Matching Ammo - newbie question

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by bookworm, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. bookworm

    bookworm Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple hundred rounds of "match" ammo that was given to me and I like the way it shoots. I know what kind of bullet is used in them but I don't know what kind of powder or primers.

    Through reloading is it feasible to think that I could replicate the performance of this ammo that I have, or is that a pipe dream? If so, do you have suggestions on how I would go about matching the performance?

    I currently do not reload, but intend to begin doing so in the coming weeks.

    I'm new to long range shooting and I'm in a quandry as to whether I should use this ammo to develop my drop charts and such. Once I shoot it up I wonder if I will be back at square one regarding the collection and use of my ballistics/shot data.

    Should I go through the trouble and use this ammo to develop shot data or wait until I have my own recipe of reloads?

    Thanks for helping out the new guy.
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    If I really liked the way it shot, I'd chrono 10 rounds and write down the velocities and the temperature etc.

    I'd Measure the OAL length, as well as the length from the base to the shoulder.

    I'd take a few of them apart and see how much powder was in them (I'd weigh and also estimate the fill volume).

    Then I'd jump on Quickload and try to figure out a few powders that are estimated to give the same velocity with the same load and have around the same load density. I'd verify the loads in some loading books and start there.

    Even without doing all the above, it is likely you will be able to find a load that shoots just as good (if not better) by reloading.

    If you get a load using the same bullet at the same velocity, any drops you have with the factory loaded stuff should be very close.

    HTH

    AJ
     

  3. anachronism

    anachronism Well-Known Member

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    If you're trying to duplicate factory ammo, you won't be able to obtain the powder used, the factorys don't use the cannister grade powders the gunstore sells. If they're handloads, why not just ask for the load data?

    You'll probably just have to do the full load development routine. You might even come up with something better.
     
  4. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    Do you guys really think that the ammo companies use "special" powders? I have always doubted it. I think they just tell us that for "safty" reasons, or for liability issues. I would think that the R & D costs of developing a whole new powder would be a huge additional expence for them over and above developing a load.

    Just my thoughts, of course.

    Anyone know the facts on this?
     
  5. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    Who's match ammo do you have? I've been told that Federal uses IMR 4064 for their 308 match ammo...
     
  6. anachronism

    anachronism Well-Known Member

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    There are a great many more powders being made in the world than you see at the gunstore. The ones you see in the gun store is cannister grade, specially blended for uniformity from lot to lot. This allows the use of these powders by untrained, sometimes unqualified people without the assistance of a real ballistics laboratory. I have used enough surplus powder to accept this as true. If the factory loads weren't "safe", do you really believe the factories would use them?
     
  7. bookworm

    bookworm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the guidance.

    I've been trying to find more info on the rounds that I have, but I'm not having much luck.

    I think I'll chrono the rounds etc. that AJ recommends and see where I end up.

    It seems like even if these are factory powders that I can't replicate, there must be an available powder that would produce the same velocity as I have now...don't you think?

    My main dilema was whether to put a lot of effort into collect my shot data with these rounds or if I should just wait until I am reloading and develop my shot data from a known recipe round.

    My hope is that I could collect my shot data from these rounds and then replicate their performance when i start reloading. That way I don't have to re-collect all my shot data after I run out of these rounds.

    What I hear from you all is that it is likely possible to come "close" to replicating these current rounds but it will take some experimentation and "load development".

    Do you all agree with that assessment?

    Thanks again.
     
  8. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Bookworm,

    You are on the right track. As long as you are using the same bullet and get a load that is consistent and near the same velocity, the drop data you get from the factory loads will be useful. You may need to adjust it a little for the change in velocity, but using the same bullet with comparable velocities will give you a lot of valuable data that will easily transition to a slight change in velocity with your reloads.

    I'd look for loads that have around 90%-95% fill capacity and the same velocities you are seeing with the factory loads. This will get you very close.

    Good luck,
    AJ