Q&A: 300 WM with 210 gr VLD Hunting Project

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Mc Fraser, Jan 29, 2019.

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  1. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    Hi Everyone,
    I thought I might share my rabbit hole project with the community and get some useful advice in return. Len asked me (and everyone else for that matter) to introduce myself and what better way than to share my story.
    Me: Avid hunter with 5 years experience, first hunting season blew the leg of a doe, chase it for 2 days without luck, couldn't sleep for weeks, went into reloading and custom made guns to achieve best *Rule 1 Violation*al shoots possible. Still owns a Tikka T3 .270 that shoots sub-moa at 200yds.
    Target: build a hunting rifle capable of shooting 3in or less grouping at 1000yds.
    Equipment: My very first rifle bought 5 years ago Winchester M70 300 WM Extreme Winter SS, glass bedded, adjusted trigger and re-barreled to Krieger #5 bull sporter, 0.700in muzzle OD, 28/29in length, stainless steel, 5R rifling, 30 cal 1:10 twist with muzzle brake, all work done by Henry Rempel. Don't ask me why I did this, remember it is my rabbit hole project :)
    Reloading equipment: Lee cast iron press, Lee collet neck sizing die, Forrester bench rest micrometer seater die, Winchester brass fireformed, Federal Match 215M, Berger 210gr VLD Hunting bullet, a good selection of gunpowders.
    After speaking with a couple of reputable and experienced bench rest shooters and readers I BELIEVE I have everything line up to start my load development.
    Reloading technique: Use Berger's advice to play with bullet seating depth to find accuracy node.

    A note before we begin, I'm not writing this article to determine who is wright and who is wrong, I'm asking simple questions as to why? what is your advice? can you share you experience? etc
    Going back and forth with my friends and Berger regarding load development I can't seem to understand a few things:
    1. Berger suggests starting with the minimum powder charge.
    "any time you are doing bullet seating depth testing you should do it using the minimum powder charge listed for the bullet/powder/cartridge combination you are testing to prevent/reduce any chances of causing pressure issues while testing. It has been my experience that bullet seating depth accuracy nodes do not change with velocity. They are both parts of the same equation. You find the bullet seating depth accuracy node first. That sets up the USABLE cartridge case capacity that you have to find your highest velocity accuracy node. So one sets up the other. But both need to be found for accuracy."
    I understand that we live in a world where we have warning signs on shampoo bottles: do not eat and one must cover his behind, but I have some questions about Berger's method; if I understand correctly the accuracy node is independent on MV and once it is determined one can increase the powder until technically starts to see pressure signs. I like this idea because in theory in less than 100 bullets one can find his magic recipe.
    Questions: my assumption is that load development is done at 100 yds, if one finds the accuracy node and powder weight what are the changes that the rifle will keep accuracy at 500yds or 1000yds? What if at 500 yds I'm not even on paper? What about hang fire and minimum powder charge?
    2. My friends are suggesting that seating the bullet above COAL i increase the case capacity and pressure signs should not occur at maximum powder charge -1% or 1 grain, and such I should start with that. This is great, but is this common knowledge among experienced shooters and books are just following the lawyer's advice?
    Do I start 1 grain under max and work my way up until I see pressure signs or find a sweet spot with COAL? Once I find the sweet spot do I play with bullet seating?

    I guess at the end of the day all that I ask is what is the most reliable method for beginners to start a load dev without burning the barrel in their quest for perfection?

    Thank you in advance and I appreciate any comment or advice, don't be shy I won't be offended or hold you accountable.

    It will be a few months until I will start this project, currently is winter here and I prefer to play at the gun range in temperatures that are above freezing.
    300whisper likes this.
  2. rgvt4

    rgvt4 Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2013
    Welcome. There is a lot of great info on here. Good luck
  3. Wolf76

    Wolf76 Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    You need to get the hornady oal length gauge, 300 wm dummy shell, and the inserts. Start by using this system to determine where the lands start.
    Next load a middle of the road test load. Like 74gr h1000 (recommend this powder and it is very linear with building pressure and very accurate).
    Then follow the berger load instructions with different distances of the lands.
    For legal reasons, always follow published reloading book data.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
    magtech83, sconnierider and Mc Fraser like this.
  4. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    After trying and working with most all of the discussed load development processes, this approach is the what has proven to be the most expedient and has resulted in solid loads capable of long range performance for hunting, targets, or both typically performed in 50-100 round or less. Interestingly some years ago, I used this approach to develope a load for a 300WM build, for the Berger210 HVLD’s...... similar to the OP’s project. I have also developed very effective, high precision, LR loads with quite a few other cartridges as well.

    1- I’ll start with a bullet or two that I consider feasible for my desired use(s). I will do a quick search of reputable sites with apparently experienced participants(like this one) for the cartridge, bullet, powders and collect several load recipes. Usually, a trend develops for optimized loads in terms of powders, velocities, charge weights, velocities/ES, seating depths, etc. in the case of the 300WM, several recipes were found using 75-77gr of H1000, Fed 215M primers, 210/215 Berger’s at seating depths from .020-.050” off the lands, generating velocities at <10 SD, in the 2700-2840FPS range with 24-26” barrels. Accuracy was typically less the .5MOA. IMO, a little advanced homework really pays off...why re-invent the wheel? This rifle was a Remington 700 Milspec, 300WM, 24” barrel.

    2- I started with a moderate charge of H1000(74gr), loading 5 rounds each at .015”, .025”, .040”, and .055” of the Berger 210 HVLD using Fed215M primers and Norma brasswith .002” of neck tension. Four, five shot groups were measured for velocity, and groups at 100 yards. The optimum seating depth of .015” was chosen for a .3MOA 5 shot group. Velocity was 2600FPS/SD 6. 20Rds.
    Note: I decided to use this load for the new barrel break-in which took about 20 rds.

    3- I then loaded 5 rounds each from 74.5 to 76.5 and a 5 shot each, testing velocity, group size and vertical dispersion(ladder) between all the groups at 200 yards. My optimum load was was 75.5gr, that produced 2750FPS, SD 5, and .3MOA, 5shot groups , oriented in the flat spot center in the 200 yard ladder. At 76gr, while accuracy and SD were good, it started to show pressure signs. 25 rds.

    4-This optimum load was then loaded into my ballistic calculator and tested for actual POI at 500 and 1000 yards. A velocity calibration to 2840 placed shots to point of aim at 1000 yards and 500 yards. This load worked very well. 20 Rds.

    This development took 65 rounds. Since then using the same approach(steps 1-4), I updated my load for Berger 215 Hybrids, using Retumbo(79gr). This updated load ended up generating an additional 100FPS velocity with comparable precision, and SD’s with better ballistic and terminal performace on game. It also took about 60 rds. It currently serves as my load of choice. Lots of good ways to skin this cat, but this approach generally gets me “high confidence” results with 50-100 rounds, sometimes less once you get a feel for the process.
    sconnierider likes this.
  5. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    Hello Everyone,
    The range is open, and the weather is coming along nicely, I will be working on load development here shortly.
    This week I'm dedicating it to case preparations, and I have a few things on my mind that I would like to clarify:
    1. Berger reloading manual has the case length at 2.6201" and case trim length to 2.6101". With my case trimmer, I can't seem to be able to trim to an exact, consistent length, but it does fall between 2.6201" and 2.6101". Should I be worried, with respect to accuracy and consistency? Are other people's trimmers consistent?
    2. All my neck's concentricity is within 0.5-2 thou, without a bullet. For load development at 100-200 yds do you think I should turn the necks? I'm using Hornady brass.

    Back to load development.

    My plan is to follow Greyfox's steps which are very similar to Bergers suggestion.
    I still have a few questions that I am hoping to find an answer for:
    1. My rifle's distance from tip of the bullet to face bolt is 3.4430" with the bullet slightly jammed. The method that we used was to measure the length with a rod from the muzzle pushed to face bolt with the bolt closed and then slightly jam the bullet in and measure from muzzle again, the difference calculated is 3.4430" with 210 vld bullet. SAAMI COAL is 3.3402in. How would you use this information to determine testing setting depths? My idea is to back 0.015" to compensate for the slightly jammed bullet and try the following COAL's: 3.418, 3.398, 3.388, 3.378, 3.368, 3.358 (subtract 10 thou every time)
    or 3.418, 3.413, 3.398, 3.383, 3.368, 3.353 (subtract 15thou every time)
    3.418, 3.403, 3.393, 3.378, 3.363
    Am I overthinking it?

    2. I've been watching a lot of youtube videos lately and I stumbled upon this video
    which describes the ladder test. For someone that has access to a labradar and all other things being equal should I try this development method instead of step 3 of the one mentioned above because it saves time and money? What I mean is, instead of 5 rounds each go with one each to find the velocity nodes.
    Berger reloading book has 75.5gr of H1000 as max load, would you start at 74.5gr and work your way up until you see pressure signs? Does the step make a huge difference? Scott uses .2 increments, will something higher work as well?
    Basically, I will try to find a setting depth node and a velocity node.

    3. I haven't decided what powder will I use yet but I narrowed it down to H1000 because it seems to work well with 300wm. Another option is IMR 7828SSC because a friend of mine had some very promising results with the same bullet and the last option is Retumbo because of Greyfox :) and i like an extra 100 ft/s.

    Interesting max limits from Lee reloading manual for 210 bullets and berger manual for 210 vld bullets:
    Lee reloading book
    H Retumbo - 78c @ 2872 ft/s
    IMR7828SSC - unavailable
    H1000 - 77 @ 2826 ft/s 62341psi

    IMR7828SSC 71.4 @ 2849 ft/s
    h1000 75.5 2804 ft/s
    retumbo 79.6 @ 2874 ft/s

    I appreciate all your advice in advance.

    Mc Fraser.
    Texanjohn likes this.
  6. ShtrRdy

    ShtrRdy Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    As I'm sure you're aware after digging around on the internet there are several proposed ways to do loading development. I use the Berger 210 VLD in my long range 300 Win Mag rifle powered by H1000. I didn't do much seating depth testing but rather settled on touching the lands with the bullet.

    The VLD bullets are known to be difficult to tune. So if this is the first time you're doing a load development I would recommend the following:
    1. Use once or twice fired brass that has been fired in the rifle.
    2. Figure out why you have 0.01" variation in length trim. 0.005" or less would be better.
    3. Measure the run out on the fired brass. Less than 0.002" sounds good.
    4. Find the Cartridge Overall Length, ( COAL ), for VLD bullet touching the lands. Use this to start.
    5. I like to use the OCW type of method but I don't do the Round Robin sequence. If you want to try the Satterlee method give it a try. I haven't actually done it this way but I think it has merit based on my measuring velocity after doing the OCW.

    I don't think you need to be trimming neck thickness, unless that brass is really bad.

    Do you understand the concept of resizing the brass so that the shoulder is only pushed back a couple thousandths?

    This link was in a different thread. Just read the first post, not all the pages.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
    Texanjohn and Greyfox like this.
  7. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    Thank you so much for your opinion. I just realized I made a rookie mistake (I'm not an expert or even mid-level reloader), long story short I trimmed my cases below 2.62", way below ... so now I have to buy new brass, shoot it once and then go back to planning. To answer your points:
    1. In process :)
    2. I did, I ordered a new trimmer, the Lyman one.
    3. Noted and will do.
    4. I'll follow steps #1-3 from the other forum.
    5. Thanks for input.

    "Do you understand the concept of resizing the brass so that the shoulder is only pushed back a couple thousandths?"
    I have an idea of what is it, but I don't understand the why's and how's. Can you recommend a good video or thread?

    I read a lot about load development and practiced successful reloading on my 270 win but i haven't done load development from start to finish.
    Someone has the same 270 rifle and gave his recipe, only fine-tuned it.

  8. ShtrRdy

    ShtrRdy Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    I'll try to explain the shoulder set back reason. The 300 Win Mag was originally made from the 375 H&H case design. The 375 H&H is basically tapered from the base of the case to the neck. It didn't have much of a shoulder. The designers decided to add a "belt" around the bottom of the case to set the Head Space. When cartridges like the 300 Win Mag are designed they had to respect the Belt establishing Head Space but the actual case now had a distinct shoulder.

    If you were to measure the length between the bottom of the case to the shoulder on a new piece of brass, then load it up and fire it, the length between the bottom of the case to the shoulder will have grown quite a bit. ( e.g. 0.012" ) Now if you resize the brass and push the shoulder back to where it was originally it's going to cause two things. 1. It is working the brass more than it needs to be. 2. When you fire it again the shoulder gets blown forward. It's the shoulder getting blown forward that is the real concern. That brass has to come from somewhere. Where it comes from is the web of the case. This is the area just above the Belt. If this cycle is repeated too many times then the case can split and ultimately the Head of the case can separate.

    I learned this the hard way as a new 300 Win Mag owner a number of years ago. I was on the third firing of Hornady brass and experiencing case head splitting. I ended up using a 40 S&W case to measure from the base of the 300 Win Mag case to the shoulder by placing the mouth of the 40 case over the neck of the 300 Win Mag case. This gives you a measurement to work with.

    Then when you resize your 300 Win Mag cases you can use the reference measurement to see just how far you are pushing the shoulder back. People generally use 0.002" to 0.003" of push back.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  9. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    I ordered some Hornady brass and Forster dies to bump the shoulder and resize the neck. Until those items show up my little project is on standby.
    However yesterday I was a gun range to play with my new Labradar and my proven Tikka T3 chambered in 270 Win.
    I use this rifle for less than 350yds hunting. I use Win brass, 140gr Sierra SBT Gameking, 55.5 gr H4831SC, Fed 210 Match.
    First I shot a few rounds of bullets loaded with 55.5gr to trigger the radar, between forgetting to arm it and learning how to use it I missed a few however I managed to record 5 shots.
    Here are the results.
    Is there anything that stands out that might explain 100fps difference in velocity for the same powder weight?
    One thing that I noticed, the shot that is off by 100fps, the rifle was higher by about 3-4 inch in relationship with the radar. To explain it better, my radar was next to the rifle at 6in or less, the muzzle was about halfway from top to bottom of the radar edge, but for that shot, I wanted to check if the radar will pick my bullet if i move the muzzle closer to radar's corner.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  10. ShtrRdy

    ShtrRdy Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    I don't know much about the Labradar so can't help there. Hopefully someone will come along that understands the fine points of operation.

    I would be interested to see if the velocity reading would continue to have the 100 fps offset if you kept shooting from that other position.
  11. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    I will do more testing in the future for sure.
    Right now I suspect my RCBS Lite Mastercharge, I have another electronic scale and the RCBS 505 magnetic scale to triple check, I'm also asking my friends if they have a volumetric powder dispenser, I heard rumours about weight vs volume for extruded powders not matching.
  12. entoptics

    entoptics Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    1) The LabRadar is generally VERY good, but it can have some spurious readings. The best clue is to plot the raw tracking data (time or distance vs velocity). If you see I nice tight trend, the tracking was good. You can also often see bad readings by looking at the string summary data you posted, and making sure that the different distance readings follow a logical trend. For example, if the V0 velocity is much lower or higher than the 2nd distance reading, you can bet the tracking was suspect. In your data, the readings all pass the smell test, so the 100 fps is probably real.

    2) Not sure if you're already doing it, but be sure to trim the brass after it's been sized, and with the primer removed. Primer craters can mess up your measurements. A decent trimmer should be capable of ± 0.002 consistency or better.

    3) Not sure it will matter, but chasing 0.3 MOA (3" groups at 1000) is a tall order, so I'd definitely neck turn your brass if there's more than about 0.0015" thickness variation. I usually try and "skim" turn, and just take off enough material so that a small area remains untouched by the cutter. Basically, just take off the high spots. This will usually leave you with ≤ 0.001" variation in neck wall. Neck tension and bullet release are pretty important to consistency, so I would do it just for peace of mind if nothing else.

    Good luck with your project!
  13. Mc Fraser

    Mc Fraser Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    Thank you so much, really good advice.
    Is there a trimmer that you use/like and would recommend?
    Which neck turning tool would you recommend or use with good results?

    If I will move to a Forster Co-Ax press will i see 1 thou or less neck/bullet concentricity? My Lee cast iron press does 2 thou with 1 in 5ish at 3 or 4thou off concentricity.
  14. entoptics

    entoptics Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    Regarding trimmers, I use a Frankford Arsenal case prep center. It does a good job, and has all the other widgets for brass prep. Honestly though, any trimmer, if used correctly, should get you acceptable tolerances. I have an RCBS hand crank one, and it served well for years.

    I use the K&M neck turning tool with a hand drill. Again, there's a number of good units, any of which can do a great job, when used properly.

    Lastly, the Forster Co-Ax gets good reviews, but I'm not convinced that a press (or any one item) will be a magic bullet for runout. I get <0.002 runout on all my 300WM, whether I use my Dillon 550B progressive or my ancient Lyman Orange Crusher single stage.

    If you're having concentricity issues, you just have to isolate the source. Start with neck turned brass to eliminate that variable...

    1) Measure clean fired brass...no runout? Then it's not the rifle's chamber.
    2) Run it through the sizing die...no runout? Then it's not the sizer or press
    3) Run it through the seater...no runout? Then you're good to go.

    If runout shows up with 2 or 3, then start trying the various tricks to decrease it. If none work, then it's time to look hard at your dies or press.
    Mc Fraser likes this.