Factory ammo powder

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by upacreek, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. upacreek

    upacreek Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone figured out if factory ammo uses powder the rest of can buy? This week loaded up some 7wsm up to max recommended loads. Then shot them trying to find what worked best. I also shot some winchester supreme factory loads. The factory loads were 200-250 fps faster, and my reloads had almost no pressure signs compared to the winchester ammo. I want to pull some winchester bullets apart to weigh the charge, but won't know what powder it is. So does the factory use "special" powder? Or the same stuff we can get? Anyone know?
     
  2. lloydsmale

    lloydsmale Well-Known Member

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    since winchester and hodgdon are in the same company sort of id bet its a powder like hogdon super performance. Re17 is another one that will give real good velocitys out of the short mags.
     

  3. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    upacreek,

    Factory ammunition often uses what are known as "non-canister" powders. These are powders which are often produced for very specific needs or cartridges, and frequently have no commercial equivalent. This is especially true when dealing with more recent introductions such as the WSMs or RSAUMs cartridges. This is why they frequently produce substantially more velocity than handloaders can safely duplicate, using the limited range of canister grade powder we have available to us.

    Trying to duplicate factory ammo by visually identifying the powder is a fool's errand, and it'll get you into some serious trouble if you push the issue. Don't go there.
     
  4. TimeOnTarget

    TimeOnTarget Well-Known Member

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    I experienced the same thing with the 300wsm. Never did find a powder that would duplicate factory ammo velocities. RL 17 and i believe it was w780 seemed to produce the closest to factory vel but lacked in the accuracy dept.
     
  5. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    The factory powder is a BLEND to give their ammo exactly what the factory wants. YOU cant buy it because the factory doesnt have that much of it. Next batch to get loaded gets a different blens of different powders to again....give the factory what they wish.
     
  6. lloydsmale

    lloydsmale Well-Known Member

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    true kevin but powders like super perfromance are the non canister powders they used for a couple years and finally released to the public.
     
  7. Max Heat

    Max Heat Well-Known Member

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    That makes it sound as if they are trying to make use of whatever powders that they have an excess inventory of,at the time. But that implies that there could be significant lot-to-lot variations in factory ammo charactoristics and performance. Although I seldom use it myself, I was always of the belief that factory ammo was supposed to be very consistant lot-to-lot, year-to-year, and decade-to-decade. Is that NOT true?
     
  8. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    lloydsmale,

    Absolutely correct, but until they do, the true "factory duplication" powder isn't available to handloaders. When the 7mm STW was introduced many years ago, handloaders quickly found that they couldn't duplicate the performance of factory ammo in this caliber. It wasn't until they cut loose with IMR7828 (which was used in the initial loadings of the STW) that we could actually match factory ammo. Ditto for several other cartridge/powder combinations. I suspect this is precisely what you're seeing with the WSMs and some of the other new short mag families of cases. Give it time, and the real powder may hit the shelves. Until then, you just can't get there from here.
     
  9. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Max Heat,

    No, but they do generally load to a specific set of criteria, and in that sense, it stays pretty uniform. May be entirely different powders involved in different lots of "the same" ammo, but the performance should be very similar.

    When a major loading operation sets out for a run, they have a set of parameters they require the ammunition to stay within. Very specific limits on pressures, on accuracy requirements, velocity, SD and ES, port pressure (in certain cartridges), temp sensitivity for some loadings, etc., but rarely is there a requirement for a specific powder. Lake City's vaunted M118, for example, has been loaded with at least three powders since I've been testing/certifying them; IMR4895, WC-750 and RL-15. Two canister grade powders and one non-canister powder. Yet, the performance and specifications of the M118 ammo remained constant throughout, and all met the performance standards. So yes, it should remain reasonably constant, but no, it may not be "the same" load exactly.
     
  10. Max Heat

    Max Heat Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense. They are the "experts", when it comes to blending different powders - something that the handloader would NEVER be encouraged or advised to try. THEY obviously have all of the big-dollar equipment needed to insure the safety and consistant performance of their ever-changing blends.
     
  11. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Max Heat,

    Actually, it even goes a bit beyond that. If you buy enough powder at a time, there are some makers that will work with the customer to tailor a particular powder to that customer's specific needs. Tweak it a bit. I know that USAMU has a special set of requirements for one of their loads, and they're routinely running 150 FPS+ what most other competitors can manage with off-the-shelf powders. If there was enough demand for such a powder, I'm sure St. Marks would introduce it commercially, but it's worked up around AMU's very demanding requirements, and I have no idea how versatile (or not) it would be in some other cartridges, or with different bullet weights. It's an interesting field, and it's pretty neat to see some of the things that can be accomplished.
     
  12. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    We all know what Lapua stuffs in their brass.......:)
     
  13. lloydsmale

    lloydsmale Well-Known Member

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    go here http://hodgdon.com/rifle.html and read what it says about powders like superperfomance and leverevelotion. These are the powders they use in factory rounds to get those velocitys and superperformance being a hogdon powder thats owned by the same company as winchester is using it in there short mag rounds. Same goes for re17 and some of the other recent introductions. All of these magical powders are available for the most part if you look around.
     
  14. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    I never said anything about any excess inventory! And NO...thats why a "standard" is set up to blend to and as long as the powders that are available ARE available them yes...factory ammo will stay consistant