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Old 03-26-2020, 18:56   #1
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eye opening loads....

All, I've been loading for 7.62x51Nato for a while. It was one of the first rounds I reloaded. I have been trying to put together a really accurate "M-80 Ball Duplicate", and I've just had some startling results, regarding powders.
You see, I came into an 8lb. jug of reclaimed WC846 powder. It's pulldown, meaning cartridges were disassembled, and the powder reclaimed. It says clearly on the bottle to treat like Hodgdon BLC-2(Ball-2). Well, it's nothing like BLC-2. Thankfully, I only loaded 10 rounds, so I only have 8 to disassemble.
Let me explain:
I perused old military load data, the interwebs, even talked to a ballistician at a major U.S. Army installation(Hummer70 knows this place like the back of his hand), as well as any other load data I could find. I even reviewed the data from development of the t-65 cartridge. O.k., I thought, I should be in somewhat calm water here........
I understand that WC846, being a non-canister powder, has much "looser" burn rate identification than canister powders available to handloaders. I also know that the specs for WC846 were split into fast and slow lots, and this is where WC-844 came from, being a faster burning lot of WC-846. Therefore, when "SWAGGING" load data for this pulldown powder, my thoughts were to stay well under the BLC-2 max, as well as the H-335(WC-844) max.
44.5 grains, under a 150 grn FMJ should be about correct, out of a M1A. This is below the starting load(Hodgdon) of BLC-2, and below max for H-335(WC-844). I used CCI #34 primers, as this was recommended, as well.
For testing, I chrono'd some regular old M80 ball ammo, and got 2793 FPS at the muzzle, average and in line with M-80 ball velocities from a 22" M1A barrel.
The I fired one of my handloads with 44.5 grains of pulldown WC-846. I got 2980 FPS. Thinking that my chrono was stupid(although also verified w/ a labradar), I loaded 1 more and got 2986 FPS.
A 2 shot average of about 185 FPS over what M80 ball should run. I stopped at that and called it a day for that rifle. The moral of the story is that no load data, new or old, from trusted friends or strangers, will work with powder that isn't 100% known. I don't know exactly what powder I have, but the Army manual states 46 grains with a 147 grain ball fmj bullet. I probably would have wrecked the rifle with that charge, I'm glad I started low, as even my "low" charge was way too hot.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:33   #2
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Does that mean you'll be able to load a lot less powder in each case, to achieve a desired velocity, and get " more bang for your buck" so to speak? You'll get a freebie for every 10 you load!��
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:09   #3
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I'm hoping, but with such a major variance in velocity, I'm wondering if the jug I have, which is labelled WC-846, really is WC-846. It seems to be much faster burning, and nothing like WC-846 at all.
Maybe someone can offer some advice on this?
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:31   #4
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I always heard that MC-846 varies more from load to load from the non pull down variety. I too got an eight pound jug. I loaded down a lot and worked my way up. Found a load that works well with LC brass and 150 FMJ bullets. Then I stopped. It too wasn't anywhere near 46 grains. More like 42. I wrote the load on the ammo can where the rounds are stored. Have a couple pounds of it left. I found it shot very nicely on every rifle I tried it with.
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:34   #5
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Don't military producers of power adjust the load based on the powder and not worry so much about exact consistency from batch to batch like those who make powders for reloaders where inconsistency of even a little bit could have bad results?
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:15   #6
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DH-
You are absolutely correct. When the various arsenals get powder shipments, it is in railcar quantities. They do their own pressure/velocity testing, and load cartridges based on that. We, of course can measure velocities, but not so much pressure.
Your 42 grain load is very close to what my extrapolation comes out to. I'm extrapolating(based on only the two shots I chronoed) 41.77 grn to achieve an average muzzle velocity of 2800 fps.
Also, I got a chance to examine the 2 cases I fired. the primers are completely flattened, the case shows obvious stretching circumferentially, and there is absolutely no soot at all, anywhere. There is also slight cratering of the firing pin indent. All indications of high pressure. Those 2 cases are trashed.
One thing I noticed was how fast the action operated. Usually, when shooting a Garand/M14/M1A, there is a barely perceivable bang,clip,clop when firing. Perhaps it is more felt through the butt stock than heard. Bang of the cartridge going off, the "clip" of the bolt traveling rearward, and the "clop" of the bolt traveling forward, stripping a fresh round, chambering, and locking.
The 2 I fired were simply "BOOM", and that's it. The action was moving way too fast.
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Old 03-28-2020, 15:10   #7
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That makes for some hot loads. I run mine in my GSR, Milspec, and other things. I used it for my general day plinking loads since it was cheaper than my more specialized loads I used in the Milspec for distance. I had purchased 7k of the Hornady 150 grain fmj's to use and a crap load of 70's LC brass. Had to use a small base die to get them to work in the bolt guns. Back when I also had an AR10, M1A, and a L1A1 the load also worked well in all three of them. The M1A beside the Bolt Guns had the tightest chamber.
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Old 03-28-2020, 16:39   #8
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my m1a is pretty tight, also. It's actually a great shooter, around 1.5-2.0 moa with irons. And the hornady 150's you mention are awesome bullets as far as fmjs are concerned. Very consistant.
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Old 04-07-2020, 13:49   #9
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I don't see that you mentioned what cases you are using.
That can make a Huge difference.
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Old 04-08-2020, 04:31   #10
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Good catch, hylander. They are federal commercial cases. None are military cases.
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:42   #11
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Update-
42.0 grs. of this powder avg'd 2832 FPS, with an SD of 19. Still somewhat flat primers, and over my target of 2780 FPS, Dropping load to 41.0 Grs.
BTW-I still like WLR and Rem 9 1/2 primers over CCI34's.
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:38   #12
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I am using LC Brass, Winchester Primers, Hornady 150 FMJ's. My load is a little different that yours. Don't want people to mimic without testing. No flattened primers. Shoot them from my GSR and my Milspec with excellent results. I did chrono my loads and they were in the 2700 range.
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Old 04-11-2020, 18:50   #13
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I don't own any rifle that chambered, still interested threads related to loading .308 as I load for the '06 bolt action I do own.
As usual rangers posts a thread worth reading.
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:17   #14
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Update-
Dropped the load again to 41.2grn of "WC-846". All other parameters remain the same. Chrono'ed this powder charge, and my average is 2770 FPS. Standard deviation is 15.33, for 20 rounds. Hits to virtually the same point of impact as standard M-80 ball rounds. Ran the ladder test out to 300 yards, and the sight settings are on, within 1 click.
The action is running more correctly, and the brass isn't nearly as mangled.
I think I'll stop here for now.
I still have ever so slightly flattened primers, but I am attributing this to the depth at which I'm seating them. They're .009 below flush, and they are being shoved back against the bolt when they "pop". The cups of the CCI-34 are thinner than either the Rem 9 1/2, or Win LR, as I haven't had as much flattening with them.
I'm gonna try to use some of those in a test, but I expect to see higher SD's.
As for now, I loaded 569 rounds last night, and put them into storage for SHTF.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:30   #15
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As a powder ages it loses it's less bonded and suspended elements such as ether, thus mass.
A given weight at one time can have less volume than the same weight at a later date.
This may only be small increments of change but when loads near the maximum are used care must be given.
ex. 30 Herrett 145 gr. cast (7.62x39 close cousin but higher pressure)
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:46   #16
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Forgot about evaporation of the solvents and stabilizers. Another good catch....
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