Author Topic: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?  (Read 1421 times)

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v8440

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Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« on: January 14, 2013, 05:16:10 PM »
Hi all,

     I've found 8# jugs of the stuff online for $69.00.  It's a pretty slow burning powder, but would it be usable for making a bunch of moderate-performance .30-06 ammo for bulk storage?
Koolmike:  "Because every morning, they drink smoothies consisting of Awesome #1, Badass #3, and Dumbass #12. Then they put the Nickelback on and all of a sudden they're on the final lap at Talladega."

res45

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 04:39:08 AM »

Frisco Pete

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 11:26:41 AM »
Really it's too slow for the 30-06. Of course it would go bang but you can't get enough of it in the case for decent burn and velocity. When a powder is too slow you can't get into the proper pressure/burn range.

So you would end up with poor ammo but would feel good having saved some money.
In my loading I want a certain standard of performance - and I mean standard factory spec performance - which in the long run is more important than whether I saved $40 on several hundred rounds.

Why load crap ammo?  If you want to save money, don't load any at all. That would save a lot, rather than wasting good primers and bullets (that cost money too) combined with an incompatible powder in hundreds of sub-par loads.
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Rocketvapor

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 01:39:10 PM »
I don't have a problem loading less than factory performance loads.
Sometimes people (like my wife) just can't hold up to 50 or more factory level rounds.
Use substantiated load data unless you have the instrumentation to measure pressure spikes caused by low charge density.
I don't so I stick with published and tested data. 
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res45

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 07:11:29 PM »
Quote
Sometimes people (like my wife) just can't hold up to 50 or more factory level rounds.

There are several ways around that using other powder bullet combinations.  There is Trail Boss for the non lead bullet users if you want to stick with jacketed bullets http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Trail%20Boss%20Reduced%20Loads%20R&P.pdf

I shoot cast loads in all my 30 cal. rifles using mainly 170 gr. RNFP gas check bullet and 16.0 grs. of Alliant 2400 or 13.0 grs. of Alliant Red Dot.  Other powder like Unique,SR-4759,Reloader #7 and IMR-4198 just to name a few will keep your velocity in the 1600 to 1800 fps range.

Rocketvapor

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 07:38:44 PM »
I have loads for my .223, x39, .308 and .30-06 using Rel 7.
Best? no, but can load down enough for the wifey :)


I just haven't seen data for the slow .50 BMG powders for little cartridges like the .30-06 :)
A bargain 8 lbs would be nice though.
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noyb72

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 02:36:11 PM »
I'm not sure if data is available, but Bartlett lists the 25-06 through 300 WM as apropriate cartridges. I would think you could get a successful load with heavy bullets, especially if you have a long barrel.

Ron
"In all the years I've sat on this bench...I heard lots of things that give me grave doubts about the human race. This ain't one of them". Judge, All the pretty horses.

Frisco Pete

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 12:24:23 PM »
There is a factor involved in picking the correct powder besides looking at a general range of calibers - like 25-06 through 300 WM.  In fact, in those two rounds listed is a bit of a clue, and one that experienced handloaders probably assume that everyone knows.  This is called EXPANSION RATIO.  Basically it is the relationship of the interior case volume to the bore volume.  When you have a case, no matter what size, where the interior case volume is very large compared to the bore size, you will need to use a slower burning powder to extract proper pressure and hence velocity.  If the bore is relatively large compared to the case, then you will use a faster burning powder. 

Certain case sizes are often used throughout a gamut of bore sizes.  For example, the 30-06 case is necked down and used in .25 caliber bores (25-06), .27 caliber bores (.270 Win), 7mm/.28 caliber bores (.280 Rem) - and necked up to be used in .33 caliber bores (338-06), and 35 caliber bores (35 Whelen).  With each change in bore size the expansion ratio changes.  Going from slow burning powders in the 25-06 to fairly fast powders in the 35 Whelen.
 
Stuffing a slow burning powder in the Whelen won't work because of several technical factors related to expansion ratio that prevent pressures getting high enough to get a clean, proper burn.  Results can be sooty and erratic and would be considered by ballisticians to be sub-par.
On the other hand, a safe load of a particular powder in the 35 Whelen would not be safe in the 25-06 even though the two cases have almost identical capacity and the only difference is bullet diameter.

Dr. Lloyd Brownell PhD who wrote a masterful scientific tome on the subject of pressure based on scientific experiments says that the "The truth is, the multiple influences of diameter are too significant to overlook and too complex to cover in one short chapter."

So back to our examples, we will note that both the 25-06 and the 300 Win Mag have a case capacity to bore ratio much different than that of the 30-06.  Both have a relatively large case capacity to the bore size.  Because of that, they are able to use a very slow powder like WC-857 successfully.  On the other hand, the .30-06 responds best to powders in the burning range of 4895 to 4350 - though it can use 4831 fine, although not enough of it can be put into the case to get the velocities and efficiency of the faster burning range.  You will notice that it requires more of a slow burning powder to get results than a fast burning one.  This is where the factor of not being able to get enough powder in the case comes in.  And WC-857 is noticeably beyond 4831 in being a slow burner in the '06.  WC-857 is a ball powder and ball powders are coated with a heavy deterrent coating to slow the burn.  You absolutely need a certain amount of pressure to successfully burn this deterrent coating off.  An older super slow ball powder was Hodgdon 870 and you absolutely couldn't get enough pressure with that in the '06 to make it burn right. WC-857 would be a gamble as well because it is a heavily-coated very slow ball powder.
Extruded (stick) single-base powders control the burn rate by the size of the granule, with larger granules being slower to burn.  That is why they take up more room too. 

If you get the idea that powders on the fast side are better in any given round, be aware that this is not so.  They tend to have greater pressure spikes and can become erratic when approaching maximum.  A bit too fast and they don't create the volume of gas needed to push the bullet to possible normal velocities.  The slower powders create that engineered volume of gas and thus make the grade.

So I hope anyone reading this will take home the idea that one cannot choose powders willy-nilly and expect good results.  There is a BALANCE that needs to be achieved in powder burn rate, expansion ratio, and bullet weight for optimum results.

So while everyone likes to save a buck, I would say it is a false economy to make grossly substandard reloads in order to do so by picking the wrong powder when there is so many to chose from.  Certainly pulling bullets from bad loads is no fun at all, so why risk having to do that when your experiment in cheapness goes awry?

« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 12:22:20 AM by Frisco Pete »
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v8440

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 03:20:17 PM »
I didn't do any of that.  This is why I asked here before buying the powder.  I haven't ordered it, and won't.  Thanks for the info-I'll seek other suitable powders for .30-06 instead.
Koolmike:  "Because every morning, they drink smoothies consisting of Awesome #1, Badass #3, and Dumbass #12. Then they put the Nickelback on and all of a sudden they're on the final lap at Talladega."

noyb72

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 11:57:18 PM »
Pete,

I am well aware of expansion ratio, and I agree with most of what you replied, but their is a difference between a ballistic nut trying to get the best balanced, most accurate load for their rifle and someone who reloads because they want something to go bang. As I understand it, WC-857 uses H380 loading data. Their are several H380 loads for the 30-06. So I agree, it isn't the BEST powder for the ultimate load, but it may be the best powder load per buck.

Ron
"In all the years I've sat on this bench...I heard lots of things that give me grave doubts about the human race. This ain't one of them". Judge, All the pretty horses.

Frisco Pete

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Re: Can WC-857 be used in .30-06?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 03:56:48 AM »
According to the burn rate charts from the link posted by res45 WC-857 is NOT in the burn rate area of H-380, but rather in the very slow burn rate similar to H-1000 or RL-25. Both of those powders are used in the big case magnum rounds like the 7mm STW, Ultra Mags etc.
So the much faster H-380 isn't even close in burn rate to that pair. You would never normally use H-1000/RL-25 in an '06. In fact I would be surprised if reloading manuals would list those two at all for use in the 30-06. Certainly Hodgdon doesn't list H-1000, and Alliant has one 200-gr load with Rl-25.
Ergo WC-857 is a bit too far off in left field from what I can gather to bother with - especially if you get stuck with 8 lbs that didn't work out at all. Maybe I'm just a bit too conservative, but I like my powders in the ballpark at least.
Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least.
[Lord Chesterfield]

He who dies with the most 22 LR ammo wins...