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Thread: Maybe a daft reloading question

  1. #1

    Maybe a daft reloading question

    Is it ok to use any combination of powder make with any combination of bullet type and make?

    Just thinking with the shortage around at the moment I may be stuck with certain types of each to start with until it sorts itself out?

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  2. #2
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Whichever powder or bullet you use -out of choice or necessity- you must start with some authoritative load data for that combination, begin some way below the maximum (10% by weight of the powder charge is often recommended) and work up in small steps (0.1-0.5 grains depending on case capacity: smaller increments for small cases, larger for large) until you have a load that shoots how you want it too.

    The Quickload programme is a great source of data for new combinations, but if you don't have it checking the manufacturers' web sites, or asking members on here to check the relevant reloading manuals for you, should do the trick.

    Even moving between different bullets of the same weight from the same manufacturer can cause pressures to rise and require a reduction of the powder charge, as the shape of the bullet alone has an effect.

  3. #3
    No such thing as a daft question (apart from the one you don't ask!)

    As long as you can get reliable proven load data (pref. from a powder or bullet manufacturer, you can use a lot of different powder and bullet combinations.

    However (and there's always a however!) not all powders and bullets/applications are a safe mix, burn rates, case fill percentages, pressures etc. etc. so if a combination you'd like to try is not listed there's a usually a good reason not to try it!

    As always, look at the powder and bullet manufacturers safe load data and if in doubt ask here before trying anything not listed.

    As an example I use a variety of "low" loads for shooting sub-sonic centre fire calibres indoors, 308win, 300 Blackout. Apart from the Trail Boss load none are listed on manufacturers lists. However (told you there was one!) the loads I use have been researched and tested over time by other more experienced shooters and have been proven to give safe consistent results.
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  4. #4
    The make of powder (e.g. Hodgdon, Vihtaviori, Alliant, etc.) and bullet (Hornady, Nosler, Barnes, Sierra, Swift, etc.) is not important.

    However you must choose a specific powder (e.g. Hodgdon H4350, Hodgdon Varget, Vihtavuori N150, etc) that is tried and tested as being safe for the bullet weight (e.g. 125gr) and cartridge (e.g. 6.5x55) combination - for the sake of argument, use a bullet or powder manufacturer's published load.

    You should never mix powders of different types together even if they are both separately suitable for your cartridge and bullet.

    Also, you shouldn't change powder type or bullet weight without going back to the books to check that the combination is safe and tested.

    If you check the powder manufacturers websites, for each powder you can find loads for different brands of bullets. Similarly if you look at the bullet manufacturers sites you can find different types of powder for the bullet and cartridge.

    In the worst case, if you find a powder that you aren't sure of, first check that powder manufacturers website or reloading book data to see that the powder is listed as suitable for your cartridge. Then find a bullet of the same weight as those listed in the book even if it is a different brand. You can then use the starting loads for that powder/cartridge/bullet weight combination and work up slowly. I would stay below max listed loads and email the powder and/or bullet company to ask for a safe working range for the combination of components that you have - they send this info out all the time.

    Don't blindly rely on what the shop keeper or your shooting mates tell you, or loads you read on the internet.

    Hope that helps for a start

  5. #5
    If you haven't got a copy Stratts there are little books called something like "The Complete Reloading Manual for the 308Win." They are available for most common calibers and list a lot of loads taken from a wide range of reloading manuals. They are not a replacement for a good reloading manual as there is no instructional information in them at all - just lots and lots of loads. I think mine cost about 7 when I bought it and is a ring bound type affair.

    Such a book will give you a good indication of loads for your cartridge and will allow you to compare lots of different loads. It will also allow you to see which powders are most commonly used in your cartridge with a given bullet weight and so should allow you to purchase something that is available and well documented. As has been said it is generally the case that if a reloading manual doesn't list the powder/bullet combination for your cartridge then there is usually a reason.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by stratts View Post
    Is it ok to use any combination of powder make with any combination of bullet type and make?

    Just thinking with the shortage around at the moment I may be stuck with certain types of each to start with until it sorts itself out?

    Hi, there are some sensible answers to your question here but what would most likely help you more would be if you were to gain an understanding of 'why' rather than 'what' is the correct way to do things.
    My advice to you is that you buy yourself a copy of a loading manual, I find the Lee manual to be very useful, and far, far, more importantly, buy a copy of the ABC'S of reloading. The ABC's of reloading can be bought very cheaply from Amazon, and by the sounds of things, will help you immensely. It is not an expensive read and could save you from a very great deal of ignorance.

    Kind regards, Olaf

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