Shotshell Pressure: How to Avoid Trouble

If your reloading press breaks, you can build loads by hand … with the right measuring devices, that is. A 1-1/8-ounce load of #8s will be about 460 pellets. You can count those. You can also use hand dippers to check the throw of your loads.

If your reloading press breaks, you can build loads by hand … with the right measuring devices, that is. A 1-1/8-ounce load of #8s will be about 460 pellets. You can count those. You can also use hand dippers to check the throw of your loads.

SOME PRESSURE PROBLEMS

Loss of pressure during the burning cycle diminishes any chance of a complete and efficient powder burn. The result is shot pellets without the energy or velocity you normally expect and a greater build-up of crud in your barrel.

A small interruption could be a collapsed gas seal, for example. Inconsistent pressures and velocities are the clues that your load components may be breaking down. Irregularities in the pressure curve, perhaps caused by a component shift, reduce the effectiveness of the propellant burn because compression momentarily slackens.

H110 from Hodgdon is a spherical 410 powder and is also rated for top velocities in medium to magnum use with pistol reloads: 44 Magnum, 454 Casull and even the 475 Linebaugh.

H110 from Hodgdon is a spherical 410 powder and is also rated for top velocities in medium to magnum use with pistol reloads: 44 Magnum, 454 Casull and even the 475 Linebaugh.

These unpredictable component shifts have several identifiable origins: weak cushion sections in wads, weak seals or worn-out hulls with poor crimps.

Many substandard loads sound fine when they are fired, but compared to a more perfect load, actually produce inferior velocity and energy delivery. If your load experiences a loss of pressure, even a minute loss, pellets may be getting out there, but not with the speed and energy you expect.

It may surprise you to learn that shotshells are designed to operate at the low end of the powder-pressure spectrum. All powders, particularly those that burn slowly, are sensitive to compression and with improper or leaky containment, burning will inevitably be less than complete. It is also true that a lighter than average load may reduce your chamber pressure to a point where the proper burning cycle cannot be concluded.

What do you do when you pull the trigger on a reload and the gun seems to fire, but without its customary authoritative kick? You may have an obstruction in the barrel caused by a faulty load. Stop immediately and, with the barrel pointed downrange, perform a visual inspection. It is possible that the wad has lodged inside. If you fire another round behind and into it, the resulting traffic jam in the bore can cause a permanently ruptured barrel and could hurt you and those around you.

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