Discussion in 'Shooting Accessories' started by JNG, Apr 24, 2008.
+1! :thumbsup: :hatsoff:
I, too, have used premeasured vials when I was shooting from a bench. When I was working, we used to get small screw cap vials of standards that we used to calibrate instruments. We would use two or three per day and I would save them to put my premeasured (volume) charges in. They are quite handy but I found them to be a nuisance when hunting because I would drop the empties in the bottom of my hunting bag and then I had to rummage though them to find a full one. I found that when hunting, I preferred to simply use my horn with my deer antler powder measure.
I'm inclined to agree with that last statement BUT - all the time I see statements saying someone shot a one inch group using something like 63 grains or 55 and a half grains by volume. My question is - how do you accurately measure such small differences using the brass or plastic powder measures that are graduated in 5 grain increments. Is it just a eyeball thing? How could anyone be accurate to one half or even 1 grain ever time doing it that way? I'm reaching for help here.
My take on your question would be that the shooter found some powder quantity that shot best and then weighed the powder amount of a scale and has worked a metal, horn, antler, etc. powder measure to exactly hold that amount. Have never found a gun so sensitive that 3 was better than 5 or 1/2 grain did the trick, but I suppose it's possible.
I read somewhere, that because black powder explodes, rather than modern powder burns at a furious rate, a grain or two does not change things. On a long rifle, the ball is slowing down before it leaves the barrel. Something about the air pressure ahead of the ball, and the pressure behind the ball starts to equal out. In smokeless powder, the powder continues to burn at a furious rate, generating gases, that keep pushing the bullet. Sub powders, may be different. Sub powders are equal to black powder in "most" cases by volume only. Sub powder would have to be measured by volume, then weighed to be safe. And, some subs, are more powerful, and require reducing charges, according to manufacturer, recommendations.
That would be a pointless exercise. I never say never :wink: but none of the offhand or X stick shooters weigh charges. Their consistency comes from being consistent in everything they do which includes how the pour the powder into a measure and how they handle the measure.
A small percentage of the bench rest guys weight their charges and many of the slug gunners do the same.
Well you see claims like that all the time, especially on the internet.
Just like wandering a gun show,, everyone has a "pocket group", the little target cut out of a tiny group they carry in their wallet to show how well a gun shoot's. They won't tell you that it's the only target they've shot like that in ten years.
The truth of it is a charge that's +/- a grain or two really doesn't matter.
However with practice and yes as you state it is an eye ball thing.
The key is doing everything the same each time, if you tap the measure then you have to tap the measure. If there's a mound on top then there has to be a mound on top,,,,
Well, it seems like pouring a charge at the range is done by top level shooters. As has been said, a lot of it depends on how you pour the charge. I've heard about drop tubes, etc; so, how should a charge be poured? I have an adjustable measure with a swinging top that levels off the charge. If I added some sort of drop tube, etc- would the uniformity of the poured charges be better? How would I obtain such a drop tube?
I did an experiment recently where I used a measure like you speak of and I weighed the powder to see how much it weighed compared to the setting on the measure. What I found, using Goex 3f powder was that you get a charge very close to the setting by tapping the measure to settle the powder in the measure leaving a slight mound on top. then swing the attached funnel to scrape the excess powder off. This gave charges very close to the setting on the measure. If I simply po0ured the powder into the measure without settling it, it was several grains lighter than the setting on the measure. However, in both cases, if I was careful to do it exactly the same way each time, I had very little variation between charges.
I'm convinced we pay too much attention to the little inconsequential details and not enough to the shooter. I belonged to a ML club which had a monthly shoot at an indoor range. I was shooting there one night, using my .40 caliber flintlock, and was feeling pretty good about my groups. I was getting sub-2" groups offhand, which was well above my average. I was really concentrating on consistency in my loading, and working hard at the shooting. We had in the club the Kentucky state champion offhand flintlock shooter, and he was there that night. He wandered over to my lane and said I was doing well with that rifle, asked who made it, what load I was shooting, etc. He then asked if I would mind if he shot a group with my gun. I loaded for him just as I had been doing for myself, and he shot a 6-shot group of less than 1 inch. He said the gun was doing very well, but that if I would use .400" balls instead of the .395" balls I was shooting, she would do better.
I don't think I had ever shot a better group than his even from a rest, and it was plain to see that it wasn't my loading that was the weak link. He shot a championship group with my rifle with me loading in my normal way for him, and he had never even seen that rifle before. Now, I know perfectly well from weighing charges many times that my charge measuring accuracy ranges over 2-3 grains on a good day. I haven't worried much about that since that night. Thank you, Allen Simpson.
I fully agree that some of the things we do offer minor changes to accuracy. The mental part of shooting is a huge part of it however.
Most casual shooters will dismiss this as BS.
To be a really good shooter you need the right equipment and the right mental tools as a shooter.
I coach a youth trap shooting team. Mental is 90% of it.
Google up Lanny Bassham and read some of his books.
The shooter nut behind the trigger is the biggest variable.
I would consider myself a "casual" shooter. Punch a few holes in paper because it's fun and I hunt.
I have read this thread with a fair bit of interest. Don't consider it "BS" but "FOR ME" consider it irrelevant.
I use the little brass fixed powder measures. I don't shoot for points competitively so whether my group is 2 1/2" or 2" or 1" at my sight distance (75 yards) that's "good enough" for how I use my rifles.
So do I need to weigh my charge to gain a bit of accuracy - not presently.
But I do appreciate the discussion. Most of us have had our "interests" change over time and some day I may remember this discussion and the advice that is being batted back and forth...
Unless the rules require loading from the pouch. Horn and measure. Properly done, measure and horn spout right, this will throw charges within a gr or two. Close enough. In our "turkey" matches" we load from the pouch.
Hard copper tubing to within 2" of the powder level in the barrel. But this also requires a uniform pouring speed to give uniform results. Just dumping the powder in is not the best way.
for my drop tubes I have used a old AL arrow and attached a small funnel at the top.
The one I use the most is a piece of brass tubing I bought from one of those big box hobby shops, soldered a funnel to the top. The funnel opening regulates the flow of my powder down the barrel.
The drop tube also helps keep the powder from sticking to the sides of the barrel.
Can you provide a reference for that? I don't think that is true, but would be very interested in reading whatever source you have. Thanks.
I thought a drop tube was maybe a 3" section of tube held above the powder measure, What you are describing sounds like a tube that is inserted in the bore of the gun. Actually- I don't know, please explain.
That "tap" on the measure- sounds like a good idea. I've wondered about doing that but never thought to weigh the charges.
And is all this procedure worthwhile???? I see it this way, your shot is off..."Is it me or the load?" Your mind starts eating away at your concentration. All the fuss- to me at least if I'm off I know it is me. It's a mental thing but I think it helps me concentrate better.
Drop tubes go to, or very near, the bottom of the barrel. Some of the really-really finicky slug gun shooters use them. Something about keeping grains of powder off the bore so the paper patching will not be affected when it is loaded. A drop tube is not something anyone else would ever need.
I highly doubt that notion is correct. A few modern guns have a 'long barrel' effect but generally it is not a factor in shooting. A .22lr bullet might start slowing down before leaving the bore if in a rifle with an unusually long barrel. And that effect is caused by friction, not pressure.
not sure what you are referring to as a slug gun, but almost all of the long range, English sporting rifle shooters use them. I don't shoot PP, but grease groove bullets. Going to play with PP soon however.
I don't use a drop tube for my RB rifles. Perhaps one should.....
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