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Reloading Berger Bullets


Reloading Techniques

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Unread 02-28-2006, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: El Reno, OK
Posts: 1,922
Reloading Techniques

A friend of mine has recently purchased a Remington VLS in 6mm Rem. He plans to take the rifle to the VHA Jamboree and shoot it in all the classes. The first thing he did w/this thing is take it to a reputable gunsmith and have the thing completely gone over(recrowned, bedded, etc.). If it was legal for the shoot, he had it done.

He is now having some serious trouble getting the rifle to shoot. I don't think he's found a combo yet that will group under .75 MOA.

After getting very frustrated, he called the smith and they told him to bring the rifle and some loaded ammo down and they would talk about it. From what I gather, they are trying to blame the rifles performance on his reloading. In my opinion this is total BS b/c this guy is maticulous. I've seen him shoot some unbelievable groups w/his Cooper. I know he is more than capable of reloading match quality ammo.

They told him to get the most out this rifle, he needed to completely strip the bolt and set his die so the sized case offered just a smidgeon of resistance as it was chambered. They told him to do this everytime he sized the cases [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]!!!

I know there was some other anal BR type stuff that they suggested but to be honest, I quit paying attention after he told me this.

Is it just me or is this like feeding race horse feed to a mule? He is shooting a factory stick. I don't care what you do, the thing is only going to shoot so good. I had a VLS in .243 that basically shot one hole and I was just a begining reloader when I was loading for it.

It seems to me that they should have told the guy quit wasting his time and money and move on. What do you guys think?
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Unread 02-28-2006, 11:16 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: N. TX
Posts: 92
Re: Reloading Techniques


Agree with your comment on the racehorse and the mule... if the barrel is stock stick (which is what I understand), he is stuck with a so-so barrel. I have had (back in the early 90's) a Model 7, done the same way - factory stick, BR gunsmith, trued, lapped, etc. This was a rare bird - most groups out of its 18 1/2" pencil barrel shot not only .25 MOA, but mostly to same POI (why did I get rid of that.... oh yeah, hungry kids and a wife).

I currently have a VLSF that goes .6 MOA, but that is probably all it will do. I have several friends that think .75 MOA is awesome, so I guess it is up to the person shooting it. Obviously to most of the members, this won't do. GOing to all that trouble to go from .75 to what, maybe .65? not worth it to me (IMHO).

The reloading techiniques I am sure will make a big (to a BR guy) difference, but the effort expended is not. If you put a dollar figure to your time, and payed yourself for the saved extra effort, AND took your savings you would pay for the new barrel. But that doesn't help your friend out.... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

Tell your friend to bite the bullet (I know bad pun), sell it to one of my friends (who will love him to death) and go get another one and hope to get lucky... don't know what else to say. Frustrating in the least bit I know.

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Unread 02-28-2006, 11:41 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hermiston, Oregon
Posts: 2,030
Re: Reloading Techniques

I dont know, sounds kinda fishy to me. I am not the most experienced reloader out there, thats for sure, but a VLS in a rem 700 in 6mm should get something at least .5" Stock barrel or not. I think what he should have done, but this is totally my opinion only, was to shoot the rifle first with just a trigger job and bedding. If it shot great, then leave it at that. If it aint broke dont fix it kinda thing. Then if it didn't shoot up to his specs, then take it to the gunsmith and have it totally redone. But thats just me. What do I know, I dont have any custom barrels. I use all factory sticks, for now anyways.
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Unread 03-01-2006, 01:21 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hoosier
Posts: 222
Re: Reloading Techniques

It's possible that there is a small problem with the rifle. I will go out on a limb here and say that not all factory sticks are created equal.

Another thing could be his choice of powder/primer/bullet isn't what this rifle likes. I say this from experience- My friend bought a rem 22-250 that refused to shoot worth a darn with 55g bullets. It was deadly accurate with anything lighter.

Same friend and myself bought matching 10fp savages, ladder tested each individually and came up with similar curves but different charges for accuracy. I guess it could be a case of factory "VooDoo" of some kind.

I can imagine everyone here has chased a rifle with no success one time or another. Mine was an M1A NM, never could get it to shoot sub moa with any consistancy. It's gone now!
Beware the fury of a patient man....

Be kind to your neighbors... shoot quietly..
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Unread 03-01-2006, 05:57 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas born and raised
Posts: 752
Re: Reloading Techniques

I think that '06 pretty much hit it on the head. The first thing he should have done was at least work up some sort of load, amd /or at least try out some factory fodder to see what it would do, to have a baseline. THat way he would at least have something to go on improvement wise.

That said, there could also be something in a bind, or the screws not tightend properly. I would play with that theory as well. It's at least worth the time to investigate before scrapping the whole project.

I have personally found little stuff like this on several folks rifles in the past. I used to load for quite a few folks, and in that I had their guns to do the development with. First rounds down the tube were always what they had been shooting, or factory in the closest bullet to what they wanted. There were several that had the action in a bind or the barrel was rubbing just a tad to one side or the other just in front of the chamber, or the screws were loose or overly tight. Just a simple inspection at the range, sometimes made a world of difference. These were for the most part all factory with nothing but the scope added.

Maybe the recoil lug is putting it in some sort of a bind with the bedding or maybe if the bedding extends out beyond the action and under the barrel some, possibly that is throwing it out of harmonics. It only takes a little trial and error to eliminate things one by one. Some can even be checked with out firing a round.

If I had dumped the cash into the thought of making it better, I would definately look for and eliminate as much as I could before tossing it aside.
Mike / Tx

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"Heck why would I lie, most folks don't believe the truth when I tell them"
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Unread 03-01-2006, 06:54 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 563
Re: Reloading Techniques

Based on some of the things the "gunsmiths" have said...

I would bet they didn't lap the lugs. This happens a lot.

Does the rifle shoot light loads well, but begins to scatter shots as the charge increases? On a Rem 700, that usually means the lugs need lapping.

This is an easy enough test: Have your friend mark the rear faces of each of the bolt lugs with a black Sharpie and then have him chamber a fired case. Remove the case and bolt, and see if both areas of Sharpie marker are rubbed equally. One thing you'll often see is that only one lug is bearing.

It would be interesting to know how this test turns out...

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Unread 03-01-2006, 07:52 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 460
Re: Reloading Techniques

I don't know where the problem lies but one thing I do know is that getting that perfect headspace will not cut his groups in half. You know bumping the shoulder correctly is important but it will not drastically improve groups. I think he may be asking too much from the factory stick. You never know, my factory rem 308 will shoot in the .3s consistently but my new rem 220 swift WILL NOT, I repeat WILL NOT, shoot under .75 moa!
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