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  #1  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:35 AM
Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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Spherical Ball Rifle Powders?


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Hello,

I'm looking for an excellent metering rifle powder.

I used to use Accurate Arms stuff in my pistols and they were near perfect. Those little BB shapes just seems to have no trouble metering at all.

Problem is, not sure where to start. I have experience with Varget (love it for shootability) and H335 (don't like it -- had some problems with it clumping in conditions that the Varget laughed at).

Varget is extruded and H335 is flattened something-or-other. Didn't check to see if it was flattened ball or flake.

If I could stick with Hodgdon that would be great. I don't have to order those; I can run down to the hardware store and buy pretty much what I want there.

Looking at pictures on the 'net, it looks like BL-C(2) might be spherical ball and it's something I can drive down and get. It takes more to work up the same velocities as Varget, but it may be worth it.

What are the best metering rifle powders, and what are the advantages to the different shapes with regard to shootability?

Thanks,

Josh
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:49 AM
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Best meetering powders

In my experiance ball powders will work best with flake and stick powders comming in second and third. That is in a powder measure such as Lyman. Lou
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:51 AM
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Depending what you're reloading; it sounds like you would be happy with H380, as it meters fine.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2012, 09:19 AM
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In my little Lee powder measure, Varget, H380, IMR4007SSC, AA2520, H110, and a couple of others meter very well. Even so, each one gets checked first on a little digital scale, then trickled up (if needed) while in the pan on the Lee scale. I've heard guys say their Lee leaks with fine powders, but mine has never leaked a granule.

The other long grain powders I use, Reloders, IMR powders, and some Hodgdons, meter fine, but all need a little trickling to keep them within a tenth or two.

To me, what the powder does in the loads and in my rifle overshadows any benefit of it metering well. I don;t mind weighing each one individually because I do that anyway, no matter how well it comes out of the measure. Like some others, I suppose, I'm a little more anal about how close I get to my target weight, even though it probably doesn;t matter very much. For all intents and purposes, anyway.

I don;t know much about shootability between shapes of powders, I only know what it does in my rifles. IMR4064 I can use in just about any caliber I reload for. There will almost certainly be an application for it, and it will do well, even if it's not the "top" for that particular bullet. If IMR 4064 were powder or sperical instead of extruded, it wouldn;t matter to me a bit. Nor would it matter for any others, for that matter.

If I was loading pistol ammunition, several hundred at a time, I think I would certainly aim for a powder that shot and metered well.
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Last edited by StretchNM; 01-16-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2012, 09:26 AM
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Best Meetering powders

Got called away before I could finnish so here goes; in regards to what is the best shape powders for a given load, toss a coin. Different powders, different burn rates for the shapes. How the powder was manufactured such as how many layers of retardent, does the stick have a hole in it, are the flakes round and smooth and flat, are the balls slightly flattened, do the flakes have fuzzy edges and a hole like Varget. I think in your post you was asking what meetered the best through a powder measure. I felt like it may be one like a Lyman or RCBS or Redding. I have not used a Harrel's so can't comment on that. Balls and flakes are the most consistant from throw to throw for me. The measure has to cut the stick powders on occasion so I wonder about them. I wiegh all my rifle charges any way so it doesn't matter to me. I don't shoot them in enough quantity to worry about speed. The pistol loads are a different story. I use ball and flake powders in them and they come out pretty consistant from throw to throw. Hope this sheds some light on it for you. As for a recomendation, the last post was a good one. Have fun. Lou
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:08 AM
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Spherical propellants are great - and modern ones are greater.

First generation sphericals could be hard to ignite, burn dirty and could be both temperature sensitive and erratic at higher pressures (a very nasty one-two punch, at times!) Such powders include H335, 380, BLC-2 and others.

Current sphericals don't have the drawbacks of the earlier ones. They are only lightly deterred, clean-burning and some have reduced temperature sensitivity as well. Western (Ramshot/Accurate) powders meet this description, as well as the newer spherical from Hodgdon and Alliant. Winchester powders fall somewhere in between, as they have been somewhat re-engineered over the years to keep up with the latest powder technologies.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2012, 12:18 PM
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I use Accurate 2460 for my 22-250 and it meters great. But then again, so do 4895, RL7, and other smaller stick powders.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua M. Smith View Post
Looking at pictures on the 'net, it looks like BL-C(2) might be spherical ball and it's something I can drive down and get.
I've had very good results with BL-C2 for about forty years. I use it in .223, .30-30, .35 Remington and .35 Whelen. It's an old stand by for bench rest. It's very close to W748 (which is nothing like the same).

My next favorite powder is H414/W760. It's been my go to for 7-08, .30-06, OK with lighter bullets in a .280 and with heavier bullets in a .35 Remington. Can't do without it. They are similar to the 4350's.

I love ball powders, and even in handgun loads, the likes of w231, W296/H110, and 2400 (which is "ballish") are just great for uniform dispensing and precision.

If I'd known in time, I'd have a stash of H450 , but it disappeared while I wasn't looking.

I have a pile of MR3100, R22, and IMR7828, and they have some "best" properties for accuracy and velocity I have been unable to top with a ball powder.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:18 PM
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Hi Folks,

Thank you.

I am loading for 7.62x54R Russian and 7.92x57JS.

The latter is for use in an 1892 Gew88 Commission Rifle that has a 0.323" neck conversion but retains the 0.318" bore. Safe, but using 150 grain bullets with short driving bands. Current military loads are hard on the action and max pressure should be around 40,000psi; in other words, SAAMI or just a bit over, not the European standards.

The Mosin-Nagant can take all sorts of pressures with that massive safety lug, but I don't look to load to max at all. Even mild loads are more than a .30-30 and it's just not needed.

Thanks!

Josh
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2012, 03:00 PM
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I'm not home to look in my books, for that specific cartridge; but...
I'm a real fan of Win 748 and Win 760/H414(same powder).
I used to use BL-C(2) but much like Varget they had some NASTY lot variations and I got tired of it.
Maybe I'm the ONE guy, but my loads of 748 from almost a decade ago are still safe to use with current 748.
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2012, 03:43 PM
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perfect powder

Winchester W-748 for the 223 if thats what you are in to....
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua M. Smith View Post
Current military loads are hard on the action and max pressure should be around 40,000psi; in other words, SAAMI or just a bit over, not the European standards.
I find there are some aspects of case to bore volume ratio that I don't understand with respect to ball powders. They have the worst bite with some of my favorite ball powders, H110/W296.

BL-C2 and W748 seem to have a very broad range of pressure tolerance, while remaining predictable. H414 and W760 also work predictably from the .35 Remington to 7-08 range.

Maybe one of the more knowledgeable powder guys can shed some light.
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:49 PM
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Suggest you think about using Ramshot rifle powders....all meter great and its spherical. Names are TAC, Hunter, Big Game and Magnum. I use these powders for much of my rifle cartridge reloading. Ramshot usually costs less than other brands, meters great and burns clean.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2012, 05:06 PM
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I'm so used to the old powders and being an older guy myself I'm gonna dance with who brung me if you know what I mean...can't teach an old dog new tricks..
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:44 AM
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There's nothing wrong with the older powders, it's just that the new ones are so much improved. I stopped using H335 years ago due to its very erratic temperature sensitivity, and don't use 296/110 in handgun rounds at all due to its well-known quirks.

But Ramshot TAC has become my new runaway favorite for .223 and .308 loads (replacing W748), I use 760/414 in my wildcat 25-308, and keep a dozen or so different spherical powders on my shelf at all times.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:50 AM
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If I ever use up all the older powders that I have, then I will definitely try some of the newer generation powders. That is, if I am still able to reload...
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:51 AM
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Varget behaves fairly well in mild loads that don't always fill the case. My experience.
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:23 AM
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Yessir, I love Varget, very versatile....use it from 223 to 45-70...some of my most accurate loads are with Varget.If I could use only two powders I would give very strong consideration to Varget and Unique...IMO
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2012, 08:07 AM
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TAC is what I'm loading in my 223 these days. So far, I'm liking it very well. I tried it on Rocky's recommendation, and he's right.

In a 308 case, Varget is very temperature stable. In a 223 case it's very temperature unstable. It's an outstanding choice for the 308, but not so much in the 223.

I don't use much Accurate 2015 anymore, but it does produce some nice results in the 223. It meters decently, but not nearly as well as the spherical powders.

With spherical ball powders, the little Lee Perfect Powder Measure is actually at least as repeatable as a good balance scale. With Varget, it's about as repeatable as a balance. In either case, it is consistent enough that doing much better isn't going to make any real world difference.

Last edited by dentonbramwell; 01-17-2012 at 08:11 AM.
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  #20  
Old 01-17-2012, 09:31 AM
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Rocky, I'm curious about Benchmark powder. I've recently worked upsome very accurate loads for my .223. Since it's considerably cooler now than when I usually use that rifle for prairie dogs, can I expect some big pressure changes due to temperature?

Sorry for the Hijack
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