slow powder blues

  • Last Post 24 May 2014
gpidaho posted this 04 May 2014

Having just recently wandered over to the cast bullet world from the jacketed  side there are some things I don't know others I don't suspect  I am aware of the  the advantages of slow powders and the big push over the quick kick of the faster powders but whats up with 5744 it comes highly recommended by Lyman and I see it used a lot in C B A matches I have no problem with its on target performance but find it just plain filthy is this symptomatic of this powder as in old formula UNIQUE or do you suspect another problem I would be happy to elaborate on case prep technique primer selection etc if this is an atypical result     comments           gp

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onondaga posted this 04 May 2014>gpidaho

Accurate 5744 is considered to be at the faster end of rifle powders and has low position sensitivity. It is definitely not a slow rifle powder. It is even faster in burn rate than AA1680 pistol powder.

It is very popular with cast bullets due to wide recommendation of calibers and bullet weights for this powder by Acurate Powder Co. and its relatively low ballistic pressure in cast bullet application. 5744 has lovers and haters both but it certainly lacks the reputation that H4895 has for consistent accuracy results with cast bullets in rifles.

AA5744 does burn more completely and leave less fouling when used with heavy for caliber bullets and a moderate crimp of your brass into the cast bullet. The heavier bullet and crimp give the powder a better start of ignition and a more complete burn.

So, if you are using light for caliber bullets, a light crimp or no crimp and a load with low density, you will see AA5744 at it's worst for dirt and shouldn't be surprised as that is the normal characteristic for AA5744. Some bores will shoot fine with the dirt, others will shoot all over the place because of the dirt.

For me, I have tried it in several calibers and rifles and it does not shine in the accuracy department like H4895 does for me with cast bullets. The worst accuracy I had with it was in .458 Win Mag with any weight bullet from 340-500 grains, plain based or gas checked. It worked well for me in .308 Win with 180+ grain cast gas checked bullets around 2100 fps but accuracy fell right off below 2000 or above 2125 fps. The AA5744 did burn very clean fo me in the .308 Win with the 180+ gr cast bullets. 150 gr bullets shot all over the place and left a mess in the bore as expected.


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gpidaho posted this 04 May 2014

T.hank you Gary for your reply. As stated in my post theres a learning curve in the transition from jacketed to cast. I Belive the fun is in the challenge.       Ive been shooting Lee C309-180-R  in a .308 Handy rifle and a 30-06 Springfield 1903 Mark one with plus 2 M O A .     With my alloy they drop in the mid 160s could be the problem.  Also I seat ten thousands over max COL and let the action finish seat the bullet in the absence of crimp.    In a side bar Ive been taken to the shed for my lack of punctuation in my posts.    Im very new at this computer thing having only had one about a month.   My apologies to all for my illiteracy

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onondaga posted this 05 May 2014>gpidaho

There is a lot of variables in getting cast bullet accuracy. I tend to overcomplicate it for beginners. Bullet fit and alloy selection to match the load pressure are the 2 things that continue to lead  the list in my bag of tricks.

I get my bullets to cast large enough to be sized to the size that I can feel slide in the chamber throat as I load. I use the method in Modern Reloading 2nd Edition , Lee to match my load level to the alloy I use for plain base bullets but never shoot anything harder than BHN15 Lyman #2 alloy with gas checked bullets. This works for me and I only tumble lube all my bullets.

I cast and shoot .223, 30-30, .308, 7.62X39, 30-06, 375 H&H, .458 WM and .500 S&W Mag all in rifles single shot and bolt action and just one 30-30 lever rifle .  Every one will group less than 1 inch at 50 yards and a couple loads do half that. It does take work getting bullets to fit more than anything else for me.  I have modified casting molds or bullet sizing dies or both to get fit in every caliber I shoot cast.

I have never bought custom molds made for me and many shooters are successful that way. Every rifle has had a road for me to find and I've never had a rifle/ mold that just “worked” by itself and shot 1” at 50 yards. So, be patient, it is mostly fun anyway.


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gpidaho posted this 05 May 2014

Again thanks for the encouragement. I too am a big believer in proper bullet fit. Having been casting and loading for revolvers for quite some time. I know proper fit to be all important. For my early attempts at rifle im trying to keep it simple and less expensive staying in 30 cal 30-30 30-06 308 and 762x39R Having good results with 30-30 and am my best with 762x39R. My T/C Encore 15 inch really likes C309-113-F max COL over 9gr. Unique GP

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Pigslayer posted this 06 May 2014

Not a real big fan of 5744. Tried it in 7.62 x 54r w/165 gr & 200 gr, and .444 Marlin in 300 gr.. Wasn't impressed with accuracy. Went to H4831 in the 7.62 x 54r and H4198 in the .444 marlin.     Custom molds are the way to go if nothing else works. Don't buy a mold off the shelf without researching the size it drops & making sure it will be correct for your bore. I have many LEE molds, Lyman molds & five custom made molds. I designed two of the molds using Mountain Molds online design application. All shoot great. Pat

If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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gpidaho posted this 06 May 2014

Pat    Thank you for the reply.  As Gary pointed out 5744 is not slow as a rifle powder just me jumping to a wrong conclusion in frustration with three badly fouled bores. This most likely pilot error on my part. Should have checked my burn chart before opening my mouth in company.   I still have my suspicions this is where Canada hides its toxic waste         GP

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billglaze posted this 20 May 2014

I'd been using 5744 with some success in .308; as well as my 6mm 40XB; in fact, it was the most satisfactory powder, delivering not-infrequent sub-moa groups. I was so satisfied that I bought an 8lb. caddy of the stuff, congratulating myself that Lyman and I agreed in our conclusions about it being the most accurate powder for these particular cartridges/bullet weights etc, etc. Well, after I started using out of this new powder, instantly I noticed that groups had opened up. I also noticed that the barrel required cleaning often, sometimes after as few as 5 or 6 shots. Then I quickly came to the conclusion that there had been some kind of a significant change. The factory quickly replied to my inquiry. It developed that they had a new supplier and formulation and burning curve, Scott, (company respondent) wrote that the new formulation “developed more velocity with less pressure.") Exactly what I DIDN'T want! Lyman wrote me that all their testing had been done with the old formulation; that they would check on it. The powder folks emailed me with some loads of higher power that were unsuitable for cast bullets. There it stands. Anybody want to buy 8 lbs. of 5744? Bill

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. My fate is not entirely in Gods hands, if I have a weapon in mine.

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JSH posted this 20 May 2014

In my findings I have had good luck this way. Get your manuals out that have notations on the best load in their gun or barrel. Yes this is for jacketed. I then go to a start load with that powder. NOT to their accuracy load just the powder and try to match some what close on bullet weight. I fought with a 30-30 for almost a year and was ready to give up. A gent gave me a load for SR 4759 that he said shot very well to excellent in every 30-30 he tried it in. It did. I had a bunch of h335 and found a start load for it in 30-30 and it is a good one with weights from 150-180. Sr 4759 is supposed to leave us. I am not going to run out and buy 40-80 pounds of it though I am very attached to it in several guns. When it is gone it is gone, time to find another so I may as well get started now than later. AA5744 has worked well for me in a few guns but not near what 4759 does. I found 4895 to be some what picky as to a clean bore after firing. But accuracy was there or showing promise. I know unique isn't what your looking for but dang that stuff works at least fair to good in anything I have used it in. A cb shooter that doesn't have at least 8lbs in reserve should. Jeff

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gpidaho posted this 21 May 2014

Thanks Bill and Jeff     In my somewhat limited experience I find UNIQUE to be very satisfactory in most everything I shoot rifle or handgun.  5744 on the otherhand, whether it be me or the new formula I don't know. But I stand by my original post. With my loads in my rifles this powder burns filthy           GP

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John Alexander posted this 21 May 2014


  My experience is almost identical to yours.  After using it successfully in CBA competition for ten years from the late 1970s on I too bought 8 pounds of what turned out to be the new stuff.   If your get more customers than you have powder for, send them my way.   John

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 21 May 2014

i have no pride, i will trade for dirty 5744 ... how muchagot ? whatcha need ?? i don't compete ... if it goes ” bang ” i win !!


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armalite53 posted this 24 May 2014

Using 5744 in both 45-70 rifles. Sub MOA @ 100 in the Sharps & good results in the woodchuck gun. Caveat: Lyman 457132 (537gr by my scale). 577-450 load produces a lot of crud.

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