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Posted: 4/29/2011 5:57:02 AM EDT
I am currently reloading 223 brass using H380 powder and a Lee dipper.  When I level the powder in the dipper and fill the case, the powder comes up to a little bit beyond the shoulder.  Generally speaking, is it better to have the powder up against the bullet when it is seated?  Secondary question, is it ok to have some space between the powder and bullet?   I like using ball powder since it is easier to use with the dipper.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 6:05:42 AM EDT
As far as the amount of powder and having some space, it can be fine.  What is more important is using a scale to verify the powder charge.  I would not be loading with the lee dipper without checking 10 or so dips of the ball powder to make sure it is the same charge weight.  The Lee dippers are also impossible to work up the best load and make any changes.  

H380 is far from ideal for .223, Hodgdon doesn't even list ANY load data for it.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 6:39:22 AM EDT
As a rule of thumb, I look for a powder which will fill the case 90%-95% (to the shoulder) with a proper charge.  In my experience, this has always produced the most accurate loads for me.

Not all load manuals give that info.  Nosler's online data does... though the online data is usually limited to about 3 or 4 powder choices (from memory).  That is the initial way I select a new powder(s) for a particular bullet & cartridge.  

Going beyond your actual question, I then usually check Sierra's data and look at their "accuracy load" for the weight & style of bullet I'm using. Often the powder listed for that load corresponds to the 90-95% load density in Noslers data.  Looking at the velocity of those loads, helps me hone in on a probable "most accurate velocity" for a particular bullet.

Basically, in my experience & practice, loading for accuracy is 70% research if your looking to develop a load efficiently. I'll spend hours or days just evaluating data before I load a single bullet.  So far it's saved me lots of money in components.

As far as the "dippers" specifically, I've never used them.  I load by weight... but that weight has a specific target volume in the cartridge that I am looking for.  Since all load data I've ever seen/looked at gives weights... I'd personally be leery of using a "volume measure" without confirming the corresponding weight of the charge.  Note: I do load by volume measure... that's what a powder thrower measures by... but I set the volume with a scale based on the weight.

Sorry for the long winded answer, but in short, the case volume you have is good in my opinion PROVIDED it corresponds to a safe weight for that powder & bullet.

ETA:  I am not familiar with H380 and have never used it, so I don't know what sort of case volume to expect for a safe load of that powder.  I use H335 & RE15 mostly for .223 & with those powders I get the load density I'm looking for.

Link Posted: 4/29/2011 9:58:15 AM EDT
Thanks for the information, it is very helpful.  I have an older Lee 223 die set and the powder information was on the card that came wtih it.   So far the H380 powder I havce been able to use with bullets ranging from 50 to 55 grains.  I just recently pickup 62 grains FMJ to try.  The lastest Lee Handloading book indicate I can use up to a 63 grain bullet with this powder. H335 is listed in the book but I don't have the right size dipper for it nor have a scale.  Getting a scale is next on my list of things to get.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 12:05:58 PM EDT
I guess I'm paranoid...I need a scale....you can get a bar scale for like $15 can't you?  I would do that before anything else.
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 3:43:53 AM EDT
I guess I'm paranoid...I need a scale....you can get a bar scale for like $15 can't you?  I would do that before anything else.

There are small electronic scales that work great for reloading and they are in the $30 range.  The Lee loaders are fine for the guy who shoots 20 rounds a year but basic reloading equipment is just not that expensive so upgrade now before you blow something up.
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