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Fast Powders and AutoMags

Printed From: AMT Guns information
Category: Auto Mag Pistol
Forum Name: Message Board
Forum Description: Message Board
URL: http://www.amtguns.info/forum_posts.asp?TID=2251
Printed Date: 17 Jan 2018 at 12:47pm


Topic: Fast Powders and AutoMags
Posted By: desertmoon
Subject: Fast Powders and AutoMags
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2017 at 1:22am
So, like most of you, I ran stuff like 296 and comparable powders in my AutoMag ( early TDE ) back in the day.  I developed my loads up from the middle until I got the gun to run.  It really didn't take long.

There was little on the AutoMag "net-wise" back in the "earlier" days of the net as a lot of the old timers hadn't made it to the net quite yet so there wasn't anything really steering me away from using the fast powder loads in my AutoMag.

I had used the old Hornady Volume II from 1974 and, like my 296 loads, I started in the middle and BEGAN to work my way up.  I never did get the gun to fully cycle reliably and I never got back to the project before I sold the gun.

One thing that had puzzled me was that my second set of loads was almost as soft as my first.  It wasn't until last night, going over the data with a fellow AutoMag aficionado that I realized that my loads were run through STARLINE cases as to where the DEVELOPERS AT HORNADY used reformed Speer .308 RIFLE cases which, of course have a much smaller volume and thusly developed higher pressures with less powder.


So, I have been giving this a lot of thought and I know a lot of folks don't like using fast powders in their guns....but please listen to my line of reasoning as to why I think there is a use for fast powders in the platform.

Most folks are pushing bullets FAST for power or distance...and that is one thing that the AutoMag was designed to do....

...but I began to think, "Well, why not also have lower velocity or midrange velocity loads that use a fast, more efficient powder to cycle the gun effectively but not necessarily push a bullet at 1300 or 1400 feet per second.

If, in a high volume casing, you use a moderate, fast powder load to drive a bullet at 1100 to 1200 fps...what is wrong with that?  You aren't approaching max pressures, you are NOT trying to hot rod...you are just using a fast burning powder with a different pressure curve in order to use the gun efficiently at LOWER velocities.

I am thinking of picking up where I left off and making a few Unique loads for my AutoMag. 

I don't see much of a fault in my logic.

WHICH IS WHY I MADE THIS POST.

Is there a fault in my reasoning?  Again, I am NOT trying to push bullets fast....in fact, quite the opposite.  Think of it as the AutoMag version of the classic 4.5 grain "Bullseye Load" for the 1911.

Am I missing anything?  Would love to hear everyone's thoughts.






Replies:
Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2017 at 2:50pm
First off, I am no expert in loading for the Auto Mag.  I have not experimented and have only used 296 and H110 like the Experts have recommended.

Fast powders in magnum auto loaders have never worked well.  The pressure spikes early and goes down quickly and won't cycle the firearm  reliably.  This is true in pistols as well as rifles.  The pressure vs. time curve must match what is needed for that particular action.

From what I have read, 296 and H110 meet the pressure/time requirement the best and also give top velocity.

Get a Wildey.  With their gas system you can get about anything within reason to work.  They recommend Blue Dot because it burns clean and does not clog up the gas ports and that is all I have used.  I have a friend who uses 296 and gets amazing velocities but he cleans the gas system after every range visit.  To clean the gas system, you must remove the rib, gas valve, and piston and it is a pain in the ass.  With Blue Dot you can shoot 300 to 500 rounds between cleaning.


Posted By: Luc V.
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2017 at 9:15am
Desertmoon, I understand what you want.
I did the same thing for my 44AutoMag and came up with very good results when using Ramshot True Blue powder. That powder has about the same burning rate as Blue dot.
 
Do a search on this forum for True Blue and you will find my test results with pressure, velocity, accuracy etc.
I still use this load and have shot over 1000 rounds with this powder in my pistol. Works well and very clean burning.
 


Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2017 at 1:07pm
Blue dot is very nice powder to work with and I have used a lot of it in the Wildey's and various 10mm's.

It is not what I call a "fast burning" powder though.  It is far too slow for most pistol cartridges except for the magnums and heavy bullet loads in 10mm and such.

Here is Alliant's description:   



http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/blue_dot.aspx" rel="nofollow - Blue DotSmokeless magnum shotshell & handgun

  • Powder of choice for magnum loads
  • Consistent
  • Accurate


http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx" rel="nofollow - http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2017 at 4:57am
Thank you for the info, guys!!!!  I appreciate it.




Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 1:21pm
Consider Blue Dot a "faster" powder than the normally used and recommended 296/110.  I use a lot on 45's both colt and ACP but after a call to Hodgdon  I am thinking of replacing my much used Blue Dot with Long Shot.  Interesting that someone made the reference that Blue Dot is a cleaner burning powder than 296/110, not my experience as that is the reason I am looking at changing powders for my mid power loadings.  If you want to experiment with a faster powder for the Automag a good candidate should be Long Shot, which was the recommendation of Hodgdon engineering.  BTW after using many pounds of 231 for my lower power choice for 40 years I am also looking at replacing that for a cleaner burning Tightgroup.

Interesting that in the 70's Speer manual the recommended loading for the 357 Automag showed the best velocity in 140 grain bullet was Blue Dot.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 3:49pm
In my experience, H110/296 send a lot of unburnt powder down the barrel and out the muzzle.  This causes problems for the Wildey as the gas ports are very tiny holes and plug easily with this.

Blue Dot, for me, has always been a very clean burning powder in relation to the other 'magnum powders'.  It does need to be loaded to fairly high pressures to burn clean though.  The Wildey's and the 10mm's fill the bill.  The 45 ACP and most of the 45 Colt loads are loaded at too low a pressure for Blue Dot to burn clean.

I agree with you that the newer powders that are out now are a lot cleaner burning than what I started out with.  The new Unique is even fairly clean burning.


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 6:22pm
A difference between flake and ball powder.  Having used over 50 pounds of 296 and twenty pounds of Blue Dot I have not seen what you are saying as much as you imply.  When we first did loadings for Automags it was 200 grain with 630.  I went to exclusively 296/110 for all my magnum pistol loads and really have not used anything else.  I guess the gas ports on all my Eagles are not as particular as the Wildley.  All my loadings with 296 are over 42,000 so have been getting pretty good burning in the classic magnums and keeping over 50K in the Automags does not leave much in the barrel.  The admonition of heavy crimp for using 296 is really a requirement.  Now when you get over 60K with the 460 S&W i don't see any fouling left at all.

Since I mentioned heavy crimp.  Yes I do crimp all my 296 loads very well.  If using this powder you really need to do this.  With my rimmed stuff it can be a bit hard on the brass but I still get 10-20 loadings in standard 44 Mag and since my Automag is fed from 7.62 NATO blank stock it will likely not wear out.  How to crimp 44 Automag, well, have been using the RCBS taper crimp die forever and with a heavy crimp it still head spaces properly and with 29 GR under a 180 XTP functions well and fairly clean.  Without a heavy crimp you will get a lot of unburned stuff.  The reason for this is you need to get as much of the powder involved in the burn before the burn chamber starts expanding.  When the burn chamber expands the powder will become less likely to start grains that have not already started to burn.  This is not unlike the behavior of powders in higher altitudes (yes they burn different at 10,000 feet than at sea level).

Now about faster powders for Automags.  Yes you can and the reason I mentioned Long Shot was it is supposed to be much cleaner than Blue Dot and fits between Blue Dot and 296 on the speed charts.  As has been mentioned before faster powders can be problematic with something a picky as an Automag.  How do you get the total recoil moment high enough with keeping chamber pressure to standable levels for the gun and brass.  You could end up with a lot of primer pockets blown out so that the primers will now be too loose to use.  You have to have enough recoil moment to operate the action or you loose functional reliability.  Recoil moment is the amount of counter energy developed while the bullet is in the barrel plus the amount of back energy the escaping gasses cause into the equation.  The Automag is operated by this concept.  if you take recoil moment out by any means the equation is going to unbalance.  This will cause the action to not see enough backward force to properly cycle.  You walk a fine line with the Automag, not enough and it will not cycle, too much and damage can happen.  The Automag platform is one of the tightest of machines to load within these limits.  My Eagles are very forgiving in comparison, 357 to 50.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 6:52pm
One thing that had puzzled me was that my second set of loads was almost as soft as my first.  It wasn't until last night, going over the data with a fellow AutoMag aficionado that I realized that my loads were run through STARLINE cases as to where the DEVELOPERS AT HORNADY used reformed Speer .308 RIFLE cases which, of course have a much smaller volume and thusly developed higher pressures with less powder.

I would like to address this since I use 7.62 NATO blank brass cut down.  I have not seen that much of this as the web of the brass is quite thick.  If this was true 29 GR of 296 under a 180 GR XTP would be a problem.  Reduce to 28 GR and action cycling goes quite unreliable.  29 goes bang very well, the action cycles perfect (although picking up a round from the mag with seven loaded can be a problem), and the brass is easy to reuse.  Now if you were to load the standard 240 GR bullets I could see this becoming an issue since the bullet seats much deeper into the case than a 180.  This goes to the idea that each gun is a separate beast and has to be loaded for on a very personal basis.  My loads I use will likely not work well in your gun.  When the major bullet makers of the time were coming up with the loading info it would have been good of them to make mention that everything you do and all changes made from their testing components could change things drastically.  Call the Automag the "Snowflake" gun, none of them are exactly the same and all respond slightly different to anything you do with them.  This could be just as easy the personality of your gun as much as the loading info.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 3:13am
Originally posted by BEEMER1 BEEMER1 wrote:

Blue dot is very nice powder to work with and I have used a lot of it in the Wildey's and various 10mm's.

It is not what I call a "fast burning" powder though.  It is far too slow for most pistol cartridges except for the magnums and heavy bullet loads in 10mm and such.

Here is Alliant's description:   



http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/blue_dot.aspx" rel="nofollow - Blue DotSmokeless magnum shotshell & handgun

  • Powder of choice for magnum loads
  • Consistent
  • Accurate


http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx" rel="nofollow - http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx

BTW Blue Dot originally was a heavy load shotgun powder that just also happens to work well with pistols.  Kind of like 296/110 was the original powder developed for the 30 Carbine M1.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 3:44am
Lot's of great info!!!  Thanks, Gang!!!

By the way, one of my thought experiments was the running of lead bullets at lower velocities to keep from "smearing" lead down the barrel.

It was just a thought....but it was intended as increasing the flexibility of the gun...but I don't know that you could run lead slow enough and still cycle the action fast enough to get the right blend of projectile performance AND reliability.


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 1:18pm
Originally posted by desertmoon desertmoon wrote:

Lot's of great info!!!  Thanks, Gang!!!

By the way, one of my thought experiments was the running of lead bullets at lower velocities to keep from "smearing" lead down the barrel.

It was just a thought....but it was intended as increasing the flexibility of the gun...but I don't know that you could run lead slow enough and still cycle the action fast enough to get the right blend of projectile performance AND reliability.

You can get hardened lead bullets or gas checked lead bullets that will not lead foul the barrel at surprisingly high velocities, I use 335 GR gas checked hardened lead bullets for my 460 S&W with 38 GR of 296 under them and no appreciable leading in the barrel.

Leads to ask the question, which is easier to clean out copper fouling or lead fouling?  Both get scrubbed, and both have special cleaners available.  BTW Sweets can be rough on a barrel if not used correctly.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 19 Nov 2017 at 2:33am
I find copper easier, generally.  God, when you get a sheet of lead in a barrel....PHEW!!!

I wish mercury was a bit safer to use ( i.e. keep around the house ) ....I'd just plug the bore and let the lead amalgamate.


Posted By: Travis Morgan
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2017 at 5:28pm
Originally posted by desertmoon desertmoon wrote:


I wish mercury was a bit safer to use ( i.e. keep around the house ) ....I'd just plug the bore and let the lead amalgamate.

Speaking of amalgams; I've had so many dental fillings - (since they used me as a guinea pig to experiment on through a government 'free healthcare' program right from kindergarten up to about grade nine) ... I'm sure that the government will probably have to declare me a 'super fund site' when I die and get buried! 

All that mercury hasn't had any affect on me over all these years (twitch, twitch)!




Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2017 at 5:40pm
Originally posted by Travis Morgan Travis Morgan wrote:


All that mercury hasn't had any affect on me over all these years (twitch, twitch)!




Yeah, me neither.  I'm derrrrrrrrrrrrrr just fine.  Derrrrrrrrr......Dead


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 12:47am
Originally posted by Rocketthon Rocketthon wrote:

You can get hardened lead bullets or gas checked lead bullets that will not lead foul the barrel at surprisingly high velocities

What style lead bullet (or mold) would be typical or even best for the .44 AMP? I'm an experienced caster, so I'm curious


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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 30 Dec 2017 at 12:50pm
Back in the day we had some success with the Speer 225 GR half jacket semi-wadcutter.  That bullet is no longer available but it was a bit different from the Keith type in that it had a slightly smaller and more tapered nose.  We used some button type castings in 45's and they fed and functioned well, i guess that would also work for AM's.  If you find a truncated cone with a smaller nose and more taper than the usual it should work.  Avoid sharp shoulders and straight lines on exposed lead and you should get something to work.  As always your gun(s) will exhibit their own personality, what will work for one likely will not work well on another.

On gas checks and hardening.  Be careful with gas checks, if you don't have a locking lip like Hornady's you risk leaving the gascheck in the barrel in rare occasions, hard on the gun with the next round fired.  Hardening of bullets can be in two ways, metallurgy or heat treating, either works so experimenting will help you in the long run.  I have found that 5% linotype is pretty good for velocities in an Automag but if you do a lighter bullet faster then 10% is good.  Made a canvas chute into a five gallon bucket of water to drop the bullets out of the mold into, this did a pretty good job of hardening but you have to let the bullets get pretty well solidified in the mold before you knock them out or they will egg.  Have also heard putting them in the oven at a moderate heat, 300-400 degrees and then a water bath does the job.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2018 at 4:09pm
I've hardened bullets both ways, so I'm familiar with that - cool. Great info on the gas-checks; I wouldn't have been aware of that issue. Avoid straight lines and sharp shoulders - got it.

Thank you for the advice :)


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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 5:11pm
I can't find any round-nose .44-mag bullet-molds to my satisfaction, so I'm looking at the RCBS 240gr gas-checked SWC mold:



The ogive seems rounded enough to feed decently (one hopes), so I may get one just to try it and seat it like a .45acp SWC.


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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 8:14pm
If you want lead to work reliably in a AutoMag, you better be shooting real heavy bullets and/or doing a lot of testing of powders to make sure you got the right combo.  WW296 is not good for slow and heavy lead, and fast lead will make a mess of your gun even the hard cast stuff. 

Dont believe me, then go ahead and try and you will suffer it for yourself.  -Joe


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 8:43pm
I do plan on shooting mostly copper jacketed bullets eg XTPs, but I figured it might be nice to have a backup - something with which to experiment, if you will. I understand your points, Joe - I'm big on slugging the bore to check for true size, very familiar with hardening (and softening) alloys, etc. all to minimize leading and improve performance. Good tip on the WW296 - thank you.


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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2018 at 11:51am
Heavy and hard lead shot at modest velocities will work without making a mess of your barrel, but you need some other powder then WW296. 

Some here have used Blue Dot and some tried Unique.  I did not like either and have ended up staying with WW296 and just shooting faster rounds.

Someone once recommended AA-9 and maybe even AA-7 but I cant remember who and what they said.  I think the fellow from Europe recommended some other powder I never heard of. 

So there are some options, but you need to do a lot of testing to see what works for you and any time you are working with unknown powders and have no loading date to start with you are taking a chance of breaking your gun.  Just fair warning. 

Good Luck -Joe


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2018 at 11:31pm
Yes, sir - understood! I'll be going into this slow and careful.




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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Gerry
Date Posted: 17 Jan 2018 at 1:38am
Have been an active caster for the last 6-8 yrs. Have you checked NOE or Accurate bullets. NOE has a 44 mag mold in the ranch dog section. They have a copy of the SSK mold in 270 gr and 310grs. 
I have never tried cast bullets in my pistol. Reading the old literature, I never remember any info on cast bullets in the automag. 
If you want a sample of a few bullets to try, pm me what you are interested in.
Gerry
MI



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