Load development for Hammers

Dr. Vette

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As I reported in my post, Steve got 3,260 in my 7mmRem with 155's so I think that 3,400 is possible, but he would know better than me
His posted photo shows over 3400.
I would think that not every rifle will do that, but that's just my thought based on a particular rifle. I went with accuracy/consistency in my rifle.

It kills anything it touches anyway, so an extra 50fps would make zero difference.
 

Kmccord

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Speed is okay, but what I am looking for is accuracy, reading the opening of this thread, it was mentioned the Hammers would be a little easier to achieve accuracy. Another reason I was looking at the Hammers was how the bullet reacts on impact, the three petals that peel off is to me better than maybe what a Berger will do. Looking at what you posted for that finicky 7mag using RL33, is that with a new barrel or one that has been broken in already? I would think for 200 yards it would have a better group. I also have a 28 Nosler and RL33 is the most accurate powder I had found for that rifle.
 

RockyMtnMT

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Speed is okay, but what I am looking for is accuracy, reading the opening of this thread, it was mentioned the Hammers would be a little easier to achieve accuracy. Another reason I was looking at the Hammers was how the bullet reacts on impact, the three petals that peel off is to me better than maybe what a Berger will do. Looking at what you posted for that finicky 7mag using RL33, is that with a new barrel or one that has been broken in already? I would think for 200 yards it would have a better group. I also have a 28 Nosler and RL33 is the most accurate powder I had found for that rifle.
We used rl23 not rl33.

I am not sure how many rounds have been on this rifle. It is not ours, it belongs to a customer. I am pretty sure it is pretty new though. The customer was not sure that this rifle was done well by the smith that he had build it. It did not like the heavier bullets that we tried in it. Should probably check the twist rate as it acts like it might be slower than stated. Until yesterday it would not hold moa for more than a few of shots. It tricked me a week ago into thinking that it was shooting well. Had convinced myself the couple of shots that were not with the majority were me not riding the bags well. Then we took it out to 900y and it was not good. Will see in a couple of days, if weather holds, when we take it to long range again. That 6 shot group that I posted is .701 moa. Not the best I have shot, but I didn't think it was too bad for a 15x scope and a ~7lb fully dressed rifle.

Speed is awesome! But not worth sacrificing accuracy for vel. Our goal when loading is to find best accuracy and speed.
 

Kmccord

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I took your advice about Athlon scope on my Grandson rifle, his dad outfitted it using the Ares BTR Gen 1 in MIL. I like the scope and plan to get one for my 6.5 Creed, but I want the Gen 2 version, the turret feel on dialing in the Gen 1 are weak compared to my Vortex Viper PST turret. Once I finish breaking in his 7mag, I want to try the 131 HH using H1000 or H4831, I looked at the Hodgdon load data for something in a 130 gr bullet and they did not list H1000 as an option, they did have it on one they listed with 139 gr bullet. Nosler data did not list anything in H1000 until you get to the heavy weights.
 

RockyMtnMT

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I took your advice about Athlon scope on my Grandson rifle, his dad outfitted it using the Ares BTR Gen 1 in MIL. I like the scope and plan to get one for my 6.5 Creed, but I want the Gen 2 version, the turret feel on dialing in the Gen 1 are weak compared to my Vortex Viper PST turret. Once I finish breaking in his 7mag, I want to try the 131 HH using H1000 or H4831, I looked at the Hodgdon load data for something in a 130 gr bullet and they did not list H1000 as an option, they did have it on one they listed with 139 gr bullet. Nosler data did not list anything in H1000 until you get to the heavy weights.
I think h1000 will be too slow for the 131g. Might be worth a try but I don't think you will get enough in the case to get to pressure. You never know for sure until you try. Sometimes we wind up with great loads using powders that you would not think would work.
 

Kmccord

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You are probably right, I have 4831 as the next temp stable powder, thought of getting a pound of RL16 and StaBall 6.5 for the Creed, not sure how that would work, I have not researched those on the 7mag.
 

ButterBean

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Speed is okay, but what I am looking for is accuracy, reading the opening of this thread, it was mentioned the Hammers would be a little easier to achieve accuracy. Another reason I was looking at the Hammers was how the bullet reacts on impact, the three petals that peel off is to me better than maybe what a Berger will do. Looking at what you posted for that finicky 7mag using RL33, is that with a new barrel or one that has been broken in already? I would think for 200 yards it would have a better group. I also have a 28 Nosler and RL33 is the most accurate powder I had found for that rifle.
I will tell you this about impact, I have been shooting the same 1/2 plate for 6 years now and its beat up but nothing terrible but the 124gr 30 Cal [email protected] 500 yard knocked a dent in it that i can put the tip of my finger in, I assure you they hit hard
20926ACE-C2C8-4558-A940-E0A0E516A6E8.jpeg
 

Bigeclipse

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@Ingwe asked me if I would start a thread detailing how we do load development, so here goes.

With a rifle that is new to us the 1st thing we do is clean it until there is no copper from other bullets in the barrel. I recommend this anytime you are changing bullets. Once the rifle is clean then I check all the optic mounting screws and action screws to make sure they are torqued to the proper level.

Now that the rifle is ready to go and we have a bullet chosen that is proper for the twist rate of the barrel ( I prefer to use bullets that are running with a higher than the min required twist for the given bullet for hunting), I will look at published load data for a like weight bullet from a couple of sources. I generally find what I need from Nosler and Hodgdon data. Any of the published load manuals will give you a good start load since the Hammers will show less pressure than conventional bullets. I like to look for a powder that does not show a compressed load. Since the pure copper bullets will be a bit longer than the equivalent weight lead bullet, compressed loads generally will not get enough powder in the case to reach top end. This will also depend on the seating depth of the bullet. If you have a mag and throat that will allow you to seat longer that will help with case capacity. As a general rule the Hammers will like powders on the faster side of normal powders listed for the bullet weight.

We prefer to use magnum primers with most cartridges. I am not as adamant about this as I used to be. Some smaller cartridges will show early pressure signs with the mag primer. If that happens then just switch to a standard primer.

Now that we have our ingredients picked out I figure out the longest COAL that will function properly in the rifle without touching the lands. If I can reach the lands I will start 20 thou off. There is no good reason to touch the lands particularly in a hunting rifle. A primer failure can stick a bullet in the bore and ruin you trophy of a lifetime. I know this personally. The method to this madness is simply that if I have to make a seating depth change to get good accuracy, there is only one way to go.

Now we are ready to light a fire in it. I always load with a chronograph and log muzzle vel with each shot. We use the Labradar now, but the Magneto Speed will also do you very well. I run a modified ladder to find my load. I like to load develop at a min 200y. Everything looks good at 100Y. I aim each shot at the same spot shooting as well as I can. I watch the target and expect to see pretty close to an moa target even if we have spread of vel over 200 fps. At this point the target is not the most important thing though. As long as we are not shooting all over the place. If it is bad I just change to a diff powder. No point in making the rifle like what I want it to. We run our ladder one shot one charge at a time looking for pressure. In most cartridges I load up in 1g increments. Small ones in smaller increments. Using the muzzle vel, bolt lift, ejector marks on the case head, and the flattening of the primer. I don't as much attention to the primer as the other indicators. Vel is a very good indicator of pressure. You can't have monster vel without pressure. The Hammers will show 50 to 100 fps higher vel, in most rifles, over the load data. Nosler data is pretty hot data and will line up pretty close with the Hammers. I like to find pressure and back away from it. That way I know where it is. This is kind of a "feel" thing as to how much to back off when you find pressure. Some brass is soft and shows more presser than some of the tough brass. If I am getting an ejector mark in Nosler or Norma brass I don't worry about it as much as I do with ADG or Lapua brass. As we work this ladder up, I like to see nice predictable increases in vel with each increase in charge weight. If it is random in the vel as it works up I usually change to a diff powder. Some times at low pressure though it is not as predictable.

Once we have found the top end, I load a few of this load and shoot them for group and to check to see that the ES is not goofy. For a hunting rifle under 1000y ES under 30 fps will be fine. I like it to be less for sure and usually I can not get myself to settle on a load unless it is under 20 fps ES. Particularly if it is not punching solid sub moa. At this point we are usually done with the load development and just zero the rifle to go out and confirm it at long range. Once in a while we will get a rifle that is not shooting as well as we expect. If that is the case then I will start seating deeper about 15 thou at a time, or a quarter turn on the seater die. Almost always within two or three adjustments the group will tighten right up. If I am making seating depth adjustments I don't bother shooting more than two shots if they are not good. Can't make a bad group better by shooting at it more times! Now zero dead nuts and you are ready to go confirm drops. Very rarely do we shoot over 20 rounds to finish a load that is solid sub moa. I strive for .5 moa and really don't spend time and resources to try and get better than that. I would rather go out and hunt rocks with my .5 moa rifle than try to get it tighter. Most rifles we are done in less than 15 shots and zeroed, ready to go confirm drops at long range.

I think that pretty much covers it. You can try this method with other brand bullets as well. They probably won't be quite as easy as the Hammers, but it is still a good process to save time and money.

I will add that we take all of our loading equipment to the range and load one at a time through the loading process. Makes it easy to make changes on the fly.
nice write up. I am looking to purchase some hammers for my 6.5prc. I will only be hunting deer out to 400 yards so sledgehammers are welcomed too but im trying to make this a very flat shooter if possible. You had recommended me a load using rl26. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any but I do have some H1000. Do you have any recommendations for an H1000 loads with your bullets in the 115-130 grain weight range?
 

RockyMtnMT

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nice write up. I am looking to purchase some hammers for my 6.5prc. I will only be hunting deer out to 400 yards so sledgehammers are welcomed too but im trying to make this a very flat shooter if possible. You had recommended me a load using rl26. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any but I do have some H1000. Do you have any recommendations for an H1000 loads with your bullets in the 115-130 grain weight range?
I would give the 117g Sledge Hammer a try with H1000. Start at 50g and work up. Hoping to see about 3300 fps.
 

swisski

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Hello Fellas, I am the member that Steve is referring to in his post.

Reading over his post, I can see that he isn't wanting to boast on the results that he got for me so I would like to let you all know what he got out of my rifle. It's a blueprinted Remage Action 7mm Rem Mag, 26" 1:8 SS Criterion Barrel with brake in a Manners Stock and Trigger-Tech Trigger.

With his 155gr Hammer Hunter Bullet he got 3,260fps with the group in the attached pic. Firing at 200 yards, with the first 3 shots, he got the top horizontal string/group. He told me that he then made ONE seating adjustment and fired another 3 shot group, which you see in the bottom group.....a 3 shot cluster at 200 yards!!

So I now have a 7mm Rem Mag shooting a lathe-turned 155gr bullet at 3,260fps! shooting a cluster at 200 yards. This from a guy who invented the bullet I am using and I have his cell phone number as well. To say that I am happy is an understatement.

Finally, Steve picked up the phone every single time I called him (I felt bad calling him after a while so I stopped LOL!) PLUS door to door from New York to Montana and back I had the rifle, load data, plus 150 loaded rounds back in 5 weeks...yes that includes shipping time.

FWIW: This is NOT a "Buddy Enforcement" since I never met Steve in my life and I wouldn't know it's him if he walked into me.

Do you mind sharing the load data for this? Which powder was used?
 

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