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Discussion Starter #1
How is the minimum load figured for a round being developed ? Why I am asking this you might be wondering ? When testing loads for my 1891 Mauser in 7mm in IMR4895 I started shooting from highest to lowest 38.0gr to 34.0gr . Normally I start lowest to highest . And as normal the lowest one was the most accurate . And when shooting from 38.0 down the accuracy of course was getting better and better . The grouping at 34.0gr is very nice but still some room for improvement . Yes I know my quirks while shooting and the rifle itself factors in . As long as there is enough of a charge to get the bullet down range what or are there any dangers to loading below the suggested minimum load because I would like to try 33gr to maybe 30gr test loads to see if the accuracy would still improve more .
 

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:oops:

Me thinks 30 grains is way too low. That’s 12% below minimum and I’m no expert but that seems a bit scary. I believe what you should be most concerned about is detonation. That’s when things ha go BOOM instead of Bang. Someone will have to explain the science behind this but what I think k happens is due to the lower powder volume in the case more is ignited by the primer and it all goes at once instead of a “controlled burn”. I know you needed H4895 but this ain’t the same stuff.
 

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The minimum is probably so you don’t get a round stuck in the barrel and fire a second shot causing a Kabommmmm,!
 

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First, it is a STARTING load, not a minimum load.
The starting load is almost always NOTHING more than a 10-12% reduction from the MAX load. It has no relation to a SAFE MINIMUM load or even a load that will cycle all guns chambered in that cartridge. I have no idea why Lee decided to call it a MINIMUM charge.
Detonation from a small charge would mean that we have been wasting explosives and that a small charge could do the job--given the correct geometry. In the lab, they have shown sharp spikes in pressure from a charge carefully divided and half place next to bullet and half placed next to primer in a long rifle case.
In fact, the myth or reality came from a particular set of conditions: a VERY large case with a Very small charge of a VERY slow powder in RIFLES.
Bullseye pistol shooters have been shooting lower than STARTING loads for decades (a century?).
 

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There're some smarter folks than me who say that detonation due to lower powder is a myth. I'd be more concerned about a squib.
I am most likely wrong but I thought the low powder detonation from a created air pocket only applied to BP. I was always told make sure you ram that Ball/bullet down tight you don't want a detonation. My concern to was a squib load going to low on powder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For me it is always better safe then sorry that's why I am asking everyones experiance on this subject . I have heard of people use cotton or something to get good ignition in some loads by keeping the powder together and in the bottom of the case in smokeless loads . By don't know about if more pressure is built up by this or not . I probably wouldn't go any lower the what was asking about cause if the accuracy didn't improve by then I feel it is as good as it's going to get . And again accuracy is decent if it's the best right now I am good with it . Just trying to get the best out of the rifle and the powder .Was hoping to hear from someone who has done this with same caliber and powder . And if no one else has done this type of thing I will not be the first turkey to try it out for sure !!!!!!!
 

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I am still new to reloading Brass and have not heard of the cotton thing. But I have wondered similar questions. I fully understand wanting the best accuracy at the lowest charge, with enough power for its intended purpose, whether its hunting or plinking. powder isn't cheap. I have been cross referencing powders over various calibers and bullet weights can I use this powder in all the calibers I intend to shoot some even carrying over to shotgun. I have found a few powders that will work as well in .223 as in 7.62x54r. sadly winter is upon us and deer season is only a couple weeks away. so I will have to wait til spring to test my planned loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am sure there are examples out there were a higher powder charge gives the best accuracy and power but for me it's always been the lower side example given that shoots best for smokeless or black powder . Part of the reason is due to the fact on my property 100 yards is the longest I can shoot and to do that requires putting the horses up . If I don't want to mess with them then it's limited to about 50 yards . I am like you with H4895 fits most of my needs . Over all I kept H110 , Titegroup , Bluedot , Bullseye and 2F , 3F and a container of 4F which has lasted for years . But know with powder shortages I am trying IMR4895 as a sub cause I didn't stock enough H4895 and having to work over my loads again .
 

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I am mostly set up for pistol and shotgun and havn't really picked up any rifle powders. I have 700X 800X, alliant 410, Titewad, Titegroup, Pyrodex RS, Longshot, Red dot, WSF. I got all these when i first started reloading and now I am refining what I need and what covers what I want. I also have 5000 shotgun primers all federal and winchester and recently discovered I bought a 1000 small pistol and 1000 small rifle primers at some point...lol
 

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I have used the small rifle primers in place of the small pistol primers, works great!

I have used the small rifle primers in place of the small pistol primers, works great I use Bullseye in all my pistols, rifles I use H4895, or IMR4895, shotguns are another story.
 

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In answer to your first post, heed this, IT DEPENDS ON THE POWDER. I think it is H-4895 that can be safely reduced to 60% of max...I THINK! DOUBLE CHECK ME ON THAT. Other powders can be safely reduced below recommended starting loads and others should absolutely not be reduced below recommended minimum's. Ball powders are the best known for not allowing any reduction beneath published data.

What you're talking about is a filler and many materials have been used. Extensive pressure tests show a cotton ball, or portions thereof, polyester/dacron, (pillow stuffing), and open cell foam filler to be the three that give the least amount of "stutter step" in the pressure curve and, IF USED CORRECTLY, no discernible increase in pressure. None are packed in tightly. The cotton and dacron are "fluffed up" and just enough inserted into the case to hold the powder against the primer. The open cell foam is cut into a cylinder that fills the space between the bottom of the bullet to the powder. You need to do a lot of reading on fillers before you try them. I've been using fillers for....I dunno...35 years...and 99% of the time they make a good load better. I've used them entirely in rifle loads and with mostly Unique but, have and do use them with IMR and H-4895, 3031, ReLoder 7...and I'd have to go check as I've used them with several other powders as well.
 

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I have experienced using fillers over the years, and never really seemed to see a difference. I do load some cartridges significantly under the suggested starting load, as I don't normally need to load to the max velocities. Playing with 45/70's over the years, I've played with as low as 12 gr. of Unique with a 405 gr. cast bullet in my trapdoors and they always shot well with no problems. My normal play around with load for a 45/70 in a 405 cast bullet with 31 gr. of IMR3031...which is significantly under a minimum load as listed, but it shoots great out of Sharps I have as well as a rolling block and a few others.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I use a filler in my 450/577 and .577 black powder but nothing else and that is because it's supposed to be done that way . Because there is just to much unknown in going below the minimum/starting load it's not worth the risk to just try get a little bit tighter group size . I have been reloading for many years but have always gone by the info in reloading books or if can't find a certain detail taken advise from someone who really knows all the ins and outs of reloading . I never have tried to experiment outside the box when reloading because I know it don't take much error to mess up and either ruin a firearm or cause injury . The thought of going below the minimum/starting load was more of a "I wonder" type thing then a I really need to do this to shoot better thing . It might be ok to go a bit more below the load but will stick with what I got . I have been using the round nose bullets but got a box of spitzer bullets coming to see what they do . I have read most 1893 Mausers like the long round nose better but a few do better with a spitzer . I will see .
 

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Reduced loads, cast or jacketed bullets have been around I guess since folks started loading their own. In older manuals you'll see data for reduced loads, Speer comes to mind as they used to publish some for every cartridge they listed. They also listed loads for round balls in a lot of revolver csrtridges. If you have a Speer manual from the 70's or have access to one it might be worth checking. I believe Lyman used to list some as well.

Now I've piqued my curiosity...lol. I'm going to go browse my old Speer manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
sharps I may do that . If I can find some published info on it may try it . I just try and go by that saying "if in doubt , don't" .!!
 

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I have my speer book in front of me. You didn't mention a bullet weight or, I missed it. Given the rifle I expect you're looking at heavyweights. Speer gives 21 grs. start and 25 grs. as max for IMR-4198 and a 160 gr. bullet. Velocities listed are 1651 fps for 21 grs. and 1942 fps for the 25 gr. charge. Moving up to the 175 gr. bullet they use the sme IMR-4198 at 22 grs. start and 26 max. Velocities are 1633 fps and 1915 fps respectively.

No, I did not transpose the powder charges. They are as listed in the Speer #10 manual first printed in 1979.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks sharps I did some looking but came up empty so far . The bullet is a 160gr round nose and got some 174gr soft points in the mail today . I also went to a Mauser forum site and left a message about this hopefully someone there has some info on IMR4895 . The first chance I get I plan to buy a 5 gallon bucket of my faithful H4895 powder !
 
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