I'm sure I'm opening a can of worms with this one.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by GMFWoodchuck, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    Not to start a whole huge debate. But sometimes I wonder. New reloaders, medium experience reloaders (myself), and seasoned veterans all seem to know that there is some safety issues with reloading. But sometimes I wonder if we worry a bit too much.

    It seems to me that there is a range of volumes that work in all modern cartridges. A 22-250 for example. Every single load that I can find had a powder weight range of somewhere between 32 and 34 grains (high on the low side and low on the high side if that makes sense) for a 55 grain bullet. Every single powder falls within this range. Almost all of the max loads just about fill the cartrigdes. The same goes for everything out there that is "modern". Meaning designed since 1900. If we use "heavy" bullets or solid copper ones they will actually impede on how much one can physically put into a cartridge to begin with. This is very common with the short action cartridges such as the 308 and the 7mm-08. Will handguns powders blow my gun up? I doubt it. Will a "slow-burning" rifle powder blow up a handgun? Again, not likely. Can I substitute black powder instead of smokeless. Sure. Will a magnum primer blow up my gun using a load that was developed by speer or hogdons? Again, not likely. Most of them even tell you to use magnum primers if the gun will be used in severely cold weather for reliable ignition. It would seem to reason that if a magnum primer is to be used that we would have to sight it in sometime. I suspect that they have no real reason to think that there are legions of people sighting in their gun in negative 10 degree weather. Most will be shot on a decent temperature day.

    Should we be cautious? Yes. But, it need not to be treated like a nuclear warhead. Common sense will bring people alot further than wondering why Hodgons posts a max of 34.1 grains of IMR 3031 behind a 55 grain jacketed bullet whereas Speer posts a max of 36 grains for the same powder and bullet. Anymore than 36 the powder won't leave very much room for the bullets. Why would Speer go so "high?" Don't know. Does it matter? No. It wasn't accurate anyway.

    My point to all this is sometimes I laugh some of the responses. Can I use a 7.62 in a 308? And all of the the responses are so varied and the real answer is a simple yes. Can I use black powder? Yeah, just clean it when you're done so it doesn't rust. What is the best deer caliber? Whatever you want to shoot as long it's legal is the real answer. Of course most people responses range from .223 all the way up to the super magnums. What load should I be using for my 6.5mm Creedmore? The real answer is to either post a link showing the data. But people will come up with a load down to the tenth of a grain with a special bullet like it's gospel and it's the only load that will work.

    We all have simple common sense. If anyone is asking a silly question like "what load should I use for my 308?" we should answer with go read a reloading book. Obviously they haven't, so an answer with powder type/weight and bullet is just asking for disaster. I am begining to find that 95 percent of these question should be answered with "go read a reloading book" They all state how to reload, how to work up loads, and etc. If someone is asking what load he should use obviously either never read a reloading book, or skipped the first and most important part of the book. The back of the book with all of the reloading data is just there to save us time. The real "how-to" is in the front. Questions like can I use 4064 powder in a rifle, what load should I use in a 270 win, what bullet should I use for a 38 special obviously show that the prerequisite reading wasn't done. As far as the safety goes. Common sense need to be used. If a manual says a max load of 57.1 grains of X powder is to be used, obviously 90 grains isn't going to even fit in the shell. Is 57.2 going to be dangerous? I'm not going to say no, but if another manual shows a max of 58 grains some common sense is to be used.

    The single two most important things to reloading is the required reading and common sense. Bullet weight and powder types are just details. I know if I ask LDBennett to make a load for my Dad's 30-40 Krag that it's going to be a safe round. I don't need to know what powder he used, what bullet he used. I know it's surely a safe loading and I can go and shoot it with no worry. He has the common sense. He doesn't need to ever own a Krag, or ever shoot one. I know he's not going to use a 60 ton machine press and cram 100 grains of powder into a hole that can only hold 40. I know he's not going to put a pistol primer in it. It's a rifle. The same goes most everyone else here.

    We need to learn what answers to give outright beginners. Which most of the time is: "Go read a reloading book."
  2. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    I think you're 100% correct. I'm not sure I agree 100% that you can't ever overload a cartridge, but your basic premise about a little knowledge is certainly right on target (pun intended). I too get a little tired of the newbies asking if they can use a rifle primer in a pistol cartridge. Jeez! Go read a manual sometime instead of playing with your X-box or whatever they are called.

    You can tell I'm not exactly a youngster, and I've been reloading more than 40 years, and in that time I've seen some dumb things done. Most of those things could have been prevented if a new reloader just bought and read a good book before sitting down with his press. Matter of fact, I recommend getting several manuals and reading through all of them before starting to reload. In this age of the internet and the overabundance of information, there's absolutely no reason for anyone to ask these questions. Sort of like someone asking the difference between boxer and berdan primers (again). Ever heard of google???

  3. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Should we be cautious? Yes. But, it need not to be treated like a nuclear warhead.

    Well said, Woodchuck!
  4. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay New Member

    May 26, 2009
    Central CT

    there is some wiggle room for those who throw out questions to stir the pot and/or like saying something to erase the silence. often inane, but it jump starts a conversation.
  5. dammitman

    dammitman Active Member

    Feb 1, 2009
    it seems to me that most conflicting load data comes from and is due to different barrels that the data is produced from. thats all, nothing to add to that,,,,,,
  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    GM I totally agree with your post.....but, I do find myself giving information on a load that I use myself. I see nothing wrong with that, at all. I also am kind of tired of the really silly questions like the primer thing, any manual will tell you the answer to those questions, if you READ it. OK, that is my 2 cents worth.
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    I came to the conclusion some time ago that if I perceive that the post is from a newbie to reloading then I send him directly to the manuals and express loudly as I can that there is a safety issue if he doesn't. Sometimes my perception is wrong and it turns out to be an somewhat experienced reloader and I get a bunch of flack but I will continue to do it none the less.

    There are combination of powder and cartridges that can get you into trouble. There are many pictures I have seen of revolvers with broken bent open top frames and a missing cylinder top. I witness an old guy at the range (he came very often and seemed to know his way around guns) lock up a brass framed Italian clone of a Henry. The Henry is of light duty design and had a brass frame to boot so this guy (obviously with no "common sense") shoots 44-40 cartridges loaded up to 44 mag levels. While the gun did not fracture, it took a gunsmith to get it open and the gun became a single shot as the frame was bent by the experience (I saw him weeks later and he related the gunsmithing experience). This was a brand new gun by the way.

    In my earlier days I had a more casual attitude towards reloading and after a couple of, we'll say, over pressure experiences I changed my ways....I now follow the books! I've not been hurt but that was only through dumb luck as the potential was there.

    When looking for a new load in a new caliber I get out all the manuals and compare the loads. I look at the brass used, the bullets used, the guns used, the primers used and make an assessment to which most closely matches my needs then start near the starting load. But I load up 15 or so at several levels and start with the lightest load first. If I see any signs of pressure I don't shoot the hotter loads but tear them down at home. I am looking for potential best accuracy without pressure signs. It regularly is NOT at the hottest loads!

    There is a bit of liability to giving out reloading data. While it may not be prevalent for shooters to sue others, it is possible. I live on a fixed income (retired) and one trip to court would more than likely wipe me out with no way of recovering. While I love my adult kids I wish to remain on my own as long as possible and not end up under foot at their houses because of a stupid lawsuit. Even if I won such a lawsuit, I lost because the lawyers fees would most certainly wipe me out. So I give no data and refer people to reloading manuals. I'll let them make their own mistakes and come to the same conclusions I did years ago that pursuit of the hot load is too dangerous...but I will remind them that it is. I am know to exaggerate the safety issues but that is better than the other way around. I want no one hurt or no one's gun hurt by information I gave them. I could not sleep at night if it so happened that info I gave caused damage of any kind.

  8. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    I agree with you on this, However, I will post a load that I use, because this load is straight from the book, as all of my loads are.
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    If the load is straight from the book then I say let the poster find it there himself (I gently guide him there but don't tell him what I shoot). If we hand feed these reloaders that don't own reloading manuals then they never will own reloading manuals. They need to understand what they are doing, not just follow a recipe from you or me. At least that is my opinion and you, of course, may do as you wish.

  10. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    The fastest most powerful load, isnt always the best shooting load per rifle.

    Ive had to step down 4-5 grains form amx to tune in a barrel to shoot sub MOA.

    Each rifle, can take several bullets, and several powder combonations.

    The fun in reloading is to tune your rifle, to the most accurate round you can make.

    Or just make a lot of them, and how you hit what your aiming at :eek:
  11. fprefect

    fprefect New Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Branson, MO
    I would agree. When reloaders take their time, particularly reloading pistol rounds with small quantities of fast burning powders and there is no reason at all not to expect the rounds they prepare to perform as good or better than factory rounds. I have no idea how many rounds I have reloaded in the past 25 years with the worst incident being a couple of stuck 22-250 cases, I guess I must be doing something right or at the very least, lucky.

    IMO, I have always believed that reloaders who actually enjoy that part of the sport are by far the least likely to encounter problems as they seem to take plenty of time when doing something they enjoy and are in no rush to finish, thus greatly reducing the chances for mistakes.

    F. Prefect
  12. 6mmustang

    6mmustang New Member

    Oct 12, 2009
    Wow, here I am making a first response/post to a can of worms. :D My first post was going to ask about favorite/alternate loads for 9mm and 38/357 & 45ACP.

    Basically I agree with your premise, but sometimes a seemingly newbie question has practical reasons. I reloaded for several years and a change of jobs forced my activities to change(not necessarily for the better) so I've been out of the hobby for 18 or so years. Actually, I'm not sure the internet even existed when I quit reloading the last time.

    I've finally relocated to an area where I can do some shooting again. Since I'm shooting, I getting ready to reload. Unpacked the press and dies, set up the tumblers etc. Most of my former data is probably still relevant, but I'm having a heck of a time locating my former components. They still exist, I just can't get a hold of them "yet".
  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Awesome thread woodchuck... IMO, you win the "thread of the year" award. I could not have put it better myself... Much respect brother:)
  14. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    Well....I don't think I deserve post of the year. But thanks...
  15. bcl32

    bcl32 New Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Years ago 4 of us had coffee togeather every morning. 3 of us reloaded the other guy thought he would surprise us and went out and bought him some used equiptment it had a box of primers and half a can of 4350 with it. He came into the coffee shop and showed us one of his new rounds. Some one asked him what load he used. He got a dumb look on his face and said he just filled them to the top with powder and stuck several different lengths of bullets in them. We told him he had to give them all to us and if he didn,t we were going to let the air out of his tires so he could'nt get to the range. One of the guys called our range officer and told him not to let him on the range until we told him to. Poor guy thought you just filled the case full stuck any bullet in it and was good to go. as matter of fact asked "then why do they make the cases so long". He is now a very cautious and excellent reloader. Guess we all learn some way or another.
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