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kc17

Black powder substitute for practice dummy rounds

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I've nearly gotten the bullet seating and crimping down. Next steps will be seating the primer and loading the charge.

I'll probably seat a few spent primers just for practice/giggles. I also need to practice to determine if I want to use the primer seater built into the press or the handheld seater.

That will bring me to weighing the powder and charging the cartridges. I'd like to practice those steps as well before going live. I was thinking a fine grain sand like beach or play sand would be a good substitute? I know sand and powder will not have the same weight/volume, meaning I can't set up with sand then substitute with powder without making adjustments. I want to ensure I am getting consistent results from the equipment  and from me before I pour the good stuff. I also know I will need to verify (with a scale) every so many pours. I intend to use an older RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure.

Anyone done this before? A quick Google search did not answer my question. 

Yes, I am probably over thinking it. I covered in another thread that over thinking things is one of my specialties.

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You are seriously overthinking this. The only part you have to handle with care is the primer. If you hope to practice priming with spent primers prepare for frustration. They will be deformed and will not easily go back into the primer pocket. Just use a live one and take care to have it square in the seating tool and the case properly centered in the case holder. If you feel excessive resistance back off and check the alignment again.

Primers are set off by being struck. A slow push is not going to ignite them.

Smokeless powder is not the same as black powder. BP is an explosive, modern smokeless powder just burns really quickly. It will not ignite unless you introduce a source of ignition. Don't smoke while you're making ammo and don't do it by candlelight. You'll be fine.

To check your charge, throw a charge and weigh it. Then put the powder back in your hopper. Repeat at least 5 times before you even think of seating a bullet. The charges should all weigh the same. If they don't you need to fix your powder thrower before moving on.

As you work through a batch, re-check the weight of the thrown charge every 10-20 rounds to make sure it is still correct. Toss the weighed powder back in the hopper - do not try to get it back in the case.

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11 minutes ago, kc17 said:

I've nearly gotten the bullet seating and crimping down. Next steps will be seating the primer and loading the charge.

I'll probably seat a few spent primers just for practice/giggles. I also need to practice to determine if I want to use the primer seater built into the press or the handheld seater.

That will bring me to weighing the powder and charging the cartridges. I'd like to practice those steps as well before going live. I was thinking a fine grain sand like beach or play sand would be a good substitute? I know sand and powder will not have the same weight/volume, meaning I can't set up with sand then substitute with powder without making adjustments. I want to ensure I am getting consistent results from the equipment  and from me before I pour the good stuff. I also know I will need to verify (with a scale) every so many pours. I intend to use an older RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure.

Anyone done this before? A quick Google search did not answer my question. 

Yes, I am probably over thinking it. I covered in another thread that over thinking things is one of my specialties.

You are over thinking this. Load low try . Do 10’s and go from there. This is the fun part 

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Dont do it.  You dont want anything other than the real thing in there.  Dump the powder,  weigh it,  put it back in the hopper.  Do it 25 times.  By the 10th time you will know if your charge is correct and go with it.

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also...load some dummies and pull the bullets.  You need to learn to pull bullets as you will only have to pull 10's of them and not hundreds if you take your time.  I like the Hornady collet puller with the red handle.  They work great

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Another thing. Make 10 rounds with the min charge in your reloading manual. Then increase 0.1 grain and do another 10. Repeat for a few increments but stay below the max charge. Make sure you label them and when you test fire use the lowest ones first. Examine the cases for any sign of over pressure. Do not use anything with a higher charge if you see bad signs.

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I think increments of .1 are too small.  You'll have to make 100 rds to go 1 grain difference.  I suggest .2 or .3 until you get to the precision stuff.  To each his own though...

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4 minutes ago, Mr.Stu said:

Another thing. Make 10 rounds with the min charge in your reloading manual. Then increase 0.1 grain and do another 10. Repeat for a few increments but stay below the max charge. Make sure you label them and when you test fire use the lowest ones first. Examine the cases for any sign of over pressure. Do not use anything with a higher charge if you see bad signs.

Did I not tell him to work in tens?

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Just now, Tunaman said:

I think increments of .1 are too small.  You'll have to make 100 rds to go 1 grain difference.  I suggest .2 or .3 until you get to the precision stuff.  To each his own though...

It depends on what he's loading with, but many pistol powders will have a max charge of less than 4-5 grains. Stepping up a whole grain is not safe.

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12 minutes ago, Zeke said:

Oh and... I’m not shooting your ammunition yet.

Don't take this personally, but I don't intend to let anyone shoot my ammo, at any time.

9 minutes ago, Tunaman said:

also...load some dummies and pull the bullets.  You need to learn to pull bullets as you will only have to pull 10's of them and not hundreds if you take your time.  I like the Hornady collet puller with the red handle.  They work great

I have the hammer shaped tool for removing bullets, already used it a few times.

7 minutes ago, Mr.Stu said:

Another thing. Make 10 rounds with the min charge in your reloading manual. Then increase 0.1 grain and do another 10. Repeat for a few increments but stay below the max charge. Make sure you label them and when you test fire use the lowest ones first. Examine the cases for any sign of over pressure. Do not use anything with a higher charge if you see bad signs.

I had already planned on working in batches of ten. I had not determined what amount I will be increasing each batch yet.

The fact that you feel the need to tell me to make sure I label them shows how little you know me :lol:

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OK, bad idea. But that's why we ask, to learn good & bad.

I had also considered the contamination factor of using a different material.

I'd also previously figured, the pour & measure, dump back in hopper and repeat that Stu stated. I'm not entirely sure why my mind went this other way today. Other than maybe risking spillage or a mess?

I also knew better than to call smokeless powder black powder. I blame my long day at work on that one.

I didn't think the spent primer would be that much more challenging.

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3 minutes ago, kc17 said:

Might be difficult for you. 99.9999% it will be at CJ. I could guest you in, we're allowed to do that again; outdoors only.

Uncle @GRIZ has my back. You should probably meet him and learn from him. He’s pretty smert and been doing this stuff before the dinosaurs 

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28 minutes ago, Mr.Stu said:

It depends on what he's loading with, but many pistol powders will have a max charge of less than 4-5 grains. Stepping up a whole grain is not safe.

Not a whole grain.  for example 4.0,  4.2,  4.4  etc.

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45 minutes ago, Mr.Stu said:

You did, but who listens to you? Lol

Oh bloody hell! Toss off you wanker!

16 minutes ago, Scorpio64 said:

^THIS

The best way to learn (pretty much everything), especially when dealing with explosives, is by watching an expert with ten fingers

This excludes @Displaced Texan

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1 hour ago, Tunaman said:

Not a whole grain.  for example 4.0,  4.2,  4.4  etc.

All depends on the powder. If he is loading with a real fast powder like titegoroup the min and max are really close. I think 9mm is only like +.3 grains from starting to max..

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I don't reload handgun (though I might if I ever get my damn handgun permit and get my .45). But there doesn't seem to be nearly as much wiggle room as there is with rifle rounds. Looking at Hodgdon's website, the difference between min and max is only 0.4gr worth of powder for some of them. So if I was loading a round with a min of 4gr and max of 4.5gr, I'd start at 4gr and if the accuracy isn't there, increase by 0.1gr at a time but I doubt you'll need to stray much from there.

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11 hours ago, Greenday said:

I don't reload handgun (though I might if I ever get my damn handgun permit and get my .45). But there doesn't seem to be nearly as much wiggle room as there is with rifle rounds. Looking at Hodgdon's website, the difference between min and max is only 0.4gr worth of powder for some of them. So if I was loading a round with a min of 4gr and max of 4.5gr, I'd start at 4gr and if the accuracy isn't there, increase by 0.1gr at a time but I doubt you'll need to stray much from there.

So I would start at 3.8 and work my way from there — why? Because I have no idea if my scale is accurate

learn your equipment

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5 hours ago, Heavyopp said:

Because I have no idea if my scale is accurate

Do you not have a set of test weights?  Additionally, do you not love your fingers and eyes? 

 

1 hour ago, Mr.Stu said:

Are you from the Department of Redundancy Department?

The Ministry of Silly Walks.

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6 hours ago, Heavyopp said:

So I would start at 3.8 and work my way from there — why? Because I have no idea if my scale is accurate

learn your equipment

If the minimum load is 4, why would you start at 3.8? Undercharging is how you get a squib.

As Scorpio said, just get a set of test weights. Actually, everyone should have a set of test weights. I check before I start, halfway through, and at the end. If the halfway point passes but the end fails, you only have to pull the 2nd half since you can't know when after the midway test your calibration went bad.

 

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