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Old September 30, 2012, 05:08 PM   #10
serf 'rett
Senior Member
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: Stuttgart, AR
Posts: 1,568
Should I add more charge?
That really depends on what you are trying to acomplish.

According to Hodgdon web site and a couple of my manuals, "Yes", appears to be the answer to the simple question of "can I increase my charge?"

SO, do I need to up my powder charge?
Once again, that really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. You mentioned to different things in your opening post. W-231 is a "fast" powder which is good for reduced recoil target loads and lower bullet velocities. When I want to step up the velocity, I go to a "slower" burning power such as Unique, Power Pistol or V-N340. If you are into bang, flash and roar letting you know you have pulled the trigger, then switch to Power Pistol: however, for genral practice and target shooting, I like W-231 under a 115 gr. RNDS Berrys and even better under the 124 grain HBFP or HBRNTP Berrys. Soft recoil with 124 grain bullets. If you are trying to duplicate the "feel" of Winchester WB, you need a slower powder.

The second thing mentioned was the lack of accuracy. The reason I load a series of different charges, generally in 0.2 grain steps, is to test for accuracy. I shoot off sand bags, at a set distance and shoot through the complete series at one sitting. About a year ago, I tested two series using 115 grain RNDS Berrys bullets, Remington brass and W-231 powder at charge weights of 3.8, 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6 and 4.8 grains. Seven cartridges were loaded for each step. One of the series used CCI 500 primers, while the second used Wolf SP primers. The two fold purpose of the testing was to determine the accuracy of the different loads and to compare the two primers IN MY PISTOL (which means to say, what I did in my pistol, does not mean it’s good in YOUR PISTOL!)

What I found was the best group for CCI primers was at a charge weight of 4.2 grains, while the Wolf primers produced their best group at 4.4 grains (although the close runner up was 4.2 grains). So here’s my answer to your question of:

SO, do I need to up my powder charge?
Based on my simple testing and MY PISTOL, you need to lower your powder charge for better accuracy; however, your pistol will be different. The reloader’s mantra of “start low and work up” is more than just a safety statement; it is also a good way to find the load which is the most accurate in your firearm.
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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