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Reloading Ammunition
 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

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What Is A Reloading Double Charge?


Double charging your powder measure is one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make when reloading your ammunition. It happens when you accidently reload your case with TWICE THE AMOUNT of gunpowder than the recommended powder charge. Firing double charged reloaded rounds may cause your gun to explode and cause serious injury.


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the dangerous double charge.

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Double charges usually occur due to human error by lack of attention, distractions and lack of quality control in the reloading process. Fortunately there are a few ways to minimize or eliminate the danger of double charging your powder.

Measuring gun powder charge 9mm Luger powder amount 9mm Single Powder Charge

Measuring the powder charge to avoid the dangerous double charge.

Double powder charge to show fill level in the case.

Single powder charge to show proper case fill level.

Reloading Tips to Avoid A Double Charge

  1. Shine a concentrated bright light on each powdered case.

  2. Eyeball the powder level each in case before placing the bullet into it. A double charged case stands out like a sore thumb.

  3. No distractions when reloading.

  4. Weigh every 10th charge on the scale to make sure it's metering right.

  5. Of course, follow all safe reloading practices and procedures.


Feedback & Comments


Sent: July 31, 2011
Subject: Reloading 9mm Luger with Unique Powder Doesn't Look Right

I'm just starting off reloading. I'm working on 115gr 9mm luger with a 5.6gr charge of unique on a lee classic turret with lee auto disc measure. When I charge my case with the proper 5.6gr "starting" charge, as per my speer reloading manual, my case looks really full, pretty similar to the way yours looks in the double charge picture...I've loaded and reloaded cases many times and my weight and powder level is consistent, it just looks unnaturally high...I've yet to test fire a round for this very reason, I like my face too much and I like my gun even more.. My question is, is there something wrong I'm not catching? Maybe my scale (hornaday dig.) Isn't reading correctly or is it just the brand powder making it appear double charged?

Response - David,

Out of curiosity I measured and took pictures of a 9mm Luger case filled with 5.6 gr of Hodgdon Titegroup and 5.6 gr Winchester Autocomp smokeless powders. I took the pictures to see if the little bit of extra charge weight (I normally load to 4.6gr of Titegroup) would show a difference in casing volume. They didn't. Both show cases that are approximately half full.

Comparison of 5.6 gr of Smokeless Powders
5.6 gr Hodgdon Titegroup 5.6 gr Winchester Autocomp
5.6 gr Hodgdon Titegroup 5.6 gr Winchester Autocomp

If the Unique powder is "fluffier" and has a different density than my Titegroup, it would account for more volume taken up in the casing. I found the densities of both powders. They are as follows.

Titegroup 11.799(gr/cc)
Unique 9.158(gr/cc)

Unique appears to be less dense than Titegroup, so the same weight of powder should take up more volume (about 22% more volume). That doesn't seem like it would account for what you see when you load a case.

I also looked up load data for Unique and 115 grain jacketed bullets. Unless I'm reading it wrong, my Lee reloading book indicates a starting powder load of 5.1gr and a not to exceed load of 5.5gr. You are loading to 5.6gr (which I understand is what some sources suggest).

To get confidence in the load, the first thing I would do is to check the scale. It must have come with some calibration weights. After I was satisfied that the scale showed accurate results I would also do some more internet research on Unique and 9mm Luger reloading. It does seem that Unique is a "fluffier" powder so there may not be a problem at all. Also I would start off with the lowest of possible suggested charges (5.1 gr).

Here is a couple of links that I found about Unique and 9mm Luger. I'm sure there are many more.

  1. "I like this powder because it has a wide range between min and max loads. It is also a "fluffy" powder, making it almost impossible to significantly overcharge 9mm loads."
    http ://

  2. http ://

If you think of it later on, I would be interested to know what you did and how it turned out for you.

Best regards,



Thanks for the quick response. I ran the calibration. Test with the calibration. Weight and the scale passes. The only inconsistent weights ill get with the powder measure is if I leave powder sit in it all night then the first couple charges are heavy, I'm assuming just because its settled tightly through the night, once I clear the first few charges I get pretty consistent more than +/-0.1.

Secondly, speer said due to the speer xtps bullet co-eff. They recommend a slightly higher charge (compared to the unique charge chart) of 5.6gr and a max of 6:3.

Also, I did finally test fire quite the combination of rounds this week with very positive results. I ran about 30 rounds @ 5.6gr (even though the case looks full), with a COAL of 1.125" and no signs of over pressure, my second batch was another 30 of the same charge only with a slightly deeper seated bullet with a coal of 1.115" still with no signs of over pressure, however I did have one slightly flattened primer I believe is due to me not seating it all the way rather than over pressure (the firing pin strike was really deep compared to every other casing). Finally I loaded a batch of 5.9gr loads @ 1.115" and still no signs of over fact I'm pretty sure they were a little more accurate!

I've since loaded and shot over 100 rounds of that same batch with consistent charge of 5.9gr and they shoot great with no visible signs of over pressure and no jams, ftf malfunctions, case jams/fte mals, or anything else even in my wolf Glock barrel so I'm guessing that's a good recipe for my ammo/gun combo?

Response - David,

Thanks for the feedback. That's good to hear.



Sent: June 12, 2011
Subject: 9MM Bullet Seating

Very well done. Do you have photo's of proper 9mm bullet seating? I have a couple of books and very little is shown and discussed when it comes to seating the bullet. I don't want to seat too short and increase the pressure and cause damage to myself or my pistol. Thank you. Robert

Response - Robert,

As far as I am concerned, there isn’t that much to know about bullet seating.

Bullet seating takes care of itself when you establish the overall length (OAL) of your cartridge.

Your minimum OAL is defined in your reloading book and will vary with the type of bullet and powder.

Your maximum OAL is 1.169" (according to my Lee Reloading Manual).

I try to keep my OAL at about 1.15” (give or take a little).

If you follow the recipe in your reloading manual you won't have to worry about seating the bullet too short.

Hope that helps. Best regards,




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Mike Coviello is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.






Reloading Equipment
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