First off, thanks for all the well wishes from everyone.
I didn't have a chance to shoot yesterday, to busy getting the pasture mowed and a few stumps burned. Anyway, I did today! First order of business was to set my portable bench up at fifty yards to check the regulation. The shots off the bench were fired without a "lead sled", just with my hand supporting the forearm with a sandbag under my hand and my right elbow on the bench. Wow! I love this thing! First shot was dead center, 2 1/2" high. Second shot was touching the first shot!
The rest of the shots were taken off of sticks (much more pleasant than the bench!) Ten more rounds, all within a four inch group. No issues with the rifle. Did I say how much I love this thing???
My good buddy Sam Rose from Sth Carolina has an identical to yours .500 and it is a joy to shoot and hunt with, being almost a full pound lighter in carry weight than most other .500's.
Like you, I have been reloading for rifles for nearly thirty years but am new to this double world and am proceeding slowly.
Fortunately I have some EXTREMELY knowledgable, and experienced, people in the backround helping me and advising me along the way as I learn and develop a feel for the gun.
There are, these days, lighter-than-traditional weighted bullets available for handloading in modern doubles that increase effectiveness, versatility and terminal results proven in the hunting fields against the largest of game.
If and when you are ready to begin loading feel free to call on me for "tips and tricks".
That new Sabatti .470 of yours goes with my buffalo like strawberries and cream ! :thumb:
Welcome to the wonderful world of the big bore twin-pipes !
Thanks Paul! I'll take all the knowledge you want to give on reloading for a double. The biggest issue I'm having is finding bullets and powder here in the states. Thanks to our President Obummer, both are scarce even for the .470. I have quite a bit (5lbs) of IMR 4350 and a pound or so of IMR 4831. What's your thoughts on these two?
BB YOU make me sick!!!
You've got one and I don't :-)
I want a DR so bad I can taste it!
Unfortunately I looked at VCs at DSC and now I'm spoiled! @ $30K
We are only just now begining to get a trickle of dribs and drabs of powders and projectiles.
Prices have sky-rocketed !!!!
Both powders you mention are listed by Graeme Wright in his 3rd Edition Shooting the British Double Rifle as useful powders for loading traditional for caliber .474 bullets.(you'll find this book a wealth of vital information)
IMR 4350 in particular is similar in burning rates to R 15, another useful powder, and our own locally manufactured AR 2209.
The greatest "baggage" that goes with reloading for your double is the requirement to get the new load regulated.
If your Sabatti is anything like my buddy Sam's it will love the C.E.B bullets as well as Nth Forks and it will love them at extreme velocity.
Two good freinds have put A LOT of top end loads through Sam's Sabatti and it has taken it all in it's stride !!!
Select a projectile you want to use long term, a powder that is suitable and plan to stick with that combination.
KEEP ALL OF YOUR BRASS IN THE ONE BRAND.
In the larger calibers such as .470 and .500 there is a great deal of variation in case capacity between various brands of brass.
I have 7 different makes of .500 brass here at home, they have 5 gns of capacity difference between the least and the most.
If I were running a load near the threshold of pressure based on the case with the least capacity, then the cases with the greatest capacity would be over max.
What I've found recently is that when begginging to handload for a double there are two indespensible tools that are a must have;
* digital micrometer (caliper)
Record keeping is also crucial.
Keeping note of expansion in the base of cases and monitoring the point of diminished return between load and velocity are two, of many, ways of reading pressure in your double.
I and a few of my buddies are now trying to correlate the expansion of the case base to pressure. We will certainly know more soon but at this stage it is safe to say that any case that expands to more than .003 greater than its pre-fired measurement is too hot for a double.
* measurement is taken .335 up from the rim
* cases will expand more on their first firing than their second.
Above notes on case head increase are for second firings.
Also, learn to look at your brass and be able to identify unusual wear marks, shiny banding around the pressure point noted above, keep an eye over appearance (and size) of primer pockets etc etc.
Another well known method of watching for pressure is how the shells "release" from the chamber after firing.
Open the gun ever so slightly and make sure the cases are well free of the chamber after firing. Obviously anything that "sticks" in the chamber is too hot.
People with a lot more knowledge than myself are telling me that a load that makes a double stiff or difficult to open is WAY too hot and well over maximum.
I have been told that this traditional method for gauging pressure in a double is unreliable and not precise enough.
Hope some of this helps.
IMR4350 should be somewhat slower than R15...however I recently chronoed some R15 in my .405 Win loading project and while it sits right next to Varget on any burn rate chart, it took about 4 grains more R15 to equal the Varget speeds. So either I had some slow R15 and fast Varget or its slower (R15) than advertised. I think the later made stuff is slower as I have used R15 for years in .308 and have found it to be almost identical to Varget. However any good manual will state that "application" can change the burn rate of a powder, and that may explain the discrepancy.
Sess, your results above make perfect sense.
On the burn rate charts I have they show 4350 just slightly slower than R 15 with Varget (2208) being a little bit faster than either.
I would not have thought that "little bit faster" would translate in to a 4gn difference in a load of roughly 52gns, but your load shows that it is.
I have found R 15 a little inconsistant between cannisters and have resorted to blending large batches for better consistency between loads.
Taking measuremenst of your cases, .335 up from the rim, before and after firing is also a great way of comparing the level of pressures being generated by loads of different powders.
Interestingly your .405 is a relatively low pressure cartridge at 44k, I would be keen to know if there is any measurable differences amongst these loads of yours ?
Apologies for veering off topic :o
Thanks Paul. I can tell you have a passion for doubles and reloading! I'm looking to order "Shooting the British Double Rifle" for reference as you and Mike suggested. I have found a starting load of IMR 4831 of 89gr for 1854fps to a max of 98gr for 2078. I have found a load for Hodgdon 4350 but not IMR and as you know they have different burn rates. Do you have info for a starting load for the IMR? Believe it or not, all of my other rifles love IMR 4350, so I hope to find a load with it that the Sabatti likes. Thanks for the pointers on the load pressure indicators. I'll watch carefully.
Those Sabbati rifles look like a great value. Saw two of them in Cabelas for 3k each recently.
BB, sorry I do not load for the .470 and after checking several references can not find loads listed with IMR 4350.
Im pretty sure that both AKMike and Spike, both members here, load for the .470 and they may chime in and offer their recepies.
Sess, it seems that powder burning rates charts that we are using are quite different.
I am going to put more research into this as a result.
Your loads for the .405, using Varget as the propelant, correlate directly back to expected vels with the load you are using.
Here, in one reference, is a max load of 61gns with the 300gn bullet for a reported 2275fps.
Using the case head expansion method for gauging pressure is still in its development stage but in saying that I have used it before as a reliable indicator of increasing pressure in loading for wildcats with no reloading data available.
You are absolutely correct regarding new cases.
Brand new cases will expand at the previously mentioned point a little more than once fired.
Using this method becomes much more indicative on once fired cases.
A good freind of mine developed an entire line of wildcat cartridges using this method for gauging an increase in pressure.
Now, years later, he has equipment for testing pressure accurately and found his casehead measurement process correlated to the physical pressure figuers he is now recording with pressure trace equipment.
Sess, I nearly bought one of those .405's a year or so ago.
There was some sort of commerative model for sale on one of the various gun sales sites.
Beautiful timber and very fancy metalwork finish, for somthing like $1200 at the time !
In my '95 60grs of Varget yielded near 2250fps so very close to specs. The hottest thing I came up with was a sanctioned load of 59grs of H4895. Specs called for 2300fps, I got 2335fps with the Hornady 300gr. Thats more than I need so I made 56grs of that powder my max load at 2225fps. These are neat guns for sure, I have put nearly 800 rounds thru mine thus far. And yes I added a thin Winchester pad and also wear a sissy pad when I drop the hammer on it. No muzzle brakes please!:rockon:
I load for the 470 Nitro in a modern double along with a 450-400 3 1/4 in a vintage double.
The most important thing is to have your handloads chamber and extract everytime you shoot, along with the loads shooting to regulation.
Brass: I have used Jamison, Hornady, Norma, and some even headstamped Rigby. Some of the Jamison have over 10 firings on them and have performed well. I have seen significant differences in weight between lots. Within individual lots the Jamison has been consistent. The Norma has performed well and been consistent in weight. Hornady is consistent in weight, the only problem I have experienced with the Hornady has been failure to chamber and that was with factory loaded rounds. The rim thickness was slightly over spec and my chambers must be cut very near the lower end of the tolerance. I called Hornady and the acknowledged a problem.
Huntingtons is a good place to begin your search for brass as well as dies bullets, etc. The are good to call and talk to as they know their products.
RCBS distributors of reloading dies, reloader equipment bullets cases and supplies for handloading - since 1947 | Huntington Die Specialties
Primers: I like Federal 215GM. They are hard to find. The regular 215s work and I have used Remington 9 1/2Ms with no problems. I just feel the 215GM are the best on the market. While it is my opinion many big bore shooters feel the same.
Trimming: I use an RCBS trim die. I use it often even though there is not much case stretch. I like very consistent lengths when seating to the cannelure.
Dies: I am using Redding and they have worked well. They were available and less expensive than RCBS at the time. When seating the bullets I back off the die and screw down the bullet seater. After reloading all my rounds (the bullets are all seated to the cannelure) I take the bullet seater nearly out and screw down the die until it crimps the case at the cannelure.
Bullets: Just starting out I would buy Woodleigh 500 grain softs and seat them to the cannelure. The bullet discussion for hunting is a whole different ballgame, but for learning to reload for the double and working with regulation the Woodleighs are simple, safe, and relatively cheap.
Powder and Velocity: I regulate my 470 out to 75 yards. Most of my shooting is much closer. If I can get a good group at 75 I am happy. If the spread on the shot from each barrel is too wide increase your velocity. If it is crossing decrease your velocity. Use a chrono, if you are running much over 2150 you may need to look at what you are doing. Most of my loads are at 2125 when I leave the States. My last hunts have been early and late season so we have encountered some very hot weather in Africa and I prefer to have a little margin. My gun regulates well at those velocities.
From what I have seen the two most widely used powders are RL15 and IMR 4831. RL15 requires a foam wad or filler, IMR 4831 does not. You will notice more recoil with IMR 4831. I know one shooter using H-4831SC.
I hate putting loads on the internet but here it goes:
470 nitro with 500 grain bullets
Reloder 15: 89 Grains is the go to load with a 1 inch long by 1/2" diameter foam wad on top of the powder.
IMR 4831: 106 Grains no filler required
VERIFY these loads. Start a little lower around 87 on the RL 15 and 103 on the IMR 4831.
Hope this helps.
I researched a lot yesterday and came up with some starting loads with the IMR 4350. I also found load data for IMR 4831 that mirrors yours. Since I have plenty of these powders, I'll start with them until others become available. I also have CCI Magnum primers, so I'll try them. They work great with my .416 Rigby. I have 180 once fired Hornady cases so I'll develop my load around them. The knowledge that you guys have with doubles is invalueable! Thanks for the help!
congrats buff on your new double....almost done paying for my heym 88..but having to get the IRS paid set me back a month. Damn I can't wait to get my 400/450 now!! again congrats.
Thanks guys! Can't wait to be back on African soil with .470 this over my shoulder.
Heym 88 - Be sure and post some pictures whenever you get it in.
Jaco - Best of luck with your new area at Cahora Bassa. Glad to see them making it a true Coutada.