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Alliant Data Reliability

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by WNCRob, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. WNCRob

    WNCRob Member

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    After perusing the on-line Alliant Reloaders Guide numerous times, I have begun to question their thoroughness...in at least one instance they publish higher pressures for loads using a lighter charge (same primer, etc.). And the pressure values, maximim charges for some primers beg questions, particularly when compared to the trend of values published by other manufacturers in their recommended loads...I know each powder has its own characteristics, but I have concerns about Alliant's attention to detail...hope I'm wrong! Has anyone else noticed apparent discrepancies? Further, I was recently advised by Alliant to treat the Cheddite primer like the Remington 209 when used with Red Dot...my research seems to indicate that when used with other manufacturers' powders, the pressure values generated when using the Cheddite primer are somewhat higher than those generated with the Remongton 209 when identical components (except the primer)are used in each load.

    Am I way off base?

    WNCRob

    WNCRob
     
  2. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

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    If you don't trust them why do you use them? Use one of the other manufacturers information and products.

    Bob Lawless
     
  3. markdenis

    markdenis TS Member

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    WNCRob

    Yes, there are published mistakes in reloading manuals and from time to time people report these to the publisher and the problems are corrected. In the case you cited, it may or may not be a problem. Call Alliant and talk to them about your concerns. It might save you or someone else from loading an unsafe load.

    No reason to stop using their products because of a typo...it happens in all reloading manuals.

    Mark Rounds
     
  4. Straight99

    Straight99 Member

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    I find that lot to lot powder can vary. A few years ago my load of 18 gr. Red dot from a #32 bushing on my MEC loader was realy to much. My new lot of Red dot was almost 20 gr. with the #32 bushing. I had to go down to the #29 bushing to get the right velocity. Now I only buy in 8# lots and check the velocity. Sometime I have to go to the #28 bushing to get the 1145 fps that I want. I have the same problem with Green dot, Clays, International clays and Solo 1000. Maybe Alliant has the same problem.
     
  5. Tbonz411

    Tbonz411 TS Member

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    Straight

    You raise a good question. Does a bushing measure out powder by volume or by weight? What did you find in your velocity checks...was the speed that different? If you had to drop down to a 28 bushing then it must have been, but by how much different? Thanks
     
  6. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I'm confident that what people see as "discrepancies" are just evidence that they themselves don't realize how variable the data can be from one test another when using the same "branded" components. The whole pressure thing is best thought of as and "indicator of pressure" rather than a number and should not be considered the same class of data as shot speed (and even that jumps around a lot.)

    Mistakes? I very much doubt it. Should something happen and any of these companies were required to produce the actual results of tests I've no doubt they could. In fact the software for the Oehler Model 85 I use is specifically designed to make editing hard and attached the word "edited" to every occasion the feature is used so when a manufacturer types something, there's proof "it happened."

    Tests when nothing is changed can produce different results on different days. Varying "identical components" usually results in different outcomes, sometimes significantly different. What the reloading guide tells you is "This is what we got in a test we did not consider atypical; you will likely get something at least modestly similar."

    And that's all the closer they can get and you won't be able to do any better because you can't; no one can. The variability is in the hull/primer/powder/wad/assembly/ and error system, not the test.

    Neil
     
  7. 3dram8

    3dram8 Member

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    I noticed what I thought might be a typo from Alliant when I came across this:

    Shotshell 12 Gauge - 1-1/8 oz. shot

    2 3/4-in. Rem. Plastic Shells (STS, Nitro 27, Premier RXP and Gun Club)
    1 1/8 shot wt.

    Shot Wt. Velocity Primer Powder Wad Grains psi



    --- 1 1/8 1,090 Rem 209P 18.0 Green Dot WT-12 8,100


    --- 1 1/8 1,145 Rem 209P 19.5 Green Dot WT-12 8,300


    --- 1 1/8 1,200 Rem 209P 21.5 Green Dot WT-12 8,700




    --- 1 1/8 1,250 Rem 209P 22.0 Green Dot WT-12 10,600

    The last load listed showed a HUGE jump in pressure and velocity from just 1/2 grain more powder when the 1st three recipes showed only SMALL pressure increases from 1.5 to 2 full grains more powder. I thought this looked suspect, but here's the answer I got from Alliant:

    "The pressures do look suspect, but the powder charges are correct. Thanks for your note."

    Ben Amonette

    Consumer Service Manager

    Alliant Powder Company

    .....Rick
     
  8. markdenis

    markdenis TS Member

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    Neil

    Would you like to put a little wager on your remark about "Mistakes, I very much doubt it." But before you answer my question, you need to ask yourself if you think 20gr. of red dot and an 1 1/2 oz. of shot in a Winchester AA hull might be a little dangerous?

    Mark Rounds
     
  9. bayrat

    bayrat TS Member

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    Straight99: I think that Tbonz411 may have the answer to your conundrum. There a bunch of variables that come into play. And therein lies the question that Tbonz411 poses: Does a bushing measure by weight or volume? The answer, of course, is volume. However, there are variables within this answer. A number of years ago a friend used my reloading setup, it was a MEC 650 Jr as I recall, along with my components, to load some of his hulls. His reloads just didn't sound/feel right. We didn't have a chrono available to us in those days but we both shot enough to notice the difference. When he came over again to do some more reloading, I watched his technique and found the problem. In his haste to get the hull reloaded, he was using a very quick stroke of the press handle, both up and down, and this wasn't allowing the powder bushing to completely empty itself over the hull. I got him to slow down and his loads returned to normal.

    Now, had he gone to a larger bushing, given his speed/timing, his loads may have been acceptable.

    Since bushings do measure by volume, you have to look at other variables as will. Given the same powder, lots do vary. And, there is also the question of storage. Powder stored in a cool dry environment will "measure" differently through the SAME bushing as one stored in a hot humid location. One may fluff up and the other pack down due to the damp/dry conditions. Almost all presses now make use of a baffle in the powder hopper so that takes some of the variation out of the equation. But, there is still the variable the operator introduces. If you use a very fast, deliberate motion each time you cycle the press, you may get a different load than someone who is uses a smooth, gentile action. The vibrations you introduce into the machine make a difference as to how much powder settles into the bushing each time it comes to rest under the hopper. There's that VOLUME thing again!

    Well, I've gone on too long but I hope this makes sense to you. The answer is to be consistent in your purchasing, handling, storage of components and to also be consistent in the operation of your equipment. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS verify the results you are getting.

    Erol Tucker
    The Bayrat - POC, TX
     
  10. Jawari2000

    Jawari2000 Member

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    Its possible that with a lower powder charge the wad is more snug in the tapered case, which will result in higher pressure.
     
  11. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    There may be such a case, Mark, but I looked all though a fairly current Alliant guide and saw nothing like that there at all. Could you point me to it?

    But my statement stands, in the context of Rob's beginning post. Rod sees a series of numbers from some manuals and develops a theory of what's going on. Then he looks at the Alliant manual and the data there conflict with his theory. He then begins "to question their thoroughness." It would be

    1. better to at least reexamine the basis of his theory and

    2. best to give up on the idea that a theory based on such incomplete information, and no information on variability at all, is worth more than the data provided by a manufactured who _does_ know all that and a whole lot more besides.

    His error is to conclude, from reading some numbers, that those are somehow "fixed values" and not what they really are which is the numbers resulting from a well controlled experiment which nonetheless has a considerable degree of latitude and if a different set of numbers had been chosen from the many experiments they did, Rob might well have a different theory and a whole other reason "to question their thoroughness" but about something else.

    This is not meant as a criticism of Rob personally, especially since he clearly recognizes his problem. After all, he concludes "Am I way off base?" and I'm telling him, basically, yes he is, but at least he's thinking and that's what will save him when he actually does run into a typo like the one you refer to, Mark.

    Neil
     
  12. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Rick, the data you posted regarding Green Dot don't look suspect to me at all. At the upper ranges of their useful span powders often show a pressure jump all out of proportion to what has come before. I see it with Red Dot all the time.

    To me it's a good warning that if I'm up near 11,000 PSI or so, it is probably going to be better to switch powders to get that extra jump in speed I'm after rather than dial in that added half-grain , though both will probably work fine and I'll never know the difference.

    Neil
     
  13. markdenis

    markdenis TS Member

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    Neil

    The point is, we can only question published date in reloading manuals because the majority of shot gun shooters do not have the means to test the pressure and velocity of their hand loads. But there are "mistakes" in manuals that could be very dangerous if loaded.

    I remember years ago when I started loading all I could afford was a Lee hand loader...the one where you had to use a hammer, 2 dippers (one powder and one shot dipper). The powder dippers came with a chart that showed which dipper to use with each powder. The shot dipper was an adjustable volume style that had lines on the side that you would adjust according to how much shot you wanted to load.

    I would count the number of shot (393 pellets for an 1 1/8 oz. of 7 1/2's) the loading manual gave and I would adjust the dipper. It would stay set that way until I wanted to change weight.

    The 2005 Alliant loading manual has a shot reference table that has 64 "mistakes" on one page. If this manual was available to me when I started loading, I very well could have picked a column that if loaded by their "published data" would have been very dangerous!

    Check it out. Page 57 of the 2005 Edition of Alliant Powder Reloaders' Guide.

    Mark Rounds
     
  14. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    If you think you see pressure spikes near max, try reloading metallic.

    Very definitely the case there. And believe me a face full of hot gas from a ruptured primer gets your attention.

    HM
     
  15. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Mark, could you scan and post, or at least describe the "mistakes." I only have 2000, 2002, and 2006 so can't imagine what problem with a shot reference table could lead to a dangerous situation - a mistake that wouldn't be obvious from looking at it, at least.

    Neil
     
  16. markdenis

    markdenis TS Member

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    Neil

    It does not make any difference if it is obvious or not...it is a series of mistakes. Although I think most people would catch the mistake, it does not mean everybody would.

    As I wrote before, I had to count the pellets then adjust my dipper for the number of pellets published to fill the dipper. I did not have any scales like most of the other reloaders years ago, so all we could do was set our system up by the published data.

    If I did not catch the mistakes (typos) shown here, I could have loaded 1 1/2 oz. of shot and think I was only loading an ounce.

    You can try and explain it away all you want with words like "obvious", "well this or that", but the fact is this graphic I am posting from the 2005 Alliant reloading manual has mistakes in it that could be potentially dangerous to the person reloading under certain circumstances.

    Mark Rounds

    PS. I would have used 7 1/2's as an example as I wrote before, but 8's are listed twice with different numbers...I suppose one could just guess at which one is correct!
     
  17. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    No test or data can be 100% reliable. There is always a chance for error, especially when there is a "human" factor involved. If you have decent data, all it takes is for a "human" to transpose one column or data set and you could have a mess. Once it's printed, then it can't be changed easily. That's why I use the latest data and compare to previous versions and/or other sources as a reality check. A few years ago, there were some loads listed with Fiocchi 616 primers that are no longer listed, since Alliant made corrections after it was brought to their attention that the data did not "look" right. They have also published a notice recommending that Blue Dot be discontinued for use in certain handgun loads. I believe it was because their data wasn't as conservative as they originally thought.

    If you do the same test ten times on ten different days, you could very well get 100 different sets of results. Which one is valid? Are they ALL valid? It would not surprize me that this would happpen. Using data compiled by a reputable source is the first part of reloading safety. The object is to stay away from loads at the high end of the pressure spectrum, since that's where you could get into the most trouble. There are many variables that could change the pressure of the loads you are making. Being a little conservative in your load selection would give you a little more headroom for error and other variations. If you already have a powder near it's useful limits, it wouldn't take much to put it way over the edge. This is especially important with target loads, due to the volume of loads fired. Firing a large amount of loads with loads near maximum or above can cause a failure at some point in the future. It's a risk that you can reduce by load selection and prudent loading practices.

    I have noticed the same thing as Neil and others about pressures stacking up with most powders when they reach a certain point. Red Dot, Promo, Green Dot, Clay Dot, Clays, and any other powder will work well within certain pressure limits. Exceed those limits and the increase in pressure may not be proportional to the increase in powder charge. It only takes a slight amount to drastically increase pressure with little or no increase in velocity.

    This is the main reason that I always caution someone about swapping components and loading to higher pressures. You never know what you might get, unless you have the means to test the loads. An increase in temperature can have a disproportionate increase in pressure as a result. Using data that was compiled at 75 degrees and firing the loads at 100 degree ambient temperatures could have a drastic effect on the pressure, especially if those shells were kept in the car's interior at temperatures near 150 degrees.

    As a reloader, you have the option to shoot shells that are within more reasonable pressure limits. If you select loads with moderate pressures and don't swap out components that you have no data for, you can have less chance of exceeding standard limits of pressure.
     
  18. WNCRob

    WNCRob Member

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    Quack Shot...

    Your response is getting at my initial observation, particularly about the Fiocchi primer. With the shortage of Remington and Winchester primers, I have been forced to use other primers for which there is little data, or apparently conflicting data. The brand of powder that I use may not have any data that I can use relative to the primer that I may have available. The Fiocchi data that was until very recently published by Alliant has just been corrected, but before that it scared me away from the Fiocchi primer because of the extremeties that their data suggested. Recently, I purchased some Cheddite primers to use with Promo...no data from Alliant, so going to another manufacturers web site it appears from their data on several powders indicates that the Cheddite is a bit on the hot side, judging from the charge/pressure values and components that I use. And Remington is generally a milder primer...again, these are broad generalities, but is a starting point for building loads. I contacted Alliant, and they suggested that the Cheddite could be safely used with charges and applications similar to the Remington 209. Well, that suprised me. I then recalled other apparent inconsistencies that I had recently observed on the Alliant web site and began to question their overall attention to detail. Well, it seems that Alliant has indeed made some changes to their recommendations, which is to their credit. The search for good information often leads in unexpected directions. I am very happy with Alliant pproducts, but have found that published performance data varies widely and should only be used as a guideline, and my practice is never to test the extremes of any application, and to switch powders rather than to load to the limit, beacuse I don't know what the limit is, and each reload is a little different...we do not reload in laboratory conditions.

    WNCRob
     
  19. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    WNCRob

    It's pretty much my point. You are responsible for your own safety when reloading. Careful load selection and scrutiny of available data, plus a bunch of common sense will go a long way. As for the Fiocchi primers. Look over Hodgdon's data for Clays using the Fiocchi primers (Rem or AA hull 1 1/8 oz). It shows a marked increase in pressure for similar loadings. With Alliant's loadings, it showed lower pressures with Fiocchi primers. Which do you believe? Were the primers tested by both companies from the same lot? That's doubtful. I don't think that primers from one company could vary by that much, but anything is possible. I've had different lots of popular powders vary by several bushings between lots. That wasn't the budget stuff, but the ones that are supposed to be consistent from lot to lot. Starting with data that shows lower pressures from multiple sources is not a bad idea. There just aren't that many sources for data. If I intend to swap components, I make sure that I find some comparable data and change as little as possible. I also back off on the powder charge if there is any doubt. I also run my loads over a chronograph, so I look for a desired velocity. If it takes a little less powder to get me there, then so be it.

    Starting with loads near maximum and then swapping something around is a crap shoot. You have no guarantee that if you loaded identical components listed in the data, you would attain the same pressures and velocities as they did when the data was compiled. There are just too many variables. Even the crimp can raise or lower pressures by several thousand PSI. When you play with stuff that goes boom, you want to have every advantage you can use, to ensure your loads are within safe working pressures. There are many here that will argue, but it's foolish to tempt fate.
     
  20. Ed Y

    Ed Y TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Mark,

    In the above chart, could the second #8 column actually mean #8 1/2?

    Ed Yanchok
     
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