New Reloader Questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by BearDog, Mar 20, 2015.

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  1. BearDog

    BearDog Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    Hi All, I just made the jump into reloading, and purchased all my equipment and am excited to get started. I have spent a lot of the day watching videos and reading articles, and like everything else, every has a different opinion. Some of these questions may have been answered elsewhere in the thread, so bear with me..I'm new at this. For reference, I shoot a .300 Win Mag Sendero. Keep in mind also that I am not a long range match shooter, but a hunter that wants the most accuracy out of his rifle to cover those western mountain shots.

    Brass brand: Does different brands matter when it comes to reloading? Im assuming certain brands come in different thicknesses, so does that mean I would have to adjust a powder charge to work within that brass, or does it not matter that much?

    Concentricity Gauge: I've watched a few vids where guys will use these to determine the thick side of the case all, and use that to index their shells at 12 o'clock (or depending on how many lugs your gun has). Is that an essential practice?

    Distance off Lans:
    When building rounds to test, how are you determining how far off the lans the bullet is seated, or how do you seat your rounds to test this?

    Determining charge: Do you start with the minimum listed charge and add XX amount of grains up to the max listed? Do you go past that max listing?

    Seating the Dies: This is a bit of a noob questions, but when you are setting up the neck sizing die, and you are supposed to bottom it out against the ram, back the ram off, and turn the die 1/8 to 1/4 past that point and lock it down, does it matter whether its 1/8 or 1/4? I want to make sure im turning it enough.

    On a side note, has anyone loading the Barnes LRX rounds and have an opinion? Do you load those to the same specs as the TSX round?

    Thanks Everyone!
  2. tailbon3

    tailbon3 Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Welcome to Reloaders Anonymous! The addiction is nearly undeniable :)

    Brass brand: Everything matters, including brass brand

    Concentricity Gauge: I don't have one but it seems to be required for 1000 yard matches

    Distance off Lans: I use a sharpie and a once fired, neck cut cartridge to get my distance to lans. Works OK. Remember you have to measure for each different bullet you load for.

    Determining charge: Yes, start at minimum! Work your way up slowly. Also note, seating depth changes the max charge you can use for a given load, as does a change in primer or brass or lot # of powder even though it is the same type. Example, one bottle of Varget may well burn just a bit faster than another bottle of Varget.

    Seating the Dies: I'll punt on this one
  3. g0rd0

    g0rd0 Well-Known Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    brass brand matters! I shoot mostly federal and NEVER do I mix up brands

    concentricity gauge, as a hunter don't worry about it

    distance off lands, as a beginner stick with the oal listed in your manual once you find a load you like you can try moving the oal length a bit in .005" to try for more accuracy

    determining charge, always and I do mean always begin with the start listing and work up in .5 grain looking for hard to open bolt, ejecter marks or cratered primers any of those tell you to back off Never go over max charge unless you want to ruin a nice rifle

    seating dies go with 1/8 turn it will not crimp there and you in my opinion donot need to crimp
  4. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2012
    I'll toss my 2 bits into the mix here....

    1. brass brand-- brass matters in the fact that prep time changes and some brands tend to last longer than others. I use mostly Remington and Winchester brass but a lot of the guys are using Lapua and Norma for the cal's they can get them in but the $$ is higher to get into those two brands.

    2. concentricity gauge-- I don't have one but I haven't had to chase down errant accuracy issues either... I'll likely get one in the future though

    3. distance from the rifling origin (lands)-- do you want your rifle to single feed or mag. feed? is the caliber too overbore to survive the initial pressure spike if you DO jamb the bullet?? Extremely overbore cartridges like the 7rum will need some run to the rifling to smooth out the pressure spike as the bullet engraves.... lesser cartridges often do not. Some bullets often shoot better with little or no jump (vld type pills) and some need at least some jump (any monolithic) so this also muddies the water a bit
    4. determining charge-- first, you need a certain amount of pressure to get a clean burn and get the bullet out of the barrel. Secondly, if you can NOT get the velocity you want with the slowest powders that will work in the cartridge, you will need to step up in cartridge. Unusually high pressures will strain the rifle steel and you may have a failure after stress cracking develops; it also wears the barrel more. Use book loading data or ask.... flying by the seat of your pants can risk your face, life, and firearm.
    The amount of charge you go up between steps varies by case volume. A little cartridge like a 223 may need less than .5 grain increments... a bigger cartridge like a 300rum and you may as well start at 1 grain increments or coarser then fine tune with small increments.
    5. seating the dies-- what do you want the dies to do?? fl sizing or neck sizing often requires the dies to allow the press to cam over.. that is where the 1/8 to 1/4 turn past good contact means. you have to take the lash out of the system to get the case in fully, so do as the manufacturer recommends. Partial fl or partial neck sizing may also be used, and if you have bushing dies you can play with neck tension by swapping out your bushings.
    There are a lot of sizing options, but try them out on paper so see whether they help or not before you regard them as gospel. I've been a fan of partial fl sizing for years, but one rifle I have doesn't like it and was giving me a fit tracking down an accuracy issue... turns out this rifle wants the dies cammed over and didn't really like the original die brand I was using... all is well now.. she's back to .6 moa at 200 yards
  5. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    All this is good info but here is some that you usually don't find in loading books etc.
    This comes from over 30 years of loading and hunting with said loads. NEVER set up hunting loads with the bullets jammed into the lands. I never set up a load with the bullets closer than ten thousands to the lands. If a bullet is jammed into the lands and you need to unload that round, like to climb into a tree stand, cross a fence etc. you can stick that bullet in the bore and dump your rifle action full of powder and your day is screwed. Been there and done that and have the T-shirt. :rolleyes:

    Always try to work up your loads in as close to the temperatures you will be hunting in if the temperatures are going to be really hot or cold. This does effect things. Sometimes going from mild temp say mid 60s to HOT 90/110* can mean a perfectly safe good load going to a blowing primer bolt locking load because the heat has caused the powder to burn different and raises the pressure. With the new extreme powders like some from Hodgdon this is not as much as a problem these days.

    I have learned to find pretty good loads without doing a lot of costly experimenting by going to some loading manuals like Sierra and Nosler that list the most accurate powders with a given bullet weight and type. I have found that the suggested Accuracy loads in the Sierra manual are usually just that, very accurate, even with different brand bullets of the same make up, meaning using same cup and core type together or mono construction together. I always back of these loads about a grain and work up in half grain at a time loads to check for safety in my rifle.

    One very important thing to learn is that no matter how accurate your rifle is and how accurate the load you just made may be in your rifle it will not be accurate if you can not shoot that rifle accurately. I can't tell you how many times I have been to the range with peoples rifles that "something is wrong with because it will not hit the side of a barn" to find that it would shoot under MOA all day. It would not hit the side of a barn because the person was a trigger jerking, flinching, close their eyes just before the rifle goes off, scared of the recoil shooter. :D

    Consistency means accuracy. Keep all your loading components the same meaning same case make, changing primer brand and type will make a BIG difference so only work with one at a time, even try to keep the same lot number of components the same. The way you size your cases full length or just neck size makes a difference. GET A BULLET COMPARATOR to use with your caliper to measure your cartridge over all length from the ogive of the bullet and not the tip of the bullet. Bullet tip to base can and does vary and will drive you nuts trying to figure out why you have different COAL and you have not touched the depth setting on the die. Base to the ogive usually does not vary with the same lot of bullets.

    Welcome to the madness of reloading. Have fun.
  6. BearDog

    BearDog Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    Thanks for all the great info guys. The madness/addiction has indeed began, and all Im doing so far is prepping cases. With that said, I have a pretty hefty supply of once fired brass, which is from my gun. My understanding is all I need to do it that is the case is just use a neck sizing die since it has already been fire formed to my chamber?

    I have not had a chances to really look through other manuals than the RCBS one that came with my kit so this may be a bit of a dumb question. The RCBS manual only lists Winchester brass for my .300 Win Mag. and 80% of the once fired brass I have is Remington. Since brass indeed does make a difference, then the load specs they list in the manual would not work with my Remington brass. Do other reloading manuals list out multiple brass and powder combinations for a caliber, or is there another place to reference this type of information?
  7. winmagman

    winmagman Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2003

    The Remington brass will work just fine. It may have more, less, or the same internal capacity than the Winchester. So you may find it takes more, less, of the same amount of powder to reach a given/listed velocity. That is a perfect example of why we always start low and work up.

    As you progress in you reloading skills you will learn to recognize what your rifle and loads are telling you. You'll learn what pressure signs look and feel like, but for now use the manuals for what they are, a place to start, and follow them as closely as you can.

  8. 7magcreedmoor

    7magcreedmoor Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2012
    I keep my brass segregated. Each box of 50 stays together as a group from new to junkpile, through however many loading cycles they last. I use comp shellholders to resize to my specific rifle's headspace dimension, check length of case every cycle, trim them all when the first one exceeds the max length and so on. If you are going to load max pressure loads, don't mix brands in a batch. Work up the max safe load FOR EACH BRAND. Finding out there is a significant difference in internal volume the hard way is something you only do once.