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Thread: Fillers...?

  1. #1
    Guy La Pourque
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    Fillers...?

    Good morning Gents,

    I'm just getting back into BPCR after a long absence, and would like to ask about smokeless loads: do you guys use fillers? My load is 36 gr. IMR3031 under a 405gr. lead pill in a 45-70 case - and I'm firing that out of a Pedersoli rolling block. Velocities are around 1000~1100 FPS. The book I read said I should be a hundred or so FPS faster - but it was cold out.

    would you guys use fillers? I've tried to read up on it but so far all I've come across are discussions that degenerate into food fights where some claim you can blow up your rifle and others say they've been doing it for years with great success. Do any of you have experience with it...? Can you even use fillers with smokeless powder?

    Your two cents is sincerely appreciated.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy La Pourque View Post
    would you guys use fillers? I've tried to read up on it but so far all I've come across are discussions that degenerate into food fights where some claim you can blow up your rifle and others say they've been doing it for years with great success. Do any of you have experience with it...? Can you even use fillers with smokeless powder?
    My experience with IMR3031 for light loads in the .45-70 is that it can be a bit position sensitive. A small tuft of Dacron between powder and bullet will probably boost velocities about 100 fps with your load. Not that 36 grains of 3031 is all that light but I have found 40 grains with the Lee .459-405HB boolit requires no dacron filler and is still pretty mild. For original "carbine" loads of 1050 fps with the same boolit I prefer 55 grains of Goex FFg and Cream of Wheat as a filler to provide abut 1/4 inch of compression. The bore stays cleaner and accuracy is good without having to swab the bore. Do a search on this site for lots of info on fillers, good and bad.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Larry Gibson has written some of the best posts on this topic. I haven't used fillers in a long time and haven't tried 3031 in my 45-70 but I never damaged barrel with a bit of Dacron over the powder.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JSnover View Post
    Larry Gibson has written some of the best posts on this topic..
    yes sir, i agree!!!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Never used fillers, and never will. I wont use powders that require the use of fillers. All sorts of documented cases of fillers creating problems, and sometimes catastrophic problems.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    Never used fillers, and never will. I wont use powders that require the use of fillers. All sorts of documented cases of fillers creating problems, and sometimes catastrophic problems.
    I go with Larry Gibson on fillers and ain"t hurt a gun yet if you pay attention it will definitely
    group better especially with 2400 powder

  7. #7
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    I have used Dacron, but switched to Kapok because it leaves no residue. That said, I haven't needed a filler in any of my loads in at least ten years. But I'm also not shooting light loads in large cartridges anymore. Biggest now is .32-40, and I found that AA4100 does just fine for plain base boolits at 1400 fps without needing any filler. For very light loads I use Red Dot, which also needs not filler.

    The worst thing you can do is use a WAD. Wads over light loads have been conclusively proven to cause ringing.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  8. #8
    Guy La Pourque
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    I would really like to try it! Where do you guys get Dacron or kapok from...? Do you ever use cream of wheat for smokeless..? I have seen guys doing it with black powder...

    I guess I better get off to my Googling - but I would still like your guys' opinions too, if ya can. Some of the gun forums I am on - you learn which ones you can trust, and which you can't if you catch my drift...

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Pillow stuffing from Walmart is Dacron. Old Navy life vests are stuffed with kapok.
    On this topic, I recently started playing with an old Marlin 336 with a microgroove barrel and plain base bullets. Pretty much everything I tried without fillers was a failure. Nothing over 900fps would shoot decently. So I tried some RE22 and cream o wheat. Now I'm seeing 2200fps with good accuracy, zero leading, and so far haven't needed to clean the bore after around 600 rounds fired. As a bonus, bullets are sized to .312 and are a slip fit in the case so no reloading dies used either. Fillers can sometimes be quite useful.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The need for fillers isn’t just about running light loads.
    I often use smokeless (4198) to replicate ballistics of my blackbpowder cartidges, many of which are quite voluminous British chamberings and definitely need a filler of some sort.
    So far, nothing is as easy and reproducible as foam backer rod.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    A cheap filler that most will have is Rice-Krispes cereal, just load powder and fill the case with
    the rice krispes as full as the case will take, then seat the bullet. Smells like your baking
    cookies when fired. Works for me.
    webfoot10

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Ive been using wheat bran,but only in 30s and 45/70,but some very reputable people recommend the foam rod,especially for very big cases .Ive gone in a different direction with mixed powder loads that need no filler in any size case.Once the ignition problems are solved ,next comes vertical stringing ,which isnt so easy to eliminate.

  13. #13
    Guy La Pourque
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    Hey - can a guy use polyester batting...?

    And - when you use cereals for fillers - there's no card or barrier between the filler and the powder, right?

    I've noticed my groups would be cut in half if I could get rid of the vertical stringing.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Huge difference in using a filler in a straight wall case and in a necked case. In a necked case only use something that essentially evaporates (Dacron) or that flows extremely well - and no cereal flows really well!
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Ive been using wheat bran,but only in 30s and 45/70,but some very reputable people recommend the foam rod,especially for very big cases .Ive gone in a different direction with mixed powder loads that need no filler in any size case.Once the ignition problems are solved ,next comes vertical stringing ,which isnt so easy to eliminate.
    If you layer it rather than mix it, the vertical can be managed better.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    If I can find it, I can send you enough kapok to last you for years. It literally grows on trees in Florida. I got about half a bushel from a guy who was harvesting from his trees and selling it on evilBay.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    I only recommend Dacron as a filler and then only in certain circumstances. Suggest a read of my post #2 in the sticky on proper use of fillers. I do not recommend its use as a wad. I do not recommend any wad be used. I also specifically do not recommend the use of COW, other cereals, coffee, etc. as testing conclusively reveals pressures can increase dramatically.

    Yes, "Dacron" is used as pillow and toy stuffing. It is polyester. It also comes as polyester batting which is what I use. I buy it by the yard at fabric stores. It is easy to use simply by cutting strips and the cutting the strips into the size chunk you need for a specific case/powder.

    I have chronographed and pressure tested thousands of cast bullets loads in straight and bottlenecked cases with a Dacron filler over the years without a single hint of pressure problems. Keep in mind a chamber is not going to "ring" w/o excessive pressure on the chamber walls. My Oehler M43 would have measured that.

    As to the OP's question; yes I definitely suggest a 1 to 1.5 gr filler of Dacron be used in his 36 gr 3031 load under his 405 gr cast bullet in the 45-70. It's one of my favorite loads except I use 35 gr 3031. That load gives right at 1300 fps out of my H&R OM TD with 26" barrel and excellent accuracy. The psi runs 19,100 psi(m43). Using a COW filler increases the psi to 27,000 psi(m43). The velocity drops to 1205 fps and accuracy goes south big time.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  18. #18
    Guy La Pourque
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    I just came across your fine post in my search Larry - thanks a bunch! I will try polyester and see what happens! My research seems to indicate that rollers (and trapdoors) and other archaic buff guns like pressures down around 20,000 CUP max. I am off now to see if I can find a conversion factor so I can do the math - I am one of those guys that has to double check everything, even from a trusted source - no offense meant. If I have troubles with that I will come to you guys here first to straighten me out!

    My book said that with 405 grainers I should expect 1200 FPS or thereabouts; my chrono indicated around 1000~1100. Could the cold weather do that? It was about -16C when I was shooting.

    Also, do you recommend cream of wheat for black powder...? One of my favourite YouTubers was using it in his Martini-Henry 577/450...

  19. #19
    Guy La Pourque
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    If I can find it, I can send you enough kapok to last you for years. It literally grows on trees in Florida. I got about half a bushel from a guy who was harvesting from his trees and selling it on evilBay.
    I am up in Canada, Uscra. I really appreciate the offer though!

  20. #20
    Guy La Pourque
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    Holy mackaral!!!!

    I had my first go with polyester batting filler - and the results were spectacular! My groups got cut in half. My velocities went way up - so I assume the pressure did too. For my 405 grainers the book says I am getting hot around 1350 FPS... and mine were coming out the pipe at 1400~1450 with a medium charge of 36 grains of 3031. I am going to go right down to minimum which the book has at 34 grains. Groups were running a hair over 2" at 100m - which for me, with my old eyes, ain't bad! You snipers and younger bucks with steadier nerves and brighter eyes probably would have done much better! I did it as much as possible as per Larry's advice here:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...use-of-fillers

    Welp - I will back off the charges a bit, keep the velocities where the book says - and we'll see what happens. Overall, my first experience with fillers has been a success!!!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check