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New Reloader Questions Regarding Headspace and Pressure

 
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2006, 04:38 PM
LB LB is offline
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Re: New Reloader Questions Regarding Headspace and Pressure

I think you have good advice. Your primers look a little flat, but as others have said, not excessive, and there doews not appear to be any cratering around the primer detent.

Yes, your chamber does appear to be oversize, but that's not exactly rare, and not particularly harmful, if you necksize or full length. Depends on how you are satisfied with chambering?

It definitely does not look like case head separation, uncommon in a factory unaltered rifle. Case head separation is what we see in bad rebarrel jobs, for the most part.

I also pick #7, I don't really see much to worry about? I have a rifle that shows about like your photos. I think it's over thirty years old and I have been using it for twenty....I full length resize it, accuracy is adequate, but I don't use a hot load, which I judge by the primer.

Good hunting. LB
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2006, 09:49 PM
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Re: New Reloader Questions Regarding Headspace and Pressure

Thank you everyone for your advice, and kind and encouraging words. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I've been out of the country on business for a few days.

The rifle was purchased from a reputable gun smith as new and unfired. It had the factory barrel removed by the smith, who had planned to rebarrel it and turn it into a Palma Match Rifle. I requested that he re-install the factory barrel (since they are usually fairly accurate, plus I saved some much needed $$$'s by doing this). Tikka/Beretta claims that the chamber is a match chamber with tighter tolerences than a typical factory rifle (on a phone call with Beretta). Apparently the chamber is not really all that tight. Oh well. I plan to practice a lot and learn as much as possible about reloading and LR shooting on this barrel, then rebarrel to something like a 260AI.

I got the itch to reload the other day, so to prove to myself that I could trust the brass, I 'opened' a piece up. Here is what it looked like:





From there I used some of my unsorted BHA brass (until the Sinclair primer pocket uniformer arrives). I applied a good amount of force with the press to prime the brass with the primers flush to the case head. I used IMR4064 powder. The Sierra reloading manual showed 43.4 grains to be the 'max' load for the 168 gr. BTHP, while the IMR reloading book showed 45.9 grains to be the 'max' load for the same bullet, HMMMM??? (any advise on what to do with this?) I started low and worked up to as high as 44.0 grains of powder, so far, with no apparent signs of excessive pressure. The weather was windy, cold, and gusty with winds around 15 to 25 mph and shifting between 7:00 and 10:00. I tried to pull the trigger when the wind felt similar to the previous shots. All recorded shots were at 100 yards. Here are some of the results:










Here are some 'baseline' groups that I shot with factory ammo on the same day:





It seems to me like 42.7 grains shoots well, as does 43.2 grains.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2006, 10:42 PM
LB LB is offline
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Re: New Reloader Questions Regarding Headspace and Pressure

First, you don't have any signs of case head separation. You have a slightly oversize chamber. Unless you plan on entering tournaments, you can use that rifle and that brass without concern. And, (just a guess) your gunsmith probably knew what he was doing, intending to discard the original, and wasn't completely honest with you, although you asked him to swap barrels.

It's apparent that your handloads are considerably better than the factory ammunition you selected.

I don't know what to tell you, as far as resizing versus neck sizing. There may be an advantage one way, and a different advantage the other way; hard to say?

Good hunting. LB
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2006, 11:19 PM
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Re: New Reloader Questions Regarding Headspace and Pressure

Thank's again for your help and advice.

Yeah, so far I'm pretty happy with the hand loads. In case I did not mention it, I am neck sizing with the Redding Competition Neck Sizer die set. If I run into any problems chambering the rounds, I will 'bump' the shoulder back a minimum amount with the body die.

Even with the oversized chamber, for now, the rifle seems to shoot at least as well as I do, if not a little better.

My OAL gauge has not shown up yet, so I reloaded the OAL to match the factory ammo at 2.800". For when the OAL gauge does show up, can someone suggest some seating depths that I should try? For 168 gr SMK's, 165 gr SST's, 165 gr SGK's, and 180 gr SGK's? My magazine will allow an OAL of 3.000".

Also, the Base-to-tip length of my loaded rounds varied from 2.997" to 2.805". Is this variation normal? I think the Redding Competition seating die seats the bullets from the ogive (am I right on this?) If that is the case, then am I just seeing the difference from ogive to tip on the SMK's or do I have other problems?
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