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Powder burn rate charts
 Moderated by: klallen, fryboy
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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 05:57 AM
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Rockydog
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Any thoughts on burn rate charts and their uses? I know they are useful if you can't buy a favorite powder and you are looking for a close substitue but is their any relationship to charge weights. Can one use starting loads between powders within 3 or 4 rate spaces of another. I've still got some military surplus ball powders that say "Use 3031 data" on the can and some other surplus powder with a specific 30-06 load listed. So far any powders purchased from this estate have been right on the money. These are packed in generic paper labeled cans with instructions in grease pencil. Any of you older guys used bulk powders and have advice. I know I've posted this before. At one time there was tons of this stuff around and reloaders used it judiciously with great success. I've no interest in losing guns or fingers but the challenge of making these work intrigues me. RD



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 01:05 PM
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Timberwolf
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Burn rate charts only give you the relative burning charateristics in FREE AIR and not in a confined space (cartridge case).

It's not a good idea want powder #43, but it's not available, so you choose #42 or #44.  You may be OK but you may not.  An example is IMR4895.  It has a slightly different burn rate than H4895 and is faster.  H4895 = #110 and IMR4895 is #114 from this table

http://www.reloadbench.com/burn.html

 

In the next example IMR4895 is #151 and H4895 is 152 and a wee bit slower.

 

http://home.hiwaay.net/~stargate/powder/powder.htm

 

Even the charts are different and, I suspect, because of the type of equipment used.

 

The position the powder takes on the burn rate chart may change when ignited in a confined space.  Just be aware of this.

 

Use respected loading manuals like Sierra, Lyman, Hornady, Speer and Nosler.  Plus the publications by NRA and Zedieker.

 

Just be careful and let's not make an unintentional IED.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 01:14 PM
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Guncrank
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Rockydog,

 The burn rate charts are very much relative.  Meaning that dependent upon the case volume, bullet weight, the primer that's used, the weather conditions, even the condition of the chamber in the firearm all have an affect on the "relative burn rate" of any one powder when compared to any other.

That being said... The best guide to working up charges with powders of unknown origin is to be found in the book by Mr. Earl Naramore: "The Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition".  Unfortunately this fine book is long out of print, having been written in the late 1940's and revised in the 1950's. The information is dated to the equipment and supplies of that time. But the underlying principles and techniques detailed in the 900 plus pages remain as valid today as they were back in the mid 20th century.

Unfortunately, the how too of loading a cartridge with an unknown powder is more than could be reproduced on this forum. The information is cumulative over a number of chapters with a summation to be found in chapter 49 and not something that could be reasonably/properly explained in a paragraph or three.

Naramore's book can be found in usual places on the internet, eBay, Amazon and the like. However, be prepared, the book will typically run in the $40 to $75 range. Somewhat spendy but well worth the cost if you are of a mind to own what is arguably final word on the science of loading small arms cartridges.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 01:18 PM
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TMan51
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RD, over many years of reading every reloading and powder article going past, I have come to feel that burn rate charts are somewhat useful, but not the whole story.

Testing the total energy, and pulse duration of powders, is done in a closed system, to SAAMI specifications.  So, with that as a reference, you can guess where it might land from powder to powder.  What it doesn't really tell you is that the powder, being a progressive burning powder, has a different slope for burn rate, as you change the volume of powder, and the weight of the projectile/resistance to mass transfer.  In effect, powders burn faster as resistance increases, but each powder has it's own properties for that rate of change.  In other words, the single point measurement is not necessarily a reflection of the actual results in the infinite number of combinations out there in the world.

I'd like to say I figured that out myself, (I didn't), I got it from a friends son, a ballistic engineer at Picatinny Arsenal.

Burn rate charts are useful, and I look at them regularly myself.  But for a while now,  I look at them with a grain of salt, so to speak.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 02:04 PM
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Rockydog
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Thank you gentlemen for your excellent replies. This is one area of reloading where my knowledge was sorely lacking. Thanks to you it's increased at least a hundredfold. RD



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 05:45 PM
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TMan51
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NP RD,

As I get closer to retirement, I have reflected on how much I learn from younger engineers anymore.  The paradigm of age and experience is drifting away.

When younger people start talking these days, I listen.  Glad I could pass some of it on :cool:



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 Posted: Sun Dec 5th, 2010 06:19 PM
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wheezengeezer
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http://www.gsgroup.co.za/burnrates.html

Last edited on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 06:21 PM by wheezengeezer



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 Posted: Tue Dec 7th, 2010 02:13 AM
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noylj
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The reported burn rate of powder is related to the "bomb" it is tested in and various conditions of the test. Some tables, I swear, are made by comparing the amount of powder used in different cases with the lighter charges for a given velocity indicating a faster powder. This is simple, but again it is affected by the case volume and the charge density.
I swear, about 25% of burn rate charts show Red Dot as being faster than Bullseye and guess what? It is in certain cartridges.
All I have found from a burn rate chart is aid in selecting powders I think might be good to try, but I know going in that they won't be substitutes.



 Posted: Fri Dec 10th, 2010 11:51 AM
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Jamie402
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This is one of the best I have seen:

http://www.tacticoolproducts.com/powder.pdf

Because of the comments as well as the weight/volume, and volume/weight ratios published.



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 01:38 PM
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GTS Dean
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noylj wrote: The reported burn rate of powder is related to the "bomb" it is tested in and various conditions of the test. Some tables, I swear, are made by comparing the amount of powder used in different cases with the lighter charges for a given velocity indicating a faster powder. This is simple, but again it is affected by the case volume and the charge density.
I swear, about 25% of burn rate charts show Red Dot as being faster than Bullseye and guess what? It is in certain cartridges.
All I have found from a burn rate chart is aid in selecting powders I think might be good to try, but I know going in that they won't be substitutes.


In another thread, there were comments about breaking over a velocity peak with increasing powder charge. I've been pondering this issue for a couple of weeks and am thinking more in terms of engine compression ratios and rich/lean fuel mixtures. I believe this is all related to the amount of oxygen available for combustion within a casing. Too little powder, you have a lean mixture that doesn't reach full potential of the powder. Too much powder, the flame is quenched and pulls energy out of the combustion process. This is likely why heavier/longer bullets with less net case volume perform better with different powders, and vise-versa.

Just fuel for thought....



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 12:07 AM
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noylj
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The amount of atmosphere in the case has no effect. The propellant consists of fuel and oxidizer, all you need to add is heat.
Your gun will work in space (ignoring extreme heat and cold for the moment).



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 01:53 PM
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GTS Dean
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I never knew that gunpowder contained it's own oxidizer. Thanks for that.



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 06:16 PM
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Paul B
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Guncrank wrote: Rockydog,

 The burn rate charts are very much relative.  Meaning that dependent upon the case volume, bullet weight, the primer that's used, the weather conditions, even the condition of the chamber in the firearm all have an affect on the "relative burn rate" of any one powder when compared to any other.

That being said... The best guide to working up charges with powders of unknown origin is to be found in the book by Mr. Earl Naramore: "The Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition".  Unfortunately this fine book is long out of print, having been written in the late 1940's and revised in the 1950's. The information is dated to the equipment and supplies of that time. But the underlying principles and techniques detailed in the 900 plus pages remain as valid today as they were back in the mid 20th century.

Unfortunately, the how too of loading a cartridge with an unknown powder is more than could be reproduced on this forum. The information is cumulative over a number of chapters with a summation to be found in chapter 49 and not something that could be reasonably/properly explained in a paragraph or three.

Naramore's book can be found in usual places on the internet, eBay, Amazon and the like. However, be prepared, the book will typically run in the $40 to $75 range. Somewhat spendy but well worth the cost if you are of a mind to own what is arguably final word on the science of loading small arms cartridges.


I'll second the comment on Naramore's book. It's a long read and the print in small. It's a heavy book that I sometimes think had solid lead pages. :rolleyes::lol:

Seriously though, I once made a comment that no one should hever reload a cartridge until he read that book at least twice. :thumbs:

The only place where I might disagree on the post is on the price of the book. I bought mine almost 8 years ago in fairly decent shape and it was $100 plus S&H. I forget whether it came from Amazon or Barnes & Noble but that was the price, The description of less expensive copies left me wondering if the pages were falling out.

I will stand on my comment though that no one should ever consider loading a cartridge until they've read the book at least twice. I sit down and read it at least once a year just as a refesher. The part about "stored energy" in the gun's metal is extremely interesting.

I consider that book an important part of any handloader's library. JMHO.

Paul B.



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