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As long as the bullet gets out of the barrel who do I care if the load is below the minimum? I am thinking of plinking, not defense or hunting, and not where power factor matters. I understand that higher pressure means more complete burning, higher spin rate, better consistency, and so on. I can't think of a safety reason, as long as the bullet clears the barrel.
Detonation is for real. Detonation is still not well understood. People have tried all sorts of things to make it happen but it never happens reliably.

Detonation is when the rate of combustion exceeds the speed of sound in the medium. Under that point it's deflagration. Pressures can rise to the point where barrels zip apart, breeches break open.
 

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Bullseye shooters have been loading below book for years. The published minimum loads for many powders in .45 ACP are above what those shooters have been using.

In .45 ACP as long as the pistol functions and the bullet leaves the barrel I'm happy. I'm loading anywhere from 10-20% below book for most powders.

The exception is Clays. That 3.5 gr under a 200 gr SWC is perfect.
 

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As long as the bullet gets out of the barrel who do I care if the load is below the minimum? I am thinking of plinking, not defense or hunting, and not where power factor matters. I understand that higher pressure means more complete burning, higher spin rate, better consistency, and so on. I can't think of a safety reason, as long as the bullet clears the barrel.
Detonation or sticking a bullet in the bbl are both considerations with reduced charges. Be careful.
 

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There is a reason they publish a minimum and maximum range. It is for safety!
Not all the time. You have you use you brain sometimes besides a hat rack. You just need to study a bit. Say you want to use Unique in the .44 Magnum but don't care for magnum loads. The minimum load listed for the bullet is a high pressure load. What? Why? Lets do some checking... You go to .44 Special and you notice, look, Unique is used here too for 14K loads -- with the same bullet! Do the same for other cartridges and find Unique is used for quite a range of pressure loads. Good to know. Now I know I can download my .44 Magnum using Unique no problem. See how that goes? Now, look up H-110 or W296 . You don't find it in .44Special or .38 loads. In that cause you say to yourself, "I guess this powder is not to be down loaded'.... If you are thinking, you would say to yourself "Find a different powder (like Unique, 20/20, Universal) ".

General rule of thumb of course is slow powders should not be downloaded. They like the high pressure to burn well and consistent. That is why most of us have say 2400 for hot loads, and Unique for medium loads, and Bullseye (Trailboss in the category) for light loads on hand. Each has their purpose. There isn't just one powder that does it all.
 

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You have you use you brain sometimes besides a hat rack. You just need to study a bit.
My experience is that loading manuals (I use Speer and Lyman) and also powder manufacturer load data is inconsistent and seldom agrees with each other or my chronograph data, for same bullet weight and OAL (I rarely find my specific bullet in any manual). Barrel length is also seldom disclosed, in my experience. I use the manuals as indicators and chronograph to settle on a load I am happy with. I have a lot of Unique and a lot of Titegrpup so those powders are what I will use for the foreseeable future.

Recently I was updating my load data for 45 LC out of a Vaquero with 4-5/8" barrel for 250 gr LRNFP from SNS casting (I bought a bunch) and Unique. I always chronograph in batches of 30 using my Chrony Beta. I went in increments of 0.5 gr from 8.0 gr down to 5.0 gr for OAL 1.585". I found average MV above 600 fps even at 5.0 gr Unique and standard deviation consistently about 18-19 fps. The plot of MV versus weight was pretty linear (r2=0.983). I found 2 Lyman manual 250 gr bullets with same SD and slightly different OAL (within 0.015"). The MV for the one bullet fell almost exactly on my data, changing r2 to 0.984. The other one wasn't even close. Lyman did not disclose barrel length. The Speer data wasn't even close. The loading data published by M. D. Smith also wasn't close for 250 gr LRNFP and Unique (his one data point for 4-5/8" barrel was a lot lower MV than mine). The only thing I noticed shooting wise was at 5.0 gr felt recoil was really light and real quiet. And I do carry a couple of dowels, but I've never had a stuck bullet.
 

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Since this thread has been revived I would like to add something. If you're interested in using reduced loads try enquiring at a site that's dedicated to shooting cast bullets. A lot of times you can find people who have good information on the caliber you're interested in. Many guys will have preferred loads that are often chrono'd as well. Of course this may eliminate some of those calibers that are not typically reduced due to availability of bullets etc.
 

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You will usually be good to stick to manuals starting loads. I've never had a Kaboom but I have had squibs. I have a pet load with 231 and 148 Hornady lead HBWC bullets loaded in .357 cases. Shoots great. I bought some Berrys plated 148 HBWC bullets to try. Shot in a 6" model 19. some would exit the bbl, you could see them they were flying so slow. A couple stuck in the bbl, I had to drive them out of the bbl. Bottom line is, BE Careful! You don't really want a squib or a Kaboom..............................
 

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Not all the time. You have you use you brain sometimes besides a hat rack. You just need to study a bit. Say you want to use Unique in the .44 Magnum but don't care for magnum loads. The minimum load listed for the bullet is a high pressure load. What? Why? Lets do some checking... You go to .44 Special and you notice, look, Unique is used here too for 14K loads -- with the same bullet! Do the same for other cartridges and find Unique is used for quite a range of pressure loads. Good to know. Now I know I can download my .44 Magnum using Unique no problem. See how that goes? Now, look up H-110 or W296 . You don't find it in .44Special or .38 loads. In that cause you say to yourself, "I guess this powder is not to be down loaded'.... If you are thinking, you would say to yourself "Find a different powder (like Unique, 20/20, Universal) ".

General rule of thumb of course is slow powders should not be downloaded. They like the high pressure to burn well and consistent. That is why most of us have say 2400 for hot loads, and Unique for medium loads, and Bullseye (Trailboss in the category) for light loads on hand. Each has their purpose. There isn't just one powder that does it all.
Very well stated . As an example, for my " Old West " .44 loads I use a recipe that is 20 % under starting .44 mag loads according to Alliant using Unique in .44 mag cases that closely approximates original .44-40 ballistics. Even 2400 can be safely downloaded a little from starting loads in some books and still get a complete burn.

As you pointed out correctly , this is a no no with powders such as W 296.
 

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I'll get some Trail Boss and see how that loads for my 45 Colt stack up
There is a long 'trail boss' thread called 'Trail Boss?' here in reloading where several people and I contributed lots of load data. Just an FYI. Tests with regular and magnum primers, etc... I know it is fun to test in your own gun though :) .
 

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Years ago, there was an article in one of the popular gunzines...a "Universal make any gun go bang" load. That turned our to be for rifles... 10 gr Unique.
Hodgdon has an article on its website giving "Youth" loads for one of its powders..only one...Iirc
H4895... but again, ONLY for rifles.
Pistols are a whole different animal. I did some experimentation years ago for .38 Spl/357 Magnum...again from an article in a magazine... reduce a manual's start load by 1/2 till it doesn't go any more, the scribe said; Soooo, I did...got down to 2.9 gr. Unique, which led to a stuck bullet:oops:, and a little kid asking his Mom;"Why is that man banging on his gun?". Removed the bullet out with no problem, and continued shooting...but not the loads that stuck!
Patrick Sweeney wrote a book about his experiences as a national-rated competitive shooter in which he said;.357 Magnum? Take a .38 Special load and add 10%, and that will do fine. That mirrors my experiences, but I don't shoot "full snort" 357s any more, finding that a hot +P .38 load in 357 brass will do anything I need it for, and are much more shooter friendly. That sort of load is pleasant to shoot, which adds to accuracy, and less "range fatigue", sore hands/wrists, and possibly erectile dysfunction:eek:...you never know!:giggle:. Ymmv. My opinion...Lead bullets reach a point of diminishing returns at about 1,000 fps anyhow. Those loads are somewhat below starting loads for the Magnum, but..only for Magnum handguns.
 

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For perhaps an interesting reference, one of the 'on-line Speer' 45 Colt data sections specifically lists DNR (Do Not Reduce) on maximum loads where no minimum charge is even listed! This seems different from previous Speer manuals though I only have 11th & 12 editions of Speer, need to update that one for sure. Always appreciate Speer's approach and of course their extensive lab expertise.

If my memory is correct they listed at least a half dozen powders for one of their bullets with the DNR designation. Am planning to study it more myself, getting their latest edition as well.
 
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