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Old February 7, 2017, 03:37 PM   #1
Quaallen
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Newbie question...sorry

New to reloading.. started with 40s&w.. I started low and worked up a few grains. Made about 10 rounds of each load...they all shot and grouped fine..so my question is when do I decide to just keep loading to that"one" recipe??
Im just shooting paper. I was loading off brand 180grain rnfp.. so I made my oal longer then books said because I didn't want to overppressure (checked with gun barrel).didn't trim cases either.
Started with 4.6gn universal
180gn plated rnfp
1.175 oal
Then stepped up to 4.7 and 4.8 grains..all shot reliable and grouped better then I can shoot.. the 4.8 grains flattened the bullet the best on my backstop. So I don't think I'll go any lower then that. But what about going up in grains? Should I just leave it where it is at and shoot em? Or is there a benefit to trying a few more grains of powder? Thanks ...hope I made sense...
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Old February 7, 2017, 03:45 PM   #2
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If you are getting groups you like then that is the load for you. I have never found max loads to be the most accurate. Typically, somewhere about mid range always seemed to have the best groups in my guns.
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Old February 7, 2017, 04:56 PM   #3
Rangerrich99
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Take this with a grain of salt, as I've only been reloading for a little over two years:

In general, I load my pistol ammo to a couple tenths of a grain higher than about halfway between the starting load and the max load. So for example, for 9 mm with Titegroup, I load to 4.2 grains. It cycles all three of my 9 mm guns reliably and since I know from experience my powder drop will run TG consistently +/- 0.2 grains I don't have to worry about dropping too light a charge or too heavy. And up to 20 yards the rounds are sufficiently accurate for practice.

So if I was in your shoes I'd use the 4.6 load and call it good. Using my powder measure. Once you have a couple thousand rounds of experience with your powder in your powder measure you can essentially do the same thing.
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Old February 7, 2017, 05:22 PM   #4
Unclenick
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Quaallen,

I think you are fine where you are. If you are going to shoot in matches that require a certain Power Factor, then you will need to get a chronograph to see what velocities you are actually getting. But right now QuickLOAD shows you would get about 350 ft-lbs from a 5" barrel with your combination, which is what commercial .45 Auto RN FMJ usually does from a 5" barrel. It's enough for any kind of practicing you might choose to do. No point in beating the gun up with warmer loads.

I used to warm up my practice with a Ruger Blackhawk revolver in .41 Magnum using full power loads. Maybe a dozen rounds. After that, the 1911 .45 felt like such a cream puff, I wasn't even tempted to flinch. If you are thinking of running a more powerful load for carry or home defense, just buy a supply and use it as your practice warm-up so you stay familiar with it.
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Old February 7, 2017, 05:27 PM   #5
noylj
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>New to reloading.. started with 40s&w..

Couldn't start with something "easier," like 9x19 or .45 Auto?

>I started low and worked up a few grains.

I hope you mean a few tenths of a grain. Not many .40 S&W loads cover several grains.

>Made about 10 rounds of each load...they all shot and grouped fine..

Define "grouped fine." Did any show any pressure signs? So far, sound good.

>so my question is when do I decide to just keep loading to that"one" recipe?? Im just shooting paper. I was loading off brand 180grain rnfp.. so I made my oal longer then books said because I didn't want to overppressure (checked with gun barrel).didn't trim cases either.

>Good. The COL in a manual is what they used for testing and is NOT what you should be using. Next, you never need to trim staightwall cases and cases that head space on the case mouth should be as long as possible to minimize "head space" and increase accuracy.
Per Ramshot:
"SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as
1) magazine length (space),
2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel,
3) ogive or profile of the projectile and
4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
• Always begin loading at the minimum ‘Start Load.’"
(ed. I take that to mean to check several sources and to start with the lowest start load)

Your COL is determined by your barrel (chamber and throat dimensions) and your gun (feed ramp) and your magazine (COL that fits magazine and when the magazine lips release the round for feeding) and the PARTICULAR bullet you are using. What worked in a pressure barrel or the lab's gun or in my gun has very little to do with what will work best in your gun.
Take the barrel out of the gun. Create two inert dummy rounds (no powder or primer) at max COL and remove enough case mouth flare for rounds to chamber (you can achieve this by using a sized case—expand-and-flare it, and remove the flare just until the case "plunks" in the barrel).
Drop the inert rounds in and decrease the COL until they chamber completely. This will be your "max" effective COL. I prefer to have the case head flush with the barrel hood. After this, place the inert rounds in the magazine and be sure they fit the magazine and feed and chamber.
You can also do this for any chambering problems you have. Remove the barrel and drop rounds in until you find one that won't chamber. Take that round and "paint" the bullet and case black with Magic Marker or other marker. Drop round in barrel (or gage) and rotate it back-and-forth.
Remove and inspect the round:
1) scratches on bullet--COL is too long
2) scratches on edge of the case mouth--insufficient crimp
3) scratches just below the case mouth--too much crimp, you're crushing the case
4) scratches on case at base of bullet--bullet seated crooked due to insufficient case expansion (not case mouth flare) or improper seating stem fit
5) scratches on case just above extractor groove--case bulge not removed during sizing. May need a bulge buster.

>Started with 4.6gn universal
>180gn plated rnfp
>1.175 oal

Being a plated bullet, you should almost always use lead bullet data.
I show start load of 3.8-4.7gn for 180gn lead bullets and Universal, with MAX loads of 5.1-5.7gn, so you started higher than I would have.
Some manufactures for their heavy-plated bullets say to use jacketed data, in which case they almost always say to go up to mid-range, then I show 4.2gn as a starting load and 4.7gn as being mid-range.
For FP bullets, I normally load to a COL of ~1.200" for my three .40s, but it all depends on the bullet and chamber.

>Then stepped up to 4.7 and 4.8 grains..all shot reliable and grouped better then I can shoot..

That is a very small increment to step up with. Unless loading just for a power factor, I normally take the range of charges (let's say 3.8-5.1gn) and step up from start to max to cover 5 or 6 steps (say 3.8, 4.1, 4.4, 4.7, 5.0gn) and see what I get. This is much more likely to quickly show where the real accurate load is than taking 0.1gn steps.

>the 4.8 grains flattened the bullet the best on my backstop.

Is that a goal? If so, as you go up in powder, the bullet will probably be flattened even more.

>So I don't think I'll go any lower then that. But what about going up in grains? Should I just leave it where it is at and shoot em? Or is there a benefit to trying a few more grains of powder? Thanks ...hope I made sense...

A few TENTHS of a grain more powder might give better accuracy--who knows. However, right now, you are happy with the accuracy and the gun is functioning, so load some more and have fun.
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Old February 7, 2017, 06:34 PM   #6
Quaallen
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Thank all of you for your input and opinions..
Noylj, wow...lots of input thanks. To answer some of your questions... I started with 40s&w because I had a bunch of my brass saved. Didn't save much of my 9mm . Stupid me... yes I ment tenths. Thank you.. they grouped together enough I could cover the holes with my palm. I was loading off of lead data but the few sources I have the lowest was 4.7grains so I went with 4.6. I only added tenth of a grain at a time because , well I was nervous and I'm new to reloading.
Again thank you all.. I think I will just stick with my 4.8 grains for now
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Old February 7, 2017, 09:15 PM   #7
Bayoubulldog
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I personally use the lightest load I can to give me the best results. I simply mean I do not believe you must load to max. Get a good, consistent load at a decent range.... start reloading and be careful!

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Old February 7, 2017, 10:57 PM   #8
noylj
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Very good.
Just my interest: what distance?
Have fun and stay safe.
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Old February 7, 2017, 11:05 PM   #9
evtSmtx
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I'm going to disagree with some folks a bit. Some powders(cfe pistol in .45 acp) seems to shoot better and be less sooty nearer the max. So I would say it depends somewhat on the powder. In 9mm I shoot a bit less than max with power pistol just because I like it. I'm not saying they're more accurate than a bit farther down the power curve, but very accurate. In .44magnum I shoot very close to max book loads because (again) I like it. I don't load a lot of +p for any of my automatics. I mostly shoot range brass and I have no need to get too close to the edge. I shoot 1000 or so +p a year and have segregated starline brass I bought new just for that purpose

So, i'd say:

1) BE SAFE - watch for pressure signs, don't assume all your guns are the same, and never exceed book max without experience and a really good reason

2) don't try to turn a 9mm or a .40 into a magnum. If you want to shoot magnum loads, buy a magnum. Another gun is way cheaper than a hand or an eye.

3) BE SAFE - don't do something you can't VERIFY is safe

4) if you do load close to max:
a) seriously ask yourself why
b) be extraordinarily careful checking your brass and every powder drop(especially with titegroup)
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Old February 10, 2017, 02:33 PM   #10
JeepHammer
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Quaallen, you are new, and *Most* of us wouldn't prang on you for asking a question even if you weren't.
Take what Unclenick wrote as gospel, dead on the money and phrased better than I could have said it.

When a round shoots well AND suits your purposes, well,
"No sense in fixing what ain't broke".

EVERYONE goes through the "Lets see just how hot we can go" phase,
And I do mean EVERYONE...
When that gets expensive & abusive, you fall back to "This Works Just Fine".

For your "Favorite" target shooter, stick with "Works Just Fine",
Doesn't beat you up, Doesn't beat the firearm up, the pair (you & firearm) are accurate, still fun to shoot,
And there is something to be said for so RELIABLE it's actually boring!

Everyone has their 'Pet' loads, you may have one of yours right now! Don't take that for granted...
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Old February 10, 2017, 05:47 PM   #11
Quaallen
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Jeephammer....thanks for your post...I'm not necessarily looking for a hot load ( wish the wife was).. I was just curious on when a reloader decides that it is just fine where it is at...and I see with all comments that if it shoots, is reliable, groups then why change it...thanks again everyone...
Noylj I was curious what manual you had that showed such a lower starting point on lead bullets... mine all started around 4.7 4.8 with universal?? I was just thinking I need to find maybe a manual with more cast bullet info..
I will be learning to cast eventually ( I work at a tires shop..been saving up for awhile now....shhhhhh!). Thanks again... OH and I was shooting at about 12 paces..so id say between 10/15 yards
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Old February 11, 2017, 12:19 AM   #12
noylj
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Don't know right now. Thirty (?) years ago--seems like mid-80s--I started compiling data from my manuals into Excel. Most likely, RCBS Cast Bullet Handbook or Lyman.
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Old February 11, 2017, 02:35 AM   #13
JeepHammer
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Always more important to enjoy yourself than to try and match ANY specific published Load.
The load book isn't the one shooting!

If it's accurate & comfortable, not beating you or the firearm up, then You have a winner!
I blasted away with magnums for years, none of the paper targets was any 'Deader' than if I'd used a BB gun...

My favorite is a fairly (medium) 'Hot' 9mm load...
Just plain fun to shoot, dead bang reliable, and I can easily put 3 or 4 into a target in the time it would take to get a Magnum back down on target...
And I don't have an overpresure headache at the end of range practice like I used to get with magnums.

I ain't elephant hunting here, doesn't take too much to punch holes in a paper plate!
Just fun to step out back and click a few off while the little woman gets ready to do something, no headache, doesn't cost a fortune, and it takes her an hour to go get a McBurger...

Keep the load you have in your pocket, sounds like it works for you.
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Old February 11, 2017, 07:28 AM   #14
muncie21
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OP, how does your brass look after being fired?

Is it sooty on one side?
Have the primers 'flowed' to take up the entire pocket with no gap (should be very small) between primer and case?

If you don't see these things and you're comfortable with how the round feels, I'd make more of what works and you're happy with.
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Old February 11, 2017, 08:27 AM   #15
Jeffm004
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I'm working on that now. 180 PFP, Bullseye. I started mid jacketed. I think the mid-lead is old tape, modern plated is harder, closer to jacketed IMHO. I have run several side by side with jacketed and they crono the same.

BE meters really well in a 650. In an era of new fancy powders, it remains hard to beat. The dust it leaves behind is super easy to clean.

YMMV
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Old February 11, 2017, 08:58 AM   #16
Mobuck
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If you're "just shooting paper", pick a load that functions 100% in your pistol and is fairly accurate and go with it.
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Old February 11, 2017, 09:23 AM   #17
Nathan
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Maybe I can help you with my judgement criteria.

First, what kind of bullet? FMJ, plated? It helps me know where you are at.

Also, check your oal. I've loaded a lot of 40 and usually plunk test tells me 1.15" max oal.

I looked up Hodgdon data. They say 4.6-5.1 gr for plated. So, you are low to mid range.

If I did this, I would make test loads at 5.1, 4.9, 4.7, 4.6. I load the sequentially in the mag and shoot 4 targets in a circular pattern so I get 4 groups shot at the same time so shooter fatigue and focus effects can be reduced.

I shoot from a bench, resting on sand bags at 15 yards. This is all procedure, so only the powder charge is varying.

Then I measure all groups with calipers. Best group wins. Any ftf' are noted. I also confirm primer mark to factory loads. Any load with a primer mark judged bigger than factory loads, gets rejected as over pressure.

Then I shoot the remaining at each charge weight and record recoil feel and any ftf'...ftf being failure to function.


All this said....for 100's of load developments, 2 things stick with me. Usually, the bottom load is 2nd most accurate, has lowest recoil and functions. The top load is usually most accurate and cleanest....it also functions well. In small finicky guns, the bottom load may not function.

Your statement that all loads shot the same tells me you had a procedural failure. All can be fine, but one load is best. As reloaders we need to know best. Best helps us stay safe as worst than best is often too hot, when at the top end. I unfortunately have experience with this too!

Last edited by Nathan; February 11, 2017 at 05:03 PM.
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Old February 11, 2017, 10:40 AM   #18
Jeffm004
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I'm working on that now. 180 PFP, Bullseye. I started mid jacketed. I think the mid-lead is old tape, modern plated is harder, closer to jacketed IMHO. I have run several side by side with jacketed and they crono the same.

BE meters really well in a 650. In an era of new fancy powders, it remains hard to beat. The dust it leaves behind is super easy to clean.

YMMV
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Old February 11, 2017, 11:06 AM   #19
Quaallen
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Thank you again fellas......

NATHAN.....I am loading plated, 180grain rnfp.. I find that my pistol max oal is actually 1.182 ...but loaded the previously stated rounds to 1.175 .... I also only adjusted my powder by adding 1tenth grain increments..I understand that doesn't change much..... so you are telling me you go straight to max load???? That seems too unsafe for me... I don't mind"getting to" max load to see performance...but not going straight to it...
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Old February 11, 2017, 02:18 PM   #20
Jeffm004
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No one is saying go to max load at the gate, but when you get there, some people find it works very well. Don't be afraid to bump the top end but approach with caution. COAL for me is about 1.125 if I remember right.
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Old February 11, 2017, 04:59 PM   #21
Nathan
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Quote:
No one is saying go to max load at the gate
I am...I'm saying load them and test fire like I said. If they show signs of pressure or bad accuracy, then you know they are NG.

IME, listed max loads are not dangerous to test. They can damage brass or be unreliable.....maybe cause long term damage to the gun. Max load dangers are about fatigue of shooting over pressure loads many times. I am speaking about modern guns with in spec parts.

You are perfectly safe sneaking up on max load through many iterations....I like most experienced reloaders want to find an accurate load and make a ton of them! I do this through 1-3 iterative load development cycles as described above.
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Old February 12, 2017, 08:20 AM   #22
jetinteriorguy
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For plated bullets I usually start at mid lead level and end at mid jacket level for max. As a general rule I usually end up just over starting levels for jacketed. At some point accuracy gets good and further along it starts to degrade. I load in the middle of this area, this allows for slight variances in powder drops and still maintains acceptable accuracy. So say at 5 grains you start getting good results, and at 6 grains it's starting to degrade, I would set my loads at 5.5 grains. At this point I load up 50 rounds and shoot them, if I'm satisfied with the results then I'll make that a load and load up a couple hundred. Then if all is still good I'll load up a couple thousand and just shoot the heck out of them. Kind of a long drawn out process but I do it this way to prevent loading up large amounts only to find I've settled on the wrong load and am stuck with a bunch of sub par ammo. The example I've used is a bit exaggerated Since the node isn't usually in a range level of a whole grain in small pistol cartridges, I just used it to illustrate my point in an easy to understand way.
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Old February 12, 2017, 09:20 AM   #23
Quaallen
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Jetinterior....I think ill be loading up some the way you mention...and start finding my load for stock pile
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