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Web Blast: Handloading

Blast From The Past Part Deux:
Loading With Old #2400

By John Taffin

Part Deux

The past two decades or so, mainly since Hercules #2400 became Alliant #2400, there has been a mild debate over whether #2400 is hotter than it used to be. That is, can a smaller amount of powder of the “new” #2400 give the same results as the original amount of “old” #2400. Several of us have come up with a conclusion it takes about 6-percent less #2400 today as it did before the change; if such a change actually occurred. Other factors could also be considered such as heavier brass, better primers, even tighter barrel/cylinder gaps. Only if one has excellent record-keeping from say 20 years ago, along with a well preserved amount of then-produced #2400 and the same sixgun, same brass, same primers, and same powder scale could we really come to a definite conclusion one way or the other.

Gary Reeder recently told me he purchased an estate with lots of reloading equipment and old powder. He was kind enough to give me a very old can of Hercules #2400. I can’t date this can perfectly but I do know I have been using #2400 for more than 50 years and not only is this can’s label different, removal of the lid reveals a pull up spout much like we find on a box of kitchen salt … I’ve never seen this before. Since #80 (from the same estate sale) was discontinued in 1939 it’s possible this can of #2400 dates back to that same era. It’s at least older than the 1950s, and since the label appears to have a pre-war look I would say the powder in question may well be at least 70 years old.

EXTRA RELOADING DATA

TEST FIRE
.44 SPECIAL BALLOON HEAD BRASS
RCBS #44-250KT Cast Bullet          REM-UMC Brass
Load MV 5-1/2” MV 7-1/2” Group*
18.5 gr. “Old” #2400 1,130 fps 1,229 fps 1-1/4”
18.5 gr. “New”#2400 1,191 fps 1,228 fps 1-1/4”
.45 COLT BALLON HEAD BRASS
RCBS #45-255KT Cast Bullet         REM-UMC Brass
Load MV 5-1/2” MV 7-1/2” Group*
18.5 gr. “Old” #2400 926 fps 998 fps 1-3/4”
18.5 gr. “New”#2400 950 fps 1,030 fps 1-1/4
All Loads Assembled with CCI #300 LP Primers
* Groups are 5 of 6 Shots at 20 yards with 7-1/2” barrel
Hornady 265 JSP 23.0 gr. 1,541 2
Lyman #431244GC* 20.0 gr. 1,615 1-1/4
NEI #295.429KTGC* 21.5 gr. 1,533 1-1/2
SAECO 240 FPGC 20.0 gr. 1,659 3
.44 SPECIAL MODERN SOLID HEAD BRASS
RCBS #44-250KT Cast Bullet         R-P Brass
Load MV 5-1/2” MV 7-1/2” Group*
17.0 gr. “Old” #2400 1,118 fps 1,136 fps 1-1/8”
17.0 gr. “New” #2400 1,138 fps 1,192 fps 1-1/8”
.45 COLT MODERN SOLID HEAD BRASS
RCBS #45-255KT Cast Bullet         R-P Brass
Load MV 5-1/2” MV 7-1/2” Group*
18.5 gr. “Old” #2400 965 fps 1,027 fps 1-1/2”
18.5 gr. “New” #2400 1,005 fps 1,071 fps 1-1/2”
*Groups are 5 of 6 shots at 20 yards with 7-1/2” barrel.
.44 MAGNUM MODERN BRASS
RCBS #44-250KT Cast Bullet         R-P Brass
Load MV 5-1/2” MV 7-1/2” Group*
22.0 gr. “Old” #2400 1,327 fps 1,356 fps 1-1/2
22.0 gr. “New” #2400 1,385 fps 1,436 fps 1-3/8
All loads assembled with CCI #300 LP Primers

July/August 2010

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