In the last 15 years I have used more Red Dot in rifle cases than I have in shotgun shells. It had been my principal powder in light rifle and some pistol loads. I have tried other powders, however Red Dot was always a staple. Because of the popularity of Cowboy shooting, several new powders are available specifically for light loads in large cases. I decided to see if Red Dot was still a good choice.
I am looking at position sensitivity and decided to use a 30.06 and a light load. Powder charges were measured not weighed, so measurement precision is integrated. No one weighs plinking loads, do they? Accuracy was not evaluated, it is rifle and cartridge specific.
I assembled powders recommended by other shooters.
Red Dot, double base, high nitroglycerine, low density, extruded large circular flakes;
Vihtavuori N310, single base, moderate density, tiny extruded grains, measures precisely;
Tite Group, double base, high nitroglycerine, high density, flattened ball, measures precisely;
Trail Boss, single base, very low density, huge extruded flat perforated disks;
Winchester Super Target WST, double base, moderate density, flattened ball, measures precisely.
I wanted to test Vihtavuori N32C, made especially for Cowboy loads, but none was available locally and I did not want to pay HazMat fees to get it.
Ok, here are the results details follow:
Powder Charge Difference Standard Deviation
Red Dot 6.0 gr. 6 fps 17.7
VV N310 6.2 gr. 5 fps 8.7
Tite Group 5.8 gr. 6 fps 16.7
Trail Boss 7.3 gr. 15 fps 27.8
WST 6.3 gr. 8 fps 11.5
VV N310 wins, lowest spread and smallest standard deviation.
The results for N310, Red Dot, Tite Group and WST are very close. Considering the standard deviations, they might easily change places on a rerun, even in the same rifle.
Tite Group wins the cost contest, lowest charge weight.
Trail Boss came in last, which was surprising, as 7.3 grains is almost half a case full. Trail Boss is the only powder where a double charge or even a case full will not blow up a modern rifle or revolver. This is an important advantage where Cowboys are using progressive presses.
All the loads burned clean.
Lyman 31141, cast in 2% tin 6% antimony, sized 0.310 beeswax / jojoba lube no gas check. Seated to crimp groove but not crimped.
Charges adjusted to average 1025 fps plus or minus 25 fps with powder at the rear of the case.
Powder charges thrown using a RCBS Uniflow measure into Winchester 30.06 brass, neck sized, with CCI large rifle primers.
Eddystone 1917 Enfield - Stock except for the Stock (a Bishop)
Rounds chambered, then rifle held vertical muzzle up or down and placed carefully on the bags.
Test rounds fired alternately, powder front of case, rear, front, rear ect.
10 rounds forward powder, 10 rounds powder rearward.
Velocity instrumental at 6 feet
Standard deviations calculated using the small sample correction.
I expected double base powders to do better because of ease of ignition. I also thought the dense powders would be at a disadvantage. I was wrong on both counts.
The velocity and charge weights are under the recommended starting charges for some of the powders. However, the close results on four powders suggest I did not set up the conditions rigorous enough. Maybe I should have chosen a lower velocity.
It would be interesting to see testing done i a larger case like a 45-70.