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Reloading Berger Bullets


Finding the Lands

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Unread 07-06-2011, 01:52 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2
Finding the Lands

Just signed up for LRH and am looking for anyone who may have a browning x-bolt in 7mm rem mag and has an OAL for any of their reloads? I just got into reloading and after some research and talking with some people decided to try reloading my 7 with Berger 168 vld's with 66g of retumbo and using a large magnum primer. I just loaded 20 rounds and am excited to see how they do when I get my gun back from the smith. My real question is, from what I have read about Berger bullets is that people seem to have the best accuracy when jamming their rounds. Although I have just read recently on Berger and from other folks that it's not necessary to go beyond that lands or even touch it. Something like .01 off the lands is working for people and in a article I read from Berger they advise using a technique for hunters that starts at .01 off the lands and then moving back in specific increments. All of this seems like a lot to tackle for a beginning reloader so I was wondering if anyone has tried this out in their x-bolt 7 's and has any info. If not I guess I can go about finding the lands and working with my rounds. One thing I don't like is the idea of seating the bullet so it does not fit in the magazine. One shot one kill is what everyone is aiming for, but it's always nice to have a couple back up rounds ready that don't have to be loaded one by one. Long post I know, but l want to know how to do it right. Thanks everyone!
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Unread 07-06-2011, 02:49 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Louisiana
Posts: 257
Re: Finding the Lands

I doubt you'll get anywhere close with 168VLDs unless you want to shoot them one at a time. The mag length is a killer in quite a few stock rifles.

To me the easiest way for a beginning reloader to find his lands is with a hardwood dowel. Remove your bolt, point the muzzle down, drop a bullet in the chamber from that particular lot, slide a cleaning rod in until you contact the base of the bullet, slide the dowel in the bore from the muzzle until it contacts the tip of the bullet, work the bullet back and forth lightly between the cleaning rod and the dowel by pressing both ways gently and holding slight pressure against the bullet with each(you'll feel it bumping the lands), then while holding very gentle pressure against the base with the rod, slide a razor across the muzzle and make a light notch in the dowel. Now remove the bullet and cleaning rod, insert your bolt, close the bolt, slide the dowel on into the muzzle until you contact the bolt face, and make another mark with the razor on the dowel. Now measure between the two razor marks and that's your land measure for that particular bullet. Use that exact bullet to make a dummy round the length you desire by shortening the length you want off the lands. Use this die setting to seat the rest of your test loads at that length. Do it all over again on the next lot of bullets.

It sounds worse than it is, it's actually quite easy for a new reloader.

Hope that helps,

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Unread 07-06-2011, 07:10 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 1,147
Re: Finding the Lands

There is an even simpler (in my opinion) method to finding the length to the lands by using a shell you've fired in your gun, the bullet you want to load, and a magic marker. The process is described in the Nosler reloading manual and helped me create some very accurate loads when I first started reloading before I had any other tools.

I have an Xbolt in 300 WSM and found the Bergers shot awesome in my gun with anywhere from 0.000-0.025" jump but if I get to 0.030" my groups go from less than 3/4 moa to over 1.5 moa.

Also my bullets were a little to long to fit in my magazine but I used a dremel and a file to remove some material from the front of the magazine and now they fit just fine. If your XBolt is like all the ones I've shot it'll surprise the hell out of you how accurate it is for a light factory rifle.
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Unread 07-06-2011, 07:27 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 994
Re: Finding the Lands

The easiest and simplest way to determine where the lands are for any particular bullet is to grab a once fired case that has been neck sized only, and cut 2 slots in the neck opposite each other with a dremel or hacksaw. (You will need to neck size this doctored brass each time before you use it.)
Seat a bullet out long and carefully hand feed it into the chamber and close the bolt on it.
I found my best and most accurate reading by opening and closing the bolt several times without removing the bolt, then carefully extract the cartridge, being careful not to hang up the bullet on the way out, (if you have a plunger type ejector, you will need to keep finger pressure on the side of the cartridge while it clears the ejection port so that it doesn't drag on the side of the action.) whatever the overall length is is the OAL to the lands for THAT bullet, this will change with each bullet style and weight.

I actually measure to the ogive on my rounds, but this will still work to some degree of accuracy with non lead tipped bullets.

Last edited by MagnumManiac; 07-06-2011 at 07:30 PM. Reason: add comment
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Unread 07-06-2011, 07:39 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Finding the Lands

Thanks guys for the help. I will give them both a try and see what I can come up with.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 08:00 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 274
Re: Finding the Lands

Long bullets on factory throats don't often go well together but the best and most repeatable way for me has to use the Sinclair seating depth tool. Simple instructions and I can get repeated results within .002 of the lands every time. Always take an avg of a few measurements with any method or throw out outliers as with any of the methods discussed sometime something goes a bit wrong.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 01:38 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 2,608
Re: Finding the Lands

No disrespect intended, but you need to find a shooting buddy that reloads and get some hands on assistance.

I don't see how you can safely load your first 20 rounds with 66g of Retumbo and you didn't even measure the COAL relative to the rifle that's at the smith's.

Be safe!!

-- richard
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