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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is going to be a long post, sorry about that but I need some thoughts from other QL users.

To date I've used Quickload to generate the loads for 24 of my cast bullet designs and I've been very happy with the results. Even when verified against my RSI Pressure Trace equipment, the pressure and velocity are compatible. That said, I've hit a bump in the road with my Marlin 1894 chambered in 45 Colt.



I have a really nice 1894S, 1 of 500 manufactured, that I designed a cast bullet specifically for. My TL454-290-RF is a Micro Band plain base bullet that Lee cut for me. My desires for this rifle/bullet combo was to send the bullet out at higher pressures and velocities than at the anemic levels provided by CIP (16.0K) or SAAMI (14.0K). I have several Marlin 1894 models chambered in 41 and 44 Mag, so I am familiar with the model and getting a heavy cast bullet down the barrel. The only difference with this endeavor is that there is no published data to compare the QL results with. I subscribe to LoadData.com and even on that incredible resource, nothing for the cartridge in rifles beyond the SAAMI spec.

Looking at the 41 Mag (43.5K) and 44 Mag (40.6K) against the 1894 frame I see no problem in working up near those PSI levels. Initially, I thought there might be a difference in the brass thickness in that the 45 Colt was designed long before the other two, the thickness of the case wall is very important in containing pressure, but the spec is all the same (.027"). The only difference with the rifle would be the thickness of the barrel at the threads, less than that of the 44 Mag. May be similar in comparing the 444 against the 1895. In that I limit plain base bullets to 35.0K PSI, I don't see a problem with pressures in this cartridge and frame up to that PSI level. Here is my "lot" specific cartridge file.



Moving on to generate the suggested loads based on NMP of the PMax and case capacity (86% to 105%) for my typical large pistol powders (Ba of .8 through 6.7).



Here are the results sorted by velocity. I always start at the top, so Lil' Gun was my first choice to work with.



Again, with nothing to compare to, here is the data generated by QL for this charge of Lil' Gun (25.9). It looks reasonable, very close performance to what I've actually pressure tested with the 41 Mag and 44 Mag with heavy (for cartridge) plain base bullets.



At this point I have not attached a strain gage to the rifle. I don't like doing that with any of my limited production Marlins and I don't have any on the shelf. I would have to reorder them. So using safe reloading practices, I just started low. I started with 22.0-grains of Lil Gun, here is what the results should look like.



This rifle is a very light weight carbine so you have to expect some recoil. At the shot, I knew something had not worked out right without looking at the chronograph. Once I did, it indicated 1622 FPS! Quite different from the 1438 FPS forecast. Again, I feel I'm experienced QL user and have a very good track record of forecasting performance but not this time.

There is a bulge in the case wall at the web...



... and the primer is flattened but I've seen a lot worse. There was no issue with the lever popping open or case extraction.



My next thought was that I might have labeled my tray backwards, so I shot a round from the other end of the tray. It produced 1680 FPS with about the same amount of recoil. QL had forecast 30.5K PSI and 1697 FPS with the max load. That is very close to what I expect from QL and saw at the bench. The case and primer looked the same as the light load.

With all the above said. What are your thoughts with the near max performance from the light load (22.0 vs. 25.9-grains) of Lil' Gun. I shot three rounds of the max load as it was close to my expectations and the accuracy was very good at 50 yards but the light load really puzzles me. Do you guys see any problem continuing with the 30.5K load (NPM and all pressure contained within the 35.0K PSI).

What about the case bulge? I was surprised with that as I have not experienced any with my 41 and 44 Mag.

This little carbine kicks like a mule but I want to be sure that the kick is not being generated by unreasonable limits and your thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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A very impressive study for the home gun tinkerer, Michael!

The only thought that enters my head is the fullness of the case with the Li'l Gun powder between the low load and the max load. I use this propellent in the .22 Hornet and it seems to perform best at full case capacity and just a tad of compression.

Could be like H110 in being capacity sensitive.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The only thought that enters my head is the fullness of the case with the Li'l Gun powder between the low load and the max load. [snip]

Could be like H110 in being capacity sensitive.
That is what I was leaning toward kdub, 80% capacity vs. 90%. Here is the warning from Hodgdon concerning 296 and H110:

Reduce H110 and Winchester 296 loads 3% and work up from there. H110 and Winchester 296 if reduced too much will cause inconsistent ignition. In some cases it will lodge a bullet in the barrel, causing a hazardous situation (Barrel Obstruction). This may cause severe personal injury or death to users or bystanders. DO NOT REDUCE H110 LOADS BY MORE THAN 3%.
I did find this quote several time on the web:

Powders like 296, H-110 and Lil'Gun work best at, or very near maximum. The reloading manuals all warn against reducing these powders very much below the maximum listed. These powders also give their best accuracy and uniformity at the top end.
No cautions concerning Lil' Gun on Hodgdon's web site. I will check their reloading annual and the fine print on the canister itself. God forbid I read that!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No such warnings with Lil' Gun that I can find. Might proceed with a 3% reduction and see what I get. That would be 25.1-grains for 91% density, 27.6K PSI, and 1645 FPS. I am dreading shooting this little fellow as my cheek still hurts from the recoil!
 

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The 3% limit is to prevent squibbing out, not excess pressure. Your case with the bulge appears to have formed a pressure ring, but I can't be sure? Sometimes they flare the back end of lever gun chambers to ease feeding, so you need to mic that to see which it is? Pressure rings only happens at around 30 kpsi and up. You might do the old bent paperclip trick and see if you can feel a ring?

As a rule, a given velocity from for a particular bullet will be produced by a presure that is constant for a given powder charge. For example, on another forum a fellow was trying to work up to a Speer manual load in .243 Win. The manual gave 41 grains maximum for his powder, and 3150 fps or so (I don't recall the exact number, but the principle is what's important). Anyway, at 40.5 grains in his Handy Rifle, he was getting sticky extraction, cratered primers, and the action was popping open with each shot. He'd called Speer and they stood by their data, even though it was 2 grains over Hodgdon's maximum load for the same powder and bullet weight and style. He was also getting 3400 fps on his chronograph. By reducing case water volume in QuickLOAD, I found that for his powder charge to produce 3400 fps it would have to be burning at 77,000 psi. That explained the pressure symptoms.

You can do the same thing with your powder and velocity. Shrink the case water capacity until you get that velocity from your powder charge. That will give you the actual pressure pretty reliably. An obvious concern would be, did the bullet get pushed into the case when you chambered it?

Regarding pressure in your chambering, I'll remind you the reason Elmer Keith used the .44 Special to work up the .44 Magnum instead of using the .45 Colt to work up a .45 Magnum is that he blew up a cylinder trying the latter approach. He realized that since the revolver frames he had available were all of the same size, the only way to get heavier metal in the chambers was a smaller bore. So, just be cautious that the thinner metal makes some difference and that the wider case head produces more total bolt thrust for a given number of psi, just because it has more area than the .44 does. I would scale your pressure limits accordingly.
 

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The 45 Colt has an issue that doesn't occur with the 41 or 44. The specs for the chamber do not match the specs for the brass. The chamber specs call for a taper of a few thous. New cases will always bulge with high loads. With shot cases, do not full length size with a carbide sizer. Neck size only or use a "steel" die plus lube that has a matching taper. RCBS makes such a sizer. Brass with then last many shootings.
Jeff
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I can't comment on the Lil'Gun, but I have used WW296 and the Beartooth 300gr. WFNGC in a Marlin 1894 / 45 Colt. No longer have the gun but it kicked like a mule.... chrono'd the loads on your old river place and used your chrono, actually. May 2004 according to my notes.

Anyway...... in a 24" barreled gun, 25 grains of WW296 pushed the 300gr bullet out right at 1700fps. So, with some adjusting for actual barrel length and case capacity, your predictions for H110/296 look pretty good to me. Later used a different chrono and got near-identical results.

Haven't there been some recalls or warnings re: Lil'Gun? I can't say for sure.

Conclusion: Your can of Lil'Gun would appear on the hot side. I would try the H110 and see how that goes.
 

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Powderkeg

RD,

Reviewing one of your QL charts puzzles me.

Chart notes that bullet trave is 15.35". This cannot be true.

Your barrel length is 24" and your OAL is 1.600". So, barrel travel is
between 22" - 23" and this difference of 7 to 8 inches has to impact your velocity results.
 

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Powderkeg,

Barrel length is 16.25". If you look at the picture of the gun itself, you might notice that it CLEARLY does not have a 24" barrel! ;) If that had been the case, it would explain the velocity he's getting, but I think the 45LC case strength is being severely tested, in this little exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies guys, I pondered all of your comments late last night and this morning. Here is some more information.

The rifle
I bought the rifle from a fellow in Central Texas a year ago, NIB. I went to work on the rifle right away but found a severe restriction just forward of the front sight, I could actually see it in the barrel. I sent the rifle back to Marlin and they ended up hand lapping the barrel as they do not have any replacements for this limited production rifle (Ohio Gun Collectors). The rifle now has no restriction. The chamber is slick as a whistle, no rings. The four shots fired at the top of this post are the first four bullets out of the barrel.

The next step I took, like I do with all my rifles, is pour a chamber cast and then feed the dimensions into TMT's Precision Chamber Dimension software.



My Lee dies are sizing the case to the exact SAAMI spec so there is space at the web for the case to bulge, fitting the chamber as JRR mentioned in his post.

QuickLOAD
My next step was taking Uncle's suggestion of reducing the case capacity to match the velocity delivered with the 22.2-grain load that was shot yesterday. I corrected the actual velocity from the chronograph value to muzzle velocity and then corrected QL for temperature. This calculation reduced the case capacity from 43.8 to 36.4 (83%).

Today, I used this reduced capacity (36.4-grains) to calculate the performance for 23.5-grains of Lil' Gun. QL estimated 1725 FPS. After shooting the load across the chrony and correcting the figures for muzzle velocity and the QL values for temperature, I saw exactly 1725 FPS! It looked like reducing the case capacity when working with Lil' Gun in this cartridge is the key.



Don't get excited. The next thing I did was to generate a new max load with the reduced case capacity (36.4). QL indicated that 21.3-grains would produce 30.4K PSI and 1539 FPS. I loaded up, walked out to the range, and shot three rounds. It produced 1640 FPS! So much for the reduced case capacity theory holding water (pun intended). Backing down the case capacity to see what this load generated indicates that 45.8K PSI was being delivered! It felt like it too!

What I'm going to do
Drop Lil' Gun from my choices and move on to H110. There is plenty of data that compliments the loads generated by H110. I'm just not sure what is wrong with Lil' Gun.

MikeG, I remember that day well. We did good. My dog was toast on the ride home, she passed out in the back of your truck!

 

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An interesting tale. It seems to me that there have been people who love and who hats Lil' Gun, and I'm wondering if this squirrely behavior is the reason for the latter? It sounds like it changes its performance with pressure rather substantially.

John Feamster documented a milder case of this with IMR 4895 and IMR 4064. It would take less IMR 4064 by weight (the two have similar energy per pound) to get a 168 grain SMK to either 2200 fps or 2300 fps in his M14/M1A, though the weight difference was smaller at 2300 fps. It would take about the same charge weight of either to achieve 2400 fps. By 2500 fps it took less 4895, as if it had become the faster of the two at that at that pressure, whereas at pressures producing less than 2400 fps, 4064 were the faster powder. That greater immunity to charge weight change may explain why 4064 is the preferred accuracy powder of the two by many match shooters?

QuickLOAD does not predict the above, so the model's limits have apparently been reached by that situation. Clearly the powders don't change burn rate with temperature and pressure on the same curve. Don't know what the reason is for sure, but if you peruse Vihtavuori's manual (at least their old one) it has a nice chapter with pressure curves for different grain geometries. The differences are easily enough to explain this kind of thing occurring in certain pressure ranges for certain bullet weights.

Have you done basic stats on the velocities of your loads to see what the confidence levels look like? just curious.

P.S. I am a member of the Ohio Gun Collector's Association. Are you sure you didn't get my rifle by mistake? ;)
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I forgot about that picture. Thanks for sharing!
 
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