advanced reloading techniques

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by dmax1800, May 19, 2013.

  1. dmax1800

    dmax1800 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going on my first elk rifle hunt in October to New Mexico. I'm new to reloading and want to get proficient as quickly as possible. I'm having a new match grade barrel put on my Winchester model 70 300 win mag by Elk Meadow Performance. He mentioned getting a primer pocket uniformer and a flash hole deburrer as a MUST. Where can I get information on advanced reloading techniques that will allow me to reload the most accurate reloads possible??? What additional equipment do I need beyond the basic reloading kit which I already have???

    I'm 62 years old, so I don't have 20 years to experiment with reloading to get accurate rounds. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of ways to skin a cat and that is particularly true of reloading. You can learn a lot right here by reading through various threads and doing some searches. Some weigh and sort brass and some don't. Some weigh and sort bullets and some don't. Some measure bullet bearing surface and sort and some don't. Some FL size and some neck size. Some turn necks and some don't. Some anneal and some don't.

    Uniforming pockets and deburring flash holes is probably a good idea. I do it. I usually don't trim to length until after the first firing to avoid taking off excessive neck. I like them as long as possible. I do weigh my brass (after trimming) to put them in different lots. I.e., the 50 heaviest in one lot and the 50 lightest in another. I do the same with bullets.

    I started out not turning necks and then started turning necks and now I'm back to not turning them. I started out FL sizing, then went to neck sizing and now back to FL sizing which seems to get me less runout. The trick is you must lube the inside of the neck so the expander comes up through with little resistance. When done right I can get less than .001 runout consistently. With neck sizing, I getting about .002-.004 runout. I work the lever slowly. If you want a good product, don't be in a hurry.

    I highly recommend competition type seaters with VLD type seating plugs. Sometimes doing a partial seat to get it started, then turning the case about 180* will get them straighter. I find it this varies between bullet types. Having a runout gauge is very helpful. I like my Sinclair very much.

    I use Lyman brass prep tools, flash hole deburrer, uniformer, chamfer, pocket cleaner. I had the RCBS and they sucked IMO, except the chamfer tool.

    Hope that helps.
     

  3. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    'Handloading for Competition'

    Zediker Publishing
     
  4. jasent

    jasent Well-Known Member

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  5. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    IMO if your brass has more than 3 or 4 reloads on it annealing is essential for consistent neck tension. Another important "step" is to make sure you have consistant seating depths, within .001" from one round to another.
     
  6. Snowfighter

    Snowfighter Well-Known Member

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    Precision Shooting Reloading Guide! It's a spiral bound book.
    Picked it up at Cabelas. Full of good information and explanations of how to do certain techniques used for extreme accuracy.
    You could also get the Defensive Edge "Reloading For Long Range Hunting" DVD.
    Shawn Carlock has a reloading routine figured out that is simple and efficient. Focuses on what shows great improvement in magnum loads.
     
  7. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    +1. Measure the snot out of everything. Consistency and uniformity are the goal. People have different methods and preferences, but measuring properly gives you the ability to change things and determine the effect on accuracy.

    I think OAL is key, and I measure all of my reloads to the ogive with a bullet comparator. Then I use a competition seater to make them all exactly the same (seat slightly long, measure, re-seat exact). Understanding the distance of the bullet to the rifling is also critical, and hornady makes a pretty easy to use tool for this.

    I am also pretty anal about headspace / shoulder bump consistency and I am a trickler - every shell has as an exact of a powder charge as I can measure.
     
  8. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    SAFETY! SAFETY! SAFETY! There's no substitute or short cut to safety.
     
  9. blipelt

    blipelt Well-Known Member

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    Know any competitive bench rest shooters? Wealth of knowledge and some of the best reloaders out there.

    Brent
     
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't assign a lot of credit to BR competitors, their cartridges, or reloading..
    Especially for the demands of HUNTING.

    There is no merging of these disciplines
     
  11. blipelt

    blipelt Well-Known Member

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    I am curious please explain why you think that way. For 600 and 1000yd. benchrest your job is to put the group in the center the smallest possible group. So you are making the most consistent repeatable ammo possible. Of course that depends on your skills and where/who you learned it from. This isn't needed in longrange shooting? I have definitely saw a advantage in my shooting/groups since I started being schooled.
     
  12. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    I would highly recommend this video:

    Defensive Edge - LRH Reloading DVD

    I now keep it at my reloading bench next to the computer I have there, and can refer back to it whenever I want. Excellent, thorough instructions.
     
  13. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Blipelt,

    Mikecr is right. Benchrest shooters are a wealth of information on making supremely accurate ammunition in their supremely accurate rifles. However, many (a lot actually)of their techniques don't translate directly to many other forms of reloading. This is something of a pet peeve of mine, since I see this so often. In many instances, trying to use BR techniques for other disciplines can become downright dangerous. I shoot competitively, mostly Service Rifles. I regularly see guys trying to follow up on using some BenchRest technique for their own ammo, sure that what ever the BR shooters are doing will result in more accurate ammo for their guns as well. More often than not, whatever minor (if even measurable, and I usually isn't) improvements will be more than offset by some serious problems relating to reliability and even safety. BR techniques work wonderfully . . . in BR rifles. They're more often than not out of place in other types of rifles. Feed your hunting rifles hunting ammo. Full length sized, easily chambered, and loaded to levels that don't create hard extraction. Keep them straight, with consistent powder charges and neck tension, and you'll be better served in the hunting fields.
     
  14. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    This is going to be a long-winded post. Here goes:

    I agree completely. There are a lot of things that benchrest shooters do to obtain their accuracy that simply aren't applicable to hunting situaions. For hunting purposes, reliability in adverse conditions is a vital consideration. In benchrest shooting, that is less important.

    In benchrest shooting, it is common to neck size (rather than full length resize). It is also common to load bullets to "jam" in the rifling. Though I am sure that there are folks who load hunting ammo this way, both of these techniques have serious drawbacks in the field and both can compromise reliability.

    I would also go one step further and say that I believe there are quite a few shooters who attempt to apply benchrest loading techniques to factory rifles. In a precision custom rifle made to precise tolerances, where the action, bolt, chamber, and bore are all concentric, it makes sense to take pains to produce ammo that is equally precise.

    Put that same ammo in a factory rifle with sloppy tolerances, and all that time spent at the bench obsessing over things like runout is a waste of time, IMO. If your ammo is perfectly concentric and your rifle is not, there is no way you are going to derive a measurable benefit from doing all the extra steps at the reloading bench.

    Even if you are hunting with a custom rifle, the discipline is completely different. Benchrest techniques are designed to tightern your groups by fractions of an inch over long strings of fire. Depending on your discipline, the winner is determined by score or by measuring group size.

    In the hunting fields, it is all about FIRST round hits on the vitals of the animal being hunted. Either you hit the vitals COLD BORE or you don't. You don't get extra points for hitting 2" closer to the center of the vitals or for putting 20 rounds in tight little groups on the vitals.

    If you have your hunting rifle shooting with reasonable accuracy, your ability to adjust for conditions is WAY more important than squeezing the last tenth of an inch out of your groups.

    Personally, I stop fiddling with my ammo when I am able to put together a combination that shoots into 1/2" @100 yards. Theoretically, that makes my rifle and load mechanically capable of approximately 5" groups @ 1000 yards. As a shooter, I am not able to shoot that tight at even 600 yards most of the time. Keep in mind that I am doing that at known distances from a bench or in the prone using bags or a bi-pod. From field positions and under field shooting conditions, I have no illusions of bettering that.

    When I get to the point where the limitations on my long range accuracy involve my equipment rather than my skills, I will break out the concentricity gauge. Until then, my time and effort goes toward improving the nut behind the trigger.

    Are there people who are better shooters than I am present on this forum or in the game fields? Of course there are and lots of them. However, I would submit that there are no more than a handful of shooters on this forum who can shoot well enough in the field to tell the difference between a 1/2 MOA and a 1/4 MOA rifle under field conditions.

    Having said all of that, here are the things that I consider to be important when assembling accurate hunting ammo for my non-custom rifles:

    1. Case trimming to ensure that the case mouth is square to the case head. This is most important for the initial use of the case. They all get trimmed to the same length as a byproduct of doing this, but I believe squareness of the case mouth to be the most important benefit of doing this. FULL LENGTH resize to ensure concentricity prior to performing ANY case prep operations.

    2. Use less temp sensitive powders. That normally spells extruded powders. If using extruded powders, take the time to hand weigh each powder charge. Doing this will go a long way toward reducing or eliminating problems with vertical spread.

    3. Take the time and expend the rounds necessary to find your rifle's preferred seating depth with a given bullet. A lot of people want to adjust in increments of .005" or .010" to test this. I believe those increments to be too small. Test in increments of .030" or .040", starting from touching the rifling and working your way back in several increments. Fine tune in smaller increments from there, if you feel the need.

    None of this takes exotic tooling. It mostly takes patience and reasonable attention to detail.

    My final piece of advice is that hunting ammo should be assembled using full-length resized, once fired brass and should not be loaded to touch or jam in the rifling. For long range hunting, I believe it to be OK to single feed your rounds, but that is best left to personal preference.