7mm AM WC872 and temp sensitivity?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by esshup, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    To save some time and barrel life sending rounds down range, does anybody have any data that they'd like to share on how temp affects this powder?

    Here's why, and my observations.

    Shooting 180g Bergers, 45°F 770' elevation MV 3350 fps. for load development and sight in at home. Everything is great. loading 108.0 grains WC872

    Went to Colorado for a cow elk hunt in December. Since elevation was a wee bit different, I ran rounds to verify drops. Started at the 300 yd zero, adjusted that zero for the different elevation then ran it all the way out to 1334 yds. Very happy with the way it performed. 39°F ambient, 6600 ft elevation, less than 1 moa wind adjustment for all shots. Made a drop chart for every 100 yds.

    Nothing the first day of the hunt, 2nd day we stayed inside because it was snowing and blowing. Ended up with 24" of snow in less than 24 hrs.

    The next morning it was -17°F at the lodge. We went down the hill, and to make a long story short ran into the cows at 5,000ft elevation. Temp at that time was -8°F. Dead calm, at the most 2-3 mph winds. Shot twice at 500 yds, aiming for a heart shot. Nothing. At the 2nd shot, the group came towards us and went into a canyon. When they popped up they were very close to 600 yds out. Dialed up, sent one. Nothing. WTF???

    Again, they came towards us, dropping into a canyon for a while. We moved up, and finally saw the group again, this time at 700 yds. My spotter told me what to dial according to the drop chart and then said "wait a minute. Dial in 2 more moa". I did, held for a high shoulder shot and when the trigger broke the cow folded where she stood. The bullet went exactly where the crosshair said it should go. In retrospect, the only thing that I think was happening was the bullet was going under their belly, impacting on the other side of the herd. They heard the impact of the bullet hitting the ground on the opposite side of the herd, not the muzzle noise, and came towards us instead of going away.

    Running the numbers in exbal here at the range yesterday in -10°F to +10°F it was a bear. 24+" of snow on the ground, flat terrain. Couldn't get a spotter and it was VERY hard to spot for myself. Could only shoot at 600 yds and 1,000 yds. Couldn't hit a 36" gong at 1,000 yds. Hit the 10" gong at 600 yds 2x out of 4 shots, could see that one of the missed shots was barely to the left (misread the wind). No bullet impact shown in the snow for the 4th shot. I was leaving the barrel cool for 20 minutes between shots.

    Thoughts and advice??
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    From the data Kirby posted for the 175 SMK, you are at the bottom end of the load for a 180 and WC 872

    Kirby said velocities were very inconsistent at 107 grains for he 175 gr SMK at 75 degrees F and his altitude.

    I would surmise that the 180 Berger being much softer and compressible bullet than the SMK and you being way way colder just started getting very poor burning of the powder and never got up to pressure.

    I never got WC872 to shot well in mine. It was just really dirty which I suppose was that I didn't get to the right load range myself
     

  3. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    BB, I'm not married to WC872. What powder should I try? I have shot the 175g SMK, and 109/110 was max load depending on whether it was above or below 75°F out. 109 in 80°F was hitting 3495 fps. 110 was 3550 fps, any more powder and I was seeing a shiny spot on the head. Maybe the 16# that I bought was a fast lot?

    BUT, after around 200 rounds down the tube, the 175g SMK's were vaporizing at 40-50 yds. @ 3490 fps Accuracy wasn't there at slower speeds, that's why I went to the 180 Bergers. I have some 200g WIldcat bullets, but haven't been able to figure out an accurate load with them yet.
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I use 103-104 grains of US 869 with the Canadian 200 gr Wildcats. It gives me under 0.5 MOA always. Clean the barrel every 15-20 rounds.

    Kirby was recommending Retumbo with the lighter bullets IIRC the last time I saw him post a load.
     
  5. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bob. I have WC689 but they are the USA Wildcats. I was a little bit too late and Richard already sold.
     
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    The USA Wildcats that I tested gave me pressure signs at 103 grains so be careful working up to there.

    Are the Wildcats now being made again?
     
  7. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    BB, I have no idea. Mine are from the first batch or 2 that were made by the new owners.

    I've got them bearing surface sorted by .001" into lots. I weighed some and they are 1-2 g light.
     
  8. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    Last time (or half a dozen times) something like this has happened to me it has been a scope crapping out on me. Not saying this is the case here.
    Sounds to me like you need to pull the targets in closer, a lot closer, and figure out what's going on. Hard to get feedback without impacts or spotting.
     
  9. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    NSX 5.5-22 scope

    I think I'll also run rounds over the chrono in different temps to get accurate velocity readings too. Waiting to hear back from Kirby on some load data. He said he would check his load books.
     
  10. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I did not read your reply very carefully so let me say it one more time

    ]US 869
     
  11. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    :D lightbulb

    Sometimes it takes a while for it to sink in.

    Will do Bob! I happen to have 16# here.
     
  12. oldmossy

    oldmossy Well-Known Member

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    I talked to kirby about your situation. Not sure if he found this thread or not. I have experienced poor shooting in frigid weather. I asked kirby about this. I had a rifle that literally went from a 1\2" at 100 to not hitting a 8x8 piece of paper. I knew it had to b something other than powder sensitivity. Kirby believes the cold temps change the pressures because the metal in the barrel changes. Im not very knowledgeable about this topic. Only know my rifles shoot poorly in very cold temps. Was gonna PM you. But thought this may bring to light things others have experienced shooting in frigid temps. Hopefully kirby will talk about his beliefs for all to hear. And maybe some other knowledgeable people will speak up also.
     
  13. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    I went to the range hoping to shoot in -10°F temps, but all but the 800 and 1,000 yd targets were covered by 24+" of snow. I don't have a long range hunt planned for 2014, so that will give me some time to do more testing next winter. I do have some WC869, and I'll be testing that this summer to see how it compares to WC872
     
  14. oldmossy

    oldmossy Well-Known Member

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    I dont think powder sensitivity has anything to do with it. I think your barrel was a few thousands smaller due to the -10 temps. The first 3 shots resulted in the jackets being ripped off because of that. The fourth shot made it to target because the previous 3 shots expanded barrel back to normal diameter.