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Fine tuning my hand loads

 
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  #1  
Old 04-04-2014, 10:56 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Deering, North Dakota
Posts: 3
Fine tuning my hand loads

I'm new to your forum and have been hand loading for many years but I'm still learning. I've gotten hooked on Long Range and got my first custom a 7MM STW with a 24" Krieger Barrel, Montana 99 action, Bell and Carlson stock, had a 20 moa picatinny rail with over sized mount screws and varmint brake installed. I've got her broken in and found a load she seems to like which is Nosler 168gr. Accubond LR, behind 79.3 grains of Retumbo (no sticking in chamber, primer shows some pressure signs, took it up to 79.5 still no sticking and group started to open up). Shooting several 10 shot strings my average velocity runs about 3030 fps with an ES that runs in the 50 to 55 range and a SD 19 to 21 depending on the outside temp the day I shoot. She'll shoot inside an inch most days at 200 yards if I do my job right but these days I've got a built in shake which some days is worse than others. My question is will that kind of load take me out past 800 yards or is there something I can be doing with my loads. I prep my brass so they are trimmed to .001 of each other, turn the necks, bump the head space about .001, anneal my brass after 3 rounds, weight each powder charge the same according to my scale, seat my bullets to within .0015, sort my brass by weight and sort my bullets by weight as well. These are all new process to me so I hope I'm doing it right as I'm self taught. Any help would be help would be accepted gladly.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:06 PM
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: North Central Valley California
Posts: 650
Re: Fine tuning my hand loads

Billy, just a few opinions.

1. I think your load is too extreme. In your place I'd see if I couldn't find something more moderate.
Try running the OCW routine (OCW Overview - Dan Newberry's OCW Load Development System) to help you find the sweet spot.

2. Faster is not always better. Even if you're MV got down to 2800 FPS you should still be super-sonic beyond 1000 yards.

3. You don't say how much you turn the necks and what the neck tension figures out to but I'd suggest you consider a neck tension of <.002 with chamber neck clearance somewhere near the same.

4. Practice reading the wind. At longer ranges it's the wind that will have the greatest influence on your accuracy.

Good hunting ..........
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2014, 01:30 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Deering, North Dakota
Posts: 3
Re: Fine tuning my hand loads

Point taken on velocity. Like I said I'm new to doing the extra steps and don't have anyone I know that reloads or if they do try to improve on what they have for long range. I used to check the manual look for a load that filled the case from 90 to 95 %, try a couple if they didn't stick in the action and the primer wasn't too flattened and I could hit a 2 inch circle at 100 yards I was off and anything over 300 yards was too far to shoot at. Back to your comments, I turned the necks down to or some my say scratched them to true them up at about .010 thickness. My loaded rounds now measure .3085 to .3095 and my fired rounds measure .3165 to .3167. The Berger manual show a dia. of .3169 I don't have a gauge to measure my chamber but it's got to be in that range. My best seating depth is 3.590. I can't go over 3.600 and have them feed in the mag. I went as short as 3.510 working up .020 from shortest to longest watching my groups. I started out at trying H4831SC at about 65.0 grains working up to 72.5. went to IMR 7828 SSC from 69.0 up to 72.5, H1000 from 72.0 up to 76.5 and Retumbo at 74 up to 79.5 using both Berger 168gr. VLD Hunting and Nosler 168gr. Accubond LR. The Berger VLD shot it's best group about 1" at 200 yards and 2955 fps with 77.5 grains of Retumbo and the Nosler the hotter I loaded it the tighter things got until I reached 79.5 then they opened. I played around with Fed 215, CCI 250 and Win. WLRM primers and ended up with the WLRM, they slowed the velocity down about 20 fps but changed the string from vertical to horizontal. which I've read is what you want for long range. I went on line and looked up the Nosler 168 gr Auucbond as it's not in the latest manual on line they list Retumbo at 79.0 as max load and the most accurate powder and load tested. I have over 200 rounds through her now the snow is finally melting so I can get to my long range targets, I will have to watch velocity and pressure as the temps warm up as all of my shooting so far has been done at 10 to 30 degrees. I wouldn't be asking questions or looking for help if I didn't want some so thanks for your input, if I'm doing it wrong I need to know so I don't have a wreck.
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