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Discussion Starter #1
I have been testing accuracy and velocity with two factory loads in 300 win mag: winchester deer season xp with 150 grains and modified Winchester Ballistic Silvertips, trying to figure out with what type of powder these are loaded at the factory.

Though the powder looked similar from both types of ammo (deer season and ballistic silvertip), the factory loads averaged 80.50 grains for the deer season and 76 grains of powder for the latter. Thus, I infere that the deer season was loaded with supreme 780 while the ballistic silvertip with the win 760, based on loading data from different brands and the adverised initial velocities.

First I matched powder charges: 80.5 grains for the deer seasons (found variations up to +- 0.5 grains for cartridges in the same box) and 76 grains for the ballistic silvertips (+- 1 grain), also matched the COAL as also found variations among cartridges in the same box.

Due to ammo shortage and since I am testing my rifle with light bullets, I changed the 180 grain ballistic silvertip bullets for 155-grain Hornady ELD-M, in the same cases.

Results were as follows:

* Deer Seasons xp:
  • Average Muzzle Velocity: 3,200 fps
  • Average group size; 1.1 MOA @100 meters
  • Best group: 0.82 MOA (COAL : 3.33)

* Hornady ELD-M:
  • Average Muzzle Velocity: 2,950 fps
  • Average group size: 1.27 [email protected] meters
  • Best group: 0.69 MOA (COAL: 3.34)

I didn't measure the velocity of the Ballistic Silvertips with the original 180 grain bullets, before changing the bullets for the ligher ELD-Ms, trusting in the box data specifying an initial muzzle velocity of 2,950 fps from a 24"barrel with the 180 bullets. But much to my surprise the 155 grain bullets were traveling at the same speed as the 180 grain were advertised to do. However, I am willing to squeeze 3200 fps from these loads to equal the Deer Season XP velocities with 80.5 grains of powder.

After reviewing the results, and comparing them with loading data, I suspect that the powder that comes in the Ballistic Silvertips is the Supreme 780 instead of the Win 760 as I originally thought. Should I base myself on the loading data available to increase the powder charge of my ballistic tip bullets in order to reach higher velocities with the ELD-Ms as if I were 100% sure that the Supreme 780 is being used?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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OK well the powder might be what you think it is, and it might not. Odds are.... it is "something" in the same burning rate. But we don't really know exactly what.

Having said that.... if you substitute a lighter bullet (of similar construction), and use the same powder charge, then logically pressures go down, as well as velocity. We just don't really know how much they will go down, nor how much you could safely increase the velocity of the lighter bullets. Studying load data, from the same manufacturer, "sorta" gives you a guide (guess) as to how much the powder charge usually goes up, for powders of about the same speed, in that case size. Entirely up to you at this point, if you want to increase.

Since you have a limited amount of powder (only from factory ammo that you pulled the bullet on?) then the simplest thing to do is just leave the powder charges the same. If you are just really curious then it would likely do no harm to rob some extra powder from one of the factory rounds, and maybe go up a grain or a few grains for testing.

But you still really won't have any idea of pressure, although it would be a pretty safe bet that the 155s ought to easily go the same speeds as the 180s, with equal or pressure.

Again - you're on your own here.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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Supreme 780 is long gone, and is a canister powder. The only manufacturer of any size that I'm aware of that actually uses/used canister powder recently; was Nosler.
Similarly, none of them charge cases by weight (grains), every single one of them charges by volume.

Winchester doesn't make gunpowder, and hasn't for quite a long time now. Hornady buys bulk grade powders and does in-house pressure testing and loading. That is one of the reasons why they listed Superformance in the Creedmoor in their load manuals, for years before Hodgdon acknowledged it was safe. Because of modern pressure testing equip, and Dave Emery being the former head ballistician. He was a powder designer for General Dynamics, prior to going to work for Hornady.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The three pictures show the powder collected from both factory loads.


101330
101331
101332
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well, it's ball powder, but beyond that.... no telling which one, exactly.

Factories have access to stuff that is never sold over the counter to handloaders.
 

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I would be careful and if I wanted to use ball type powders, use slower ones. I sure you know this already though. Whatever kind the 80.5 gr. load is, it's definitely slow. Good luck.
 

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I would not try to identify any powder by looking at it. Well maybe Red Dot and then when I figured that out I'd dump it just in case! I have powder I'm using right now that looks just like the stuff in the picture's. I believe all Win powder is ball powder but what I'm using isn't, H-414! sure looks the same though. Never try to identify a powder by looks, do that and decide to try it on your own is a pretty good road to disaster! Some ammo manufacturer's even use powder's we can't buy for their factory loads! Just the way things are.
 

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I think the first mistake is assuming the powders used by the factories are the same ones made available to handloaders. Handloaders like 748, and it is made and sold for handloading because so much data exists for it, but factories and the military can get the newer 750 and it doesn't look different from 748, but its behavior doesn't match exactly, either, and it is not available to handloaders.

The second mistake is thinking appearance identifies a powder. Appearance only tells you what kind of process made it. Not the burn rate, which is critical for performance. For example, WC846 is the WWII-era spherical powder we once loaded 303 British ammo with for our allies during the war and later was adopted for M80 in 7.62. Later, in searching for a powder for M196, a bulk lot of WC846 that had been delivered burning too fast for M80 was tried and found to work well in the 5.56 round. So they ordered more of the fast version, which Olin named WC844 to distinguish it from the slower version. The only difference between the two is how long they let the powder saturate with the deterrent. Today, the canister grade versions of these two same/different powders are sold as BL-C(2) and H335. Take some of each and see what the appearance tells you.

Second, factories often use bulk grade powder and not the more expensive canister grade sold to handloaders. They can do this because they have pressure guns they can use to adjust the load, so the fact bulk grade powders have wider burn rate tolerances than canister grade powder isn't an obstacle for them. But for the average handloader, because he relies on recipes in databooks, they have to take more care to keep the burn rate consistent to avoid totally invalidating the published recipes. They do this for canister grade powders by blending held-back past and current bulk lots of the same powder that have burn rates on the opposite sides of average, thus adjusting the net burn rate of the new lot, usually within ±3% of the nominal burn rate. That blending adjustment adds cost to powder production, which is why most commercial makers use bulk lots and just change the load with a pressure gun to replace the load they last had with a lot of that powder with one for the current lot.

I recently was given information about the Federal 220-grain Hydrashock 30-06 load, which has a factory muzzle velocity of 2410 fps. It is charged with 54 grains of a spherical powder. I ran through every spherical powder in the QuickLOAD database and in the GRT database and found no matches. 54 grains of none of them come close enough to producing 2410 fps. The closest I could get was changing the burn rates for faster or slower spherical powders that are more familiar. So, is that what it is? Just an unusually fast or slow bulk lot of one of those powders? Nope. I had one additional piece of information which was a slow-motion video showing it runs a Garand operating rod no faster than a commercial 150-grain "Garand-safe" load does. The only way to get that to happen was to take a low-energy but faster burning spherical powder (2700) and slow its burn rate (about 10%, this instance). Then I got an approximation that worked to produce the same velocity and gas port pressure impulse. But no commercial powder in the database will do it without modification, so it is something Federal gets special, or it's a bulk lot of the 2700-type powder that turned out to be -10% slow.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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All this to say - you can't rely on visual comparisons of propellants. It is foolish to do so.
 
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Having worked at the ADI plant here in Australia, the factory powder is a blend of bulk powders and is tweaked to suit the ballistic parameters of the ammo being sold.
In the case of Winchester powder, they do the same by blending the batches of powder that do not stay within the 3% of prior production. These powders get called 759, instead of 760 and 779, instead of 780.
These powders AND loads are NOT interchangeable with the canister powder.
Many batches of powder DO NOT meet the 3% variance allowed, and therefore get sold as BULK powder.
One well known batch of Varget (AR2208 in Australia where it is made) was sold as canister powder but was more than 3% faster than other batches and caused HUGE issues and was recalled.
When 780 Supreme was available, I found it to be an excellent powder in all of my magnums, and my 25-06.
I get tired of Winchester bringing out 780 and then just as fast discontinuing supply.
I think they only bring it out for reloaders when an odd batch actually meets the criteria for reloading.

Cheers.
 

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The fast Varget episode is an excellent example of my previous point: handloaders rely on recipes, while commercial loaders rely on pressure and velocity testing of the individual powder lots they use. The commercial loader can thereby compensate for burn rate variation by adjusting the charge, within reason. A fellow with a recipe book can only hope with a bulk powder that he doesn't inadvertently start his load workup with too much of it.
 

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The fast Varget episode is an excellent example of my previous point: handloaders rely on recipes, while commercial loaders rely on pressure and velocity testing of the individual powder lots they use. The commercial loader can thereby compensate for burn rate variation by adjusting the charge, within reason. A fellow with a recipe book can only hope with a bulk powder that he doesn't inadvertently start his load workup with too much of it.
Seem's to me that's what happened to my favorite 7mm mag powder years ago, N-205. I'd never had a problem with it but they claimed they couldn't match it back up every time. Boy, and I loved that stuff!
 

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Seem's to me that's what happened to my favorite 7mm mag powder years ago, N-205. I'd never had a problem with it but they claimed they couldn't match it back up every time. Boy, and I loved that stuff!
This?? I still have 3 1/2 400 gram canisters. I had a few cases at one point, but sold most of it. I have a couple of good .244/6mm Remington loads and have yet to test fire some 308 Win I loaded awhile back.

N205.JPG
 
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