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Okay guys here is a question that I have been wondering about. I have a Ruger Bisley 45 Colt. I had John Gallagher (in Jasper, Alabama) open up the cylinder throats to 0.4525" and he did a Taylor throating on the forcing cone and tuned up the action and trigger. I had a 2x scope on earlier for load development and it shot many groups under 1.5" at 25 yards and even several under 1". It did seem that it preferred some powders and charge weights over others. However, I am wondering if it is really as critical in load tuning to get just the right amount of powder and type of powder. Certainly getting a good bullet fit is important (I am using 0.452" 250 RNFP bullets from Laser-Cast and Mid-Kansas for my light load). With the rifles that I am used to shooting choosing the right powder and then the exact amount (0.2 to 0.5 grains) can make a big difference in accuracy with a rifle due to barrel vibration harmonics. Is it realistic to think that with a revolver that one of these powders (231 or Titegroup or Universal Clays or Unique etc) would give better accuracy than any other? Then if for example Universal Clays was best is it likely that the gun would shoot smaller groups with 7.0 grains than it would with 6.8 or 7.2? Hopefully you get my drift here. Basically with a revolver do you all find that tuning the load is that big of a deal (choosing the optimum powder and amount) or so long as you have a proper bullet fit does the gun just shoot good with all kinds of different loads. Mainly I am referring to light loads. I know that H110/296 does best at top pressures. Thanks, Brian.
 

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Brian;
  It has been my experience that load tuning is every bit as important in handguns as it is in rifles.  A mis-match of bullet to powder can play all kinds of havock in performance.  For instance, I shoot a 355 br. bullet in my FA .454 over 31.5 gr. of H110 and it shoots great and burns relatively clean.  If I substitute a 310 gr. bullet over the same load, I get a SLOWER velocity and it burns incredibly dirty with lots of unburnt powder left behind.  Clearly my revolver is happier with the heavier bullets, at least with cast bullets.  Accuracy with the lighter bullet was fine, but from looking at the stats of the load, it shouldn't be as ES was over 100 fps.  My old three-screw Super Blackhawk will shoot a 240 gr. Sierra JHC bullet over almost any charge of H110 with stellar accuracy, but when I tried 2400, all bets were off.  It seemed I was shooting a completely different revolver as it shot patterns, not groups.  Something about my revolver and bullet combo just didn't work with any charge of 2400.  This is not to fault the powder, as my Redhawk .44 shoots 2400 powder just fine, although it burns dirtier than the H110.  Who knows why one combo works and another doesn't, but it happens in handguns the same as it does in rifles.
 

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Now you all are getting the picture that is completely missed on other forums! There are more important considerations than velocity! and more velocity! And more velocity! Each and every firearms is a nature unto itself!
Test and test! Use LoadSwap as a guideline and go from there. Try more medium burn powders also!
What a think tank this Forum is turning into! The best going and believe me everyone has something to give! Best Regards, James
 

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Brian,

I'll have to say that in my experience, true load tuning for revolvers has proven FAR more challenging than it ever proved to be with the long guns!   This not so much with the magnum high end loads where H110/W296 rule the roost.... but rather in the mid-velocity loads that are a few steps above cowboy loads, yet not at the top of the pressure envelope.

These are the ones that I've found require the most loading finesse and most accurate record keeping to fine tune!   You bet powder selection can be critical!  I've been blessed with an abundance of test firearms, and in the .44 mag especially, I find that getting those nice 1050-1200 fps loads with 240-280 grain bullets that are both effective and pleasant to shoot, requires quite an investment in effort and time!   I've found that I have three guns that shoot the .432"-280g WFNPB bullet at 1100 fps +/- in the velocity range, but each require a totally different set of data to reach the accuracy expectations and freedom from leading!  For those guns I have resorted to using Universal Clays, AA #5 and Unique!   Although all three of those powders are in the same basic burning rate range, they have different properties, and in my guns, one load that will shoot a nice ragged hole at 25 yards with one gun has proven to be a modified choke pattern shooter in one of my other .44's!   They are all different, and I find it even more exasperating than the most finicky of long barreled arms, this business of tuning a mid-range load for revolvers!

This however hasn't been my experience with the top end loads of H110/296 in the .357, .41 mag, .44 mag, and .45LC.   Once I hit that majic top 3% of the pressure envelope, things just seem to come together as long as bullet fit/design are right.  Then once that load is developed within pressure range expectations, it seems to shoot reasonably well in a number of firearms.  As you know I have loads using W296/H110 that I confidently share on a regular basis, knowing that I can count on consistent performance from them.   What you won't find is me handing out mid-range loads with the same bravado!   They just don't work the same way in all guns!

Brian,  I hope this helps!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Marshall, I had been using 10.0 grains of Universal Clays behind the Mid-Kansas 250 rnfp bullet and it was shooting pretty well but for a light load it was still more than I wanted in the way of recoil, especially for my wife to start out with. So I reduced powder down to 7.0 grains. Some groups are really good, others lousy. I am not sure if it is me or the load (still trying to figure out how to use these open sights and shooting technique) but I do notice that with the 7 grain load there is often a fair amount of unburnt powder compared to the 10 grain load. Is it unlikely to have an accurate load if there is often unburnt powder? Maybe 8.0 grains would be better? Thanks, Brian. P.S. I see you are shipping bullets now and wonder if I could get some of the 0.452" 345gc bullets that I ordered last fall?
 

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Hi, Brian:
  Most folks here know more about sixguns than I do, so I'll just tell you what happened. I picked up a S&W Highway Patrolman, my first sixgun, a little while back.  Couldn't get it under 3" at 20 yards with a dozen loads, factory or handloads. I didn't think it was me, since I can keep my old 1911A1 under 3". That's from a rest, guys, and 30 years practice does help.  Next two were under 2". One was a pipsqueak .38 Special load with a Remington 158 gr. LSWC and W231. I'd already tried 700-X, Red Dot, Green Dot & Unique with that bullet. The other was a 140 gr. Sierra JHC, .357 case and half a grain too much 2400.

Bye
Jack
 
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