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Discussion Starter #1
My question is to the "Gurus" here, and relates to PISTOL cartridges.

Specific:
.38/.357/.45acp/.45colt

I have read AND been told that it is not good to "load down" a cartridge.
I have read AND been told that it is "perfectly okay to load down" a cartridge.

So WHICH is it ???

Further explanation...
I do just fine with normal load data.
Everything is GTG on that front.

BUT..... I want some VERY low recoil Target loads.

Example: I want to load below the min. grains recommended to get down around 500fps+/- in .45acp

Maybe I am missing something, but WHY is less powder a bad thing ???
I mean, what "bad juju" happens when you do that ??

I know guys who have loaded .45acp down til it barely cycled the slide AND you could literally WATCH the bullet fly all the way to the target.


I hate to be dense about this, but I really don't want to blow the slide off my colt, or the cylinder in my Rugers.
 

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Maybe I am missing something, but WHY is less powder a bad thing ???
I mean, what "bad juju" happens when you do that ??
Because of the risk of detonation or a squib load, bullet stuck in barrel. It mostly pertains to fast burning powders like Bullseye, especially in larger cases like 44 and 45. But can happen in a 38 special case. Like Sum Gy said, don't go below minimum starting load in the manual.

2.9 - 3.2 gr of BE in 38 with 148 gr wadcutter, 5 gr in 45 ACP with a few of 200 - 210 gr cast are pretty slow. Can't speak to 45 Colt. 5 gr in a 44 special with a 210 gr cast bullet is a good light load too.
 

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Maybe I am missing something, but WHY is less powder a bad thing ???
I mean, what "bad juju" happens when you do that ??
I know it sounds backwards, but an improperly reduced charge can actually INCREASE pressure to the point where it is too high. Somebody smarter than me will have to explain the physics of why that happens.
 

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Speer manual Where ballistics get gray
 
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There is a couple chapters in the manual about this very topic and while it doesn't explain it, It does come as close as anything I have ever read on the subject.
 
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MSGO Court Jester
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There is a couple chapters in the manual about this very topic and while it doesn't explain it, It does come as close as anything I have ever read on the subject.
Thanks. I used the Speer manual when I was loading but that has been a few years and I don't remember anything from the manual but a few starting loads.
 

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I guess light loads in big cases causing detonation depends on the powder not necessarily all fast burning. Case in point is the factory bunny load for .223 @ 3.0 grains of titegroup or clays.

Best advice is don't go below min loads. But if you choose to go lower then be extremely careful. I usually check on my computer program and see a simulation of what my load will do pressure wise and otherwise.
 
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As low as book data says you can go is the short answer. I would first start with the Hogdon Manual.
:yeah: What he said. .38 special factory "mid range target" ammo (usually 148 grain hollow base lead wadcutter) is down loaded .38 special from the factory (Winchester, Remington, Federal). As Sum Gy said, always check the loading manual(s) first (I usually cross check a load in 2 or 3, often Hornady, Lyman, and Speer, sometimes Sierra, Hogdon, etc., and always collect the powder manufacturers free loading brochures that list loads for their powders). I always keep an eye out for (usually old) manuals I don't have. Some powders, like Unique, have been around since forever it seems. Some "obsolete" cartridge loading data can only be found in old manuals.

(The powder I've seen mentioned the most over the years for low load problems is probably Bullseye)
 

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The best way to 'splain it is like I was told as a child...it's hot, don't touch it.

Don't go below listed minimum loads in your manual. It's hard to pick your nose without fingers.

Like the guys said, try Trail Boss, it's an easy powder to manipulate to achieve lower velocity loads.
 

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Looks like everyone is against down sized lite loads, except me. I could tell you what loads work for me and my guns, but I won't. I have 3 38spls, they don't like the same light load or the same size bullet, 2 of them are twins. It's a lot of work experimenting with different size bullets, primers and powders.
With a revolver to lite a load will cause more fire from between the cylinder and barrel. Not enough pressure to push the bullet through the barrel and you'll have a squib.
With an auto to lite a load will give problems working the action. You'll get stove pipes or squibs.

I watched an old man with an old service 45 auto with lite loads. Every case ejected and sat on the pistol. When he fired I never saw his hands move.
 

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marionmedic, its too much to type, but I have been somewhat in the same boat. I have enough surplus powder to load about 15k rounds of .45ACP, but there is no published data. Both Winchester and Lake City tell me its obsolete and will offer no further help except to bury it. All I have to go by is the personal experience of 4 or 5 guys that I found online that have done the same thing with the same powder with good results. I haven't been able to contact any of them. The latest post from any of them online is 5-6 years ago. They all agreed on a starting load, though, and with the advice of Sum Gy and my reloading mentor, I safely worked up a load that will consistently do around 850 fps and is very accurate. I'm certainly no expert, but start low and work up or even down from there. When I started with my oddball powder load, the 'recommended perfect' charge was 5.3 gr. I started with 4 and it shot great, but wouldn't cycle a 1911, but the bullet exited the barrel. I slowly worked up and the 5.3 gr recommended was damn near perfect. Go slow and easy and wear eye protection. Sometimes I wear my motorsickle helmet also.
 

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Got to trust someone's data on surplus powder. Then work slow as you go up or down with your loads.
I have this surplus powder suppose to use this brand powder's data minus 10%. Is that start or max? I reduce it to 15% and see how it works
 
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