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Reloading Berger Bullets


338-404 Jef

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Unread 09-20-2007, 03:24 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,895
RWS Brass Best

I agree with BountyHunter that RWS brass is very good brass. But I didn't know RWS was still making 404 Jeffery cases. BountyHunter... can you confirm that RWS is again making 404 Jeffery cases? That would be great news for me! I have had a 338 Imperial for the past 8 years or so and it came with 40 RWS 404 Jeffery cases that had been necked down and fireformed to the chamber. Best brass I've ever used. Very tough in the case head and very uniform. The 338 Imperial is basically the same as the 338 Edge, except slightly shorter (~.010") from the case head to the shoulder. The overall case lengths are identical. I liked the RWS brass so much I located another new (unused) 40 RWS cases and purchased them at a pretty high cost. I have expanded and loosened some primer pockets with my 338 Imperial, but I was shooting loads that were way too hot. Like Lapua brass, the RWS case heads are very very tough. Since the 338 Imperial is now more or less defunct as a cartridge, I've decided to have Kirby accurize my 338 Imperial action, set the barrel back and rethread and rechamber to the 338 Edge. The RWS 404 Jeffery brass will make the best brass a 338 Edge owner could ever hope for. Like with Lapua brass, you'll be able to get an extra 75-100 fps out of your reloads compared to the Remington brass and still get good case life. I have some Lapua brass in 300 Win Mag but haven't yet used my Lapua brass enough to compare them directly to the RWS brass. But the concensus I've gathered from most internet forums is that yes, RWS brass is better than Lapua, and that Lapua runs a close 2nd. So in my opinion, BountyHunter is 100% correct with regard to the quality of the RWS brass. My opinion is based on my experiences with RWS brass, what I've read, and what my local gunsmith of 25 years (my brother) hears from his customers.

Be forwarned, that if you purchase RWS 404 Jeffery brass to neck size down to .300 or .338, anneal the case shoulder area before you fireform the cases to your chamber. I had two out of four cases split where the shoulder formed during fireforming with cornmeal to the 338 Imperial chamber. Then I annealed the remaining 36 case necks prior to fireforming and no more problems. I think I paid $2.50 a piece for the RWS 404 Jeffery brass and I was pretty ticked after ruining two out of the first four cases during cornmeal fireforming. FWIW,

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Unread 09-20-2007, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fort Shaw, Montana
Posts: 6,848

I would agree with most of what your saying but I would also like to add that close range accuracy as mentioned means very little, this is very dependant on the bullet your shooting, the twist in your barrel and the velocity range you are at with your load.

Let me explain. With all of my Allen Magnums using VERY heavy for caliber bullets driven to velocity ranges normally used at moderate weight bullets I have ran into some special situations.

With many specific rifles I would say they are 1/2 to 3/4 moa rifles at 100 yards. For example, one rifle I just tested before shipping to a customer which was chambered in my 7mm Allen Magnum. THis rifle, with its 34" barrel is capable of driving a 200 gr ULD RBBT to well over 3400 fps. With this velocity potential and with the length of this bullet and the jacket used, specially designed rifling is needed to get the most out of this combination.

I set up at 100 yards with the top load which I felt was a good comfortable pressure load in this rifle, averaged 3448 fps.

Five, 3 shot groups at 100 yards averaged 0.668" ctc. Not meeting my 1/2 moa group requirement. With my experience with this bullet and my wildcat I was not over concerned.

Stepped back to 500 yards. 3, 3 shot groups averaged 1.885" ctc which is WELL under 1/2 moa at that range.

Next I stepped her back to 1220 yards. SHot two three shot groups. First group was a hair over 7" ctc and the second was just a bit over 6". Now shooting conditions were ideal which is what I waited for for long range accuracy testing.

My point is, just because a rifle/load combo is shooting 1/2 moa or even more at close range, that does not mean it is not completely up to the challange of accurately placing that bullet at long to extreme range.

In my personal opinion, the 100 yard target range is there for bore sighting and thats about it, unless your working with a 100 or 200 yard BR rifle.

It takes upwards of 300 yards for some of these bullets to go to sleep with the velocity, RPM and bullet lengths being used today. As such, you can not even get useful BC numbers until around 300 yards and out.

I have had several customers call me saying their rifles were not shooting 1/2 moa at 100 yards. When I asked how they were shooting and what loads they were using I generally tell them to step back to 300 or better yet 500 yards. SO far, I have yet to have one not meet my 1/2 moa accuracy requirement at those ranges.

Its just my opinion that just because a rifle is not a .1 or .2 rifle at 100 yards, that means very little as far as what the rifle will do at long range. Now will a 1 moa rifle be a 1/2 moa rifle at long range, generally not but I have seen enough 3/4 and 1/2 moa rifles print 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 and even 1/5 moa groups at 500 yards enough times to know that with certain bullets one should never give up on a load when seeing 1/2 to 3/4 moa groups at 100 yards. Test at long range before giving up on the load, often times, if your using a VLD or ULD type bullet, it will shoot to smaller moa levels at long range then close range, given the rifle is sound.

Just my opinion, again, I agree with most of what you are saying, just wanted to add a bit extra.

Kirby Allen(50)
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 09-20-2007, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,598
range it,check the wind, dial in correction, aim and only one shot
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Unread 09-21-2007, 12:29 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 7
Mess Up

Well here is the dilemma. I bed this rifle and it is a good job structurally yet the stock suffered some. A dab will do ya. And some other damages were incurred that make it a paper weight on the market. That said I love the bolt and the feel of the rifle, I fit it to my self and I just do not like the 300 Win Mag. The belts are a pain; I am OCD in my reloading so every thing has to be X so I am always worried about head space and case head separation. Being that this lovely little rifle is lovely to only me and I hate reloading the belt I figure I have two choices, cut the action or the bolt face. To make room for the 338 Edge the magazine has to be opened up and the action cut to except it. I could also cut the bolt face .590 and shorten a 416 case to fit the magazine and neck it to the preferred .338 or even a pumpkin chucker .375.

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