Understanding the different features and types of gunpowder will help the reloader develop the correct and most accurate loads when reloading bullets. Because reloading is dangerous it is essential to select the correct reloading powder when developing the best load. Reloading powders have different physiognomies that impacts the ballistics of the following:
- The completed round
- The consistency of measuring
Reloading powder basics are determined by burn rate, density of the gunpowder and the shape of the granule.
1. Burn Rate
The burn rate is a significant factor because it determines the maximum pressure generated by the powder charge. When comparing a magnum and a standard you will notice a remarkable difference between the two loads. If you also consider the weight of the bullet the standard load will work optimally with a faster burning reloading powder while the magnum will utilize a slower burning powder.
2. The Density of the Gunpowder
The density of the powder is a vital factor that will determine the bulk needed for a given charge. Gunpowder which is bulky reduces the chances of double charges. A double charge is where one charge consumes the powder space, in this case, the double charge will halt the ram before it reaches the top, either overflowing or not allowing the bullet to settle (seat).
3. The Granule
The granule shape refers to the gunpowder particle . The shape of the granule is dependent on how the gunpowder is developed. The size and shape of the granule will have an impact on the characteristics of burning and measuring.
|Common gunpowder “granule shapes”|
|Ball Powder||Flattened ball powder|
|Ball powders are spherically shaped granules and are a very small in size. The ball powders meters quite well when reloading.||Flattened ball powder is smaller than ball powder but is the shape has been compressed and has a similar behavior to that of ball gunpowder.|
|Flake Powder||Stick Powder|
|Shaped like disks, flake powder is a little difficult to meter because it can stack up when measuring the powder. It also has a characteristic of being less uniform when it comes to density during measuring.||Stick powder is a common powder and is mainly used in rifle rounds. It is cylindrical in shape. A problem that arises with stick powders is that the powder measure cuts the stick when measuring|
A Word on Scales
The Peregrine Electronic Scale gives a precise reading of 60g/0.001g (920gr/0.02gr). This means you would be able to get an accurate reading on the reloading powder, the tip of the bullet and casings. The scale is battery operated and has two weights with an easy to use calibration method. This makes sure that you get maximum accuracy under any condition, giving you confidence in precision and consistency with every reload.
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Very good to learn about the different shapes and makes of the powders. Thank you for posting.
Andries Janse van Vuuren