 2001, 07:05 AM   #16
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As a professional(?) I can only recommend safety first every step of the way.

And I ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.
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Old March 11, 2001, 04:50 AM   #17
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I have a RCBS balance scale and I have always had a confidence problem with the 5 grain steps on the big weight. They are just TOO close together and 5 grains can put you WAY over the top. So, what I do is this: After I set up my powder measure, I throw 10 charges into the powder pan and then measure that. If I was off by 5 on the scale, I'll be off by 50 on this check. That, I have confidence in being able to see! It has not happened ... yet, but this technique also allows me to home in on the right charge anyway, so it is a permanent part of my routine.

Be Safe,
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Old March 12, 2001, 10:36 PM   #18
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I don't guess you could be too careful in reloading, but I always set up 2 scales when reloading.I check one against the other ever so often. My greatest fear in pistol ammo reloading was over charging.The one thing I always liked about using slow burning powders in loading rifle ammo was that the case was almost full and if you double charged one it would spill.I always feared double charging a pistol round with Bullseye.........OUCH......... As far as using Blue Dot for .357 Mag that is my favorite. Once upon a time, due to some bad information in a loading manual I was puting a little over 14 grains of Blue Dot under a 125 GR. .357 Mag bullet. I pulled the trigger on those babies and thought my .357 had turned into a .44 MAG. The shell casings swelled. Needless to say today I own several loading manuals and consult all of them before I load my shells.
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Old March 13, 2001, 01:55 AM   #19
Ricco
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Yes, fillers can raise pressures, hehehe. Before I went to fiberfill, Pop taught me to use corn starch. The compressed loads sure did POP! Wonder we didn't blow our fool heads off back then.
The trick with fiberfill is to use just enough to hold itself in the case without falling out. A little practice and you can get an eye for it.
When in doubt, don't.
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Old March 14, 2001, 07:35 PM   #20
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Three cheers for slow-burning, case-filling powders! The outcome might (might, hell! WOULD) have been disastrous had the powder involved been Bullseye or something similar...
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Old March 14, 2001, 11:34 PM   #21
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Hey Posigan,

Good habit to get it to is to, when ever starting a new loading session, set the scale back to zero, rezero it, and then check it with scale weights.

I do this EVERY time I set up for a new loading session, whether it's a few days apart, or even just a few hours apart.

You never know what happened in between.
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Old March 15, 2001, 07:13 AM   #22
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M I,


Great advice. Use scale weight check set religiously.
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Old March 15, 2001, 10:59 PM   #23
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Another trick if you don't have the cash for, or care to buy a set of weights is to make up some tin-foil balls and "calibrate" them on a known-to-be-correct scale, put them in a little zip-lock bag and label the bag with the weight using a magic marker.


If you want to get really slick, buy a few different colored Sharpie fine point permanent markers, color each foil ball check weight a different color and write that weight on the bag in that same color. Now you can put them all in the same bag for simplicity.

Sharpie pens also work great for sealing primers and color-coding loads all at once. After drawing around the primer of a loaded round, put a mark in that same color on the label of the box. Now it's easy to tell where the load came from should it become separated from the rest, plus the sealed primer as an added bonus.

It all works just fine for me

SM

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Old March 17, 2001, 01:29 PM   #24
saands
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This has been a really good thread ... I like the idea of a foil "standard" ... but I think I will make one up for each of the loads that I use regularly ... there aren't really that many. That way, I can set up my scale to 7.4gr and drop the 7.4gr standard on it and it ought to be damn close. I think I'll use my 10x trick to verify the standards as one would NOT want a standard that was flawed!
Thanks for the idea,
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