Savage 111 LRH 6.5-284 Loading Questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Nimrodmar10, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    First, let me say I'm no novice to reloading. I've got 40 plus years of rolling my own ammo. I am, however, new to Savage rifles and the 6.5-284 caliber. I've always been a Remington man and know their idiosyncrasies well. My blood runs Remington green. I wanted to try a 6.5-284 and since Remington doesn't make one, I bought the Savage. I have the intention of using it for a walking rifle for deer and antelope so didn't want a heavy barrel. I figured it would fit somewhere between my 243 and my 338 LM.

    While waiting for reloading supplies, I broke in the new barrel with HSM factory ammo. Good accurate ammo, but it was loaded to fit a short action magazine. I intended to take advantage of the long action of the Model 111 to load the bullets out to the lands and still fit the long magazine box.

    So much for background. I bought a set of Redding Competition Type S dies, new Lapua brass, H4831SC powder, Berger 140 gr. VLD Hunting bullets, Federal GM210M primers and started working on a load. My first loads were one each of 48, 49, 50 and 51 Grs. of H4831SC. They showed no signs of high pressure so I loaded a set of 3 shell each starting with the Bergers seated against the lands then 10, 20, 30 and 40 thousandths off the lands. The bullets seated on the lands grouped at about .75". The next 3 groups grew by 1/4" each until I got to the group loaded .040" off the lands. Those three made a clover leaf hole that measured just over .4". Close enough for a start.

    Next I decided to see what the upper limit would be with this bullet and powder. I loaded 10 shells with the first containing 51 grs. H4831SC. I increased each succeeding round with .2 grs. more powder, ending with 53 grs. of powder. I went to the range expecting to reach a maximum safe load way before I fired all 10 shells. Not so. There was no sign of high pressure. The last primer may have been slightly flatter on the last than on the first, but not by much. There was no cratering around the firing pin dent like I would expect with a Remington. No sticky bolt. No expansion of the case head.

    So, here's my question: What next? Keep increasing the load until I see pressure signs? Use the 51 gr. maximum load listed in the Berger loading manual? Start testing for accuracy with the 10 test loads?

    I want the fastest, most accurate load I can find. I'm not worried about burning out the barrel with hot loads, which this caliber seems to be famous for. This is a hunting gun. I'll shoot it until I find the load I want then I'll only shoot it for practice and hunting.I'll probably never shoot it enough to burn out the barrel, but if I do, I'll rebarrel it.

    What I'm looking for is advice from folks that have hands-on experience with this rifle or the 6.5-284 loaded long with the Bergers. Someone with experience with both would be great. I'm also wondering how much extra velocity you can get at a safe pressure by seating the bullet to the bottom of the case neck, freeing up quite a bit of case capacity.

    I appreciate all the good info I can get. I learn something new every day.
     
  2. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    Re: Savage 111 LRH 6.5-285 Loading Questions

    I worked up loads for my 6.5-284 (not a Savage) using the information posted on 6mmbr.com as follows: 6.5-284 Cartridge Guide

    As my first step, I followed the testing procedure outlined by Berger bullets to find the optimum seating depth for a VLD type bullet.

    From there, I started at 49g and worked up to 53g of H4831. Using Lapua brass, I got not pressure signs, though the primers were getting pretty flat at 53g. With Norma brass, I got enough case head expansion at 53g to make it difficult to get the fired brass into and out of a shell holder. That makes me think that I was probably right at the safe limit at 53g H4831.

    My best accuracy came in at 52.5g H4831 with a COAL of 3.050" base to tip. I doubt very much that i would reach a higher accuracy node at safe pressure levels.

    Given that the Berger manual lists 51g H4831 as max, the benchrest guys say that 53g is max, along with my own load development experience, I would say that 53g is probably the absolute max and may be a bit on the warm side.

    I would recommend that you work up from 49g and go with the highest accuracy node below 53g.

    I wouldn't be surprised if your high node comes in around 51g or 51.5g. It seems like that is a pretty common accuracy node in 6.5-284.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

  3. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

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    Re: Savage 111 LRH 6.5-285 Loading Questions

    I'm on my 3rd 6.5-284 barrel on a Savage albeit non of them have been actual Savage barrels.The first two where tired takeoffs that had a little life left in them but the last one in progress is a Shaw sporter sitting in a Savage Axis.
    The first two 6.5-284 barrels where varmint barrels and as such I loaded them with Bergers for long range varminting=Accuracy mattered more than velocity or terminal bullistics. The other kicker was these where set up to shoot in the heat of the summer so loads ended up between 50-51 grains of H4821sc. Have found the Hunting/Hybreds like to be somewhere around 40thou off +or- so your results seam reasonable. As for burning up the barrel I got between 4-600 rounds out of the first two barrels after they where too tired for competition?? Your right in thinking your not going to burn the barrel out hunting with it.....Unless you use it to hunt parairie dogs or ground squirrels:D
    Now this sporter setup is being asked to fill a whole different task=Shoot a six inch or less group to 600 yards. I'm burning up some old 140grain VLDs just to get started but the end load will probably be a Partition or Amax. I dont have enough faith in any hollow-point to use them for general hunting and inside of 600 yards there is little benifet to the added BC of the Bergers.....If this was a heavier barrel and/or the scope was set up for shots past 600 yards then the VLDs might be a candidate.
    Took a mulie buck a few years ago @ 620 yards with a 140grain Amax. Not the best hit but the Amax did a great job of makeing up for it! That was the last outing for that barrel as it went south fast! The VLD may work but I KNOW the Partition and Amax work better consistantly!
    For hunting in cooler weather you might be able to go past 51 grains of H4831sc but I've found anything more can be a problem in the summer heat or a hot chamber.
     
  4. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    Re: Savage 111 LRH 6.5-285 Loading Questions

    I have had a few 6.5x284's including a Savage LRH that I currently shoot. I have two loads using Berger Hunting VLD 140's that I shoot which give excellent accuracy and 10FPS/ ES. Using H4831SC at 53gr, Fed210M. Lapua brass, at .072" out of the lands I get 2935FPS. I get similiar accuracy and ES using 57-59gr of Retumbo, all else being the same, but with higher velocity, 2975FPS. No pressure signs in either load, but sure to work up Retumbo loads from 57 gr or less. I have seen lot to lot variations.
     

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  5. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, duplicate post

    Sorry duplicate post
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  6. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Savage 111 LRH 6.5-285 Loading Questions

    Thanks for all the good info so far guys. I'm soaking it all in.

    I decided to do a little accuracy testing between 51 and 53 grains of H4831SC. I loaded 3 shells with 51.0, 51.5, 52.0, 52.5 and 53 grains of H4831SC. I left the 140 VLD .040" off the lands and went to the range. I set up the chronograph about 10' from the barrel and used sand bags on a shooting bench. I had moved the scope back one notch on the picatinny so the first shots would be sighters. I had three rounds left from a box of HSM factory loads that I used to break in the barrel. They were loaded with the Berger 140 VLD Hunting bullet also, but were seated short to fit a short action magazine. Out of curriosity I shot them through the screens. The first two rounds both shot 2962 fps. I got the gun sighted close enough to shoot groups so I decided to save the last round for an autopsy.

    The results of the five group of three rounds ended up as follows:


    CHARGE ____VELOCITY____ GROUP SIZE

    51.0 grs.____ 2706 fps____ .580"
    51.5 grs. ____2745 fps____ .720"
    52.0 grs. ____2783 fps____ .898"
    52.5 grs. ____2808 fps____ 1.110"
    53.0 grs.____ 2838 fps____ 1.165"


    Not exactly the results I was hoping for. Looks like the rifle likes the 51 grains of H4831SC more than the hotter loads. The Berger reloading manual says that this load will produce 2753 fps with a 26" barrel and each 1" of barrel loss will reduce this by 32 fps. This puts my 24 inch barrel very close to expected velocities. I was really hoping for 3000 fps with the 53 grain load but that isn't happening, not with my reloads at least.

    I took the lone HSM 6.5-284 shell home and pulled the bullet to see what made it shoot 2962 fps, 124 fps faster than my highest reload. When I weighed the powder it contained exactly 53 grains of powder. The powder looked quite a bit like H4831SC but it wasn't. The grain size was a little smaller and it was a little darker. I went through the 15-20 different powders on my shelf and none of them matched. Anyone by chance know what powder HSM uses for this shell. I doubt they would tell me if I called, but I may give them a call anyway.

    I also wonder if the bullet being seated quite a bit deeper into the case might also contribute to the higher velocity? Maybe so. I've read that with the bullets seated longer, giving more useable powder capacity, you reduce the pressure of the load. Any thoughts or information on this?

    I think I'm going to go ahead and load 20 rounds with the 51 grain load just to give me something to hunt with. But at the same time I'm going to start testing some of the other powders such as Retumbo, Norma MRP or IMR7828SSC. If you've tried these powders I'd appreciate your thoughts. I think I'll also try some of the Sierra 142 gr. SMKs I have on hand.

    Off to the reloading store.
     
  7. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    The velocity you are getting with H4831sc is identicle to those I get with my LRH and my Cooper. I wasn't able to get good groups at 53 gr of 4831sc until I moved that bullet out to .075" off the lands. Go to Retumbo with the 140 Berger and it will get you close to the 3000 FPS mark. Start at 57 gr. I think I heard that HSM uses H1000, but I'm not positive.
     
  8. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe so, but not this bullet and load. That was one of the first I checked.

    I thought about the Retumbo but Berger is showing 102% fill rate with 58.5 gr. for a velocity of 2865 fps (2801 fps in 24" barrel) and they're seating out .084" longer than I am.
     
  9. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

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    Retumbo is showing some promise for me BUT like Greyfox said start low and work up and I even went to 1/3 grain with Retumbo and R17 as they seamed to spike??
    They may list Retumbo @ 102% but a drop tube works wonders and pour slow:D The down side with the Retumbo lot I'm useing is it tends to pack into a solid mass......Not sure yet what this does to the load with time but it makes picking the powder out of a pulled load interesting.
     
  10. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I have the Berger Reloading Manual and saw that load data. It doesn't match anything I've seen. I have two rifles and I have two other buddies that shoot 6.5x284's. We are all loading 57-59 grs of Retumbo, 140 Bergers, COAL of 3.1-3.19"(.020-.075"out of the lands)and getting 2950-3010 out of 24-26" barrels with no pressure signs. This also is the standard 6.5x284 load used by BOTW.and I believe, Gunwerks. All my data has been verified with actual drops out to 1000 yards. I think their info is either just off, or the specific rifle they tested, not at spec, or an oddball. IMHO.
     
  11. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I am new the 6.5-284 so I try and read everything available. This is a great thread and I wanted to say to thanks to the guys puttin their info out there. I will be re-testing tomorrow. I have a savage model 116 6.5-284 in stainless with a 24" savage fluted bull barrel. I assume it will be similar in results. I have tested H4350, H4831SC, and picked up a pound of Retumbo based on Greyfox's recommendations. Temps here have been between 0 and 10 above but tomorrow it looks like I might see 30-40.

    Not sure what to expect since my last outing was mediocre. I saw a few 1" goups but the throat on my rifle is too deep to feel good about seating at .015 off the lands. I am going to work from 050 and see what happens with Berger 140 VLD hunting. Would be very happy with 2900 +- 50 and .075 off lands and .25 to .5 consistent accuracy at 200.
     
  12. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    The packing of Retumbo is quite typical and appears to have no effect over time as far as accuracy, velocity and ES. It is a pain to unpack, but seems to only occur in the top 10-20% of the case.
     
  13. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Well grey fox is right. 57.5 Retumbo .075 off lands 2975 fps. .4 moa @ 200. 6 to 7 inch at 980 yards. It was windy so verticals were off. Should have a night force on it this week and see if groups tighten up.
     
  14. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    Loaded up some 6.5-284s with IMR7828SSC and Retumbo and headed to the range. It was 46°, 46% Humidity, 757 feet above sea level and 30.26" Hg.

    Let me say right up front, THESE LOADS ARE ABOVE MAXIMUM. DO NOT SHOOT THESE LOADS IN YOUR RIFLE WITHOUT REDUCING THE LOADS BY AT LEAST 4 GRAINS AND WORKING UP.

    Given my results with the H4831SC, I took a chance and started with maximum loads for these two powders from the Berger Reloading Manual. I don't suggest anyone does this. The max load of 52 grains of IMR7828SSC was not a problem. I was able to increase the load to 54 grains IN MY RIFLE without showing signs of high pressure. NOT SO WITH RETUMBO. The manual listed 58.5 grains as MAX and it WAS. At 59.5 grains the bolt was slightly sticky and one case showed brass flow into the ejector hole. At 60.5 grains all three shells had brass flow into the ejector hole and slight brass wipe on bolt lift. Primers were completely flat on all Retumbo loads.

    All shells were loaded in Lapua once fired, full length resized brass. Primers were Federal 210M match primers. Bullets were Berger 140 gr. VLD Hunting. Bullets were seated .040" off the lands for an COAL of 3.144".

    Here are the results of the tests:

    Powder Type_________Weight________Avg. Vel._______Grp. Sz._______Notes

    IMR7828SSC_________52.0 gr,_______2814 fps_______.840"___________No sign of high pressure
    IMR7828SSC_________53.0 gr._______2822 fps_______.500"___________No sign of high pressure
    IMR7828SSC_________54.0 gr._______3000 fps______1.050"wf________ES 6, SD 3, No Hl press.

    Retumbo_____________58.5 gr,________3072 fps______.910"___________Max Load
    Retumbo_____________59.5 gr.________3107 fps______1.467"__________Over Max, Sticky Bolt
    Retumbo_____________60.5 gr_________3159 fps______1.910"__________DANGEROUS LOAD

    As in previous test, the fastest load is not the most accurate. I'm going to do more testing with the Retumbo between 57 and 58.5 gr, but no higher. Also more testing of the IMR7828SSC in the 3000 fps area. I'll shoot more of some of the same loads to find best accuracy and then start testing shorter and longer seating depths. Then lastly I'll try different primers. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm recovering from knee surgery and have some extra loading and trigger time,

    Still open to suggestions on loading for this 6.5-284 Savage 111 LRH.