Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data!

Posted by: derbyacresbob

Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 04:45 PM

Not to long ago I found out that many of my 12 ga coyote and goose loads that I reloaded using BPI's Handloading Hevi-Shot Fourth Edition manual have way to high of pressures.

I sent off some 12 ga 2-3/4" 1-3/8 oz loads to have tested. I based these loads off of BPI and RSI's Hevi-Shot and Heavyweight shot reloading data for 12 ga 2-3/4" 1-1/4 oz loads. I lowered the powder charge 4.0 grains and raised the shot charge 1/8 of an ounce. The results were 15,808 psi average or 4,308 psi over Max allowable pressure.

That pressure pretty much had me shocked when I saw it.

So I sent off some of the 12 ga 3" Fiocchi 1-1/2 oz loads with 35.0 gr of Steel Powder that the BPI manual shows to have 10,800 psi. I have at least 400 of these shells loaded. These loads averaged 14,918 psi or 3,418 psi over Max allowable pressure.

I have shot hundreds of these loads without any problems.

So now I am in the process of taking hundreds of Steel Powder reloads apart to lower the shot charge weights or lower the powder charges to get the pressures under Max.

Yesterday I sent off some more Alliant Steel Powder loads to be tested at Precision Reloading. I will post the results on this thread when I get the test sheets back in 10 to 14 days.

It looks like quite a few of the guys on Duck Hunting Chat Forums load at least 10% lower than what the data calls for on many of the older data Alliant Steel Powder loads.
Posted by: ackleyman

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 06:38 PM

What did the base of your hull look like at 14,918 pressure?

Did those high pressure loads pattern well?

Hard to believe it did not blow the gas seal with those kinds of pressures.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 07:08 PM

They are mostly Rem HD BB and Hevi-Shot loads and a bunch of HW13 #2, #4 and #6 shot loads. I don't know if the pressures are that high on all of them or not. I don't know what the hull and wad looked like because I wasn't there when Precision Reloading tested them.

The 2-3/4" Federal Gold Medal load with 1-3/8 oz of Hevi-Shot and 32.0 gr of Steel Powder having pressures over 15,000 psi just shocked me.

I have a 2-3/4" Fiocchi load with 1-1/4 oz of HW13 #6 shot and a 3" Fiocchi with 1-1/2 oz of REM HD BB shot with 31.00 gr of Steel Powder going back to be tested so hopefully these loads will be much lower. These loads are with a newer lot of Steel Powder.

Every load I have ever made with Steel Powder I have weighed each powder charge and shot charge on my scales.
Posted by: jetman

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 10:02 PM

I do believe the max PSI on a 3 1/2 Shotgun is 14,000 and in the UK they use 15,000 as the top end .
I'm thinking I'd use up the shells and adjust on the next go round . Just thinking out loud
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 10:21 PM

Originally Posted By: jetman
I do believe the max PSI on a 3 1/2 Shotgun is 14,000 and in the UK they use 15,000 as the top end .
I'm thinking I'd use up the shells and adjust on the next go round . Just thinking out loud


I don't have a 3-1/2" shotgun.
Posted by: ackleyman

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/14/17 10:47 PM

Couple of things come to mind.

I have been in a pressure lab, some of the stuff they use shocked me.

Their shotgun may have a different bore dia, forcing cone, etc which would radically effect the pressure.
Posted by: Mike B

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/15/17 11:06 AM

Interesting topic guys with some "real" numbers for debate. Just met a fella that's working with people on the TSS shot, and they've been sending shells away to get tested too - just to be sure. Keith adds a good point on nothing ever being the same in things that go boom, but almost 50% over pressure is definitely considerable. Interested to see where this one goes.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/19/17 05:06 PM

This is a problem that is just starting to show up this Wild fowling off season.
Alliant steel has been impossible to get for a couple of years until late last year when it returned.
This latest Steel is hotter than the powder that was on sale prior to this.
In 10ga i used to load In a Federal case with Federal 209A primer 45 to 47 grains with one load 1530 to 1600 fps approx and 11500psi max with the newer steel its 41 to 42 max and will make max of 1500FPs and 43 is over 12000psi So it is Different.
Steel as always been the same right from the start used to load 50 grain similar loads to the federal had more velocity 1650fps the norm. Now by the time you have reduced the loads to be safe its scrubbed off a lot of speed or you reduce your shot charge to compensate for this latest steel powder.
I can see Aliant loosing ground here with steel shot home loading, Steel as been popular partialy due to the huge amount of data over the years the RSI manuals status of steel Lightening steel, These type of publications were drawn up on earlier Steel powder and the Data with the new Steel is not performing the same.
Posted by: DAA

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 08:52 AM

I've got a few dozen shells loaded with that exact 3" 1-1/2 oz. load Bob. Not sure if I'll just use them up or pull them down, but for sure the next time I load 1-1/2 oz Hevi-shot BB I'm backing off the powder!

- DAA
Posted by: Squeeze

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 10:38 AM

Has Alliant addressed this in a bulletin? Any creditable information on date codes when Alliant Steel burn rates changed?

Alliant Steel, Alliant Bluedot, and Hodgdon Longshot, have been the common choices in magnum shotshells, and max load pistol cartridge SD loads. I have a few canisters of Steel, that were probably purchased before and after "late last year". It sure would be nice to know what the manufacturer says about this, and when the change occurred.

Squeeze
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 11:20 AM

I have never seen any bulletins from Alliant regarding A steel, But i am convinced there is difference.
I know most loading Tens with the New powder are in the 40 grain to a max of 43 grain for lighter 38 gram loads where historically 42 gram loads tended to be in the 45 grain even a little more with no issues showing up in prof house tests or in longer term use.
This is 10s in federal cases RSI or TPS wads and normal crimp closure without any After crimp RTO to potentially put pressures outside expected.
Curent Aliant data is showing loads late 30s to mid 40s on one ten load at least, those who have tried the 45 loads have been stripping them down after the first shot its significant enough to concern them.

Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 12:40 PM

Precision Reloading got three different test loads that I sent them yesterday. One of those loads ia a 3" Fiocchi 12 ga hull, Fio 616 primer, 1-1/2 oz load of Rem HD BB shot with a BPI TPS wad with 31.0 gr of Steel Powder.

This 3" load with 31.0 gr of Steel Powder is 4.0 gr lower than the BPI load that had 35.0 gr of Steel Powder. So hopefully the 31.0 gr load will be usable.

Many of the guys on Duck Hunting Chat Forums have reduced their Steel Powder loads 10% or more for quite a while now. The newer lots of Steel Powder are much hotter than the first lots of Steel Powder were.

Below is the reply I got back from BPI about their "Handloading Hevi-Shot Fourth Edition Manual".

There are several factors that can be occurring. The 4th ed. of the Hevi-shot manual is almost 15 years old and was discontinued from print years ago. It is definitely not up to date with new components and manufacturing changes.

A few years ago Fiocchi made changes to the basewad of their hulls. The material composition, shape and thickness of the interior basewad changed. This in and of itself is sufficient to change the pressures in old load recipes.

Hevi-shot has also seen changes over the years. The material composition varies, which in turn effects the density. Density variations in shot will effect pressure, which is the number 1 reason why differing shot types can never be interchanged in a load recipe.

Current lots of Steel powder are not the same as older lots. There has been significant performance changes in lots of this propellant over time.

Current Piezoelectric testing equipment and transducers are much more accurate than they were 15 years ago. We use the most current models in our test facilities. I cannot verify what equipment is used at the facility you had your loads tested.



Posted by: DAA

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 01:20 PM

Definitely appreciate you going to the trouble and expense of actual pressure testing and sharing it with us Bob. Big time!

Be very interested in the results. My HS BB load will change accordingly!

- DAA
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 01:46 PM

It wants Hogdon st marks to come out with a steel powder alternative that works like the first ever lot of A steel did, over here at around 45GBP for just 1lb of A steel and given the variations in the latter lots i for one am loosing patience with it.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/20/17 01:55 PM

Originally Posted By: DAA
Definitely appreciate you going to the trouble and expense of actual pressure testing and sharing it with us Bob. Big time!

Be very interested in the results. My HS BB load will change accordingly!

- DAA


I have at least 600 of the 3" 1-1/2 oz loads with Remington HD BB, Federal Heavyweight #2, Hevi-Shot #1,B, BB and HW13 #2 and #4 shot that need to be changed.

On quite a few of the #4 shot and #6 shot loads I just dropped the shot charges down from 1-1/2 oz to 1-1/4 oz and added some cork or felt spacer wads and then re-crimped them. I don't want to do that with my coyote loads because it will drop the pellet count down lower than what I want them to be.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 01:37 AM

I just got a newer lot of Steel Powder from Powder Valley and loaded up some Fiocchi 3" 12 ga 1-1/2 oz loads of Rem HD BB shot with 31.0 gr of Steel powder. I sent them to Precision for testing. These loads averaged 1317 fps at 12,563 psi. So going from 35.0 gr down to 31.0 gr was not enough. This Steel Powder lot is 039 X052416.

The original load from BPI's Handloading Hevi-Shot manual, load # HS030233 showed 35.0 gr of Steel powder with the Fio 616 primer and TPS 1275 wad with 1-1/2 oz of Hevi-Shot was 1375 fps at 10,800 psi. The same BPI manual showed the same load but with 3.0 gr more of Steel powder, 38.0 gr of Steel Powder at 1355 fps at 10,800 psi. It sure seems to me like 3.0 gr more powder would make the pressure be higher than the same load with 3.0 gr less in it.

I also had a 2-3/4" Fiocchi 1-1/4 oz load tested that was based off of BPI's "Tough Duck" #HS030246 load. The "Tough Duck" load was 35.0 gr of Steel with a 1275 TPS wad at 1330 fps at 10,000 psi. I had the same 1-1/4 oz load tested but with 3.5 gr less Steel Powder. My 31.5 gr load averaged 1345 fps at 9545 psi.

I was hoping that I wasn't going to need to test anymore 1-1/2 oz 3" loads but it looks like I need to send some loads off for testing at least one more time.
Posted by: DAA

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 08:09 AM

Wow, that's a really big variation. Ten percent is pretty big, normally you'd have to get unlucky hitting both ends of a +/- to approach 10%. But that is more than 10%!

Reminds me a bit of RL-22 back in the day. I was using it in a fast twist .22-250AI with 80 gr. bullets and saw some BIG lot to lot fluctuation. Rifle shot best with a particularly hot lot that most guys didn't like so I stocked up on it and wore out two barrels using that one lot #. Probably still have a couple pounds of it in the back of the powder locker.

Looks like I really ought to just go ahead and pull those loads apart and redo them. Not a huge deal for me, I only have 30 or 40 or so of them loaded.

Thanks again Bob!

- DAA
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 09:33 AM

At some point you have to decide where to draw the line, based on those figures if you back loads off any more its looking bleak.
I think i would be moving on from A steel and those loads.
What about longshot are there any loads with that suitable. ?
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 12:39 PM

The only 3" Longshot Hevi-Shot loads listed by Hodgdon are 1-1/4 oz loads at 1200 fps in Federal hulls and the pressure is fairly high on them.

I am going to load up some more 1-1/2 oz Steel Powder loads with less powder and have them tested, to see if I can get the pressure under 11,500 psi. If the speed is around 1200 fps that will be good enough.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 01:13 PM

Longshot makes highish pressure but steel is not exactly living up to expectations in these later lot nos.
If you reduce those loads by much more they are going to be quite pedestrian certainly wont be what they were originally.
What about Blue Dot ? Never touched old steel, but just how behind is it now, and data out there for Blue dot, just a thought.
Im just trying to come up with a few ideas might work for you.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 02:03 PM

I don't want to start over again if I don't have to. I have many pounds of Steel Powder that I can use if I get a load that tests under 11,500 psi. There is not much data out there for 3" 1-1/2 oz loads of Hevi-Shot or 12g/cc tungsten alloy shot.

A 1200 fps load of Rem HD BB shot will work fine on coyotes or with HW13 #2 shot on geese.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 02:54 PM

Hw13 1.5 oz loads in 3 inch are around the 36 grain area, so more or less where you were but using chedite cases over here.
Most seem to use RSI wads or CGR 300 wads.
But none of these are any use in this application as they use older A steel. You are on your own at the moment i am afraid with these new lots.
I would back it down to 29grain from your 31 grain and see how it patterned it will probably be well down into the 12s in the fps but surely by then you will be on for 11500 std 12ga PSI.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 05:22 PM

I just loaded up 3 more different loads to be tested.

3" Fiocchi 1-1/2 oz Rem HD BB load with 29.5 gr of Steel powder.

3" Fiocchi 1-1/2 oz load of FHW #2 15g/cc load with 30.5 gr of Steel Powder.

3" Fiocchi 1-3/8 oz load of HW13 #4 shot with 31.0 gr of Steel powder.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 06:58 PM

Those loads look like they will get you some where near, you loading propellent charge to correspond with the density of the shot types and payloads.
you could may be scrub off a little PSI with exchanging the Fiocchi hulls for Chedite ..Multi Hull 76mm. It will only be very slight though probably not worth the effort.
Are you getting these tested again or just going to run with them.?
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/21/17 07:10 PM

They are going in for testing.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/27/17 07:02 AM

Have you any data back yet on these reduced loads please. ?
Just interested to see how they turned out.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/27/17 12:36 PM

Originally Posted By: jase
Have you any data back yet on these reduced loads please. ?
Just interested to see how they turned out.


I will post the test results when I get them. I just checked the UPS Tracking and the test loads are supposed to get there on Monday the 31st.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 07/27/17 08:10 PM

Thats great thank you.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/03/17 10:32 PM

I just got the test results back on the three loads that I sent off for testing.

3" Fiocchi 1-1/2 oz Rem HD BB load with 29.5 gr of Steel powder averaged 10,707 psi with a 1257 fps average. BPI's old load data was 35.0 of Steel Powder at 10,800 psi at 1375 fps. I had to go down 5.5 gr of Steel Powder to get a safe 3" load.


3" Fiocchi 1-3/8 oz load of HW13 #4 shot with 31.0 gr of Steel powder averaged 10,922 psi with a 1327 fps average. BPI's old load data was 38.0 of Steel Powder at 9,600 psi at 1390 fps. I had to go down 7.0 gr of Steel Powder to get a safe 3" load.

Alliant's web-site shows a 3" 1-3/8 oz Hevi-Shot load in a Federal hull and a Fed 209A primer with 40.0 gr of Steel Powder at 10,300 psi at 1372 fps. After having three different batches of shells tested with steel powder I don't see how Alliant's 40.0 gr load of Steel Powder could even come close to only being a 10,300 psi load with the newer lots of Steel Powder.

Be careful with Steel Powder!
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/05/17 08:00 AM

It is what i expected judging from what you posted up previously, in fact i think it did well to achieve the speeds it did in those loads.
Some i know in wildfowling over here seem to be reporting similar results with the newer lots, yet some are still loading to old data or claim to be more close to the truth i suspect.
At least you know you have data that is in the safe parameters now. If you think about this its a sad day when a chap has to spend his own time and money developing safe ammo.
Thank you very much for sharing your test results here, i am sure many others appreciate this the same.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/05/17 12:07 PM

Thanks jase!

I was happy with the 1257 fps 1-1/2 oz load. I was glad to see that the speed didn't drop down closer to 1100 fps.

I have at least 500, 1-1/2 oz loads and 150 1-3/8 oz loads to take apart and put back together with less powder in them.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/05/17 05:15 PM

You are welcome to that job , i hate unloading shotshells, sometimes you can get the wads out but some cases and wads they are tight to get past the fold edge area, i have 50 A381 loads in 89mm chedite hulls i have the shot out of, but still want the powder and would like to save the hulls and wads if i can.
i have eased the crimps out neat, yet poking my finger in the wad is moving nothing past the old fold, its looking like i will be destroying a good %age of them before i am done.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/05/17 07:37 PM

I have a plastic funnel that is tapered and it just fits into the hull. By pressing the hull against the funnel while turning the hull it opens up the crimp fold area pretty good.

Most of the wads pull out with needle nose pliers. If the wad doesn't want to come out I grab the wad petal across from the one I pulled on first and most of them come out.

I did have some TPS wads that would not come out of 2-3/4" Federal Gold Medal hulls so I cut them open with a cheap PVC pipe cutter right above the brass so it didn't damage the wads.
Posted by: jase

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/06/17 11:05 AM

The wads in the Chedite Hulls are Indeed TPS wads, i will try the pliars see if i can draw them out. they were loaded with ITM and were stripped for 10ga loads i know Gamebore used A 381 in the ITM at that time but needs more adding to it to make effective steel loads, or i would have just added steel and crimped them back down . Nothing is ever quite that simple though is it.
Posted by: DAA

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 08/06/17 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: jase
Thank you very much for sharing your test results here, i am sure many others appreciate this the same.


Likewise! Thank you VERY much for going to the trouble and expense and then sharing it for the benefit of everyone. I sure appreciate it! And, I'm going to act on it, too. I'll be disassembling my Hevi-shot BB/Steel loads and re-doing them.

- DAA
Posted by: DLJ6

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 09/28/17 07:41 PM

Thanks for this, I still have a couple bottles that I bought when Steele first came out. I used to load 4x6 duplex for ducks and #1s for geese in 3" 12ga. hulls. I have the original PRI data that they put out. Used to shoot these through the original Patternmaster choke tube that ol Mike S. machined. Lots of good memories on the middle Potomac with a yellow lab, 870 express and these loads.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: Warning on older Alliant Steel Powder Shotgun reloading data! - 11/05/17 08:22 PM

All of my Steel Powder reduction or shot weight lowering on all of my denser than lead loads should be done tomorrow.

Today I weighed out the last 93 shot charges and sized and primed 93 Gold Medal hulls. I am not sure how many loads I started out with but I will end up with 2,221 completed shells. It took me 4 months at a slow and steady pace to get it done.

Most of the loads I pulled the shot, wads and powder and put them back together with 5.5 gr to 7.0 gr less Steel Powder. Some of the loads I just pulled the shot out and lowered the shot charge by 1/4 oz.