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Reloading Berger Bullets


Relearning reloading

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Unread 11-18-2008, 11:51 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 564
Relearning reloading

I was taught to reload by an old roomate of mine in college about 9 years ago. I guess he taught me the basic fundamentals, but I am also finding out that he taught me a lot of bad habits.

I've never been able to get extremely tight groups out of anything I've loaded for. I've got around 1" groups at 100 yards out of most of my stuff but have never been able to get the clover leaf type stuff. I've never had an issue being able to drop game with what I've loaded....so far. It is most disappointing with my recent attempt to get a 300 Win to shoot. It's a Savage 110 with a 26" McGowan barrel, 1:10 twist that was accurized by a local smith.

Below is what I have done with this gun listed chronologically. Hopefully someone can see something I am doing wrong or missing.

The first 15 rounds were 200 gr Speer Spitzer soft points. Barrel break-in was Fire-clean for the first 10, then a 5 shot group.
Brand new Winchester Brass run through an RCBS full length sizer
Primed with CCI Large Rifle Magnum primers
66 GR IMR 4350
Bullet seated to 0.030" off the lands.

The five shot group had three touching in one group then the other two touching about 1" away. I was able to Chrono these at 2820 to 2850 fps.

A friend of mine gave me a five 210 gr Berger VLD's. I loaded these into the once fired brass that I only necksized and trimmed to 2.620" per the Nosler book. 70.0 gr H-1000 with the CCI's again and 0.015" off the lands. Terrible group. 1.75" or so.

This was all done for break-in more than anything.

Then working with Nosler Accubonds, 200 gr
Winchester Large Rifle Magnum Primers in new brass, full length sized
5 rounds with 76.0 gr H-1000 and 5 with 77.5 gr H-1000 both 0.015" off the lands.
The 76.0 gr load was crap, 2" or better then cleaned the barrel. The 77.5 gr load was decent. Under 1". Not quite a ragged hole but close but not as nice as the Speer group.

All of the brass was Winchester brass and the necks were deburred prior to seating the bullets.

I guess my question is, where do I go from here? Stick with the Accubonds? Try Bergers or SMK's? I am thinking that I should have stuck with a good quality bullet from the get-go rather than a hodge podge like I did.

Sorry for the dumb questions and long post, but I not experienced in reloading for extreme accuracy.

Thanks very much for any help.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 12:55 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 441
Re: Relearning reloading

I would stay with the AB's and start working with more seating depths and load charges. I have some guns that shoots with the bullets touching the lands and some out .030 and some between. Some guns like hot loads and some of mine like mild loads. No better way than trial and error. Took me 200 rounds to find 1/2 MOA or better on one gun and 10 rounds on another, it was my lucky day.

Good luck!
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:38 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 430
Re: Relearning reloading

Please forgive the paucity of commentary, but it tends to draw fire.

Barrel Vibrations, Ladder Test to develop Loads
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Unread 11-22-2008, 02:53 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Millbrook ,NY.
Posts: 361
Re: Relearning reloading

Greetings, having read your post I have a couple ? s, first does the game you are hunting require a 200 gr. bullet and do you have any friends that you could buy small amounts of different powders and maybe some diff. primers from .
Also your results with the H 1000 and the accubonds seems to say your gun likes faster loads.
Lastly if you can use a 165 gr bullet give one of them a try .\ Heres a website that sells small amounts of certain bullets www.bulletsamples.com .
Good luck Paul
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Unread 11-22-2008, 08:03 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mountians of SW NC, near Asheville
Posts: 1,595
Re: Relearning reloading

Okay, I don't much care if I get shot at anyway. I have no "solution" but I do have some comments that may help your thinking about this question.

First, I think your groups are pretty good for a brand new rifle shooting hunting bullets in a big cartridge with no serious load development behind it. Accuracy does not rise from any mential image or goal but from sound expeimentation and it seems you have barely started.

Next, no one can tell you how many rounds it will take to break in your new barrel but it may well be more than you've fired so far. And keep it clean as you go or all you will do is burnish the copper cladding in your bore.

Pick your cases and select the best of the batch you have on hand. Pick a bullet that you think you want to hunt with, then choose a powder that gives the best velocity and start searching for a load that shoots well, or the closest you have to it. Load methodically, start low and move higher in maybe .4 gr. increments until you get good accuracy or reach max, as indicated by your manual or common over pressure signs. When you find a good node, work around it the same way but in smaller increments. If it will shoot at all, you should find where it does. If you don't find a good charge node, or "sweet spot" and get good accuracy, pick a new bullet or powder and start over.

Start at the .030" off the lands and, after you get your best groups, vary that seating depth in maybe .005" changes to find the best "sweet spot".

Then try different primers to see if a change will improve accuracy.

It's work and it takes time to find the best loads, they aren't just chosen from a book or someone else's experience.

Have fun!

Last edited by boomtube; 11-22-2008 at 08:19 PM.
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Unread 11-23-2008, 10:38 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 564
Re: Relearning reloading

I went out back and shot this morning. I settled on some Berger 210 VLD's. I had loaded 5 different charges of Retumbo for five shot groups to near max again the bullets were 0.015" off the lands.

All groups were about an inch. One was a little better than the other four. It was 1 grain below Berger's max and was running about 2880 fps. There are virtually no pressure signs on the brass.

I loaded more today using H-1000. Will get out this week and shoot some more groups. One thing I did was to de-burr the flash hole in the brass this time with one of those $15 Lyman tools.

I will post results. I appreciate the help so far!
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Unread 11-25-2008, 08:45 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Millbrook ,NY.
Posts: 361
Re: Relearning reloading

Sounds like you are on the right track and anyway you are getting more shooting time ..and thats good..
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