Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

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Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Morne » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:25 pm

So I finally found a pound of Lil Gun powder today. There's not as much load data for it as H-110, though. Thus, I solicit advice again.

All bullets are the same X-Treme copper plated 158 (.357) and 240 (.44) grain choices. SWC/FP, respectively. Since these are copper plated and not jacketed I want to work up cautiously, no need to start stripping copper off in my barrels!

I have magnum primers to use. CCI small rifle primers for the .357 casings and CCI magnum large pistol primers for the big old .44s.

The .357 seems to be pretty straight forward. Min/max looks like 16.0/18.0 every reference I check that lists it. So, I figure start at the 16.0 and see what I see.

The .44 is tougher, though. I see min/max of 14.6/22.5, 22.5/24.5 and even 26.0/28.0! What the heck?!?! The few sources that have listings for it disagree wildly, here. While I'm not worried about sticking a bullet like I was with my other pip-squeak loads I also want to be sure to use this powder the way it is supposed to be used.

Thoughts/suggestions/experience?
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby stephen45-70 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:53 am

The big differances you see in data comes from not all 44's being created equaly .
A s-w wont take what a ruger will and a ruger wont take what a tc encore will
Id pick a safe starting point .. base it off what your shooting and start working up .
15 grain will be safe in about anything

I personaly stay far far away from lil gun and revolvers .. it burns hot and erodes forcing cones
Some may argue against that but i have a s-w highway patrolman that the forcing cone was smooth and shiny
Until i shot about 500 rounds with lil gun .... it looks like it was sandblasted now .

I like 296/110 .. yes its fickle if try to reduce loads ... but at the top end it is dead reliable
Predictable and very very forgiving compared to a lot of other powders
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Sevens » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:57 pm

^ :lol:
See, it's not just me who has seen the argument against Hodgdon Lil'Gun. :shock:

I only built loads in .357 Magnum using a 158gr Zero JSP. I built 16, 17 and 18 grain loads and all ran like a house afire, and then I quit using the powder because of it's reputation.

I can make you a solid deal on a decent portion of unused Lil'Gun, however! 8)
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby glocksmith » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:01 pm

stephen45-70 wrote:I personaly stay far far away from lil gun and revolvers .. it burns hot and erodes forcing cones
Some may argue against that but i have a s-w highway patrolman that the forcing cone was smooth and shiny
Until i shot about 500 rounds with lil gun .... it looks like it was sandblasted now .


I heard the same thing on many other forums. I never tried it, and don't care to after what I've heard.
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Sevens » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:22 pm

It's interesting to note that Lil'Gun was so named because it was originally marketed as a great powder for "that little gun", meaning the .410 shotgun. So it was "designed" or at least marketed around it's performance at a pressure that doesn't exceed what... 15,000 PSI, or whatever a .410 shotshell peaks at? So, well under half the peak pressure the same powder is expected to operate at in a magnum revolver round?

Furthermore, it was designed around a closed-breech environment and it remains clear as mud to me if the problems that have been reported are ONLY with regards to forcing cones and flash gaps of revolvers. As I mentioned, the only loads I worked up and ran were in the semi-auto barrel of my Coonan, so I was never running it in a revolver.

Even so, it's hard to get away from the bad juju of this powder if you go searching at all for conversation on it. :|
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Morne » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:37 pm

Sevens wrote:^ :lol:
See, it's not just me who has seen the argument against Hodgdon Lil'Gun. :shock:

I only built loads in .357 Magnum using a 158gr Zero JSP. I built 16, 17 and 18 grain loads and all ran like a house afire, and then I quit using the powder because of it's reputation.

I can make you a solid deal on a decent portion of unused Lil'Gun, however! 8)

Thanks for the load data! I think I'll start with 16.0 in the .357 Magnum and chrono it, probably no need to increase it at all.

If I find that I like it as much as I think I will I might just bring my check book for that unused Lil'Gun powder you have laying around... :idea:
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby CoronaGold111 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:45 pm

Uhm, did you say small "rifle" primers in your 357s?
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Morne » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:47 pm

CoronaGold111 wrote:Uhm, did you say small "rifle" primers in your 357s?

Yes, I did. CCI small rifle primers can be used in lieu of their magnum small pistol primers.
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby CoronaGold111 » Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:29 am

Morne wrote:
CoronaGold111 wrote:Uhm, did you say small "rifle" primers in your 357s?

Yes, I did. CCI small rifle primers can be used in lieu of their magnum small pistol primers.


Humph, I had not heard that. Just for further confirmation I read an article at TFL which referred to a telephone conversation with a CCI person who verified that very thing, that SR can (and often are) used in place of SPM. I assume the only reason one would do such a thing would be for availability?
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Sevens » Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:49 pm

Less so availability... more so streamlining our own stash. I use small rifle primers anyway, so being able to also use them in magnum small primer applications is a no-brainer. And it means I have the "small pistol magnum" whenever I need them, without having to stock them.

Keep in mind that this information has only been verified for CCI primers, and also won't ever be applicable for LARGE primers, as large pistol/rifle primers have different dimensions. (well, only ONE dimension is different... their height)

During the first big (recent) component drought, when Obama was elected in November '08, I read more than a couple tales of folks who transitioned to small rifle from small pistol (re-working loads of course) and never trnasitioned back. Even for 9mm loads. At that time, small rifle primers weren't in near the demand they are today, as the AR-15 hadn't gone full nutbar gonzo quite yet.

There are two things we should expect when using a magnum primer:
--hotter, longer burning flame to ignite a recalcitrant powder charge
--stronger, thicker primer cup, needed as a barrier to leaking gas/pressure

Using them means they can and most likely WILL alter the performance of the round, so switching from a familiar primer to a new one, or a magnum/rifle primer is a terrible idea. Rather, re-work the load with your new primers. Also expect the possibility that they won't detonate as easily, so if you happen to be using them in a firearm where that amount of hammer/firing pin energy is not up to the task, misfires and FTFires are a new possibility.

For example, I put a Wolff reduced weight hammer spring in to my .327 Federal chambered GP-100 and occasionally when shooting double action, I will get a FTFire. The .327 Federal runs a peak pressure of 45k psi and all the ammo, factory or handloads, are to be constructed with small rifle primers as a barrier to this (otherwise) extremely high pressure round.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Sevens » Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:42 pm

Morne wrote:Thanks for the load data! I think I'll start with 16.0 in the .357 Magnum and chrono it, probably no need to increase it at all.

Well, then let's expand the info a bit.

All loads use the 158gr Zero JSP loaded to the cannelure*, all were lit off with CCI-500 small pistol non-mag primers, all were fired from my 5-inch Coonan, each load and string was 10 shots, loads were chrono'd on a day that was 72 degrees and sunny, June 2012
(*sorry, don't have COAL when I use a known bullet &it's static cannelure)


16.0gr Lil'Gun
low-1330
high-1435
average 1400 fps
ES 104.9
SD 30.7
688 ft/lbs energy

17.0gr Lil'Gun
low-1370
high- 1459
average 1407 fps
ES 89.7
SD 31.8
694 ft/lbs energy

18.0gr Lil'Gun (published MAX according to Hodgdon online)
low-1400
high-1487
average 1436 fps
ES 86.4
SD 24.7
723 ft/lbs energy
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby Morne » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:44 am

***CHRONY DATA***

70 Degrees F, 28% Relative Humidity, 30.09 Inches Hg


.357 Magnum 158-gr X-Treme copper plated SWC, CCI-41 SRP, 16.0-gr Lil' Gun, 1.592-1.602" COAL
Taurus Model 66 6" barrel
1428, 1365, 1410, 1361, 1373 - AVERAGE = 1387 fps

There were two of the above cartridges that needed a second whack on the primer to set them off.



.44 Magnum 240-gr X-Treme copper plated FP, CCI-350 LPP(m), 16.0-gr Lil' Gun, 1.574-1.583" COAL
Taurus Model 44 6.5" ported barrel
1091, 1027, 1023, 1018, 994.2 - AVERAGE = 1031 fps



I am pretty happy with the .357 Magnum load in terms of speed, but not in terms of the primer hardness. Maybe I'll try a different gun and see if it's just that my 6" Taurus 66 has a somewhat light hit. :idea: Otherwise, I suppose I could try the same powder load with CCI-500 SPP, which I know my 66 will detonate reliably.

The .44 Magnum load could be upped, for sure. My goal is a 1100 fps load for practice purposes. The question is by what increment should I increase, bearing in mind that this was a mere 16.0-gr of Lil' Gun and the most conservative maximum for a 240-gr bullet is around 22.5-gr.? Should I go up by 1.0 grains and re-chrono? Maybe build 17.0-gr and 18.0-gr loads and run them both?
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby BobK » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:07 pm

Morne wrote:... this was a mere 16.0-gr of Lil' Gun and the most conservative maximum for a 240-gr bullet is around 22.5-gr.? Should I go up by 1.0 grains and re-chrono? Maybe build 17.0-gr and 18.0-gr loads and run them both?

I'd build some 17.0, 18.0, 19.0, 19.5, 20.5 21.0, and 21.5.

Chrono'ing them would give a nice curve to dial in exactly.

Of course, I'm a nerd.
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby mreising » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:18 pm

You may have had a couple primers that were not seated all the way. That can cause a misfire on the first attempt, which then fires on the second try.

I had a misfire at the Fun n Gun and thought it was probably a high primer but the second strike did not cause it to fire either, both good hits. My next thought was no powder charge. I disassembled the round when I got home and it had powder, it was just a rare occurrence of a truly bad primer.
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Re: Magnum load advice - Lil Gun powder 357 & 44

Postby mreising » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:19 pm

I just went back and reread your post. It could be the SRPs are too hard. I don't know if they are significantly harder than small pistol magnum primers.
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