hot load advice

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by eddybo, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    If you found the mother of all loads for your .308 as far as accuracy is concerned, but knew it was a tad hot, would you change the load?

    I have a load that I worked up in December for my .308 that was pretty good. I was out in the reloading room this morning and decided to blow the dust out of my 308 barrel. I pulled out my cartridge box and was surprised to find 10 loaded rounds. I thought I had shot them all up at the last match I shot with this gun back in March. I drug everything I needed to my bench, figured my come ups and let two rounds fly. I wasnt impressed with the 6+ inches of verticle because of the fouler. I adjusted the windage into the scope and fired four rounds down range. I drove down to the target and found a 3.5 inch group with less than 2 inches of verticle. I marked the holes and drove back to me bench and shot the last 4 rounds. The gun printed an almost identicle group this time.

    Both groups are probably better than I can hold at 800 yards with the 14x scope and are right there with the groups I shoot with my f-class open rifles. Last time I used this load in a match I pierced a primer, but it shoots so darned well that I am undecided what to do.

    It is a min spec chamber cut in a kreiger 12 twist on a nesika action in a mcmillan general purpose stock with a leupold 4.5x14 vx3LR. I am shooting varget with a 168 berger. The gun has always shoot good but this hot load is the most accurate thing I have seen in this gun. My good sense says change the load and that even one pierced primer out of 100 rounds is unacceptable, but it is hard to change a load shooting like this.
     
  2. BENNYBOOBOO

    BENNYBOOBOO Well-Known Member

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    Did you notice any other high-pressure-signs such as difficult bolt lift, impressions on the head-stamp, or other primers that are cratered?

    If so, rework the load. If not, take due notice, record that shot, and proceed with caution. Or if you feel the need, rework the load anyways.

    EH
     

  3. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Benny I guess I was looking for someone to talk me into using what little sense god gave me:)

    The only other pressure sign I have besides cases sticking in the chamber are flattened primers, but hey its really freakin shooting good. I know I am going to have to rework the load and settle for something a little safer, but probably not as accurate...but thats okay, I wanted to try some higher BC bullets anyway.

    I posted that kinda as a joke expecting someone to admonish me, guess no one cares whether I lose an eye:mad: Thats okay I did get the two best .308 groups I ever shot at 800 yards out of the deal:) I know its just a bit better than 1/2 MOA but I was happy with em. Too bad the load is soo darn hot. If the wind hadnt got me a tad on both groups I think they would have really been something. The bullet hole out to the right was not part of either group, but one of the first two shot fired to get on paper.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. .280Rem

    .280Rem Well-Known Member

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    You pierced a primer? Only one in 100? Have you seen any other pressure signs? What's the velocity, and powder charge?
     
  5. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    The loads pretty hot .280rem. It was hot when I loaded them, I just didnt expect to wait so long to shoot them.....its now 90+ degrees. I guess it actually is a testament to varget's temp stability. When I shot a local match with the gun a while back the range officer stood by me and would knock my empty cases out with a cleaning rod:) It was only low 80s at that match, where I popped the primer. I am going to back off the load I just had 10 I thought I had shot and didnt want to pull the bullets. But it still is a shame that the best load I ever found for the gun is too hot to shoot safely.
     
  6. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty foolish. If you have cases that are sticking and need a cleaning rod to remove, you're way too hot!
    That's an accident waiting to happen.
     
  7. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    Thank you sir, that is what I wanted to hear. I wanted someone to tell me I was stupid and that I should know better. You are absolutely correct.

    This occured shooting a load that is under book max. 42.4gr varget under a 168. I have people tell me all the time that if a load is within book max it is safe. This load may be safe but a little on the warm side in cooler temps but at 90 plus I think I could pop a bunch of primers. When I shot the ten rounds Sunday I took them directly from a very cool area. If I had let them bake in the sun I suspect I would have needed the cleaning rod again. And this load uses one of the least temperature sensitive powders I know of.

     
  8. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    I assume that the old man chambered this gun if its the one I'm thiniking of and if thats the case then I know that the chamber is perfect. If your sticking brass in a tight chamber thats cut very well then the brass is close to being ruined after a couple shots thats just a ton of stress.
    Alot of guys don't relize how much higher you can run the pressures with a well built gun with min specs , those loads may very well lock up a factroy Rem 700.

    I would certainly rework the loads for that gun , even though the Nesika action is alot stronger than any Rem and other than primer failure is probably "safe" to shoot in that gun , but just like several of use were concerned with "wildcat"s 4000fps 300 Varmiter round what would happen if those were loaded into a factroy rifle or god forbid an Encore ??

    Try some VV N-550 , I like it a bit more than the Varget in the 308's , it'll give a bit more speed , it meters great , not to temp sensitive close to Varget. This powder has given me great results in every 308 i have loaded for.
     
  9. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about the rifle, but any pierced primers are going to put pieces of brass inside the bolt and erode the tip of the firing pin and the bolt face over time. None of these things are good for the rifle. It may be that the action can handle the pressure better than a Remington for a while, but eventually even that action will be damaged by overpressure loads. The best thing you can do is the 2nd to last line in the quote... And maybe even the last...[​IMG]
     
  10. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    Cant disagree with anything said. It is a hot load and shouldnt be used. Sometimes we do stuff knowing something is dangerous even when we know that it is dangerous. In this case I shot 66 rounds at the match and then later 10 rounds knowing the load was too hot. I didnt really consider things at the match, heck I was winning. I did think about it after the match and decided I would pull those bullets....but never did.

    When I found the loaded rounds I decided to shoot them rather than pull the bullets. Only the 10th case stuck. When that happened I got to thinking about how dangerous what I did at the match and what I did Sunday may have been. An extra 100fps isnt worth it IMO. I guess I wanted more experienced people to tell me how stupid I am to reinforce the lesson. I was kind of disapointed that more didnt jump on me. I come here for the wealth of information and to discuss stuff with like minded persons. I guess everyone is kind of worn down from the varmiter deal. I really deserved and expected to be called a dummy at least a dozen times by people that I respect.
     
  11. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    I won't call you a dummy. We all do dumb things now and then, so... Doesn't make anyone a dummy.
     
  12. .280Rem

    .280Rem Well-Known Member

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    People that handload that think because their powder charge number matches the one on some book's page, that was worked up in another gun, with different brass, or other componts is safe don't really know what they're doing. The problem is that a good percentage of the reloading community has been duped in to believing that "never exceed max charges listed" means that if you don't you're safe. And without fail these people will, even if they agree somewhat with other's methods, fall back to "stick with tried and true book data and you can't go wrong." Yeah, you can! You're living proof! I use a different method to work up loads. I use my chronograph!

    Example:

    Here's an example of a max published load for 30-06: 165 Nosler Accubond, WLR Primer, Win Brass, 58grs H4350, COAL 3.340, 2867fps from a 24" bbl. ( I made this up by way of example...the powder charge/bullet wt combo are a long time tested load...you'll find it as a max load or within one grain in most loading manuals)

    Ok I have RP brass, a different lot of H4350, and a 23.6" bbl. In my load work up I drop back 2-3 grains, load, and shoot, ane work up. I watch my chronograph and my brass. When I hit 57.5 grains, the chronograph says an average of 2860 for 5 shots. I'm at max for my gun with my components regardless of the fact that the book says I can add another half grain. In fact, chances are I could do it safely, but why? The flip side of that is that if I hit 58grs, and I'm only at 2725fps, I'm going to add powder to get me up to @2850. In fact, though, in my gun 57.5grs produces max velocity, and to me that's when you've hit max, not based on some arbitrary "max charge" in a book worked up in another gun.

    Funny thing is I know a lot of loaders who would agree with stopping short of the max charge if you're getting max velocity, but somehow their brains can't compute going over a published max charge if you're under max velocity. These are the guys that typically refer to book data as "optimistic". It's not optimistic, it just wasn't worked up with your components in your gun. And by under velocity, I don't mean 20fps, I mean 100+ fps. If you're within 25fps of max velocity listed for a particular bullet/powder combo, then IME, you're there.

    Then there's the whole concept of burn rate of powder vs velocity. The burn rate of powder, and it's relationship to case capacity, bore size, and bullet wt, affect how fast you can safely push it. For instance, you can't safely push a 180 in a 30-06 as fast with Varget as you can with R-22.

    I don't know if you used a chronograph or not, but chances are good it would have told you that you were "hot" long before you worked up to the "hot load".

    Finally, the heat you're shooting in, could be a real cause of this load being hot, when at 70F and under it might be just fine. Which is why I don't shoot this time of year! :D

    And since I expect someone to read all that and ignore 99% of it and ask "why do you need to chase that extra 100fps?" Here's my answer: "Im not chasing anything extra, I'm not chasing anything at all. I'm simply looking to get what the data says I can safely acheive. IOW, I'm only trying to get up to the speed limit, I'm not trying exceed it and get away with it. Chasing "the extra 100fps" would be trying to get 2950fps when the book says 2850fps is produced with a max load."