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Discussion Starter #1
I contacted Vihtavuori to inquire about load data for 45 Colt and 357 mag. Their response:

“N32C TIN STAR powder does not work for either CARTIDGE. Load data if it ever did exist. Has been removed.“

So their powder marketed to cowboy action has no data for 2 of the most popular cartridges. Genius

Now I know some are using it in 45 Colt and I was thinking it had the potential to be a good powder giving the good velocities with enough case fill to take double charge worries out of the equation.
But their lack of data makes no sense to me. Must be a reason for it?
 

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From Vihtavuori's N32C page:

"Vihtavuori’s N32C...is ideally suited to many of the older cartridges used in Cowboy Action shooting, such as the .38 Special, .44 Special and .45 Colt. "

And then they don't list data for 45 Colt. Bizarre. Their databook as recently as the 2011 data I have includes 357 Mag and 44 Special and 45 Colt data. So the question becomes, why was that data pulled? Sometimes it means someone had a gun blow up and they don't know why. But I can say I ran their listed 45 Colt Load (251-grain RFN) in both QuickLOAD and Gordon's Reloading Tool, and in both cases, even the starting load produced pressures in excess of the SAAMI Max, while the velocities matched pretty well to what was in the book. That tells me the data was bad or incorrectly pressure-measured. The SAAMI-safe maximum load I got only had about 60% loading density. So, these are all signs of it just not working out as they hoped it would in the long cases.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Left up to me, I'd want to keep all my digits, eyeballs and firearms safe, therefore, I'd heed the listed loads as published of recent date and pay close attention to loading details. 'Course, that's just me.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
The Quickload and Gordon’s being over saami at start load is quite interesting, quite interesting. Guess I’ll cross tin star off the list. You would think they might update their website every 15 years or so.
 

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I contacted Vihtavuori to inquire about load data for 45 Colt and 357 mag. Their response:

“N32C TIN STAR powder does not work for either CARTIDGE. Load data if it ever did exist. Has been removed.“

So their powder marketed to cowboy action has no data for 2 of the most popular cartridges. Genius

Now I know some are using it in 45 Colt and I was thinking it had the potential to be a good powder giving the good velocities with enough case fill to take double charge worries out of the equation.
But their lack of data makes no sense to me. Must be a reason for it?
I don't know what the **** they're talking about. I've loaded and fired more rounds of .45 Colt using it than I can count. It has NEVER given any indication it shouldn't be used. It is not erratic in the least way, has very consistent ES and SD numbers, and is exceptionally accurate. Somebody at VV must have been smoking something when they answered your question. I've found several sources with data for it in various places on the net, though I haven't looked recently. Why they would say that makes no sense. I can't think of a more quintessential use for it than the .45 Colt. I will also say that none of the loads I worked up in .45 Colt, or any other caliber showed ANY signs of over pressure, not even slightly flattened primers.
 

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From Vihtavuori's N32C page:

"Vihtavuori’s N32C...is ideally suited to many of the older cartridges used in Cowboy Action shooting, such as the .38 Special, .44 Special and .45 Colt. "

And then they don't list data for 45 Colt. Bizarre. Their databook as recently as the 2011 data I have includes 357 Mag and 44 Special and 45 Colt data. So the question becomes, why was that data pulled? Sometimes it means someone had a gun blow up and they don't know why. But I can say I ran their listed 45 Colt Load (251-grain RFN) in both QuickLOAD and Gordon's Reloading Tool, and in both cases, even the starting load produced pressures in excess of the SAAMI Max, while the velocities matched pretty well to what was in the book. That tells me the data was bad or incorrectly pressure-measured. The SAAMI-safe maximum load I got only had about 60% loading density. So, these are all signs of it just not working out as they hoped it would in the long cases.
Once again, Quickload raises its ugly head. Say what you want to about it, but I've never trusted it, and have never relied on any data derived from it. I will also note that SAAMI spec for the .45 Colt is only 14000 cup. It doesn't take much to exceed that. That does not mean going a little over is dangerous. In a gun in good condition, even going up to 20000 is not likely to cause a problem. Something else to consider. If they suddenly think N32C is not suitable for .45 Colt, why have they never issued a recall for that powder, or even a public warning? Something stinks here.
 

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In general, when compared to published load data, where you have a velocity match, QuickLOAD underestimates peak pressure a bit as compared to the published measured data numbers. Here, the opposite is happening. The velocity estimates from both QL and the GRT models miss reaching the published velocity by 20 fps or so and yet predict pressures that are higher than either SAAMI or CIP say production should be. The Old data maximum from VV is 9.6 grains under their 251-grain bullet and both software estimators, which have different powder models, put the pressure at just about 20,000 psi.

Now, the fact is, most modern steel guns will handle that. Will some thin cylinder-walled old SAA with 19th-century steel? I'm not so sure. But if I stuff the case full, as I would with BP, the pressure estimate goes over 30,000 psi, and assuming the software is still underestimating pressure a bit as it seems to with other loads, the real peaks may well be at 44 Mag level. In that situation, I can see why pressure measurements showing this would alarm their attorneys if not their engineers. Otherwise, why leave the 44 Mag loads up while removing the 44 Special data? Tin Star is not BP.
 
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'm guessing that the low SAAMI pressure max for the .45 Colt is at play, as well. Shoot them in a full-sized Ruger and it won't know the difference between 14,000psi and 20,000psi, or even more.

.357 Mag shouldn't have that problem, either. Is there data for the .38 Special listed?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well, there ya go, I'd use the .38 Special data in .357 brass if need be. Do it with other powders, maybe bump the charge a couple of tenths.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, there ya go, I'd use the .38 Special data in .357 brass if need be. Do it with other powders, maybe bump the charge a couple of tenths.
Yes, this would probably maybe be fine. However, Vihtavuori used to have data published for both these cartridges but has since pulled it. For unknown reasons.
 

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That's what is odd. The CIP max for 45 Colt is about 16,000 psi, but even that appears in both internal BC estimators to be below what their original maximum loads reached.

The 357 disappearance is a mystery. The old 158-grain bullet data they had for an FNCM type Gunhill bullet (can't find either the type or the maker online) in both 38 Special and 357 Mag have only 0.1 grains difference in maximum load. And then, why is 44 Mag still listed but 44 Special eliminated? Unlike the 45 Colt loads, the estimators don't put the old 44 Special loads over either SAAMI or CIP pressure limits. The only thing I note is that the 44 Special load is below 60% case fill at maximum, while the 44 Mag starting load with the same bullet is 66% and the maximum is 88%. But in a pistol burn-rate sort of powder, you don't expect case fill to be an issue, and in the 357/38 Special case, the percent fill wasn't significantly different.

It's all very odd, and I am not expecting them to be forthcoming about the problems that resulted in the change of listing. It could be as simple as them not getting around to retesting current N32C production for those calibers for the newer manual. Europe has banned some powder ingredients since the earlier manuals were written and perhaps that has changed the formulation enough to require retesting under their rules.
 
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Most that tried it found it worked best or only with heavier bullets in the larger calibers .
Look up Larry Gibson on cast boolits he did a test several years ago .
Quote from Larry below .
Seven years ago I did a very comprehensive test of VV N32C (Tin Star) for Powder River cartridge Company and the VV distributor [Klatron Outdoors]. the purpose of the test was to determine how good N32C was for the low level velocity loads used in SASS competition. The testing covered most cartridges used (32 S&WL through the 45-70) in SASS "cowboy Action" matches at the lower end of velocity most shooters used. The testing encompassed; comparative tests of commercial loads for the cartridges, pressure testing, velocity testing, accuracy testing with typical firearms at 25 yards (100 yards for the 45-70) and a summation of the test results. The results and data filled a 3" binder.
 

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That's what is odd. The CIP max for 45 Colt is about 16,000 psi, but even that appears in both internal BC estimators to be below what their original maximum loads reached.

The 357 disappearance is a mystery. The old 158-grain bullet data they had for an FNCM type Gunhill bullet (can't find either the type or the maker online) in both 38 Special and 357 Mag have only 0.1 grains difference in maximum load. And then, why is 44 Mag still listed but 44 Special eliminated? Unlike the 45 Colt loads, the estimators don't put the old 44 Special loads over either SAAMI or CIP pressure limits. The only thing I note is that the 44 Special load is below 60% case fill at maximum, while the 44 Mag starting load with the same bullet is 66% and the maximum is 88%. But in a pistol burn-rate sort of powder, you don't expect case fill to be an issue, and in the 357/38 Special case, the percent fill wasn't significantly different.

It's all very odd, and I am not expecting them to be forthcoming about the problems that resulted in the change of listing. It could be as simple as them not getting around to retesting current N32C production for those calibers for the newer manual. Europe has banned some powder ingredients since the earlier manuals were written and perhaps that has changed the formulation enough to require retesting under their rules.
Well, there's a dead rat in the woodpile somewhere, and it stinks to high heaven. We all know what a .44 Mag feels like when it fires in terms of recoil and muzzle blast. There is no way in **** that 8.6 gr of Tin Star under a 250 gr. lead bullet in .45 Colt is reaching anywhere close to 35000 psi. Muzzle blast is minimal, recoil is what you would expect for a 250 gr bullet at 900 fps, and there are ZERO indications of high pressure on the case or the primer. My .45 ACP with Citical Duty ammo has noticeably more felt recoil than the .45 Colt Tin Star load and its only running about 23000.

When I started my testing in .45 Colt, I used a black powder load of 34 gr of FFg under a 250 gr. RNFP in Starline brass as the reference load. That load chorongraphed at 900 fps in a Ruger Blackhawk, and is the same as the original .45 Colt load in the 1870s performance wise as near as I could figure. Tin Star was the only powder of over half a dozen I tried that equaled the black powder performance wise. Same velocity, same recoil, same accuracy is terms of POI vs POA, and same pressure signs on the brass. In fact, if it weren't for the cloud of white smoke, you couldn't tell the difference between the two in how they felt when firing. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that tells me they are pretty damn close in terms of pressure.

As far as the case fill thing goes, I consider 80% of the available powder space to be the lower limit of fill to ensure consistent ignition and low ES due to powder position. You can play with the amount and actually see the point over the chronograph where velocity spread and erratic ignition starts to affect performance. As long as the flashhole is covered regardless of orientation (other than pointing straight down), you get good ignition and consistent velocity.

So, like I said, something here is no right. I don't trust what it says on paper, when my experienced senses are screaming at me that what's on paper is wrong, and there is simply no physical evidence to the contrary.
 

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Most that tried it found it worked best or only with heavier bullets in the larger calibers .
Look up Larry Gibson on cast boolits he did a test several years ago .
Quote from Larry below .
Seven years ago I did a very comprehensive test of VV N32C (Tin Star) for Powder River cartridge Company and the VV distributor [Klatron Outdoors]. the purpose of the test was to determine how good N32C was for the low level velocity loads used in SASS competition. The testing covered most cartridges used (32 S&WL through the 45-70) in SASS "cowboy Action" matches at the lower end of velocity most shooters used. The testing encompassed; comparative tests of commercial loads for the cartridges, pressure testing, velocity testing, accuracy testing with typical firearms at 25 yards (100 yards for the 45-70) and a summation of the test results. The results and data filled a 3" binder.
Can you provide a link to where I can study that data? Guesstimating the time frame, that was about the same period I was doing my testing, and I would like to compare.
 

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Can you provide a link to where I can study that data? Guesstimating the time frame, that was about the same period I was doing my testing, and I would like to compare.
Larry Gibson
 

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Gibson's comments about the 45 Colt and the optimal pressure efficiency range of Tin Star are worth noting. It helps explain V.V. dropping 45 Colt from their load data as the minimum efficient pressure of 16,800 psi exceeds both SAAMI and CIP 45 Colt pressure maximums. It does not exceed proof load pressures, though. Gibson's pressure measurements reported in post #6 show that QL and GRT were underestimating pressure a bit, as is more typical with them and their frictionless barrel models, so the warning about pressures for the old V.V. manual loads are confirmed, except they are even higher than I reported from the software. It may also explain the 44 Special being dropped.

None of this, though, explains why the 357 was dropped. So there is still a mystery component to this.
 
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“N32C TIN STAR powder does not work for either CARTIDGE. Load data if it ever did exist. Has been removed."
Well, now we know what their lawyer says. . .

I've worked up loads in every straightwall revolver cartridge I own (including 45 Colt), and 35Rem, 358Win, 375H&H, 300BO, and 7.62x40WT.

N32c is a fine very-low-density high burn rate powder. It's too fast to function a gas gun, and it does get a little spikey if you compress it enough to crush the kernels. . . unsurprisingly.
 
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