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Stable Powder

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Unread 12-02-2005, 11:26 AM
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Re: Stable Powder

GG, I use Hodgdon Extreme whenever I can and have done so since it came out. I live in the wooly north which happens also be a semi arid desert when the sun shines. I know all about temp ranges.

Over the years, I have played with adjusting loads for the seasons but when we get into the fall and you can go from freezing to 80deg in 4 hours during hunt, not so good.

After switching to H powders, my drop charts have stayed stable from summer through to winter. I mean, range, dial up, shoot, hit. All come ups remain within the click or two depending on other ambient conditions (non seasonally dependent).

So take what you will from this. I have repeated this is all my LR hunting rifles which have numbered quite a few over the years.

Yep, better chemistry and it seems to work. Temp stable yes, lot stable no. I have worked with several lots of H4350 and H4831SC. ALL were quite different from the previous lots but they all were stable within their load.

Accuracy/velocity eventually ended up being the same but with different amounts of powder. So always work up with a new lot number.

As to the military needing wanting temp stable powders, the answer is a big fat YES. They have them now!!!! The stuff that is bottled by Western powders come mostly from Belgium. The Euros and Swedes have really pushed the development of powders and are getting some really cool results.

First problem is fouling in gas systems. Although 'solved' a while back with the post Vietnam AR's, new powders are even cleaner allowing for a firefight to not cause any fouling related trouble.

Temp stable, you bet your sand mask. NATO must engage from the Artic to the Sahara and they don't separate ammo for the seasons. They were having severe problems with ammo both over and under pressure with old ball stuff. This was compounded by the shorter barrels of the new M4's (wildly varing muzzle velocities leading to grief in the stopping department).

Solution was to make temp stable powders. I think the Aussies came up with it first. Where Varget was invented. The first in the new gen of temp stable 'extreme' powders.

Of course, you have heard maybe used the special stuff that give Hornady and Federal goofy performance without excessive pressures? These special loading powders are military based in design and allow cases like the 308 to be supercharged. Ever wonder how some NATO spec ammo is now so fast?

Now, powder research is going one step further and addressing an enormous firearms problem, copper fouling. Don't know who makes it but there is a non cannister powder that is supposed to strip copper fouling from the bore. Essentially, eliminating copper fouling as you fire. Powder is presently being used in some 204Ruger ammo so the article said.

The chemistry of gunpowder is not likely to slow down anytime soon. In time, we will be the benefactor. For now, buy a bottle and try them. They might just change your mind.

By the way, the Hodgdon Extreme is one of the most accurate powders I use. This stuff will shoot BR accurate if the rifle is up to it. Do respond very well to match primers too.

You could have a load that under normal hunting conditions, you can depend on to get the job done. Good stuff...

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Unread 12-02-2005, 06:40 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
Re: Stable Powder


I appreciate your post and value your opinion.
However, I will have to agree to disagree with you on this subject.

I use Benchmark (a so called extreme powder) in my 6br, and Varget (extreme powder) in my 6br improved fast twist, and H4831sc (extreme powder) in my 22bjbft, and H1000 (extreme powder) in my old 22-284, and have developed loads for other guns numbering in the several dozens in which the rifle's preferred powder was Hodgdon, so I know a little about these powders. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

My current 6br loading from summer is now shooting 65 fps slower, my 6br improved is now shooting 78 fps slower, my 22 bjb is now shooting 130 fps slower, and my winter load for the 22-284 lost 175 fps from summer loads!!

Now, if you are just out shooting at large or medium sized targets at intermediate ranges, even the 65 fps difference in the 6br is still going to allow you to hit your target while being none the wiser as to what happened. Only chronographing these loads in both temperatures will show you a difference in velocity.

65 fps drop might still be minute-of-coyote, but if you have a hot rod that will only shoot well 20 fps either side of x velocity, you are now going to have to find a new charge weight! Incidentally, my 6br will shoot well (.5") with almost any charge of Benchmark, but if I want the almighty .25" group, it has to be custom tailored load for the conditions on that very same day! THis is why the 100 yard BR competitors load their ammo on the spot a few minutes before the match starts.

ANd by the way, one of the largest producers of custom, non traceable 50 bmg ammo used by our snipers in Afghanistan right now is located just a few blocks from my home and they "tinker" with loads just the same as us hobbyists do to chase that magical pressure that a specific rifle likes. And they use propellant you and I cannot purchase and their primers and bullets.....you can forget about ever trying some of those! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Unread 12-02-2005, 09:21 PM
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Re: Stable Powder

GG, your point is well taken.

There may be a very slight difference (assume of course that the error in the chrony does not exceed your measured differences in velocity). How much is 1 to 2% of 3000fps? Ever get a different reading depending on where the sun is?

Not enough to change the sub MOA type accuracy I want. For LR hunting, that proves to be insignificant. I would be more concerned about mirage wind or changing light conditions then my load.

Ultimately, does the change affect your drop table and your ability to engage the intended target at distance? If the answer is no, you have a stable load.

Compared to other powders, the hodgdon stuff is as good as it gets. At least until the military dumps their powders in a decade or two.

We don't get to play with the Western stuff up here much so would be interested in feedback. Playing with Re25 and it seems to work ok so far. However, now that it is cold, staying indoors and doing renos.

At least we should be happy, that we get to play with 90's technology today. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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Unread 12-04-2005, 01:26 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Joseph Oregon
Posts: 115
Re: Stable Powder

Well thanks guys this was alot more information then i was expecting.

Im curious about JT's comment "Ultimately, does the change affect your drop table and your ability to engage the intended target at distance? If the answer is no, you have a stable load." Are you talking about conditions or the powder?

Thanks guys.
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Unread 12-04-2005, 08:29 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas born and raised
Posts: 752
Re: Stable Powder

What it all boils down to for me is, that I hunt with all of my rifles. I hunt year round for hogs, and coyotes. Some are shot at arms lenght from the muzzle and some are shot at out past 400 yds.

Now using the average sized hog we shoot as a comparison to a deer or elk or even a coyote, I can tell you that, if you load your ammo based on the average high temps of the year, then your going to be for the most part completely safe in doing so, and your loads will more than likely not change enough to notice out to 400 yds. in a normal hunting situation. By this I am saying that I have been around some really great shooters, and have only on one or two occaisions in the past 20 years heard one say that they missed the exact hair they were shooting at.

Now if your shooting like GG and some of the others do at ranges out past 800 - 1500 yds on a constant basis, or making such long shots that you have to have a bench rest afield or something other than a standard bi-pod or set of sticks, then you might be a little more particular. If your hunting like we do, where most of your shots are spur of the moment oppurtunities, sometimes you have a good rest sometimes not, depending on the situation, then most loads which will group in around 1" at 200 yds. should serve you just fine.

If your not loading to max pressures to begin with then using the Extreme line of powders will work out fine for you and I doubt very seriously that you will ever notice the lower end of the velocities in the colder temps. If your in doubt then just keep your ammo tucked away inside of your shirt or pants pocket until you get ready for it. That way it will at least be somewhat warmer than the ambient temps.

WE realy don't get much weather that is down below freezing for to many days in a row down here, and our average high is around 96 during the summer. Sometimes it will hit several days of 100+ temps. So I try to work within those parimeters. IF I do hit a high temp developement day, then I just go with it. I do however recheck that same load several time afterwords. It may not groups as well. It's happened several times. As for the colder temps, I have only had one load that was absolutely noticable in the colder temps. However if this is a concern you can always head out like GG and do a little testing in the coldest temps just to make note of the changes.

Good luck with your loads and if I were you I would concentrate on finding the best comprimise of velocity and groups. Then worry about the temps being a factor. If you find a powder that shoots really well go back and pick up a couple of pounds of the same lot number. At least then you will have a decent supply of the same stuff and won't have to rework your loads for a while.

Just my .02
Mike / Tx

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Unread 12-04-2005, 09:24 PM
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Re: Stable Powder

I was refering to the powder but it applies to both. When I test, it is over a wide range of temperature (I try and shoot year round). I check the scope with the ammo and rangefinder, and drop chart.

I use a Leica 800 rangefinder so have a useable 900+yds.

I leave the rifle out in the present conditions for a few minutes while I set up. Then with a cold barrel, I pick a smallish rock in the distance, range, dial up, dope, and shoot. My goal is to have one shot hits over a wide range of conditions.

The loads using Extreme powders fall within the sub MOA accuracy I want all the way out regardless of the seasons. That is what I mean by stable. I do miss, on occasion but the shot misses left or right. The elevation is correct.

Now I just focus on doping the winds (that still needs a lot of work).

to simulate hunting, I use a Bull bag filled with sand on the hood of my truck. That's it. Actually, a very stable set up.

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Unread 12-05-2005, 12:08 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Joseph Oregon
Posts: 115
Re: Stable Powder

Mike/TX Yeah my shootins pretty close to yours so ill just kinda emulate yeah.


Just two more weeks of school and then it to the range or workin.
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