Reloading complications

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Len Backus, May 2, 2001.

  1. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    May 2, 2001
    Gentlemen,
    I should have brought this up when we were all still knee deep in the mire back at HA. Better late than never, I guess. The problem concerns reloading. As some of you may recall my once having mentioned back at HA, I don't do my own reloading. I know it's a sin, but I figure it's temporarily forgiveable given how new I am to these endeavors which have brought us all together. At any rate, the guy who does it for me assembled about three hundred rounds for my .338 Lapua Longbow this past winter, having full-length sized, as opposed to just neck sizing, the brass. Upon having taken this batch of ammo to the range, I found that the cartridges did not easily fit into the chamber. A bit of effort (not much, just a bit) was required to lock the bolt down behind them. At first I thought he had simply screwed up the seating depth. But the bullet ogives were .002" off the rifling just as I had asked they be. And for whatever reason, the accuracy of this batch compared to previous batches he's loaded for me was for shit! I went from shooting softball-sized groups at 615 yards to shooting all over the paper at the same distance. Also, there were little dents in the case shoulders which my reloading guy explained were the result of having used too much or too little case lube.
    Now I know you guys are incredulous that there is someone amongst you who would, ostensibly, not only throw caution to the wind with regard to such critical elements in the game of long range shooting/hunting, but who also apparently knows so little about such basic stuff. It's all true, however. So maybe help me out here fellas and I'll soon not have to make any of you sick to your stomachs. Besides, I'll probably really be able to turn in some kickass results once I get all the wrinkles ironed out!

    Regards,
    David

    N/A

    posted May 01, 2001 04:46 PM

    Steve Shelp
    Member

    From: NC
    Registered: April 11, 2001
    Posts: 8
    David, David, David....what are we going to do with you son? still not reloading?? what do we need to take up a collection for you?
    Len, don't we have a policy for a "foul" such as this?

    Dave,
    There's a number of factors that play into this and I'm not sure where to start. The first thing is the camming down with a little stiffness doesn't mean you have a seriosu problem right now, depending on what it is though. it may or may not be a symptom of a different problem or nothing at all. There's a lot of other things that could affect your accuracy besides that. This past weekend at the NC State Championship shoot I won my relay with rounds that I didn't bump the shoulder on and I had to physically work at closing the bolt the last 1/4 of the throw. So the tight issue may or may not be your problem.

    Was a different powder Lot# used to load these rounds as compared to your other "lot" of rounds that were loaded? I'm using H1000 right now and I've a got a couple of cans of "pre-extreme" rated H1000 that doesn't act like the new H1000 Extreme rated powder. It's about 2 gr faster the best I can tell. Gotta download that Lot and I use it for sighter rounds only.

    But if you can see scratch marks on the case and they seem to be really stiff, I think I would ask about where the brass came from? Another rifle maybe? Pull a bullet out of one of the cases that was stiff going into your chamber and see if just the case itself w/o the powder and bullet in it will chamber ok. If it doesn't your buddy is going to need to check his die setup and/or make sure he doesn't mixs brass from your rifle with another 338 Lapua if that is possible. Maybe he doesn't load for any other 338 and it's not possible I don't know. Only throwing out some suggestions.

    What kind've powder are you using? There supposably a bad Lot of R22 going around right now. Alliant claims they screwed up the deterrent coating process, and numerous of my fellow 1000yd BR guys have had to back way off on there loads. But I've seen where Warren J. posted saying that he has used that particualr lot# wihtout an issue. Don't know but it is a possibility.

    Try to give us as much info as possible and I'll help along with everyone else the best we can. But honestly with situations like this, you can't beat hands-on time with all the components right in front of you. So we somewhat have our hands tied behind our backs, but we won't leave a fellow LR shooter out to dry. ....unless he doesn't relaod his own ammo..DAVID. hehehe

    Let us know.
    Stev

    [This message was edited by Steve Shelp on May 01, 2001 at 10:47 PM.]

    posted May 01, 2001 10:40 PM
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Steve,
    Yeah, I know you and everyone else is really disappointed in me with not keeping such important variables within my exclusive control. Still, it's not as bad as you seem to assume. You see, I'm not having this guy who does my reloading provide everything outright. He only provides the labor. I, on the other hand, am controlling the use of all components. As far as this last, miserable batch of ammo goes, the brass was all Lapua stuff, once or twice fired from my rifle only. The bullets were also of the Lapua brand - 250-grain Scenar HPBTs. And the propellant/charge was V.V. N560/89.5 grains. Oh yeah, the loads were all configured to measure 0.002" off the rifling at the ogive. In other words, the only difference between this batch of ammo and the previous one (which shot so well) is that the brass was fire-formed in the former batch. I hope this doesn't stump you for suggestions, Steve, 'cause frankly, I'm freakin' out over this little problem, thinking that maybe it's something with the rifle as well.

    We'll see after I have fire a few (10-15) rounds in which the brass has been neck sized as opposed to full length sized and an the issue of the case shoulder damage has been addressed as well.

    Regards,
    David
     

  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Steve,
    Yeah, I know you and everyone else is really disappointed in me with not keeping such important variables within my exclusive control. Still, it's not as bad as you seem to assume. You see, I'm not having this guy who does my reloading provide everything outright. He only provides the labor. I, on the other hand, am controlling the use of all components. As far as this last, miserable batch of ammo goes, the brass was all Lapua stuff, once or twice fired from my rifle only. The bullets were also of the Lapua brand - 250-grain Scenar HPBTs. And the propellant/charge was V.V. N560/89.5 grains. Oh yeah, the loads were all configured to measure 0.020" off the rifling at the ogive. In other words, the only difference between this batch of ammo and the previous one (which shot so well) is that the brass was fire-formed in the former batch. I hope this doesn't stump you for suggestions, Steve, 'cause frankly, I'm freakin' out over this little problem, thinking that maybe it's something with the rifle as well.

    We'll see after I've fired a few (10-15) rounds in which the brass has been neck sized as opposed to full length sized and an the issue of the case shoulder damage has been addressed as well.

    Regards,
    David

    [ 05-04-2001: Message edited by: David P. Herne ]
     
  4. Steve Shelp

    Steve Shelp Well-Known Member

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    May 3, 2001
    David,
    Sorry to leave you hanging here. Been busy as everyone is I'm sure. OK so you do have controls over your components. That's good. That leave the setup of the sizing die and seating dies, or your rifle as your already questioned. Obviosusly double check the screws, pressure points, click your scope back and forth while watching the crosshairs move. Make sure they move positively in the right direction and don't skip or something. I've seen really bad cases of shiming the scope rings to where the scope tube was litterly bent and was binding the inside erector tube. You could watch the crosshairs move, then at a certain point you could keep on clicking but the hairs would stop moving, then they would jump up to where your clicks were. I don't believe it's something this drastic with your rifle, just giving an example.

    You mentioned the hydralic dents in the necks before. That tells me he's bumping your shoulder back. Question is how much? have him check that and adjust the sizing die as needed. you only need a small bump. 1 thousands approx. More than that and your stressing yoyur brass. Keep in mind with these big cases, when you start sizing the body down in diameter your headspace will actually increase a couple of thousands until the die is adjusted down far enough to bump that shoulder back again. Keep an eye out for this. This can throw someone off real easy. Another idea being this is your 2 or 3rd firing. Check your case overall length. Maybe your cases have strethced to where they exceed the chamber length and are "choking" your bullets. How's that for a technical sentence???

    The only other thing I can think of is the seating depth which you stated was .002 off the lands. Watch your throat erosion and keep chasing the "burnt out" throat by adjusting your seating depth out to it. My 338 seems to be sensitive to seating depth. My throat moved .008" in the first 200 rds, and moved another .007" for a total of .015" for the first 990rds. That's typical to have a larger throat erosion in the first couple hundred rounds do to "breaking in the throat" area. Then it settles down some.

    Haven't measured the Lapua 250s yet for ogive variation. If they are anything like their 6.5 139gr bullet they don't vary period. The 300gr Sierras vary about .007/.009" within one box of 500 bullets. Depending on what type of seater die you use this could give you big variations right there. At long range all this stuff makes a difference.
    NOTE: Lapua bullets run a little larger in diameter on the pressure ring. Keep this in mind if you develop a load with another bullet brand then substitute a Lapua bullet. Haven't measure the 338 bullet but in other calibers this is a trend. Larger diameter, more pressure, different grouping.

    Hope this gives you some guidance. Let me know if you come up with anything or other ideas.

    Steve
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Steve,
    Unbelievable . . . . . throat errosion of 0.015" within 1000 rounds!?!?! It's a good thing I got that case in from Stoney Point for checking this with their OAL gauge! I'm gonna have to see what I've done to the rifle.

    As far as your suggestions that it might be something in the rig itself I'm hearing ya loud and clear. I was wondering the same thing. I'll check it out. And if it is that damn Nightforce scope, those boys are gonna be hearing from me. But let me not holler until I'm hurt.

    I'll let you know as what's going on within the next week!

    Thanks,
    David

    Ya know, I'm looking forward to meeting all you fellas if and when we can organize Dave King's "Long Range Hunters Jamboree". 'Sides, I want to see some real shooters take this Longbow through it's paces!
     
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Steve,
    You and all the other boys here are gonna be so proud of me! I broke down and bought the following items . . . . .

    - Redding Ultramag reloading press
    - Pact BBK digital scale
    - RCBS case trimmer
    - Sinclair Intl. hand priming tool
    - Sinclair Intl. primer pocket uniformer
    - Sinclair Intl. VLD chamfering tool
    - Stainless steel calipers
    - Stoney Point bullet comparator body/insert
    - Davidson bullet comparator base
    - Wilson case length gauge
    - Imperial sizing die wax
    * Already have the Redding dies for the .338
    Lapua!

    Well, here I go gents! Maybe now I'll realize the both my own and the rifle's potential!

    Regards,
    David


    [​IMG]
     
  7. brogers

    brogers Member

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    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    David; You have some real good advice already and I'm gonna go with the idea he is setting your neck back too far with all that lube. IF it can produce a dimple like that it can sure push back on the neck. The full length resize alone could make your softball into a basket ball with a cartridge like that. As for the errosion... thats a big shell and it's likely to have a fairly short life on that barrel. Big usually means short in this business. [​IMG]
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Gents,
    A friend and I worked up a bunch of absolutely perfect loads of various OALs over the weekend and headed for the range with them Monday. We found that the ole' Longbow really likes having the bullet right on the lands and charged for maximum velocity and really hates about everything else! We shot three, 3-round groups at 104 yards with the load resting right on the lands. They measured 0.277", 0.873", and 0.375", respectively. All other loads wouldn't even shoot under 1.5"!

    If any of you are interested, the recipe for the winning load used a 250-grain Scenar HPBT, 89.5 grains of Vitha Vouri N560, and a Federal Gold Match primer. I forget what the average velocities were, but the damn thing was really smokin'! We saw them running from 3048 up to 3080 fps! of course, the barrel is 28".

    Despite all this wonderful news, there are new problems looming on the horizon. We put a bore scope down the barrel and found an unbelievable amount of copper buildup in the bore. Everyone was incredulous that it shot so well looking like it did. And obviously, I was upset because my cleaning methods aren't working (i.e. Shooter's Choice followed by Sweets followed by JB Paste every 20 rounds). I guess it's that damn patented Lothar Walther stainless steel.

    Nobody 'round here thinks it'll be shooting well for too much longer if this copper buildup continues. What am I gonna do, guys, short of getting the thing re-barreled? Or should I even worry about it until the accuracy does go south?

    Regards,
    David [​IMG]
     
  9. Warren Jensen

    Warren Jensen Well-Known Member

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    May 3, 2001
    David,

    I hope you don't take this in the wrong way, but you've made a couple of huge jumps in logic and I need to back you up a little.

    First, there is no one way to correctly clean a rifle. Different types of fouling, with different bullets and barrels, will require adjusting your cleaning methods. Make sure that when you clean your barrel it ends up clean. Check it after each sequence. Adjust for what seems to be working. I could, and many others reading this could, write at great lengths about cleaning a barrel, but some of this will have to be learned through experience.

    Second, assuming that you have the perfect handloads, before you have shot them is fairly presumptive. From the results that you have listed your rifle may have a definite preference for a controlled start pressure, but there is more than one way to do this. Seating the bullets at the lands is just one way. By the way, where those three groups that you listed occurred in the sequence relative to when you last cleaned your rifle is fairly important.

    Lastly, do not assume that heavy fouling and a high pressure/high velocity load are unrelated.
     
  10. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    David,
    Warren hit it on the head - there is no single, standard method to clean barrels. Some clean up much easier than others, some are a bitch. Bottom line is if you take the time to let the chemicals do their job the copper will be removed. I would be very interested to hear any tips or barrel cleaning suggestions from the guys re: cleaning barrels that foul or are fouled. Anybody use the Outers Foul-Out electric gizzmo? What are your opinions of JB?

    We frequently find that the higher velocity bullets tend to copper foul more - seems to be a price one pays. Also it seems that some barrels just don't foul like others, from the same maker, same ammo - perhaps a function of smoothness? Any comments re: some brands of bullets fouling barrels more than other brands of bullets.

    Oops, this is off the bullet performance at 400 yards topic...
     
  11. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    May 3, 2001
    David,
    Warren hit it on the head - there is no single, standard method to clean barrels. Some clean up much easier than others, some are a bitch. Bottom line is if you take the time to let the chemicals do their job the copper will be removed. I would be very interested to hear any tips or barrel cleaning suggestions from the guys re: cleaning barrels that foul or are fouled. Anybody use the Outers Foul-Out electric gizzmo? What are your opinions of JB?

    We frequently find that the higher velocity bullets tend to copper foul more - seems to be a price one pays. Also it seems that some barrels just don't foul like others, from the same maker, same ammo - perhaps a function of smoothness? Any comments re: some brands of bullets fouling barrels more than other brands of bullets.

    Oops, this is off the bullet performance at 400 yards topic...
     
  12. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about the double entry, and this is off the reloading topic not the 400 yd....
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Warren & Ian,
    Those 3/3 series we shot all followed the same heavy cleaning. In other words, we cleaned the shit out of the barrel before firing the first 3/3 series, cleaned it again and shot the next 3/3 with another load, cleaned it again and went again, and so on . . .

    Here's one big mistake I think I'm making with cleaning. Often, I take nothing to the range but the rifle, twenty rounds of ammo, a spotter scope and a shooting mat. I like to simply drive down range, post the target, drive back to the firing line, get out, throw everything on the grass and start shooting. When I'm done and while the barrel is still warm, I fail to clean it. I just gather everything up, throw it back in the car and head for the house. The rifle then gets cleaned hours later or often not even until the next day! This, I understand, is a big mistake.

    Come back,
    David
     
  14. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    David,
    We always take a complete cleaning kit, with a rifle holder, rods, bore guides, spare brushes, jags, grease for lugs, cleaning brushes, chamber mop, lug recess cleaning tool, solvents and oils, Q-tips, screw-driver set, patches etc. each time we shoot - doesn't matter if it is to the range, varminting or whatever.

    Once you get into the habit it is much better than cleaning at home. Since we usually shoot more than one rifle we give a hot barrel a break by cleaning and letting it sit with solvent in it for a while. If there is no time at the end of shooting we just push some solvent soaked patches through to start getting at the carbon and then finish the job at home.

    Worst thing you can do is put it off. My shooting partner is a cleaning fanatic and it rubbed off on me - never used to clean barrels like I do now. How often - we don't like to go more than two boxes - 40 rounds without a cleaning. Sometimes less if the barrel needs it. Sometimes a lot more if the shooting is really good.