Velocity low, but accuracy great...what now?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by joeycoates, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. joeycoates

    joeycoates Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Ok, I have been doing a lot of work developing a load for my Rem 700 in a 7RM. I have been using the 168rg Berger Classic Hunter. At this time I do not have anywhere to hunt with a distance of over 650 yards (hunting Whitetail in East Texas, not very large) and they were readily available. In the future I would like to use the 180gr VLD's, but that is for another time.

    My issue right now is that I have worked up a load for the 168gr Berger CH's, but the velocity is 2,800fps. Here are the details on the load:

    • All cases trimmed, primer pockets reamed, flash holes de-burred. Weigh within +/- 2 grains.
    • Full length sized, shoulders bumped back .015, all have been fired through same rifle.
    • H1000, 67.0gr
    • Seated .010 off lands
    • All rounds checked for concentricity to no more than .002 out
    • WLR primers
    This load shoots .15" groups with an extreme deviation of 9.01fps and a standard deviation of 4.58fps. The actual average for five rounds was 2798.33fps.

    I started with 5 rounds each of 69.0gr H1000 .010, .020, .030, .050, .070, and .080 off lands. They were shot on a perfectly calm day. All shot well over 1.00" groups, terrible as compared to what it has done before.

    So at the suggestion of a buddy, I started loading lower. I loaded five each, (all loaded with H1000)
    65.0gr .010, .050, .080
    66.0gr .010, .050, .080
    67.0gr .010, .050, .080
    68.0gr .010, .050, .080

    Long story short, it liked 67.0gr and .010 off. Seating depth did not however really make an enormous difference, the Classic Hunters are easier to work with in that regard than the VLD's just like Berger states. The grain of powder/velocity though made an enormous difference. Started with semi-large groups (low velocity) to very tight back up to very large (higher velocity). Like an hourglass.

    So do I just live with the lower velocities or maybe try another powder? Would another powder perhaps help or do you think the spread would be related to velocity no matter what the powder? I do know that this rifle has always liked its bullets seated .010 off and I was just experimenting like Berger suggests. It still likes

    I am going to re-barrel at some point, but not yet. Would you guys try other powders or just be happy with a very accurate load that has an extremely low ES and SD, but just does not move all too fast?

    Oh, one more thing, 24" barrel.

    This might be better in the reloading section, but it has to do with ballistics as well. Thanks
  2. cdherman

    cdherman Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2008
    .15" group? That's crazy tight and if you can get it, you should be mighty happy. That really means that you have one ragged hole.

    You can try for more velocity, but why? You have a range finder, I assume. Find a place to shoot long range and ladder test the load to make sure of the EXACT drop. Have a good table in your head or taped to the gun.

    Higher velocity is overrated.

    You should verify your phenomenal results a few times. Random success does occur. Shot a group like that from an old 6.5x55 swede once with an amazed friend watching. Next time out, was not the same. Just saying....
  3. joeycoates

    joeycoates Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Yes, it is one ragged hole. It nearly did the same thing with the same powder load (67.0gr) but at .050 off instead of .010. Put 4 into one hole and then threw one round which opened up to .5". Could have been me, but that is what I was getting at when I said the 168 Classic Hunter just seems to be tolerant of distance off of the lands. It sure seems to have a happy spot with the powder charge though, at least with the H1000.

    At .010 off it shot a .75" with 65.0gr, .60" with 66.0gr, .15" with 67.0gr and .80" with 68.0gr. On a different day it shot over 1.00" with 69.0gr but I kind of do not count that as it was a different day and thus not a back to back comparison.

    Another thing that was kind of funny is that every 1gr of H1000 equals just about 50fps.

    Averages were:

    65gr: 2712fps
    66gr: 2747fps
    67gr: 2798fps
    68gr: 2850fps
    69gr: 2899fps (different day though)

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Probably I'd do both. I'd keep using and validating the good load. If it proved to me that it was really that much better than the others I'd use it and not look back.

    I would also continue trying to find a load that gave me both.

    In that process I'd expect for the good load to shine a little less, and hope to see some improvement in another load.
  5. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2001
    You didn't mention who's reloading data your using and it may not be that far off in velocity since Berger data is with 24" barrel and max load is 69.5gr/H-1000.

    I'll work up loads at 100yds but I'll shoot them 200/300yds before I decide and I look for repeatable groups. As to the velocity if you run ballistic at max yardage and it gives you what you need that should be good enough. Berger got 17 loads for the 168gr bullet in the 7mag.

    Well good luck
  6. moombaskier

    moombaskier Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    I will admit to the fact that I used to load for higher velocities while putting a little bit accuracy aside. I would shoot that load at longer ranges to see how it groups out past 500yds. If all you are going to shoot is a max of 650yds, I wouldn't worry about a possible 100-200fps. I shoot several factory REM 700's and found that they like that lower "accuracy node", but there is usually a higher node if you "very carefully" load up to it. I have one REM 700 7mm mag that I shoot the 168VLD hunting bullet at 3020fps with 72.0gr of H1000, with Winchester brass, FED215M at .010" off the lands. That rifle is an XCR with a 26" tube. It is scary accurate and very consistant.
    Just remember that I used to load for velocity, but accuracy in any case is far more important to me now.
  7. aramarine6

    aramarine6 Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2010
    That is fantastic accuracy and consistanency in those handloads you've got. I would leave it alone. How much "slower" are these handloads as to what you were orginally looking for? If its less than 100 fps than I wouldn't change a thing. Especially with groups like that. I'll take consistant groups over an extra 100 fps any day of the week.
  8. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2008
    Well... you obviously have a great load there for accuracy and I would be very happy with it. Velocity is nice, but accuracy is king.

    If you want to spend the powder, bullets and barrel life and try Retumbo, maybe you will get close to the same accuracy with a little more velocity. I got 3100 with 160 AB's out of a 24" tube so it should be "possible", and I emphasize possible, to get 3000 with the 168's.

    If it doesn't work out, you always have the other load to fall back on.
  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    I believe that the load that the Best of the West uses is 71 gr of H-1000 with the 168's. You may try reloading one each at 69.5, 70, 70.5, 71 and 71.5 and look for signs of pressure. Shoot the lower ones first. If you see any signs of pressure do NOT shoot the hotter loads. If you have no pressure signs then you may wish to check the accuracy of those loads. Best of luck. Bruce