Rifle Reloading - Low Grain loads okay?


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Old 09-10-2009, 02:40 PM   #1
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Default Rifle Reloading - Low Grain loads okay?

I am completely new to Reloading, but have common sense involved with how reloading works.

My CETME is a blowback oriented semi-auto rifle, and I feel it might benefit very well to lower grain loads of it's .308 winchester rounds. It might be less to clean, and I don't think the rounds need too much push to get far out, especially because I mostly shoot at smaller targets indoors, at ranges that usually don't go over 25 yards. Even with lower grain loads, I will still get the high quality target projectiles, and I only settle for brass (my CETME didn't like steel, and I've noticed steel rounds and other than brass have a bad reputation on the service life of rifles, besides it also heated my rifle up more than normal, but that is a different forum topic, and I tackled that one on this website).

For those of you that have experience with rifle reloading, what kind of advice can you give me about lower grain loads of .308 winchester/other rifle calibers? What general advice can you give me about reloading?



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Old 09-10-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
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First things first NEVER EVER reduce loads below the book minimum loads.

Your best accuracy with the 308 comes from mid range powders, Varget, RL-15, IMR 4064 and IMR4895, H335. Also the most accuracy is going to be a load with the powder coming to the bottom of the neck this is I believe about 95% case capacity. My go to load is 42gr of RL-15 with a 168gr SMK now you can load down lower but a lower load may not burn as efficient as the 42gr load thus leaving some unburnt powder in the gas system or in the barrel. Many books give a section for bolt guns and semi-auto. I would see if there is a section in my book and check it. As the semi-auto rounds may call for nothing but ball powder.

If you reduce below book minimum you COULD end up with your face and receiver or bolt becoming at one with each other.



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Old 09-10-2009, 03:03 PM   #3
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I have been a reloader for 45 years now and I can tell you that advise is worth what you pay for it. My best suggestion is get every book you can and read. As a rule the faster burning powder are better to reduce loads with. Get a good modern manual and use their suggested starting loads. The are some inherant problem sometimes when you reduce loads below stating levels in the reloading manuals. Read read read.

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Old 09-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #4
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Sounds like big stuff, but I'll read books/get DVDs on the subject. What is ball powder? I know I opened more of a can of worms, but I was curious. You said that would be good for my semi-auto .308 rifle?

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Old 09-11-2009, 12:46 AM   #5
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You have a few different types of powder.

Ball powder is shaped like little balls.


Stick is just that little sticks.


Flake is powder that looks like black dandruf.

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Old 09-11-2009, 02:06 AM   #6
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I can see why Ball Powder would make sense for a rifle. What are the other powders commonly used for?

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Old 09-11-2009, 11:31 AM   #7
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Ball and stick type propellents are used in rifle and some pistol powders. Flake is shotgun with some pistol.

Most of your shotgun powders also work in your pistols as well.

My load for my 45acp uses Hodgdon Titegroup a shotgun target powder.

Ball powder in rifles tent to burn cleaner than some stick powders. Most of your stick powders were once military powder. That is how the powder company IMR got started they used old military pull down powder from artillery and small arms cartridges.

From my own research I have found that the stick powders are slightly more accurate in bolt guns.

I would get ABC's of Reloading, Hornady, Sierra, and Speer reloading manuals. Hodgdon powder puts out a yearly reloading manual that you can get in Borders book store in the magazine section. While not as comprenhensive as a full blown reloading manual it gives you some more reference data.

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Old 09-11-2009, 02:10 PM   #8
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Size and shape of the individual bits of powder effect the burn rate. Slow powders are generally larger/longer sticks (it takes longer to burn through a large stick than it does a small ball or flake).
There are ball powders that are slower than some stick powders (Win-296 vs. IMR 4227). Flake powders tend to be the fastest. Think of a flake as a shaved stick powder.

Density and coatings also effect burn rate.

ALWAYS refer to the book when working up a load.

Back on point, reduced loads are not a problem in the roller delayed blowback system of the CETME. If you are using commercial .308 brass you want to stay at least 2 grains uner the book max load anyway. .308 brass is thinner than 7.62 NATO brass. The CETME/HK extraction cycle is VERY violent and WILL shear off case heads. Commercial .308 loads are higher pressured than NATO ammo, with thinner brass, they do not hold up well in these chambers.

My standard load for these rifles (I have two) is about 2 grains under max. Book minimum loads will probably cycle just fine and may even be very accurate. They will cost less and tax the brass less.

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Old 09-13-2009, 11:27 PM   #9
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there are powders you can have problems with most you wont.If you do not have manuals stop right now and get them and read.Lees reloading book is good and so is Lymans cast bullet and #48 reloading.
the ball powder was made for WW2 loading as it is easier to make.it also measures better.
IMR= improved militay powder made by dupont.dupont never broke down surpluse powder they go back to the 1880s.hodgdon sold the surplus powder.
now they have bought out or operate the powder plants.
I am trying out ACC 2520 in my garands.it works the action with 31 gr. your gun may or may not work with this power.
Read Read.learn what your should be doing.you dont want to damage your gun and may be your self.



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