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Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

 
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  #71  
Old 06-11-2012, 08:32 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 151
Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

Well I am on the Lapua brass wagon now. Just received the 50 rounds I ordered. I still have Hornady brass, but figured I would give these a try.

The more I read, the more I have questions. Not a good sign. . I understand the basic steps in brass preparation, but I wanted to run my questions by you guys before I lay my hands on the lapua brass.

I usually FL resize new brass before loading it to keep everything consistent.

When shooting the Hornady brass, I ALWAYS trimmed after every firing since it was over 2.714". Should I expect the same with Lapua?

Are there any disadvantages of neck sizing after the first firing in my rifle? I tried neck sizing with my RCBS neck sizing die and it only led to extraction issues with Hornady brass.

The overall consensus around here seems to be you prep the brass as usual, i.e. (FL re-size, trim, debur) until the 3rd or 4th load. Then some of you neck turn or anneal? Sound correct? Ok...

I have read some conflicting results on case neck turning and accuracy improvement, but I wont go there right now. Heck, I am just trying to get my fired brass out of the chamber at this point. I have also read about neck REAMING. From what I understand, case neck turning deals with the outside diameter of the case mouth, and reaming focuses on the inner walls of the case mouth. So essentially, each deals with the case mouth diameter. Turning is the outside and reaming is the inside. Correct so far?

So, the only time we would neck turn or ream the walls of the case mouth would be when the case mouth's wall thickness gets out of spec? My Lyman manual lists .372" for the neck wall. I assume that is the outside diameter since .338 is suppose to fit inside. The manual also says that we shouldnt neck turn fired cases in order to prolong the life of the brass. ha-ha. Anyway.

The reason I ask is because when I was having brass issues with Hornady, the outside diameter was in spec, however the inside thickness was too tight. Like Green said, I couldnt drop a bullet into the case mouth of a fired case. No good people.

So therefore, I wouldve had to purchase a case reamer??? I just want to be sure I know what to look for when reloading this Lapua brass. I will continue to purchase Lapua brass if this doesnt become such an issue like it did with Hornady, but I am just now understanding what I THINK caused the problem to begin with.

Last question:
I received my Hornady Lock-n-Load OAL gauge for the 338 Lapua. I followed the instructions and performed the test on my Savage 111 LRH with a 300gr Sierra MK. The length of the bullet was 1.717". SMK tend to vary quite a bit on their OAL. I dont have a o-give measurement tool, so I had to SWAG (Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess). The lock-n-load measurements I recorded using my caliper were: 3.731, 3.728, 3.730, 3.729. Its really touchy on how much pressure your finger puts on the bullet when seating it. So if I were to choose 3.730" as the meaurement, I would subtract .020 for determining the OAL of my load in that rifle?
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  #72  
Old 06-12-2012, 05:27 PM
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Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

Concerning the OAL after measuring with the Hornady locknload... If I settled on 3.730 as the max OAL and subtracted .020" from that, it would equal 3.71 OAL. Anyone out there load this OAL with this rifle? Should I come off the lands more?
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  #73  
Old 06-12-2012, 05:35 PM
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Location: Malta NY
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Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

There is a chance that others have same measurement but it is not necessairly a given.

However this is a good measurement to start with.

Load some rounds using whatever methodology you decide upon to determine accurate, OCW or Ladder or some combination of them or some personal method.

Once determined, you can fine tune your load for potentially more accuracy by loading the same load at varying groups of seating depths. The VLD's seem especially sensitive to seating depth.

The short of it is that there are really no short cuts. Treat your rifle and loads as individual in nature.

And another thing, as the rifle is used, or fired it eats away at the throat. That is the connection points degrade away. Your rifle will start to tell you when you need to go through the seating depth tweak again.
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  #74  
Old 06-13-2012, 12:48 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
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Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

JLAMB....
Thank you. I find the Forster dies to be far superior. I cranked off 38 rds. of various loads yesterday. I used the new crono, ran some 250 Scenars and some 285 Hornadys. I compared diff. powder loads. I was also adjusting the scope back in after replacing some cheap rings that broke with some hefty Burris pieces. I cannot zero the scope any closer than 500 yds. largely because of the 1/8" clicks, and I am probably ok with that, as I see this rifle's job as enabling me to hit very distant targets with authority. I will mention that I was also shooting several other rifles, ranging from my Ruger .204 Varminter, my Savage Varminter in .223, and my sweet Remingon AR15.
I took notes, but it was an awful full plate and I need to focus on a more specific goal. Along that line, I have decided (thanks largely to the advice gained from this terrific forum) that I should settle on one bullet. Popped for 500 300 gr. SMKs yesterday. The powder I have bought (IMR 4831) may not be the absolute best, but I believe it will do, and I plan on sticking with it. I am not loading to the max, and will probably start at about 72 gr. with the SMKs and ladder my way up some, but see no advantage in wearing out my Lapua brass any faster than needed (the posted max load for this combo is
76 grains).
Now, here's a question that will make some cringe: Having some facilities, rather than using a hand tool to clean each primer pocket, I place a handful of brass, pockets up, and bead blast them with extremely low air pressure. I am very careful to air-blow, and then wipe down each case to prevent any scratches. This is a real time saver, especially on the smaller calibers where I am shooting alot of rounds. Is this a bad thing?
On the issue of turning the neck. I measure the Lapua necks to be very consistant....so far. Does that change with more cycles?
Thanks again to all....I'm lovin this caliber.
Anyone else located west of Denver that would want to hit the range together?
Mike
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  #75  
Old 06-14-2012, 01:33 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 151
Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

Well I am about to test out these Lapua cases with the 300gr SMK and Retumbo. I was planning on using the OCW load tests, but the Hodgdon website lists 94gr as the max. Using that max puts my first test load around 89.76g and the second at 90.65g (assuming my math is right). From everyone on here, it sounds like that may too hot.

So I am thinking about doing a very small ladder around 89 gr of Retumbo that everyone says works so great with the 300gr SMK. Planning on 89, 89.3, and 89.5. Figured I would start with these at 3.685 OAL. Once I get the best group, I would work up the OAL in increments until I sat around 3.71, which should be .020 off my lands.

Any suggestions on this? I am all ears.
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  #76  
Old 06-17-2012, 03:43 PM
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Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

Well, I switched to Retumbo and I think I have exhausted every load possible with the Hornady 285 bthp bullet.

This morning was overcast, 69 degrees and 0 wind. 89 retumbo shot 1 5/8" at 300 yrds. 90 retumbo shot 1.5" at 300 and 91 shot 1 6/8" at 300. These are all at 3.690 OAL (approx. .040 off the lands).

91.5 at 3.68 resulted in my first stuck case in my chamber this morning also. I could probably get away with a stiffer load if I were using lapua brass, but I am using Norma until I wear it out.

I am also using federal 215 primers.

Not the 1" group I was shooting for, but the gun is very consistant with these loads, so I am happy for now.

I will probably settle on 89.5 or 90 but will try everything inbetween.
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  #77  
Old 06-17-2012, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Malta NY
Posts: 727
Re: Reloading suggestions for .338 Lapua

I got .771 MOA with 300gr Scenar loaded .020 off the lands, 90.0 gr H1000, Fed215 primer and PPU brass fully prepped and trimmed to 2.715 this weekend at 200 yards. Got pressure signs(ejector mark and slightly sticky bolt) at 91.00 gr well before manuals maximums.

Next weekend will try different seating depths for the 90.00 gr load and see if it tightens up.
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