loading less than starting loads ?

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loading less than starting loads ?

Post by rebs on 1/25/2017, 9:04 am

I have read on here that a few guys load less than starting loads for bullseye shooting. Is this a safe practice to do so ?

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by Wobbley on 1/25/2017, 9:22 am

Depends on the powder.  Some slower powders might not work well if too low.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by LenV on 1/25/2017, 9:52 am

For the most part a starting load in the manuals is the minimum load to cycle factory spec pistols. Since we play with everything (mainspring, recoil spring, magazines, etc) we can tweek our loads below minimum. Some loads we go way below suggested minimums. There is a good list in the stickys above that has tried and tested safe loads for Bullseye shooting.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by rebs on 1/25/2017, 11:29 am

Thank you for the information. I misunderstood and though below starting loads were dangerous  just like over max loads.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by s1120 on 1/25/2017, 1:31 pm

As with everything reloading wise, whats safe in one gun, is not always safe in another. When your working on your target loads, you are trying all diferent loads, and adjusting the load, and or the gun, to function in the way you want. The min loads are set for pretty much, load a bunch, and slap them in any gun...  SO the lower loads can be safe, we just need test them out, and know whats going on with them.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by r_zerr on 1/25/2017, 1:44 pm

Rebs,

Regarding data in manuals, there is also a certain mentality associated with those who have developed reloading manuals believing that people who will use the data want to run velocities that are always in keeping of factory level loads.   A simple look at loading data for cast lead bullets in a .38 special vs. a .357 magnum will show you a broad jump in both velocities and pressures between the two cartridges. In fact, the idea of a .357 magnum loads for target use (low velocity, i.e. a 148 gr. HBWC at 700-750 fps) are non-existent in my manuals.



-Ron

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by LenV on 1/25/2017, 1:54 pm

There are a lot of the lower velocity loads listed here on Hodgdons page. No loads for Bullseye or Power Pistol powder though.

http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol
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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by desben on 1/25/2017, 10:10 pm

Hodgdon's slowest load for 38 special with a 148 hbwc and 231 powder is 869 fps, using 3.5 grains. Meanwhile, most competitors use between 2.9 and 3.1 to get around 700 fps. Is it dangerous? I don't think so, as long as the load is tested, the bullets are appropriately sized and made of almost or lead. YMMV.

But if one were to try plated/jacketed bullets with the same target load, one would risk sticking one in the barrel. hodgdon's tries to be safe by suggesting a starting load known to perform in every gun with any bullet material.

Basically, if you go for a load not published in reloading books, use you head and BE SAFE
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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by rich.tullo on 1/26/2017, 8:49 am

I look at the loads from many sources this page, manuals, and I talk to fellow shooters. If there is no information on the powder I am shooting for Bullseye I then start about 10% lower then the manual. 

So for example for 45 ACP and WST I started at 4.0 as the suggested range is 4.4 to 5.1. With that powder depending on the weather and batch I find 4.1 to 4.2 works well. 

VN320 data on the website is poor and the description of the powder is a little inaccurate. They say its between WST and W231 and I find its more similar to W231. I have loaded 105 SWC in 38 special down to 3.0 gn with that powder and the start load is 3.3 gn which compares to 3.5 W231 in terms of accuracy and felt recoil. In 45 ACP that powder can function my guns down to about 4.2 gn and I find 4.5 gn is similar to W231 at 4.6/4.7 gn. 

The major issues you will have with down loading below the manual is squib loads if you go too far, so make sure your scales and powder measure are accurate and calibrated. Also make sure you do not double charge the load because its harder to tell in 38 special and other tall cases. 

For example a double charge of BE in a 38 special loaded at 2.6 is just 5.2 gn. Depending on your brass and your gun 5.2 gn over a wadcutter can cause a big problem. 

In large cases such as a 357 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 Long Colt and maybe 38 super  2gn of powder could theoretically combust and split the case if the primer ignites the powder.  I have not heard that being a problem with pistols first hand but my Dad told me not to use Universal in a 45 70 rifle cartridge because of that issue so the first rule of Bullseye be safe applies and really with the fast powders we use 10% is huge step down from the factory ranges found in the manuals.
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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by cypress on 2/2/2017, 3:33 pm

I think the biggest safety concern with downloading has to do with rifle cartridges with slower powders in a relatively large case volume causing detonation rather than a proper burn.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by Merick on 2/2/2017, 3:49 pm

Rifle secondary explosive effect aside, downloading ammo increases risk of sticking a bullet in the barrel, and makes double charges harder to spot. 

On the one hand reduced recoil rifle data for 4895 was published, and the common match 38 hbwc load is lower than what is mentioned previously.  On the other hand what me be smothering, redundant, litigious level of safety will disappear in a non-linear rate outside published data.

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by sharkdoctor on 2/2/2017, 4:17 pm

cypress wrote:I think the biggest safety concern with downloading has to do with rifle cartridges with slower powders in a relatively large case volume causing detonation rather than a proper burn.
Uh oh.  I have yet to see any definitive scientific study that shows a low volume charge will detonate in the strictest definition of the word, nor have I seen any study where some one says, "Hey, y'all, here, hold my beer and watch me blow this gun up with a light charge" before it happens.

We always hear, "I blew my gun up, it must have detonated".

I certainly don't want to start a discussion here, but if you have a reputable study reference, I would appreciate seeing it.  Please understand I am not picking on you, but I don't like to see undocumented info promulgated!


Last edited by sharkdoctor on 2/2/2017, 4:26 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Mi spelng is pour)

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by dronning on 2/2/2017, 5:10 pm

OK I have no idea where the article is (about rifle loads), it was at least 5 years ago.  Here is what I remember: A low volume load where the powder actually sits below the primer (that was the speculation) when the round is chambered causes pressures to jump sometimes dramatically.  They were testing with some type pressure testing electronics.  The reason for the pressure build was the primer flash hits the surface of the powder the whole length of the cartridge igniting it all at at once, definitely not a proper burn.  No rifles blew up but I remember they were pretty surprised on some of the pressure spikes. 

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Re: loading less than starting loads ?

Post by cypress on 2/2/2017, 5:32 pm

I was just going by what I read in the Lee Manual. It did claim that the exact mechanism is unknown and only would occur under certain rare conditions. Didn't realize this was one of those debatable reloading folk tales.

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