OT: Handloading question

I'd ask this in a more appropriate place if I knew or trusted the judgment of the people there, but I know there are handloaders here, and that people
here are a little off the wall in general, so you guys are more likely to have a good answer to an odd question.
I need a replacement for the kapok I use to fill space in .32 H&R magnum cases when I make light range loads for it. They're loaded with wadcutter bullets and a light load of Red Dot, and they're lousy when you don't fill up the space.
But my 47-year-old kapok life vest has given up the ghost (it's a shadow of its former self) and I need a replacement. I've tried the polyester fluff but I hate the sticky goop it sometimes leaves in the cases. I haven't looked around for alternatives for so long that I have no idea what's out there.
Any suggestions? I have to do something fairly soon. I have to take some beginners to the range and the old Single-Six Magnum is a good one to start them with.
Thanks.
-- Ed Huntress
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Suggestion 1: Find the oldest marina/boat dealer in the area and see if he has any old life jackets in the rafters. Estate sales and junk stores are another possible source.
#2: It's still available--- (Amazon.com product link shortened)96384192&sr=8-1
$5 a pound, but a pound fills the space in a LOT of 32 mag cases!
#3: Change powder to something that fills the case. Trailboss?? The little donut powder. Made for full case cowboy loads.
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(Amazon.com product link shortened)96384192&sr=8-1
Aha! All good suggestions, Bill. I'll bet there are a lot of old kapok life vests around. NJ boaters never throw anything out. I'll hit the yard sales down at the Jersey shore this coming spring.
Short term, I'll spring for the $5. I've asked around for it and people look at me like I'm from Mars.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

Have you tried plain old cotton from a cottonball, Ed? I wonder if that would work without leaving a residue.
Jim Chandler
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This isn't something I know from experience, but only from reading some handloading experts: they frown on it because, IIRC, cotton is hygroscopic and it always contains some moisture. Kapok is not. That's why it's been the preferred filler material for as long as I can remember.
There are some other materials that have been used, including rice hulls and other grain hulls, but they mix with the powder and give a different result. The idea with the kapok is that it keeps the powder up tight against the primer. When it floats around, you get uneven ignition.
As a last resort I have loaded without the filler and just tipped the gun up after every shot. I also used to shoot single-shot antique rifles that way, when they're loaded with BP, without bullets, and you separately load a patched bullet from the muzzle. It's a PITA, and not something I want to do with beginners.
-- Ed Huntress
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

I had forgotten about that. Don't want wet powder!
Jim
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Jim Chandler wrote:

Cornmeal was the item of choice/availability back when.....I suppose one could dry it in a microwave if the cartriges were not going to be used promptly. Jerry
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How about cork ? Cork sheet can (I suppose) be put in the mixed drink maker - blender and ground - or in a like kitchen toy you bought for the beloved.
Bound to have some import junk at a big box sports place.
Martin Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
Ed Huntress wrote:

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wrote:

Dacron pillow stuffing. Available in any craft supply shop.
Its far better than kapok.
It tends to also leave a very thin plastic coating inside the barrel, which is a good thing as it prevents rusting,
Use no more than about 3 grains for most cases.
Its the recommended stuffing, has been for years.
Gunner
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Depends on who you ask. Precision Shooting magazine did an article a year or two back on this. Polyester in some loads caused barrel "ringing" due to some sort of pressure spike. The author wrecked a couple of barrels before he figured out the culprit. He tried a couple of alternatives. I don't recall the details, but I think natural fibers like cotton & kapok were OK. The problem seemed to be with stuff that can melt. It only happened with some loads in some calibers, but why chance it?
Doug White
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 19:46:40 -0500, "Ed Huntress"

A different powder might serve well. What bullet and how much Red Dot are you using? There is very likely a powder that would give you a mostly-full case and stil match the m.v. and max chamber pressure of your load. I could build a propellant table in Quickload and suggest a couple if I know a bit more about your powder, bullet and present load (hence m.v. and max pressure) with Red Dot. It would also be useful to know the water capacity of your case in grains of water.
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wrote:

I don't even remember. I worked it up from some comments in one of the handloading books, trimmed an old .32 S&W Long case to equal the weighed volume, soldered on a piece of heavy wire for a handle, and I just use that as a powder measure. I could go weigh it again but I hope you won't ask me to. <g>
As it is, this is not a careful business of loading for accuracy or sophistication, just a range load for shooting informally at 50 feet, with wadcutters pressed flush with the case mouth. I'd consider changing powder if it was worth it but I already have a big supply of Red Dot and, for this modest purpose, I'll just keep using that until it's gone -- which won't be soon.
But I do appreciate your offer. My favorite range has closed down and I have to go back to one I didn't like much in the past; if it's improved, I may start shooting regularly again and I'll have a project for which I could use your help: developing a high-velocity, high-accuracy load for the Ruger Single Six. That .32 H&R Magnum cartridge has some nice properties. It shoots flat and the gun is known for very high accuracy.
-- Ed Huntress
"Specialization increases economic value. As an example Smith famously used the 'trifling manufacture' of a pin. Without specialization and specialists' machinery it would take us all day to make one pin. In an early draft of _Wealth_, Smith noted that if we went so far as to dig in the iron mines, smelt our own ore, and so forth, we could 'scarce make one pin in a year.' And somewhere a group of hobbyists -- contactable via the Internet -- is doing just that, to the irritated mystification of their wives." -- P.J. O'Rourke, _On The Wealth of Nations_
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On Fri, 30 Nov 2007 00:27:45 -0500, "Ed Huntress"

I'd be glad to help if I can. I'll also pass this along to Fitch if he's not reading the group. He's an afficiando of Ruger single six's and he also has Quickload. He had it first, I followed his lead.
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wrote:
<snip>

I'd appreciate that, Don. I originally bought the SSM 15 years ago for hunting javelina in Arizona. Now it's just for target fun, and a good gun to introduce people to handguns. Unfortunately, NJ is not a good place for long-range handgun shooting, so its best virtues are kind of a waste here.
This is my second Single Six. I had an early Single Six Convertible, pre-hammer-blocker, which I traded away almost 40 years ago. 'Wish I still had it today. The new ones are just as nice except that the hammer blocker gives the action a kind of gritty feel.
-- Ed Huntress
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On Fri, 30 Nov 2007 02:10:07 -0500, "Ed Huntress"

I wouldn't know, but Fitch has several single-sixes and I didn't notice any gritty feel to them. He might have tuned them up a bit.
I've followed this thread with interest. I have read that using fillers is not a good idea, particularly with longer cases, but it does appear here that folks are doing it routinely without mishap. 5 bux worth of kapok is certainly less than $18 for a jar of a different powder. I'd buy the powder rather than risk having problems.
You probably know that "downloading" is a bad idea with some powders, a specific case being Winchester W296. Light loads with these powders can result in a rare but dangerous detonation called Secondary Explosion Effect. I think this is also more true of longer cases, but .32 H&R at 1.075" might qualify as a "longer case". I routinely make light popper .357 mag loads with W231.
A light .32 H&R load found on a website, http://www.nrapublications.org/sh.%20illustrated/32HR.asp is 2.2 gn of Hodgdon Clays behind a Hornady 90 gn SWC. That's about a 46% fill of the case. 880 fps, peak pressure looks to be about 14,500 (about 61% of SAAMI max), and it was among the most accurate of loads listed. Recoil energy in a 35 oz gun is 1.0 ft lb at bullet exit, 1.2 ft lb at end of gas aftereffect. Geez, you'd hardly know it went off! Muzzle energy is about 164 ft-lb. 880 fps is subsonic, so the muzzle blast with this light load might be quite mild.
For comparison, Federal factory ammo in that caliber w/ 95 gn bullet is 1020 fps, 220 ft lb.
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wrote:

Or he may have removed the hammer blockers. Real fans of the Single Six don't like the hammer blockers.

Using small doses of a fast-burning granular powder like Red Dot (probably the most popular for the job) and kapok filler is a time-honored way to make safe, consistent light range loads. I'm sure there are much better solutions today but, as I say, I have the stuff and I used it all the time when I was shooting a lot -- particularly when I was introducing new shooters, which seems to be most of what I've done at the range, over the past 10 or 15 years. I was a certified rifle instructor and I still feel obligated to teach safety and proper handling to people who express an interest in shooting. That includes my former boss: a 61-year-old woman with a PhD in psychology who is a bioethithist and a vegan. d8-)
I'd like to get back into it and get more sophisticated in handloading but finding time is really hard. When I have that much time today I usually go fishing instead, even in cold weather. I no longer belong to an R&P club and the commercial ranges in NJ are either crowded or too far away to make it much fun.

Yes, I studied it quite a bit when I was active. The slower-burning powders are bad news for light loads. I think the .32 H&R Mag is indeed a "longer" case, so I'm careful and follow expert recommendations.

That sounds similar to my Red Dot load. If I understand correctly, Hodgdon Clays is a similar powder but cleaner-burning and it's used as a replacement for the traditional Red Dot skeet loads. The dynamics are probably similar for the two powders in a pistol cartridge. I think the volume may be a little higher with the Hodgden powder; the density apparently is lower.

Yeah, and that's nowhere near what you can get out of it with really good loads. For a straight-case pistol cartridge, the sucker really can zip.
I carried it with me on my two javelina hunts, hoping to get a shot within pistol range, but my only kill was over 100 yards, which is stretching it for me with a revolver. The gun can hold a tight-enough group but I can't. d8-)
-- Ed Huntress
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There was an article in Precision Shooting magazine a while back (a year or two?) about using fillers. Polyester is a no-no. It can damage your barrel under some circumstances. I think cotton was OK, but you should track down the article. It was quite thorough.
Doug White
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Cocking action or trigger action? I've got a New Model .22 in stainless, and the action seems fine. Only thing I don't like about it is that the trigger pull is extremely short - probably only 1/16" or so. Pretty smooth, though. Just about the same as my stainless Old Army, which of course doesn't have the transfer bar.
John Martin
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wrote:

The initial trigger pull. Ruger offers some kind of fix for the Blackhawk, but I don't know if it's available for the Single Six.
BTW, I should point out that the Ruger "hammer blocker" really isn't a hammer blocker. <g> It's a transfer bar. It doesn't block the hammer. The hammer just doesn't reach the firing pin if the transfer bar isn't raised.

That isn't the case with mine. If anything the trigger pull is longer than it was on my Old Model Single Six.
-- Ed Huntress
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