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Old April 04, 2020, 10:31   #1
Datchew
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replicating Nato load - what gas setting for measurement

Dear reloader types,

I'm trying to replicate a Nato surplus load.

Starting out with CCI #34 primers and wanting to stay with 2 powders that i use regularly.
IMR4895 and Varget.
Using hornady 150 grain FMJ/BT

For obvious reasons i want to match my velocities.
I plan to chrono a surplus load and then measure my loads on the same gas setting to be apples to apples.

Question is - I found several recipes for loads on this site which are very helpful as a starting point but before i use them, how do i know where the author had their gas settings?
Are they taken at gas set to zero?
Is there some standard setting assumed for gas when people publish their load data?
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Old April 04, 2020, 13:20   #2
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Just an opinion and other guys here are much smarter than I am. If you think about what you are doing are you loading for accuracy or to just copy what velocity the NATO spec is?

In my worthless opinion if you are loading to NATO spec then find a recipe and load them all the same. Your gas regulator is for setting the gas to operate the gun, as the gun gets dirty you may need to change the setting to keep the gun running.

I tend to over think the process and throw out worthless thoughts, the other guys will set you right.
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Old April 04, 2020, 14:27   #3
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Agree with your method Jim. Thank you.
Not going for accuracy as much as matching load performance to surplus.

I can replicate by just matching my load chrono vs surplus chrono as long as I donít move my gas.

Iím trying posted recipes as a starting point and Iím curious if thereís a gas setting standard or if people just post their happy spot and then set their gas accordingly.
Iím assuming the latter but thought Iíd ask.
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Old April 04, 2020, 15:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datchew View Post
Agree with your method Jim. Thank you.
Not going for accuracy as much as matching load performance to surplus.

I can replicate by just matching my load chrono vs surplus chrono as long as I donít move my gas.

Iím trying posted recipes as a starting point and Iím curious if thereís a gas setting standard or if people just post their happy spot and then set their gas accordingly.
Iím assuming the latter but thought Iíd ask.
Chronographs only tell the truth so you have to read into the truth what you are doing. Velocity changes with different factors going on while shooting. Humidity, powder lot, primers, wear in the barrel, temperature of the round ect. The spread in diviations can even be from erratic bullet weights.

So what I am trying to say is unless you are looking for extreme accuracy and make every round perfect down to neck sizing and powder stacking then you are just making ammo that's good enough. Nothing wrong with good enough because it's fun to shoot.

Chronograph will get you close but those same rounds may work different when you shoot them elsewhere. It's cold wet and humid here, my 22 250 doesn't shoot to the same place in eastern oregon.

Sorry for being boring but stuck in the house I guess I just like to hear myself talk..

Good luck and have fun

Jim
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Old April 04, 2020, 15:53   #5
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no worries. Appreciate the help.
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Old April 04, 2020, 15:55   #6
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The gas setting that gets you your desired fps or manufacturers velocity
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Old April 04, 2020, 16:32   #7
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There is no "standard" gas setting. There are too many variables in each individual rifle besides the actual load. Some tight, new rifles need the gas almost totally closed, others, whether it is loosened tolerances due to wear, spring"set" or fatigue, etc, etc.run more open settings. I would say the most common settings I see are 2 - 5, for whatever that is worth. Can't be much ( if anything ) wrong with a load that cycles a good FAL at those settings as a start, and I wouldn't worry much if they crept outside of that range either.

That said, if I had to close the gas fully to get a clean rifle to function, I'd worry that as the rifle got dirty, there would be no way to adjust the gas further to compensate and keep it running.
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Old April 04, 2020, 17:03   #8
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With the same bullet you are using,44.5 gr of IMR 4895 worked for years to good effect.

Save the Varget for precision loads.
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Old April 04, 2020, 17:56   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtBanks View Post

Save the Varget for precision loads.
Tell me more. I have 23lbs and a bunch of 150 grain Hornady. I only shoot FALs though. I'll go through the 748 if I need to load for now. Only 308 shooters are FALs and not in your league with 14s. I normally use 43.5 grains of Varget with LC brass. Been thinking about heavier pills if I decide to use my stash.

To the op. Gas settings depend on the rifle and the gas system condition with the friction of the moving parts along with the loading of the recoil spring, etc. Your rifle will determine the gas setting to eject the cases of the load if you are looking for 2850 ft/sec.
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Old April 04, 2020, 18:11   #10
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Old April 04, 2020, 18:11   #11
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Old April 04, 2020, 18:12   #12
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Old April 05, 2020, 18:52   #13
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Cool screen shots of that program.
Man... that software would make me really overthink things.

Took 3-shot averages same gas setting for all.
Hirtenberger (sp?) velocity avg of 2538 fps equates to this load in lake city:

LC brass
Cci #34 primer
Hornady 150 gr FMJ / BT
42.5 grains IMR 4895
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Old April 05, 2020, 18:54   #14
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Ps - It was interesting to find out that Hogden makes 4895 and IMR makes 4895
From Hornadyís load data website, they have different load ranges.
Just a heads up in case people donít know not to interchange them
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Old April 05, 2020, 22:37   #15
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There are some powders exactly the same but I don't know about the two 4895s. H110 and 296 are the same powder, ww231 and HP38 are the exact same powder. Here is a good burning rate chart.

http://www.lasc.us/BurnRatePrint.htm
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Old April 06, 2020, 06:11   #16
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I use 45.0gr. of TAC with a 145gr / 147gr. FMJ. Brass by LC or other.
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Old April 06, 2020, 06:45   #17
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Find a .pdf copy of TM 43-0001-27 ARMY AMMUNITION DATA SHEETS SMALL CALIBER AMMUNITION FSC 1305

Chapter 11 lists the load data for each 7.62x51
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Old April 06, 2020, 08:23   #18
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H4895 is a significantly hotter powder than IMR4895
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Old April 06, 2020, 13:06   #19
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Once upon a time I had and fired 2 different FALS, with the same mil surp. Gas settings were 2 apart, but can't remember what they were, other than the same ammo required different gas settings. Find a good load and marry it! Don't worry about the gas setting unless it turns out to be all open, or all closed.

Good luck,
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Old April 06, 2020, 13:45   #20
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I have found no standard for the FAL, but I have extrapolated a standard from the L1A1.

L1A1 regulator is numbered 0 - 10 with 5 being the median. Standard is 4, or one step below median. L1A1 does not have half number steps.

FAL is 1-7 with 4 being median. 3.5 is one step below median.

gun should function with nato standard ammo on a setting of 3.5. If not, there is a problem with either the gun or the ammo.

Canadian is 5, by the way, but it is unclear whether it is with the 0-10 gas regulator or the 0-12, as they apparently used both. The latter would fit the pattern
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Old April 06, 2020, 19:43   #21
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You guys are a wealth of info for sure.
Thanks for all the help.

After I got done I realized i could have simplified and just tested in a bolt gun or falling block ruger no 1.
I'd still be matching my load to the velocity of the surplus load but hey... still had fun and i prefer to test in the gun i plan to be using.

Cheers.
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Old April 06, 2020, 20:58   #22
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if you are loading for one FAL, I would focus on accuracy first. A bunch of ammo that's out of tune with the gun won't be worth even having. As long as it has enough gas to operate the rifle about in the middle of it's settings it's good.

In my experience even a half grain difference in charge can affect the group size dramatically.
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Old April 09, 2020, 16:44   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Right Side Up View Post
if you are loading for one FAL, I would focus on accuracy first. A bunch of ammo that's out of tune with the gun won't be worth even having. As long as it has enough gas to operate the rifle about in the middle of it's settings it's good.

In my experience even a half grain difference in charge can affect the group size dramatically.
This is a good point. I was trying to replicate the load and thus have reloads that would work in any FAL. Similarity to surplus as a priority over accuracy.

I'm familiar with handloading, ladder test, OCW, and even that interesting method of using barrel geometry to mathematically predict nodes, but for the FAL, i wan't too hung up on grouping or accuracy.

That being said... you piqued my curiosity:

If a handload can be adjusted by powder charge for better grouping, would gas adjustment have a similar affect on several groups of identical powder charges? I.e., can you adjust gas to adjust grouping?

Surely someone here has tried this. (and don't call me Shirley!)

My guess is behavior of the bullet is pretty much determined by the time it gets to the gas port in the barrel.
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Old April 09, 2020, 16:54   #24
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Browning came up with their Boss system to change the harmonics of the barrel for different weights and velocities of bullets. I don't know how much change you would get from gas regulation but obviously there would be a pressure curve change with the peak of the curve in a different spot.

You would get the same change just by a powder charge change so how much accuracy may be limited by the curve timing. Lyman reloading books are great for looking at this but of course there is far more to accuracy than just the load. Accuracy comes from a good shooter who can repeat his performance with every pull of the trigger given the best tool he has.
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Old April 09, 2020, 19:28   #25
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Of the two powders you have mentioned when loading milspec projectiles to milspec velocities I generally have my best luck using Varget. As to matching a gas operated repeaters harmonics every rifle is going to be different so one load would likely have slightly different harmonics in every FAL it was fired through. That would be some hair splitting, a lot of physics and exterior ballistics calculations and measurements beyond most folks ability to quantify.

I have two rifles with the Browning Boss system of which both my smith removed the Browning Boss muzzle break and replaced with units he made himself, tuned to the rifle in his machining of the ports then the shooter makes smaller adjustments indexing his custom Boss muzzle brakes. My smith has never failed to make a rifle better but I was hesitant about his claim that his "copy" of the Boss brake would work better than Browning's. That said I have shot both Boss rifles with the factory muzzle brake and his to find his reduces felt recoil better and shoots smaller groups. He made three Boss copy brakes for my 22-250 before he decided which shot best and two on my 300 Win Mag. He returns the rifle with his brake installed and the factory brake if you want to test his theory or put it back to original.
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Old April 10, 2020, 11:13   #26
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Of the two powders you have mentioned when loading milspec projectiles to milspec velocities I generally have my best luck using Varget. As to matching a gas operated repeaters harmonics every rifle is going to be different so one load would likely have slightly different harmonics in every FAL it was fired through. That would be some hair splitting, a lot of physics and exterior ballistics calculations and measurements beyond most folks ability to quantify.
This is what i was thinking and the reason why i'm trying to just match Nato surplus. Can use it in multiple FAL's. Minute of man or critter at 400m and i'm happy.
I suppose i could geek out and try to find a load that was optimal in all of them but that's tooooo much work.

I still have Varget loads to try so i'll be paying attention to standard deviation. From my reading, people are very fond of varget for consistency and temp control.

That BOSS thing by browning is fascinating but i could never get over the ugly factor. I'm typically a function over fashion guy but yuck!
Eye of the beholder and all that.
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Old April 10, 2020, 11:36   #27
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I tend to over think things so sorry for my input. I can't seem to focus on one thing but only a big picture. Like powders, the gents have their favorite but what will you use if it's discontinued? Many of my favorite powders are gone now. So when I look through a powders history and burning rates I read some powders like IMR 4320 was used to load factory 308 at one time.

Yet the military has their favorites powders due to the cleaner burning powders make the gun function better and longer. Finding a replacement powder takes a lot of research so what ever powder you do pick make sure you have a viable alternative.

I gonna bow out to the more knowledgeable and move along. Good luck and have fun.
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Old April 10, 2020, 19:21   #28
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Unfortunately many military powders are blended with additional flash reducers added that have no "drop in" civilian equivalent and why most of us have a favorite that we tend to use. Was just down in the big reloading room and noticed three eight pound jugs of Varget on bench and was deciding which project it was set out for but checked dates to realize it was from latest shipment so went in one of the powder lockers and pulled the three oldest kegs of Varget as figured out its for a batch of once fired, stainless pin tumbled, roll processed brass that came in around Christmas.

Have a guy over at castboolits.com who sells me bulk processed brass which I just bump shoulders, ensure necks are round and load. It makes for cheap range ammo, end of the world zombie killers and brass gets a few more loadings before wife begins to feel cracks inside of cases. Amazing how after a lifetime of using scalers (dental picks) in people's mouth, probing pocket depths around gum line how much feel she has. Many cases I would put in recycle bucket she will say is good for one and sometimes two more loadings than I would have guessed. If she says no cracks felt, there are no cracks.

Amazing how fast a keg of Varget will go loading 7.62◊51 M80 equivalent loads.I use 44.x grains of Varget behind Hornady 150 Grain Full Metal Jacket Boat Tail bullets. I buy them in 2,100 round boxes and if buy three or more boxes pay 15 cents each including shipping to my door. Can buy 147 grain General Dynamics or Armscorp a tad cheaper in bulk but only a couple cents per round and like the Hornady pills better. If really cheap can by cannister powders from military pull downs, use the General Dynamics/Armscorp projectiles and match milspec with a little effort figuring out load data for your pulled powder. A few cents more to use Varget and Hornady shoots better in rifles that can realize it but FALs don't really care if use a "slightly" better projectile but my M1a/M14s show the difference.
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