The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 8, 2019, 01:12 PM   #1
Safaripolice
Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2017
Posts: 39
how to find out what powder are in my handloads.

Hey Folks,
Happy New Year and hope all is well. I’m here for another question as all my questions always get answered. I have some deer pics of my first hunts to show you but I’ll create another thread.

My question is I recently inherited a bunch of reloading stuff (pretty antique and wall mounts at this point) and a ton of factory and hanloaded ammo. It’s was an uncle of mine whom I didn’t know well but military, public safety and guns is we had in common. He left me quite a bit of ammo which is a blessing and several hundred reloads. He was quite the hunter and a true “old timer” so he knew what he was doing, just that states away and family and next thing you know 20 years go by.

Yesterday I went to shoot some 3006 ammo he had that was marked 150gr SP and 52.5 grain which is powder but he clearly didn’t list brand and also said LR Primer but no brand. I cycled them in my meat and potatoes old BDL and all function test were fine and they shoot fine too with a nice muzzle blast. Nothing to excessive but definitely something that would have liked a 24” barrel vs 22”.

I chronographed the bullets and got 2983 FPS which is higher then most rounds I know of especially with that amount of powder

Pulled several bullets and they were all win or rem cases bullets weighed 150 grains and charger was 52.5 grain. Powder was tubular or connulated like the IMRs and not round like Winchester or some of the others. Any idea what powder this is or what this sounds similar to. I havent shot them for accuracy yet but I’m intrigued and if he hunted then I’m sure there good to go.

Also cases looked fine and maybe one had some slight flattening primer signs on it but I would even lower it to 52 grains if I can find what powder this is or something similar that uses that quantitie. Again it was connulated powder like the IMR powders.

Any ideas and again thanks for your time !!!

Godspeed

Last edited by Safaripolice; January 8, 2019 at 01:17 PM.
Safaripolice is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 01:34 PM   #2
Safaripolice
Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2017
Posts: 39
Also just want to add im new to reloading and only know some for the powders and what I read in my hornady book and online. These rounds could be 10 or even 20 years old. Not sure if there are extinct powders out there. He also loaded alot of old military surplus rounds and no idea if he used a similar powder for all.
Thanks again just wanted to mention this if it helps find what powder he may have used.
Safaripolice is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 01:43 PM   #3
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16,342
It might be IMR4320. Figure your barrel took maybe 50-60 fps off the 24" velocity. 24" is the standard SAAMI barrel length, so a load that will reach over 3033 in a test gun with that charge would be what you were looking for. Your BDL won't have the same chamber dimensions as a test gun, but that approach is probably as close as you'll get.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member and Golden Eagle
Unclenick is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 01:59 PM   #4
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 1,607
Well, that load of IMR-4895 would generate a similar result, and it is a common 30-06 powder. I have a Model of 1917 Remington with a 23" barrel that sends a 150 over 3,000 with an "in spec" load of IMR-4350, so your result is not unusual. But it's a fool's errand to try to guess the powder by its appearance. Common wisdom says don't shoot unknown reloads, but yours are not completely unknown. Me, I would shoot them and develop my own load using the brass.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 02:27 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 11,209
My condolences on your loss. It'd be best for you to pull 'em all and reload 'em yourself. Shooting other peoples reloads isn't recommended. And you have no idea how the ammo was stored for 20 years. Even though he was your uncle.
You cannot tell anything about a powder by just looking at it and lots of powders will give 2900ish FPS, but they are max loads.
52.5 grains is close to or above most current max loads. And you'll have to work up the load for your rifle anyway. You can re-use the primed cases and bullets with no fuss, but it'd be best to pitch the powder into somebody's garden.
__________________
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 03:51 PM   #6
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,089
Tough one where you aren't sure, pretty hot as well.

The totally safe thing to do is take em down, I know that is a tough one.

Examining a number of rounds and checking powder condition will give you some idea but not 100%.

I have had a couple times I did not write down the powder in a cartridge.

I pull them, get the grains, check them with a micrometer (stick types) and from that and the color and what I knew I was working with I can figure out whats in them.

Not an easy option for you unless he included powder he was using.

Also you could not count on a new one having the same dimensions as the old one.

I am assuming its a Remington Bolt Action BDL?

You are not just looking at the primer, is the bolt at all sticky on extractions?

Also wipe marks on the primer themselves is another indicator of over pressure.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 04:04 PM   #7
Sevens
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 11,416
It's my opinion that if the handloader that made the ammo was serious about the quality of his work and his ammo... SOMEWHERE he has most definitely logged exactly what is in them. It makes the most sense to mark each box of ammo, but I would also be searching for a detailed log or record of what he has done.

One of the earliest things you learn in handloading is how important it is to keep records. This way, if you make something good, you can repeat your success easily -- just as importantly, when you make something that was a failure on some level, you REALLY want to keep notes that (hopefully) prevent you from making the same mistake again and again.
__________________
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
Sevens is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 04:10 PM   #8
FITASC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2014
Posts: 5,046
4895, 4350, several others are all possibilities.
__________________
"I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn't own you."- Frank Zappa
FITASC is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 04:14 PM   #9
LineStretcher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2018
Posts: 619
My advice would be to shoot what you have and then start your own loads using well known powders. I just don't see any possible way to positively identify the powder without records. This is one of those times when being wrong is not acceptable.
LineStretcher is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 04:52 PM   #10
Chainsaw.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2015
Location: Issaquah WA. Its a dry rain.
Posts: 1,765
You simply cannot identify powders. Way to many variables. Its a fools errand. Pull them if you are not comfortable shooting then and reload with a known, published recipe of powder. Its not worth a lost hand, eye or worse to guess.
__________________
Just shoot the damn thing.
Chainsaw. is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 05:06 PM   #11
DavidAGO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 7, 2008
Location: Magnolia, AR
Posts: 331
I am not an old timer here at all, and most of my reloading is limited to pistol, but I do have one hard and fast rule: do not shoot other peoples reloads. If your uncle was dedicated to this craft he may have worked up a load that was fine in the particular rifle he used but it may not be fine in your rifle. It sounds like it is close to max. There is no reason to risk damage to your person or to your rifle. There is a very fine line between overpressure and kaboom. and we do not know exactly where that line is.

If you want to shoot at the edge, or close to it, do so on your terms only, working up your load in your rifle.

I was gifted hundreds of .45 acp rounds, hand loaded with care by a gentleman whom I held in high esteem. His son just knew I would love to shoot these rounds. And I would love to, but I remember his 1911. It was a custom build. I have no idea how stout a load it would fire and I do not want to find out with my stock 1911s.

I pull down a few of them at at time with my whack a mole RCBS puller. it will be months and months before I ever get them all done. but the cases are all military vintage so I will put them in my normal rotation.

I can honestly tell the son that I am using his rounds up.

The other side to this is if you did hurt yourself or damage a firearm using your uncle's loads, his immediate family would feel very bad about it. Do not risk it for their sake.

David
DavidAGO is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 05:19 PM   #12
Safaripolice
Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2017
Posts: 39
Thanks everyone for all the words of wisdom. There was no real primer issues or bolt sticking. It’s a few hundred rounds so hate to pull them all. But I’ll mess with a few at the range and see what it does and decide from there. Thank you again.
Safaripolice is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 06:03 PM   #13
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,089
I think that is what I would do. Not encourage but understandable.

I don't always mark the box of loads with the powder, old age and brain zarks.

I had one the other day I was 99.9% sure what it was, pulled it down, measured the grains and confirmed it to my satisfaction.

You can also loose sight of the whole issue as well, so asking question and thinking/sleeping about it is a very good idea.

I have poured out oil (work) on more than one occasion that I was not sure was clean. Not worth the disaster.

I had a water adding can (special one for batteries) that I picked up one day and my usual wiggle it to see how full.

Yep, its full, but it feels odd. Pressed the release cap and let a little out, it had oil in it (yea, attempted sabotage by a smart ass) can not worth cleaning for the cost.

So if there is a voice in your head that says, mmmmmmmmm, listen to it, sort it out, figure out what the real cost or consequences are and proceed (or not) accordingly.

I came up with a saying that works for me.

I have never been sorry when I went the safe way, I sure have been when I did not.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 07:34 PM   #14
zeke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 1999
Location: NW Wi
Posts: 927
DavidAGO-Excellent rational for buying Ruger BH with 45 acp cylinder.

Safaripolice-One of my good friends was an older marksman who reloaded for a very long time. Lots of people in the community went to him for advise, and to purchase his loads. Was often with him at the range, but he was an active loader in the depression and very budget conscious. He considered his 357 loads too hot when he had to hammer the cylinder open, while using max charges of bullseye. As he got on in years (late seventys, mid eighties) he helped with a pistol class. Trying to save money, he snuck in some of his 38 special loads, that blew up a participants revolver.

Please do not consider this disrespectul to your uncle. Would never shoot handloads not knowing what was in them, and maybe not even then. Heavy bolt lift and overt primers signs can be indicators the pressures are way out of bounds, but lack of these obvious signs do not mean the pressures are within bounds. Velocity can be a good indicator, if you know what the load combination is.
zeke is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 11:03 PM   #15
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 19,964
Quote:
There is a very fine line between overpressure and kaboom. and we do not know exactly where that line is.
Actually, it is a pretty broad line, it can be 50% or even more of the cartridge's working pressure, in modern firearms of good design. It's almost always 30% or more, and factories proof test to 15 or 20% over max working pressure. SO, it's NOT a "gun blows up if you cross working pressure" thing. You have to exceed max working pressure by a considerable amount.

the problem is that while in terms of pressure percentage, the line between excess and blow up is broad, one can cross that broad area instantly with the wrong combination of factors.

In the case of the handloads, its very likely IMR powder, but WHICH one is anyone's guess. There are (at least) two approximate sizes of powder kernals in the IMR line, and two or three different powders that are VISUALLY identical. IMR 3031 and IMR 4064 are about identical looking. So is IMR 4895 and 4350, etc. But a max load of 3031 might be 50gr and the same max of 4350 could be 60gr. SO, the difference between those particular two at max is approximately 20% charge weight.

To be safest, pull the bullets dump the powder, don't think of using it for anything but lawn fertilizer.

I'm pretty sure your uncle's loads won't blow up a quality rifle, but as noted, each one is different, and Uncle's loads may be too hot, and still be short of blowing up your gun. Best thing to do is toss the powder and reuse the rest.

DO take note of what he loaded, you might want to see where working up to those loads with KNOWN components gets you, in comparison.

Good Luck!
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old January 8, 2019, 11:54 PM   #16
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 6,334
I'm on the list of folks who will tell you not to try to ID powder by looks.
The "look" is determined by an extrusion die and (probably) a fly knife.Other powders might use the same die.
Burn rate is also determined by deterrent and formula.
You are sort of thinking about using appearance to sort mouse droppings from chocolate donut sprinkles.

I'm of the school the chain of custody of powder and primers must be unbroken. Only sealed new containers of powder from a known source.
You will not regret following that rule.It covers unknown reloads.

What I might do? Depends a bit on the uncle.....but then I have a quarantined coffee can of some 308 loads I need to pull down due to charge variation. I won't shoot them. The danger is,if I drop dead my brother might.
Get my point?
I think you said something about "20 years went by"

I wonder how long your uncle held the powder before he loaded it. Mr Hogdon sold us a lot of wonderful powder cheap that was pulled down from surplus war ammo. I used to buy 4831 for $1,60m a lb.
With that surplus 4831,I was loading approx. 10% over what max would be with newly manufactured H-4831.

The strong loads,not necessarily max,for 4895 listed in the approx. 1960 something PO Ackley "handbook for Shooters"are just plain dangerous with newly manufactured 4895.They will open primer pockets WAY open,and the primer may scatter.

I suppose my point is that 52.5 gr is not a number you can use.

Suppose you leave a perishable food out over night unrefrigerated. Its something good. You really like it.

Then you think about the time you had food poisoning. You learned about riding the pony with a bucket in your lap.

And you look at that chicken wing,or deviled egg,and you have to ask yourself,are you feeling lucky?

I'd say don't have a friend,or your girlfriend,or your brother or a kid shoot that ammo

You? Can make your own risk management choices. IMO,ain't any deviled egg worth salmonella.
HiBC is offline  
Old January 9, 2019, 01:57 PM   #17
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,089
The OP asked for advice and is good with what he got and will do. I don't think he is wrong as he made an informed decision. That is not a given safe, but it is informed.

The issue is how much risk and the comparative assessment.

How many people the thing about driving to work? That has a significant risk and huge consequences.

Hospitals are rally bad places risk wise, we still use them because the opti0ons (for most) is a bad health outcome or dying anyway.

The OPS uncle did not die of an exploding gun. That gives some relevance to the risk. Nor did he have blown up guns.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old January 9, 2019, 02:30 PM   #18
Safaripolice
Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2017
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20 View Post
The OP asked for advice and is good with what he got and will do. I don't think he is wrong as he made an informed decision. That is not a given safe, but it is informed.

The issue is how much risk and the comparative assessment.

How many people the thing about driving to work? That has a significant risk and huge consequences.

Hospitals are rally bad places risk wise, we still use them because the opti0ons (for most) is a bad health outcome or dying anyway.

The OPS uncle did not die of an exploding gun. That gives some relevance to the risk. Nor did he have blown up guns.
Thank you RC20. Yes my questions were answered quite a few post ago and I appreciate everyone’s help. Obviously I don’t need anyone telling me the inherit risk as I’m quite aware I was just curious as to what he may have used. Good news I’ll be going through his reloading area and maybe I’ll find some evidence of what he used or catalogs or any documentation he left behind. Yes my uncle passed from a sudden heart attack. Was LEO and a VET and hand loaded for over 50 years I believe. I used to go over when I was a boy and watch him and then shoot the bullets in the back yard. I was hooked!!! I have pulled several bullets and they are all spot on at 150 and the powder at 52.5 and there trimmed to sizes within spec. Pulled a few primers and they all went boom when tested.
Thanks again everyone.
Safaripolice is offline  
Old January 9, 2019, 04:33 PM   #19
5whiskey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 23, 2005
Location: US
Posts: 3,147
Quote:
The OP asked for advice and is good with what he got and will do. I don't think he is wrong as he made an informed decision. That is not a given safe, but it is informed.

The issue is how much risk and the comparative assessment.

How many people the thing about driving to work? That has a significant risk and huge consequences.

Hospitals are rally bad places risk wise, we still use them because the opti0ons (for most) is a bad health outcome or dying anyway.

The OPS uncle did not die of an exploding gun. That gives some relevance to the risk. Nor did he have blown up guns.
I agree with this. I don't have such a relative, but if I did I probably would not be super uncomfortable shooting his reloads. My only concern may be powder degradation if the ammo was of unknown age. Some powders can last, when loaded in ammo, decades or near a century. Some have gone bad within a decade. Alas, this can be ruled out by puling some bullets and looking for corrosion and smelling the powder.

All that being said, I agree with the general cautions of shooting strange reloads. OP has been warned, and we all take calculated risks every day (as outlined above).

OP you are on the right track if you get a chance to go through his reloading bench. Chances are you will find some notes there if your uncle reloaded for 50 years and never blew himself up. Not to mention, I would love to have some vintage reloading equipment, even if not salvageable for use, to clean up and decorate my space with. I'm sure you would too.
__________________
Support the NRA-ILA Auction, ends 03/09/2018

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=593946
5whiskey is offline  
Old January 9, 2019, 05:01 PM   #20
Mal H
Staff
 
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 16,031
Safaripolice - do you know the approximate year your uncle made the reloads? Several of us have manuals spanning many decades. Loads for the various powders have changed over the years so we might be able to narrow it down a little knowing the year.

I see that Speer used a 22" Remington 700 in the mid 90's, but nothing in their listings for that era matches the chrono result you got. A hotter than max load of IMR4895 might do it.

If you go back further to the mid to late '60's (when I first started reloading), Speer used a max load of 53.0 grains IMR4895 in a 24" barrel and got almost exactly what you found to be the result (after adjusting for your shorter barrel length). Someone "backing off" the max to 52.5 grains would be reasonable for the data available at that time. But, the same would be true for IMR4064. Both of those powders were very popular in 30-06 loads.
Mal H is offline  
Old January 9, 2019, 07:40 PM   #21
Safaripolice
Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2017
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal H View Post
Safaripolice - do you know the approximate year your uncle made the reloads? Several of us have manuals spanning many decades. Loads for the various powders have changed over the years so we might be able to narrow it down a little knowing the year.

I see that Speer used a 22" Remington 700 in the mid 90's, but nothing in their listings for that era matches the chrono result you got. A hotter than max load of IMR4895 might do it.

If you go back further to the mid to late '60's (when I first started reloading), Speer used a max load of 53.0 grains IMR4895 in a 24" barrel and got almost exactly what you found to be the result (after adjusting for your shorter barrel length). Someone "backing off" the max to 52.5 grains would be reasonable for the data available at that time. But, the same would be true for IMR4064. Both of those powders were very popular in 30-06 loads.
Thanks for the info. I would say these have to be at least 10-20 years. I’m super excited to get a lot of stuff like his old dies and presses and boxes upon boxes of spent cartridges. Luckily the spent cases are labeled 1x 2x and some are 3x so I assume it was his way of labeling how many times fired. Hoping to use what I can and clean the equipment and fill my man cave reloading room.
Safaripolice is offline  
Old January 10, 2019, 10:34 AM   #22
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16,342
Speer still uses a 22" barrel as of #14. The reason I suggested IMR4320 is it was the only powder Hodgdon lists currently as getting about your velocity at your charge weight. IMR 4895, in Hodgdon's test barrel, would fall about 50 fps short after cutting the barrel down to 22". IMR 4350 with Hodgdon's max load of 58 grains (a compressed load) can't get there because the bullet is too light for its burn rate, so it can't build pressure against the bullet faster than it gets away down the tube (too rapid expansion).
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member and Golden Eagle
Unclenick is offline  
Old January 10, 2019, 01:53 PM   #23
Mal H
Staff
 
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 16,031
I was sitting here wondering how we can differentiate the various possible powders and thought that maybe the length of a granule might do it. Sure enough there is enough difference and consistency in the length of each powder to make a possible, but not definite, determination of which one it is.

I would bet good money that our second favorite Uncle ( ) would have used an IMR powder. So to the reloading bench to do some measurements.

This is the result listed by burn rate, fastest to slowest:

IMR4895 - .061" to .063"
IMR4064 - .086" to .090"
IMR4320 - .042" to .045"
IMR4350 - .083" to .086"

I think we can eliminate IMR4350 because, as Unclenick mentioned, that would be a poor choice for the bullet weight. 52.5 grains of it wouldn't be anywhere near the velocity chronographed.

So, Safaripolice, break out your caliper and check the length of several grains of the powder from the rounds you pulled. There is no guarantee that yours will be the same as mine due to differences in batches, but there is enough difference in the various candidate powders to make a more intelligent "guess".

My money is on IMR4895.
Mal H is offline  
Old January 10, 2019, 02:37 PM   #24
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 6,334
Mal H: I do not know enough to confirm or deny your conclusion.I don't doubt your measurements.4895 certainly was a popular ,standard 30-06 powder.
I'm not offering argument,just supplemental info.

In those days,we had the option of Hogdon surplus 4895....which was excellent powder. My LGS bought it bulk,cheap. Bring your own container and Old Louis would fix you up for $1.60 a lb.

That would be H-4895.

What would be called "IMR 4895" came in a red and white can and was made by DuPont.It generally cost a little more.

Then the supply of surplus powder ran out for Mr Hogdon,so he contracted "Newly Manufactured" powders,and made it clear there was new data to go with it.Likely your old load for surplus powder would be too hot.


My understanding(which could be wrong) the numbers like 4895 or 4350 are military specs for powder.Along with formulation and grain characteristics would be a burn/pressure curve.

The powder could be supplied by different vendors.


From this point,I'm speculating. I don't know for sure. The powder manufacturer needs some "tweakable"parameters to bring powder into burn rate specs.The "chop length" for extruded powders is likely a "tunable" parameter...which,I suggest,might be varied lot to lot.


After all of that,My point is that trying to reverse engineer the old load might be a futile waste of time because today's IMR4350 is no longer made by DuPont,and the surplus H-4895 is gone I seriously doubt it is extruded through the same dies.No problem! Start over with today's 4895,4064,4350,etc..Whether IMR or Hogdon ,and create a new load. They are all good,depending on priorities.


I might select a 4895 for range ammo for my Garand,and I might select 4350 for hunting loads fired in a bolt rifle. Its all good.
HiBC is offline  
Old January 10, 2019, 04:13 PM   #25
arlaunch
Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2017
Posts: 17
http://www.ilrc.ucf.edu/powders/samp...p?powder_id=66

Use the drop down box by "filtered selection"
arlaunch is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10414 seconds with 8 queries