260 w/130g VLD load developement

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by zane243, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    G'day
    This is my first post, although I've been an avid reader of these forums for a year or so now, and have used them to guide my decision to purchase my most recent toy. I have just received my Wild Dog Custom 260 c/w Nightforce NXS 5.5-22 NPR-1 Scope, 1:9 30" fluted match barrel, Wild Dog thumbhole tactical stock on a Howa 1500 action and finished in snakeskin camo. Being a 260, I intend on reloading, and based on posts on this site, I have purchased Lapua brass, federal gold match primers, AR2209 and 130g VLDs.
    This weekend I 'm starting load developement, and while a realise there's already info out there on this, I'm after something specific. My projectile contatcs the lands at OAL 2.933", my magazine dictates a max OAL of 2.873" (ie .050" off the lands). I understand that the general concensus is that VLDs like to be within .010" or even in the lands. I don't have any accurate way of measuring to the ogive at this stage.

    So, my question is: do I load to my magazine box and start load developement there in the hope of finding an accurate load OR do I not waste my time/money and just start at .010" off the lands and test from there?

    My goal is to have an accurate shooter to 1200 yards (paper targets) which be used depending on my ability for long range hunting (deer/goat/pigs).

    Any thoughts from you experienced guys out there on 260 loads and bullet seating tips would be greatly appreciated.

    BTW, I have been shooting for about 18 years but this is my first serious attempt at accurate long range shooting /reloading, so if any of the terms i've used, or assumptions made are incorrect, please feel free to set me straight.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends if you are ok with a single shot or not. If you are, start at the lands and work back as Berger suggests.

    If you desire a repeater start at max box length and work back. My rifle seems to be very happy at .09 to .100 off the lands for Hunting vlds. My buddies 260 is happy .03 to .050 off the lands.
     

  3. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    Thanks Brent. I'll do some testing today and see what what that tells me. I'll start them long and if thats what it likes then maybe I can mod my mag box and still have a repeater.
    Im planning on testing different amounts of powder first an then if needs be the seating depth. Is that the best way to start out?
    Cheers
     
  4. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Most people test powder amounts to find max load pressure and back off to safer levels. Seating depth then brings both worlds together. Keep in mind pressures rise and fall with seating depth as well. For example you could try .020 off and shoot to find the pressure node. Back down 1 grain or so and try seating depth with that load of powder. I tend to go that route because I know a bullet will generally like a low pressure nod and high pressure node. For long range I like the highest velocity I can get with the best accuracy. I generally will never shoot the lower speed high accuracy node unless the higher pressure node is not going to work for accuracy and consistency.
     
  5. peashooter

    peashooter Well-Known Member

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    My 260 is a single shot so magazine length was not in the equation. I had better groups the closer I got to the lands. I kept the final load .05 off so the bullet would not engage the lands as this is a hunting rifle and pulling a bullet out of the case in the chamber makes quite a mess.
     
  6. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    Thanks. Do you expert LR shooters have scientific way to measure or calculate pressure or is it just working up a load and inspecting for tell tale signs after firing (thats all I'm used to). I have managed to modify my mag box to allow me to load to .010 jump so I'm going to start there and do my powder tests. Then I'll fine tune the seating. I'll post back with some progress and also some pics.
     
  7. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Pressure signs for me. I wish I had the tooling for that. There are all sorts of methods but looking at Primers, Extractor marks, and bolt lift are the most common.
     
  8. uka

    uka Well-Known Member

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    This is what I have found shooting for a while. I am no expert but I never liked loading to the rifle lands being it jacks up pressure and might cause more wear at the throat. I use the Lee factory crimp die because I think loading to the lands just makes the bullet start off with the same neck tension and the powder burns the same. the Lee factory crimp does the same thing holds the bullet for the same starting pressure. All factory match ammo is at standard length and crimped.The most accurate ammo I ever fired in numerous guns and my friends guns were crimped at standard length with the Lee die. It will save a ton of time fooling around with different seating depths and I have pulled the bullet out of the case unloading after a hunt dumping the powder in the mag with long uncrimped ammo
     
  9. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    Thanks UKA I see what you're saying and I'll keep the crimp dies in mind.

    I did my first run of ladder testing yesterday with loads ranging from 42.75 - 44.5g in .25g incrementsts. All 8 shots were in an almost perfectly vertical pattern but within a 1.6" group. The 44.5 and 44.25 loads were the two closest together on the target. From this, I took away the following data:
    - no pressure signs on any of the shells, primers, bolt etc
    - I think I'm close to the powder range I need to be working with and
    -110 yards is too close to be doing this kind of test with this rifle

    My plan from here is to work loads in the same fashion from 44.25 to 46g fired from a greater distance, and this time in 3 shot round robin groups to see what results I get. I'm expecting I might see pressure signs come into play as I get to 46g.

    I'm hoping an accurate load will emerge from this next round of tests and I can tinker with seating next (although .010 off is showing plenty of promise).

    I'll post back with results.

    BTW I don't't seem to be able to attach photos from my phone. Can it be done or do I need to use my PC for loading pics?
     
  10. uka

    uka Well-Known Member

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    Zane I am surprised how that gun is shooting.it should be very easy to get a load for it. with cheap savage rifles the first load I put in it is excellent. The vertical stringing can be from something making contact with barrel, stock flexing, front sandbag position. check for contact make sure stock is tight and change up your front and rear rest. No way should you have to fool around with all those combos to get a good load in a rifle like that
     
  11. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    Hi uka
    The vertical pattern was due to each successive shot having an increased charge (at least I hope it is). Im yet to try shooting groups for any one load. I'll do that next. Unfortunately work will get in the way for a couple of days.....but after that, some paper is gunna to be in trouble!:D
     
  12. zane243

    zane243 Member

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    I've got to my PC, so here are some pics of the rifle we're talking about....
     

    Attached Files:

  13. uka

    uka Well-Known Member

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    What a rifle you have there. There should be no trouble getting that beauty to shoot
     
  14. BCBRAD

    BCBRAD New Member

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    I am getting positive results at 0.035" of the lands. It seems to be a fussy bullet in relation to seating depth.