Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Lee loader. 45-70. New reloader getting faster velocities that expected.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by bangbangschwang, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm very new to reloading. I reloaded some rounds for my 45-70 that should have given me about 1,800 fps. When I tried them out with my new chrono, it said they were going about 2,300 fps. This concerned me quite a bit. I tried 3 rounds to make sure it wasn't a fluke reading with the chrono. Then I took my .22 down and tried it out with 20 rounds. I'm fairly certain the chrono reading was correct after testing it with the .22 rounds. I'm using a Lee Loader and the dipper powder measure kit.

    Here is the load I was using
    405 gr. lead bullet
    51.0 gr. H322 (measured 3.7 cc with the Lee powder dipper)
    CCI No. 200 Primer
    O.A.L. 2.535"
    Starline Brass
    Rifle: Handi Rifle with a 22 inch barrel

    The Hodgdon info I got this load from said that for a 400 grain bullet the starting powder load was 50.0 grains which would produce about 1767 fps of velocity. The max load was 55.0 grains which would push it at 1984 fps from a 24 inch barrel. I'd expect to get lower velocities since my barrel is shorter but that is not the case.

    I'm concerned that the chrono velocity was so far off from my expected velocity. I'd really rather not blow myself up. I'm not sure if the dippers are just that inaccurate. The velocities from the three shots were:
    2294
    2318
    2314

    Does anyone have any ideas as to what happened? I'm really enjoying reloading so far but this was an unsettling surprise.
     
  2. taylor

    taylor Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    150
    That is really strange as the amount in the dipper is usually much lower than what Lee says. A 3.7 dipper generally reads not too far off 3.7 grains. I've had a problem when I started with the dippers I was using a 2.5 and Lee said I was getting 4.0 grains of powder, the velocity was terrible and when a friend weighed the powder in the 2.5 dipper it was 2.7grains not 4.0 as Lee said. I know they do this for safety as well as legal reasons.
    But your problem is just the opposite. I would invest in a cheap but decent digital scale, or one of the older beam scales on Ebay.
    My experience is mostly with pistol powders, there alot of good guys here who can offer good advice and it'll work out. You can call Hodgdon and ask to speak to a tech.
     
  3. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,262
    Likes Received:
    3,077
    I experienced the same problems when I first started with Lee Loaders many moons ago. My problems ended when I realized I wanted to advance my reloading hobby and bought a RockChucker kit which included a scale. At a minimum you definitely need to get a scale if you plan to continue using the Lee Loader.
     
  4. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    43
    What does you brass/primer look like? 200fps over max you would think it would show on the brass and the recoil quite stiff(read 416rem mag stiff). How close were you to the screens? Maybe the chrony saw the muzzle blast instead of the bullet and gave you a false reading. I would stop in the name of safety and maybe test the chrony with some factory 45-70 loads, the blast should better duplicate your tests. Powder scales are cheap eyes are priceless, stay safe and good luck.
     
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    3,779
    Likes Received:
    1,964
    Buy a scale, and do it soon!
    I've used many Lee die sets, but never used the dipper method. One friend did and I'm surprised he didn't blow up his .357 revolver. The dipper method can be accurate, but it's very easy to be inconsistent, or like you saw, consistently overloaded.

    Also, when you mention Hodgdon's listing, you didn't say what "table" that's from. The 45-70 usually has three.
    One for the early rifles. (Trapdoor Springfields, etc)
    Second for 1895 Marlins and 1886 Winchesters
    Third for very strong actions, Ruger #1, Browning B78 and 1885, Winchester High Walls.

    2200 fps from a 405gr bullet... That's stomping and I hope you have a very strong rifle! Those speeds would probably be well above the Second group and fall neatly into the third.

    A decent scale should be found for $50 or less if you do a little looking. I may even have one for sale if you are interested.
     
  6. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the input everyone. I am definitely going to buy a scale before I load any more rounds. I haven't decided which scale yet. A 500 fps deviation is too large a margin of error for me. I'd rather not lose an eye even though I have a spare.

    Those loads were in the lever action table.
    I would guess I was 7-10 feet away from the chrono. Maybe it was the muzzle blast. I really don't know.
    The primer looked good to my novice eye. I haven't seen a primer that was bulged or anything yet so that doesn't mean much. It didn't look like they had backed out at all. I could email anyone a picture of them if they wanted to take a look.
     
  7. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    5,782
    Likes Received:
    4,990
    Not that this has much to do with your chrono problems. But I started with a Lee loader loading 30-06 I must have loaded 200 rounds with it using the dippers and I never had any problems I also managed some pretty good groups with the setup. I still have the Lee Loader I last used maybe 30 years ago. Cause its the only way to carry a rifle reloading outfit in a small pocket on a pack.

    Are you using something like a business card to scrape off any powder above the dippers top edge?
    Are you sure of the wieght of your bullet?
     
  8. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah. I'm using the edge of my funnel. It has a rectangular top. I dip the scoop in with the open side up and let the powder fall into it rather than scooping then scrape the excess off the top with the flat sharp edge of the funnel. I also reload for my .308 with a lee loader. The groups it has turned out have been pretty good for a guy who is giving reloading a shot for the first time. I haven't shot any .308 rounds since i got the chronograph though so I couldn't tell you anything about what kind of velocity I'm getting with those rounds.
     
  9. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    As for the bullets, I haven't weighed them myself because I don't have a scale yet but I bought them new and they are labeled 405 grains. They also look huge compared to other bullets of similar caliber.
     
  10. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    it sounds to me like maybe u are using jacketed bullet data for a lead bullet,If so ,stop ! cast bullet data will be WAY lower powder chareges and velocities than jacketed.
    ALL of my LEE powder measuring devices..scoops,LoadAll,etc weigh out less than the chart says they will.always have.

    Unless ur shooting gas-checked bullets,those are way to fast for almost all cast bullets.How does ur bore look,serious leading?
     
  11. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    3,779
    Likes Received:
    1,964
    Throckmorton is onto something here. The Hodgdon data is for a jacketed bullet. You will probably lead the heck out of your bore. Lead bullets should probably be kept in the 1500 or less FPS range for the most part. Also my Lyman manual shows those kinds of velocities being in the Ruger #1 category.

    Also, if you have the chrono too close you could be registering the muzzle blast, not the bullet. I usually park it 4 paces (12 feet) from the muzzle.

    I will check on the scale and respond to your PM shortly.
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Primer don't usually bulge when the load is overpressure. They get real flat. Sometimes, if there's enough clearance around the firing pin, they'll form a crater rim.

    Here's a pic that shows a "flat" primer (RH) ex2.jpg (click on pic to enlarge)

    ex2.jpg
     
  13. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    I didn't get around to cleaning the barrel yet so I'm not sure how much leading occurred. I'll clean the barrel and look for leading then recheck the velocity.

    As far as gas checks. I've looked into it a little bit but I'm not sure if they are something I can add to my bullets or if it is something that requires more tools. From what I read it seemed like adding gas checks was something that people who cast their own

    I bought a cheap scale last night and weighed a few of the scoops from the Lee dipper. I may still take it back and get a better one. I'm not sure if I like it. The powder charge seems to be close to the correct amount. I'm feeling more and more that it was a muzzle blast problem with the chrono. I wanted to double check before shooting any more though.

    Thanks again to everyone who has responded. I've learned a lot from everyone's comments.

    Here is what my primers look like.

    View attachment 35793
     
  14. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    it takes a heeled bulllet to accept a gas check,and some sort of device to attach them. if u keep velocities below about 1500fps they are usually not necessary.

    did u check to make sure u are using 'cast bulllet ' data and not jacketed bullet data.? sure sounds like u were using the wrong data,unless as u say the chrono was too close.
     
  15. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am using jacketed data. It is one of the few pieces of information I could find from a manufacturer for H322 and a bullet around 405 grains. Is that fine as long as the velocities are low enough or are there other things to be considered?
     
  16. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,038
    Likes Received:
    2,165
    I would point out that you are using the data for the strong action/modern single action, the lever action should be 45-49 grns. Basically you are making Buffalo Bore type rounds which should be a jacketed SP. The strong action load for jacketed is 51-55grns for 1722-1927fps.

    I would say you may need to not seat it as far in as you could be compressing the loads at that amount with the lead which would cause the over pressure.
     
  17. bangbangschwang

    bangbangschwang Vancouver, WA New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    The data I'm using is what they say is for Lever Action rifles using a 400 grain jacketed bullet on the Hodgdon website. The range is from 50 to 55 grains. If I'm reading it wrong let me know. There does seem to be quite a bit of contradictory information out there though which makes things a little tricky for me.

    Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Bullet Diam. C.O.L. Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure
    400 GR. SPR JFP Hodgdon H322. 458" 2.540" 50.0 1767 23,700 CUP 55.0C 1984 39,200 CUP
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  18. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    Here is some data I found online,USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.NOT VERIFIED.

    Lyman shows a start load of 43.5 grains H322 and MAX of 48.5 in their Marlin only section for 45-70 with 405 grain cast bullets. They were using Remington brass, and loaded to 2.550" COAL
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I"ll be REAL surprised if you ddin't lead up your barrel with those loads.I think they are too much for a Handi,but that is just opinion.
     
  19. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    19
    Will all respect intended...

    It doesn't matter what your primers look like, what your brass looks like - how hard it kicks, or any other subjective measure.

    If you are getting 2300 fps with a 405 grain bullet in a 4570 you are in dangerous territory.

    Please be careful.

    Nate
     
  20. MOA

    MOA South West United States New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I don't know if you have solved the mystery yet on the added velosity, but here are a couple of cents from my perspective.
    1. Your load data looks to be directly off Hodgdon's website.
    2. That is definitly for Jacketed Flat Nose bullets.
    3. You never stated what the exact bullet you are loading ( Brand, if store bought with stock number on box would be real helpful)
    4. You can push cast bullets quite fast and depending on the hardness of the bullet and whether it is a gas checked bullet or not will be an important factor in the velosity that you are going to begin your trials with, got to be fast enought to get a good seal on the base of the bullet.
    5. Loading your cartridge with H322 at the 51 gr starting point that was determined proper for a 405gr JFP is big time bad. You are very luck they are making the handi rifle as strong as they did. Before you start loading anymore cast bullets in you 45-70, take a trip either to the local gun shop or to a website that sells Lyman's latest edition for loading cast bullets. "Lymans cast bullet handbook - 4th edition" it will help you greatly. I would also consider picking up a Speer 14 edition and the new Hornady loading book also down the road. Just reading most of the forward sections in these books will give you a much wider and deeper understanding of the ballistics that occur when you pull the trigger on one of your own loaded cartridges.. Good luck on all your reloading day ahead and when ever in doubt pull the bullet out and start over again. One cannot read enough books about the reloading process.