weight of finished reloads

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by hunter29180, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    when loading any caliber..all the same brass, primers, powder, charge and bullet..what kind of weight range should i expect? weighed on a digital scale set to measure powder in grains...1-3 or 6-8 or larger? this from a discussion an another forum. I just felt that 6 or more grains was a huge diffrence.

    by same brass, I am suggesting manufacturer, and approx same age in reloading cycle.
  2. carver

    carver Moderator

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    The only thing you have to worry about is the weight of the powder at the time you dumped into the case. If you did that right, the weight of the entire loaded cartridge is irrelevant! Grab a hand full of bullets, all from the same box, and start weighing them. No two will be the same.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  3. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    this was in referrance to a last step in the reloading cycle. to weigh each one as it comes off the press to help catch any that either did not get a full chatge of powder or did not get any powder at all. of course one of the steps was to visually check each case prior to setting the bullet for seating also. it was suggested as a last step in making sure everything was ok. was mentioned from someone who said they worked in a ammo factory that each bullet was checked this way for quality control. anything over 4 grains light or heavy was rejected.
  4. carver

    carver Moderator

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    If I was reloading on an automated press I would probably be just as cautious as the person you said worked in an ammo factory. But I'm not that person. I don't weigh my cases, and I don't weigh my bullets, I only weigh my powder. Once it's all assembled into a cartridge it's good to go! I control every step in the reloading process because I don't use an automated system.
  5. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    "sigh" Love you Carter..but still dont answer the question...I asked because I trust the answers I get here. and I really want to know as I (being new to reloading) wonder if this may be a good step to add to my own reloading cycle. But I would need to know what people like you, (who have years more experience, than I have) have experienced,
    if in fact you ever weigh your finished product.
  6. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    The answer is going to depend on mostly on the caliber and who made the bullets and the brass. I would think that one would want to hold the total weight variance to under 1% relative to total cartridge weight to have good quality ammo. Six grains total variance for a .458 Win Mag shooting 500 grain cast bullets might be acceptable; but for a .223 Remington, or a .45 ACP Bullseye target load, obviously not.

    I just quickly weighed a dozen randomly selected (accurate but non-match grade) .22 LR made by Federal. The mean/median was 51.7 grains with all weighing between 51.5 & 52.0 grains.

    This procedure is often used by some serious .22 shooters to check consistency and "weed out" off weight rounds. Match ammo, like Eley Tenex, will typically weigh +/- 0.1 grain. The accuracy of ammo like the above mentioned Federal can be improved by weighing and culling. When reloading, one can significantly improve accuracy by weighing, segregating, and culling bullets. To a lesser extent, the foregoing applies to brass.

    Most of the better pistol powder measures will meter @ +/- 0.1 grains (0.2 total variance) for most pistol/shotgun type propellants. Rifle measures will will often vary by a bit more because of the different characteristics of some rifle powder granulations and the typically larger size of the charge.

    Bullets can and will vary in weight depending on total volume, method of manufacture, and the manufacturer's quality control procedures. The same can be said of cartridge cases. Cartridge cases formed from the same sheet (coil) of brass, by only one set of progressive dies, will tend to be more uniform than cases formed from different sheets of brass, running on several production lines.

    The primary difference between real "match grade" and regular production grade ammo is greater consistency.
  7. Kestral

    Kestral Member

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    A friend of mine helped out by moulding 300 .455 H/B bullets for me as we had both aquired a Webley mk6 & a S&W 1917. I decided to check weight some of the bullets before assembly,and was astounded at the variation of bullet weights from the same batch of actual moulding,they ranged from 255 grns to 294 grns.Quite a lot were sent straight back to the furnace.
  8. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    thank you Hammer! just the info I was seeking! now anyone else with what you personally reload? what caliber, weight bullet, type of case and powder used...
  9. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    so what was the weight you kept? and what weight were you casting?
  10. Kestral

    Kestral Member

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    Should have been 265 ,so have kept upto 275 grn and remelted the others,as did not have the time before the range opened to start testing powder ratios/reductions etc.
  11. carver

    carver Moderator

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  12. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    thank you Carter, that answered a few other questions I have been studing!
  13. mikld

    mikld Member

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    I guess if you weighed all the brass, and kept the ones within .1 grain, did the same with the bullets, and weighed the primers, when weighed after loading the weight could be telling if the powder was .0 gr or 17.5 gr....
  14. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    I have been reloading for quite a few years and my smallest load is 380 ACP and my largest is 300 Win. Mag.. Having stated that I must say that I see no value in weighing loaded cartridges due to the potential variability of each component especially if looking for short powder drops. When loading target 38's your powder drop can be 7grs or less and with a 158gr WC bullet plus case plus primer your total variability can exceed this. When using a powder measure (only for target pistol) I repeat weighing until the drop is what I want and convince myself that I am consistently getting my weight within 0.5gr. I will then weigh each 10th load until finished. I will use a light and check the cases for powder before I load the bullets. For rifle and hunting pistol loads I weigh each individually using an electronic dispensing balance. The powder weight is the critical factor assuming that you are using good brass and bullets. A bench rest competitor will disagree with me and say the case volume variability is important and I will tell him that to a hunter he is picking fly specs out of pepper.

    As another point I do each stage of loading separately rather than one round in sequence. I prep all the cases then prime them all then add powder to all then bullet then crimp, etc. I do it this way because I feel it gives me better control and less variability. I guess I am just an anal ol' pill roller that has a tendency to be a bit too careful as trained. Even so, I've done some really stupid things but luckily caught them before anyone was hurt.
  15. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

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    As others have suggested, variation in weight of loaded rounds is meaningless (i.e., that is not a way to determine whether you dumped too much or too little powder--at least for handgun rounds). Variations in the weights of bullets and brass, even of the same manufacture, will mask any variation in powder weight. The safe thing to do is to watch each and every powder drop to make sure you have powder and don't have a double charge. If you are using a single stage, put the charged cases in a loading block and inspect with a flashlight.
  16. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    OK! while i understand somewhat the thought process you all are telling me. You guys have created a snafu here..ie I dont cast my bullets..so when I buy my bullets< if I order say 200 grain, I expect them to weigh 198-202 grains. with cost at $13 per hundred its not much but if each bullet weighs (as you seem to suggest) from 290 -209 grains the either im gettig ripped or the company is losing money and will be out of business soon!

    and I know the brass manufactures have better quality control than to have large variences as copper for the brass is quite expensive also!

    so other than the brass the 2 biggest weight variables shoud be bullet and powder right?
    so weighing all may 45colt brass I found a varience of 3 grains from lightest to the heavest. weighing all my cast bullets, I found a varience of 5 grains from lightest to heavest (250 rnf cast)..so if i paired the heavest case and the heavest bullet then i still only have a varience of 4 grains over expected..since I load 5.5 grains of TB, weighing would be at upper end of weight for a possible overcharge. conversly if I paired the 2 lightest I would get the same result as a possible under charge. neither would cause me to reject the finished product. may cause me to set aside for use in my derringer but otherwise accsptable.

    now as mentioned before if home cast then this would have to be thrown out the window.

    now is this extra weigh nessary...NO!...but for a beginning reloader could it help..well the jury out ..because as you have pointed out..there are some huge variables involved!

    so I will not ust this method unless I get really ANAL and beging to shoot matches at 1000 yds! :)

    thanks all as I really thought this may have been a good Idea when suggested to me!
  17. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    hunter29180, I think that you have a good understanding of the subject.

    I will make two additional and/or repeated comments. First, difference between Match Grade ammo and poor quality ammo is consistency. The Benchrest shooters and top NRA Pistol and Rifle shooters are fanatics about consistency which is time consuming and expensive.

    Second, powder measures vary greatly in cost and their ability to meter consistent charge weights. However, there is a lot more skill in operating a powder measure, so that it meters within narrow limits, than most persons imagine. The key is consistency in operation. Powder in the hopper should be maintained within rather narrow limit levels. The way the metering handle is cycled can also be very important.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  18. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    On the other hand, if you want to weigh the finished cartridges please do so. I still think that you are blowing smoke up a dead horse but??? I once heard a definition of quality control as process variability control. The only part of the process over which you have direct control is powder weight. You can exert indirect variability of a component by 100% inspection and set limits imposed on bullet weight and case capacity (not weight although there some feel there is a correlation). As said, some bench rest and long range shooters will do this to the point of using the same cases, barely resized, until worn out. Don't forget to use bench rest grade primers and match grade bullets if you go to this trouble. Now let's talk about bullet concentricity (run out) in the loaded case and seating depth (OAL) vs. throat leade, etc., etc, ad infinitum.
  19. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    To Hunter - the 'easiest' way for you to accomplish your goal (and in truth it isn't MY goal-lol) will be to weigh a single brass case, a single bullet and a single primer, then use those three specific components in your reloading press, then weigh the completed round. The difference in weight between the three components and the final round weight WILL be the powder.

    You can then proceed to make a second round.

    Foolproof procedure and you will easily be able to churn out several rounds per hour.

    Me? I make 150-175 rounds per hour on my Lee Classsic turret and check powder volume level in every case visually as I set the bullet on the case. Other folks use a progressive and make hundreds of rounds per hour.

    YOU get to choose how deliberate and slow you reload. It isn't a race or anything and you can be as anal as suits yer fancy and makes you happy. I would suggest that using your "weigh everything" method there is NO need for you to own anything beyond a single stage press.
  20. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Either one of us has been watching the other reload, or we both went to the same school!
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