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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to reloading. I have MEC JR and all necessary supplies. I have a keg of 700x based on what my peers have told me to buy. I’ve read many threads on here about powder and I am sorry if this is redundant. As someone new to this, I don’t know what I like or have last experience to draw from.

When I started to look at different recipes for my AA hulls, I couldn’t help but try to understand the differences in all the available powders. I think I confused myself more than I did to help myself. My question is: if you are buying a powder why are you buying it? Cleaner burn? Good patterns? Why do you use what you use?

If someone were to ask me what I was reloading currently and ask me why do I use that; I wouldn’t have an answer for them.
 

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clean burn comes from higher pressures. good patterns comes from a magnitude of things. look for what you want. as in what shot weight, primers available, wads, and most important fps you want to run. for me i like 1200 fps with pressures above 10000 psi. i know many guys using 700x and thats all they use. once you get what you want load some shells and go to the pattern board. i always shoot my IM and FULL chokes. for some reason different loads come out differently. if you like what you see and feel on the shoulder shoot a round with them. how did they break the target? long story short i like higher pressures with good patterns. if i see good patterns on paper i can find something else to blame on that "lost target"
 

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for what? for my 1 oz loads for my 1 1/8 loads my hunting loads. if your really wanting to play around buy a couple 1 pound jugs of powders. if your strictly reloading to factory specs 1 1/8 loads you can get by with one powder and just load it. shoot it and be happy. alot of us reload for .410 and 28 gauge. seeing what works for other gauges is pretty cool. gives you incentive to buy the 8 pound jug. for my normal target 12 gauge shells. i went from 700x to red dot then to clays then to unique and now international. international works good with 20 gauge loads. us reloaders have spent many hours playing and toying with stuff. load up that 700x and blast away! im still looking for the "magic powder"
 

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How many powders did you go through until you figured out what you liked?
You ask a lot!
The key is stack height in the hull. You say you are using AA hulls, and I assume you mean the current version with a shiny/oily finish. With proper stack height, you will get proper crimps. With a stack height that is too short, you will get dished crimps. With a stack height that is too tall, you will get crushed hulls.

Powders have different densities and this impacts stack height. Dense powders need a wad with a taller crush section and bulky/fluffy powders need a wad with a shorter crush section in order to achieve the proper stack height. You can gaughe the relative density of powders by looking at the bushing charts. Between two powder with the same charge weight, the one with the smaller bushing is more dense than the one the one with the larger bushing.

The AA hulls is tricky because the data says it will work with the older AACF hulls and the newer AAHS hulls. It does not always work. The data was developed for the older hulls. With bulky powders in the newer AA hulls, you need a wad with a shorter crush section. Bulky powders include Red Dot, Clays, Promo, Clay Dot. Dense powders include Titewad and Nitro 100.

Before anyone can give you any advice beyond this, we will need to know what load you are looking for. How heavy is the shot charge weight and how fast do you want it to go?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My first few boxes have been 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2 with a 27/28 bushing (can’t remember off the top of my head), figure 8 was, and looking to be around 1250.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am right around 17.5. Load data shows I should be in the 1200 range. I have not chrono’d any of the loads yet.
 

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The nub of the OP's question is how do people go about choosing a powder. The place most people start is deciding what sort of load they want to make, i.e., what shot charge weight and what velocity. Another variable to factor into the decision-making process is pressure, how much do you want. For me, I like the pressure to be in the 10K psi range, maybe a bit higher. The reason I like higher pressure is it make for more consistent-performing loads and a cleaner burn (less ash in the barrel). Once you make those choices and look at the reloading data manuals, a range of powders will emerge, usually 3-4 powders will fill the bill. Then, factors such as stack height, as I mentioned above, come into play. What hull do I plan to use? What wad will give me a good stack height with the powders that are in the range. With those AAHS hulls you have, the stack height is an important factor and comes into play with the wad choice.

Of course, cost and availability are also factors. Ordering powder online is expensive because of shipping costs and hazmat fees. Usually, by ordering more than one keg at a time and adding a sleeve of primers to the order will defray the hazmat over more stuff and reduce the average cost.
 

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I normally agree with Nebs as he has very good advice. But I'm going to take a different path to reloading. I don't shoot autos, so clean burns aren't as important to me. Also, because I shoot old SxSs I like less shock to the wood stocks to help from splitting . I know that pressure has nothing to do with recoil, and with that said I like light loads at slower velocities. I feel 1 oz will break any clay bird thrown and even 7/8 or 3/4oz 12ga loads will work and I now load mostly 3/4oz and 7/8oz for trap. I've used 700X from 1 1/8 to 3/4oz 12ga loads. All I use is Claybuster wads and any mild primer - Win, Rem, Cheddite. CBer has a sheet in with a bag of wads giving load data. With their 3/4oz wad - CB-0175-12, they show in a Rem hull 700X,Clays, Titewad, Red Dot, and Extra-Lite powders. What powder do you choose ? Because I'm not worried about clean burns or high pressures to cycle a auto I go with Promo which is the same as Red Dot - it's the cheapest.. My second choice is 700X only because I've used it since the 1970s. Contact the powder companies - Alliant and Hodgdons - and ask for their reloading booklets. They're free. I find them much easier to use than going to their online web site reloading centers. You can compare different loads much easier. The CBer sheet has 16 loads for Rem hulls [ all Rem hulls reload the same ] . Four are with the Win primer from 13.7grs to 17grs giving velocities from 1150to 1300, and pressures from 7200 to 10600psi. Being a newbie you could go with 15grs - in the middle for a little over 1200fps at 8500psi - and have some cushion if you dropped a little heavy load by mistake. You have a good powder for a large range of loads in the 12ga. Try it for a while and as said maybe buy some 1# cans to try something different if you're not happy.
 

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Once you figure out what load you want (shot charge, velocity, wad, primer, etc.) get a pound of powder (some are 14 oz). You should get between 300-400+ rounds depending on powder charge weight. Shoot em up and see if you like them. Once you find the load you like, you have found your powder and then start buying in bulk. Just remember that powders DO change from lot to lot, but usually not a big enough change to make much of a difference in Shotgun.

There are literally dozens of powders for 1 1/8 oz. loads. Many people shop strictly by price. Price is an acceptable way to shop as long as the load works for you.

I use Titewad for 12 gauge 3/4 and 7/8 oz loads. It works nicely and I can get it locally if needed.

Good luck.
 

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I have had good results with all the fast powders. The first thing a newbie should do is buy a scale. Then, as said, try some small jars of the fast powders, till you find your mojo. For me, I don't really care which one I use, just loading for 1235 FPS. Hair splitting for me is reserved for metallic reloading.

HM
 

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If you really want to be at 1250 fps in a Winchester HS Hull, I would suggest the Factory duplication of the,
Winchester Super Handicap Load.

Winchester 12 ga 2 3/4" HS - Hull
1 1/8 oz Hard - Shot
Winchester WAA12 - Wad - "can sub clone"
20.9 gr - Winchester Super Handicap - Powder.
Identical to the factory load.
1255 FPS - 11,300 PSI

MG
 

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First thing, buy a digital scale. A good one. Do not trust the bushing chart. I load 12 ga. in 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz loads. Either load from 1150 to 1250 fps. I have used Red Dot, Green Dot, 700x, Clays and Winchester Super Handicap. I can load any of these loads with Green Dot and, IMO, the recoil is noticeably less than with the other powders. Green Dot is no dirtier than anything else and you need to clean your gun with all of them anyway. I also use the AAHS hull and i use Claybuster wads.
 

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I buy shotgun powders based on utility. I also load pistol, so it should (in my case) be usable for that also. (700-x is a very good one for that, BTW.) I have also had people give me powders that I then had to find load data for.

Bulky powders include Red Dot, Clays, Promo, Clay Dot. Dense powders include Titewad and Nitro 100.
Let's not forget Green Dot as a bulky one. I will second paul Harm. Listen to Nebs.
 

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Re: the SuperHandicap duplication. I have a 8# jug of SuperHandicap and I have used that recipe on and off for years. Just yesterday I opened up a Winchester AAHS 1 1/8 1250 shell. The powder looked like the powder in the jug but it was much finer grains. Different ? Who knows ? The wad was exactly the same as in the cheaper Winchester shells. It was a 1 1/8 oz shell but it had 510.8 gr. of #8 shot in it but only 19.7 gr. of powder. I only opened one shell so there may be a SD involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If I could find super handicap around me; I would buy it. I’ll just load what I have for now and go from there. I appreciate the responses. When I’m standing there looking at all the different powders available it makes me wonder why people shoot what they shoot. Maybe one day I’ll be able to answer my own question
 

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If I could find super handicap around me; I would buy it. I’ll just load what I have for now and go from there. I appreciate the responses. When I’m standing there looking at all the different powders available it makes me wonder why people shoot what they shoot. Maybe one day I’ll be able to answer my own question
A lot of people use the powder they use for the same reason you have some 700X, it's what their peers suggested they use and that's what they've used ever since. I used to use only Clays because, after a hiatus, someone suggested I use it. I did and it worked fine until the powder shortage when it became unavailable and I had to use something else. Now, I have a variety of powders on my bench, none of which is Clays. They all work fine. Frankly, in a given burn rate class, it's real hard to say one powder is better than another. Last summer, I was getting low on powder so I ordered up 4 kegs from CAC Associates, along with a couple of sleeves of primers, which had a rebate going on. I got one keg each of Titewad, IMR Red, Promo and Nitro 100NF.
 
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