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Thread: The proper use of fillers

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




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    The proper use of fillers

    what is the proper way to use filler?is it to be compressed or just put in the case loose. im talking about dakron fiber thinks bill

  2. #2
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    I have for many, many years found dacron (polyester fill) to be the best "filler". I use a filler only when appropriate. Many think I always use a filler with every powder....I DO NOT!!!! The use of the filler can cause problems if not used correctly and when appropriate. If the powder is not correct for the bullet/cartridge combination then the filler is not going to make it "right". Many want to use a specific powder for a cartridge because the powder is "cheap" or because "they have a lot of it". There are lots of powders that are not only poor choices to use but that can be dangerous if used in an inappropriate bullet/cartridge combination. Do yourself a favor if you are wanting to use an inappropriate powder (usually "no data" available is an indication the powder might be inappropriate) and get an appropriate powder. You will save yourself a lot of frustration. The use of the dacron filler only makes an appropriate powder perform better. The dacron filler will not make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

    I don't use the dacron filler or a wad with the fast to medium burning "fast" pistol /shotgun type powders. I find one of these fast burning powders that is fast enough to ignite and burn efficiently at the velocity I want and avoid using a filler with them.

    I almost always use the dacron filler in rifle cases with the slower “fast” burning powders (4227, 4759, 5744, 4198, etc. with lighter medium weight bullets for the cartridge; i.e. 140 - 165 gr bullets in .30/.31 cals of 30-30 through '06 case capacity), the medium burning powders (RL7, 3031, 4895, etc.) up through the slow burning powders (RL19, AA4350, H4831SC, RL22, 3100, etc.) that give around 80% or less loading density under medium to heavy weight bullets for the cartridge; i.e. 170 - 220+ gr bullets in .30/.31 cals. Those examples are for the .30/.31 cals but the same guidance applies to other calibers. The dacron filler is used only between the powder and base of the bullet.

    The “dacron” is polyester fill as commonly found in pillows and toys. It also comes in sheets called “batting”. It can be obtained very reasonably at most any fabric store.

    The dacron batting comes in various thicknesses. I prefer that which is about 5/8" thick. My wife recently bought me 10 yards which will give many, many thousands of cast bullet loads. With this current batch of batting I cut it initially across the width into strips about 3/4" wide. I then "eyeball" cut 1/2" wide chunks which is close to 3/4 gr.

    A smaller chunk is cut for 1/2 gr and larger for a larger amount. I've cut some chunks that weight 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 grs and have them in a "snack" baggie stuck on a poster board above my loading bench for quick reference when I need to cut new chunks. The batting will run thin and thick throughout the sheet so I again just "eyeball it" based on the thickness of the batting when cutting the chunks.

    Pretty extensive tests have demonstrated that the weight of the filler does not have to be exact, only close. What is important is that there is enough so that it “fills" the space between powder and bullet. A little too much hurts nothing but too little poses problems. That's why I have the different size "chunks" so I can use the right size for the case capacity I am filling. For example; with most medium burning powders (3031, 4895, 4064) in and '06 to function an M1 a 3/4 gr dacron filler is about right. With slower powders that give a higher loading density like 4831 a 1/2 gr filler is about right.

    I use a section of .22 cal cleaning rod in cartridges of .30 - .375 cal to push the Dacron chunk inside the case just so it is all in. The 6 to 10" section gives plenty to hold onto and sufficient "feel". Merely hold the chunk of dacron over the case mouth and shove it in with the rod. Sometimes it takes a couple three pokes to ensure all is inside the case mouth. I poke the chunks in until all the dacron is at the bottom of the neck or at least all in the case. It doesn’t matter exactly where just so long as you don’t tamp it down on the powder as a wad and leaved a space between the base of the bullet and the dacron.

    What you want to do is push it in to let the base of the bullet finish pushing it down and adding any compression against the powder. Thus I do not push it down on the powder but let the bullet do that when the bullet is seated. Using the right size chunk of dacron this method then provides a "filler" in the air space between the powder and base of the bullet.

    A small length of coat hanger works for the .22-7mm cartridges and an unsharpened pencil works well for .45 cals. With the charged cases in a loading block I simply hold the chunk of dacron over the case mouth and push it in with the rod. It is quite easy and a lot of “precision is not required, just get the dacron into the case and let the bullet finish pushing it down.

    Larry Gibson
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 04-03-2012 at 12:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the great write up Larry. I just printed the whole post out to put in my Cast Boolit Load book. Thanks.
    Justin

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I follow Larry's advice. I use the flat "Batt" material. I use the 8oz and 10oz depending on how much filler is needed. I cut a square and insert and "fluff" with a straight pair of tweezers. My squares are about .4-.5 grains with the 8oz and .6-.7 grains with the 10oz.



    Cut into strips



    Cut into pieces



    And fluffed into case with tweezers

    Last edited by zomby woof; 02-10-2013 at 01:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Sequentially tearing off a bit of dacron, lofting it, and putting it in a 25-20 case, which is a small case to begin with, and only a little is required. Hold the case vertical when inserting the dacron.....the case was held horizontal only to make a better picture for the camera.

    The amount used here is probably between .1 and .2 grain. Second the notion of taking up all the space between the powder and bullet, and use enough to be certain the powder cannot shift about. A flat tipped screwdriver or close fitting hex wrench is fine to insert it, and you may have to poke a couple of times to get it fully in.








  6. #6
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    Outstanding posts! I don't know what it takes to qualify for a "Sticky" but in my opinion this concise and definitive information on Dacron filler is important and needs to be preserved.

    Gear

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
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    A reprise of what I commented on another post:

    Using "minimal" amounts of dacron is asking for some degree of trouble.

    The dacron must be of such volume that it is capable of doing what it is asked to do, which is hold the powder immobile regardless of what external forces may be present that try to dislodge it.

    Shifting powder with a tuft of dacron skidding around and possibly mixing with said powder is a situation that you must avoid. Minimal is not good. "Enough" is better.

    Dacron is long fibered and springy, and can hold powder in place that weighs considerably more than the dacron, but you must give it some help by:

    1) Ensuring that the dacron fills the entirety of the available space, and
    2) is of sufficient density to fill that space with enough resistant dacron that the powder cannot shift around.

    I suggest inserting some dacron in a charged case, then removing it and comparing its volume to that of the space you want to fill. What you see is similar to its condition at repose in the case.

    Further, once you add dacron, slam the case, mouth down, as hard as you can manage against the top of your loading bench. Toss it against the carpeted floor, then, to ease your mind, against a hardwood floor if you're the inquisitive sort.

    See how this holds up and if it fully prevents the powder from position shifts.

    It should be able to resist some pretty serious G's in terms of impact and ability to hold the powder in place.

    Depending upon the size of the case and the space to be filled, amounts can range from a small fraction of a grain to a few grains or so.

    It should not be "packed" in as in the sense of tamping it down hard. Just push it in the case until resistance is lightly felt, ensuring the available space is filled from powder to where the bullet's base will be. Ensure that the dacron, before seating the bullet, will be a bit above the final position of the bullet's base.

    Now test it. Visibly, the dacron should be substantial enough, when viewed from the top, that the powder cannot be seen through it. It should look "filled in" but not solid. Start the inertia testing after this is verified.

    After the inertia testing, carefully remove the dacron and examine it. There should be no substantial amount of powder contained within the dacron fibers, and powder should not come out of the case along with the dacron when it is removed. The dacron should still be resting above the powder as it is withdrawn with no intermixing of the two after the inertia tests.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    What about the other kinds of fillers? BPI, for instance, or other types of filler; COW, paper, etc.?
    Lead Forever!


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  9. #9
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    Gunnerd:

    I use BPI Original filler and on occasion PRPSB from Precision reloading. These are both commonly used as buckshot fillers.

    The PRPSB is tiny spherical particles and the BPI is a fine, granular, fluffy and easily compressed high heat plastic. Weighing an equal volume of each shows that the BPI is half as heavy as the PRPSB so I prefer the BPI. I have read comments that the BPI also acts as a quasi gas check and I have proven that to myself by the fact that accuracy sweetspots move to higher velocities with BPI versus PRPSB used with plain based cast bullets. I can imagine no other reason than the gas check effect of BPI. Is it truly a gas check? I am not sure but it does make the difference in moving a sweetspot higher in velocity.

    I only use particulate fillers in straight walled cases and there is additional safety precautions needed with particulate fillers because they are considerably heavier heavier than Dacron.

    Particulate filler weight must be added to the weight of your bullet for a total projectile weight when calculating velocity, recoil and pressure safety for your load. The filler is shot with the bullet, so its weight has to be included in the math.

    A big advantage and reason I favor particulate fillers is that my Lyman #55 measure throws them very consistently and very easily right into the case over the powder.

    I use the BPI original in my most accurate .500 S&W rifle hunting loads and my .458 Win Mag rifle hunting loads. In both loads the BPI gives significant accuracy gain over PRPSB and Dacron for me, and recoil is noticeably less also by comparison with the BPI Original versus PRPSB, but, Dacron has the lowest recoil with like charges. My chronograph tests also show BPI has a significantly lower velocity spread than PRPSB or Dacron in my pet loads. I suspect the quasi gas check effect of BPI is responsible for the lower velocity spread.

    Users of PRPSB report a bore cleaning effect from PRPSB. I cannot verify that, My loads routinely shoot clean and do not lead. I attribute that to good bullet fit, lube and compressed filler loads burning the powder well. Several shooters I know report unburned powder trails with H4895 in reduced loads in big straight walled cases. My .458 WM reduced load with H4895 is compressed 105% with BPI filler and the barrel stays clean and shiny with no powder trail.

    I do use Dacron in bottle neck cartridges, but for straight wall cartridges BPI is my first choice to use as a filler with cast bullet reduced loads.

    I prefer to use no filler at all and select a powder that will give 100% density loads that yield safe pressures and terrific accuracy at my desired velocity. That doesn't happen sometimes and real reduced loads are necessary for many cast bullet loads to have good reliable ignition at appropriate pressure and velocity for your cast boolit.

    The only near complaint I have about particulate fillers is that if you shoot a lot, and the wind is just right, you will notice filler has snowed down on the shooting bench.

    Gary
    Last edited by onondaga; 03-23-2011 at 03:07 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for his thread guys. this is an excellent post to teach us rookies. Much appreciated.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Granulated fillers prevent leading by positively preventing gas cutting.

    An exceptionally bad idea is to load a large amount of the granulated plastic fillers over light powder charges wherein the buffer comprises substantially more than fifty percent of the case volume.

    What can, and does, happen is that the powder gasses "tunnel" past the buffer on one side rather than clearing it all out of the case. A hardish deposit of plastic is left in the case, looking kinda like a dirty snowdrift. Buffer may be present in the rifle's throat and barrel as well when such loads are fired.

    For these reasons, dacron is more advisable when lighter charges are used, as I've never had dacron fail to clear the case, and, quite honestly, it would not make much of a bore obstruction even if it did not clear.

  12. #12
    Far be it from me to suggest that this is anything other than a terrific thread with very knowledgeable folk writing but I used some dacron (polyester) filler once to hold charges of 9.0 grains of Al 2400 in .25-36 Marlin cases. This charge generates 1457 f.p.s. in my rifle and all was well until about the third or fourth round when I began to experience great difficulty in opening the action as the lever seemed 'stuck'. Each subsequent fired cartridge produced the same result. This was something to do with the filler because nothing like this had occurred when I didn't use the filler although I felt that some degree of position sensitivity had adversely affected the accuracy of the load, hence the idea to use a filler. After much soul searching I thought to take a piece of wire with the tip bent to 90 degrees and see if I could feel any abnormality in the throat and chamber in a similar fashion to using a wire like this to check for incipient head separations inside brass cases. The end of my wire seemed to 'bounce' over a shallow mound. What was evidently happening was that a circumferential ring of melted polyester was being deposited between the outside of the neck of my cartridges and the chamber in which they were being fired. This essentially was 'cementing' my cases to the inside of my chamber making their extraction very difficult. The chamber deposit was easy to remove with Hoppes #9 solvent and a phosphor- bronze brush and the problem never resurfaced again after I quit using this filler. I don't know if anyone else has encountered this problem but I am now giving thought to employing a filler of non man made material like toilet tissue which in the open seems to burn away completely leaving only a fine ash. Burning the polyester in the open leaves a residual, albeit small, lump of burnt hard plastic residue, which I think was what was happening in my chamber,
    thoughts anyone ?

  13. #13
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    HUH! I have never heard of that before. I use packing popcorn as a filler and have never had a problem with it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I've shot thousands of rounds with dacron fillers and never experienced any melting of the dacron. But then, as mentioned in my use of dacron as a filler, I would not use a filler with a light light of a faster burning powder like 2400. If I wanted the loads to stay in the 1400 fps range I would use a faster burning powder that did not need a filler, like Unique.

    Larry Gibson

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Has anyone use filler with the .22 hornet? I was wondering what to expect with using reddot & dacron.

  16. #16
    what about floral foam to hold powder breach seater folks use it all the time in case mouths. just loaded 28-30 cases w/ 4227 thought about floral foam to hold powder but due to lack of imformation chickened out.any thoughts welcome. tks jon.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    I primarily use COW (Cream of Wheat) as a filler. I used to use it only in straight walled cases because I had concerns about it potentially packing into the "bottle neck" on cartridges that were not straight walled and potentially causing a Ka-Boom. On this forum, however, I encountered many individuals who were using it as a filler in bottle neck rifle cartridges without problems so for quite a while now I have been using it in those cartridges as well and have had no problems. Now I don't think I would use it in some of the cartridges that have extremely sharp shoulder angles and very large case diameters compared to their neck diameter such as some of the super short magnum cartridges but in most sensible bottle neck cartridges like the 30-06 I wouldn’t hesitate to use COW filler now days.

    My usual process with using COW as a filler with cast boolit loads in bottle neck rifle cartridges is to use a charge of slow burning powder that fills the case up to just below the base of the shoulder or so and then fill the rest of the case up with COW to about half way up the neck and then seat the boolit so that its base is about even with the bottom of the neck thus compressing the whole load by about half a neck length of extra COW filler. I have found that this allows me to use plain base boolits without gas checks to obtain velocity levels while maintaining accuracy that previously I was unable to obtain even with gas checked boolits without the use of filler.

    I have become especially fond of loading what I call “triple layer loads” in bottle neck rifle cartridges including 220-Swift, 25-06, 7mm-08, 7x57, 308, 30-06, 7.62x54R, 303-Brit, 8x57, and 8mm-06 among others. Such loads involve a “primer assist, ignition booster charge” of a light charge of only a couple grains or so of easily ignited fast-rifle/slow-pistol burn rate powder such as IMR-4227 or Reloader-7 directly over the primer in the bottom of the case. These are powders significantly slower burning then usual used as the “kicker charge” in duplex loads that still have easy ignition. On top of this I put in a charge of very slow burning ball powder namely surplus powders in the 50-BMG/20mm burn rate zone that fills the case up to at least close to the base of the shoulder. Then on top of that I put in my COW filler as previously explained to fill the case up half way up the neck and then seat the boolit in the neck to compress the charge. Obviously, I adjust exactly what powder I use for the primer assist, ignition booster charge and how much of it I use as well as how much of the slow burning surplus powder I use and how close that comes to topping out at the base of the cartridge shoulder, as well as the weight and alloy composition of the boolit I use to get the load to balance out and to “tweak” it to obtain the level of performance I expect.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    HI,
    With cereal fillers like COW, they are hygroscopic. If you heat them in a oven to drive off the H2O , you will never have the caking problem.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I've been using wheat bran as a filler in my 303 Brits with good results. I suggested to Jeff to try the same in his 310 Martini Cadet and it took the case necks off!

    Anyway, here is the difference between with and without wheat bran filler.



    On the right are primers fired with 30gr AR2209/H4350 and wheat bran filler under a 206gr boolit.
    On the left from top to bottom are primers fired with 38gr plus filler then 38gr without filler then 35gr without filler.

    Notice how the 38gr without filler resembles the primer with 30grs with filler? The filler adds the equivalent of about 8grs powder pressure to the load.

    That was the idea of the filler in the first place - to burn 30gr of slow powder properly.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    At least with loose dacron, I find that the amount needed is more than many here do. Dense enough to push into the case means I'm usually running about 1-1.5 grains in a 30-06. My method is to pull off a hunk, fluff it a bit, then push into the case.

    You don't want a hard plug, but enough to hold the powder down.

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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