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 WC-860 powder?
cake5150  [Member]
1/28/2008 12:29:49 PM EST
Hey guys just looking at powder types and powder prices for the 50 i'll be getting in a month or so. What is everyones opinion on wc-860 surplus stuff? Is it good consistent stuff for long range or not? The price looks right, thats the reason I ask. Thanks.
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nmmi9100  [Member]
1/28/2008 1:26:58 PM EST
WC-860 is adequate for blasting surplus projectiles like M2AP or M33 Ball. You can probably get it to shoot those in the range of 2-3 MOA. WC-860 is slower powder than IMR-5010 or H50BMG and will work better with longer barrels, 32-36". It was designed to work in the 4x" barrel of the M2HB.

As for long range accuracy, if you are shooting long range at a barn, it might be fine. I wouldn't waste good projectiles (like Amax, Barnes Solids, etc) using this powder. Personally, I pair bullet and powder quality together. I shoot cheap milsurp bullets with IMR-5010 and I shoot Amaxs with H50BMG. It makes little sense to scrimp on one and not the other. Bullets are your primary cost with accuracy rounds, costing $1.65 to $2.25 a piece. H50BMG powder in such a load costs about $0.55

With $0.20-$0.35 API or AP bullets, it makes sense to save some money on powder. By all means use WC-860 or IMR-5010 with these at a cost of around $0.20 per charge.

FYI, WC-860 is not as reliable at igniting tracers as IMR-5010 which was designed for the purpose. Also, most ball powder (WC-860) is not as temperature stable as IMR type powder, making IMR-5010 a good bit more versatile.

Edgewood, NM
Max-Paul  [Team Member]
1/28/2008 3:45:39 PM EST

Another one of those newbie questions.

Lets see if I understand correctly from your last post. So 5010 is not temperature sensitive, but seems to be hotter burning than the WC860 powder. Am I getting this rights?

How would your rate H50BMG? Is it temperature insensitive? Would it light a tracer? Not that I would use it for that purpose. But this is how I determine if a powder has a high flame temperature. Maybe not the best test, but at this time it's the only thing I can use. Last thing I want to do it to erode the throat any faster than necessary.



Sorry not meant to exclude anyone else that wants to chime in.
nmmi9100  [Member]
1/28/2008 4:34:23 PM EST

I'd say H50BMG is the most temperature stable 50 BMG powder available. It's much more stable than VV 20N29 which I'm sure you've seen discussed on the FCSA member's board. 20N29 varies enough that most of the match shooters I know keep it over 100 degrees by running their truck heaters throughout a match. As long as 20N29 is over 90-something degrees, it shoots awesome.

IMR-5010 is pretty similar to H50BMG with regard to temperature stability but it is not generally held to be as consistent.

WC-860 is a ball powder and generally deemed to be less temperature stable. US869, the commercial counterpart, is presumed to be the same way. PRELIMINARY FCSA testing has shown H50BMG to be a more accurate powder than US869 although this testing has been limited so far.

H50BMG is the best powder available for 700 to 750 grain bullets and is undisputed accuracy choice behind Amaxs.

As you mentioned, Ball powders burn cooler than extruded powders. WC-860 will light tracers much of the time but not as consistently as IMR-5010. I would expect H50BMG to do about as good of a job lighting tracers as IMR-5010 although i've not seen any tests in that arena.

I don't think barrel life should be a significant concern when it comes to choosing powders, considering the volume most folks will put down the barrel of their 50's. For field use of accurate bullets, H50BMG is the undisputed winner. For blaster use with milsurp bullets, price should be the controlling factor in most cases. WC-860 is a little slower than IMR-5010 so it works better in longer barrels. H50BMG and IMR-5010 are ideal for shorter barrels under 32". If you only want to stock one powder for milsurp and match projos up to 750 grains, I'd suggest buying a good bit of H50BMG.

Edgewood, NM

P.S.: Maybe this is a better illustration of the throat erosion/flame temp relationship. Please note that these aren't hard numbers but are my best estimate. You might get an extra 10-15% barrel throat life using WC-860 as compared to H50BMG. You can potentially get consistent 0.5 MOA groups with Amax's and H50BMG. You might be able to get 1.5 MOA groups with WC-860 and Amax's. It is a personal decision if you want to give up 200% accuracy for 10-15% barrel life.
Max-Paul  [Team Member]
1/28/2008 5:44:47 PM EST
Thanks David,

So its the old balancing act. Give up one thing to get another.

thanks for explaining the pros and cons as you did so well. Now one more tid-bit to put in my notes. Oh, well got to start somewhere gathering data. Much appreciated David.

OldFalGuy  [Member]
1/30/2008 7:45:52 PM EST
I went over to the Hornady site and they show the 750 AMAX right at $3 each-
I have a Barrett CQ with the 20" barrel on the way-
I have a bunch of API ammo for plinking at rather large targets at MG Shoots but want to stock up on some match ammo that will assist me in making more hits than not between 1000-1500 yds.
With AAA-Ammunition selling AMAX or thier solids for about $6 and Barrett M33 at $4 if the match is a lot better making groups I do not mind paying for it.
Would you have any idea which way you would jump in my shoes-
I do not think I will be reloading if the factory AMAX/Solids will perform (1.5 moa)
What I shy away from doing is buying 20 rounds of different match from 3-4 manufacturers as here in central texas there just isn't many places to test them.


nmmi9100  [Member]
1/31/2008 4:31:48 AM EST
Yeah, Hornady lists them at that price but street price from is closer to $1.75 and wideners has them for about $1.65. I need to pick some more up. I've only got about 300 in stock for my rifle.

If I were limited to factory loads, i'd probably go with the Igman 06 ball ammo is selling for $2.95 a round for your application. The CQ doesn't have a long enough barrel to push the Amax's out fast enough to do a lot of good and I don't believe the M82A1 to be accurate enough to justify the cost. Depending upon the depth of your pockets, you might give some of that AAA ammo but even 29" barrelled M82A1's are generally 2-3 MOA machines even with good ammo. 1 MOA is the best i've heard of with a tuned M82A1 (linear bearings at the barrel/forearm interface) at 1000-yards with ammo made to single load in the gun. Shorten the barrel to 20" and I think it will be really hard to get any consistency much past 800 or so. Remember 50 BMG was designed for a good powder burn at 42" out of an M2. Best shoulder fired performance is out of a 32-34" barrel.

Shooting a 2-3 MOA gun at 1000 yards is a 20 to 30 inch group when the shooter is PERFECT at judging the wind. 1500 yards is a lot harder than it sounds as even from a 29" barrel that bullet is dropping like a rock and almost certainly subsonic out of your 20" barrel.

If you elect to handload, I'd suggest the 647 grain solid ball bullets from Lehigh at $1.00 each. Load them over H50BMG. They'll probably do well out of your short barrel at a reasonable cost. You can get setup for loading this ammo for about $500, not including components.

Don't think i'm busting on your CQ. They're a cool rig and I'd love to have one. They're just for putting a lot of power quick onto fairly close targets. They're not a long range tool and definitely not one for long range precision.

Edgewood, NM
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