6.5-284 powder and case fill

jpfrog

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Loading test rounds for my 6.5-284 with H4350, Lapua brass, and two bullets: 124 grain Hammer Hunters and 147 grain ELD-M.

I shot last weekend up to 49.0gr with both bullets and no pressure. Great groups but am going again this weekend to try more- what puzzles me is the lack of case fill. I can shake the rounds and hear the powder pretty loose in there. Should I be worried? I don’t want to cram 55gr of powder in there to fill the case, but I don’t want too little fill either to prevent the powder from burning funky on ignition. 49 grains is already over both Nosler and Hornady book max.

Am I worried about nothing? Using a long action Rem700. Chamber base to ogive is 2.547” for the 147 and 2.530” for the 124. I came back about .015” from that for each bullet which put my COAL for the 147 at about 3.135” and the 124 at 3.058”. Should I be going shorter to eliminate the shakes? I built on a long action to seat further out...

I have not chronographed yet...I want to find my most accurate load first as I use a magnetospeed and it attaches to the barrel.

Thanks in advance!
 

dok7mm

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I think H-4831 is a better powder than H-4350 for the 6.5-284. That was my my pick, until Greyfox put me on to Retumbo a couple of years ago. I shoot it in one rifle @ 3,050 and the H-4831 in another @ 2,950, both with 140 Bergers. Both give full cases.
 

jpfrog

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I think H-4831 is a better powder than H-4350 for the 6.5-284. That was my my pick, until Greyfox put me on to Retumbo a couple of years ago. I shoot it in one rifle @ 3,050 and the H-4831 in another @ 2,950, both with 140 Bergers. Both give full cases.
Yeah, I'm seeing H4831sc references all over the place, too. Problem is I have about 8# of the H4350 and was hoping to use it. My powder varieties are getting out of control- Varget, IMR4895, IMR4831, H1000, H4350, and a few others. I'd like to avoid adding another if I can.
 

jpfrog

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Thanks- accuracy results look promising so far and I've heard of great results others have had. I'm still curious on whether or not I should be concerned with that much extra room, though. For comparison, I pulled some factory barrel break in ammo I happen to have sitting around for my .270 and .300winmag. The .270 ammo had a similar amount of powder "shake" to it, as did one brand of the .300wm. The other brand of .300wm had almost no "shake" to it at all. Not scientific by any means. I also pulled some of my other handloads in other cartridges- very little "shake" to them.
 

Greyfox

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I don’t think you will any ignition problems with the your capacity. I would probably be more concerned with getting a low ES. Most loading manuals seem to to use the “short throat” (short action) configuration of the 6.5x284 for their powder charge weights for safety reasons. With your longer throat, you should see higher charge weights then indicated in your manual before observing pressure, but I would still work up slowly. While I know of shooters that use H4350 with success, they can barely make 2950FPS(140gr) using barrels that are longer then the typical 24/26” length. I can certainly understand your powder supply dilemma but, IMO, you are trading off the “sweet spot” of the 6.5x284, and not taking advantage of your “long throat” build by using the faster burning H4350. The slower burning powders(H4831sc, Retumbo) will not only allow you get a good case fill, higher velocity with low ES, but can be easier on throat wear due to a more distributed burn in the barrel, potentially prolonging barrel life.
 

jpfrog

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I don’t think you will any ignition problems with the your capacity. I would probably be more concerned with getting a low ES. Most loading manuals seem to to use the “short throat” (short action) configuration of the 6.5x284 for their powder charge weights for safety reasons. With your longer throat, you should see higher charge weights then indicated in your manual before observing pressure, but I would still work up slowly. While I know of shooters that use H4350 with success, they can barely make 2950FPS(140gr) using barrels that are longer then the typical 24/26” length. I can certainly understand your powder supply dilemma but, IMO, you are trading off the “sweet spot” of the 6.5x284, and not taking advantage of your “long throat” build by using the faster burning H4350. The slower burning powders(H4831sc, Retumbo) will not only allow you get a good case fill, higher velocity with low ES, but can be easier on throat wear due to a more distributed burn in the barrel, potentially prolonging barrel life.
Those are some good points- the trade off may be more costly than simply going out and buying another powder. Two of two responders with more experience than me mentioning Retumbo and H4831sc...perhaps I should listen!
 

johnnyk

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Rant begin. Trying not to be cynical, I always thought that the reloading manuals (esp. Hornady 9th Edition) loaded the 6.5/284 down for their end purpose (promote 6.5 CM). I know there are 6.5/284 WINCHESTER's out there and that they have shallower throats than the Norma version but they could include BOTH versions in their manuals (like they do with .308/.30-06) for safety purposes and give the Norma version its due. This is a GREAT cartridge and beats the socks off a lot of others rounds, new and old (one of its original "claims to fame" was it mimicked .300WinMag / 230gn SMK ballistics at 1000yds w/less recoil, ymmv). Rant done.
I tried all the recommended powders to start with and have used Retumbo since 2013 with very favorable results pushing the 140gn+ class bullets (3050fps & sub 1/2"). Another that needs mention is RL26 and all I will say is WOW.
IMO, as a reloading aficionado, you can never have too many varieties of powder, bullets, & primers. Comparable to a chef with spices, I mean who likes bland food? or sub performing loads? :)
 

tim_w

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I agree with Greyfox's comments.

I always prefer a case as full as possible for a number of reasons but the main one from a lr accuracy standpoint is ES. The further you shoot the more effect the vel spread has on accuracy and at extreme ranges can surpass all other factors than wind.

The first time I thought about low powder density I visualized the loaded catrdige sitting horizontal in the mag and chamber. All that space along the case body vs at the top when verticle. Further if the powder went forward a bit it could uncover part of the primer. Even without that just the idea of the the powder like that did not sit well with me. I invisioned weird things with how the pressure curve and energy built up and flow out of the mouth.

No proof of anything but .... I can say my most accuracte and lowest es that have nice broad nodes tend to have full cases. As long as I am not crushing long kernel extruded grains the fuller the better even using drop tubes if necessary but I prefer not to if possible than for no other reason it takes more time and care. I have done all sorts of crazy things looking for the best consistency. I've sieved ball powders before to get sligh changes in burn rate but more specifically for lowest es. Like I said things few people would or should be messing with. Idle hands and too much time to think etc..........
 

RockyMtnMT

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If I were starting a load with the 124g Hammer Hunter I would look 1st at rl-23. Start at 51g and work up looking for a vel at about 3150fps. The H-1000 that you have on hand would probably be a good bet for consistency. You will probably run out of case with that one.

Steve
 

jpfrog

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Well, thank you all for the suggestions. I had already loaded up some more test rounds with H4350 going up to 51 grains in half grain increments- those did fairly well with no signs of pressure on the primers/cases and no heavy lift. I also had 21 prepped and ready cases left so I went out and bought 1lb. each of Retumbo and H4831sc. I decided to try Retumbo only for those last 21 cases- worked up to 57 grains in half grain increments, and I only tried the 147 ELD-M with it. All I can say is I was impressed, and I found my charge weight for this bullet, and with only the slightest amount of "shake" in the case! I do want to try this powder with Steve's Hammer Hunters in both 124gr and 137gr (I know my barrel may not be quite fast enough for the latter, but I have that curious itch that just has to be scratched). I'm sure I'll find a use for the unopened H4831sc, just don't know what yet!

6.5-284 Norma - Lapua Brass, Fed 210 Primer, 147 ELD-M out of a 26" SS Criterion Varmint Remage barrel with a 1:7.5" twist on a Remington 700 long action. The pic below is my 3 shot group with that charge weight- it was my best of the charges I attempted- 0.217" if my math is correct!:cool:

Next step- load up 10 or so more and go chrono...
 

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