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When handloading, do you just drop charges or do you weigh every one?

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  • When handloading, do you just drop charges or do you weigh every one?

    When handloading, do you just drop charges or do you weigh every one?

    This question has been causing me some consternation over the last week. As I've mentioned before, I've been working on finding a new hunting load for my old Remington 788 in .308 Winchester. That rifle has never shot well with bullets heavier than 150 grains so I wanted to stick with 150's. I loaded a variety of different bullets in that weight while using a mid-range charge of IMR 4064 powder. The Barnes 150 grain TSX boattail emerged as the clear favorite, producing sub MOA groups.

    The powder for my test loads was dispensed from a Lee Perfect Powder measure. I noticed during setup that the long grains of IMR 4064 didn't meter as well as I've seen ball powders do. The fluctuations were +/- 0.2 grains when I checked what the measure was discharging. I didn't worry about that mainly because the test was to determine the most accurate bullet. I'd work on fine tuning the accuracy after that.

    For 10 shots of the dropped loads, I measured an average velocity of 2789 fps with a standard deviation of 16 and an extreme spread of 44.

    Well, that wasn't too bad since the accuracy was less than 1 MOA. But I wanted more consistency so I loaded 30 more rounds but this time I threw the charges light and trickled up to exactly 46.0 grains as measured by an electronic scale.

    For 10 shots of the carefully weighed loads, I measured an average velocity of 2736 fps with a standard deviation of 38 and an extreme spread of 111.... At 100 yards, three groups measured 5/8", 7/8", and 7/8" center-to-center.

    I'd used a bipod this time, instead of bags, and that may have contributed to the great groups. However, what about the greater standard deviation and extreme spread??? Am I just wasting my time weighing charges and should I just drop them, allowing the minor differences in charge weight? Is a volumetric measure of 4064 superior that that of weighing each charge?

    I'm really interested in your input...
    Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

  • #2
    My electroic dispenser measures each charge.

    Comment


    • #3
      PH I measure every charge when I load for centerfire rifles. Depending on the powder measure you use there is deviation . Sometimes acceptable sometimes to much for my taste. I now use RCBS chargemaster and like digital scales because of speed and accuracy in charge weights dropped. The chargemaster is pricey but worth every cent. With the built in trickle charger it speeds up loading time and produces very accurate and consistent shot strings .

      Comment


      • #4
        OHH and Pmacc60, thanks for the feedback. I know electronic dispensers are pretty common and speed the loading process. I'm not as much concerned about the time to load as my hunting rifles are low volume. A hundred rounds could last me a decade if I'll I do is check sight-in and then drop an animal or two each year.

        My main question concerns volume vs weight in loading. I'm wondering which is more accurate with long-stick powders such as IMR 4064. My limited experiment seems to indicate there will be a greater velocity variation in carefully weighed charges vs those measured by the volume method used in traditional powder measures.
        Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

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        • #5
          I just use the old RCBS bench top powder measure.
          For handguns, I set the measure. Weigh 10 or 15 charges to check for consistency.
          Then I just "go for it".
          For my AR rifles (.223 REM, 6.8mm Rem SPC, .308 Win), I set the measure. Check 10 to 15 times for consistency.
          THEN: my MTM loading block holds 5 cases across.
          I charge 5 cases, then dump one in the scale pan and weigh it. If it's in range, I seat bullets in those 5.
          The powder pan goes back into the dump.
          I charge 5 more cases, then drop one charge in the powder pan, etc, etc....
          Ammo for fixed action rifles, bolt, falling block or single shot, I weigh each round.
          It's just my OCD! LOL!

          NOTE: as the powder level in the powder dump drops, I check my "check loads" much closer. After topping off or refilling the dump, I'll really scrutinize the next few "check loads".

          Last edited by FirstBubba; 08-21-2020, 01:42 PM.

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          • #6
            And this is exactly why I don’t hand load I’d never get anything done. Lmao!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
              OHH and Pmacc60, thanks for the feedback. I know electronic dispensers are pretty common and speed the loading process. I'm not as much concerned about the time to load as my hunting rifles are low volume. A hundred rounds could last me a decade if I'll I do is check sight-in and then drop an animal or two each year.

              My main question concerns volume vs weight in loading. I'm wondering which is more accurate with long-stick powders such as IMR 4064. My limited experiment seems to indicate there will be a greater velocity variation in carefully weighed charges vs those measured by the volume method used in traditional powder measures.
              I don't bench shoot enough to know if there's a whole lot of difference. I'm sure there is. I'm loading 4350 and it's also cylindrical. The electronic measure pushes it out carefully. It cannot handle Titewad shotgun powder. Too flakey and staticky. Stuff gets piled up in the feeding tube to measuring pan. That experiment didn't last ten minutes!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Milldawg View Post
                And this is exactly why I don’t hand load I’d never get anything done. Lmao!
                LMBO! 😂!
                'dawg, it's not as bad as you think!
                Think of it more like lining up an electric motor with an input shaft.
                It ain't rocket science, you just gotta know what you're doing.
                Once you've done it a few times, it's a piece of cake.
                All it takes is just a touch of OCD, and as a "millwright" I "KNOW" you got a tad of that in the old tool box! 😉!

                Comment


                • #9
                  The way I look at it, the bigger the charge, the less concerned I am about a small variation. When the charge is small, percent wise the variation is much more meaningful.
                  I use the RCBS powder dispenser and get within a grain or two of target, then I trickle on a analytical balance accurate to .01gr. (I check the balance with a certified check weight).
                  As for your S.D. and extreme spread I would have to see your entire procedure. So many things can add up to unacceptable results. When you want to zero in on the 'perfect' load everything has to be exactly the same to rule out other variations.
                  With a 46gr load of 4064 you should get single or low teen spreads. Is the powder good - smell sweet? Do you mix up the can before you start - powder on top is exposed to more air than powder on the bottom. Primers? Powder has aromatic hydrocarbons in it so they want to escape every chance they get.
                  See if you can find some
                  I have the Lyman Gen 6 dispenser - under $225 when on sale. Click image for larger version

Name:	Lyman Gen 6 Dispenser.jpg
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                  Last edited by jhjimbo; 08-21-2020, 03:49 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The best way to think about it is this:

                    Powder measure use volumetrics to approximate the weight of the charge. The load data and linearity if powder to pressure is based in the weight of the powder, since density can change.

                    So, as long as you have a good scale and proper technique, weighing charges will always be more accurate and correct than methods that approximate the weight.

                    That said, for practice and hunting ammo I throw charges. Some powders meter much better, but my Redding dies an acceptable job with even the older IMR powders like 4064 and 4831.

                    If your looking for match ammo or are at the outer limits of pressure, then you need to weigh each charge.

                    Your SD's with the thrown charges are good, the accuracy is good, that's the way I would do it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
                      When handloading, do you just drop charges or do you weigh every one?

                      This question has been causing me some consternation over the last week. As I've mentioned before, I've been working on finding a new hunting load for my old Remington 788 in .308 Winchester. That rifle has never shot well with bullets heavier than 150 grains so I wanted to stick with 150's. I loaded a variety of different bullets in that weight while using a mid-range charge of IMR 4064 powder. The Barnes 150 grain TSX boattail emerged as the clear favorite, producing sub MOA groups.

                      The powder for my test loads was dispensed from a Lee Perfect Powder measure. I noticed during setup that the long grains of IMR 4064 didn't meter as well as I've seen ball powders do. The fluctuations were +/- 0.2 grains when I checked what the measure was discharging. I didn't worry about that mainly because the test was to determine the most accurate bullet. I'd work on fine tuning the accuracy after that.

                      For 10 shots of the dropped loads, I measured an average velocity of 2789 fps with a standard deviation of 16 and an extreme spread of 44.

                      Well, that wasn't too bad since the accuracy was less than 1 MOA. But I wanted more consistency so I loaded 30 more rounds but this time I threw the charges light and trickled up to exactly 46.0 grains as measured by an electronic scale.

                      For 10 shots of the carefully weighed loads, I measured an average velocity of 2736 fps with a standard deviation of 38 and an extreme spread of 111.... At 100 yards, three groups measured 5/8", 7/8", and 7/8" center-to-center.

                      I'd used a bipod this time, instead of bags, and that may have contributed to the great groups. However, what about the greater standard deviation and extreme spread??? Am I just wasting my time weighing charges and should I just drop them, allowing the minor differences in charge weight? Is a volumetric measure of 4064 superior that that of weighing each charge?

                      I'm really interested in your input...
                      PH, can you explain the standard deviation and extreme spread. I assume you are saying the velocity range is 111fps. Was there a mode you could see ? That is way too much velocity spread. How did you compute the S.D. ?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I weigh every charge with my RCBS balance beam scale. I don't check velocity I just go by what is in the book and I know it will be close. In your 308 try WW 748. That is the only powder I use. I have been shooting 125 grain Nosler Accubonds and Hornady 125 grain SST;s. Both will cut bullet holes at 100 yards is I do my part. This is out of a Tikka T3 Lite. If you have the latest Nosler reloading manual you will find under the 125 grain loads that 51.5 of WW748 is listed as their most accurate load and I will bet it shoots for you. This load has shot really well in a couple of .308's that I have had. It is a compressed load. I don't do any target shooting just use these loads to deer hunt with.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

                          PH, can you explain the standard deviation and extreme spread. I assume you are saying the velocity range is 111fps. Was there a mode you could see ? That is way too much velocity spread. How did you compute the S.D. ?
                          Jim, I took the standard deviation directly from the chronograph and then checked it with the standard deviation function in an Excel Spreadsheet. That's an interesting question about Mode, it was 2781 fps for the dropped charges and 2761 for the weighed.

                          Looking closely again at the data for the weighed load, there were clearly two velocities well below the mode with all the others being much closer. Throwing those out and calculating using only 8 points, the SD drops to 19 and the ES to 54. That's in line with the other 50 rounds I shot last week using the volumetric powder method. Perhaps it was just an error generated by the chronograph.

                          In any case, it looks to me that there's practically no difference of volumetric vs carefully weighed powder. Granted, this is a small sample and thus a source of my wondering if anyone else has seen similar.
                          Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post
                            I weigh every charge with my RCBS balance beam scale. I don't check velocity I just go by what is in the book and I know it will be close. In your 308 try WW 748. That is the only powder I use. I have been shooting 125 grain Nosler Accubonds and Hornady 125 grain SST;s. Both will cut bullet holes at 100 yards is I do my part. This is out of a Tikka T3 Lite. If you have the latest Nosler reloading manual you will find under the 125 grain loads that 51.5 of WW748 is listed as their most accurate load and I will bet it shoots for you. This load has shot really well in a couple of .308's that I have had. It is a compressed load. I don't do any target shooting just use these loads to deer hunt with.
                            Sarge, W748 was my go-to powder for that rifle when I first started loading for it in the mid 1990's. I've still got 4 lbs but the date of manufacture was in 1994 and I haven't always been careful about storage. That powder spent a few years in an unheated / non air conditioned garage.
                            Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Amflyer View Post
                              The best way to think about it is this:

                              Powder measure use volumetrics to approximate the weight of the charge. The load data and linearity if powder to pressure is based in the weight of the powder, since density can change.

                              So, as long as you have a good scale and proper technique, weighing charges will always be more accurate and correct than methods that approximate the weight.

                              That said, for practice and hunting ammo I throw charges. Some powders meter much better, but my Redding dies an acceptable job with even the older IMR powders like 4064 and 4831.

                              If your looking for match ammo or are at the outer limits of pressure, then you need to weigh each charge.

                              Your SD's with the thrown charges are good, the accuracy is good, that's the way I would do it.
                              Good points and thinking. My gut is telling me to just go with thrown charges and quit worrying about it. PigHuntress just busted a gut laughing at me when I tried to explain the reasons for my consternation. Sometimes I get no respect, lol!
                              Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

                              Comment

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