Hello all. I know I'm a little late to the show here, but I wanted to chime in. I have a custom built left hand, Remington 700 chambered for 30-06 that I just recently finished building. I considered a lot of different calibers but because of all the bullet choices and modern powders, I can load it to do anything I want. I can also cleanly kill any animal that I'll ever hunt in North America out to 700yds. After the build was complete, I bought 8 boxes of factory ammo to see what would shoot the best. I tried, HSM, Federal, Remington, Winchester, and Hornady in different grain weights. Most of the bullets were between 165 and 178 grains. To my surprise the HSM Trophy Gold with the 168gr. Berger VLD's(usually finicky to seating depth) shot less then 1/2" MOA at 100yds and the Nosler ammo that I normally have good luck with shot horribly, 2 1/2"-3" MOA. Anyway, the HSM shot best followed by the Hornady Precision Hunter with 178gr. ELD-X bullets.
I got home, took apart a couple of cartridges, checked out the powder, took various cartridge and bullet measurements and tried to replicate the loads. For the HSM clones, the COAL was 3.330. I started my loading by using Winchester brass, BR-2 primers, H414, IMR4350 and Varget powders. I started with 168gr. hunting VLD bullets like HSM uses.
I'll cut to the chase, here is what I found... When it was all said and done, after trying different mixes of components, the load that was plenty fast and shot most accurately was the load that follows; Use as a reference only
, I started at 54gr. and worked my way up to 58grains!!! ---------- Hornady brass, BR-2 primers, 58 grains of IMR 4350 powder that might or might not be compressed depending on seating depth(with the 168gr. VLD and a coal of 3.330 it's not, but barely) and the Berger 168grain hunting VLD Bullets. I used the 168 grain and seated them exactly the same depth as they were on the HSM ammo. I also tried H414 powder with everything else the same and it shot well too. I also tried a different load with the Berger 185grain Hunting VLD's and seated the longer bullets exactly the same depth as the 168's and they shot okay to pretty well. I adjusted the seating depth not based on the COAL but on the ogive and bearing surface length, compared those measurements to the HSM ammo with the 168 grain bullets and replicated that. Bingo, they shot great too! I hope this info is still helpful to somebody out there in the shooting world!
If you have any questions, or need help deciphering my ramblings, feel free to drop me an e-mail. I'm always willing to talk shooting, hunting or reloading...Salmon, trout or Steelhead fishing too for that matter!!!