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Help-- Reloads seem weaker than factory loads

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Old December 14th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #1
 
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Help-- Reloads seem weaker than factory loads

Hello! I haven't used this site too much, but I've been out of luck meeting anyone with an answer for my current problem. I'm hoping someone can help here :-D

I'm currently trying to reload a .357 magnum case with 158 Hornady HPs. I've worked the load up to the maximum published data using 2400 and FED100 primers with a COL of 1.585". At this max data the powder is only minimally compressed by the bullet when seated. I've properly crimped the case on the canneluer and the bullet is sitting nicely in the case with no change over time whilst sitting. I'm using a Hornady roll crimp die.

The loads are very accurate, loud, and don't seem to have an exaggerated muzzle flash compared to my loads I've made with blue dot. In addition the barrel is mostly clean-- no unburnt powder in the barrel. The empty brass shows no signs of over pressure and the majority of the brass has been fired 2-3x already.

Now for my PROBLEM:

These 2400 loads seem significantly weaker than the factory 158 grain loads I've shot. Unfortunately I haven't had access to a chronograph to confirm my suspicions so I'm judging this entirely by my subjective interpretation of how much each round "kicks" back in my hand.

The factory loads seem to recoil hard, whereas my reloads seem to recoil soft. The only theory I have is factory loads are using faster burning powder, giving an immediate hard kick, whereas magnum powders are a bit slower, but give higher velocity down the chamber/barrel in total as it completes the burn.

My concern here is that I want to hunt deer with my reloads. I want the ability to fully maximize my reloading potential. In other words... I want to be able to make whatever I can buy.... but better and to my own specifications.


So is the recoil any indicator at all? Should I be using a magnum primer?
Any help at all would be fantastic. I'm really feeling pretty alone here.

Thanks for any contributions!



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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #2
 
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It really takes a chronograph to tell for sure.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:43 AM   #3
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The only way to know for sure is to test both the factory loads and your reloads with a chronograph. If you fire your reloads in the same session as your factory loads, then recoil is an indicator of which one is more powerful. If you shoot them in different sessions and rely on memory .... then I wouldn't put too much faith in the results.

Some people claim they can tell the difference in recoil with faster or slower burning powder but that is very doubtful. Recoil is based on an equal and opposite reaction of muzzle energy (Newton's third law of motion). If the velocity of two loads is identical; one with fast burning powder and the other with slow burning powder, the amount of time the bullet spends in the bore and the muzzle energy will also be identical. A normal load would take about .0005 seconds for the bullet to travel from the case to the muzzle. Unless you are superman, it is very doubtful that a human body could detect this very small amount of change. Whenever there is a difference in recoil between loads, it always means one is more powerful than the other and has nothing to do with powder burn rate.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 09:56 AM   #4
 
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Not all reloading manuals list the same max. charge, or even a factory duplication load. Try looking at several different manuals.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Funny, your problem is my objective in another thread.
For reduced velocity magnum rounds. I was searching for a more moderate 158gr round than factory loadings. Perhaps the manuals are more conservative than factory loadings, so, maybe they would indeed be more moderate than factory loadings. Also, I believe the Hornady listings are a little more conservative than others. I suppose you could search for a loading that comes the closest to the SAAMI highest pressure for magnum (what is it, 35k or something?) that would probably more closely recoil to the factory loading.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #6
 
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Quick reply..

Just checking back in.. .not a lot of time to give a full on response until I get back later.

I'm comparing shooting in the same session. Even the 125g factory loads kick harder than my 158....and my 180 grain loads. Both using approximately the same crimp, components, with different powder load. Again, all incredibly accurate though.

The Pressure limitations don't seem to correlate well with velocity. As seen in a reply to your thread I believe from earlier today.... the fast burning powder 'unique' gave a max pressure of 41k or something. the magnum powder gave a higher velocity and lower pressure overall of 21k. This is kind of where I'm going with the powder burn difference although I had no objective comparison when I had originally posted.

Iwogen thanks for the confirmation on recoil differences being significant. As I don't own a chronograph yet, I could only speculate. The difference significant enough for me to have nightmares about this topic ;-). To further my argument, my 110g loads loaded with Winchester Super Target at a moderate load recoiled pretty significantly.


So I think I'm just narrowing down a few factors... fast vs slow burning powders, small vs. magnum primers, and roll vs. taper crimping, and possibly a dirty primer hole???

thanks for the replies guys, I should have a chrono to get some distinct answers, however if the conclusion is that recoil does equal approximate "power" of the cartridge than I'm having some technical difficulties that need to be addressed.

Ah edit:

For the record, my profession does require that I pay close attention to sensory input at my hands/fingers. If anyone was to notice a difference in recoil, I'd probably be one of em.

Last edited by Akylis; December 14th, 2010 at 12:33 PM.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #7
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The 125gr factory rounds have the stiffest (sharpest) recoil for me. More of a sharp snap. With the heavier bullets, the recoil is less snappy and more of a hard shove than a sharp slap. Personally, I wouldn't compare recoil in different bullet weights. The heavier bullets are more comfortable to shoot, at least for me. And, much more accurate. Try a different grip with the 125gr factory rounds to see if your shooting experience improves. What gun are you shooting?
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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #8
 
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357 Magnum and .45 Colt were the first two cartridges I handloaded.

I must have chronographed a hundred different combinations of bullets and powders in 357 over the last 35 years, and the one thing that's universal is that published velocities are seldom what you will see in your own gun/ammunition combo. Another is that recoil is a poor measure of velocity.

Way back when I started handloading for 357, the accepted powder for matching factory ballistics was Hercules 2400. Yup, I was able to match factory ballistics, but at the expense of unburned powder to the point where it would jam under the extractor and tie up the gun (my first was a model 28 S&W). I latter began using H-110, which also provided factory ballistics, but in my opinion is on the slow side for the 357, and also has some restrictions as to load reduction and primer selection.

I then stumbled on to Hercules Bluedot, which has become my "go to" powder for maximum to midrange loads in everything from 9mm to 45/70.

I have chronographed my cast bullet handloads utilizing Bluedot side by side with factory loaded jacketed ammo of the same weight bullets and found I can come within about 5% to 10% of the same velocity with equal accuracy.

A chronograph is an extremely valuable tool for load development, and these days they cost about the same as a good reloading press.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 10:08 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 454PB View Post
357 Magnum and .45 Colt were the first two cartridges I handloaded.
Wow...same here! And in that order, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 454PB View Post
A chronograph is an extremely valuable tool for load development, and these days they cost about the same as a good reloading press.
Found that out recently. I thought my "hot" .38 Spl and .357 Magnums were faster than they were. Turns out they're only about 1,100 fps. The powder-puff .38 Spl with the 105gr Lee LSWC's hummin' along at 850 fps, faster than I'd expected, given the powder charge. The light .45 Colt load w/ Titegroup is also about 850 fps. And the ".45 Colt Magnum" with 2400 is pushing the 250gr boolit at about 1,260.

What this tells me: the .45 Colt "Magnum" load is probably suitable for hunting bear. The "warm" .38 and .357 will probably do a whitetail at closer range and probably ain't bad for 2-legged predators if my loads are what's immediately available.

So yup, I'm now a believer in chronographs.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 09:22 AM   #10
 
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When I was shooting my .44 and 357 magnums a LOT, I got to where I could tell the difference between a fast powder and a slower one, but I don't think I could do that now. A medium to heavy load of Bullseye "felt" stronger than a medium to heavy load of 2400 (a more "snappy" recoil vs a hard push). Without a chronograph finding out which is "stronger" would be very difficult. Plus the factory powder burning rate could be faster than the powder you use and give the "feel" of a more powerful load.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #11
 
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Thanks for the input!

I started with .357 and have not moved up yet from it. I've probably reloaded around 3000 rounds of .38 and .357 total. More .38s shooting PPC though. I love the dead on performance I get out of my hand loads for target shooting. I believe the .357 chamber is probably the most versatile for a handgun on the market today. I hunt small game with my .38 target loads and .357 mags for white tail, although I've only done this once.

The factory 158 grain loads kick harder than the 125 grains, and both kick harder than my reloads of any mass bullet with max charge. As I said before, not having the chronograph really makes it difficult to know if I'm going to get the best performance for dropping a white tail, or just maiming the thing.

I'll pickup a chronometer soon and use that in the future. I'm favoring the theory that I am feeling the difference, fast powders are hitting harder, but won't be getting that higher velocity achieved by slow powders.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #12
 
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Add more powder.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #13
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What factory loads are you trying to duplicate? What is their listed velocity. I tried to duplicate a Buffalo Bore 38 Spl +P load and was off by about 100 FPS. Truthfully in the SP101 I couldn't tell the difference, they both felt a little snappy. In the LCR they were hang on tight now this is fun loads.
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