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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings (Greenhorn here): I'm curious about how much variation among powder loads there may be in factory loads...when I periodically check my thrower's charges, they might vary as much as .5 grain...just wondering (being new to this field) how much is cause for concern (for a hunting load)...thanks all.

Drew
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Drew, I'll go out on a limb here, but generally half a grain is not much variation, IF we're not talking about maximum loads and IF we're talking typical rifle ammo (at least 30 or 40 grain charges), ie a .308 Win-sized case (and up).  Even the .30-30 probably fits this definition.

Half a grain on even a 25 gain charge is only 2% difference.

Now when it comes to a .22 Hornet, obviously, this is a different matter!

Mr. James Gates, who has a lifetime in the gun and ammo business, told us that the factories will accept a little more variation than that with typical sporting ammo.  I forgot what the exact numbers were.

So... as a rule of thumb, if you stay below max charges, and have a decent sized case capacity, then no problem.  Just be darn sure that you're really only off by half a grain at most!

I'll often keep my loads a grain under max with rifle cartridges, just so I can throw powder straight into the case (I hate trickling powder) - this with short-grained extruded powders.  With ball powders I can throw within 0.1 of a grain so those I feel a little more comfortable running a max charges.   This gives me "minute of hog" accuracy out to any practical range.

Well... this ought to stir up some comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks...hmm. Lessee, I've been loading .45 Colt w/ 335-gr. LBT (Cast Performance) w/ 22.5 grains of Hodgdon Lil' Gun (per a load I read about here, I think)...I was just wondering about the QC/QA of the industry (and, if you think I'm being "safe"...)...

Thanks again,
Greenie.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Dave, with Lil'Gun or any ball powder, you should be getting all charges thrown within 0.1 grain.

With a short extruded powder like Varget, I get mostly .1 or .2 variation.  Prarie dogs can't tell the difference.

With the long-stick IMR powders like 4064, I can't hardly keep those under a grain variation.  Most are close... then one is a grain and a half off.  It sure was tough to give up 4064, but I hate trickling powder.

Wish I could help you with your load but I use 296 for the same application.  What sort of velocities are you getting?

I'm sure the ammo companies select powders on the basis of what will flow through their machinery best.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Very interesting topic,
      When I first got my chronograph I just had to see if there was more velocity variation with thrown charges vs. weighed charges. Basically, I found there was not a meaningful difference. I tested H4350 and AA4350 in the 30-06,  Varget in .308 and XMR2015 in .223. Even the AA4350, which is a long stick powder, held it's own.
In a revolver I have ONLY used thrown caharges (AA2 and AA5 so far) and I get very small deviations and extreme spreads. For what it's worth!!     ID
 

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This is an interesting topic. Some time back we discussed the use of dippers for loading ammo. There was quite a conversation about that one. The factory loading machines have a sliding charge bar arrangement much like the Mec, etc. loading machines. There are inserts for various weights of various powders. It depends on the ammo run as to what speed they run the machine. At 250 strokes per minute there is powder slop all over the machine that they sweep off. If it is a cartridge for varmint, etc, where the shooter can see long range uniformity, the machine are stroked down. Variation on some loads can go as high as 3 grain. Yes, I said three grains. It might come as a suprise if the group would load 5 rounds with a grain difference on the larger calibers rifle calibers (within safe pressures) and test the difference in velocity and group size. Do I weigh all charges?...no! Do I dip all charges?....no!If I am working on the very top end I do weigh the charges. Remember..Any powder dump is nothing but a volume hole (as is a dipper) and it accuracy is based on the same hand motion, table vibration, type of powder, etc.
Best Regards, James
 

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Ahhh, a dipper on the slide.

A bit of perspective on the original question.

I think a half grain error is not very much if loading big rifle cases, assuming you aren't too close to the top.and It's a big error when putting 3.8 gr of 700x in a 45 ACP case.
 
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