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-   -   WC846 Load Data for .308? (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86292)

perdurabo September 11, 2003 14:20

WC846 Load Data for .308?
 
I bought about 3 8# jugs of WC846 from hi-techammo.com and have had lots of luck reloading .223 with it. Since milsurp .223 is scarce at best its actually much more economical to load my own (pickup brass, Winchester SR primers, Winchester 55grain FMJ from Midway, and 25 grains of WC846).

However, since milsurp .308 is still cheaper for the most part than reloading, I havent loaded very much except for special loads (AP, tracer, 168grain Matchking, 150 grain soft point for hunting). I tried loading up some softpoint ammo for hunting last week and I was sorely disappointed with its peformance in the M1A (SA NM stainless barrel).

The load I used was:
-Lake City brass from Midway
-CCI #34 primer (always use these in .30 cal semi autos to prevent slamfire)
-150gr. BTSP Sierra Gameking
-46 grains WC846

I used 46 grains of WC846 as that is supposedly the exact load used for 147gr. M80 ball ammo, and certainly 3 grains of bullet weight cant matter that much. However, I was noticing that brass was ejected very weakly compared to M80 and one round even failed to eject. Hits at 100 yards were 3-4" lower than with Portugese and South African M80 ball. No overpressure signs at all (though thats harder to tell with #34 primers).

Now, I wondered about kicking the load up but I notice that 47 grains of WC846 fills just about to the bottom of the neck in my LC brass...48 grains would be a VERY compressed load, and I'd like to avoid that if possible. I'd rather not go over what my Sierra load book lists for BL-C(2)@150grains unless someone can tell me different with some certainty.

I'm sorely tempted to just pull the FMJ bullets from my milsurp M80 and replace them with Sierra 150gr BTSP Gamekings. Think that might work out better (assuming same OAL)?

Can anyone give me any advice on loading WC846 for .308 that I might be missing here (besides using another powder...Im trying to save money here...Ill just not do it at all if I have to spend more)?

Thanks in advance.

Muggzy September 11, 2003 14:50

this http://www.gibrass.com/gunpowder.html says to use Hodgdon BL-C (2)
reloading data. I'm still looking.....


Hodgdon Data http://www.hodgdon.com/data/rifle/308win.php

guess you already have that info huh?

Well then its ......buy another rifle time:biggrin: 243 maybe

Hebrew Battle Rifle September 12, 2003 04:12

Are you sure that there isn't a problem with your gas system? Check the gas valve to make sure that it is fully open. 46 grains of WC846 in GI brass is a fairly peppy load.

I loaded some commercial 308 brass with that same load under 147 grain FMJ, Remington 9 1/2 Magnum primers and I had to adjust the gas ( FAL) open several clicks before it stopped slinging the brass into the next county.

Concider that you may have a gas system problem that just happened to coincide with using the new ammo.



BTW, Point of Impact variations are the norm when shooting different powders/bullets/primers etc.

AseVeli September 12, 2003 09:02

I'm using 46.5grs of WC846 and surplus 150gr bullets, Federal Match primers.
In my G1 it really ejects with authority, I would lean towards the gas-issue as well....

AV

perdurabo September 12, 2003 09:20

I doubt seriously that its a gas issue or anything related to the rifle itself. Its an Springfield National Match M1A (not an FAL, sorry to disappoint...my FAL is a bit too bulky for hunting) and just before shooting the 20rds of handloads, I fired several boxes of Portugese M80 that hit accurately and ejected forcefully and afterwards I fired a few more boxes of Port and South African that performed equally well. It was only the handloads that impacted much lower and ejected poorly.

I double checked my notes and pulled the bullets on a few remaining cartridges from that bunch and I confirmed that indeed I loaded 46 grains of WC846 and that these were standard 150gr. BTSP Sierra GameKings. I doubt seriously my choice of #34 primers could have any significant effect. I did crimp these a bit with a Lee Factory Crimp die, but that couldnt really affact all that much either.

I asked this same question over on battlerifles.com and some fellow replied that in semi-autos, hotter loads generally cause POI to be *lower* than less hot loads due to "gas system harmonics" (the opposite of bolt guns), but that really doesnt make any sense to me. If this is true, can anyone provide a convincing argument for why this is the case?

I went ahead and pulled the bullets from 20 portugese milsurps cartridges and replaced them with 150gr. BTSP SGKs. I'll try them out this weekend and see if theyre not any more reliable.

Hebrew Battle Rifle September 12, 2003 09:38

The M1A has a gas flow shut off valve. Make sure that the slot in the the valve is verticle.

I'll bet that if you fire some of the WC846 loads in your F A L that you will be surprised.


Quote:

just before shooting the 20rds of handloads, I fired several boxes of Portugese M80 that hit accurately and ejected forcefully and afterwards I fired a few more boxes of Port and South African that performed equally well.

Concider that you may have a gas system problem that just happened to coincide with using the new ammo.

Shootability September 12, 2003 09:54

I have loaded up a good number of the WC846 loads and actually found them a bit hot based on BLC2 load data. This was both for the .223 and .308 and found I need to back off a bit because of flattened primers. The accuracy in .223 was very good and in the .308 was good.

Absoulutely no problem with weak ejection.

Harry Callahan September 17, 2003 12:01

I also load WC846 (lot# A131) from Hi-Tech in the .308 using LC cases, WLR primers and a 147 FMJ FAL bullet. I topped out the load at 43grs and get 2650fps from a 22" M1A and slightly less from the FAL. I don't use the hard military primers, but since you are - remember that they don't show pressure like the ordinary ones so a hot load won't flatten that primer the same, it may look like a mild load. Primer-wise don't use Federals in your semi-autos since they are too soft. CCI200 and Winchester WLR have always given me good service.

Swampy September 19, 2003 07:02

perdurabo,

First off, I've used a large amount of milsurp powders in .223, .308, and 30-06 (mostly 4895, but a few jugs of WC-846 too...). The only SURE thing I can tell you about milsurp powders is that EACH AND EVERY JUG YOU BUY OF A DIFFERENT LOT WILL BE DIFFERENT IN BURN RATE than the previous lot.

The military is like all commercial loaders... i.e. they DON'T use cannister grade powders. They use bulk lots that are NOT matched to a cannister "standard" burn rate. Each lot of powder has a slightly different burn rate and the charge is varied to match the desired muzzle velocity.

You obviously have a lot of WC-846 that is on the low end of the burn spectrum for that powder. The lot you received could just as easily been on the fast end of the line and you'd be complaining about flat primers right now....

I recently conducted a test of 4 different lots of milsurp 4895 powder and of commercial cannister IMR-4895 as the control. I loaded 10 rounds of 30-06 with each powder, 47.0 grains, under a 150 grain fmj bullet, CCI 200 primer. All were loaded at the same bench session, the powder measure checked and charges weighed at each powder change, and all were fired the same day through the same M1 Garand.

I chronoed all 50 rounds. Average velocity between the highest and lowest batch varied by over 300 fps, with the commercial cannister powder toward the lower end of velocity (I think 3 of the 4 milsurps were faster).

This is ESPECIALLY WHY with milsurp powders you should start AT LEAST 10% low and work up to the load you want..... and you MUST do this EVERY TIME you start a jug from a different lot.

Play it safe.....

Best regards,
Swampy

perdurabo September 19, 2003 09:20

Quote:

Originally posted by Swampy
perdurabo,

First off, I've used a large amount of milsurp powders in .223, .308, and 30-06 (mostly 4895, but a few jugs of WC-846 too...). The only SURE thing I can tell you about milsurp powders is that EACH AND EVERY JUG YOU BUY OF A DIFFERENT LOT WILL BE DIFFERENT IN BURN RATE than the previous lot.

Well, I'm fully aware of the fact that different lots of milsurp powder may have different burning rates and your loads must therefore be worked up again with each new lot. They plaster this warning all over everything if you buy powder from hi-tech or Bartlett's. So I generally request powder from the same lot if its available to save me the potential trouble. Ive got 6 jugs of the same lot of WC846 for this very reason.

In any case, whats most confusing is that this powder's performance is inconsistent across calibers. In .223, 25gr@55gr FMJ of this same WC846 performs exactly as expected, almost identical to 25gr@55gr FMJ of BLC-2. So, I logically assumed that if the recommended max load for 147gr FMJ of BLC-2 was 48gr and the explicit load for M80 ball was 46gr of WC846 (according to tm43-0001-27), that starting at 44gr should not be a problem. I didnt want to go much lower than that for fear of UNDER pressure. Yes yes, I should work up each and every caliber independently at 10% below recommended, regardless of my results with the same powder in other calibers. I'll be more careful to do that from now on based on these inconsistencies.

In any case, I've discovered that pulling the 147gr FMJs from Portugese M80 and replacing them with 150gr Sierra SPBT (being sure to factory crimp them for use in semi-autos) is a much better and more economical way to make hunting ammo for .308. As accurate as it needs to be and vastly less expensive than a box of commercial ammo from Bubba's corner gun shop or even Wal-Mart, meaning I can afford to practice more with them.

I'm now working on working up .308 loads for 166gr M2 AP (pulled 30-06 -- yes, I know I have to crimp them above the cannelure to preserve OAL) and for 143gr M62 tracer. Only trouble now is finding a place to testfire them without punching holes on range walls or setting the woods on fire.

Oh, one sort of one-off question though...I have a Dillon 550B and I can't seem to figure out what to do about my Lee factory crimp die. Its too long and shell plate impacts the mouth of the crimp die well before the neck of the cartridge can engauge the crimp surfaces. This of course screws up the other stations as well. If a Lee factory crimp wont work in an RL550B, what kind of crimp die will fit (and no, Im not going to risk not crimping for semi-autos)? Having to crimp them all separtately in a single stage press is a major pain.

Harry Callahan September 20, 2003 06:28

perdurabo -

I assume that the 550 shell plate is taller and causing the die to be out of synch with the cartridge? Dillon makes crimp dies just for their machines, might give them a try or you could experiment with reducing the crimp sleeve length until you get the right timing - WECSOG method.

If you find that 846 working fine in the .223, is it also giving you the velocities you expect? I get around 3150fps from a 20" HBAR and a few grains higher charge of my lot of 846, some other components. Might get a chrono to help with your milsurp powder load development if you don't already have one, sure takes the guesswork out of what increases in charge weight are doing.

Eclipse November 10, 2003 13:15

Has anyone tried WC846 loads for 62 grain .223 or 123 grain 7.62x39 loads?

Harry Callahan November 10, 2003 18:19

I have tried WC846 in the .223 for 50gr varmint loads and get as good as any commercial powder accuracy. I have some 68gr Noslers that are next on my list of loads to develop.

FireInTheHole November 11, 2003 01:00

I've been using some pulldown powder too. My WC846 seems to be from a hot lot.... with 42gr I can set the gas on my fal to 5.5 and it cycles.... port and SA need at least a 3.5 or 4.

Quite a bit more muzzle flash too.... but more accurate than the mil surp.

Like a previous poster... I dont bother loading just for ball... Im more interested in "specialty loads", IE AP, tracer, and SP hunting type. I think I am just going to start using the preprimed brass and the pulldown powder.... I hate case prep for rifle. (yes, I have a single stage press:()

Adventurer_96 November 11, 2003 23:53

How about another powder for .308? A stick powder like 3031 might give you better accuracy, it's one of the 2 powders I use for .308 in my M-14. Also, you can try Ramshot TAC. It's exceptional as well. I'm sure you've thought of it, and you'd like to figure this out, but maybe it's worth keeping that powder for .223 and loading up a boatload of it.

What are the other signs on your cases? Have you tried resizing one which was shot with that load? Most importantly, how does the rifle feel when the brass is ejecting?

I've also heard the same rumor about gas guns shooting lower with hotter loads. But, I've never heard a convincing reason as to why.

Regarding the primer issue, seating the primer properly is more important than which primer you use IMHO. The American Rifleman said it more eloquently than I could a few months ago. The reason why I believe this to be true is because when I reloaded my first batch of .308, the brass wasn't completely resized at the base. So, when I was letting the bolt ride home, it was in effect resizing that last bit of the case. I didn't have a single slamfire, and that's the scenario when you're most likely to have it happen. Can it happen? Maybe. But, based upon my experience, and the advice of a distinguished shooter who's shot the M-14 for 40 years I use Fed 210M primers for my match loads. Just my .02.

Good luck on figuring it out, I hope someone here can help.

perdurabo November 12, 2003 11:27

Quote:

Originally posted by Adventurer_96
How about another powder for .308? A stick powder like 3031 might give you better accuracy, it's one of the 2 powders I use for .308 in my M-14. Also, you can try Ramshot TAC. It's exceptional as well. I'm sure you've thought of it, and you'd like to figure this out, but maybe it's worth keeping that powder for .223 and loading up a boatload of it.

Well, the whole point of using WC846 is that is cheap. $64/8# keg...and if you buy 4 kegs, you usually get the hazmat shipping fee waived. If indeed its performance is similar to standard BL-C(2), it should be loadable for damned near every rifle caliber I shoot...its just a matter of finding an optimal load. Personally, I'll happily sacrifice a little accuracy for tha ability to shoot affordably. Theres no way on earth I'm going to cough up $20/lb for any powder...its simply not worth it unless Im competeing for money in a high power match or something.

I still havent found a place I can test my 165gr M2 AP loads yet. Im hoping theyre not going to be overpressure. I loaded 41gr. of WC846 in lake city 7.62x51 brass with a CCI #34 primer and a 30-06 pulled 165gr M2 AP round seated to proper OAL (2.80")

Going by BL-C(2) data, that shouldnt be a problem at all, but I'm not so sure with this stuff. Once I find a place where I can shoot some steel that noone minds me perforating I can know for sure. Anyone have a similar load to compare?

The Armour November 13, 2003 04:14

Here is a good hunting load for you. 150gr Sierra BTHP atop of 46 grains of IMR-4320 using WLR primers in Lake city brass. Accurate and peppy too. I also like to pull the FMJ from my Aussie or SA and load The same bullet or some TNT or V-Max if you want to do some varmit hunting. The best part is its Premium ammo at bargin prices, works out to about $5-$6 abox counting the cost of the surplus ammo.

Adventurer_96 November 14, 2003 00:40

Quote:

Originally posted by perdurabo


Well, the whole point of using WC846 is that is cheap.

Fair enough! I figured that to be the case, but maybe another cheap powder for .308 would work, or at least another batch. Good luck with it.

I only reload .308 for accuracy, so that's why I'm partial to those powders. I don't shoot my other rifles enough to warrant reloading for them at the moment with the cheap surplus stuff out there.


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