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H335 vs WC844

NeoBlackdogNeoBlackdog Member Posts: 12,451 ✭✭✭✭
Are these actually the same powder just with different designations? While looking at auctions for H335 I've come across a few pounds of the WC844 and they're calling it 'pull down powder'. What's the scoop?

Comments

  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,580 ******
    edited November -1
    NeoBlackdog,

    Military designations for powder have always been questionable when it comes to how the general public uses them.

    Simply, no, WC844 is not exactly H335. It is similar but not the same powder as we buy labeled as H335.

    I know this is a lot to ask but it might be better if your read this article which explains both the WC844 and WC846 predicament.

    http://www.223reloads.com/home/223-5-56-info/223-5-56-reloading/wc-846-loads

    "The issue of allowable calcium carbonate content is not officially dealt with until the Fall of 1969. In January 1970, Olin takes a further step and divides the tolerances of WC846. They have finally discovered/admitted that lots of WC846 suitable for 5.56x45mm are at the opposite end of the tolerance range from lots suitable for 7.62mm NATO. Henceforth, the 5.56x45mm suitable tolerance range would be relabeled as WC844. The 7.62mm NATO-suitable tolerance range would remain known as WC846."

    I have used both but where higher temps are an eventuality, I opt for the less temperature sensitive powders. It's safer that way.

    Best.
  • NeoBlackdogNeoBlackdog Member Posts: 12,451 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks, Nononsense (spelled it right that time!)
    That cleared it up some for me. I guess I'll stick with the 335. 24.5 grains under a Berry's plated 55 grain bullet is giving me sub-MOA groups from my 16" pencil barreled AR. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and pay the prices being asked.[B)]
  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    Are those pre-69 powders the ones that had firing residue that resembled cement when it cooled?
  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,580 ******
    edited November -1
    Ray B,

    Many more ably adept chemists than I, have taken on the task of explaining the fouling problem found when certain powders were used in military loads. Their findings usually are oriented around both the calcium carbonate and the deterrent coatings used on the ball powders.

    quote:Colt's supply of CR 8136-loaded ammo did not run out until the early summer of 1965. When the Army refused to grant additional cyclic rate waivers with the use of WC846-loaded ammo, Colt in turn suspends production of the XM16E1 in favor of the USAF's M16. This led to yet another search by Frankford Arsenal for an alternate powder. While Olin declined to participate, two other powders were submitted: DuPont's EX 8208-4 and Hercules' HPC-11. DuPont's EX 8208-4 displayed moderate fouling, but it also recorded higher gas port pressures than even WC846. Hercules' HPC-11 showed the least visible fouling, but closer examination unveiled that heavy fouling was constricting the gas tube. Frankford Arsenal's final report recommended that EX 8208-4 be approved for use in M193 Ball and M196 tracer cartridges, and that Hercules and Olin reduce the fouling characteristics of their respective powders. Unlike WC846, HPC-11 was not approved for use. However, M193 and M196 cartridges loaded with DuPont EX 8208-4 would not enter the supply chain until June of 1966.

    In December 1967, WC846 was withdrawn for use in loading M196 tracer cartridges. WC846 was replaced by DuPont's IMR 8208M (formerly EX 8208-4). Ironically, production lots of M193 Ball loaded with IMR 8208M are soon withdrawn for practice use only. Reliability problems had been discovered in a new set of performance trials conducted by the USMC at Fort Sherman in Panama. Part of the goals were to sort out the relative merits of Ball versus IMR powders in the reliability of the M16A1.

    The issue of allowable calcium carbonate content is not officially dealt with until the Fall of 1969. In January 1970, Olin takes a further step and divides the tolerances of WC846. They have finally discovered/admitted that lots of WC846 suitable for 5.56x45mm are at the opposite end of the tolerance range from lots suitable for 7.62mm NATO. Henceforth, the 5.56x45mm suitable tolerance range would be relabeled as WC844. The 7.62mm NATO-suitable tolerance range would remain known as WC846.

    Most fouling, due to the older lots of 5.56x45mm, was nearly impossible to remove without substantial effort. There are lots of guesses and some fact but it apparently could have involved a moist environment and heavy fouling. Decreasing the size of the gas port and tube by fouling will invariably raise pressure causing more primers to pop or pierce with the weapon potentially being made non-functional.

    The part that bothers me the most though is the behind the scenes politicking which allowed this to continue for such a long period of time. These manufacturers and politicians should burn in hell certainly.

    Best.
  • MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 11,480 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've loaded 24# of WC844 with excellent results after working up loads to my intended velocity. I use CCI#41 primers and mostly military brass. I just wish I'd bought more when I could.
    I wouldn't recommend pushing the max load limits due to the possible variables involved with salvaged powders.
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I have shot a lot of surplus powder, including 844 and 846. And I agree- the burn rate is not precisely that of 335, but is quite close. You should not SUBSTITUTE data, but you CAN use 335 data as a start point, and work up in 1 gr increments watching for pressure signs. Ideally over a chronograph. I found that with my lot, it was a little slower than 335 and I was able to go a little over the published 335 max with no pressure issues and get the same velocity.

    Works great in .223, so-so in 30 caliber cartridges.
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