Replicating factory ammo performance

338 dude

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So that might be an odd thread title, given that reloaders tend to try to exceed factory ammo performance. But you folks seem like a friendly enough bunch from the lurking I've done so I figure you'd be willing to answer a question or two.

I have a new gun and I have found three makes of premium factory ammo that will shoot 0.75" groups or better at 100 yards. I'd like to practice with ammo that shoots that well, but I don't want to pay premium ammo prices to do it. I don't see any point in practicing with cheapo cartridges that shoot like crap out of my gun.

If I were to try reloading in order to be able to shoot more practice rounds for the same amount of money as buying factory fodder, choosing the bullet seems obvious, as I know of three that perform well in my gun. I've already shot four boxes of ammo just breaking the barrel in, zeroing the rifle and testing out different brands, so I have brass. The big mystery to me is powder. As long as I match the muzzle velocity of the factory ammo will any appropriate powder do? I'm guessing not. Can I just choose from the powders I've seen recommended and do a workup until I get the accuracy I'm looking for? I'd rather not buy a pound each of five kinds of powder just to find one that works well, although I'm sure I could find someone to take the other four off my hands.

Thanks for any thoughts you might be willing to offer.
As you said the type of brass and bullet it’s fairly obvious the primer not so much but the powder used by factories are blended the best you could do is try to match the velocity with the same weight of powder and fine-tune from there
 

Alibiiv

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1.) Buy a chronograph
2.) Measure fps of factory loads that shoot well
3.) Find a suitable powder(s) to match that velocity (manuals, online, etc), and load a ladder to verify over chronograph. You can also pull the factory bullet and measure the powder grains and look at the powder. Might be able to find out what they are using, or at least get close.
4.) Keep same COAL for handload as factory -for each respective bullet.

Are you saying that there are manuals that can be found online that will specifically give load data to match the factory ammunition? This is something that I have never heard of.
 

J E Custom

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Are you saying that there are manuals that can be found online that will specifically give load data to match the factory ammunition? This is something that I have never heard of.


Most factory ammo Is/may be loaded with proprietary powders and not available to reloaders.
It is not unusual to not be able to reproduce factory loadings so the reloader has to work up his own loads. If your rifle shoots factory loads well, the chances are that you will be able to load better ammo than you can buy. Stick with the same bullet weight as the factory because apparently your rifle likes the bullet weight and velocity.

You may not be able to match the velocity, but may get better accuracy. Factories will normally not give out there load recipe, so no loading manual should have it. They may claim they do, but I would not rely on it.

J E CUSTOM
 

Alibiiv

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Most factory ammo Is/may be loaded with proprietary powders and not available to reloaders.
It is not unusual to not be able to reproduce factory loadings so the reloader has to work up his own loads. If your rifle shoots factory loads well, the chances are that you will be able to load better ammo than you can buy. Stick with the same bullet weight as the factory because apparently your rifle likes the bullet weight and velocity.

You may not be able to match the velocity, but may get better accuracy. Factories will normally not give out there load recipe, so no loading manual should have it. They may claim they do, but I would not rely on it.

J E CUSTOM
 

nwmnbowhunter

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My 2 cents...

Your rifle obviously isn't very picky as you are shooting 3 very different bullets very well.

If you just want practice rounds i would find the cheapest stuff you can and see what your gun will do. I think it'll probably shoot just fine and be CLOSE to your premium options.

If you have factory ammo that you are satisfied with you will not find a cheaper reloading option.

It doesn't sound like you reload now? Reloading provides you combinations that aren't available, and provides the avenue to find the MOST accurate combination.

Even experienced reloaders will find an ammo that they know is going to be hard to beat and just roll factory with it.
 

J-B welder

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My 2 cents...

Your rifle obviously isn't very picky as you are shooting 3 very different bullets very well.

If you just want practice rounds i would find the cheapest stuff you can and see what your gun will do. I think it'll probably shoot just fine and be CLOSE to your premium options.

If you have factory ammo that you are satisfied with you will not find a cheaper reloading option.

It doesn't sound like you reload now? Reloading provides you combinations that aren't available, and provides the avenue to find the MOST accurate combination.

Even experienced reloaders will find an ammo that they know is going to be hard to beat and just roll factory with it.
You sir, have just hit on the thought I arrived at earlier today and probably should have thought of before. There's no reason for me to reload premium bullets for practice rounds. I had figured since I knew those bullets shot accurately I could reload some of them cheaper than factory. But if I can find an inexpensive bullet that I can reload to shoot 1 MOA through my rifle for practice, so much the better. I'll have to re-zero for the factory ammo to hunt with, but that is of small consequence. Or I could re-load the premium bullets to hunt with and the cheap stuff for practice.

You have also correctly deduced that I do not currently reload. I was thinking of the Lee Classic Loader option to get some accurate enough practice rounds. (If you lot want to go into the whole debate about whether or not a Lee Classic is worth it, go ahead, but I'm out if you do. I've read heaven knows how many threads on the subject.) I'm looking for maybe 150 rounds a year, not 1500 so going with a more expensive set up is probably not worth it for me. Heck, there might even be a cheap factory load that will shoot out of my barrel well enough to practice with. If that's the case I might go that route.

Of course, making cheaper ammo would be a good way to rationalize buying some additional manly things. But who really needs a reason to justify that?
 

azarcher10x

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Most factory ammo Is/may be loaded with proprietary powders and not available to reloaders.
It is not unusual to not be able to reproduce factory loadings so the reloader has to work up his own loads. If your rifle shoots factory loads well, the chances are that you will be able to load better ammo than you can buy. Stick with the same bullet weight as the factory because apparently your rifle likes the bullet weight and velocity.

You may not be able to match the velocity, but may get better accuracy. Factories will normally not give out there load recipe, so no loading manual should have it. They may claim they do, but I would not rely on it.

J E CUSTOM
I ran into that with my RUM and factory Barnes ammo. I called Barnes (I'm on their staff) to ask what they were using for powder and was told straight out, "Nothing you or I can buy." Went back to working up the best load I could with Retumbo and left it there. Gets good groups at .5, but 150 fps slower than factory ammo.
 

J-B welder

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150 rounds a year in only one rifle?

Buy a case for $150 of the premium stuff and shoot away.

Who the heck can find a case of ammo anywhere? I was lucky to find one box each of those three premium loads, and each was the last box on the shelf.

Oh, and I live in NY, where nobody will ship ammo to. I'm told Target Sports USA will, but they have NO .243 ammo in stock.

Enough of my whining. You raise a valid point. Buying bulk ammo is a possible solution.
 

J-B welder

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if you can find the 85gr. sierra hpgk they usually shoot lights out I would try hybrid 100v or h-4350 seat bullet 20 thou off the lands and I bet they shoot as good or better than any of the factory offerings great hunting bullet also
Well, I've gone and done it. The Barnes and Sierras were very hard (read: impossible) to find and the Bergers were pretty pricey. Lots of places had the Sierra 85 gr. hpbt bullets JMW67 suggested though, so 100 of those and a pound of Hybrid 100v are on their way from Midway along with the Lee Classic kit, case conditioning kit, case length gauge and a scale. Had to go to gunbroker to get price gouged on the primers.

Wish me luck. If the Sierras shoot as well as I hope, Midway has some factory seconds of the same which should make good practice rounds. It'll be fun to try reloading, if nothing else.

Thanks for the help.
 

JMW67

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you will do just fine if you have questions or are unsure about some thing just ask some one here will help you I have always found accuracy with this combo set the bullet 20 thou off the lands and work up from book specs I normally hit it about 42.5-44.0gr Clean your rifle very well before starting load development a couple foulers and your off
 

J-B welder

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After quite a bit of searching online, I have been unable to find a source that tells me how much Hybrid 100v to use under my Sierras. That should probably tell me that a) not many people are loading this combination or b) I should spring for a manual or a subscription to a load data site.

The closest I could come is Hogdon's website, which indicates a range of 38.3 to 42.5 gr with the Barnes 85 gr TSX. They don't list a jacketed bullet, but knowing that monolithic bullets develop higher pressures than lead core bullets, am I at least safe staying within this range?
 
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JMW67

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After quite a bit of searching online, I have been unable to find a source that tells me how much Hybrid 100v to use under my Sierras. That should probably tell me that a) not many people are loading this combination or b) I should spring for a manual or a subscription to a load data site.

The closest I could come is Hogdon's website, which indicates a range of 38.3 to 42.5 gr with the Barnes 85 gr TSX. They don't list a jacketed bullet, but knowing that monolithic bullets develop higher pressures than lead core bullets, am I at least safe staying within this range?
barnes bullets will use a little less powder than others because they pressure up faster be good to start there look at the next couple bullet weights higher on hodgdons site and you will see they are loading higher with a heavier bullet
 

J-B welder

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barnes bullets will use a little less powder than others because they pressure up faster be good to start there look at the next couple bullet weights higher on hodgdons site and you will see they are loading higher with a heavier bullet

Danke beaucoups, señor.
 

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