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Old January 31, 2014, 12:17 PM   #1
Analog Addict
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Are these .223 rounds safe to use?

Greetings ! Forum newbie here. However, I"ve been using the same 3 stage Lee turret press for 25 years. But that doesn't mean I'm immune from stupid mistakes, or don't still have plenty to learn.

Anyway, speaking of stupid mistakes, a friend just gave me a bunch of IMR powder in cans, and I was working up some loads with it. I put together a run of 50, using Hornady 55 gr BT FMJs in PMC brass loaded with 17.1 gr IMR 4198. These I think will be fine, given the Hornady manual lists 17.4 gr at 2800 FPS. However, I was looking at a can of IMR 4895, and then came back to my bench later and decided to jump up to 18.2 gr 4198 in RP brass, and somehow brain farted and used the bloody can of IMR 4895 instead. So now I have 50 underpowered rounds where 22.7 gr is the 4895 load listed at 2800 FPS.

Bottom line - Will I need to pull all the bullets and start over, or are these rounds safe to shoot? I'm not really trying to put together anything real accurate. These were just supposed to be for plinking up to 100 yrds in a Stainless Ruger Mini - 14...

Last edited by Analog Addict; January 31, 2014 at 01:16 PM.
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Old January 31, 2014, 12:27 PM   #2
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It is always best practice to stay within the limits given by loading manuals. They do have pressure equipment and there has been a trend in today's manuals to recommend powder charges that are not highly sensitive to changes in primers and cases, and recommend charges that don't have wide pressure excursions.

As for your loads, I tested 69 Sierra matchkings with 23.0 grains at the low end and ended up at 24.5 at the high end. All of the rounds functioned.

I really like IMR 4895, it is a medium burning powder, and it shoots well in the 308 at lesser charges than what are listed in reloading manuals. For whatever reason IMR 4895 does very well even in reduced charges, but I am not taking about cast bullet reduced charge levels, but reduced from book loads.

In very cold weather you might have a cycling issue in the AR15, but probably not.
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Old January 31, 2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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So you think these would be OK? Cycling the Mini's action is not paramount....
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Old January 31, 2014, 01:09 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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You have rounds loaded with 55gr Hornady over 22.7gr of IMR4895?

If that's the case, you are in between the starting loads for 55gr SFIRE and 55gr SPR SP, which means you'll be perfectly safe.

The bigger issue is that you need to take actions to insure that this does NOT happen again. Next time, it might be a rifle charge worth of a pistol powder or a 25% over load and you DON'T notice, which means your gun is a grenade.
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Old January 31, 2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Actually...

It's 18.2 gr IMR 4895 under a 55 gr Hornady. That's the issue. Should have been 4198. And yeah, the powder issue is concerning, but occurred because of this gifted powder which threw off my normal routine....Sorry if I was unclear
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Old January 31, 2014, 02:33 PM   #6
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Ah. Ok.

Well, here's the deal.

Reduced loads with most rifle powders in most cartridges aren't really a safety issue. There is a (at least a theoretical) phenomenon called Flash Over where if the charge is a small enough, it can lay flat in the case and the primer flame can fire over the top of the whole charge and basically light the whole thing at once. That would be bad ju-ju.

To prevent that, a case fill ratio of no less than 60% is the normal recommended minimum. Obviously, if the case is over half full it must, by default, be higher than the primer hole when the case is laying on it's side in the chamber.

According to QuickLoad (an internal ballistics program, in case you've not heard of it), your charge of 18.2gr should still be 72-75% case fill.

You may experience muzzle velocity fluctuations do to inconsistent powder position in the case but it should not be any kind of safety issue. You can reduce/prevent the fluctuations to some extent, if you care, by pointing the gun straight up after loading each cartridge and then slowly bring it back to level. That would ensure that the powder is reasonably uniform against the back of the case.

Otherwise, I'd shoot them without hesitation.
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Old January 31, 2014, 02:44 PM   #7
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I'd shoot them, IMR 4895 isn't known for the Secondary Explosion Effect, which is normally associated with slow rifle powder like IMR 4831 when used with less than 60% case fill.

I wouldn't expect great accuracy, and cycling the action would be iffy, but I have no issues with safety.

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Old January 31, 2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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Thanks. I've heard of that muzzle tilt technique with the universal 10gr pistol powder load(Unique/2400) for .30 cal plinking loads. I just didn't want to have to pull 50 rounds of lead and then reload again...
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