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Old June 3, 2012, 09:38 AM   #1
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Speaking Of Powder Blends

CAUTION: The following post is about loading practices specifically warned against in published handloading information. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

i was thinking of blending Win. 748, Hodgdon BLC-2, and Ramshot TAC in a small amount, about 500 grains each, then loading to the lowest grain weight recommended for each behind a 55 G. FMJBT.

we all know that factory loaded ammo is "proprietary" and a "blend", due to the fact they all are ball powders with similar burn rates i am thinking could this be disastrous or a "boon" for better accuracy ?

history has proven that some of the craziest ideas have turned into some of our best inventions.., as i said, JUST THINKING

Last edited by Unclenick; June 3, 2012 at 10:17 AM.
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Old June 3, 2012, 09:48 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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I know you said you're just thinking about it but this is a subject considered so dangerous that, IIRC, it has typically been off limits for open discussion on TFL.
If I'm wrong, I'll leave it to UncleNick to reopen the thread.
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Old June 3, 2012, 02:52 PM   #3
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I'll reopen just long enough to insert a variation of the dangerous load warning into the OP, as I believe it is required in principle.

Powder manufacturers routinely blend to control burn rate, but those are blends of a current production lot with a held back fast or slow past production lot of the exact same powder. They are not blending different kinds of powder. Doing that would change the total energy content per grain of the resulting mix, because energy content per grain varies with different formulations. Thus, even if the resulting burn rate matched, the same charge weight might produce a higher peak pressure than with the original powder formulation. The difference in pressure curve would also throw favorite pet loads off their barrel timing, making it seem like a "bad" lot of powder to many shooters.

But most importantly, it takes a lot of testing to be sure a blend of grains of different size, lubricity, and bulk density don't result in a mix that tends to stratify with vibration from transport or from powder measure operation. This could cause a measure to throw a higher percentage of one powder than the other as the hopper content settled. Worse, it could stratify inside a loaded round during transport, leaving the faster powder all on the top or on the bottom, raising or lowering pressure unacceptably.

Every time a higher velocity powder comes out, like Hodgdon LVR, or Alliant's Power Pro series, the Internet abounds with rumors that these are mere blends of existing powders. They are actually different powder formulations using newer manufacturing chemistries and methods to improve burn progressivity and sometimes bulk density. Hybrid 100V, for example, sounds like it might be a blend, going by the name, but it is actually a new powder whose grains are the result of hybridizing stick and spherical propellant manufacturing processes at the manufacturing plant.

If blending different powder types were going to accomplish anything special, the powder companies, who have the equipment and experience necessary to do the job and insure the safety of the results, would already do so to any possible beneficial degree. But as near as I can tell, there is nothing you can gain by blending that can't be accomplished by a single formulation. All you can expect is something half way between two blended powders, gaining a little from each, but giving up a little from each as well, then adding the potential safety issues into the mix. In other words, a compromise in performance with added safety risk. Not really a net plus.

There are still people who work with duplex loads, but these are not blends. The charges remain separated from one another.
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