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Thread: People who make up their own loads

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Wolfdog91's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Amite County MS

    People who make up their own loads

    Curious to how y'all go about it and your thought process. Thanks
    A wise man will try to learn as much from a fool as he will from a master, for all have something to teach- Uncle Iroh
    MS Army Guard 2016-2021

  2. #2
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    SE Michigan
    I'm not that adventurous, I dig until either I find a load or I piggy back off as close to the same caliber, case capacity and case shape.

    And 90% of my "unusual" loads are mouse fart loads. That's what I typically load. Just dinger ringer fun loads.

    If I'm loading for serious, this needs to kill something type loads, I'm using professionally tested loads.

    They are used in expensive rifles that belong to a buddy. In the last year, my loads have accounted for two hogs a big elk and a nice deer.

    And I didn't blow up a gun.

    I'll let the other guys experiment, with a 4 foot long collection of reloading manuals going back to the 40's I can usually find something that gets me started.

    I'm not a good enough reloader to blue sky a load.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Loxahatchee Florida
    I am not sure exactly what you are asking but I am going to try anyway. With my rifles I am usually trying to make a good long range accuracy load, so I generally pick a bullet that I have seen shoot well and has the BC that i think I need to achieve what i am looking for. I purchase a 50 or 100 round box of bullets and look at reloading data, pet loads to find 2 powders that most people like with this case and bullet. I start at about halfway to max with a powder charge and load 3, then up the charge .3 grains higher and load 3, until i get close to max. I shoot the 3 that have the same charge weight at a target, then the next 3 at another target or at a different spot on the first target. When i have shoot all the ammo i made i look at the groups and pick the tightest group. Ido the same with the next powder choice and pick the best group. I compare the first powder with second and go with the smaller group. I am old school so i usually don't mess with jump, I seat bullets to touch or a little deeper. The smallest group so far in this process is my load for now. If I am looking for a better group, I will start all over with a different bullet, or try a different powder. With pistols i buy bullets find the bullet online or in a reloading manual and load a powder charge halfway in the middle between min and max, or if i don't like the speed maybe a little higher than halfway. Only you will know when to stop looking and call this your load and make a bunch and just shoot. I hope that is what you wanted to know.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    It sorta depends on what caliber and the purpose of the load I'm trying to "make up". I usually (always?) base what I'm doing on established data, and extrapolate from there. What kind of a load are you trying for?
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool become servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
    ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

    Carpe SCOTCH!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Sort of a dangerous question to be asking. Too low - bore obstruction. Too high - ka boom.
    I like to know my powder profiles, primer differences, research known load data, extrapolate where I am trying to be.
    Whether imitating 30 rimfire from a Krag or touching the upper end of a 300 PRC - I do my homework on pressure from both the proposed load (primer, powder, projectile, brass) and the firearm they are to be used with.

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    First part of the answer is that you have to answer this for yourself. Always consider the risks you are taking.
    Second part of the answer is - look into Gordon’s Reloading Tool or Quickloads software. Adjust parameters, predict the effects of your adjustments, and consider why your predictions were wrong. Enter parameters from the closest published load data, and consider the differences between the calculated vs published pressures & velocities (can be large). After you have a working physical model in your mind of what is going on… start in a safe zone before venturing out too far. If you can’t explain the physics that explains relationships between inputs & outputs, don’t go outside of published data. The software will be wrong, and you should know when, why, and how to respond.
    Third, a chronograph and Pressure Trace II are nice to have. Or, maybe pay a testing house to measure the pressures in your ammo.
    Fourth, consider the risk & morality of allowing other people to shoot ammo you made in this manner.
    Finally, consider these words as those of someone a bit arrogant and inexperienced.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy nhyrum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    I use quickload. I've got a couple odd balls and not so common bullets, but I also compare with Internet data as well. I pick a conservative starting point, see where the software says I should reach max pressures, and I carefully check for any signs of excessive pressure and STOP. at the first sign. I'm not looking to have an incident like Kentucky ballistics. Going off the book is NOT for the faint of heart, and I feel like you really need to understand the broader and finer aspects of what goes on inside the case, chamber, and barrel before diving in.

    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by nhyrum; 01-28-2022 at 01:12 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Modesto, Ca.
    Something to consider is that as pressure increases it causes burning rate to increase - which causes pressure to increase. This can lead to a vicious cycle that can cause an over-pressure situation. Different powders are designed not only to have differing burning rates, but also to operate in particular ranges of pressure. Increases in powder charge may give predictable pressure increases while they're within the design pressure range, but some powders can have exponential increases in pressure once they approach the upper limit of that design pressure curve. A particular powder that comes to mind is Blue Dot. It preforms fine while within it's normal pressure curve, but once it reaches the upper limits of that it becomes really spiky.

    This, and many other good reasons, is why I would recommend that you develop your loads by using published data from reputable bullet or powder manufacturers. They have the research equipment to see time pressure curves and things like that. Never start at or near to maximum listed loads, and always work up your loads in fraction of a grain increments that are appropriate for the size of cartridge that your shooting. The fundamental goal of developing a load should be an effort for best accuracy. Higher velocity and more power is of no importance if your not able to hit your target.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Harter66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    90 miles North of Texarkana 9 miles from OK in the green hell
    Lots of time in service with a single powder , lots of attention to detail , and functionally loading off the books 38s and testing in 357s . I mean if your test bed is built to run twice the ideal max of your cartridge it's not a big deal .

    There are some old stand bys that it's just really hard to screw up with , that doesn't mean you can't , it just means you have to work at it and do dumb stuff .
    It's also really easy to get in a mess where data was working then it's not .

    As an example I was working a load up for a .007 neck up mildcat in a brand new rifle . The charge was right on the numbers with the Chrono then about 1.5 gr from max in a 4+ gr charge window it goes flat . I flip the bolt open and eject a case with a .225 hole where the .210 LRP used to live . That was the day I learned bolt lift isn't an indicator of high pressure because with a fully gone primer there was no difference in lift . I also learned that one should weigh bullets from a new mould just in case your 27-130 FP casts .279-141 gr .......

    I don't know how to visualize 20 gr of brass but it's roughly the size of a pellet of Buck shot . That how much Remington 2000 production 06' and LC 43 will vary in capacity .

    It would pretty hard to get hurt using for example 260 Rem data in 7-08 or 7-08 data in 308 or 338 FC in 358 with 150 gr bullets . Don't go the other way , bad stuff happens . 270/280/06etc same deal .

    When you have data for the next bullet weight step but not for the one in hand , say a 140 gr bullet in a 270 win where data is most often for 130 and 150 gr use the 150 data for the 140 ....... Unless you have a situation where there is a large variation of case intrusion . The TTSX for example would be a train wreck waiting to happen for.lots of reasons .

    Slower powders for cartridge and bullet weight .
    Same case and weight down one caliber .
    Same case and caliber go up one weight .

    Don't go crazy with this , don't place absolute faith in digitally generated data .
    Do read manuals , do compare several sets of data , do use caution .
    Nothing here is absolute , there will always be deviations .

    There's no such thing as too many data sources .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

    I was young and stupid then I'm older now. Me 1992 .

    Richard Lee Hart 6/29/39-7/25/18

    Without trial we cannot learn and grow . It is through our stuggles that we become stronger .
    Brother I'm going to be Pythagerus , DiVinci , and Atlas all rolled into one soon .

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    SE WV
    Quickload goes a long way to allowing you to come up with untried combinations, as well as the fact that as cast bullet shooters we are very seldom trying to push the envelope on pressure. A big dose of common sense helps as well.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Analyze and filter for chosen cartridge/bullet (whether cast/PC'd/Jacketed):
    - Chosen Pressure regime
    - All powders that....
    ..-- 90-105% Fill
    ..-- 90-95% Burn
    ..-- Max velocity

    Usually winnow down to 3-4 most promising combo's,
    Loaded slightly (5-10%) short of target pressure for calibration
    Then out to range with a chronograph,
    Modify QL's initial powder burn speed, based on actual velocities, to get most probably actual pressure...

    ... Adjust from there for best grouping

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I am not a believer in the chronograph telling you much about how safe a load is. In fact, not a believer in using one at all...even though I own one. But if it works for smarter guys than I, so be it.

    If you decide to use one to evaluate the safety of your loads, get a detailed procedure of how to do it, and post it here for comments. I have never seen anything that makes sense.

    You are new to this reloading stuff. My advice is stay with published loads. I have never needed to "push" a square peg into a round hole so my needs have been met with safe loads. The only loads where I have gone "off the reservation" where low powdered loads for CAS. But I knew which powders could be safely downloaded.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Get all the data and information you can about your project. I have a 25 Krag AI 40degree rifle. There is no data for such a beast. But - research shows that it contains 2gr water greater than the 257 Roberts AI and 2gr water less than the 25-06. I have data for both thus I have windows of safety to load this cartridge. The more data you have the more intelligent decisions you can make.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    Generally speaking for me I'm going DOWN not up.

    4895 is a good example. They say you can go to 60% (or somewhere near there)

    So assuming a roughly 50 grain starting load. Devide by 10, get 5 grains per 10 %. Multiply times 4 (Reducing 60% leaves 40)
    get 20 grains. Now this may or may not cycle action. May have to be adjusted. In which case you don't go messing with all the variables at once. You go after them one at a time and take notes. Leave a trail as to how you got here.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth all of His creation worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    One way I have used when working with a wildcat round where no data is available is to start by finding water capacity and looking for a round with close to the same and using close to the same bullet weight. I then reduce to work up from. By finding this close cartridge it also gives me an idea of what powders to look at.

    I do chronograph when working up loads, watching extreme spread and standard deviation along with velocity. With most modern smokeless powders they have a "pressure range" where they perform best the ES and SD help to show this point as they are at the lowest. measuring case heads watching primers extraction ( bolt lift) all will give an idea of pressure.

    Always start at a lower point and work up slowly and carefully in small increments

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    Generally speaking for me I'm going DOWN not up.

    4895 is a good example. They say you can go to 60% (or somewhere near there)

    So assuming a roughly 50 grain starting load. Devide by 10, get 5 grains per 10 %. Multiply times 4 (Reducing 60% leaves 40)
    get 20 grains. Now this may or may not cycle action. May have to be adjusted. In which case you don't go messing with all the variables at once. You go after them one at a time and take notes. Leave a trail as to how you got here.
    Not exactly the correct procedure, use MAX load to compute from. Below is copied from Hodgdon's site.....

    "Hodgdon Powder Company has found that H4895 can be loaded to reduced levels. H4895was chosen because it is the slowest burning propellant that ignites uniformly in reduced charges. To create reduced loads, the 60% formula is recommended. Find the H4895 load in the Reloading Data Center for your caliber and bullet. Take the maximumH4895 charge listed and multiply by 60% (.6). The load may be adjusted up from there to achieve the desired velocity and accuracy. This works only where H4895 is listed. DO NOT use in a cartridge where H4895is not shown. Example: 30-06 cartridge with 125 gr. Sierra SP bullet. Max load shown in the Reloading Data Center with H4895 is 53.7 grains. 53.7 X .6 = 32.2 grains. The shooter begins with this load, and may work up from there to obtain the desired velocity and accuracy for his reduced load."
    An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "Inside me two wolves fight," he told the boy.
    "One is evil - he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, false pride, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, generosity, truth and faith. The same fight is inside you - and every other person, too."
    The grandson thought for a minute and asked,"Which wolf will win?"
    The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed."

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Sig556r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    West of H-Town
    13 grains of Red Dot...
    ...Speak softly & carry a big stick...

  18. #18
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

    waksupi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    First off, until you get completely comfortable with loading process, stick to the manuals. When you get to where you think you know it all, you have reached the point where you are probably just dangerous. You need to get to the point where you are always a bit worried if you are doing everything right.
    I use burn speed charts, compare powders to find one in the right range. It's nice if you have access to a chronograph. You can fire a group, then divide the FPS by grains of powder in the load, to get a real good idea how much velocity is gained per grain of powder.
    If accuracy goes away with a slow powder and you have reached full case capacity. step up in powder burn rate.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I’m not saying “don’t do it”, but it does remind me of something Abe Lincoln once said. He said, “ a man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client”. If you’re an expert at law, give it a try. Same applies to handloading. Be safe.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    In a word, "DON'T!". There are so many sources for load information, why would anyone risk their safety by trying to work up a load without a solid reference??
    "We take a thousand moments for granted thinking there will be a thousand more to come. Each day, each breath, each beat of your heart is a gift. Live with love & joy, tomorrow is not promised to anyone......"


    May the forest be with you....

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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