So, I picked up a .300 WinMag from a known and trusted seller, along with quite a few handloaded cartridges. Excellent accuracy, good components... so I asked him for the recipe to make up some more. The recipe he provides is well beyond Max Load, about 2 gr higher. No signs of pressure, no warning from him, all very normal-sounding.
Which brings me to my question, for reloaders... do you exceed Max Load for a pet load, on a regular basis?
When you're working up loads, do you keep going through the Max Load until you see signs of pressure? And if you find a load beyond Max Load that performs really well, do you keep loading rounds at that level for your normal use in the field?
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I do, however although I keep an eye open for pressure signs, I watch my chronograph with BOTH eyes. I will exceed the load, but I rarely exceed the velocities of the listed maximum load by much. Of course the newer manuals are WAY lighter than the older ones I've had for years, I regularly exceed the velocity of the current load data with my rifles.
If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.
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Last edited by AJ Peacock; 08-17-2009 at 06:52 PM.
Is it possible you got your data from different sources? Hodgdon says I can use 46gr of Varget to push a Nosler 150gr BT from my .308, while Nosler says to throw a magnum primer and 48.5gr behind it and gain 100fps. It looks to me like the difference is COAL, but Hodgdon also shows only 49k psi. Cautious company? Brass choice? Throat in the test barrel? Who knows - but at 48gr they group well with no pressure signs and velocities below those listed.
I also load beyond .223 loads for my NATO chambered AR-15, but that's kind of an exception.
I do, but like others I work up and know what to look for.
One of the problems is that the data itself is conflicting. For example for 180 gr bullets in the 300 win mag
Swift - 180 gr bullets max load RL22 76.5 gr
Barnes - 180 gr bullets max load RL22 75.5 gr
Alliant - 180 gr bullets max load RL22 76 gr
Speer - 180 gr bullets max load RL22 77 gr
Sierra - 180 gr bullet max load RL22 77.3 gr
Nosler - 180 gr bullet max load RL22 75.5 gr
Hornady - 180 gr bullets max load RL22 76 gr
so the load data for max goes from 75.5 gr to 77.3 gr. There are probably worse examples and this is in no way unique.
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I'll have to raise my hand. Most printed load data is published purposefully on the conservative side. After all, what does a large company have to gain by publishing powder charge data that includes even the slightest risk of personal injury. Sounds like a liability lawsuit in the making.
I've consistently found I am able to exceed published maximum load data and still keep my fingers intact. Published maximum load data can usually be exceeded without any worse-for-wear to casings, firearm, or shooter.
Like others have expressed, it's not wise to jump in with an initial powder charge that exceeds maximum published. But by methodically increasing powder charge and watching for pressure signs, one will find that maximum charge published loads from any of the powder manufacturing companies, or bullet manufacturing companies, can usually be exceeded.
Now don't take a maximum load that's been posted by one of the Forum members here and convince yourself that that load will be a safe starting load in your rifle. They may have already worked up a maximum load for their own rifle that will blow a primer in yours.
i usually work out my own max loads for each bullet powder brass primer combo by shooting a ladder style in incremental loads and watching for pressure signs to give my self a top end. have found that the max loads for most load manuals is conservative...