Load Density - what's too low?

scoutm

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Jun 24, 2009
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I've been researching the importance of load density when reloading and I believe I understand the importance of why it should be considered when reloading and how it can affect your results in terms of accuracy and velocity. I also feel I have a reasonable understanding of the factors that effect a loads density such as powder burn rates, type of powder - fine vs course powder grains and the like.

What I can't seem to find is if there a density threshold at which you start seeing deminishing results. Is below 80% too much? Is over 90% high enough not to be concerned anymore?

What is too low?

Thanks.
 

scoutm

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Jun 24, 2009
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when your bullet gets stuck in the barrel you'll know.

I guess I should have added being sure to never load below the published minimum for the given cartridge, powder and bullet so as to avoid experiencing the problem you so cleverly stated.
 

HARPERC

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You don't say what you are trying to achieve, and I'm thinking your not going to find one answer. I'm guessing your talking about the slower burning powders, but there are powders out there that are better suited to reduced loads than others. I just got done shooting some 168, an 180 grain bullets in a 30-06. 29-35 grains of 5744, or about 50% load density.
 

scoutm

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You don't say what you are trying to achieve, and I'm thinking your not going to find one answer. I'm guessing your talking about the slower burning powders, but there are powders out there that are better suited to reduced loads than others. I just got done shooting some 168, an 180 grain bullets in a 30-06. 29-35 grains of 5744, or about 50% load density.

Not really looking at any one specific cartridge...it's more of a question aimed to aid in the selection of powders. If you're trying to maximize both velocity and accuracy is there a load density range that one should strive for or stay away from when selecting a powder for a specific cartridge/powder/bullet combination?

For example:
270WSM 130gr bullet

IMR 4831 65gr 3200 ft/sec 97% load density
Varget 54 gr 3150 ft/sec 81% load density

In this example velocity will be close to equal but is the diffence in load density enough to have have a material difference in accuracy potential?

Is it advisable to stay away from powders that will result in an 80% load density in favor on one that offer a load density in the high 90% range?
 

submoa

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from what i have read and seen so far yes you want the highest load density. A full case or even a compressed load is best.

but i could be wrong and would like to have the right anwser to
 

HARPERC

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from what i have read and seen so far yes you want the highest load density. A full case or even a compressed load is best.

but i could be wrong and would like to have the right anwser to
My limited experience says yes, but there is no doubt there are probably exceptions that make this more of a general rule than absolute.
 

Ridgerunner665

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Sep 15, 2008
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You have to be VERY CAREFUL with low density loads in large cases...they don't always stick bullets...you can have hang fires and/or explosions.

It can also happen in smaller cases, the 243 Win is a good example...low density loads of slow powder have violently disassembled more than one 243.

"How low is too low?"

Well, that depends on a lot of things...case capacity, powder burn rate and bullet weight mostly...but the devil can also be in the details....like seating depth, neck tension, etc.

I'm not trying to scare you...just making the point, some rounds don't like low density...at all!


Do your homework...verify in a load manual...and don't take chances.
 
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