With gas prices, inflation, etc. kicking me in the wallet, I decided that I would try a new reloading project. Before I got started in reloading, I had foresworn that I would refrain from trying to push the velocity/pressure envelope too far I have previously embarked on projects that optimized for accuracy and recoil. That usually left me using H4895 for a rifle powder.
I reload in the following rifle calibers: 30-06, 308 Win, 35 Whelen, 30 WCF, 7.62X54R and .223 Rem. Over the past five years, I’ve used a bunch of powders: IMR3031, Varget, IMR4895, BL-C(2), to name a few. In the end, I keep coming back to H4895. This month, as I neared the bottom of my umpteenth pound can of H4895, I decided to spring for an 8-pounder from the web and get to work weeding out the others.
The other factor impinging on my decision was that I was tired of running out to BassPro to see what powder they had. Sometimes they had Varget, sometimes not. Sometimes the H4895 was on backorder and due in next week. It really ripped it when I showed up there last month and found out they had done away with their bullets, brass, dies, presses– everything except powder and primers. Furthermore, H4895 was up to over $20 a pound. I got my 8 lbs of H4895, and a bunch of other things on the web at a sizeable savings over what I could have done at a retail store. The difference between some of the sites ended up being shipping charges. Powder Valley ended up giving me the best deal, although Wideners came in a close second.
My standard 30-06 loads are already using H4895. I was loading for a Garand, and it just developed from there. I went back to my “308 as 300 Savage project” and cooked up 150 grain Rem Corelokts over H4895, and found they were much more accurate than my original experiment. My 30-30 loads have always been H4895, since I’ve got Mooseboy and Angus to load for. The 30-30 was developed for their tender shoulders. I also tamed the savage Mosin Nagant’s recoil with H4895 and Angus is going to be taking his first deer this year with a 7.62X54R loaded down to hot-thuty-thuty specs.
I also ended up using H4895 in my 35 Whelen-as-a-358-Win project, for basically the reason. I got good consistent velocity and minimal recoil out of H4895, staying 5% or more off the max load. This was a practical test of my study, a couple of winters ago, where I attempted to take published loading data and determine what was deer load gave the best bang for the minimal amount of recoil for targets inside 200 yards. A slightly-off-max load of 35 Whelen consistently showed itself as a theoretical top performer.
Saturday, I cooked up a nice load of 50 grain Speer TNT over H4895 for the Mini 14. We didn’t get out to test them, but I believe they’ll do nicely on milk jugs. If they do, I’ll be done with all the other powders and I’ll be loading exclusively with H4895.
On the pistol side, I’m already using Tightgroup in all my pistol calibers (45ACP, 357 Mag, 44 Mag, etc.). It does quite well as long as you are not trying to push the envelope too far. Tightgroup makes nice accurate target rounds with a minimum powder.