New reloader, first load: questions

misterc01

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Feb 15, 2019
Messages
360
Location
Florida Panhandle
Brydog, you cannot go wrong with RCBS equipment starting out. If you haven't made the purchase yet, I STRONGLY recommend/suggest the RCBS Rockchucker press, especially when reloading for the 7mm RemMag. With the RCBS Rochucker press you will be capable of accurately reloading mostly any rifle cartridge out there. When you get your Nosler reloading manual, read the front section of the manual from page to page "BEFORE" you buy any components--bullets, primers, powder--so that you are not spending money needlessly; and buy more than one manual and read them; don't just look at the pictures:);):rolleyes::rolleyes:!! I have written and suggested to people who are just starting out that it would be good if you could find an experienced reloader who can show you how to reload. I can tell you that finding someone who can be right there with you and walk you through the steps will be a whole lot easier and a whole lot "safer" for you. I cannot stress enough that you really do need/have to have a good working knowlege about the relationship between "bullet weight & powder selection & charge-primer" (more bullet weigh-powder charge) before you even start to reload. If you do not know this relationship, you start reloading and over-charge a fast burning rifle powder you can/will raise the pressures of your load to an unsafe level where you can/will destroy your rifle and injure yourself or someone standing next to you quite easily. Although it is important to know about twist and bullet selection, more than likely the rifle that you are reloading for (and I'm guessing here) is a factory rifle with a twist that will accommodate most mid-range bullets; by mid-range bullets I mean not extremely light or extremely heavy. Unless you are reloading for a custom built rifle, I think that worrying about twist rate of your barrel at the stage of reloading that you are at is getting way ahead of yourself. Again if you like to shoot and there is a local shooting range, I strongly suggest that you join the club and ask/look for an "experienced" (5-10 years) reloader who can show you the reloading process either on your equipment or theirs. I belong to a small club and know that if you went looking/asking for someone to help you get started you would have many many guys who would be more than willing to help you out and get started. Manuals are a good place to start, but manuals do not provide you with the hands-on experience and knowledge that will get you reloading safely and efficiently.
Read this advice at least TWICE! It si spot on!
Thank you very much for the info! I need to test, but people have told me it's most likely a 1:9.25. Where am I able to find what grain bullets I can run with my twist?

Also, what do you mean by "middle of the range" powder? Do I just choose 3 random powders to start loading or is it something in the manual? How to I identify a high vs. medium vs. low load?

Also, as far as seating depth, should I start loading it so the round is at the maximum overall length listed in the manual? And then from there do I start seating it shorter or longer.. how do I know what to do?
Al powders have a "burn rate" which tells you how "fast" the powder burns. Higher burn rate are mostly pistols, slower are usually rifles (mix then up and you have a MAJOR problem). Middle is looking at burn rates of the powders and then go for the one in the middle. The manuals get you at a safe starting point.
Rifling Twist Rate
By Chuck Hawks
Inside of a rifle barrel there are spiral grooves, called rifling. These are intended to spin the bullet to keep it stable (point on), without wobbling or tumbling, during its flight to the target. The tighter the spiral grooves, the faster the bullet spins. The tightness of the spiral is called the "twist rate."
The rate of twist is expressed as one turn in so many inches (i.e. 1 in 10" or 1:10). The caliber, length, shape and velocity of a bullet determine its optimum twist rate. The standard twist for a rifle barrel is designed to stabilize the range of bullets and velocities normally associates with that particular cartridge out to very long range. Spinning a bullet markedly too slow or too fast is detrimental to accuracy.
It takes less twist to stabilize a given bullet at high velocity than at low velocity. At the same velocity in the same caliber, longer bullets require faster twist rates than shorter bullets.
A faster twist increases pressure, barrel wear and also the strain on the bullet jacket, which can actually come apart if spun too fast. This particularly applies to frangible varmint bullets, which have very thin jackets, fired at high velocity in very fast twist barrels, such as the 1 in 7" twist barrels supplied on many .223/5.56mn AR-15 type rifles.
 

misterc01

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Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
360
Location
Florida Panhandle
IMHO you are at the same starting point as most new reloaders. Massive info overload and in the massive learning mode. The best advice as stated earlier - find a/some experienced in reloading and LISTEN and learn. The mechanics of reloading is easy ( put stuff in and pull handle), the art (WHAT AND HOW MUCH to put in) is not. SAFETY is paramount!
 

Bevmach

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Gastonia NC
Finding the powder/bullet combination that works best for you and your rifle is the FUN part. As was said earlier, pick several of the most common types of powder, go to the gun store, and see what's available in your area.
I have a 270 Ruger 77 that will not group 130 grain bullets. I finally found that with Reloader 19 and a Sierra Gameking 140 Grain bullet, it shoots less than 1" at 100.
The answer to your question is yes, it's trial and error.
You can get a good idea of what others have tried from the reloading manuals and off of Loaddata.com, but you have to find what works best for you.
 

19elkhunter51

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Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
154
I started reloading over forty years ago. Like so many others have said, I am still learning things about reloading. My advice would be, purchase multiple reloading manuals from different sources. Sierra, Nosler, Hornady, Lyman are all a good starting point. Read them before you pull the handle on any thing.
DO NOT be terrified about blowing up your rifle. If you follow the load recipes in the loading manuals you will be very safe.
Once again, as others have said, don't expect a load that is great in one gun is going to be great in your gun.
Your choice of equipment to start with is, in my opinion, perfect. RCBS makes great equipment for someone starting out in reloading. Someone mentioned the Rockchucker press. Great press and will last you a lifetime. Mine is at least thirty five years old and still builds accurate bullets.
Most important, have fun and be safe.
 

Alibiiv

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Jun 17, 2013
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Rhode Island
I started reloading over forty years ago. Like so many others have said, I am still learning things about reloading. My advice would be, purchase multiple reloading manuals from different sources. Sierra, Nosler, Hornady, Lyman are all a good starting point. Read them before you pull the handle on any thing.
DO NOT be terrified about blowing up your rifle. If you follow the load recipes in the loading manuals you will be very safe.
Once again, as others have said, don't expect a load that is great in one gun is going to be great in your gun.
Your choice of equipment to start with is, in my opinion, perfect. RCBS makes great equipment for someone starting out in reloading. Someone mentioned the Rockchucker press. Great press and will last you a lifetime. Mine is at least thirty five years old and still builds accurate bullets.
Most important, have fun and be safe.
I do not usually come out hard against a post, however, "DO NOT be terrified about blowing up your rifle." is absolutely and totally incorrect ESPECIALLY for a person who has never had experience reloading!!!!!! Everything that I put in the reply, #41, ("I cannot stress enough that you really do need/have to have a good working knowlege about the relationship between "bullet weight & powder selection & charge-primer" (more bullet weigh-powder charge) before you even start to reload. If you do not know this relationship, you start reloading and over-charge a fast burning rifle powder you can/will raise the pressures of your load to an unsafe level where you can/will destroy your rifle and injure yourself or someone standing next to you quite easily.") is absolutely correct and spot on! I have been reloading for 57 years and I am still concerned about blowing up any firearm that I reload for. It is check, recheck and then recheck; one cannot ever be too careful when reloading. There's really a margin of error that anyone is capable of experiencing; using the wrong load/powder, squib loads, double-charge, too many things to list here! After 57 years of reloading, it doesn't make me an expert, only a person with a lot of experience who is still learning how to reload every day. The only thing that I will agree upon with your response here is, "If" I agreed with what you have written in this response, we would both be incorrect!!"
 
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CO_Guy

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Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
935
Location
CO, USA
As mentioned, lots of excellent reloading data online. I also suggest the Loadbooks USA caliber specific manuals, available on Ebay or Cabelas for about $9, which have a lot of data from various manufacturers in one book. As a hunter, I push for velocity and it's pretty easy to see which powders come up consistently as the most accurate, efficient or having a high velocity, when compared to others, for a specific load.

I think you already have the idea of limiting which variables you mess with, pretty well down.
 

misterc01

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Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
360
Location
Florida Panhandle
I do not usually come out hard against a post, however, "DO NOT be terrified about blowing up your rifle." is absolutely and totally incorrect ESPECIALLY for a person who has never had experience reloading!!!!!! Everything that I put in the reply, #41, ("I cannot stress enough that you really do need/have to have a good working knowlege about the relationship between "bullet weight & powder selection & charge-primer" (more bullet weigh-powder charge) before you even start to reload. If you do not know this relationship, you start reloading and over-charge a fast burning rifle powder you can/will raise the pressures of your load to an unsafe level where you can/will destroy your rifle and injure yourself or someone standing next to you quite easily.") is absolutely correct and spot on! I have been reloading for 57 years and I am still concerned about blowing up any firearm that I reload for. It is check, recheck and then recheck; one cannot ever be too careful when reloading. There's really a margin of error that anyone is capable of experiencing; using the wrong load/powder, squib loads, double-charge, too many things to list here! After 57 years of reloading, it doesn't make me an expert, only a person with a lot of experience who is still learning how to reload every day. The only thing that I will agree upon with your response here is, "If" I agreed with what you have written in this response, we would both be incorrect!!"
Y Tanks! Nice to know I am not the only one who worries!
 

ctforehand

Active Member
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Dec 2, 2014
Messages
43
Hello all,

I'm preparing for all of my reloading equipment to arrive so I can start reloading for my 7mm rem mag. I use this rifle for elk, deer, bear and cougar so would like some recommendations.

I am still learning of course, but my understanding is only certain gunpowders can be used in conjunction with a 7mm rem mag (or is it the bullet that determines gunpowder type?)? I am starting all from scratch so need to order primers, gunpowder, bullets and brass.

Is any primer suitable, or does the gunpowder type determine primer type?

So, if in my position, which gunpowders, bullets, primers and brass should I order to start working up a good load?

For example, if I have 3 different powders, do I keep the bullet and primer constant across the 3 different loads for initial testing (assuming I startat the lowest end of grainage for each powder)? How would you recommend going about working up a good hunting load capable of taking the intended game.

Sorry for 3 million questions!

Thanks!
in the last 30 years of reloading (some of this time reloading for a f class bench rest gun) I found that no two rifles are the same and what works in my 7mm might not shoot well in yours. I would suggest that you find a person that has been reloading that you can talk to face to face to prevent the starting mistakes. when you decide on the bullets that you would like to use, do not forget the bullet maker, they are a good source of info because they what there bullet to shoot well. they can suggest powder,grains of powder and bullet jump. good luck and happy reloading
 

Alibiiv

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Jun 17, 2013
Messages
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Location
Rhode Island
Y Tanks! Nice to know I am not the only one who worries!
Hi Pete, I don't really "worry" about it, but........... It's sort of like driving a car, or running a table saw or a circular saw, "as part of the process" of driving or running these tools you have to be mindful that the possibility/potential of getting hurt is there if you get careless. The same applies to when you are reloading, as part of the process you have to be mindful that if you get sloppy there's the real potential that you can get hurt or destroy your rifle/handgun. If you do not check what you are doing there's the potential of making a lot of ammunition that you cannot use or will not work in your firearm after you reload it. I was reading an article that a forum member wrote about how he over-annealed some very expensive brass. He was not familiar with the process and messed up a 100 or 200 rounds of expensive Norma brass.
 
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Frog4aday

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Oct 25, 2007
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Location
Texas Hill Country
<SNIPPED STUFF> Am I trying to load with the highest grain weight that allows me to still be accurate? For example say I had 68 grains loaded, max being 70. I would start with 68, shoots accurate. Next, bump it to 68.5, shoots accurate. Next, bump to 69, shoots accurate. Finally, I bump to 69.5 and the grouping expands and loses the accuracy seen before. Is my next step to find the highest grain count between 69 and 69.5 that allows accuracy?
I'm so glad you asked this! There are some folks who are enthralled with VELOCITY, as if it were the end-all-be-all purpose of reloading. It is NOT. In your example above, go back to 69 grains and be happy. It is accurate. It is not a 'max' load. Your rifle likes it. It is 'safe' and will kill whatever you want and shoot as far as you need. You know that at 69.5, accuracy faded. Could there be a point between 69 and 69.5 that is fine, too? Sure. But you have to think 'safety margin' and in this case, you have a powerful load that is under max AND safe to fire regardless of outdoor temps while still shooting accurately in your rifle.

Over time, as you get more comfortable, perhaps you start chasing those tenths of a grain differences, just to satisfy your own curiosity. For now, stay UNDER MAX, be happy with ACCURACY, and just shoot a lot. Practice with the gun is what makes us effective, not 40 fps more velocity with a load that is too hot when the outdoor temps get over 100 degrees.
 

birdiemc

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Jan 1, 2011
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San Antonio, TX
Maybe I just havent become obsessed enough but I'm of the same opinion. Of course I'm not to the point of trying to shoot out to 1500 yards yet, so perhaps once I get there my opinion will change. But for what I have the opportunity to do on a regular basis 150fps isnt going to matter much
 

Brydawg512

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Nov 16, 2018
Messages
365
Location
Washington
I'm so glad you asked this! There are some folks who are enthralled with VELOCITY, as if it were the end-all-be-all purpose of reloading. It is NOT. In your example above, go back to 69 grains and be happy. It is accurate. It is not a 'max' load. Your rifle likes it. It is 'safe' and will kill whatever you want and shoot as far as you need. You know that at 69.5, accuracy faded. Could there be a point between 69 and 69.5 that is fine, too? Sure. But you have to think 'safety margin' and in this case, you have a powerful load that is under max AND safe to fire regardless of outdoor temps while still shooting accurately in your rifle.

Over time, as you get more comfortable, perhaps you start chasing those tenths of a grain differences, just to satisfy your own curiosity. For now, stay UNDER MAX, be happy with ACCURACY, and just shoot a lot. Practice with the gun is what makes us effective, not 40 fps more velocity with a load that is too hot when the outdoor temps get over 100 degrees.
Thank you for that! Now, is the "minimum" grain load listed in a reloader's manual for my intended 168 gr. bullet capable of using on game?
 

birdiemc

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Messages
824
Location
San Antonio, TX
Thank you for that! Now, is the "minimum" grain load listed in a reloader's manual for my intended 168 gr. bullet capable of using on game?
Depends on the distance. Theres formulas you can look up. Next to the grains of powder in your manual it will tell you velocity, then you can plug that in to a calculator online and see how much force it will impact with at various ranges.
 

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