Burn Rate?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Gene Seward, May 31, 2009.

  1. Gene Seward

    Gene Seward Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Batesville, Arkansas
    Stupid is as stupid does so here is the question. Which burn rate for which calibers? I know that has got to be a WIDE OPEN question, but I hear about burn rates and need to know what I am supposed to be asking myself when loading. I hate being stupid about this, but it is better to ask than to go around like I know what the heck I am talking about. TIA and I hope everyone had a great weekend. I shot some of my reloads of .308 and had same hole at two hundred and decent groups at 300. And no it wasn't feet. LOLOL If I worked on my form it would be alot better.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Burn rates are not so much for calibers, as they are for cartridge size and barrel length.

    Cartridges seem to work the best when the case has from 75 to about 90% of the space filled up with powder. Obviously, if you were loading 32 ACP, you'd want to use a fast powder, like Bullseye, so that just a little bit would burn fast and make a lot of pressure to move the bullet. But, if you were loading 460 Weatherby, filling the case with Bullseye would make it into a bomb. But putting the amount of Bullseye needed to move the bullet the desired speed would be akin to dropping a marble into a gallon jug. Depending on how you held the gun, the powder would move all around the case. If you carried the gun, muzzle down, and then saw a lion and raise it to shoot, the powder would be down by the bullet. The primer spark would have to jump four inches to set the powder off. You don't want that. You want that almost-full case of powder, so the powder is back against the primer, for sure ignition. So you need a slower burning powder.

    Then, suppose you are loading 357. You have three guns. A 2 1/2 inch Model 19, an 8 3/8 inch Model 27 and a 20 inch Rossi Model 92. If you load with a powder that has a burning rate to take advantage of that 20 rifle barrel, only about 2/3 of it will be burned in that 8 inch pistol barrel. When the bullet exits the barrel, the unburned powder will all go off at once (because it hit oxygen) with a loud BANG and a fireball. Any time you see a fireball when you shoot a gun, your burning rate was too slow for THAT gun. You shoot them same rounds in your 2 1/2 inch gun, and the BANG will rattle the windows and the fireball will light up the sky. Waaaaay too slow for that barrel.

    But if you use a powder that is fast enough to take advantage of that 2 1/2 inch barrel, then the powder should be all burned up in about 6 inches of barrel, and for the last 2 of your big pistol, you are getting a little friction drag on the bullet, and it is actually starting to slow down. With the additional 12 inches of rifle barrel, you have a whole lot more friction drag, and it will actually be slower coming out of the rifle muzzle than it is with the pistol.

    A heavier bullet requires a slower burning powder. To get the heavier bullet moving takes a slower pressure buildup than a lighter bullet.

    So, if you were shooting a 30 Carbine, you would use a faster powder than you would with a 30/06. If you were shooting a 30/06 with a 120 grain bullet, you would use a faster powder than if shooting a 30/06 with a 220 grain bullet. If you had a 30/06 rifle with a 24 inch barrel, and a T/C Contender in ought six with a 10 inch barrel, you would use a faster powder for the Contender.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009

  3. Gene Seward

    Gene Seward Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Batesville, Arkansas
    Thanks for the info.. That is what I was wondering.
  4. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay New Member

    May 26, 2009
    Central CT


    some more info. what Alpo said is a lot of what happens in ballistics. i load bullseye for my 3" ( or 4") 1911's. Power Pistol for 5". this minimizes muzzle flash and maximizes velocity. seven different loads for 45acp alone.
    if you are serious about reloading treat yourself to a crony--it takes reloading to another level. a hobby within the hobby.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
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