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Old February 2, 2011, 09:46 PM   #1
chasep255
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Reloading Pistol Cartridges Question

I know when reloading rifle cartridges the powder is free to move inside the case and has a lot of room. For instance, when I shake a 30-06 I can feel the powder moving about inside of it. However, in a pistol cartridge wouldn't the bullet press up against the powder and compact it? Is this safe?
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Old February 2, 2011, 09:49 PM   #2
hk33ka1
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Pistol rounds I have reloaded for use very little powder and there is a lot of empty space.

In rifle cases you more often run into compressed loads where the powder is up against the bullet or even compressed by it hence the name.

As long as these are what your reloading manual specify for the Calibre, bullet, powder and overall (min) length listed they will be fine.
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Old February 2, 2011, 09:50 PM   #3
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Spend the 30 bucks on a good Hornady, Speer, or Nosler Manual and read it.
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
I know when reloading rifle cartridges the powder is free to move inside the case and has a lot of room.
Not always true.

Compressed loads are possible, and perfectly safe, if developed safely.

My pet load for .270 WIN is a compressed load- 58.0 gr IMR 7828 under a 150 gr SGK BTSP..... works just fine.

Quote:
However, in a pistol cartridge wouldn't the bullet press up against the powder and compact it? Is this safe?
Again, it all depends upon the load...... some leave a lot of space, and some don't......

..... and by the way, as I understand it, a compressed load is required in black powder cartridge reloading....
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:20 PM   #5
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If you are sticking with known (usually published) loads, you won't have any extra issues when building handguns rounds where there is little or no extra space inside for the powder to move around.

And there are plenty of loads in current use that leave quite a bit of free space inside -- enough to double or even triple charge the case and still have proper room for the bullet. These loads also typically work well, but in some rare cases, they act erratically when there is so much empty space that the powder can lay down flat and be ignited along it's length by the flame of the primer.

If this is real or merely theory is deep and dark discussion amongst handloaders.
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Old February 3, 2011, 06:03 PM   #6
700cdl
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I would suggest studying some hand loading instruction manuals. Most all metallic cartridges offer a bunch of varrying powders and charges ranging from light charges of fast burning powders, to large charges of slow burning powders. I load for 38 special, 9mm, 357 mag., 40 S&W, 44 mag. just to mention a few, and use slow burning powders which fill up the case, and even compress the charge in some. And the same with high powered rifle, .270 win, 30-06, .308, .280 rem., 7m rem. mag., 300 win. mag. and use slow burning powders for those as well. Most or all of those I load with a compressed charges. In other words, how much space in the case, or properely termed, how dense your powder charge is, completely depends on the powder being used according to listed data for that particular cartridge. The 3 most important elements of safe hand loading is READ, READ, and READ informative hand loading manuals. Try not to rely too much on outside information not coming from a reliable source. A lot of us old timers may do things that work for us, based on the particulars of how we get it done. To say I load an 88 grain charge of RL25 for my 7mm rem. mag. may work for me, but not without certain steps and observations when I worked it up. Please do't consider that load as an actual load, it's just an example. It's this kind of hand loading advice that can get a rookie in trouble.
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Old February 3, 2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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Like others advised - just stay with published recipes - and it won't be a problem.
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Old February 3, 2011, 07:08 PM   #8
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I agree with the posts above. However, the issue of OAL (Over All Cartridge Length) or sometimes expressed as COL (Cartridge Overall Length) was lightly touched upon. It must be one of your critical points to examine in loading, especially in pistol loading.

The reason??? As you shorten the length (seat the bullet deeper into the case), you cause an increase the pressure developed during firing. It is more critical in pistol than rifle, but not to be taken lightly in either. AS long as you stay within parameters of the recipe, there is no danger.

Good Loading Manuals will discuss this.
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Old February 3, 2011, 07:17 PM   #9
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However, in a pistol cartridge wouldn't the bullet press up against the powder and compact it? Is this safe

Certain powders will give you a compressed load in pistol and rifle.
Pistol most of the time will not. Watch what your doing closely here.
What kind of powder you using and what cartridge you loading?. It is very easy to double charge some pistol loads with certain powder. The results of pulling the trigger on that load could be much less than desirable to say the least.
As others posted ,,GET A MANUAL OR TWO..
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Old February 3, 2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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Luckily, I don't have the problem mentioned. I couldn't begin to hear the powder shaking in a case. Too many loud guns shot with no hearing protection when I was a youngster.
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Old February 4, 2011, 03:28 PM   #11
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It is quite common to have pistol cartridges with uncompressed powder charges.

.45ACP with a 230 grain LRN bullet starts off at around 4 grains of Bullseye powder. You can quite easily double this by accident and end up with a double charge.

Some powders are more "volumimous" for the same bang power and thus fill the case more. I have heard Trail Boss is good in this regard.
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