What Happens When You Load Pistol Powder in a Rifle Cartridge This is a grim tale. A man almost lost the use of his right hand, and did suffer terrible injuries to his fingers. All because he picked the wrong bottle of powder off the shelf. Similar Labels, Disasterous Consequences The shooter, Denny K., was assembling some rounds for his brand new 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle. He thought he was loading with Hodgdon Varget. Instead he had filled his powder measure with Hodgdon TiteGroup, a fast-burning pistol powder. The labels are similar, so the mistake is understandable. But the results were devastating. Here’s what 41 grains of TiteGroup can do in a 7mm-08: Posting on the Firing Line, in a thread entitled “Lucky to Be Alive”, Denny writes: “This is the hardest post to post. I know if I had read it a week ago my comment would have been: ‘You have no business reloading’. I had everything perfect, except pouring the wrong powder in the powder measure. I type this slowly with my left hand, embarrassed but … possibly saving someone else a tragedy or, like me, a long drive to the Emergency Room and surgery to save my finger.” CLICK HERE for bigger, more graphic photo of injury. The Still-Sealed Bottle of Varget Denny did not initially comprehend exactly why the kaboom happened. He thought maybe his new Savage rifle was at fault. Then, on his return home, he discovered something… Denny wrote: “The seven-hour period it took to go to ER, transport to Trauma Center and surgery made me think it was a Savage rifle issue. Brand new rifle, new brass, triple-checked loading data. The next day I was humbled when I realized the Varget powder was still sealed. I knew what powder to use. I thought [Varget] was what I used. Not until the following day did I realize the Varget was still sealed.” At that point, Denny realized what caused the accident — “operator error”. He knew he had to warn others about using the wrong powder: “I knew I needed to share my mistake, even though it is embarrassing, just to remind people. I’ve been reloading for 30 years…” Editor’s Comment: Denny was not a novice reloader. His experience demonstrates that this kind of mistake can be made by any hand-loader, even one with decades of experience. Be safe guys, take your time when you load your ammo. Remove powders from measures after your loading sessions (pistol powders can look very similar to rifle powders). And by all means CHECK the LABEL on the jug. As the TiteGroup label says: “A little goes a long way.” It’s not a bad idea to separate your pistol powders from your rifle powders, or perhaps even load for pistol in a separate part of your workshop.