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Non-Handloader Needs Handloader Expertise!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/04/2008 at 21:09
richardca99 View Drop Down
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I have a new Sako 85 in .25-06.  I'm not a handloader, but I do like to get my hunting rifles shooting their best (within the limitations of factory ammo).  This one has frustrated me a bit, as none of the five brands/loads that I've tried have printed under 1 moa.  My plan was to have Superior Ammo load me up some of the combos that seem to have worked for other users on this forum, but I've gotten hung up on the subject of OAL.
 
Obviously, I don't know the exact OAL of my rifle.  So I'm torn between either spending the money on an OAL gauge, comparator, modified case, and a box of bullets in hopes of being able to provide Superior Ammo with a precise OAL measurement with which to begin experimenting.  Alternatively, I can try some additional factory offerings and hope that I hit on one that works (there are several good ones left).
 
Given that I don't intend to handload, am I getting too much in the weeds by bothering with the OAL measurement?  What if I were to tell Superior to just use SAAMI specs for OAL, and then experiment with bullet/charge combinations based on those specs?  I suppose I could always then have him adjust OAL in small increments when I find one that looks promising.
 
Thoughts?  Recommendations? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/04/2008 at 21:54
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Welcome to OT, richardca99! 
To tweak OAL, you will need reloading equipment.  I suspect if you are halfway serious about getting "better than factory" accuracy, you will eventually end up wanting to get into reloading anyway.  It's really not that hard, nor is it really all that expensive, relatively speaking.  To start out, I would recommend just buying a reloading starter kit from RCBS, Redding, Lyman, etc.  They will have most of what you need except the dies, shellholder, and ammo components.
 
If you don't plan to reload, you can tell Superior what your max OAL is with a Stoney Point gauge.  Start out about 0.010" off the lands.
 
There is no harm in telling them to just load to SAAMI specs.  It won't hurt anything, and you may still get a very accurate load, you just won't know for sure if you have the best possible OAL in combination with the load data selected without having the ability to tweak bullet seating depth.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:15
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i would just buy myself an rcbs rock chucker supreme master reloading kit for $280 and pound them out myself, that way you can be as picky as you want and do things your way instead of depending on a second party.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:25
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Good advice given by your two responders.....you sound a lot like I was starting to sound right before I took the plunge and got into reloading. It just got where I wanted that last variable under my control to get the real best out of my rifles, reloading allowed me to tune powder charge, OAL to lands, primers, and brass to achieve those tight ragged hole groups that come with tuning the perfect load to perfection for a given barrel/chambering combo. Its not that expensive and you will not want to go back after your first experience with "the" load. Get a couple good reloading manuals if you decide to try it. I recommend nosler and sierra myself.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:37
pyro6999 View Drop Down
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hornady and lee manuals are also very good, the nosler one is the only one mentioned that i dont have yet
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:50
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Yes, you will eventually want to get several reloading manuals for a variety of reasons.  First of all some have data for some cartridges that the others don't have.  Second, some manuals have starting and max powder charge recommendations for powders that others don't show.  Third, the recommended starting and max loads differ a little from manual to manual, especially because this depends on the bullet chosen.  Some bullets have more engagement surface with the bore than others, which increases pressure.
 
I currently have Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, Barnes, Speer, and Lapua manuals, in addition to a couple of the "one caliber" manuals, and I STILL frequently find the need to look up load data online, because the manuals don't cover all possible combinations of powders and bullet designs.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:52
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imr/hodgdon accurate  and alliant as well as nosler have some pretty good info on there web sites for loads. i too find myself looking for a certain combo if its not in my books
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:53
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Originally posted by pyro6999 pyro6999 wrote:

i would just buy myself an rcbs rock chucker supreme master reloading kit for $280 and pound them out myself, that way you can be as picky as you want and do things your way instead of depending on a second party.
 
AMEN, brother! 
 
IMO, that's the best deal going in reloading for a quality starter kit.  It has nearly everything you need to get started, minus the dies and ammo components.  That kit will soon pay for itself in $ saved over the long run vs. buying from a commercial custom ammo supplier or buying factory ammo, which is damn expensive these days.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2008 at 08:54
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its even better if you find one like that at a pawn shop or a gun show, or a garage sale, sometimes you can buy the set in pieces at gun shows and save more money yet
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2008 at 09:15
okeybug View Drop Down
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If it were me, I believe I would look at the Dillon 550 press.  For not too much more you'll have a press that's much more versitile.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2008 at 09:32
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i wouldnt recommend a progressive for a newbie, how are they suppose to pay there dues?? and learn how to do it one at a time all by hand?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2008 at 18:08
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 Progressives are really nice for high volume production of pistol ammo, but are  not the best for precision handloading of bottleneck rifle cartridges, although they certainly load good ammo. I would get a good single-stage press to start with. If you don't abuse it, you'll be able to resell it later without taking too big a hit, but even if you do get a progressive later, you'll probably want to keep the single-stage setup for certain operations not suitable for a progressive press to perform well.



Edited by RONK - February/18/2008 at 18:09
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2008 at 18:32
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I load all my ammo on my Hornady progressive press.  But with my rifle bullets I end up doing each and every function separately just like I would on a single stage.  If you are planning on reloading a lot of pistol bullets as well then a progressive is the only way to go, like Ron said.  But if you are just going to load rifle rounds I would go single stage all the way or get one of the turret presses like a Redding T-7.  I see one of those in my future.
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