Printer Friendly

Switching components: good or bad?

Switching Components: Good or Bad?

Shotshell handloading has been plagued by what appears to be a dichotomy of thinking relative to switching, interchanging, or substituting components. On the other hand, we've been told since the inception of plastic components that there should be no substitutions, that a handloader must use only those components listed in published recipes. This caveat has been published often enough so that the typical reloader has seen it, although not many have paid heed to it. However, my mail indicates that more and more handloaders are beginning to wonder about mixing up shotshells with other than published stuff. Just recently, for example, I received a letter from one gent who asked if it would be okay to use the Remington FIG-8 wad in place of the Winchester WAA12 wad when all other things are the same; and the past has seen a series of similar letters inquiring about switching from the Federal 209 to the CCI 209 primer or using a Remington Premier hull in place of a Federal Gold Medal, etc., etc., ...

On the other hand, the manufacturers of handloading components and certain other publishers print book after pamphlet after booklet after data sheet showing a myriad of different reloads -- and if one analyzes the data publications carefully, what else are they but variations on themes showing the results of component switching? If you take a look at the outstanding publications like IMR Powder's Handloaders' Guide for Smokeless Powders, Scot Powder Company's third edition reloading manual, and the various data sheets being distributed by Winchester-Olin for their new family of ball powders, you'll see lists of possible component combinations for just one particular loading such as, say, the 3 drams equivalent 12-gauge trap load. I've just flipped open Hercules' Guide to the listing of reloads in this persuasion for the Winchester AA-type hull, and there are 15 different combinations for Red Dot and Green Dot respectively, all of which are categorized as 3 dram equivalent rounds. Moreover, the listings include a half dozen different primers and all sorts of wads. If that isn't switching, substituting or changing, what is it? And how is it justified if the above-mentioned caveat of not switching is right?

The fact is that there can be some component switching in shotshell reloading without invariably having the gun blow up. This isn't a matter of leeway in gun toughness, nor is it recklessness or flying by the seat of one's pants. Any perusal of substantial reloading data will prove that components do interchange without disaster. Take a look at the following three reloads taken from the Scot Powder Company's third edition reloading manual:

Remington Premier hull

Remington 209P primer

19.0/Solo 1000 [R]

Remington FIG-8 wad

1-18 ounces lead shot

Published pressure: 9,600 l.u.p.

Published velocity: 1,200 fps

Remington Premier hull

Remington 209P primer

19.0/Solo 1000

Winchester WAA12 wad

1-1/8 ounces lead shot

Published pressure: 10,200 l.u.p.

Published velocity: 1,200 fps

Remington Premier hull

Federal 209 primer

19.0/Solo 1000

Remington RXP-12 wad

1-1/8 ounces lead shot

Published pressure: 10,500 l.u.p.

Published velocity: 1,200 fps

Despite switching the wads in the top two reloads, and despite switching both the wad and primer in the bottom recipe, the reload itself remained within the safe pressure parameters set by SAAMI, namely, a maximum average working pressure of 10,500 l.u.p. There was nothing dangerous about the manipulations. And as the various manuals illustrate, there are a lot of other instances where component juggling is entirely safe. Thus if a customer enters your shop and asks about using this wad or primer instead of that wad or primer, simply pick up the data sources and check it out.

The main problem with component switching comes when the basic data is already averaging maximum for any given gauge. Then another component with a potential for generating high pressures can kick pressures over max.

An important thing to point out to customers who do switch components is that the pressure/velocity values will normally change with the switches, and that could cause some alteration to load patterning. Many people find that hard to believe, but I do substantial patterning and have found instances where merely using a different wad or primer could influence patterning.

Some casual reloaders think they need a hot primer for a clean burn, and that isn't always the case: clean bores don't necessarily equate with good patterning. Indeed, the shock of a magnum-force primer can help deform pellets by creating a more violent setback factor. Generally speaking, the hotter the primer the higher the chamber pressure; and the higher the chamber pressure, the more potent will be the wad's force against the lower layers of lead shot.

In the so-called "lite" target loads now being turned out, most ammo makers utilize a lower-force primer to reduce recoil sensation and to prompt a more gradual pressure rise. If the factory loads can burn 200x200 in trap with these mild primers, handloaders can do so too. Moreover, in many respects clean burning is a matter of the powder's characteristics, not the primer's initial thrust. Indeed, my own feeling is that primer switching is the most critical aspect of reload manipulation, and I'd prefer to see data before jumping into indiscriminate changes.

The point is then, that a handloader can, in most instances, substitute components if your shop is out of what he wants. Help him find data to prove it. I've heard a lot of customers say, "I know I should never switch components, but I can't find the XYZ wad I normally use," or else, "I can get a bargain on ABC primers." Don't discourage the change because of bland past reasoning that such changes are dangerous when the manuals indicate that many of them aren't, provided the powder charge is a sage and sane one.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:handloaders
Author:Zutz, Don
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Words:993
Previous Article:Arrow quiver options for the bowhunter.
Next Article:ATF rules on FAX Copies.
Topics:


Related Articles
Premium big-bore, big-game bullets.
Temperamental cartridge cases; all calibers are not easy to reload - here's why.
Lyman Shotshell Handbook.
Chronograph trouble.
New equipment makes for great convenience and conversions.
Reloading kits can up handloading sales.
Increased sales with reloading clinics.
The 1992 reloading round-up.
New powder gives rifle shooters hyper-magnum power.
There's a huge market for reloading.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters