Reloading newbie needs advice

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by xarcher, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. xarcher

    xarcher Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    I am a flatlander (PA resident) that has never had to shoot over 100 yards to kill anything until last year on a mulie hunt in eastern MT. I was unprepared last year but got hooked when I saw my buddy and MT resident put one in the kitchen at over 300 yards. My goal this year is to be confident out to 400 yards.

    So I bought reloading manuals, an RCBS Rock Chucker, a chronograph, an OAL gage, etc. and read a ton of material on line. Thanks to LRH for some of the articles and info.

    My gun is a Ruger M77 Mark II, 7mm Magnum (NIB but I won it several years ago in a raffle, so this is my "weapon of choice" by default). I have read that it is not the best out there, but it's all I got for now. Besides, I am not thinking about 600 or 700 yard shots. One must walk before one runs. One upgrade - a Timney trigger but otherwise it is stock. The chamber measures 3.290 inches.

    I am shooting Barnes TSX 160 grain, WLRM primers, RE 22 powder to start at 100 yards. Here is where I am with a cartridge length of 3.280 inches. (I did the same with 3.270 COAL but the results are understandably worse) The stats below are for 4 shots in each group:

    Powder/ AVG/ ES/ STD DEV/ MOA
    57 gr/ 2566/ 57/ 24.0/ 1
    58 gr/ 2610/ 8.0/ 3.3/ 0.75
    59 gr/ 2648/ 40/ 18.8/ 1
    60 gr/ 2697/ 30/ 13.5/ 1
    61 gr/ 2738/ 22/ 9.3/ 0.75

    I was expecting to see only one low standard deviation and spread point, but I have 2; one at 58 grains and one at 61 grains. The Barnes manual allows a max load of 63 grains so my inclination is to keep going up in powder and see if I can at least match the performance at 58 grains. All else considered equal, I figure faster is better, provided I can match the accuracy at the higher velocity.

    Any comments or suggestions otherwise? Also, if the numbers continue to improve as I get to 63 grains, the obvious temptation is to continue to go higher. I suspect that although the manual says to not go above the max load, there has got to be some margin there. I have read that some of the signs of going to high are ballooned cartridges and tough-to-eject cartridges. Anything else I should look for?

    Thanks for any and all comments. Positive or negative.

    Jeff
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
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    Oct 7, 2005
    Nothing wrong with the Ruger, if you can't get it to shoot better, bed the action.

    Load the 160gr bullets to around 3000fps in a 24" barrel (a little faster in a 26" barrel).

    I've had better accuracy with non-magnum primers in the 7mm Rem Mag. Now adays, you'll be using whatever primers you can find though.

    AJ
     

  3. xarcher

    xarcher Active Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Thanks for the quick response AJ. So you would not be afraid to push the load above the recommended max? I misspoke before. Barnes says the max is 61 grains with RL 22, and the resultant velocity is 2858. I am still 120 fps below that @ 61 grains. If the numbers improve beyond 61 grains, how will I know when enough is enough?