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Needed to find a replacement for H4895

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 23 2024 at 7:49am
I’ve not seen H4895 (ADI AR2206H) for several years now. It’s my go to powder for .30-06 in the M1 and 1903A3.  I also use in my short line load (200 and 300 yds) in the AR-15 with 69 gr bullets. 

Looking thru what is available, I decided on VV N135. It’s a short stick powder with a burn rate that falls in between IMR 4895 and IMR 4064, so should work quite well in all the rifle cartridges I reload, and should meter well.  And, the price is quite reasonable (for these days) at $264 for 8 lbs. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shiloh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 1:13am
At least you guys have reasonable. Everything I see here is close to or at around $100/lb. This puts me out of the game. I have some of various types, but when I`m out, I`m out.
Unless things change here.....
Lead from the front; eliminate all obstacles...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 2:16am
This is what I have learned after extensive research and correspondence with the fine folk at Capstone Precision Group.

 IMR4895 falls directly between VihtaVuori N133 and N530 on the Burn Rate charts.  IMR4895 has an identical Burn Rate with Hodgdon Leverevolution, Vectan SP9 and Accurate 2520.

Norma ballisticians on the other hand, used IMR4350 as a base model and found that the burn rate for IMR4895 falls directly between VihtaVuori N140 and Hodgdon H335.

You mentioned 69grn projectiles in your AR and I can only assume that you are using either 155 or 168grn SMK projectiles in your 30-06.
VihtaVuori N140 would be the better choice for both.  You could also use Reloader 15, Accurate 2700, Hodgdon H380 or Ramshot Big Game which have identical Burn Rates. That is according to the Capstone Precision Group...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sapper740 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 3:15am
I've had good luck with H335 in recreating the M193 load for a couple of my ARs and some varmint loads although all my reloading has been done with bullets on the lighter end of the scale.  I'm not sure how H335 would work with 69 gr. bullets.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 4:13am
The other problem is that I’ve not seen any 69 gr SMKs for a while. If that doesn’t change, I’ll run out of those too. I’m shooting about 50 to 100 per week of these (and more during matches). I’m going to try the 52 SMK for the short line, N135 should work well with that. 

There are numerous considerations in play here. I’ve got a fair bit of N140 which I have been using with the 80 gr SMK for the 600 yard slow fire stage with good results. That would have been my first choice to try with the 69 SMK, but I have not seen N140 for sale lately either.  

I’ve got lots of Varget for my .303 and .308 No. 4 rifles. 

So, my plan is to keep the H4895 I have left for the .30-06. It is a great powder for light bullets and reduced loads for the M1 (I load the 125 grain Speer TNT with 44.5 gr H4895).  The .30-06 case is large for the amount of powder used with load densities of only 60 to 80%. H4895 happens to work well in that application. When that runs out, I’ll go back to IMR 4895 which I still have a fair amount of. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 11:42am
Turns out I had a few pounds on N135, bought it a few years back but never opened it. 

Last night I loaded up 20 rounds each of 23.0 and 23.5 grains to try with the 69 SMKs in the .223 AR-15 Service Rifle. 

Both loads hammered.  Shot these prone in the sling at 200 and 300 yards. 

First, the 23.0 grain load of N135 at 200, I used the same sight settings as my regular match load of 23.5 gr H4895.  10 shot group extreme spread was 1.4 MOA. 



At this point, I figured the load development was done, I hit on a great load on the first try. Mean velocity was 2799 fps and standard deviation of 16.2 fps. 

The next 10 rounds were fired prone at 300 yards using the same sight settings I use with my 23.5 gr H4895 load at 300x.  Extreme spread was 1.7 MOA. I suspected that the wider shots within the 10 ring were me. Mean Velocity slightly lower than first 10:round string at 2788 fps and standard deviation of 14.6 fps.



I then tried the 23.5 grain load also at 300 yards prone in the sling. I kept the same sight settings used in the 23.0 grain N135 load above. The group was quite a bit tighter (although 2 inches higher than the 23.0 gr load). Extreme spread was 1.1 MOA. Mean velocity 2867 fps and standard deviation of 14.7 fps



My first reaction is that the 23.5 gr load may be a bit hot. It is 0.3 grains below max per the VV website load data.  Inspection of the case heads and primers did not show any pressure signs, but that bullet is cooking coming out of the 20 inch barrel.

Although I’m tempted to load at 23.5 gr, I like to keep some margin on the max load. I may run a few more 300 yard comparisons. I don’t like the significant increase in elevation between 23.0 and 23.5 (or the significant velocity increase), makes me think pressures are running high at 23.5. 

These were all shot on the US NRA Short Range Target (the same scoring ring dimensions are used at both 200 and 300 yds, a 3 inch diameter X ring and 7 inch diameter 10 ring.  The SR-3 target has one additional ring in black (the 8 ring).




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 11:48am
What is the twist rate of the .223 barrel?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 1:50pm
1:7.7 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 2:25pm
Not certain that it actually matters but, load data using the 69grn Sierra HPBT or, the 69grn Lapua Scenar was done with 1 in 10" twist barrel. Keeping the charge weight to 22.8 should give you more consistency over velocity without sacrificing accuracy while simultaneously reducing chamber pressures...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 3:09pm
Note, I’m using a Sierra MatchKing, not a Lapua Scenar. VV website gives specific loads for the 69 gr Sierra MatchKing (23.8 gr max). 

In my test, 23.5 was clearly the winner for accuracy.  Here is what I found published for max load of N135 with 68/69 grain bullets:

Sierra 22.5 gr 2600 fps from 20” barrel (obviously very conservative)
Hornady 23.4 gr 2800 fps from 20” barrel
VV Website 23.8 gr 2871 fps from 25” barrel

Although the Lyman 49th Ed didn’t list N135, it does list N140 with a max of 26.0 gr at 2897 fps from a 20” barrel (Colt AR-15).  Lyman manual has significantly higher max charge weights for all powders listed with velocities in the range of 2743 (IMR 4064) to 2979 fps (AA 2230). Lyman must not have had lawyers set the max charge weights like Sierra seems to. 

I’m confident 2800 fps is fine, 2900 is pushing it. I might settle on 23.2 gr. That gives a 0.6 gr margin below max per VV website with this bullet and should yield 2800 fps from my 20” Bartlein. 

By rights, I should just run a ladder test to find the true accuracy nodes, was hoping for a quick win…




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 3:17pm
The 1 in 10" twist barrel was used when tested with "both" the Sierra HPBT and the Lapua Scenar according to my 2024 reloading book with both having a 1) notation. Sounds like you have it all figured out though...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 4:27pm
I suspect the 1:7.7 twist would not make any difference in pressure, probably no difference in velocity either.  The 1:7.7 twist is intended to stabilize 60-80.5 grain bullets.  52 gr works too if not driven too fast…

I’ll shoot a few more 300 yd test groups at 23.0, 23.2 and 23.4 and see what does best accuracy wise. I also want a load that will tolerate a +/- 0.1 gr powder charge variation for volumetric loading, but I’m tempted to just load up 23.5 and be done with this. 

I may go with a gain twist for the next barrel. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2024 at 5:43pm
I did alot of load workup with the Lapua 90grn OTM Scenar-L BTHP for my .243W.  Settling on 37.9grns of N540 which is 1.3grns below maximum charge weight and my chronographed FPS 8 feet from the muzzle averages 3212.

 (It should be notated here that, with the maximum charge weight of 39.2grns the FPS  should be 3156.) 
I purposely loaded five rounds at the maximum charge weight and seated the bullets to the suggested C.O.L.. I was a little unnerved by the chronograph showing a FPS of 3352. Almost 200 FPS faster than published data.

I learned from a group of avid BR shooters that the very low humidity here has a significant impact on velocities and pressure due to the Nitrocellulose being hydroscopic so I reduced the charge but increased the C.O.L. to 2.795" from the suggested 2.689" to keep the chamber pressures regulated.

With the charge weight established at 37.9grns and the C.O.L. set to 2.795", I average right at 3186.7 FPS and my averaged ten shot group @ 300 yards comes in at 0.656"...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 25 2024 at 7:19am
Decided to press on and do a ladder test.  

I know accuracy is good at 23.0 and even better at 23.5 grains, but I’m looking for the accuracy node where MPI will not change within a +/- 0.1 gr charge weight deviation.  I weighed out each of these charges for the initial tests, but will be loading these direct from the powder measure once I decide on a load.  The good news is that my Harrell’s measure will drop N135 to within +/- 0.1 grains. 

I’m planning on three shots for each charge of 22.6, 22.8, 23.0, 23.2 and 23.4 grains. Then plot up the MPI of each three shot group looking for two or three adjacent weights that group at the same (or very close to the same) elevation. I’ll run the test at 300 yards which is max this load will be shot at.  In the usual fashion, I’ll shoot these in a “round robin” approach and not change the sight settings during the test. 

With only 15 rounds needed for the test, it’s an efficient method to find the accuracy node. 









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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 25 2024 at 8:51am
Found another bonus of using N135. 

It’s one of the coolest burning powders in terms of thermal units per unit mass (kilojoules/kg). That, coupled with the relatively low maximum charge weights of N135, will make this an ideal powder for service rifle matches that require rapid fire stages. Much lower than H4895 in this respect.  This should help prolong barrel life (throat erosion).  

This data is contained within the Quick Load software database and available online. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2024 at 6:10am
Originally posted by Goosic Goosic wrote:


With the charge weight established at 37.9grns and the C.O.L. set to 2.795", I average right at 3186.7 FPS and my averaged ten shot group @ 300 yards comes in at 0.656"...


For some perspective here, the F-Class 300 yard target dimensions are 1.42 inch X ring and 2.85 inch 10 ring. 

I looked for the F-Class record at 300 yards and haven’t found anyone that has put all 20 shots within the 1.42 inch X ring (score of 200-20x). Not that it’s never happened, just haven’t found a record of it.  Your 0.656 inch average groups are less than half the size of the best F-Class shooters at 300 yards. 

Did you mean 100 yards? Even that is impressive…




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