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Reading a few magazines here and comparing to modern load manuals. Noticing that older load manuals offer higher max charges. I haven't found an explanation for this.

Wondering if you folks can let me know if my gut is telling me the truth.

For example, previous editions of load manuals show significantly higher 44 Special max charges for bullets that still exist today.

My gut is telling me a few things:

1) This data was published before lighter, smaller framed, and/or weaker 44 Specials existed. Hence 44 Special load data has to be published for the lowest common denominator.

2) The company that published the load data has since sought legal counsel and/or had to run the legal gamut due to end user error and decided to take the safer road in subsequent manuals.

3) Pressure measuring equipment has evolved and shows that loads do indeed need to be reigned in.

Am I in the ballpark here? Am I missing anything?
 

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Reason # 3. Another reason you'll find lower data in newer manuals is that some powders have changed. Prime example is 2400, a classic 44 powder. Ther newer version is faster than was the old.
 

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I suspect #3 - I do not think the pressure measuring equipment was as good/accurate as today + they may not have been using what they had correctly. In some cases I think they were using no pressure equipment at all, just by the seat of their pants. Wildcaters often shoot over pressure loads, but think they are shooting with in safe pressures. When a load is picked up by some rifle/ammo maker, the powder charges are backed off finding that the pressures were too high. The example you used for the 44 Special is a good example too. There are a lot of old guns still kicking around that probably could not stand the higher pressures for an extended period of time. They may have got caught up in the "Elmer Kieth" syndrome of pushing the limit and have since decided that they were pushing the envelope a little too much for those older guns and have come to their senses since then.
 

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revo: I (personally) don't think the powder burning rates have changed enough to merit the lower loadings. Burning rates for powders used 'then and now' are still in the same rankings with other powders they were ranked with previously. I would think that different buring rates would have changed that. I also think (1) the older guns are now a lot older and using lower pressures/loadings is common sense and (2) liability against those who do not know what they are doing when they reload.

The lighter, smaller framed guns still have to meet industry standards for pressure requirements and pressure measuring equipment is/was pretty concise, even back then. The White Laboratories that test pressures and cartridge pressures has been in business for a long, long time and the SAAMI has also been around for a while. Yes, things may not have been as precise as they are today but they were good and accurate. Legal certainly has some to do with it but the spectre of blowing up older guns with current day powder charges still looms large in the minds of powder makers. JMTCW. Mikey.
 

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IMO the answer is "D", all of the above. But mostly #3.
At one time, some of the bullet company used the very same pressure signs that we use, flattened primers, ease of extraction, case measurements, etc, to determine maximum loads. Reloading was a much more seat-of-the-pants type of hobby than it is now.
Imagine being all alone with a Lee Loader with its included list of powders and a little scoop as your introduction to reloading.
 

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The labs used to use copper crushers to determine copper units of pressure. Now, everyone has piezo-electric gages (or something like that?) that not only show max pressure, but the full pressure curve from hammer fall to bullet exit. This resulted in labs discovering certain loads were much higher in pressure than thought, and thus reduced loads.
 

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How about a little liability?? With the court systems the way they seem today, common sense has disappeared. Years ago, a reloader was one who was, for the most part, knowledgeable to the fact that this was a relatively new area, and experimentation was pretty much up to the individual. Guidelines were given, but that's all they were. If you blew your gun up, lost an eye, or worse, it was pretty much of your own doing. Period. Today, if something is put in print, it seems to be absolute gospel, according to the current court system. Common sense and a little bit of previous knowledge weigh nothing anymore. Here it is----in black and white...safe loads....
For what it's worth, that's my part of it, although I do see a lot of merit in other reasons, also. Thanks...Emmett.
 

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According to past Speer and Hornady manuals, it is absolutely #3 (although some SAAMI specs have been reduced in the past 30 years too). Early Speer manuals did not even use pressure equipment - they justified using case expansion etc. by saying that is what their customers would be using. Seems rather naieve today...



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It's important to remember that new manuals supercede their previous versions and the old ones should be discarded.
 

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if you have a supply of powder that came at the same time the old book did and it has been safe in your gun for 20 years why should you discard it ?
the books are guides , even with the new books it is possible the loads listed near max. are to much for some guns .
I understand your safety concern but lets not throw wisdom out the window !
another odd thing is how one book will list a certain primer , bullet , powder charge and case and all harp on not changing anything or the gun could blow up ! then the next book list bullet 150-160 , primer large rifle , and certain powder charge .
so who is correct ? Check it out the books by powder cos. are different than those by bullet companies .
If we teach new comers that the book is correct and disregard the signs of over pressure because the book says its ok we do a big injustice to the art of hand loading and the sport of shooting in general !
no if you have an old book reduce your load by 20 %or more and work up instead of 10% like you should do every-time you get a new batch of powder ( now you do that right ) the other safe thing to do is call the phone number in the books and ask if any changes have been made , or check on line !
If every time something new came along we threw away the old we would not have black powder shooting and hunting today !
 

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A few years ago Hornady changed the 357 Max from one book to another so much that my mid range load was now over the max by 2 grains. I called them and they said that the 357 Max was a caliber that they had recently got a pressure barrel for with a better method for measuring pressure.

I also think #2 plays a small role also.
 

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If every time something new came along we threw away the old we would not have black powder shooting and hunting today !
Actually, American shooters and hunters did throw away black powder technology and BP hunting for many years. It was only beginning in the 1960s that renewed interest sparked what is now a growing shooting form. We had to re-learn much of what was forgotten, and along the way improved upon the old. Nothing wrong with abandoning old technology, but if we're smart we'll retain a way to bring it back...


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I don't think I know of anyone who've thrown away an old reloading manual. I do back off a little when getting another can of powder, but have found myself back at "my" favorite load quickly. I have been known to load "outside of the book" also. Reloading,in my opinion, is a constant test. What works better and why ?

As for the original question... I believe "D" all of the above is the only answer. Up until a few years ago, Hornady kept up with everybody else where velocities were concerned. The last 2 sets of manuals have been very conservative, while some others have stayed the same. One of the loads that I load for my 243 isn't even listed any longer(powder brands have changed). Does that mean that I shouldn't or can't load that powder any longer?


HWD
 

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Lone Star , i had a relative who never stopped hunting with it . he died in the 70's he was in his 90's .
I have had others as friends that also kept it alive !
In the 60's some got game departments to give them a season and others found a way to make a buck on it !
But i feel it was never totally abandoned !
Besides the navy still uses some in its guns !
 

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SHOOTALL

No adverse affects on the gun that I could tell. Matter of fact I reduced my load to get in the range and the gun did not shoot as good. Since I never saw any indication of a overcharge at the old loading rate and had been shooting it for years I went back to it. The original load was also in the acceptable range for that powder and bullet weight in other companies books.
 

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#1 & #2

#1). "And the winner is..." Liability. The rash of court cases in the last 50 years is crazy... but normal for money hungry lawyers. This is how society permits itself to be regulated... I have no problem with the warning about not using a hair dryier while in the bath or shower (with the water on)... but asking drivers to not drive while asleep... (been there come to think of it...) You can find this info in magazines no end, the humor section usually, but not really funny...

#2). At the same time, all barrels differ. The more technical writings about pressure using the old crusher system stated that they "fudged" up or down a bit to allow for the barrel used with the crusher. And you only got one shot per case, since the pressure blew a hole in the side of the case to get to the crusher pellet (copper or lead)... Then there was the discussion of measuring pressure in a solid barrel for a revolver where there is the venting of the cylinder/barrel gap in the real gun... No doubt, in the old days, things were "sloppier." Now with the "strain guage" systems available, the barrel variable is somewhat reduced...

And yes, powders do change. The big chemical companys "make" for military. "Sporting use" cannot be compared to military consumption. Uncle Sam wants something a bit different and it is "yes boss," of course with the hand out for payment... And sport shooters have to adapt. Ball C gave way to Ball C #2... Dupont did not sell 4895 to sport shooters until Mr. Hodgdon proved the demand with surplus H4895... (ha, ha)... So you want to bring to the reloading table, GREAT CARE, to protect yourself from these changes. luck
 

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No doubt the technology change has a lot to do with restating numbers.

Super computers running the latest modeling software can very accurately predict how a barrel and chamber are going to react to a fired round. Other technology is far more accurate than copper crush test in determining pressure.....and the technology to do so is relatively cheap now.

There is much more valid, usable data today which accurately aids in determining when components will fail.

I think limits are set today below any chance of component failure.

Product liability law suits require any AMERICAN manufacture to be conservative in regard to safety thus one chance in a million might be to high in today's marketing environment considering one failure could very well bankrupt the company or make insurance impossible to aquire.

Exceeding published data places more of the risk on you and me and removes most of the risk from the manufacturer.

Risk management.......what's an eye worth?
 
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