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Ruger Compact Rifle velocity - Wow!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/24/2006 at 22:12
lucznik View Drop Down
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I already posted this information on another message board but, it was so interesting to me that I thought I would post it here as well.  I went out rabbit hunting with my dad today and we took our chronograph along. I fired a series of shots over the chrono screens from 2 different loads out of my Ruger Compact Rifle (in 7-08) and the results were surprising to say the least.

Let me preface this by saying that, while I like Hornady bullets, I generally find that their reloading data is... well, let's just say INSANE! Those people must have no fear of God at all.

Nosler data however, has (for me at least) always been spot on for both Nosler and Hornady bullets. Using the latest Nosler manual and comparing their published loads both for rifle (w/ a 26" test barrel) and a pistol (w/ a 14" test barrel) I had anticipated losing 33.25 fps/inch with 150+ gr. bullets (for a total of -316 fps) and about 39.4 fps/inch with 120 gr. bullets (for a total loss of about 374 fps) out of the Ruger's stubby 16.5" barrel. Was I ever wrong!

The 154 gr. Hornady Interbond (which groups right at 1" @ 100 yds) on top of a stiff load of 40.0 gr of IMR 4895 gave me an average velocity of 2660 fps. This is only 90 fps slower than Nosler's published velocity of 2750 fps from a 26" barrel!

The 120 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip on top of a max charge of 45.0 gr. of Varget (which shows a published velocity of 3139 fps - again from a 26" test barrel) rewarded me with an average velocity of 3063 fps, for a loss of only 76 fps! Accuracy has not been tested with this load yet but, I'm very optimistic so far.

Remember these velocity figures are from a rifle with 9.5" less barrel than the test barrel used by Nosler to come up with their published figures. Neither load is above Nosler's max-load level and neither load showed signs of excessive pressure. This just goes to show that you never can tell what a particular rifle will give you and so if at all possible, you really need to chronograph each load from each specific rifle.

It also tells me that choosing this stubby little compact was a truly great idea as it is giving up absolutely nothing to larger models with longer barrels.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/25/2006 at 01:28
never e nuff View Drop Down
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Be very cautious. Everything I have read states that if you are getting curiously high velocities, somewhere the devil needs to be paid. If you really are in doubt, get yourself some similar factory loaded ammo. and DO NOT exceed whatever velocity you average that ammo to be. The 7-08 is a modern cal. only loaded in modern firearms. Therefore, most manufactures will not leave much performance out of their ammunition.       
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/25/2006 at 18:03
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by never e nuff never e nuff wrote:

Be very cautious. Everything I have read states that if you are getting curiously high velocities, somewhere the devil needs to be paid. If you really are in doubt, get yourself some similar factory loaded ammo. and DO NOT exceed whatever velocity you average that ammo to be. The 7-08 is a modern cal. only loaded in modern firearms. Therefore, most manufactures will not leave much performance out of their ammunition.  

 

This is not a function of over-stuffing the case to see what the max possible velocity might be.   As I said, neither load exceeds published maximum and neither load is exhibiting sighns of excessive pressure. Velocities, in both cases, are below published figures (as they should be,) just not as much as I had anticipated. I'm not sure that would qualify as "curiously high velocities."

 

As far as comparing to factory loaded ammo; exceeding factory ballistics is one of the primary reasons I handload.  Almost all factory loads (with occasional, yet notable exceptions like Hornady's Light Magnum stuff) are loaded to relatively sedate levels because they must reliably fire in every gun chambered for them, no matter how old or, more importantly, of what design. For example, break open NEF rifles will never be able to withstand the same pressures as a good sturdy bolt action (like the Ruger,) but factory ammo must be able to shoot from these top-break single-shots. I don't shoot such rifles so; why would I want to be limited to ammunition that is gentle enough to be fired from them? 

 

I believe what I am finding here is that the 7-08 is a good deal more efficient than it is commonly given credit for being. On the other forum a member pointed out that "45 grains of powder doesn't take 26" of barrel to burn."  I hadd figured this would be the case when I bought the rifle - in fact, it was one of the primary reasons I did buy it. I just didn't realize how little I was going to actually be giving up and was pleasantly surprised when I found out. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2006 at 06:00
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I did not try to offend you Lucznik. Many published articles talk specificly about length of barrel vs. velocity. and there are formulas to approximate velocitys at what ever barrel length you are using. All I am saying is that test barrels,chronographs,ambient temps.,powder lots, and the particular rifle being used are all variables. All ammo manufactures have to load to or under sammi specks. If they did not the lawyers would have a field day. In a modern cartridge like yours there would be no reason to under load it. Another example would be the 7mm rem mag. None of the loads for it are wimpy. Your research is absolutly true all of the powder that will burn is consumed within the first couple of inches of the chamber, according to experts such as my freind who has worked at Federal as a ballistics engineer for over thirty years. He also states that the powders that they use are not available to the general public. And the methods they use to load light mag. ammo would be impractical for any handloader. Examples of this are very apparent when you look at factory .204 ruger ammo vs. handload data. The handload can be up to 200fps. less. Good luck with your Ruger.       
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2006 at 15:06
lucznik View Drop Down
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No offense taken.  I hadn't intended to portray that and if I did, I apologize.

 

Actually I just read an article last night written by Dick Metcalf (I think) in one of the various gun rags where he described the same thing I was experiencing and also explained it as better/more efficient powders that are able to completely burn in much less than the typical 22-24 inch barrel. Actually, his basic premise was that not only do you not lose anything by going to the shorter barrel, you actually gain significant accuracy potential as a shorter barrel is stiffer, more stable, and less prone to undesireable barrel harmonics, etc.

 

Had I read this article first, I probably wouldn't have experienced quite the same level of surprise.  I'll tell you what though, considering the performance so far and if this gun proves (after a bit of tinkering) to be acceptably accurate with the 120, and maybe either the 140 or 150+ gr bullets, it just might replace my 10+ lb. .264 Win Mag as my primary hunting rifle. I've carried that bugger around for many miles and while I love it to death, after a while it can feel like an absolute anchor.

 

I wonder what loading methods your friend might be alluding to.  Essentially loading ammunition (whether for the reloader or the factory) revolves around dumping a set amount of a given powder into a primed case and topping it off with the appropriate bullet.  The factory just does this "en masse."  I can't imagine why a home reloader, if he could get his hands on the powder (and the appropriate load data,) would be unable to measure and charge his cases with it - probably with greater accuracy/precision than is required on the factory line.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2006 at 21:43
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Belive it or not the ballistics engineer did not go into extensive detail, but he eluded to the use of powders used, with different burn rates, being packed into a case one on top of another with the faster propellents closer to the primer which caused the slower propellent to be burned closer to the muzzle. This also resulted in a higher velocity acheviable with a single propellent and with lower chamber pressures. If true, this would be something that I would not want to want to expirment with loading in my basement, and trying out my concotion in a fine rifle, with my face inches from the bolt handle. I had the opportunity to tour the Federal complex in Anoka,MN. What I came away with was that all ammo manufactures strictly comply with SAMMI standards. This was very evident in their underground proving tunnel, where the production line ammo would be fired in a test barrel hooked up to pressure sensing and velocity detecting equipment, and then that would be compared to special SAMMI prepared ammo. Many years ago I was made aware of this practice by a friend and black powder competitor. He let me shoot his heavy barreled replica rolling block rifle. Then he proceded to tell me how he loaded it. Five grains of Unique and the remaining case full of black powder. This went against all safe loading practices ever written. But he said almost everyone was doing it. It was true,you could hear the difference in the guns report. I as a handloader worry about every minute grain of every last powder charge and use a Lyman digital powder measure. In retrospect the experts say 5% change of powder charge would probably be a undetectable velocity or pressure change. Try writting down your extreme spreads and compare that to factory ammo and you might be suprised.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/02/2006 at 23:07
lucznik View Drop Down
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That's pretty interesting.  Mixing powders blindly to come up with the best charge would definately not be within my comfort zone but, if I had the same powders as the factory as well as their exact recipe, I might be willing to give it a try. I actually would have thought that one would put the faster burning powder on top (so that both it and the slow burning powder both have the best chance of a full burn.)  These powders and charge recipes might not be available to the handloader right now but, give it some time and I'll bet they will be. Especially with the proliferation (and combination) of digital scales and progressive reloading machines.
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