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Reloading Berger Bullets


Seating depth or charge weight ?

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Unread 10-23-2012, 10:05 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 25
Seating depth or charge weight ?

I'm trying to get an accuarate load in my Weatherby Vaguard 30-06. Should I start with seating depth first, then work up to max load or max load then seating depth.

I've shot Bergers (168 gr.) and Accubonds(165 gr.) with H4350 from touching the lands to .120 off. The best I group was with Bergers (1.5") @ 150 yrds. .100 off the lands. Accubonds best was 2.5" @150yrds.

I bought a box of Hornady Match 168 AMAX. (M1 Garand) These shot from clover leafing to .75" @ 150 yrds. I've read that Amax bullets are to fragile for hunting so I want a better hunting bullet. I'm guessing they are using IMR 4064 because it contained only 49.6 grains of powder and they are seated .115 off the lands.

What am I doing wrong that I can't get the same or better accuracy with my hand loads. I'm also letting the barrel cool for about 3 mins. between shots.
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Unread 10-23-2012, 11:20 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The cold part of Montana
Posts: 1,391
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

Seating depth first, then find what powder charge it likes, (may not be max), then find which primer it likes.

If it still won't shoot you may want to check midway to see if they have any Classic hunters for your rifle, I've found them to be really easy to work up a load.
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.

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Unread 10-23-2012, 11:43 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Hot Springs, South Dakota
Posts: 530
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

You can get just about as many answers to your question as there are responses. Personally, I don't worry about what the max load will be. I try to find the accurate charge and then adjust seating. The other way around may work just as well. Never tried it, so I'm not saying mine is right.

My opinion, just mine, is that the AMAX bullets are very good bullets for hunting. I only have experience with them in a couple of antelope. They did very very well.

I read many many opinions of the AMAX for hunting. Opinions on both sides of the aisle. Enough that I had to try them for myself. They were my most accurate bullet at any given distance. So, I went for it.

They were shot out of a .243 at 435 yards and 633 yards. Both heart/lung shots. Nothing but jello on the inside, small hole in and a little larger hole going out.
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Unread 10-24-2012, 02:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northeast MS
Posts: 388
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

I do the opposite of the other posters. I work up to my max powder charge then back off until I have no pressure signs, usually about 1-1.5 gr. These are loaded to the max length that will fit in my magazine. Then, if accuracy is not what I expect I begin to decrease seating depth until I find the sweet spot.
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Unread 10-24-2012, 07:49 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 563
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

The powder charge is your coarse adjustment, then the seating depth should be altered to fine tune the load.
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Unread 10-25-2012, 11:42 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NC, oceanfront
Posts: 4,191
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

I disagree about powder being coarse.
Seating can affect grouping by 2x-3x powder effects. Primer/primer striking, if not right, is also bigger than powder.

So I agree with Joe King.
I find seating first, using method similar to Berger's recommended.
Powder is my FINE adjustment, after shooting a ladder.
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Unread 10-25-2012, 03:01 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 563
Re: Seating depth or charge weight ?

when your powder charge is not an OCW charge, then yes, seating will affect your group size severely.

For optimal charge weight loads, it's far less important (think about how well factory match loads shoot with an arbitrary seating depth)...

Once the powder charge is optimized (by methods I describe on my main OCW site), you can then take advantage of the fine tuning that seating depth adjustments allow.

So in short... if you're finding that a small seating depth change ruins your group, you're using a non-optimal powder charge and, as I call it "walking the tightrope to accuracy."

The same thing applies to primers... some folks have primer brand sensitive loads, and that too is indicative of a non-optimal powder charge.

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