280 Ackley Improved

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by BCMAG2, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. BCMAG2

    BCMAG2 Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a mountain rifle built for deer hunting at medium and long range. No muzzle brake. I'm leaning heavily toward a 280 Ackley Improved with a 26 inch barrel, and using the Nosler Custom brass. Anyone willing to share their favorite load data and results with this cartridge? Until the LRs become available, I'll likely load the regular 160 gr accubonds. Is 3,000 fps too much to expect?
     
  2. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Most people don't realize it, but handloads aren't universal. Some will get you close, and some will be so far off, you'd think you have a bent barrel, so as far as load data, you're best off to do your own load data based on the reloading manual for the brand of bullets you choose to shoot. Manuals aren't that expensive, only around $20-35 each.

    .280 Ackley Improved is an excellent cartridge, and one of my favorites. Be sure your smith has the new SAAMI spec chamber reamer if you are planning on running the Nosler brass. The new SAAMI spec chamber is .014" shorter than the original P.O. Ackley chamber, and the Nosler .280 AI brass is also formed at SAAMI specs for the new SAAMI spec chamber.
     

  3. BCMAG2

    BCMAG2 Well-Known Member

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    My rifle builder already mentioned his awareness of the difference between the old and new 280 AI specs, so that's not a problem. I also have the Nosler 6th edition reloading manual. But I was hoping to get some load recipes from people with actual experience with this cartridge, which I have found to be of more value than load manual data in most cases.
     
  4. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Mudrunner, pick two powders and do a true work-up specific to your rifle. I settled on a near-max load of H4831SC behind a 168gr Berger VLD.

    My 280AI has a 24" tube, and with H4831SC and IMR 7828 I cannot get over 2850fps with the 160 AB. Both the 160AB and the 168 Bergers shot with very good accuracy from my rifle. I picked the Bergers for retained energy at range.

    Here is a thread with some feedback from other members regarding velocity. I was interested to see the disparity between Nosler and Hodgdon reported velocities...

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f28/gimme-your-no-bs-280ai-velocities-124652/
     
  5. BCMAG2

    BCMAG2 Well-Known Member

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    VarmintH8R,

    Thanks...that's a great thread. Just the kind of discussion I was hoping for. The only thing left out was the brass...anyone using the Nosler Custom, or is everyone fire forming their own from other 280 brands? I just gave my builder the go-ahead on the build in 280 AI, so I'm very appreciative for any small detail that will assist my load development. I would rather not fire form when I can buy Nosler, but I've read some poor reviews on the quality of their brass in this caliber, especially the primer pockets.
     
  6. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    I'm betting you'll be very happy with the 280AI.

    I am fireforming Norma Brass. Many will disagree (on both sides), but I have yet to see a definitive answer to the PO Ackley vs SAAMI chamber difference (or lack thereof). My rifle is "original" chamber dimension, so I fireform just to be sure...

    I've been happy with the Norma brass so far.
     
  7. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Norma makes Nosler's brass for them. They also make Weatherby's brand bame brass for them, as well. :D

    I've never heard of the Bosler brass having any issues.
     
  8. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    Get the Norma. The extra letter stamped on the case-head reduces the strength of the Nosler.:D

    W-e-a-t-h-e-r-b-y, that is just flat out dangerous!

    My main point was that I fireform as I am not confident in the Nosler 280AI brass in my "original" chamber for the headspace questions you referenced earlier.
     
  9. BCMAG2

    BCMAG2 Well-Known Member

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    Does that necessarily mean that Norma's brass and the Nosler brass is the same, or could Nosler be requiring its brass be made to different specs in terms of hardness?
     
  10. Idaho Sawyer

    Idaho Sawyer Well-Known Member

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    It would be an extra step or 2.... but couldn't you get some lapua 30-06 brass, neck it down and fire form the shoulder? Shooting lapua brass would be worth the extra effort.
     
  11. farout

    farout Well-Known Member

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    Here's another link with a 280 AI getting 3000 FPS.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f28/280-ackley-improved-loads-160gr-accubond-58952/

    Reason fr my interest, is I have an old browning A-bolt in 7MM. I am seriously thinking about turning it into a 280 AI after learning there was now a SAAMI spec for it and Nosler was making brass.

    Plus... was at two different sporting stores here in Oregon last week and both stores had 4 or 5 boxes of the Nosler 7mm 180 LRAB's on the shelf. Seems folks around here have no idea what t do with them...
     
  12. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    You would have to rebarrel, change the bolt head, and I'd recommend a stock change, as well. I am planning on doing this to my A-Bolt II 7mm RM, as well.

    Also, your smith will have to order your bolt head, because the only way Browning will send you one, is if you send in your rifle and have it rebarreled by them...Which I think is retarded. But if your smith is a Browning authorized smith, he can get you one.
     
  13. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    I believe that 30-06 brass is about 50 thou shorter than 280 brass at the shoulder. I have heard you can form it to 280 by partially necking to 7mm and leaving the rest of the neck at nominal to create a false shoulder to headspace on (crush-fit on the oversize neck).

    I have read this works fine, just leaves you with a shorter neck than true 280 brass. I have never done it myself, for as much as I like Lapua brass this seems like a lot of unnecessary brass manipulation. My experience with Norma brass has been good thus far - I don't believe it is to Lapua levels but I prefer it over most of the other brands.
     
  14. MSLRHunter

    MSLRHunter Well-Known Member

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    I use the Nosler brass in my 280AI and have not had any issues. It has been very consistent, very little culling. Also, I have 5 reloads on 1 batch and I have just noticed some of the primer pockets starting to loosen up. I am running 168vld at 2890 with h4831sc and 210m. Could go hotter but accuracy is great where I'm at.