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Thread: Minimum or mid starting point

  1. #1

    Minimum or mid starting point

    Just starting this reloading, and I find it a mine field of info..what to do what not to do etc etc...Now I have read to start at minimum loads and work up in .5gr increments until first sign of over pressure or max load reached...but also hear that too low a load is just as dangerous with back pressure spikes....I have found different load data from Powder companies compared with bullet companies? Should I guess and start mid range?......regards Lee

  2. #2
    Start at the minimum. I go up in 1gr increments (around 2%) with my .270. Powder manufacturer's data will be good. I think you said you had got Ramshot powder in a previous post - they have quite a bit of reloading data for their powders.
    You'll need to decrease the 1gr increments if loading for catridges with smaller case volumes.
    Last edited by takbok; 06-09-2015 at 17:27.

  3. #3
    starting on the .22-250 before venturing onto .270....using IMR 4064 H benchmark and Viht n140....

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cowsmart View Post
    Just starting this reloading, and I find it a mine field of info..what to do what not to do etc etc...Now I have read to start at minimum loads and work up in .5gr increments until first sign of over pressure or max load reached...but also hear that too low a load is just as dangerous with back pressure spikes....I have found different load data from Powder companies compared with bullet companies? Should I guess and start mid range?......regards Lee
    You're right about the minefield.

    First thing to do is get a reloading and data manual from Nosler or someone else reputable. Don't believe everything you read on the internet - just because some shooting in the US can feed his rifle with some super big load and get more velocity than anyone else seems to be able to get it doesn't mean your action will take it or that he's not a 13 year old making up stories about himself in his bedroom on the web. The books are a mine of good safe information and you will save yourself a lot of time by having a good read.

    I think most of them give a min and a max load. Starting load tends to be recommended as 10% below max load but I tend to start at about 8% below.

    If you are using a slow powder then working up in .5 increments is fine. If using a very quick powder I prefer to work up in 0.3 increments, especially as you reach the max.

    So for example, in the 6 - 6.5 Lapua the max was about 40 grains of R15. I made up cartridges in 37, 37.5, 38, 38.5, 38.8, 39.1, 39.4, 39.7 and 40. Use indelible marker to write the load on the case as you load it. Doesn't pay to mix them up.

    All were shot in sequence through a chronograph until the bolt started to stiffen up which in my case was 40 - I never got into flat primer territory as I didn't need to push it any further, but that's another pressure sign to watch out for. Then back off in 0.3 increments with 5 loads at each charge weight to find where the accuracy node is. I found mine at 39.1 grains, 2950 fps, and that's now my std recipe. This found you can then start to play with seating depths to get the last little bit out of it.

    If you can't find accuracy with one powder, try another. And if that doesn't work you might need to try another bullet. It's an art - some barrels like one combination, others don't - there doesn't seem to be a scientific formula for accurate, you have to experiment and find what your gun likes.

    I'm sure there are more experienced people than me out there who will tell you differently, but the above works for me and I haven't blown myself up yet.

    But get the book and have a good read before you do anything. Don't believe all you read on the internet (including this - you don't know if I have any idea what I'm talking about or not). And don't go off piste until you really know what your doing - stick to the powders and bullets given in the data books.

    Hope that's helpful.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  5. #5
    Get a good reloading manual and stick to the recommended data, then when you are more experienced amd understand the problems with high pressure you can experiment with top end loads
    The Sierra Edition V is my bible i then cross reference with other manuals from Nosler, Hornady and Berger

    Ian.

  6. #6
    aye, but the hornady book and hodgdsons data are different...so if I start in the middle somewhere then I'm safe yes ?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by cowsmart View Post
    aye, but the hornady book and hodgdsons data are different...so if I start in the middle somewhere then I'm safe yes ?
    Get a manual from the same maker as the bullets you are using and use that as your primary reference, reloading manuals from the powder makers use generic bullet weight data rather then the actual bullet you are using.

    Ian.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowsmart View Post
    aye, but the hornady book and hodgdsons data are different...so if I start in the middle somewhere then I'm safe yes ?
    Pretty safe, I'd say. Depends on why you're reloading. I do it for economy and consistency but if you want max or min power then you can run into problems.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by spandit View Post
    Pretty safe, I'd say. Depends on why you're reloading. I do it for economy and consistency but if you want max or min power then you can run into problems.
    Likewise, the first lot I did I started at minimnum and went up in .5 increments, meant 6 different weights of powder. On my .308 it would have meant 10 different weights so I started mid way up to max. Saved about 25 rounds that way. Had no adverse pressure signs at all but was a bit more careful to check throughout.

    I've only got a spotter barrel on my .243 so can't fire more than 3 rounds before things get too hot so I'd be at the range all day if I shot every possible powder charge.

  10. #10
    For many years, Hodgdon only published maximum loads and advised that they be reduced by 6% to get a starting load with the exception of H110 spherical magnum pistol powder where the reduction shouldn't exceed 3% as a greater reduction could have very undesirable side-effects.

    The last time I looked closely at Hornady data, some of the lowest charges listed were 15% or more down on maximum. This is far too great a reduction. In most cases, such loads haven't been tested - they're obtained by firing a relatively small range of likely mid to full working pressure charges, graphing the charge weight / pressure / MV lines and extending them both ways to produce a maximum charge weight that is the highest that fits within the MV based tabular display format and doesn't exceed SAAMI max pressures, and equally reducing charges to those likely to produce the lower MVs in the table.

    It's a less than ideal way to do it with the full 100 fps MV steps often employed. It could be that a cartridge and load combination is estimated to produce say 60,001 psi on the graph at 2,900 fps for a cartridge with 60,000 psi MAP allowed, so the charge weight corresponding to 2,800 fps will be shown as maximum. By graphing 'backwards', if done too much case-fill ratios will drop to unacceptably low levels. One should ideally use 90% or more of the available space in the case, and certainly never below 80% in normal loads. Over low fill ratios produce large velocity and pressure spreads, reduce the charge burn percentage, and often produce very poor case obturation in the chamber as seen by heavily sooted case bodies, the muck getting down to the extractor groove and often the bolt face.

    Sierra recommended that charge weight test steps should be 1% of the maximum charge weights after years of loads testing and I'd say that the company got it pretty well right at that. So 223 size charges would be worked up in 0.2 to 0.3gn steps, 308 Win by 0.4-0.5gn and so on. If you work in 1% steps, those companies' data that start at 15% below max would see you wear both patience and barrel out with the amount of painfully slow work-ups.

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