New reloader, first load: questions

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Brydawg512, Mar 21, 2019.


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  1. Pete Callamaras

    Pete Callamaras Well-Known Member

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    Thx! I have to say to help keep me focused, I am a believer in checklists, and my reloading checklist has "gown" to cover more and more aspects as I learn. I know the next step, and check them off as I finish them. Each round is inspected before, during and after each step as I assemble it, yet I still find I have more to learn. I am fortunate to have some VERY experienced reloaders to ask and they point things I may have missed. IF I have any observation and suggestion regarding reloading and shooting, I find that as I enter the range or room, I park my ego outside. I suspect there is probably very little they have not encountered or done before, and I am more than happy to benefit from their (or your) experience!
     
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  2. Brydawg512

    Brydawg512 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. What would I look up to find that information? I tried without luck..
     
  3. Mustang72

    Mustang72 Well-Known Member

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    For the distances your shooting at game accuracy trumps speed! Starting loads through the boiler room Trump max loads through the guts every time!
     
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  4. Brydawg512

    Brydawg512 Well-Known Member

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    That is true.. Even a 500 yard shot I should still be in the effective range, correct? We're talking more like 800+ to where that REALLY starts to dump off and effect ability to take an animal?
     
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  5. Mustang72

    Mustang72 Well-Known Member

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    Yes
     
  6. Pete Callamaras

    Pete Callamaras Well-Known Member

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    A commonly accepted threshold for the minimum amount of kinetic energy needed to kill an elk is 1500 ft-lbs. For whitetail deer, the minimum amount of kinetic energy is 1000 ft-lbs. So run different calibers/bullets thru an energy calculator to see what gets you those numbers to figure your max range shots.
     
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  7. Alibiiv

    Alibiiv Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Hello Brydawg, This is a long read, if you are like me, ADD, you might want to read it in steps and over time. Now if you look in your Nosler #8 manual (page 400) at the top of the page it should say, "7mm Remington Magnum-168 grain 7mm (.284)." now look at the first load listed for the 168 grain Accubond bullet. If you look at the load data for powder type 4000-MR (the first powder listed), there are three powder charges/loads listed for this bullet. The first charge/load is "62.0" grains and next to the 62.0 grains is "MAX", that means it is the maximum load that is recommended in the PAC-NOR test barrel in which that load was developed. If you look in the top menu there is a heading "Barrel Length/Make" and next to that heading is another box where it is written "24" Pac-Nor". THAT does not mean that it is a safe load for your particular rifle, but it "ought" to be and no matter what you should never increase the charge/load any higher than the 62.0 MAX load.

    Now looking at the same manual, Nosler #8, and looking at the same powder type 4000-MR you will see a listing of 58.0 grains, that load ought to be considered as the "minimum" load to answer your question. Now looking at the same powder type 4000-MR you will see an additional charge of 60.0 grains, that is a powder charge/load that I would consider a safe charge/load to start my reloading with. I would say that the middle charges listed would be a safe place to start my reloads at. I would always stick with the lowest charge/listed if I wanted to start at the minimum load for the bullet that I am loading. IF you charge/load a very small amount of powder, you can get what is called a squib load, meaning there's not enough powder to get the bullet out of the barrel or barely get the bullet out of the barrel and the bullet hits the ground. This can be dangerous because if you do not notice that a bullet is lodged in the barrel and you fire another round, there's a "potential" for a catastrophic failure of your rifle due to build up pressures from the second/next round. Whether you are firing factory ammunition or reloads, if you are hearing a very loud report when your round goes off and with one of your rounds the report is simply a "pop" or not quite as load of the other reports you have been hearing, it is a good idea to check your barrel to make sure that there is not a bullet lodged in your rifle barrel. Squib loads can happen when loading rifle cartridges, however they are more likely to happen with pistol reloads due to the fact that the powder charge is a lot lower. Squib load in rifle are most likely to happen if your powder scale is misread or set at the wrong reading, or if the powder measure does not drop the right amount of powder. Dropping the right amount of powder from the powder measure "can" happen if the charging handle is not brought back all the way to pick up the next charge, or sometimes if you are using a course, granular powder the powder can stick together and the powder does not drop properly.

    In a previous post to your OP, I wrote that it is important to check, recheck and then recheck. An important tool to check your powder charges/loads is the reloading block. As you charge/load your cases, after priming, place all the cases that you are planning to reload in the reloading block. Once you have charged all of your rounds, check the cases with a flashlight to ensure that all of the powder levels are the same. You ought to check your charges/loads after 5 or 10 powder drops to ensure that the setting on the powder measure are still at the setting that you set it at. By checking our powder charge I mean after the 5th or 10th drop into your cases, drop a charge into the pan of your scale to see if it is at the proper setting that you started with. As you are reloading your cases it doesn't hurt to check our powder drops every 5-10 rounds just to make sure that your powder measure is still set at the charge you set it at originally.

    I'd like to address something that I wrote in my first paragraph about maximum loads: "The first charge/load is "62.0" grains and next to the 62.0 grains is "MAX", that means it is the maximum load that is recommended in the PAC-NOR test barrel. THAT does not mean that it is a safe load for your particular rifle, but it "ought" to be and no matter what you should never increase the charge/load any higher than the 62.0 MAX load." By this I mean that not all rifle chambers are the same, if the chamber on your rifle has a tight chamber (compared to the 24" PacNor barrel chamber) there's a possibility that the maximum charge/load of 62.0 grains of 4000-MR is too high and the chamber pressures may be too high because your chambering is not the same as the chambering in the 24" PacNor barrel. Thus if you want to reach the MAX load you have to work up to that load by 1/4 or 1/2 a grain at a time increase in your rifle until you reach the 62.0 grains. My experience is that many reloaders want to reach the MAXimum load listed, however that load usually is not the most accurate load in your rifle.

    SO.......there's a lot of information here. As I have suggested it really really would be good/helpful for you to have an experienced reloader to help you when you get started and someone who is available either in person or on the phone to sort of fill in the blanks as you reload. Usually when you first start out there's a lot of apprehension and there's going to be a lot of questions when you first get started. This isn't that difficult, it just takes time and experience to learn the process of reloading. You can do this because you have common sense enough to know that you have to ask questions and you are asking and seeking information on how to reload. Keep asking questions and do not feel that you are asking dumb or stupid questions, because there's no such thing as a stupid question/s. I hope that this all makes sense to you.
     
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  8. Pete Callamaras

    Pete Callamaras Well-Known Member

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  9. Pete Callamaras

    Pete Callamaras Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up. Personally I like to reload under max recommended and the check the velocity. Then shoot and see how I like the accuracy. Step by step and not going over max recommended. I have seen a couple of blown up rifles, not - pretty!
     
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  10. RogerPA

    RogerPA Active Member

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    I've read the entire thread and agree with most of the advice you've been given. For sure read as many manuals as you can! And comparing load data from one manual to another is a great way to see how various bullet manufacturers tend to use the same powders in their load development for a given cartridge/bullet weight & construction style. You asked about using data from one manufacturer's manual for a particular cartridge and bullet weight, while using the same bullet weight from a different manufacturer. Assuming the bullet designs are similar (lead cup & core vs. lead cup & core, for example), the data should be "close". I'd hesitate to call it interchangeable, as even with soft lead core bullets, the thickness of copper jackets do vary from one manufacturer to another, (and even from different design styles within the same manufacturer's product line) that could be enough to create unexpected pressure issues. Someone suggested staying away from "all copper" bullets as you learn the ropes. This is probably good advice, but for certain, when and if you do elect to use this style bullet, I would advise you use that company's loading manual for your load development. There are enough manufacturing and design variations with this style bullet to warrant this warning! Also, I didn't notice anyone mentioning the dangers of going with too light of a load.(?) But as odd as it may seem, a load that's too far below the published "minimum load" can also create dangerous situations. (Imagine a case half full of powder, and all of it clumped into one spot inside the case.). To burn effectively the powder needs to lay evenly throughout the case. When it's culmped into one area, unusual pressure spikes are generated, and in some instances can be as dangerous as a seriously over-charged case. I do hope you're able to find a veteran reloaded to sit beside you as you learn and develop your first handloads! 55 years ago, as a ten year old, I had the great opportunity to sit beside my brother, 15 years my senior, and learn how it was done. Of course we (I) made some mistakes, and I still work under the mindset of: "When you stop learning, you stop living." Trust me, you will get a case stuck in a die, and you will load some rounds you'll need to pull apart. But that's why they have stuck-case removal kits and bullet pullers! Just learn from it and love your new hobby. Then, one of these days, you'll be standing over a big buck, or bear, or elk, and feel something deep inside you that's the thrill of knowing you just took that trophy with something YOU made! Trust me again when I tell you there's nothing like it! Good luck and welcome to a unique club!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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