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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sometimes, even when one does it perfectly... it still gets screwed up...

I suspect most readers here know/understand that we (gmdr) spend a lot of time working with/on reduced loads... but do so with the understanding that with which comes the always present danger of double (or worse, triple) charging a cartridge. Over the years (decades) and 100K+ reloads we've ordered our bench procedure to minimize such (blown up guns are no fun; blown up bodies are even less). [generally, to "preclude" double charging we: always pick the next cartridge from the reloading block, before returning the just charged one; we invert the cases btwn the block and the powder measure; and we inspect the final block of 50 with a flashlight to make sure everything looks "right".] I guess this morning was special: only the 2nd time in those 100k+ reloads, we ended up with (not an honest double charge), but other than what we intended in the case...

We've been working with light bullets in the 223 Rem (30gr mef, 33 tnthp and 35 vmax), looking for a tight shooting 22 wmr class loads. We've been approaching this via pistol/shotgun powders (vs rl7, w296, h110 etc). Pistol/shotgun powders come in nominally three forms: ball, fine extruded and flake. In the case of ball and extruded, what happened this morning generally just doesn't happen (or, the probability of such is something like 1:100million). In the case of flake powders, what got us: bridging in the powder measure, can happen; but generally only into 17, 22 or 25 cal cartridges. [bridging is where the flakes jam up in the neck of the outflow from the powder measure and either never come out, or do so into the next case being charged.] Generally to avoid this, we use a clear plastic neck btwn the measure and the case, make sure that we see the charge actually dropping into the case, and on the upstroke, tap rather hard to make sure any bridged grains will in fact drop into the intended case. In this case: we did see a charge drop into the case, we did tap at the top of the upstoke, which did not dislodge any bridged material... and concluded that the charge in the case was the intended charge.

www.gmdr.com/levern/223RemA0bridged.jpg

The above image is a screen capture of one of the graphics pages from our range chrono (string 17 should draw one's eye). [the data displayed is the 5 PWs, 6,7,8, 9 and 10grs, of Vectan A0, driving 50 35gr Vmax's from a 223 Rem H&R.] From the graphics: it appears that shot 3 of string 17 because of the bridging was in fact ~1.75gr short of the intended 7.0gr's; and shot 4 inherited those 1.75 extra grains, making for a 8.75gr charge. Luckily in this case in fact 8.75grs was less than the max for the cartridge/gun combination... but one can imagine the case where instead of 1.75gr's getting bridges, 3 or 4 did so, on the max 10gr loading.... and hopefully only making for a "very sticky extraction" (and not worse).

www.gmdr.com/levern/223RemA0bridged.bmp

The above is another view of string 17, in this case including the details/particulars (... or, when was the last time one saw data with a 261fps SD?).

Why the post: even when one thinks they have all the bases covered... sh** does happen. To fellow reloaders: keep your eyes open.

www.gmdr.com/levern/2004-1162.jpg

(the image above)... and when it all works: 0.60" 10 shots 50yrds (223 Rem 35gr vmax 7.0gr Ba9 wsr rp 2.150") from a $100 H&R [noting that this is a chrono backing target and not a BR target (which should run .35")].

do shoot straight (but don't double charge),
greg
www.gmdr.com
 

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My try at double charging was an attempt to put over 140 grains of H4831 into a .338 Win Mag case. :shock: Very messy. I have used Alliant 2400 for reduced velocity/recoil loads for a .30-06. Since we are dealing with a max load of somewhere around 25 grains (see their loading manual) you can bet that each case gets the big look. :shock:
 

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My try at double charging was an attempt to put over 140 grains of H4831 into a .338 Win Mag case. :shock: Very messy. I have used Alliant 2400 for reduced velocity/recoil loads for a .30-06. Since we are dealing with a max load of somewhere around 25 grains (see their loading manual) you can bet that each case gets the big look. :shock:
 

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Ah the double charge. Like you said even with the best practices those things still happen. glad no one was hurt. I have had the pleasure of doubling up a 40S&W, and spilling the remainder of powder out of an overly full .308. I hate cleaning up extruded powder from my bench,press, and floor.
 

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The reloading we do for rifles, Varget and H4350, really won't allow for a double charge.

But, when we hand load our pistols, a mistake like this one can really set one up for real serious consequences. This is a great post and all the processes must include that last double check with a flash light.

Double even triple charging is a real possibility with very serious consequences to innocent people.

Thank you gmushial for this great report.

bojon
 

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I "no charged" a round once. Kind of embarrassing at the time but glad I caught it. Tossed it on the postal scale and sure 'nuff.


Sure would hate to double charge. Wow.



Perferator
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gents,

Thanks for the replies.

RoundSlammer - have to agree, trying to put that much into the 338 leads to obvious "something's wrong", ie, what's all this powder doing on the bench or on the floor under the powder measure... and we think by a) picking the next case from the reloading block before returning the just loaded one and b) by inverting the cases btwn the block and the measure we can preclude this class of problem - and the fact that we've never seen such, I guess means we've either been very lucky, or sufficiently careful... and I guess a larger point is this is why some reloaders won't touch loads that can be double charged, ie, by using fullcase-ish loads it's obvious when one's ooop'd.

Dave - to first approx I'd say our procedure is correct... just it wasn't followed carefully enough, ie, the 3rd check - the flashlight at the end checking the powder levels is were we/I screwed up - in a used sooted 223 case and with a dark powder, and when one is looking for either a significantly higher powder column in a case, or looking for an empty case, and not a slightly more or slightly less full case... "they passed the check" even thought they really shouldn't have (obviously). [and actually since then, I reloaded a dozen cases, 10 with the correct 10gr of powder and one with 8 and one with 12gr... just to see what one is looking for - and to tell you the truth - I'm not sure even if we knew what we were looking for we would have seen it - visually, there just isn't that much difference btwn the 8, 10 and 12gr'ers. [our solution to the problem at the moment is to not use of bridgable powders in 22 and 6mm cases, or to not throw the loads, ie, actually measure them on the scale.]

Bojon - for part of the answer, see above... but otherwise, I guess we can thank our luckystars (or whatever) in that in general when we're doing reduced loads, we're also doing reduced pressure loads, ie, part of the reason we're using shotgun powders and fast pistol powders is that we're looking for powders which will light cleanly, at reduced pressures.... or a long way of saying: simply because of what we're working on, even if we did double charge, we'd still (generally) be below the max pressure for the cartridge, or especially, below the proof pressure for the cartridge/rifle. W/re the flashlight check: as said above: that's what's scary in that in a narrow neck case like the 223 rem, the visual difference btwn the 8, 10 and 12gr loads is not much - we may have to revert back to using the dowel to measure the distance to the top of the powder charge (from the case mouth) as the final go/nogo test.

Perferator - those cases we generally don't see given the: pick the next, before returning the previous, ie, we don't lose track of where we were in the block of 50... and if nothing else, when doing the flashlight check, seeing the primer at the bottom of the case is nomially a good clue that we screwed up... though haven't seen one of those in a looong time - pick before replace.

But all said and done: gents, thanks for the replies - it sounds like we've all had close calls at the bench (but are all here to tell about it).

do shoot straight (otherwise, why bother, right?),
greg
www.gmdr.com

ps. when this happened, I must say that it was very nice having the graphic chronograph right there - to see the drop off on shot 3 lead one to thinking: was that a weak primer... or a light load... and if a light load, how much light, ie, if the difference shows up in the next shot, will it be over the top, or, do I give up on this string of 10 shots, and start with the next; or do I go ahead and shoot the next shot (knowing that it'll possibly be hot, but not too hot)... have very much become a believer in the AdvAuto chronos - serious realtime graphics, velocities to the .01fps and the resulting data drops directly into .load - ie, more time for shooting and reloading and less mucking with the data, logbooks and adding machine tapes.
 

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greg,
Thanks for the honesty and detail on what has to be the scariest part of reloading. I have missed a charge, and yes, it did end up in the gun in question with the primer only pushing the bullet into the throat.
I have had problems with 'bridging', and have got now a "double tap" technique on all my powder throws. A firm drop with the handle followed by a second short lil throw. My upstroke is such that with a full measure, I need the lid on to prevent powder kernels from popping out the top.
For those using the Lee Perfect Powder measure there is a modification in Lee's Manual on removing a plastic stop so that the handle, and therefore the powder measure chamber, goes completely vertical.
My own approach is to avoid powder charges, as much as possible, that a double could physically go in a to particular case. And MUCH prefer loading densities of at least 70%., makes that visual inspect much clearer.
With the Lee 4 hole turret, which I now use exclusively, I only deal with one round at a time. I size and bell case mouths and then hand prime as the first stage. I now have a batch of cases ready to charge, seat bullet, and crimp, the Lee FC is used on just about all my rounds.
With case in hand, I powder charge, place in press, seat bullet, and then crimp, advancing the turret head manually. I've never liked the idea of having a loading block sitting there with a bunch of half finished rounds .
I'd have to be in the 10k's of reloads now, but still do my level best to approach each and every loaded cartridge with full focus of attention, and always with the the realisation that it could be the last round you ever fire.
Cheers,
R*2
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Richard -

So so true: "to approach each and every loaded cartridge with full focus of attention, and always with the the realisation that it could be the last round you ever fire. " (*)

But w/re to only using conductive ignition loads - I'd be very hard pressed to ever give up on my convective ignition loads - they simply shoot too well and generate too fine of statistics, eg, across 10 shots, SD's in the 3, 4, 5 fps range, and ES's in the very low teens, one can't just walk away from them/such. [though for full house loads, 95-100% load densities are what I'm look for - otherwise, the SD's tend to grow too large too quickly, and quite predictably the groupsizes follow.]

do shoot straight,
greg
www.gmdr.com

(*) it's only another reloader that would understand: I'm much happier if you want to talk to me while I'm shooting, then when I'm reloading - while I'm shooting I can always reacquire the target; while I'm reloading, the work in front of me is the **only** thing I want to be thinking about - distractions can be deadly.
 

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gmushial said:
Richard -

So so true: "to approach each and every loaded cartridge with full focus of attention, and always with the the realisation that it could be the last round you ever fire. " (*)

But w/re to only using conductive ignition loads - I'd be very hard pressed to ever give up on my convective ignition loads - they simply shoot too well and generate too fine of statistics, eg, across 10 shots, SD's in the 3, 4, 5 fps range, and ES's in the very low teens, one can't just walk away from them/such. [though for full house loads, 95-100% load densities are what I'm look for - otherwise, the SD's tend to grow too large too quickly, and quite predictably the groupsizes follow.]

do shoot straight,
greg
www.gmdr.com

(*) it's only another reloader that would understand: I'm much happier if you want to talk to me while I'm shooting, then when I'm reloading - while I'm shooting I can always reacquire the target; while I'm reloading, the work in front of me is the **only** thing I want to be thinking about - distractions can be deadly.
Greg.
I appreciate your pursuit of those consistent stats. You're a lot further down the track than me in the quest for the holy grail of 'repeatable ballistics'. I'm happy to get the first shot on target, and the second touchin' that hole.
After that I find that leverguns start to wander a bit as all those additional bits and pieces hangin' off the barrel, and with my large lots of powder quickly heating up the whole unit, things start to move unless I let the gun cool right back down. Three shot groups are my standard.

And yes, yak at me all you want at the range, but at the reloading bench;
shut the door, no talk shows on the radio, and I don't even own a TV, lol,
and if the phone rings, I let the answer machine do it's thing.
Cheers,
Richard
 

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Greg-Good post.I on the other hand load them one at a time.Single stage press and scales. In the Powder faze I load only ten at a time with the powdered brass standing up and the ones not powdered yet but sized in a plastic bag ready for powder.

Reloading is fun for me and speed is of know concern but safety is.I have never double charged a load because of my ten at a time meathod and I always look into the case before I seat the bullet.Kinda prehistoric but thats the way I do it just like old people......Slowly.....

Jayco.
 

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Greg, again thanx for sharing from your reload bench!


Russell, I too have the Lee 4hole turret. The other day I was thinking how nice it was to be able to load one round at a time...rather than the assembly line process of a single press and switching dies.

I've not used the Lee powder measure that came with the kit (no instructions for this) and weigh individual loads. Hey, it's slow but it sure is good and safe for me.


Perferator
 

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Perferator said:
Greg, again thanx for sharing from your reload bench!


Russell, I too have the Lee 4hole turret. The other day I was thinking how nice it was to be able to load one round at a time...rather than the assembly line process of a single press and switching dies.

I've not used the Lee powder measure that came with the kit (no instructions for this) and weigh individual loads. Hey, it's slow but it sure is good and safe for me.


Perferator
Perferator,
With the one complete round at a time, I believe there is less chance of mistakes, and with the system on a roll, I can load 50 rounds in less than half an hour. Great for the pistol calibers where it's REAL ez to go thru a lot of ammo in a hurry.

Do try the Lee "perfect powder measure". It's an excellent device in my view, and throws very consistent weights. The micrometer adjust chamber is very fine tunable, and I can throw within .1 of a grain, provided I keep the technique/rhythm consistent, and the powder reservoir 75% full. I have no hesitation about doing a long run, yes, I DO check every 5-10th round on the scale. Throw a charge in a case, pour on the scale, and while the scale is settling down, I'm onto the next round.

I stick primarlily with Alliant powders, and they meter well for me, the lighter shotgun flake types, like Unique, can bridge, refer Greg's techniques on that score. That being said, I load 1.2gr of Red Dot in my 25ACP with the measure, and have fired 100's without a problem. A visual check on each charged case after the throw, especially with my relatively high volume/density approach to loads, means that even a minor variation is readily apparent.

The other approach no one has mentioned here, is the dipper. Those little measures that are part of most of Lee's die sets, are probably the most foolproof method there is for measuring powder. The complete set is under $10 from memory, and a quick dip, strike off level with a business card, and pour,is about as simple and repeatable as one can get. Not quite the fine adjustment of a powder measure, but you'll never get a hang up in the powder drop tube.

Cheers,
R*2
 
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