A little story, then the questions ;)
I am a left handed shooter, several years ago I decided I wanted a new rifle in 6.5x55 Swede. I could not afford a Tikka (the only manufacturer who made a LH Swede), and I had always been pleased with Savages in the past, so I set out to build a Savage. I ordered a SS 22" McGowen #5 barrel with 8" twist and then began searching for a long action Savage I could part out. What I found was a NIB Pre-accutrigger 112 FVLSS in 25-06 (1:10 twist), I snapped it up for $390. Since the barrel was not due to arrive until after hunting season, I decided I would try out the new quarter-bore before parting it out... I tested every off the shelf ammunition I could find, and discovered that my new rifle was quite a shooter, and decided not to part it out
. I was able to get consistent .5 to .75 MOA groups out of the Winchester 110 Accubond and Hornady 117 loads (both SST and Interlock). I eventually decided to use the Accubond due to more consistent MV (I had a SD of 11 with 12 rounds tested), as well as higher BC and lower cost. I bought 10 boxes of the lot number I was testing.
Fast forward 4 years, 15 whitetails and multiple target sessions - I am down to less than 2 boxes, and Winchester has discontinued the Accubond loading.
I knew when I decided to build a 6.5 Swede that I would have to start loading to realize the full potential of this cartridge. Winchester discontinuing the Accubond loading, combined with RCBS's $50 rebate has pushed me to order a RCBS Rock Chucker Deluxe Kit (which I have not yet recieved).
In the mean time, in continuing my quest for a donor action for my 6.5 barrel, I found another pre-accutrigger 112 FVLSS, this one chambered in 7mm Rem and also with a 26" barrel. Since I am planing a CO Elk hunt fall 2013 with a friend of mine, and this rifle is a twin to my 25-06 I decided I had to have it ($420), and I will not be parting it out unless I cannot get it to shoot OR I can find/afford a more suitable Elk rifle... The 6.5 quest continues, and now Savage is chambering 6.5x284... go figure
Now for the questions:
I would like to complete my reloading setup focusing on the 7mm and 25-06 for now, eventually I will be adding (in order?) 5.56mm, 6.5x55, .308, .243, 30-06, .270, .45 ACP, .44 Mag, and .9mm Luger.
I am a automotive technician by trade, so I have several sets of calipers and micrometers. I know for the rifles I will need a case trimmer, obviously I will need dies and shell holders - But what else will I need to purchase? What should I look for in dies?
Bullets - I have been satisfied with the performance of the Accubond in the 25-06. Fifteen shots have netted me fifteen dead deer from ranges of 10 to 417 yards. Every deer hit with this round has dropped in its tracks (even high lung shots), and always minimal meat damage (even when punching through a shoulder). If there was one thing I do not care for it would be the lack of external blood - If I was to ever need to track an animal hit with this round I would never find it because there is very little to no blood outside the chest cavity. Off the top of my head, other factory loads I have tested in this rifle are: 115 NBT, 100 TSX, 117 SGK, 115 Partition, 100 Core-lokt, 117 SST, and 117 Interlock. The only ones that I was satisfied with were the Hornadys and Accubond... I am concidering loading the Accubond, as well as Berger VLD and the Speer Deep Curl has caught my attention as well... I have not specified - But this has been my go to for Midwestern whitetails since I got it.
I have not even shot the 7mm yet, so I am not sure where to start with it. But I suspect the 9.25 twist will stabilize whatever I decide to shoot. I would like to work up a single load for white-tails (if meat damage can be minimized) as well my pending Elk hunt... I am leaning toward the 168 VLD and 162 A-Max, but I am not sure how well these will perform on whitetails. If I cannot get a single bullet for both, then suggestions for each would be appriciated...
Powder - If possible, I would like to try to find 1 powder that I can use for both rifles. I was thinking I would pick up a pound each of H4350, H4831SC, Retumbo and H1000 and seeing what I can come up with... I don't have my notes in front of me but the Accubonds are flying around 3100fps out of my 25-06, and based off of the load charts I have seen, any of these powders should get me there... Max velocity is not the goal, but I know the accubond is shooting well at 3100fps, so I figure that somewhere near there I will find my best accuracy...
Primers - Clueless here... No idea where to start, but obviously I want something consistant and dependable.... Again, I would like to minimize compontents and use something that will work well for both rifles...
Brass - I have a bunch of Winchester brass for the 25-06 (Any tricks to loading the nickle plated cases?), but nothing yet for the 7mm... Again, I am open to suggestions...
Any advise will be very much appreciated.