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Old October 25, 1999, 03:55 PM   #1
Abe Normal
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I was talking to a friend who also rolls his own and the use of "filler" to top off and hold the powder in place in a cartridge came up. He had only limited knowledge on the subject and I know how to spell "filler".

So, what is the poop on the use of a filler?

What sort of material can / should be used as a filler, for use in a gas opperated rifle?

Are commercial fillers the way to go, or is there a home brew recipe that's the hot ticket?

Is there a noticeable increase in accuracy that's worth the extra cost, trouble? Mess?
Or is this just another of those nebulous things that are done but will really only show there true worth if your shooting 600 to a 1000 yards with your match rifle?

Many thanks to those RKI's that choose to share their knowledge.


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Old October 25, 1999, 04:18 PM   #2
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The only time I used filler was on top of reduced loads in rifle cartridges.

Example, 458 Win Mag loaded with 405 grain 45-70 lead bullets. Use about 30 grains of 3031 and put a tuft of dacron pillow stuffing (available in Walmart notions section) on top of powder to hold it in place back against the primer.

Without the filler, you get erratic ignition, perhaps a bullet lodged in the barrel. Hope this helps!

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Old October 25, 1999, 07:23 PM   #3
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If you are loading to reduced velocity in rifle cartridges, filler can help prevent pressure excursions if you insist on using pistol powders instead of powders like IMR SR 4759 & AA XMP 5744 which are designed for reduced loads. I know of one instance where a Marlin chambered in 45-70 was charged with a load of Unique which hasn't been published in the last 50 years. The shooter forgot to settle the powder toward the rear of the cartridge prior to igniting it. While there was a small lamination in the barrel steel, it is my opinion that the rifle failed in part due to a pressure wave: the case failed from the head toward the case neck, splitting the barrel along the way. The shooter sustained only minor injuries, the rifle became trash. Bob
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Old October 25, 1999, 10:44 PM   #4
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I have not yet used a filler personally but I have watched the filler-no filler debate for a couple of years on a number of boards.

Clearly, the camps are divided. The anti-filler folks say that using dacron, or corn meal fouls and eventually ruins the barrel. The pro-filler crowd says that using filler keeps the powder in place in a large capacity case, avoids dangerous pressure flucuations, and avoids poor accuracy due to bullet speed fluctuations. In fact, MD Smith's reloading board provides different velocities based on "powder up" or "powder down" in the case.

For myself, I am leaning toward the pro-filler folks because I know small charges of fast burning powders in a large case (like a .45 Colt or a 45/70) can create a dangerous pressure situation. The largest case I currently reload is the .45 Long Colt, and I solve the problem by using a slower burning powder (2400) which fills up the case more.

Hope this helps, Mikey
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Old October 26, 1999, 11:38 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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As has been said, the benefit is keeping the powder back agaisnt the primer with reduced loads.

Among other things, oatmeal works.
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Old October 30, 1999, 07:01 PM   #6
Paul B.
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Fillers work. I have a cast lead load for the 45-70 using the Gould 330 gr. hollow point bullet. Using a charge of IMR-4759, I fill the case to withing 1/8 inch of the neck, and seat the bullet. 2 inch groups are the norm with this load. Without the filler, the load shoots into 3 inches with almost 100 fps less veocity.
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