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Reloading - art or science?

This is a discussion on Reloading - art or science? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Since it is mostly about weights and measures ..consistancy,ballistics, experimentation,trial and error,pressure,velocity,Ballistic coeffficients drop and windage correction,penetration, expansion,explosivness . These are not normal artistic terms....

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  1. #16
    Member Array varmonter's Avatar
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    Since it is mostly about weights and measures ..consistancy,ballistics,
    experimentation,trial and error,pressure,velocity,Ballistic coeffficients
    drop and windage correction,penetration, expansion,explosivness .

    These are not normal artistic terms.



  2. #17
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    If you had hundereds of thousands of dollars in scientific equipment to quantify all the variables involved, it could well be 100% science. But since virtually all reloaders out there lack that equipment, a whole lot of "art" is involved. Then again, a whole lot of reloading just amounts to following the directions, not much art or science involved in that.

  3. #18
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    Scientific Art

    that about covers it.
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  4. #19
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    Talking Take for example the Sunset

    A scientific event with out a doubt a great ball of glowing gasses, nuclear fission, and all kinds of numbers of why it is where it is and why we don't just fly away from or into it's fire.
    So why it is then one of the most photographed, painted, and an uncountable amount of poems written about? While a bullet all polished is nice to look at and in no way compares to a sunset, "Beauty (after all) is in the eye of the beholder".
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

  5. #20
    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueyedevil View Post
    If you had hundereds of thousands of dollars in scientific equipment to quantify all the variables involved, it could well be 100% science. But since virtually all reloaders out there lack that equipment, a whole lot of "art" is involved. Then again, a whole lot of reloading just amounts to following the directions, not much art or science involved in that.
    That is pretty hyperbolic. The instrumentation necessary to control the process steps in reloading costs a few hundreds of dollars, not tens or hundreds of thousands. A good caliper, a good micrometer, a case length gauge, a good scale, a good powder measure, a concencricity fixture and a dial gauge, and maybe a bullet spinner, and a chronograph. I have all of these. I acquired them over several decades; I doubt I spent even $500 for everything; far less than "hundreds of thousands of dollars".

    The tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment are at the manufacturers: the machines that make the reloading dies and presses; the machines that form the cases; the machines the produce the primers and powder; and the machines that make our guns.

    Reloading is all about process control, not art.
    Last edited by marcclarke; January 22nd, 2012 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Fix spelling boo-boo.

  6. #21
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Its a science. It has a rigid set of rules one must follow unlike art which has no set rules.

    Michael
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  7. #22
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    I never could draw worth a hoot and never understood science. All I know is reloading is a joy unto itself.
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I never could draw worth a hoot and never understood science. All I know is reloading is a joy unto itself.
    I agree with you 100% but I do try to have accurate and proper tools/gauges as well as the books that provide the science. I don't understand everything Dr. Lenard Brownell wrote on pressure but the effort makes it that much more enjoyable when light dawns on marble head.

    I think it depends on what you want out of the "hobby". If your after a few boxes a month of .45's for practice the Lee kit will keep you happy all your shooting days. If you are after the IBSA 300 yd. world record, High Master at 600 yd. XTC, a regional IDPA championship or just plain one hole groups for your own satisfaction you better spend the money on the best
    reloading equipment and all the books.
    Unfortunately handloading (not just re-loading) is a more insidious disease than buying guns. I started at age 11 with a True Line Jr. and a set of .32 Sp. dies for my Dad's Model 94. On my bench today... a Sinclare tubing micrometer and adjustable headspace gauges are considered standard equipment that "I" couldn't live/handload without...so, it is what it is...
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  9. #24
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    science up to the point where magic creeps in.

    follow the recipes and you can re-load for decades trouble free.
    get creative and others may read about your exploits.


    kinda alike calculus.
    many are very good at math and than they take a calc class.
    wow...it either clicks or is forever beyond your comprehension

    the loading manuals we follow are created by 'experts' using lots of information and their working
    in a well protected environment to tweak new chemicals and formulas for us.

    what i call magic is the out of proportion consequences sometimes caused by seemingly small changes in bullet
    seating depth, powder charge or crimp.
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  10. #25
    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    I sure can shoot alot more Science & Art by reloading ammo than I can by buying it ; )
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  11. #26
    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude clay View Post
    science up to the point where magic creeps in.

    follow the recipes and you can re-load for decades trouble free.
    get creative and others may read about your exploits.


    kinda alike calculus.
    many are very good at math and than they take a calc class.
    wow...it either clicks or is forever beyond your comprehension

    the loading manuals we follow are created by 'experts' using lots of information and their working
    in a well protected environment to tweak new chemicals and formulas for us.

    what i call magic is the out of proportion consequences sometimes caused by seemingly small changes in bullet
    seating depth, powder charge or crimp.
    Non-linear effects are hardly magic. Chemistry is not linear. Physics is not linear. Hand loading is a combination of chemistry and physics.
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  12. #27
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    I agree that it is a science but it takes art to apply it. Science is something that can be studied and reproduced. It takes science to know the energy a certain load will create, which, when looked at with bullet weight, the speed of the bullet. Knowing that each weapon has its unique harmonic is also science. This is something that can be taught in schools much like chemistry, math and engineering. But... and its a big "but"......

    Art is how that science is applied. A camera is built using scientific factors in order to capture the picture. It takes art to use that camera to create wonderful pictures. There is science behind reloading, thankfully much of the detailed science is done for us through the powder companies and bullet manufacturers. We then take that science and apply it artfully to create that one sweet round that will perform the exact same way every time we pull that trigger.

    Creating the round that puts the smile on your face when you send it through the same hole as the round before it, that my friends is art.

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  13. #28
    Member Array swmft's Avatar
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    If you think of it as an art let me know what range you go to : I have seen enough guns blowup to last a life time.

  14. #29
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swmft View Post
    If you think of it as an art let me know what range you go to : I have seen enough guns blowup to last a life time.
    Why would you come to my range to blow up your gun?
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke View Post
    Reloading is all about process control, not art.
    I mostly agree, though process control can be an art. A skilled machinist sometimes has to have a feel for the steel under the cutter.

    Sometimes an artist doesn't have the technical skill of the craftsman, but he still finds joy in the creation, and maybe his art will command high bids at auction after his death. This won't happen for the headless artistic reloader, posthumously.

    Two cooks can follow the same recipe for a souffle, but one falls flat before being served. Even the best process control of the big ammo makers has been shown to let a squib slip through. I certainly don't trust Chinese ammo not to have an overcharge.

    For me, it's a matter of comparing and heeding the manuals, keeping records and component consistency, accurate setup and adjustment, as well as process supervision. Tweaking things at the range in search of the holy grail, a ragged hole at 100 yards, or filling your game tag humanely, brings a great deal of satisfaction.

    Well, there's nothing more American than spending time by a warm, winter fireplace, listening to Rush, and cranking out beautiful ammunition.
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