I'll probably open a can of worms here, but I'll tell you that the most consistent, most uniform ballistic performance I've found with the .454 has come through the use of WSRP exclusively! Remington 7 1/2's come in a very close second in the accuracy and ballistic uniformity department. There most likely are as many different opinions here as there are primers, but you are lighting off a comaratively small charge of powder, that is relatively fast burning when compared to conventional rifle powders, therefore I contend that a standard strength small rifle primer is adequate to light the fire of your H110/W296 or AA #9 that you'll be using in the .454.
Uniformity is the key to accuracy, regardless of the cartridge! Once that uniformity is established, the accuracy will come!
I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to reloading the 454, but using Federal Match Small Rifle primers, I have noticed large (I guesstimate 2-3grn or so?) amounts of unburnt powder being scattered across the shooting stand. This only occurs when I go 20% under the maximum load. Under full loads, all powder is fully burned up.
I use N110 (Vihtavuori N110), which is comparable to H110 in burn rate, but comes in tiny cylindrical shaped grains.
I AM WITH MARSHALL ON THIS ONE, I USED EVERYTHING IN THE 454 FROM CCI400,450MAG,BR4, REM 7 1/2 AND FEDERAL BUT NONE OF THEM GIVE THE PERFORMANCE THAT THE NEW WINCHESTER GOLDS DO. VERY CLEAN AND CONSISTANT. ONE THING TO REMEMBER THAT A HEAVY BULLET PULL IN REGARDS TO TIGHT BULLET FIT IN THE CASE IS IN MY OPINION THE MOST CRITICAL PART WITH THESE CARTRIDGES 44MAG,454,475 IN ORDER TO GET A CLEAN AND EFFICIENT BURN OF THE POWDER MORE SO THAN CRIMP AND SOMETIMES PRIMER SELECTION. JIM.
I'll put those Winchester Gold SRP on my shopping list. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'a heavy bullet pull in regards to a tight bullet fit'. You mean to say that a heavier bullet combined with a voluminous (slow, magnum grade) type of powder will create the most efficient burn?
DEEBEE, I SHOULD HAVE GAVE MORE EXPLANATION. AS FAR AS TIGHT BULLET TO CASE FIT, FIRST YOU NEED A SIZING DIE THAT WILL SIZE THE CASE TO THE PROPER DIMENSION THE ONLY DIES THAT I HAVE GOOD LUCK WITH IS THE RCBS 454 DIE AND THE LEE 45ACP DIE THESE WILL GIVE A SIZED ID OF .447.5-.448 AS TO COMPARED TO SOME OF THE 45 COLT DIES AT .450.5-.451 ID. WITH THE SMALLER ID YOU THEN WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR EXPANDER PLUG IS .448 MAX AND ONLY BELL CASE MOUTH ENOUGH FOR BULLET TO START SLIGHTLY WITH THESE TO OPERATIONS THE BULLET WILL ACTUALLY EXPAND THE CASE AS IT ENTERS TO THE CORRECT SEATING DEPTH. WHEN DONE PROPERLY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE BULLETS BASE AND OR LUBE GROOVES TO APPEAR AS SLIGHT BULGE OR WRINKLE APPEARANCE ON THE OUTSIDE OF LOADED CARTRIDGE. THE BULLET SERVING AS THE EXPANDER AS IT ENTERS THE CASE IS THE TERM OF TIGHT BULLET TO CASE FIT. THE DIMENSIONS ABOVE ARE CRITICAL FOR THIS TO GAIN MAX EFFECTIVENESS. HOPE THIS HELPS. MEASURE THE ID OF YOUR SIZED CASES WITH YOUR CALIPERS AND SEE WHAT YOU GET. AGAIN THESE PERTAIN TO THE 454 CASULL OR HEAVY 45 COLT. JIM.
I also use N110. I live in Norway and H110 are very hard to find. I think the N110 are a bit faster than the H110.
Witch loads do you use? In my Raging Bull I use up to 24-25grs with 350grs bullets and up to 22grs with 400grs bullets. And Federal smal rifle primes.
Good to meet another European shooter on the forum. I'm using a 300 gn jacketed flatpoint bullets, and I've loaded them to the N110 SAAMI max, which is 28.7 gn, or 1.86 grams. Using RCBS' .454C dies (not .45LC dies), I have no problems at all at the prescribed 44.5mm total cartridge length.
The SAAMI max is a bit on the 'better safe than sorry' side, that is to say, it's a bit mellow. Vihtavuori used to publish two different reloading tables, one for the lawsuit sensitive Americans (SAAMI standard), and one for us 'sensible' Europeans. (I'm kidding guys, don't shoot). For N110, the European tables used to rate about 5-8% heavier loads. Alas, the new Vihtavuori reloading tables are all SAAMI, and the old ones do not contain .454C data, so the beefy Ruger sort of shrugs away each of my handloaded rounds.
I have purchased a box of Winchester .454 factory ammo for reference, and even without a chronometer it is obvious that this factory round is a more powerful cartridge.
However, I cannot increase on the max prescribed 28.7 gn N110 load on the 300gn JFP, because N110 is much more voluminous than H110; the brass simply cannot contain any more, because the bullet already compresses the powder down when it is seated. The grains of N110 powder are cylindrical in shape, and each of these tiny cylinders has three microscopic holes running along their length to ensure sufficient air for a clean and calculated burn. This is why N110 is (relatively!) more expensive, but make no mistake; it is superior to H110 in every aspect. You (like me) are having a hard time finding N110 reloading data on the net for the .454C because most such publications are American, and the Finnish N110 is hard to come by in the States, and even more expensive for them to buy than it is for us Europeans. So most Americans stick to H110, and yes, it burns slightly faster than N110, especially when case volume gets a bit tight.
To cut things short, stick to the book when you use N110, that is to say 33.5gn for 225gn jacketed bullets (42.7mm tot length), 30.7gn for 250gn jacketed bullets (42.8mm tot length) and 28.7gn for 300gn jacketed bullets (44.5mm tot length).
I have ordered a chronometer, and when it arrives I will emulate the performance of the fierce Winchester factory ammo using the slightly faster burning Vihtavuori N105 gunpowder. There is no doubt in my mind that this will prove to be a more constant, more reliable performer that any H110 round.
Mind you, the listed N110 charges are by no means plinking loads. They'll stop a charging T-Rex dead in its tracks, and the recoil of thirty or so of these rounds tears the skin off the base of my thumb. So whatever you do, start 15% under max load as usual.
Anyway, as to the charges you are using, I have no data on 350 and 400gn bullets, so we'll have to make an educated guess. The 350 is 17% heavier than the 300gn bullet, which, given the same charge and case volume (seating depth!), will give you approximately 14% of pressure increase. But you wisely do not use the same charge, you use 25gn instead of 28.7gn. A 10% decrease in charge will yield approximately 20% decrease in pressure, and you have decreased about 13% for a 26% pressure decrease.
At first glance, your 350gn load is a safe (26-14=) 12% under max pressure... BUT!
1. What type of bullets do you use? Lead bullets seal better than jacketed ones, so that will INCREASE pressure.
2. How deep do you seat this bullet? The deeper you seat the bullet, the less the case volume. A 10% decrease in case volume will get you an approximate 13% (!!) increase in max pressure, and wadcutter types of bullets need to be seated especially deep.
If I put your 400gn charge under the same calculations, extrapolating from the SAAMI 300gn standard, you are about 20% under maximum, but 400 gn bullets are BIG, and even if you seat them as high as your Raging Bull can take them, you're bound to end up losing a lot of cartridge volume. So no way that 20% is accurate!
To summarize, the charges you use appear safe, but only as far as I can tell. You need a chronometer if you want to find the limits. If you have an accurate charge, I'd say stick to it. If you're an on the edge fps-junkie like me, buy or borrow a chronometer and look for fps data on the exact type of bullet you are using, and match it using Vihtavuori powder. But keep in mind that seating depth is critical, as is the fact that neither your Raging Bull nor my Super Redhawk can match the max pressure a Freedom Arms can safely take.
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