DEAR LABBY Q&A

Submit a question to the Ballistic Experts in our Lab

Dear Labby Q&A

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If you would like to submit a story related to shooting, hunting, or handloading, we would like to read it. Please submit your story here. If it is accepted, your story will be printed on our site, with your name in the by-line.

Submit your Story

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letters To The Editor

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Free Trial Subscription to
Handloader or Rifle Magazine

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

LT-32 and the Varmint Shooter

By Will Scherer

The new LT-32 propellant from Western Powder Inc. (Accurate) was thought up with benchrest shooters and the 6 PPC in mind.  But I’m a varmint shooter who uses many calibers. I would like to use some of the new powder too.

What’s good for those guys and gals should be good for me.  Extremely small fine-grained, extruded kernels that meters easily through my Dillon 550B, temperature / humidity insensitivity, and very low standard deviation are all pluses for the varmint shooter.  On the western plains in spring and summer the temperature and humidity changes drastically from morning to night.

We often load mass quantities of varmint rounds in different calibers for a trip to the prairie dog towns well ahead of time with consistency in mind.  Shooting 300 to 500 rounds a day, they have to be loaded ahead of time, sometime months ahead of time, if you are going to have enough ammo for three to five days of shooting.

My testing used production and semi-custom rifles in 11 calibers – from 20 VarTarg to 6mm BR – to put LT-32 through the wringer and see what it could do.

I started with three different bullets for each caliber and then cut it down to the best of the three for the final testing.  When I was done, I shot all 11 calibers on one test target for an end comparison.

As a varmint shooter I want to load mass quantities of ammo with the least amount of time spent.  I don’t weight cases, sort them or stick with one lot number. I do sort by manufacturer, for what little good that does.  I don’t weigh each charge.  I use my Dillon 550B progressive press and a RCBS electronic scale to set up the powder charge to load.  I check the charge every 20 or so loaded rounds to see if I’m within 1/10 of a grain and 98 percent of the time it’s right on. I’ll use cases that have been shot in their respective rifles, full-length sized, cleaned, and prepped to the published trim length.  They are basically a new used case.

BULLET CHARGE COL VELOCITY
6mm BR
70   Speer TNT HP      28 gr           2.110          3,010
58   Hornady V-Max  29.5 gr         2.150          3,361
55   Nosler Spitzer       29.5 gr        1.995         3,337

Final load tested:
58   Hornady V-Max     29.5 gr       2.130          3,323

22 BR
40   Hornady V-Max    29 gr           2.050          3,678
50   Hornady V-Max    28.5 gr        2.075          3,528
55   Hornady V-Max    29.5 gr        1.995           3,388

Final load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max    29.5 gr        2.000          3,713

6mm PPC
70   Speer TNT HP      25.3 gr        2.115          3,013
58   Hornady V-Max   26.8 gr        2.100         3,369
55   Nosler Spitzer       26.8 gr        1.975          3,398

Final load tested:
58   Hornady V-Max     26.8 gr       2.100          3,343

22 PPC
40   Hornady V-Max    27.5 gr        2.050          3,777
50   Hornady V-Max    27 gr           2.060          3,638
55   Hornady V-Max    26.5 gr        2.040          3,431

Final load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max     27 gr          2.030          3,706

6 x 45 (6mm/223 Rem)
70   Speer TNT HP      20.5 gr        2.285          2,434
58   Hornady V-Max   21 gr            2.285          2,602
55   Nosler Spitzer       21 gr            2.160          2,595

Final load tested:
58   Hornady V-Max    21.5 gr        2.300          2,622

223 AI
40   Hornady V-Max    23.5 gr        2.250          3,141
50   Hornady V-Max    22.5 gr        2.250          2,961
55   Hornady V-Max    22 gr            2.250          2,878

Final load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max    24.5 gr       2.250          3,302

223 Rem
40   Hornady V-Max    23 gr          2.280          3,260
50   Hornady V-Max    22 gr          2.260          3,052
55   Hornady V-Max    21 gr           2.265          2,839

Final load tested:
40   Hornady Vmax      23.5 gr       2.250          3,321

222 Rem
35   Hornady V-Max     22 gr          2.035          3,185
40   Hornady V-Max     21.5 gr       2.140          3,111
50   Hornady V-Max     21 gr          2.150          2,955

Finial load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max     22 gr          2.140          3,254

221 Rem Fireball
34   Sierra HP              17 gr              1.775          2,635
35   Hornady V-Max   17 gr              1.765          2,622
40   Hornady V-Max   17 gr              1,870         2,634

Final load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max   17.5 gr           1,870          2,694

20 Practical
32   Sierra BlitzKing    22.5 gr         2.250          3,555
32   Hornady Vmax      22.5 gr        2.250          3,555
40   Hornady Vmax      22 gr           2.270          3,439

Finial load tested:
40   Hornady V-Max   22.5 gr         2.270          3,514
32   Sierra BlitzKing    23 gr            2.250          3,606

20 VarTarg
32   Sierra BlitzKing    17 gr          1.900          3,104
32   Hornady V-Max    17 gr          1.900          3,170
40   Hornady V-Max    17 gr          1.900          3,062

Final load tested:
32   Sierra BlitzKing    17.4 gr      1.885          3,192

Almost all of the groups were under 1 MOA at 100 yards, good enough for varmint shooting with all the conditions that can be found in a western prairie dog town.  In some cases I ran short of powder and didn’t get a really good load for some calibers. I also dealt with a pinched nerve in my neck that kept me from keeping three shots into a group.  Several times I let the third shot drift out and had to pause and shoot another.

All of my shooting was in a 100 yard underground tube with no wind and a very sturdy bench.  I’ll admit all of my rifles shoot a lot better than I on most days.

I also want to thank Keith Anderson, Senior Ballistics Engineer at Western Powders for some of the starting loads on those calibers that were a little shy of data.