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Choosing the Right Powder

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Choosing the Right Powder

Old 12-20-2018, 03:16 PM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Nomercy448 View Post

Slipping between trees sounds all well and good, especially since I shot my buck this winter at 130yrds through a gap in trees, but there’s a LOT of reality to drop on that argument. Unless a guy picks an absolutely terrible powder for a given cartridge, we’re not talking about a powder choice turning 4” groups into 1/2” groups. Really not that much difference between a 1/2moa load and a 1moa load when it comes to hunting, or even a 1 1/2moa load, really.
I know what you mean. I've done the same thing at about that distance and much shorter. I just feel to obtain the best possible accuracy as possible to be able to make those shots. Naturally, one also needs to put in the practice to be able to make those shots as well as practice shooting the way you would be hunting. Whether it be from a tree stand, shooting sticks or just leaning against a tree.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:06 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Speaking as a hunter and target shooter, I've seen significant difference between powders. I used the powders I had, bought one or two more, and borrowed others. I don't mind playing around with variables. I also received advice from others with the same cartridge. Ended up relying on the advice as NoMercy suggests. Was loading for a .243 before going to Wyoming.

Weird thing is I shot a much better group with the bullets loaded by my friend than those I loaded using the same recipe. The only differences were our reloading equipment plus he used match grade primers. I have yet to delve farther into this in an effort to determine if it was a fluke or if the reloading equipment was the factor besides the primer.

NoMercy, do you believe match grade primers make a significant difference?
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Old 12-22-2018, 01:31 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Kansas
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I generally do use CCI or Federal match primers, but I have made a lot of beautifully stable, low variation loads with standard primers. For benchrest shooting, EVERYTHING has to be perfect. For any world where .25-.5moa is tight enough, like PRS, the velocity spread starts to trump raw group size. For hunting, any tomato stake barrel that prints smaller than 1.5” at 100yrds is more than accurate enough. I shot a handful of matches this spring on WLP’s, they printed 10 shots in .4-.6 at any outing. Swapping to BR2’s didn’t shrink my 100yrd groups, but did reduce my SD from 8 to 6. Worth it? Eh, probably not, but I don’t sweat primer costs - 3¢ vs. 5¢ per round doesn’t make me cry.

There’s really no trick to it - if you find the nodes and stay there, then a LOT of things can go wrong and the rifle will still shoot small groups. If you’re shooting outside of a node, you have to expect and accept variability in your groups. You might see one tiny 5 shot group, then 3 groups twice as big. Or you might see a tiny group at 100yrds, then a ton of vertical dispersion and even extra drift spread at 800. Keep it in the node, life is easier. More often than not, that’s what I expect to be the cause of “big differences between powders” some guys talk about - they start with a small straw sample of loads, then inadvertently end up comparing a node-centered load in one powder against a non-node load in another powder. I’ve played with ladders, OCW, OBT, and velocity curves - any of these methods work very well, and will find accurate loads within WAY less shots than the conventional, old school methods which take tons of shots to find any trend. I was absolutely baffled how fast I could find a good load with velocity curves - done with development with only 10rnds...
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:04 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tug Hill NY
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If you are an occasional/ casual shooter, and primarily concerned for hunting, I think choosing your powder can be overthought.
I want to be sure that the powder I am using will have an optimal velocity range potential (widest range of velocity, not necessarily highest velocity), and will load smoothly and consistently. Some powders have a very narrow load range between safe and dangerous...handgun loads are notorious for this, so I trade potential velocity for the wider (and to me safer) powder load range.
some powders don't meter from my powder measure smoothly. (I loaded 3031 for years for my 8mm, but the long powder pellets were a bit coarse in the dump).
748 covered the same ground, offered a bit more range and metered smooth as silk.
Also, I don't like to keep a lot of powders around, so I tend to steer my loads for different calibers to a powder that I can use for all.
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