Gunpowder Measured In Grains

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Posted by admin | Posted in Reloading Supplies | Posted on 20-03-2010

Gunpowder Measured In Grains

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Gunpowder Measured In Grains

When reloading 9mm, how "full" is the shell when dropping the powder?

I'm a newbie when it comes to reloading. Although I measured and checked every other 9mm shell before I drop the powder, I just want to make sure this sounds right. When you load a 115 grain 9mm shell, how full is the shell with gunpowder? Should it be roughly 1/3 of the way full or 2/3 of the way full? It's currently 2/3 of the way full. I don't know, it just seems like it's too much powder.

I guess what's confusing me is all the books I have read on reloading tell me how critical it is not to double-charge a shell. I find that almost impossible to do because if I double-charged a shell it would be completely obvious it's double-charged because gunpowder would overflow out.

I'm just trying to confirm all is good. Thanks in advance!

Remember, a heavier bullet is hard to get moving, so given the exact same powder charge of the exact same powder type, a heavier bullet will result in higher pressures.

115 grain bullets are quite lightweight. Hence, they normally can handle a larger volume of powder. If you would load 148 gr bullet, you'd be told to use a smaller charge, and then you'd see it less than half full, also, with a heavy bullet, it seats deeper into the case, so a 1/3 full case getting a double charge to 2/3 full, and then getting compacted when the bullet is seated...

Also, granulation varies from powder to powder, some powders have less volume in the same given weight, making some powders fill the shell less. Now, you never want the volume of the case (after figuring out where the bullet will sit) to be just 1/2 full, because when turned sideways (like when in the chamber of a gun shooting straight ahead) the primer can ignite the powder in the front and back and middle all at the same time, which acts like a shaped charge and blows UP. Hence most recipies using light bullets (where you have more room inside once the bullet is seated) also use 'fluffy' powders to help fill the case up.

Also, the 9mm case is pretty small compared to say a 38 special case, and pretty narrow compared to a 45acp case.

So, because of the cartridge dimentions, yes, your cases should be fairly full, and because you are using a light bullet, you'll be using probably more grains of powder than many other recipies, which will make it look quite full. Change these to, go to a heavy bullet in a 45acp or a heavy bullet in a 38 special, and it gets easier to mistakenly double-charge.

Finally, powder compacts when pushed, so if you don't spot a very full case, you can seat the bullet and push hard enough to squish down all the powder.

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