Ok, I am fairly familiar with pistol powders since I have been reloading them for the past couple of years, and tried various brands etc, and have them narrowed down to a few for different guns.
I am now venturing into the rifle arena and since I won't be shooting them that often don't really want to go through several pounds of powders to find out that I am not liking them.
Here is what I was going to try to do. Trying to find two powders that will be good for starting out in the rifle calibers.
I want one powder for the:
30/30, 32 Win Spec, 35 Rem.
Since they are all Marlin lever guns, ballistically about the same, etc, I figured one would be good for all three calibers.
Then I am looking for a powder to use on:
.243, .270, 30.06
These are all bolt actions, so my thinking is that surely there is a powder out there that will work for starters in all three of these.
So, are there a couple of powders, that will fit the bill?
I am not that particular as far as brand goes. I use Hodgdon, Accurate, and IMR mostly for my pistol calibers, but am not tied to one particular brand.
Well, it kinda depends on what weight bullets you plan to toss, And I don't know much about the 32 win and 35 rem, But I think Varget would serve you well on the 30/30 and .243 and then depending on bullet weight I'd pick between 4350, RL19 and 4831 for the .270 and 30-06.
You might consider IMR 3031. Might cover most of your needs.:scruntiny:
I haven't myself been over keen on 3031 which I used for hot 45-70 loads in Ruger #1. Nothing major mind you - just not over impressed.
I agree Varget is very versatile and you'll find loads for many cals. I think it works best IMO at the .223 level.
For these cals ..... if you don't mind spendy - I like N-140 a lot (Vitavhuori) - it will serve all those.
Actually too good ol' Hercules (as was) Reloader 7 is Ok for non max loads too.
Check out reloadbench.com perhaps too - see what the rifle boys are fond of.
As far as bullet weights go
30/30 - 170 gr
32 ws - 170 gr
35 rem - 200 gr
.243 - 100 gr
.270 - 150 gr
30.06 - 180 gr
Starting out, they will all be jacketed soft point bullets, loaded on the light side for short range target shooting. The lever guns will never see a target longer than 100 to 125 yds, even when hunting.
The bolt actions, I will worry later with the longer range, and working with more sophisticated hunting bullets, but not any time soon.
I use IMR powders almost exclusively. 3031, 4064, 4350, 3851, 4831, etc. Look them up on the internet. I reload for 6.5x55, 22-250, and .308win. Get some load books through Midway USA for your calibers. Indeed the IMR3031 might be your best starting point for loads. You can go from there.
(edit) By the way---my Lee Perfect Powder measure will cut stick powders because it has metal wipers. FYI
30/30 - 170 gr
IMR 3031, IMR 4064, Win748
32 ws - 170 gr
R7, IMR 3031, IMR 4064
35 rem - 200 gr
IMR 3031, IMR 4064, R7, Win 748, Varget, H 4895
.243 - 100 gr
IMR 4350, R22 NOTES: overbore cartridge needs slow powders [big case, small bullet]
.270 - 150 gr and 30.06 - 180 gr
IMR 4064, IMR 3031, Win 760, IMR 4350 NOTES: 30-06 with IMR4350 uses a compressed load near max loads. Use with caution.
Those are taken from the Lyman #48 manual. Your best bet is to use IMR 4064 and 3031. The only kicker is .243 Win might not achieve top performance with those powders. It likes a slower burn rate.
I've loaded a lot of IMR 3031 and Reloder7 in the 30-30 and the .32 Special with pleasing results. Both yield fine accuracy, low extreme spreads from the 20-inch barrels, and great velocities with low APPARENT pressures. If I obained a .35 Remington (which is a cartridge that is appealing to me) I'd reach for 3031 and Reloder7 for its first series of handloading tests.
I don't know how the 3031 would work in the .45-70 as I've not tried it. I've only got a Model 1884 Trapdoor Springfield and a Winchester Model 1886 in which I shoot .45-70 so have always loaded it mild. I have a mediocre load using IMR4227 and a real crackerjack load using IMR 4198 that I use for my .45-70 shooting.
IMR 4350 is hard to beat in the .30-06 and .270 when using the useful hunting bullet weights. With less than max charge weights one can make up accurate loads with great velocities that exceed factory loads but again don't show any APPARENT pressure signs. Some handloaders complain about the measuring characteristics of "stick" powders through volumetric powder measures but I don't find them to be a nuisance. I set the measure a tad light and trickle the powder charge up to the exact desired weight anyway for most serious rifle cartridge loading. I've got some great favorite loads using 4350 in the .30-06 and .270.
Don't load for the .243 but if I wanted to include it in with the .30-06 and .270 and load all with a single powder I'd probably choose IMR 4064. I also have some great loads in .30-06 using it and it'd work well in .270 too.
For that matter 3031 would be perfectly suitable for the .243, .270, and .30-06. Factory equivalent velocities could be duplicated with most bullet weights in each. Only the heavier bullets in weight ranges for each cartridge might suffer slightly dimenished velocity performance when using 3031 in reasonable charge weights. It'd be insignificant for most any purpose for which one whould choose these heavier bullets. One could do well with using 3031 for all the cartridges you mention.
I'm an old handloader and have used the IMR line for loading rifle cartridges for many years. I like 'em! I use other brands too but relate all other propellent powders' burning rates back to where they line up near a similar IMR powder on the burning rate chart of my mind.
"...30-06 with IMR4350 uses a compressed load near max loads..."
One day when I was home with a lot of time on my hand I incrementally worked up a .30-06 load with a 150 grain bullet using the IMR 4350 data from an older reloading manual. This manual published a higher maximum powder charge weight than some others on the shelf. Using once-fired Remington cases and Remington 9 1/2 primers I'd load five, shoot them out the back door, examine them, and adjust the charge weight incrementally higher. I did this until I was sitting on the maximum load listed for IMR 4350. The rifle, a pre-64 Winchester Model 70 Standard Weight, was taking it all in stride so I loaded 20 to the maximum listed charge weight and 20 at 2 grains under max which coincidentally was the listed maximum in at least one of my other manuals. Both of these loads were compressed.
A trip to the range with these loads was instructive. The maximum load yielded around 2950 fps with the 150 grain Sierra spitzer boat tail bullet. The load with 2 grains less powder cranked out 3012 fps and less extreme spread. I'd fired 10 rounds of each over the chronograph so only had enough left to shoot two five-shot groups from the bench at 100 yards. Still, it was dramatic to observe the difference in the group-ability of the two loadings. The lesser load gave nice, round 1-inch groups. The heavier load yielded misplaced bullets, opening the groups up to over 2 inches. In this and a few other instances I've seen more powder yield less velocity. An interesting curiosity and proof that just ladling in more powder doesn't always accomplish the desired effect.
I incorporated that load into my personal loading manual as the 150 grain hunting load in that particular rifle. Since that time I've collected some sub-inch groups with it and also a goodly number of lbs. of venison for the freezer.
It's a really flat shooting load for a .30-06 but don't recall ever taking a deer over about 140 yards with it. Sierra bullets seem "soft" to me and they really open up on a broadside lung hit. I keep 'em out of the shoulder area for fear that they'd wreck too much meat.
A small tip: I only use once-fired cases for load development as I feel the initial firing will have discovered any manufacturing defect or weakness, the most significant being an improperly annealed case that is too soft in the area of the case head. Have seen a WWII Frankfort Arsenal .30-06 factory load ruin a good M1 stock from a soft case head letting go and also a commercial factory load in .308 do the same thing to an M1A on the firing line of a high-power match. In both instances the case cracked from the flash hole inside the primer pocket, throught the case head, and up the side of the case. Lets gas out to do ugly things. In both instances the gas vented in the magazine wells, blowing out the left side of the stock. The rifles themselves were unhurt. The second instance caused some small bleeding cuts to the shooter's face from splinters and particles but HIS SHOOTING GLASSES SHIELDED HIS EYES from what could have been a serious eye injury.
This is great information and illustration. Most perform the best a few grains under max. This isn't always the case, one of my 45/70 loads with a max load of charge of Varget is scary accurate for a levergun. I try to stay away from compressed charges but for some loads and some cartridges you gotta do what you gotta do.
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
What powder charge shoots best in a particular rifle is a pretty complicated matter, but the basics of it can be pretty easily understood. Upon detonation the barrel vibrates this causes the muzzle to move in a roughly "figure 8" pattern, The point of tuning powder charge and seating depth is to hopefully cause the bullet to exit the muzzle when the barrel is moving the least, the apex(es) of the figure 8. This is why when performing a powder test such as as audette ladder, most rifle/powder combos will show two nodes.
What about H4895
Ok, after reading through all the responses and then going back and doing some more reading etc.
Has anyone got anything good or bad to say about Hodgdon 4895. I can find data for all 6 calibers listed and it is middle of the pressure range for most of the rounds I will be making, and the velocities listed are ones that I can more than live with.
Like I say, these will not be for very long distances, 125 yrds most, and so any of the energy loss by 100 fps or whatever at those distances is not going to matter for either a target or an east Texas deer.
Since most of the shooting will be plinking etc, they will probably be loaded towards the lower end of the chart anyway.