Be careful when choosing primers for Hodgdon Lil-Gun

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by VaniB, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. VaniB


    Apr 6, 2008
    Different primers can cause extreme pressure spikes with this powder unlike anything I've experienced with my many other powders.

    Hodgdon's website lists a minimum load of 14.5gr with a 40 grain Vmax, and 16gr as maximum using a Rem 7 1/2 primer. Tests with 15.5gr and Rem7 1/2 gave tame results. This week I did more 15.5 gr loads to see how WSR and BR4 might affect accuracy. The primers were flattened like a pancake, and I had trouble lifting the Rem 700 bolt! This was in 52° temp. Glad I didn't start at 16gr!

    Be extra careful when using LilGun. And don't forget to wear glasses when testing new loads.

  2. swd

    swd Gold $$ Contributor

    Nov 25, 2008
    Rem 7.5's have thicker cups and don't show pressure as fast as WSR.
    LA50SHOOTER likes this.
  3. watercam

    watercam Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 28, 2008
    I always thought the the BR-4s had thicker cups as well. I guess not.
    mikeinct likes this.
  4. jepp2

    jepp2 Gold $$ Contributor

    Aug 11, 2011
    Should be wearing eye protection anytime you are firing anything, but good reminder.

    Yes, BR-4 and 7 1/2 both have 0.025" thick cups. WSR has 0.021" thick cup.

    Even though the primer wasn't flattened any with the Rem, the case head is showing an ejector mark and slight rub. Did you happen to be using a chrono?
    sw282 likes this.
  5. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

    May 8, 2014
    Same pressure in disguise. Please be careful.
    SSL and mikeinct like this.
  6. 243winxb


    Feb 6, 2006
    On the website- HODGDON Data- for 40 GR. Is a NOS BT . . The HDY V-MAX is 35 GRs.

    But hard bolt lift is a sure pressure sign.
  7. hogpatrol

    hogpatrol Don't criticize the farmer with your mouth full. Gold $$ Contributor

    Apr 28, 2009
    In my .17FB, the 7&1/2s were too hot and I had pressure with them versus BR4s and Fed 215 match.
  8. LitLBoy

    LitLBoy Silver $$ Contributor

    Nov 5, 2011
    .223 black is the way to go for likes of the .221 FB
    Bill K likes this.
  9. Gabe22BR

    Gabe22BR Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 13, 2014
    7 1/2 primers were developed for the 221fireball.
    Bill K likes this.
  10. carlsbad

    carlsbad Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 2, 2013
    I use 7.5 primers a lot and this post doesn't make sense to me. I don't think the primer can change the pressure that much. The 7.5 primer in the pic is in my opinion, much less pressure. They flatten just like any other primer.

    dedogs likes this.
  11. VaniB


    Apr 6, 2008
    Google "Remington 221 LVSF Fireball " and read about the pressure spikes with LilGun reported by different people. There is a reason why LilGun had such a small test spectrum for me with 40gr bullets being only from 14.5 to 16.0 That's only a 1 1/2 grain range. It sure simplified my ladder testing!

    The first time I tried LilGun in my Rem 700 was a week ago when I ladder tested 4 different loads; 15.0, 15.3, 15.5 and 15.7 all using Rem71/2 primers. Of the total 16 rounds fired, the 15.5 was most accurate. Only the 15.7 load showed slight flattening. (And there sure as hell was no stuck bolt.) So I went back to the range to try the same 15.5 load changing only the primers. I was shocked how a primer alone could make such a difference!!!!! After the first WSR test load, I thought I had perhaps measured the wrong amount of powder. (I never do that) But after the same stuck bolt with firing the BR4, I knew the 2 primers caused the powder major indigestion.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  12. Laurie


    Oct 27, 2009
    Can't comment on either the cartridge or Li'l Gun, but I'm regularly impressed by how much difference Small Rifle primer make, model, and sometimes even production lot makes to both pressure and precision. This applies from 223 Rem up to SR primed versions of 308 Win size case cartridges. The answer is to have a decent supply of primers, work the load up for that primer alone, and stick to it.

    The Fireball / Li'l Gun combination may see larger pressure effects than most, but with extruded powders and other cartridges a primer change surely does usually produce a large change to ES/SD values and groups. .... and yet, many people regard primers as being identical performance, change at a whim items and swap between them all the time.

    IME, LR primers don't produce such large changes except when swapping between mild standard examples and the hotter magnums. (Or changing to the standard Rem 9 1/2 which is comparable to most other makes of LR magnum primers.)

    I'm also intrigued by the SR primer / small-flash-hole ignited 6.5 Grendel advice from its inventor Bill Alexander who advises to work up a reasonable load with one or more of the off the shelf components recipes then try as many primers as you can get hold of as he views this little number as very primer sensitive. I believe that this advice actually applies much more widely to small cartridges using this size of primer.

    As an aside recent Hodgdon 'sphericals' which are manufactured for Hodgdon by General Dynamics St. Marks Powder Co. in Florida seem to be harder to ignite than most types / grades. CFE-223 is the only powder I've tried to date that wouldn't ignite properly in Lapua SP 308 Palma cases. I read somewhere that Hi-Power XTC 223 shooters had to change primers too to overcome ignition problems with new generation 'ball' type powders.
  13. Bill K

    Bill K Silver $$ Contributor

    Oct 16, 2011
    There is a reason ALL the powder companies and primer makers caution about being careful and cautious when changing either in a given cartridge, especially the small case capacity one's. Pressure can change very fast, from lot to lot and with outside temps. Lil gun has always been one to really keep a eye on when you are working up loads with it. From handgun to rifle.
  14. farmerjohn

    farmerjohn Gold $$ Contributor

    Jun 3, 2009
    While you guys are hashing out problems with little gun I wish someone could finally put to rest one way or another the stories about it washing the rifllings out of barrels of both revolvers and rifles. I have 24 lbs that I would really like to use in handgun loads and loads for some lever action rifles chambered in handgun cartridges. I've seen what looks to be reliable info as well as pictures of the first 4in of 686 barrels that the powder is extremely hard on barrels. Something like 3 or 4 hundred rds and damage. Would really like to know if this is BS or fact.....
  15. sw282


    Mar 28, 2018
    My Lilgun experience is limited to magnum handgun calibers.. While Lilgun produces impressive velocities in 357 and 44 magnums its also very hard on revolvers. The damage is in the forcing cone and top strap of these guns. l no longer use Lilgun.. You can literally FEEL the difference.. Fire 5 rounds quickly loaded with Lilgun... Wait for your gun to cool, then fire 5 loaded with 2400 or 4227... The heat from the Lilgun rounds will blister your hand. The heat from 2400/4227 is much cooler... High Heat mean high stress and wear on the gun... No more Lilgun for me
  16. Clark


    Nov 1, 2005
    Going way over published load 357 magnum 158 gr with LIL'GUN, the recoil and noise kept going up with every grain.

    Replicating over a chronograph, I found the velocity turned around and started going down. I was just making bigger fireballs with more powder.

    To get that much powder to fit, I had to use triple compression and resize squished loaded ammo.
  17. Park ranger

    Park ranger

    Apr 6, 2015
    Have burned 5 pounds of lil gun in the last 6 months, 44 mag, 300 blackout super and subs, & 22 Hornet. I’ve had good luck but I’ve witnessed others that will blow primers clean out with very little changes.

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