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#6113655 - 01/01/16 05:21 PM Loading for pistols question..
Deerhunter61 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 5499
Loc: DFW
Guys,

I've loaded for my rifles for years and have on occasion loaded for my pistols but now that I'm getting a little more serious about the pistol loading I'm curious about your processes. Do you load for accuracy? Do you use the same steps for your handgun as you do with a rifle, target rifle?

I've loaded for my pistols but haven't worried too much about accuracy due to the short range of the pistols. And the loads I've worked up have always performed as good as the factory rounds I purchased.

Mel

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#6113833 - 01/01/16 06:46 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6217
Loc: Wise Co.
It IS a bit different. One thing that differs is playing with seating depth like you do with rifle cartridges. You may fiddle with it some but it's usually to get the ammo to function in the gun, as in feeding with a semi-auto.

When I do load development for a handgun I generally work in 0.5-grain increments. There usually is a charge level that seems to be best, which is where I am sure most of us would just say "good enough." I'm not that great with a pistol, so someone who shoots one better might do more fine tuning than I do, but I think they wouldn't be changing things up by much at all.

One thing I advocate for handgun loading is to seat and crimp in separate operations. I always acquire an extra seating die to accomplish this because I don't want to screw with die adjustments. The fact that I use one bullet only for each handgun caliber facilitates that, otherwise it wouldn't be feasible.
_________________________


Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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#6114658 - 01/02/16 10:59 AM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
ASIC777 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 212
Loc: McKinney, TX.
In a Semi I load for function and then check accuracy. If shoot my 6" browning GP comp I can see a difference in a .2-.3 grain change, i.e. I can tighten it up a little if I go higher or lower from say the mid function point. I friend shooting a Sig 226 who could not group the lower end loaded ammo but was destroying the bull with a near max load.
Same when shooting a .357 with a longer barrel, I can see changes if I shoot off a bag. My snub nose I am usually just happy to hit paper and load to comfort. One thing I noticed is that some powders burn cleaner if you stay in the top 1/2 of the recommended powder range.
Not to argue with Red but the loading range on the wife's .380 is not even .5 grain wide. :), but he is right about the separate crimp operation.
_________________________
Lifetime NRA Member

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#6114940 - 01/02/16 02:44 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6217
Loc: Wise Co.
I should have looked at my logs before mentioning half-grain increments. That IS what I do for .44 Mag and such using slow burners and near-max charges, but I've messed with 0.2-grain increments when working with Trail Boss, as an example. I don't load anything near as small as .380 so my perspective is a bit narrow in that regard.
_________________________


Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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#6115030 - 01/02/16 04:03 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
Tactical Cowboy Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2844
Loc: Abilene
I load on a 550 with cast bullets and titegroup. I load for cheapness and quality. For most applications in a semi auto or revolver, great accuracy is not needed.
_________________________
The secret to a long life is to try not to shorten it

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#6115067 - 01/02/16 04:28 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
I load strictly for accuracy and hunting. I use cast boolits that I make myself. They must be sized properly and use a good soft lube. Most commercial cast bullets are not sized properly as they try to a one size fits all approach. The hard lubes that they use are also not my first choice. They have to use hard lubes to get the stuff to stay put.

Have been hunting strictly with a handgun for about 10 years. I load on a single stage rcbs rock chukar.

If you are just loading blasting ammo, I can see the use of a progressive, economy slugs, etc.

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#6116294 - 01/03/16 12:21 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9412
Loc: Lewisville, TX
I load my pistol (personal) ammo just like I would my rifle ammo. I do a complete load work up with the powder and bullet combo I plan on running for my competition pistol. I load up in .1 grain increments and work my way up to max, or just over max while checking speeds.

For example, if my 40 S&W data is 5.0 grains max of a certain powder with a 180 grain, I will try 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2. I'll shoot them at 25 yards, and see what groups the best from a sandbagged rest. You can generally see some open groups and some tighter groups. I'll look for speeds also to make sure I'm not getting some crazy speeds, low or high. I'll also watch for pressure signs as I go up and make sure the pistol isn't having hard recoil. If you just want it to go bang, then a load work up isn't needed. But if you want to most accuracy, tuning the load will definitely pay itself off.
_________________________

www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL

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#6116389 - 01/03/16 01:32 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: ChadTRG42]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
I load my pistol (personal) ammo just like I would my rifle ammo. I do a complete load work up with the powder and bullet combo I plan on running for my competition pistol. I load up in .1 grain increments and work my way up to max, or just over max while checking speeds.

For example, if my 40 S&W data is 5.0 grains max of a certain powder with a 180 grain, I will try 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2. I'll shoot them at 25 yards, and see what groups the best from a sandbagged rest. You can generally see some open groups and some tighter groups. I'll look for speeds also to make sure I'm not getting some crazy speeds, low or high. I'll also watch for pressure signs as I go up and make sure the pistol isn't having hard recoil. If you just want it to go bang, then a load work up isn't needed. But if you want to most accuracy, tuning the load will definitely pay itself off.


How big of a difference are you getting approx?

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#6116475 - 01/03/16 02:43 PM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9412
Loc: Lewisville, TX
The last one I did was 10mm in my G20. Groups were decent on a few, some were open, and then I had 2 groups near max charges that shot the best. About 2"-2.5" at 25 yards. The 180 and 200 grain XTP bullets shot the best. The 150's are the fastest, but they do not shoot near as good. Some groups would be 4"-6". It was noticeable.
_________________________

www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL

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#6119191 - 01/05/16 01:03 AM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
noylj Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/08/10
Posts: 35
Well, I look at most pistols as being lucky to achieve 12 MOA, so I don't see any use for techniques that might or might not trim a 0.3 MOA group to 0.28 MOA.
Bullseye shooters found out decades ago that for accurate pistol shooting, you need a good gun, a good bullet, and a LOT of practice.
However, the fun is in the shooting, so go at it.
Load work-up: generally in 0.3 gn intervals to start (I avoid any powder that has <0.6gn from start to max, unless the max is 3.0gn or less), and I come back and re-test where accuracy seemed best. It is shocking how many times, though, that a good group is not reproducible. I am sure it is me, but I get occasional sub-1" groups at 25 yards, but if I shoot a string of these loads, they seem to average out at 1.5-2.0"--so don't think that one great group means you have found Nirvana. Unless you have a properly bedded Ransom Rest, you are still part of the equation.

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#6121442 - 01/06/16 07:35 AM Re: Loading for pistols question.. [Re: Deerhunter61]
Adraper Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 280
Loc: Lufkin, Tx
Same here, Mel. My pistol reloading is mainly to curb the cost of practicing with 45acp and 45lc. So, I just find a mid power load that cycles. I don't shoot three dot sights well enough to tell the difference in accuracy. One thing I have learned is that OAL can play a role in cycling properly. I have a .45 that wont run ball if it's at recommended OAL. Runs fine if OAL is a little short.

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