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Old May 3, 2000, 09:15 AM   #1
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I feel stupid for asking this, but in handloading guide like Speer...the bullets listed (like 450 gr. RN) -- are they understood to be made by Speer and for that particular load I would have to use only a Speer 450 gr. RN? And likewise, in a Hornady guide -- all loads must be used with Hornady bullets? Or are the bullet types/weights only that -- types and weight and I can use any brand with the necessary specifications?

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Old May 3, 2000, 09:29 AM   #2
Kenneth L. Walters
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They use their own brand for testing but any similar product should work about the same. Lyman is one of the few, probably because they don't make jacketed bullets, who uses both their cast bullets and other firms jacketed ones.
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Old May 3, 2000, 10:06 AM   #3
Art Eatman
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The main thing to be cautious about is the hardness of the jacket material of the bullets. This is part of why you start some 5% or so back of the book's Max Load and work up. A harder bullet will resist the squeezing by the bore more than a soft bullet. The most obvious is the change from a lead bullet to a jacketed bullet, of course.

Other reasons are that you may be using thicker brass, have a tighter chamber or a tighter bore, or be using a different lot of powder with a smidgin faster burning rate.

I have read, for instance, that the Winchester "Fail Safe" bullets have a harder jacket material. I reloaded some, before I had read this. While I had no notable signs of too high a pressure, I had poor results with that batch...(A three-shot, 12" "group".) I'll try again, but with different powders/charges.

Anyway, if you're starting from scratch to work up a load, use the book as info as to weight, not as to brand name.

Later, Art
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Old May 3, 2000, 10:25 AM   #4
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So, I can use the data from a Sierra manual but just use a Hornady bullet. The powder, powder amount, primer, and bullet style would all comply -- the only difference would be that the bullet brand wouldn't match the manual "brand." This is correct? I just don't want to make some really stupid mistake, and get myself, my gun, or others hurt. I am trying very hard not to assume anything when it comes to getting into reloading.

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Old May 3, 2000, 02:20 PM   #5
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OK, here's why some loads are safe for some guns and not for others. When you see a load in a manual, Hornady, for example, it's tested with HORNADY bullets. If you compare the same weight bullet in the same caliber with another company, Sierra, for example, you will note that often one is taller than the other.
This will lead to less internal volume on one case than the other when using the same COL, all other things being equal. What that means is that the longer bullet will cause a SLIGHTLY higher pressure, especially in 9mm/40S&W.
***Example, the Sierra 9mm 115gn JHP is .510 tall, and the Hornady 9mm 115gn XTP is .545 tall. The overall difference is .035, quite a lot for 9mm!!! In fact, enough of a difference to push a load developed for the Sierra bullet into +P levels when used with an XTP, because of the loss of overall internal volume.***
Some manuals, like the one from Lee, don't specify which bullet or primer, and caution is in order when approaching max loads.
That said, you can substitute bullets/primers with the posted recipes, just be sure to back off 5% and work up to your max loads, if you need to go that high.
Federal primers are the hottest and most sensative, CCI's the coldest and least sensative, with Winchesters in the middle. I generally use CCI primers with max loads, but when switching to Federals, I go to start loads and generally see the same results.

You're learning, keep asking!!! And by the way, it's not a stupid question. All too many reloaders haven't even BEGUN to think that one company's bullet just might be longer than anothers, and jammed guns together (or worse) with overpressure due to this all too common mistake.


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Old May 3, 2000, 02:38 PM   #6
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Banzai is correct. The only stupid question
is the one you don't ask. A good rule of
thumb is to take the max load listed for a
given bullet and subtract 10%. Not only is
it safer, but usually the load is more
accurate than a maximum load.

Never do an enemy a minor injury. Machiavelli
"Stay alive with a 45"
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Old May 3, 2000, 02:44 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hueco:
I am trying very hard not to assume anything when it comes to getting into reloading.[/quote]

That is a good attitude to take! A simple way to look at it is this.......use the STARTING LOAD in the manual or if no starting load is given back off about 10% from the maximum load and work from there. that should take into account all the variables such as jacket hardness, bullet shape, amount of bullet engaging the rifling, tight chamber, length of lead(freebore), lot number of the powders, brand name or lot number of the primer, case volume, make of the case etc. All of the above mentioned things and lots of things not mentioned can all affect pressure, but with a 10% reduction in the powder charge you will have a good starting point to work up from.

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Old May 3, 2000, 03:18 PM   #8
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So after beginning with the starting load, and noticing no signs of over-pressure, what are the increments that I work up to see if I can gain accuarcy? One grain? 1% of starting load? What? Also, I know that primer cratering/flatening is one sign of pressure, as is head separation (duh!). What are a few others?

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Old May 3, 2000, 03:58 PM   #9
Chris McDermott
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This is usually more relevant to rifle cartridges, but can probably be used for the new high-pressure pistol rounds (.357 Sig, 40 S&W etc.). Measure the web area of the case (just above the rim or extractor groove) if you and your micrometer are capable of consistantly measuring to .0001 (yes that's 1 ten thousandth) of an inch. You want to keep the expansion to .0001 or less before and after firing on a brand new case.
If an autoloader starts having problems at any point of the feed cycle and you know the recoil spring is okay, the gun is clean and oiled; then you are exceeding the design parameters of the gun.
Cases sticking in revolvers has more to do with the finish in the chambers than the pressure; but if factory ammo doesn't stick and your reloads do, back off on the powder charge.
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Old May 3, 2000, 04:20 PM   #10
Mal H
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One of the best pressure indicators is an increase in the web diameter measured at the base of the case (immediately above the rim or ext. groove). This dimension should not increase at all (or very little) if you are within safe pressures. If you measure a before and after and the web diam. has increased more than .001", that load is too hot. I have found that one firing with a new shell will expand that area around .0005" and then it stays there.

Don't confuse the above measurement with the diameter a little higher on the case. It's not unusual for a case to expand there and still be a safe pressure.

As for the powder increments to increase - this is my opinion and SOP. If the difference in min to max is fairly small, say 1 gr., I see no reason to fool around with .1 gr increases. I will usually go +1/3 to 1/2 gr. at a time. Don't forget that there is a built in safety factor in the reloading manuals. If the difference is greater, as it is with most rifle loads, I will go in 1/4 increments. For example, if there is 4 gr. diff from min to max, I will increase in 1 gr. increments looking for pressure signs all the while. On the other hand I seldom load at the maximum levels, I see no need to, but that's just me. Some folks want to squeeze out that extra 100 fps. I don't find that that yields tighter groups or deader game.

If your goal is to achieve the one most accurate load for that particular bullet/powder combo, then you should probably increase in smaller amounts. The magical amount of powder that yields a well tuned bullet for your gun will seldom be an integral increase in grains.
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Old May 3, 2000, 04:27 PM   #11
Mal H
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Chris, you and I were posting at the same time hence the copycat look of my post. The time difference was because I was checking some data.

You're right about rifle webs increasing very, very little if at all. I think most pistol cases will have slightly more web expansion simply because they have thinner brass in the web area. My data is for pistol ammo (.45 ACP for the measurements I stated).

So many people try to use the look of the primer as a pressure indicator but that really isn't as reliable as the web measurement.

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