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Voluminous Powder


Cool Hand Luke

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Howdy all,

I was wondering what powders you might recommend for reloading either 38 or 44 special that will fill up the case enough to make it difficult to double charge without spilling. I would rather not use trailboss. 

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I have a set of Lee dippers for special projects.   Look at the chart for their dippers and see what powder gives the least weight in what ever size you pick.   Clays appeared to be lightest I had on hand.     GW

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6 hours ago, Cool Hand Luke said:

Ah thanks, looks like Clays and Red Dot may be my go to

Don’t fill a case with Clays!   You’ll blow up the gun and yourself.!   Clays is a fast powder, and it only needs a small amount.  Both of these are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to do.   Go look at the Hodgdon online reloading guide to help find which lets you use the most powder safely.   

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With smokeless powder, NEVER load by volume...NEVER.

 

Load only by weight in grains. If you fill a .38 spl case with almost any smokeless powder, the result will be a destroyed gun and possible injury to yourself or others.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Cypress Sun said:

With smokeless powder, NEVER load by volume...NEVER.

At the end, all of the powder measures I know of use volume. You adjust it by weighing the powder drop and double check the weight with a scale now and then while reloading. But basically it doesn't make a difference if you use a Lee dipper or some other powder measure.

 

Edit: There might be some bullseye shooters who really weigh every load...

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36 minutes ago, Cypress Sun said:

With smokeless powder, NEVER load by volume...NEVER.

 

Load only by weight in grains. If you fill a .38 spl case with almost any smokeless powder, the result will be a destroyed gun and possible injury to yourself or others.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Not Dead Ed said:

Don’t fill a case with Clays!   You’ll blow up the gun and yourself.!   Clays is a fast powder, and it only needs a small amount.  Both of these are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to do.   Go look at the Hodgdon online reloading guide to help find which lets you use the most powder safely.   

OP is trying to find a powder that has enough bulk to prevent a possibility of a double charge. He is not trying to see how much powder he can get in the case.

kR

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Clays and/or Red dot are fine powders to use in the .38 Special, but neither will come close to not allowing a double charge in the amounts normally used.  This bulked up feature was indeed a major selling point for Trailboss and I know of no other smokeless powder that bulks up that much.  However, Unique may be the next best thing, as it is bulky and depending on the load used a double charge should be noticable pretty easily.  Good luck and good shooting to all.  

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Use safe loading practices and good equipment. Clays has worked well for many shooters for many years. With the scarcity of powder one must be able to adjust accordingly.  Regardless of powder brand "do not download below manufactures specifications." I see many more issues with light loads than overloads.

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9 hours ago, Cool Hand Luke said:

Howdy all,

I was wondering what powders you might recommend for reloading either 38 or 44 special that will fill up the case enough to make it difficult to double charge without spilling. I would rather not use trailboss. 

 

Bulky powders made to prevent double charging:  Vihtavuori 32C (TinStar) and the aforementioned Trail Boss, which is now out of production. 

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2 hours ago, Kid Rich said:

 

OP is trying to find a powder that has enough bulk to prevent a possibility of a double charge. He is not trying to see how much powder he can get in the case.

kR

OP asked about bill agreed, the a poster said Clays,  clays can double charge since a little goes a long way….  Then OP replied that may be the way to go…. If the goal isn’t to be able to double charge, Clays isn’t it….   That said I like loading with clays…. 

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Here is a charge listing the densities of the various smokeless powders. By volume a 38 special case is just over 1cc.

 

You'll have to do the math to figure out if your desired powder at the charge weight you choose can be double charged or not.

 

http://www.tacticoolproducts.com/powder.pdf

 

 

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Haha yeah you guys made me realize i should also compare the density to charge weight as well. Don't worry, I use published data and dont plan on filling it up and wiping a little off the top lol.

I think i incorrectly had it in my head that a low density powder would mean that it must take up a lot of space in the case, which is obviously not the case.

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3 hours ago, Equanimous Phil said:

At the end, all of the powder measures I know of use volume. You adjust it by weighing the powder drop and double check the weight with a scale now and then while reloading. But basically it doesn't make a difference if you use a Lee dipper or some other powder measure.

 

Pardon me if I disagree.

 

Using a mechanical measure that fills a cavity with powder is one thing.  The cavity of a mechanical powder measure is an enclosed volume. It fills up when the powder measure is operated and the charges metered out will be very consistent from charge to charge.

 

Using dippers by hand is an entirely different thing. The actual volume of powder scooped out with a dipper will vary with the technique used. I only use dippers with Black Powder. I make sure to be consistent from charge to charge in the way I scoop the powder out of a mug full of powder. Even so, experience has shown me that my Black Powder charges still vary a bit from charge to charge. With Black Powder I am using reasonably large dippers and if the charge varies from scoop to scoop by a grain or two that is not significant. And a dipper is not an enclosed volume. It is open at the top. No matter how I use a dipper, there is always a conical pile of powder at the top to scrape off. This too affects how consistent dippers are from charge to charge.

 

Looking at the sliding table that came with my Lee dipper set (which I bought many years ago), my favorite 45 Colt charge of 7.5 grains of Unique does not even show up on the chart. I would have to choose between the .7CC dipper for 6.4 grains or the 1.0CC dipper for 9.2 grains.

 

This photo shows the .7CC dipper on the far right and the 1.0CC dipper next to it. The three stained dippers are ones I typically use with Black Powder loads. Left to right they are 2.2CC, 2.5CC and 4.3CC. The first one is the one I use when dipping 45 Colt, I don't even remember what I use the next one for. The 4.3 CC dipper is what I use for my 12 gauge shotgun shells. There are also a couple of custom dippers I made from spent brass. Look how much larger my "Black Powder' dippers are. Even if my technique allows the charges to vary slightly, it does not matter for my Main Match CAS ammo. I would not ever try to use those smaller dippers with Smokeless powder, experience has shown me the charges would vary an unacceptable amount.

 

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Here are the components that go into my Black Powder 45 Colt ammo. Notice the 2.2CC dipper full of powder. Again, if the charge varies slightly it does not matter.

 

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Here is a typical set up for dipping Black Powder into case. A mug partially filled with powder, a dipper, a funnel, and a piece of card stock to scrape off the excess of each charge.

 

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This is the set up I use for the great majority of my Black Powder loads on my Hornady Lock and Load progressive press. That is a Lyman Black Powder measure mounted on the press.

 

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I buy old Lyman Smokeless Powder measures whenever I find them at the white elephant table of a gun show. I set each rotor to the appropriate powder charge I want for a specific cartridge. The rotors are quick and easy to pop into the base of the Lyman Black Powder measure.

 

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This shows the anatomy of the rotors.  The cavity is adjustable. Once I have it set where I want it I lock it down and label it for a specific charge for a specific powder. When the rotor is installed at the bottom of the Black Powder Measure, it becomes an enclosed cavity which will deliver consistent charges every time I  pull the handle. Yes, these rotors are non-sparking brass, a good thing for a Black Powder Measure.

 

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4 hours ago, Cypress Sun said:

With smokeless powder, NEVER load by volume...NEVER.

 

Load only by weight in grains. If you fill a .38 spl case with almost any smokeless powder, the result will be a destroyed gun and possible injury to yourself or others.

 

 

What he said X 1000

If double charging is a worry, there are safeguards like a Dillon Powder Check Die --and visual inspection-- that work pretty well to avoid an overcharge --or a squib load.  

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APP will do nicely! Be a bit Smokey;)

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I've never used APP before, but have heard of it. I do have some GOEX blackpowder I was using for my .62 cal flintlock jaeger rifle, and may get into shooting it eventually for CAS, but was trying to steer away from the start. I'm pretty good at making sure to visually inspect each case when I'm reloading on my Lee pro 1000, but it's always helpful to have extra safeguards in place to prevent doublecharges, hence why i was asking for voluminous powders. How is APP to shoot and cleanup? I always loved that cleanup with my flintlock when using real blackpowder was honestly the easiest gun to clean.

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With Clays at our amounts, you could actually triple charge I suppose. I drop 3 when setting up to get a better average. All three will fit in my .38's and 45c's. Thankfully my Dillon has been quite reliable with powder drops. Knock on wood! Usually within a tenth and doesn't change during a reloading session. I check after every 200 rounds and it's right on.

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2 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

What he said X 1000

If double charging is a worry, there are safeguards like a Dillon Powder Check Die --and visual inspection-- that work pretty well to avoid an overcharge --or a squib load.  

There are few if any powders that will overflow from a double-charge.  If you have a 650 or some press where you can use a powder-check or lockout die, that's good.  Otherwise, I suggest visual.  There are LED light kits available for various presses.  On my 550 with the lights, I can see into the case enough to see there is powder there even with light charges, and a double charge would be pretty obvious as well.  Like Hoss, I like to check various things visually with each stroke of the handle, but the powder level is the first thing I look at.    Now I need to get a lighting system for my Lee Turret press.

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Abilene makes a great suggestion to use the LED lights. Another suggestion is to use a boresnake camera. I have the LED light mounted in the center hole of the 550 toolhead and the camera mounted on the side. Works well with most pistol calibers. 45-70 and 38-55 are not so noticeable. As always your mileage might vary.

 

La Sombra

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5 hours ago, Cool Hand Luke said:

I've never used APP before, but have heard of it. I do have some GOEX blackpowder I was using for my .62 cal flintlock jaeger rifle, and may get into shooting it eventually for CAS, but was trying to steer away from the start. I'm pretty good at making sure to visually inspect each case when I'm reloading on my Lee pro 1000, but it's always helpful to have extra safeguards in place to prevent doublecharges, hence why i was asking for voluminous powders. How is APP to shoot and cleanup? I always loved that cleanup with my flintlock when using real blackpowder was honestly the easiest gun to clean.

APP, Triple Seven and Shooters World Black Powder Substitute all clean up with plain water.  You can shoot the same bullets you load with smokeless powder - no special BP lube needed.  These propellants offer an easy way to experience the Darkside.  I am loading my wife's ammunition for EOT with these subs but will shoot real blackpowder myself.

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26 minutes ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

APP, Triple Seven and Shooters World Black Powder Substitute all clean up with plain water.  You can shoot the same bullets you load with smokeless powder - no special BP lube needed.  These propellants offer an easy way to experience the Darkside.  I am loading my wife's ammunition for EOT with these subs but will shoot real blackpowder myself.

I'd love to use real black powder, but I only have a few pounds left which I guess i will reserve for my flintlock. I may have to check out APP. What kind of velocities can be expected using APP in 38 special or 44 special?

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14 minutes ago, Cool Hand Luke said:

I'd love to use real black powder, but I only have a few pounds left which I guess i will reserve for my flintlock. I may have to check out APP. What kind of velocities can be expected using APP in 38 special or 44 special?

I do not have chronograph data and the manufacturer does not provide this data for cartridges.  I believe APP loaded to the manufacturer's spec will produce ammunition legal for SASS competition but do not have chronographic data to prove it.  Hodgdon's Triple Seven is a more powerful BP sub than APP.  Hodgdon provides load data with velocities for Triple Seven.  These velocities would be legal for SASS competitions so by comparison APP loads would be legal too.  (Hint: this would make a good article for the Cowboy Chronicle for someone with a chronograph.)

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APP will give lower velocities than true Black Powder, and quite a bit lower than 777. 

 

Published data about APP in .45 Colt cartridges is available in Capt. Baylor's Black Powder and Subs for Dummies on-line article:

https://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html

 

Where a full case of Goex Cowboy in his testing pushed a 200 grain bullet at 737 FPS in a revolver, the full case of APP only gave 558 FPS.    777 gave 873 FPS, by the way.

 

Similar results will be had with .38 spl and .44 spl.   Nice, low recoil Cowboy ammo.

 

good luck, GJ

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On 1/25/2022 at 11:36 PM, Cool Hand Luke said:

Howdy all,

I was wondering what powders you might recommend for reloading either 38 or 44 special that will fill up the case enough to make it difficult to double charge without spilling. I would rather not use trailboss. 

I have a pretty comfortable supply of Trailboss for how much I shoot over time, but I may be more selective how use it. Where I was incurring the extra cost of using Trailboss, it was indeed to be able to see powder before placing a bullet for seating, with the benefit of a double charge being more than obvious (a mess). The most important applications of Trailboss for viewing powder in a case is with relatively narrow and tall cases like 38 Special and certainly 357 Magnum. I never tried TB with smaller calibers but have with shorter cases like 38 Long Colt. So I think what I will do is use something else for 45 Colt, while adding a powder cop.

 

Among the powders listed with minimums at cowboy velocity levels, other than Trailboss, I have HP38/W231 and Titegroup. I can add Clays for both 45 Colt and my shotgun. Clays is a pretty direct substitute at the same MEC bushing number for my Alliant Extra Lite. In the pistols, looking at 45 Colt data, all those would be consumed at the 5-6 grain per load level, leaving no significant variables except cost per pound and availability, which may be close too.

 

I could be wrong on my choice here, since 45 Colt is more likely to have issues with powder charge movement within the large case. That could determine which powder I choose in place of TB, all depending upon sensitivity to a small charge in a realtively large case. Add to that, sensitivity to the cold temps of winter matches. Trailboss was certainly useful to address a number of concerns.

 

I researched Tin Star previously and found it cost prohibitive by comparison, even with Trailboss pricey on its own relative to other common powders that could be considered for the same application. It requires quite a bit more powder weight per load to compare to the case fill of Trailboss. It is definitely not as voluminous per weight.

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