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Shot my first reloads- input?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2012 at 21:23
jason miller View Drop Down
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So I have a Savage .338 Win Mag that my grandfather gave me.  Groups with the rifle have always gone between about 4-6 inches at 100 yards.  I had it bedded, had the muzzle re-crowned, installed a Timney, tried different scopes...  Nothing worked. 

I finally got reloading equipment a couple months ago, and assembled some loads.  When doing this, I found out that the .338 had an extremely long throat.(so does an older Savage 7mm RM I have)  So when I assembled some loads with H4350 and 225 Accubonds, I seated them out to 3.475"  This is still off the lands a decent amount, but much longer and they wouldn't fit in the magazine.  Consulting the Nosler loading manual, I loaded up 9 cartridges from 69 to 72.5 grains.  I kinda messed up here, and accidentally loaded two at 72.5.  Oh well. 

Results were very satisfying.  The first 4 had lots of vertical dispersion but very little horizontal dispersion, and the 5 hottest loads settled in and made one vertical group just over an inch center to center.  My chrono has always been repeatable and given expected readings.  Factory 225 loads always go right around the advertised 2800 fps.  My loads started at 2801 and went up.  The 5 that made one nice group ranged from 2917 to 2996.  I would have been worried, but the bolt wasn't difficult to lift, and the brass/primers all look good.  Can it be that seating the bullet so far out is at play here?  Would any of you guys be worried?

The Nosler manual doesn't actually have H4350 listed with 225's, but it does have 71.5 grains of IMR 4350 as a max load for 2882 fps.  Other loads show needing a grain or so more H4350 than IMR, so that's why I picked 72.5 as my max load.  And even the two loads of 72.5 grains didn't show signs of excessive pressure.

My buddy's rifle, on the other hand, blew a primer at a load below max both for powder charge and velocity.  That was disappointing...


Oh, and temp was 47 degrees.  H4350 is one of Hodgdon's "extreme" powders that they say is less affected by temperature, but I understand that these loads will generate even more pressure if shot during the summer months and that I should therefore work back up if shooting in higher temperatures.  Right?

 


Edited by jason miller - February/12/2012 at 21:34
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2012 at 21:25
jason miller View Drop Down
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Oh, and my Savage .243 and 7mm RM both shot accurately with good velocity.  The .243 likes RL17 and Barnes 85 TSX's, shooting them into two nice clusters.  The 7mm with Retumbo and 160/175 Partitions seated at 3.400 also shot good groups with top velocities reaching higher than expected. 

Just need to work on my buddy's rifle some more.  It was the only rifle that showed pressure signs, with ejector hole marks and a couple pinholes around primers.  I was behind a tree down near the target marking bullet holes in between shots while that was happening, and didn't realize it until after he had fired several rounds.  Velocities with that load were showing pressure signs at below max charges, and over 100 fps under standard velocities.  We loaded up a new batch with a different powder.  I was wondering, though, those couple of pinholes in the primer/primer pocket boundary etched a small and shallow circle in his bolt face.  Is that something that will cause future problems?  Should we look at having his bolt face replaced/repaired?

I apologize if some of my questions seem silly.  I don't know anyone who loads ammo, just have read a bunch about it over the years.


Edited by jason miller - February/12/2012 at 21:48
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 08:06
8shots View Drop Down
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It is nice when your loads show good results.

Unfortunately you now cannot use the magazine. Have you looked at the throat of the barrel? Maybe it has been toasted a bit. So it may be time to recut the chamber if the rest of the barrel is good, or a new barrel alltogether.
 
Yep, your mates loads are too hot. I would not worry unduly about the bolt face. I blew circles into mine a long time ago. It still shoots well. As long as the hole for the firing pin is not enlarged you should be fine,
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 12:04
Alan Robertson View Drop Down
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Originally posted by jason miller jason miller wrote:

So I have a Savage .338 Win Mag that my grandfather gave me.  Groups with the rifle have always gone between about 4-6 inches at 100 yards.  I had it bedded, had the muzzle re-crowned, installed a Timney, tried different scopes...  Nothing worked. 

I finally got reloading equipment a couple months ago, and assembled some loads.  When doing this, I found out that the .338 had an extremely long throat.(so does an older Savage 7mm RM I have)  So when I assembled some loads with H4350 and 225 Accubonds, I seated them out to 3.475"  This is still off the lands a decent amount, but much longer and they wouldn't fit in the magazine.  Consulting the Nosler loading manual, I loaded up 9 cartridges from 69 to 72.5 grains.  I kinda messed up here, and accidentally loaded two at 72.5.  Oh well. 

Results were very satisfying.  The first 4 had lots of vertical dispersion but very little horizontal dispersion, and the 5 hottest loads settled in and made one vertical group just over an inch center to center.  My chrono has always been repeatable and given expected readings.  Factory 225 loads always go right around the advertised 2800 fps.  My loads started at 2801 and went up.  The 5 that made one nice group ranged from 2917 to 2996.  I would have been worried, but the bolt wasn't difficult to lift, and the brass/primers all look good.  Can it be that seating the bullet so far out is at play here?  Would any of you guys be worried?

The Nosler manual doesn't actually have H4350 listed with 225's, but it does have 71.5 grains of IMR 4350 as a max load for 2882 fps.  Other loads show needing a grain or so more H4350 than IMR, so that's why I picked 72.5 as my max load.  And even the two loads of 72.5 grains didn't show signs of excessive pressure.

My buddy's rifle, on the other hand, blew a primer at a load below max both for powder charge and velocity.  That was disappointing...


Oh, and temp was 47 degrees.  H4350 is one of Hodgdon's "extreme" powders that they say is less affected by temperature, but I understand that these loads will generate even more pressure if shot during the summer months and that I should therefore work back up if shooting in higher temperatures.  Right?

 
72.5 grains H4350 is too hot, as evidence- your buddy's rifle. Hodgdon lists IMR4350 as max load 72.0 and H4350 as 69.5gr, when using a Hornady 225 gr. flatbase. The Nosler bullet will have different pressure characteristics, but not that much.
Your rifle's long freebore likely lessened your pressure, but didn't help your buddy.

All powders show more pressure at higher temps, even H extreme powders.
Hodgdon.com will have a wealth of load data.

Since you are new to reloading, you might want to reconsider the practice of trying to interpolate one powder's data from another type.
Consider yourself added to the "Mr. Lucky" list, of which there are many members.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 17:05
jason miller View Drop Down
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8shots, I actually can still use the magazine.  I think my post was unclear, but that's why I loaded them to 3.475"- it was just about as close to the lands as I could get while still fitting in the magazine and having a full grip between cartridge neck and bullet shank.





Alan, my buddy's rifle doesn't have the long throat symptom that two of my rifles do.  Also, it blew a pinhole around a primer pocket at the first load he shot, which was 3.5 grains under Nosler's max load with that bullet weight, and only .5 grain over their start load.  I assume the difference must be that it is a TSX instead of a Nosler, but the weight is the same, Nosler's data is for more than one kind of their own bullets of that weight, and as you said- different brand bullets shouldn't have that much different pressure characteristics, right?  Had I been near him while he was shooting, I would have stopped him.  I'm not sure why he thought it was a good idea to keep shooting.  And yes, we did seat the TSX's within Barnes' recommended range from the lands.  I can't remember exactly when the jump was though, and don't want to go dig up the paper it's written on.

And you're right- extrapolating charge weights from one powder to another, even when very similar like IMR 4350 and H4350, is probably a bad idea.  I just thought it would be okay in this instance because other loads in the Nosler manual have them very close in charge, with H4350 often using an extra grain or so over IMR.  After looking further, though, that isn't the case all the time in their manual.  I found some instances where H4350 actually used a grain or so less than IMR.  

Upon your mentioning of the Hodgdon website, I looked up some internet data and consulted the Speer loading manual I also have.  I originally used the Nosler manual because I was using a Nosler bullet and I like their layout better.  But the current Speer manual has 71 grains of H4350 as a start load, and a compressed 75 grains as a max load- for 2898 fps.  They even show RL19 producing 2944 fps for their top load, which seems insane.  That makes me feel more at ease about my own loads.  I was slightly worried that I might not be able to load them where they were showing to be accurate because of the velocity.  The first shot of the 5 that made such a nice group for me was well under Speer's max listed charge weight and just barely over their max velocity for H4350 at 2917, and my bullets are seated further out with still a little room to go before the rifling.  Do you think I should be okay trying to dial in near that charge?? 

And as far as temperature, I meant to be asking if I need to rework the loads in the summer months.  I assume that I can use the chrono as an indicator and assume that if velocity is still close in the summer, that pressure should be similar as well?

Edit:  After digging some more, I found that my friend's rifle blowing out that first pinhole was at a charge still 2.5 grains under the powder manufacturer's max load with the same TSX bullet we were using.  Specifically, it blew at 44 grains Ramshot Big Game, vs 46.5 max from Ramshot at only 56,550 psi, and 47.5 as max and 43.5 start from Nosler.  The only thing I can think of is a huge difference in brass, even though my 7MM RM shot great with the same brand of brass...


Edited by jason miller - February/13/2012 at 17:13
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 17:41
Alan Robertson View Drop Down
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As you've probably noticed, the manuals are all over the place on load data for the same caliber and as they all say, are just a guide, as there is so much variance between individual rifles/ powder/primer/bullet lots, etc. The difference between your friend's rifle and yours stands as an example.
Chrono speeds should tell you if pressure is increasing, but a large increase in pressure doesn't always translate into a large change in speed. .. too many variables like psi rise/dwell times, etc., to rely on a chrono only (sounds kinda like gearheads and camshafts, eh?) You'd definitely want to test that chrono method with one of your milder loads.
I've seen pressure signs with mild loads just by leaving ammo in the sun a for few minutes before shooting it. Still, I've shot milspec ammo (which is high pressure) in miserable heat through a filthy bore with barrel too hot to touch out of necessity and without blowing cases, so I'm not sure how big a factor ambient temperature plays.
There are probably as many ways to mess up as there are to do it right, but reloading sharpens your concentration, to say the least. One thing's for sure, your friend was operating in the danger zone, glad you guys made it out of the situation ok.

Reloading is definitely a worthwhile treat to give ourselves. There's lots of expertise in these forums. I'm just some guy that enjoys the effort and am no kind of expert, so take what I might have to say with a grain. or a tenth grain.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 20:54
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"Didn't somebody say something about setting on thousands of pounds of explosive with everything supplied by the lowest bidder?"  I think it is engraved in -BEDFORD- limestone somewhere in West Laf...  I just went to the sorroity houses there...  Bucky
 
Like 8 Shot said you can turn the barrel and rechamber or just rebarrel...  Just adding powder is just adding to the problem.  That long throat maybe hurting your groups, but I think it has kept you and your gun in one piece.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 21:27
jason miller View Drop Down
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If there had been any pressure signs in the lighter loads, I would have stopped shooting. I'm really thinking I don't have a pressure problem as I am reading more. Also, I was thinking maybe the long throat is just something Savage did at some point. That 7mm has a throat just about as long, and looks to have been made in a similar era. And it may not necessarily be the worst thing. The 7mm shoots well with factory ammo and both loads I tested, and the .338 is also looking like it might shoot quite well with these bullets seated out further. I'm excited to load up some more and go shoot again so I can find out. Like I said, the 5 heaviest charged loads I shot made one nice vertical group about 1 1/8" tall with very little horizontal dispersion. I hope that is a repeatable result.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2012 at 22:50
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I suggest you own a reloading manual for each brand of bullet you choose to load and use each manufactrurers data with their bullet.  One would think that a particular weight of bullet would be the same load regardless of brand but that is not the case.  Some actions are stronger than other actions so all bullet manufacturers will stay on the safe side. Given your data I would select the lightest charge that showed a good group and not try to max it out.  Weigh every charge when you load rifles.
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