Newbie dumb question


Active Member
Dec 12, 2009
Buckley, WA
OK so as the title suggests I am new and trying to get a grasp on reloading.
I have purchased a RCBS reloading starter kit. Bought all of the dies needed for my firearms.
I have purchased a few of the bullets that I have used with my factory ammo (Nosler Ballistic Silvertip, Nosler Ballistic Tip.
The factory ammo I have been using is Winchester XP3 & XP2.
I have been saving my cases from the aforementioned factory ammo. All I need (I think) in the way of components to go forward, is propellant, primers and recipes.
My RCBS kit came with the Speer Reloading Manual #14, I also bought The ABC's of Reloading 8th Edition.
I am reloading for the following... 300 WSM, 30.06 SPG, 308 WIN.
And the stupid question is...
Using the salvaged Winchester cases and the new Nosler bullets, I would like to basically reproduce the Winchester loads I've been buying off the shelf.
Everything I have read on the topic of reloading stresses to adhere the the "reloading manuals" when it comes to developing loads.
The Speer Manual, does not list the specific components (brand names) that I have acquired i.e. the Nosler (brand) bullets with the WIN cases. It does list the 760 propellant (which is the Winchester brand).
The load data listed in the Manual (using 300WSM 180Gr. as an example) shows 61.0gr of 760 powder as a starter load, with a max load being 64.0gr.
But when you go to the Hodgdon reloading data center web page... (Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - it lists the following information... 59Grs. of the 760 power, not to exceed 62.5 Grs.
Is this due to using a different brand name of bullet?
It is (potentially) due to different brass, primers, bullets and the gun or test barrel used to fire the load. To say nothing about the powder lot which was different, cartridge oal likely being different, etc. Any combination of these variables could cause different pressure and velocity results when comparing one manual against the other.

Use the starting load from any of the manuals and work up from there. It is usually impossible to assemble a handload that is identical to a factory load because the factory ammo often uses prioritary powder that is unavailable to handloaders and does not publish their factory ammo make-up even if they used available components.

Working up a handload that is accurate in your rifle is more important than trying to match any particular factory ammo.
Alright, so using the brass I have with the bullets & primers of my choice. I should be safe using the load data (amount of powder) in any manual? Even if amounts differ between manuals?
Alright, so using the brass I have with the bullets & primers of my choice. I should be safe using the load data (amount of powder) in any manual? Even if amounts differ between manuals?

Basically as long as you do not start at max!!!

start in the middle range, 2 shot groups (If it will not group in 2, will not group in 3 or 5 shots) and work up slowly (.3 gr intervals).

I personally recommend you go with the Hogden manual and do a little research on recommended powders for each first.

For example, 308, the go to powders are Varget, RL15 and IMR 4064, Win or Lapua cases, BR2, WLR or Fed primers with Sierra 175 SMKs. Mine likes 44.6 Varget, BR2, Win case and 175 SMKs at 2650 fps all day long.

300 WSM- Norma or Norma cases, F210 and H4350 or RL17.

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Speer said 61grs, hodgden said max 62.5 so 61 sounds like a good place to start. Load 2 or 3 rounds at .3gr intervals from 61 to 66ish then shoot a ton of groups but make sure the barrel cools and shoot some foulers first. Your groups will open up, tighten, then open up and maybe tighten again. Then pick the tighest group that gives the highest velocity (say 61.3grs gives a .4" group and 64.2gr gives a .35" group, go with the higher load). After this you can tinker with COAL length/ seating depth. I'm not too familiar with the specific bullets you listed but I think seating them between 20 thou and touching that lands would be a good starting point for your load work up. Once you found an accuracy node, load 2-3bullets at 5thousandth intervals from 30thou off to 5thou jammed in the lands (unless your shooting a hot load, this will increase pressure) once you've done that, you'll have a custom load tailored to your rifle. If this load is for LR test at 200-300yards rather than 100, if it's windy 300 may be too far.

Hope this helps,
One thing to keep a real close eye on is pressure signs. Make sure you study your reloading manuals carefully and know what to look for. Better yet, if you know someone who reloads in your area, talk to them and see if they will mentor you a little.
Basically, ALL reloading data is generic by bullet weight and powder type, NO manual is "accurate" in the sense that we can blindly follow any suggested charges. I get uncomfortable seeing people speak of loading data as "recipies"; that word implies we will get equal results if we use it and that's not true, not by a long shot. :rolleyes:

Why not? Our rifles are not what was used to develop the listed data! Our RIFLES are the single greatest "changes" we can possibly make to any book loads. I know a fellow who blows primer pockets with book "mid-range" charges of Varget in his straight factory Win 70 in 22-250!

The ONLY "book" rule that cannot be changed is to "start low and only move up to book max unless, or until, we see excess pressure signs." Mix any cases, primers, powder lots or bullet makers you wish but don't ignore that rule! :D
I did not mean to offend anyone with the use of the word "recipe". I can follow along with what everyone is saying... the last sentence of boomtubes post "Mix any cases, primers, powder lots or bullet makers you wish but don't ignore that rule!" (start low and only move up to book max) is the nod I am looking for. I do not plan on going crazy right out of the gate, but just trying to get out of the gate without screwing up. Seems like the more I read from different sources, they are all the same principal but they are all different in ingredients.
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