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Would love some help developing my Elk load.

 
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  #1  
Old 04-04-2014, 03:42 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 5
Would love some help developing my Elk load.

Hey guys. Been lurking for a long time, and finally got around to joining. This will be a fairly long first post, so hopefully you’ll see that I’ve put some research into this, and not just jumping in and asking questions I could have easily searched on the boards. I’ve got a couple questions for those of you who are certainly more knowledgeable than I (which, I assume, is just about everyone). I’m fairly new at the precision rifle/long range game, so please forgive my obvious past mistakes and new-guy questions.

A little background… Last year I had my first precision rifle built in 30.06: Bell and Carlson stock, Rem 700 action, Krieger #6 heavy bull barrel (1 in 10), custom trigger, etc, and topped it w/a FFP Vortex Viper PST 4-16x. I had it painted in MarPat digital. My intent with this project was to use it for the enjoyment of range days at long-range targets, and elk/deer hunting here in CO. So… After 6 months of trying to find the parts, waiting for the work to be done, etc, I finally picked it up. Overall a beautiful job by a great gunsmith. A few trips to the range and very quickly learned I was out of my league. The factory 180 gr Hornady SST superformance rounds I started with would go stupid out of the barrel. After researching more about ballistics, I knew I needed to learn how to hand-load. So, while trying to get used to my new baby, I started the process of teaching myself reloading (and thanks for all the help you have unknowingly given me along the way). After recommendations from friends I settled on Nosler Accubond in 180gr for my elk load. The final recipe produced a round travelling 2630 fps and (with me behind the rifle) just under .4 MOA at 300yds. I was able to get first round hits on target out to about 620yds, which is as far as my local range goes.

Fast forward to my first elk hunt… after 3 days of trekking around up at 11k ft, hearing them calling, smelling them, but not seeing them, I finally got my chance. A bull and 2 cows out grazing at 1100yds. I was able to stalk as close as 830yds with a clear shot. They were right across a valley at the same altitude, no wind, quartering away. I set up, sighted in, and had the perfect shot. Bang! Miss. It was the only shot I got. I literally spent months agonizing over why that shot missed.

Since then I’ve learned quite a bit more. At the time I had my load data set to the G7 profile, with the advertised BC of .507 plugged in. At 620 yards this worked fine, so I didn’t know to look for a problem. As I researched more I realized that BC number was way too high. I called Nosler and spoke with one of their tech reps. He informed me that the Accubond is actually closest to a G5 profile, and for marketing reasons they advertise the G1 BC on the box because, as we all know, higher BCs sell more bullets. I asked what the correct G5 BC and he told me he didn’t know- to just go out and verify at different distances. Great. Eventually I found the JBM converter, and looking at the new data, it appears I was off by over 30 inches when I took my shot.

So, needless to say I’m pissed at myself for not doing more research, and fairly pissed at Nosler for their less-than-truthful advertising. I spent a whole lot of time, money, and effort to get in position for that shot, and while the whole trip was a great experience, I really would have like to fill my tag. Now that my draw application is in and I’m starting to think about next season, I want to get this load down before I head out.

This was a very long-winded way of getting to my questions, so any insight ya’ll have on the following would be appreciated:

1) Would shooting a lighter round (165-8gr vs. 180gr) at higher speeds produce better accuracy at longer ranges?
2) Would switching to a slower burning powder in a heavy barrel produce better results (currently using IMR 4007 SSC)?
3) Does anyone have any experience with purpose-built long-range bullets, or are these just marketing ploys too? (Any thoughts on specific bullets would be welcome)

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:18 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Gillette Wy
Posts: 336
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

Your accuracy if fine. .4 min will take you to 1000 yards. You just need to verify your drops out to 1000 yards. The other thing to consider is your bullet. What minimum velocity will that AB open up at? Great bullet out to 400 yards or so at your velocities. My guess is that bullet will pencil through at lower velocities. Keep them for closer shots and load up some Berger's for longer range work. Maybe try the 190 grainers.
If you change anything it might be to try a different powder to increase your velocity. Your starting rather slow so you have a lot of drop. Good luck. Bruce
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:47 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 5
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

Thanks for the input. I originally did start out shooting higher velocities, but was having accuracy issues. When I grouped the AB's, the 2630fps seemed to be their sweet spot. Any faster and the groups would start to open up. I was under the impression that the heavier the bullet is, the slower it would need to go to maintain accuracy, which is why I was thinking a lighter bullet at faster speeds.

Can I assume that the 190gr Bergers can be shot at higher velocities than the AB, and still maintain accuracy?
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:09 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West Central Idaho
Posts: 1,116
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

I use a 30-06 and the 190gr Berger with Lapua brass. My current load is 53gr RL 17 @ 2706 proven. This load will shoot 1 MOA to 800 yards. If you use the BC G7 @ 0.291 that bullet with this load is good out to 700 yards then it drops below the 1800fps required by Berger for proper expansion. The energy at 700 yards is about 1387ft lbs. In my rifle RL 17 maxes out right around 2750 with the 190gr.

I just ordered some 215gr Berger's for my 300 WM and am going to try them in the 06 and just see. Quick Load shows with 50.5gr, RL17, 215gr Berger, BC G7 0.356 and a velocity of around 2600fps. That gets me out to 780 yards with a energy of around 1550 ft lbs. That is pretty impressive for the 06 and in my opinion worth trying. The RL 17 might be a little fast as it is 100% burned out at about 17 inches of barrel travel with a bullet this heavy.


All of the above is with a 25.75 #5 Brux barrel 1:10.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2014, 11:26 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Gillette Wy
Posts: 336
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

The Berger's May or may not maintain their accuracy at higher velocities. Depends on your barrel. Just have to try it to see. The biggest advantage is that the Burger will expand reliably at a lower velocity (distance) than the AB's. For long range hunting that is important. Bruce
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2014, 02:40 AM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 2,436
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stake View Post
This will be a fairly long first post,

Last year I had my first precision rifle built in 30.06: Bell and Carlson stock, Rem 700 action, Krieger #6 heavy bull barrel (1 in 10), custom trigger, etc, and topped it w/a FFP Vortex Viper PST 4-16x. My intent with this project was to use it for the enjoyment of range days at long-range targets, and elk/deer hunting here in CO. So

I settled on Nosler Accubond in 180gr for my elk load. The final recipe produced a round travelling 2630 fps and (with me behind the rifle) just under .4 MOA at 300yds. I was able to get first round hits on target out to about 620yds, which is as far as my local range goes.

It was the only shot I got. I literally spent months agonizing over why that shot missed.

I asked what the correct G5 BC and he told me he didnít know- to just go out and verify at different distances.
Iím starting to think about next season, I want to get this load down before I head out.

1) Would shooting a lighter round (165-8gr vs. 180gr) at higher speeds produce better accuracy at longer ranges?
2) Would switching to a slower burning powder in a heavy barrel produce better results (currently using IMR 4007 SSC)?
3) Does anyone have any experience with purpose-built long-range bullets, or are these just marketing ploys too? (Any thoughts on specific bullets would be welcome)
Thanks!
Simplify where possible.
1) The color your rifle was painted didn't effect the shot.
2) Yes you have to verify your system at the ranges you intend to shoot, and by shooting no matter whose overhyped bullet you use.
3) Yes there is likely a more effective load for your rifle, but it's likely a heavier bullet, and a different powder.
4) Are you measuring inputs, or guessing? Changing just elevation from 5000 to 11,000 feet gave a 12" difference when I ran the numbers. The variables accumulate.
5) A lot of it is trial and error, and there isn't a substitute for stumbling through it.

I'd try the Berger bullets, and the 190 Accubond LR. The Accubond LR is new and not a lot is known just yet. It's likely the low velocity expansion thresh hold is optimistic, and the BC isn't what's advertised, but that doesn't mean it won't be better than the standard Accubond.

The velocity your getting with 180's isn't all that hard to achieve with 190, and 200 grain bullets in 30-06.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2014, 03:38 AM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 458
Re: Would love some help developing my Elk load.

I find 2630 fps quite slow in that length barrel and 180grs in a 30/06. My load is a Sierra 180gr SpBT GMK, 56.5 grains of IMR 4350 and a Remington 9 1/2 LRMag primer in WW cases. In a E.R. Shaw 27" barrel it goes 2930fps and is a maximum load.

You are giving up a lot of velocity with that load and mine is 1/2" @ 100yds every shot, 3 - 50, doesn't matter. As HarperC and kcebcj pointed out, higher velocity up front keeps the minimum velocity you need to expand the bullet to a longer range.

215gr Berger is worth a try as it consistently performs in most guns and can be driven at reasonable velocity from a 30/06. I've always used the Sierra 180 GMK with very good performance on game but Berger's reputation is excellent. My son is switching to the 210 gr VLD Hunting in his 300 WinMag.

Don't shoot at game further than you have shot on paper with a hunting load. Computers can only predict. We must verify.

KB
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