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Thread: Inconsistent Powder Weight in Factory Rounds

  1. #1

    Inconsistent Powder Weight in Factory Rounds

    I'm curious following on from the other thread on 'most accurate...' And don't want to hijack it.

    cadex mentions pulling apart factory rounds and finding a significant variance in powder weight? Anyone else done this and by how much +/- do the powder weights actually vary? What's likely to suffer more, small case capacity or large?

    I'm very pernickety when reloading with regards to powder weight but my mate is not so. I don't mean he is careless, just does not seem to be as fussy for getting that needle on the scales to be absolutely steady on the line but in reality his powder charge is probably plus or minus 4 or 5 grains of powder (not grains of weight!) and his opinion is that no matter what he will still be more accurate in measuring the weight than any factory round, which I suppose is true.

    If factory ammunition is still grouping around an inch with such a large relative variance I am now guessing that I'm probably being too fussy and may never see that difference in accuracy consistency caused by a few grains of powder here and there????

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    meant to add that the only factory ammo I use just now is 100grn SP Norma in the 243, as its hardly used compared to the other rifles and with that factory ammo it groups so well there is not really anything to be gained in home loading I feel...

  3. #3
    I have some Federal Power Shok ammo in 308W and they are all different lengths, and I mean different enough to tell by eye that they are varying. I've never taken one apart because they shoot as accurately in my rifle as anything I can reload so don't want to waste them but I'm willing to bet the power weights vary as well. They weren't expensive either.

    Most of the things you "must" do to reload accurate ammo are based more on OCD than on any statistically proven improvement in accuracy.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  4. #4
    I pulled 14 rounds of Federal 22-250 50grn there was a variation of .9 of a grain in some cases 34.2--35.1.
    Ten of the cases varied by only .3 of a grain but the other 4 where .5,.8,.9,.9.
    AT THE AGE OF 50 I DECIDED I WAS GOING TO GROW OLD F***ING DISGRACEFULLY

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    I'm curious following on from the other thread on 'most accurate...' And don't want to hijack it.

    cadex mentions pulling apart factory rounds and finding a significant variance in powder weight? Anyone else done this and by how much +/- do the powder weights actually vary? What's likely to suffer more, small case capacity or large?

    I'm very pernickety when reloading with regards to powder weight but my mate is not so. I don't mean he is careless, just does not seem to be as fussy for getting that needle on the scales to be absolutely steady on the line but in reality his powder charge is probably plus or minus 4 or 5 grains of powder (not grains of weight!) and his opinion is that no matter what he will still be more accurate in measuring the weight than any factory round, which I suppose is true.

    If factory ammunition is still grouping around an inch with such a large relative variance I am now guessing that I'm probably being too fussy and may never see that difference in accuracy consistency caused by a few grains of powder here and there????

    Any thoughts?
    Factory ammo is loaded to volume. You can do the same and do just as well provided you are consistent. There are so many other important factors besides a few granules of powder.~Muir

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    Factory ammo is loaded to volume. You can do the same and do just as well provided you are consistent. There are so many other important factors besides a few granules of powder.~Muir
    Can you explain that further Muir regarding volume? I assume therefore that settling of powder in a case will make the difference in weight as its not a fluid and space between granules will vary?

    Thats ts my point though about the other factors. If the brass is also inconsistent, as is the bullet searing depth then what part of it all has the greatest influence on improving accuracy as the powder charge does not seem to be the main contributory factor???

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    I have some Federal Power Shok ammo in 308W and they are all different lengths, and I mean different enough to tell by eye that they are varying.
    I saw this too, different cal, but Federals.
    It was one of the things that started me on reloading.

    I am by no means the best shot in the world, but I feel more confident in my reloads than factory.
    Especially if they are the same length.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    Factory ammo is loaded to volume. You can do the same and do just as well provided you are consistent. There are so many other important factors besides a few granules of powder.~Muir
    Bit of a sweeping statement but yes... all factory manufactured (commercial and military) are made by volume measured powder throws. They'd never be able to keep up with demand otherwise. That will usually mean a variance of up to 2 grains of powder in larger cases (I've pulled certain brands and measured them 308 +). Just goes to show that all that tinkering and hours spent measuring internal case dimensions etc doesn't really amount to much when talking about "minute of deer". If you want to remove a mozzy's ********, that's where reloading comes into its own. Mega bonus is the satisfaction felt when one of your own home rolled loads hits the deer and knocks it over or drills a 1/4" group at 100 yards consistently.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Orvil View Post
    Bit of a sweeping statement but yes... all factory manufactured (commercial and military) are made by volume measured powder throws. They'd never be able to keep up with demand otherwise. That will usually mean a variance of up to 2 grains of powder in larger cases (I've pulled certain brands and measured them 308 +). Just goes to show that all that tinkering and hours spent measuring internal case dimensions etc doesn't really amount to much when talking about "minute of deer". If you want to remove a mozzy's ********, that's where reloading comes into its own. Mega bonus is the satisfaction felt when one of your own home rolled loads hits the deer and knocks it over or drills a 1/4" group at 100 yards consistently.
    Agreed. I'm not saying by any means that one can't do better by being consistent in powder charges, but that alone will not help much if other variables aren't controlled, and if you aren't going to bother with them, then you might as well load to volume and likewise not fret those missing tenths of a grain weight or a few thou in seating depth.~Muir

  10. #10
    I suppose one should not be surprised that a lot of people seem to think the in the commercial production of ammunition they have a long line of scales weighing the powder ............................... just goes to show how people just don't think things through.

    It also makes me wonder how many actually check the batch numbers on the boxes of ammunition they buy to check they are the same as those they previously had and if different do they actually check zero is the same?

    So many simple basic things are missed out it seems.

    Until I moved here I used an RCBS Uniflow measure, which now lays in a drawer since lack of space to mount it, so I bought a set of Lee Powder scoops and have been using them for my hand loading since. I check about 1 in 10 on the scales. Of course I am old fashioned also in that i also have proper paper reloading manuals and have read the articles in them plus others in magazines thus picked up some tips for using them.

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