update, 03.01.2013. in the text below, i make reference to powder not flowing through a "shoot" as evenly as it should. i am a dolt. the word is "chute," as i was using it. as in a "chute" that a bull rider exits to begin his ride on the bull, abbreviated or not. i should be taken out in the street and flogged for such idiocy. i am appropriately apologetic for such an error. and, to think that i called maxine waters an idiot today. (oh, she is, believe you me. laughing.) but, people who live in glass houses .... . end update.
i am beginning some reloading for my 7mm remington magnum, and the apparent powder of choice is "reloader 22," made by alliant corporation.
a lot of people like it, and a lot of ink gets spilled over it, because of its ability to speed a wide variety of bullet weights for a given cartridge at very high velocities, and all at moderate pressures.
but i want to issue a warning/caution about its use.--
it doesn't meter for shit. what do i mean by that? i mean precisely that it does not flow evenly through reloading equipment such as i have at my disposal, and such as i use. now, if you have money up the ying yang you can afford electronic/digital equipment that weighs and dispenses a powder charge at a given weight, at the command of buttons, you are in good shape and needn't worry about the troubles i am encountering: punch in 66.5 grains, and the measure augers out 66.5 grains, on the button.
my old equipment was given to me by my older brother over 35 years ago, ... , it is not "digital." the powder dispenser, for instance, uses a rotary drum with a movable cylinder to dispense powder by volume. it is moved by muscle and sinew, and is not directed by electronic command.
what's wrong with that?
well, if a person such as i is using a hodgdon spherical powder, made of tiny little round balls or small cylindrical extrusions, there is nothing wrong with it, because the small granules fill the set volume of the rotary drum very uniformly, as they flow very smoothly to fill it. it comes out evenly, and predictably, as established by a bit of tinkering.
well, "reloader 22" happens to be comprised of very large and coarse cylindrical particles, measuring .045" across the cylinder (diameter), and .060" in length. it does not flow through my powder measure, hanging up in the disposing bin, hanging up in the shoot below the rotary drum where it is measured by "volume," and god only know where else.
as a result, it meters very unevenly. as compared to the "h-322," the "reloader 22" is like gravel through the hour glass, so to speak.
in comparison, when i load a bunch of prepped cases in a suitable cartridge with "h-322" i usually check the amounts being dispensed by the measure against the scales about every 25 or 30 loads, or twice every batch of 50 rounds. and, i don't use any elaborate rituals to try and assure an even weight, the stuff just flows like good clean sand. by contrast, with the "reloader 22" i am giving the rotating drum three little sharp taps to move the powder into it, and when i rotate the drum to empty powder into the case, i give it three more taps/pats to make sure it has in fact emptied and all powder has fallen out of the tube below the drum, and into the case. and, then i weigh a charge if it doesn't feel right.
and still it varies. now, with h-322, which although not technically a spherical powder is still comprised of small granules, i might get a variation between charges of .1 grain. (keep in mind, that there are 440 grains in an ounce.) that a pretty even measure, and it makes cartridge performance predictable as a result: that is good. it appears to me, by contrast, that the charges of "reloader 22" are varying as much as .75 grains, plus or minus, over/under the intended charge weight, or varying as much as 1.5 grains per charge. this is not good.
and, it could be dangerous. you don't want too much powder in a cartridge.
what this means is that i will approach maximum charge weights extremely cautiously, to make sure that i am comfortably below the maximum charge. i don't want to exceed this. i don't want to damage either my reloads, or the rifle that i am shooting them in.
and, there is the little matter of fingers and eyeballs, and stuff like that.
john jay @ 11.27.2011
p.s. well, then, why don't i just use a suitable spherical powder of the same weight and power, and get the desired performance that way? the answer is quite simple, ... , i simply don't know of any spherical powder that will push the particular bullet i am using as fast as i want to push it. so, to get the desired performance, i am going to pay a price, and that price is in terms of the time it will take me to be very meticulous, and very careful, and to manage the charges weights in question to make sure i do not ever experience what is called a "pressure spike," or "pressure excursion."
caution, not willful stupidity, is the order of the day. just call me, prudent priscilla, if you will.
because, yes, i can get in trouble by the use of an "extra" 1.5 grains of powder. a "ruin your day" sort of trouble.