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Reloading Berger Bullets


Suggestions on which powder/bullet combo to try?

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Unread 07-24-2008, 07:05 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608
Suggestions on which powder/bullet combo to try?

202 Sauer, .300 Win Mag, 25.75" muzzle to bolt face, .625" muzzle dia (factory barrel), Virgin Lapua Brass.

I have two different bullets to try, 168gr. Berger VLD's and 180 Nosler Accubonds.
I have Fed GM210M, GM215M and Federal 210 Primers

I have the following powders:
AA 3100
(I have other powders, but these are the only ones that I have on hand that are recommended by Berger and Nosler for those bullet weights.) Nosler recommended RL-22, IMR-4350 and AA3100, Berger had the balance of the powders on their data sheet.

I only have 100 Pcs of the Lapua Brass, (I can order more if needed). I have Federal and Remington once fired brass also, but I was only going to use the Lapua brass for this load development.

To try and cut my learning curve down, what powder/primer/bullet combos should I try? How far should I try to get the ogive away from the lands for the initial testing? 100, 200 or 300 Yds?

The cases were trimmed to minimum, chamfered and neck sized on a Lee Collet sizer. Right now by following the great recommendations on here, I have 50 pieces of brass with a max. runout of .0015, while 90% of the rest run a max of .002. I'll use the others to condition the bore when switching powders. I was going to shoot one type of bullet first, then switch.

Temps here are in the low 80's, elevation is 735'. I can shoot out to 300 Yds here at the house currently, and I can shoot every day after work weather permitting.

For a rlfle rest, I have a generic Caldwell Led Sled, and the Caldwell Rock with rear bags. With the lead sled I can durn near shoot free recoil (with very minimal touching of the . The scope is a Swarovski 6-24 x 50 Habicht. My normal testing "rules" will be followed, such as shoot on the least windy days as possible, and use flags, wait with the bolt open and chamber empty for "X" amount of time between shots to keep the barrel at a constant temp, etc. If heat from the barrel becomes a problem, I'll make a shield from lightweight paper and use low pressure rubberbands to keep it in place.

Basically I'm looking for recommendations on combo's to ladder test (actually Dan Newberry's method). I will fine tune the most promising combos. Do I need to chrono all the loads during this prelim testing? If so, 10' from the muzzle sufficient?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Unread 07-24-2008, 10:20 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: MN
Posts: 1,219
well, sounds like you may know as much or more about this stuff than me, but I'll lend a hand if I can.

First off, of the powders listed I am a Hodgdon fan so the h4831sc or the Vit would be my first choices from the list ( I want to mention that I load the wsm, not the win mag so take it or leave it - I use H4350).

Second, When I pick a bullet, I will take one powder and a moderate to light load, shoot groups simply varying seating depth from very shot to a about 5 thou off the lands and which ever one shoots the best I will stick with that length through the first tests. I will mess with seating depth again after I have established a powder and charge.

Third off, if you are shooting a sporter barrel I would only shoot three shot groups and allow the rifle to cool a couple minutes between shots and allow several minutes between groups so the heat off the barrel doesn't pertain too much.

. I shoot at 100 for initial tests- just to save time and effort putting up targets and so on. After I have gotten better groups I move to 200 yards, but only if there is no wind. IMHO, 3 or 400 would be very good for testing the fine tuning of your rounds as long as there is no wind. I shoot at200 because the range is handy for me and I can still see the bullet holes with my optics. Much farther and the wind will be messing with your results IMHO. Longer ranges are ment for practice more than testing.

happy shooting
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --
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Unread 07-27-2008, 08:35 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608
I had a bit of free time on Saturday, so I was able to shoot the 168g VLD's w/H-1000 powder. Powder charge started @ 78.5 grains. Berger said to go to 83.0 max, but with no pressure signs I increased the powder to 85 in two steps, monitoring for any signs of excessive pressure, but the groups kept getting bigger, so I quit (the case was pretty full too!) At 85.0 g, there were no pressure signs.

I was seating the bullets .250" into the brass, to try and get them closer to the lands. They still had a considerable jump even at that shallow seating depth. I shot one round @ 78.3 to condition the bore, then shot one more to confirm zero @ 100 Yds. All the testing was done @ 200 Yds. 90* temps, wind from 3 to 4 o'clock @ 6 to 8 mph. Elevation is 712, RH was 43% Baro was 29 something. No effort was made to compensate for wind.

I started @ 78.5g, loaded 3 rounds, increased the powder by 1% loaded 3, etc., until I hit 83.0 grains. I then shot 1 round if 78.5g, 1 round @ 79.3g, etc. until I couldn't hold my hand on the barrel. After cooling I resumed the test and continued that procedure until all the bullets were gone. It took over 2 hours to shoot the test groups, but that's one of the advantages of shooting in your backyard.;)

Group size stayed pretty consistent 3/4 to 1 moa until I hit 82.5g. Then it shrunk to .512" wide by .212" high. It opened up after that to 3/4 to 1 moa and slowly got bigger as the powder charge increased.

Pics will be posted tomorrow. I still have 2 different powders to test with the VLD's, then 3 different powders to test with the Accubonds. My buddy wanted the gun back to shoot it next weekend, so the testing will be on hold for 2 weeks.

I didn't chrono any of the loads, and that load will be checked for speed, and re-shot to make sure that it wasn't a fluke. I'll vary the powder a bit to see how it affects the load.

Who knows what the other combo's will show??

Does anybody have a couple of 210g .308 Berger VLD's that they would part with? I'd like to check them in the magazine and see if it would be worthwile to buy a box to test in this gun. I'll gladly pay for them and shipping costs.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 09:17 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hermiston, Oregon
Posts: 2,030
RL-22 and H1000 are usually the top powders for most .300 Win Mags when shooting 180g bullets, especially RL-22... I'm sure one of them will shoot lights out. H4831 is also another good powder to try.
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