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260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

 
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  #1  
Old 08-04-2006, 12:30 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 14
260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

Looking for some broader advice than my own limited experience!

First let me describe my setup. It's a Remington 700 with a tight neck in .260 with an aftermarket stock, Wyatt 3" magazine box (to seat bullets out to 2.875 cartridge OAL for a bit more case capacity), Lilja #4 coutour barrel in 3-groove (1-in-8" twist) configuration at 27" length. Cases are Winchester 308s necked down and the I then outside turn the necks. This gun is strictly a hunting gun but like most here when it comes to accuracy I'm a big believer in more is better - and since it's a hunting gun for up to larger black bear (some get up to 7 feet where I go) I'm also looking for as hot (and SAFE) a load as possible - as long as it's accurate.

Here's the deal: I've been using 125 gr. Nosler Partitions (didnt' go with the 140s as they'd need to be seated too far into the case given the current throat length) and the terminal performance has been outstanding; 2 whitetails, a cougar that came up behind me last year at 20 paces, a bobcat and also a 5' black bear (through both shoulders and a clean exit wound no less), all 1 shot kills. Very happy with the bullet construction/terminal performance. But the accuracy running 44 to 47 grains of RL-19 (which I'd heard is typically excellent in this cartridge) has been very, very unpredicable and groups up to around 2.25 inches. Yuck. Tried another lot of Nosler bullets, no better. Knowing I had a bit more case capacity (appx .75 grains) due to seating the bullet out farther, I went up to 48.0 grains of RL-19, 1 gr. over what the Nosler manual lists as a max load. That was marginal but I ran out of time before season. I'd still get up to 1.75" 5-shot groups, but then oddly when the barrel heated up groups often shrink to around an inch, again with 5-shot groups. Finally today I got a bit desperate (going bear hunting Saturday) and decided to just try some loads at 49.0 grains and watch carefully for signs of pressure. What I saw really suprised me. I shot 3 4-shot groups, with only 1 case showing any pressure signs at all. But I'm getting 5/8" to .75 consistently now - that on a somewhat hot afternoon with a little mirage going on. 1 case out of 12 showed an ejector port marking on the case head. None showed expansion above the web and the primers though slightly flatter than my test groups at 48.0 grains today, were not significantly flattened or cratered. The 1 case did not weigh significantly more than the others when I checked it though.

On to my questions.. First, has anyone else seen RL-19 tending to sweeten up in a 260 only when loaded hot?

Second, any recommendations on if I need to back this load off? Again, even the round with the ejector mark didn't show any case head expansion and all primers were still tight.

Third, I do know when I ordered the barrel that Dan Lilja had calculated the 140s would be optimal with the 8"-twist rate, but told me that if I ran the 125s as fast as possible they should perform acceptably. Am I likely just proving him right - that the 125s really don't perform as well accuracy-wise at typical .260 velocities as say the longer 140s with this fast of twist rate (1-in8")?

Any other fast loads for the 125 that folks have gotten good accuracy out of with the 260? I did try some combos of VV560 but at loads up to what the manual had listed as max, the accuracy wasn't anything to write home about in this rifle. I do have some IMR 4350, IMR 4064, RL-15, IMR4895, a bit of W760 and some Varget on hand in addition to the RL19 and VV560. Any recommendations if there are other combos I should try? I'd read in 1 post that IMR 4320 had gotten good results for 1 shooter and 4831 for 1 other. But doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus. Really would like to try and keep this 125 NP around 3000ft/sec (out of a 27" barrel) if possible as I've already memorized the trajectory for hunting distances for my shooting anyway (say 400 yards max)

Lastly, I also booked a trip and plan to take this gun to New Zealand next March for Red Stag, any pressure concerns with hunting down there that might make this an unsafe load?

Any feedback would be very, very appreciated. I've spent too much time already at the range an not enough in the field with a rifle I'm fully confident in. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] And I just picked up a second 260 for my daughters first gun (need to find a min. load for that one still), so anyway I'd like to *look* at least like I know what I'm doing! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Though it seems like this rifle has suddenly found a recipe it (finally) likes, I don't want to be firing an unsafe load. Sorry for the long-windedness and thanks for any replies!

Beartrack
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2006, 07:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 264
Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

Beartrack

As long as the loads aren't showing any signs of pressure you should be okay. Every gun is differant.

If it was me i would consider 49gr max and i would do a few more tests. Load 3 rounds for each charge at 48.3,48.6,48.9

I have a 260 also. The powders i have usedhave been H4831sc, Ramshot Hunter, H-4350, VVN-160, and RL-22.
Mine is also throated longer. My COAL for 140class bullets is just under 3" and for a 120gr bullet it is just over 3".
Some of my loads have been 3-4gr over due to extra boiler room.

If you don't find any acceptable loads with RL-19 try H-4350 out.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2006, 01:48 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

Thanks Matt!

Do you run Winchester cases or Lapua or Norma? I've wondered if any inconsistencies in the cases might be a weak link for me and if going to Lapua or Norma cases might improve things.

Oddly in the afternoon today ran 4 more groups of 5. I again got some big groups - 1.5", then the final settled down to 1/2" x 3/4"... None showed any further pressure signs. But I am really starting to wonder what's going on. On the other 3 groups, the ones that were much larger than the final group, the first shot on a cold barrel right after cleanings - then running 3 dry patches through, the first shot went EXACTLY where I expected. 3.7" high and virtually dead on windage wise... then the next 4 shots went down about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches and random directions within the larger groups. Any guesses if I'm just looking at the most likely cause being my own technique, or have others seen a pattern like that - first shot dead on, then the next several dropping 1.5"?

Anything hardware wise I might need to look at? This is a new scope, but with the last grouping being so much better, I'm starting to think it's just the shooter (me.) I'm really beginning to think though that there is something funky with either the hardware or shooter as the final group would seem to indicate the load has real potential. But todays practice session seems to have raised more questions than it answered... Any feedback or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again,
Beartrack
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  #4  
Old 08-05-2006, 06:24 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 264
Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

I am running straight Rem 260 brass. I use to neck down 308 lapua but had to neck turn. Got Real tired of that fast. I haven't noticed any differance between brands and groups.

What kind of stock do you have? Is it bedded?

How fast are you shooting? Are you letting it cool between shots or just firing away?

i don't think the powder ,bullet combo likes each other.
Try a faster powder than RL-19. H-4350 would be a good start or Ramshot hunter.
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  #5  
Old 08-05-2006, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 13
Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

I too had issues with re19 and 123 lapuas with accuracy. i noticed the extreme spread was crazy, so quickly dumped any further development and went back to my favorite===39.0-40.0 grains of Varget and 120-125 gr. bullets will give you bughole groups guaranteed! (if it doesn't sell your barrel)

previous load will be around 2850-2930fps. H4350 will get you the 2950-3000 easy. I got some 123's going 3150fps from 24" barrel with max load of H4350. Thats a laser load, proceed with caution!
I use remington brass, CCIBR2 primers 1-8.5 twist 3 groove pac-nor. Savage action.

Also you may consider the 140 AMAX, it is deadly on any game and can surely take a red stag. I've killed several mule deer with them and an completly happy with results to 400yds. 45.5 gr RE22 gives me 2775fps, best accuracy and decent ballistics. You can jump it up another 125-150fps pretty easily with H4350 or RE19 or more Re-22.
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2006, 06:51 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

I have a reworked 700 with a 26in. 1in9" varmint contour Benchmark barrel I have only shot 120grn. bullets in it. I have got a long throat also, but I still load to fit inside the mag. box OAL 2.820, this gives me aboat .200 of run. I found out real quick it likes it hot as compaired to book loads. It is a real hummer with IMR4064,4350,4831, my best group was with 38grns. 4064 but it did flattened the primers with this powder more so than a compressed load of 4350. But,I think the 4350 is a little better for the barrel (slower burning) I still haven't flattened a primer with 4350 and thats with a compressed load of 47grns. proceed with caution ecspecially if you are seating out further. It seems as the faster it goes the better it shoots. Been shooting the nosler bal. tip, and seirra flat based 120's necked up 243 rem. cases and 200 cci's & and 9.5 remington primers (tried the magnum primers, with no swayed effects). I felt like I was pushing the limit also but after shooting in this 95-100 degree florida weather I think it is still on the safe side. All powders are IMR.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2006, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 14
Re: 260 Rem handloads, need recs if this load is too hot...

[ QUOTE ]
I am running straight Rem 260 brass. I use to neck down 308 lapua but had to neck turn. Got Real tired of that fast. I haven't noticed any differance between brands and groups.

What kind of stock do you have? Is it bedded?

How fast are you shooting? Are you letting it cool between shots or just firing away?

i don't think the powder ,bullet combo likes each other.
Try a faster powder than RL-19. H-4350 would be a good start or Ramshot hunter.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hi, good questions! It's a Borden stock, have not been thrilled with it but yes it's bedded (correctly now after the first gunsmith really messed things up.) I'm shooting 5 in around 5-7 minutes, then going through a full cleaning cycle at which point the barrel is barely warm (pretty finicky on my cleaning regimen.) Hope that helps. Thanks for the info everyone, this is extremely ! helpful to me. Appreciate it a great deal.

Thanks!
Beartrack
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