Which powder?

Which powder for 7-08 and Woodleigh 140gr bullet to get best accuracy and speed?

  • Norma 204

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Reloader 17

    Votes: 4 44.4%
  • Reloader 19

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big Game

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • 4000 MR

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • IMR4451

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • H414

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • H4350, IMR4350, or Accurate 4350

    Votes: 2 22.2%
  • Hunter

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • StaBall

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    9
  • Poll closed .

.300 Dakota

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
337
Location
Moss Point, MS
So I am going to have to do some FAST loading for my new son-in-law. My daughter's Grandpa on my ex's side has invited my new SIL to go on a hunt with them in another 8 days. He didn't even have a license, let alone a rifle. He's 6'1" and 225 lbs and in pretty good shape. While you wouldn't think recoil would be a problem for him, he may have never fired a high-powered rifle. He is into handguns some, but about as inexperienced as one can be behind the trigger of a deer rifle. They will be hunting from an elevated stand. I had a 338 Edge custom, .22 Creedmoor custom, and a Sauer 101 synthetic 300 Win Mag, all capable of 1/2 MOA. I wouldn't send him with an Edge or lightweight .300 Win Mag for obvious reasons. Being naive to recoil, he'd be ruined for life if he wasn't holding the rifle correctly. My fear with the .22 Creedmoor, even though legal, his shot placement would be even more crucial. I have no idea how far he'd be able to see to get a shot, but most likely vision will be limited to 100 yards I'm guessing, knowing my ex-FIL.

I drove a couple plus hours this last weekend to a mom-and-pop LGS to see their selection of Brownings and take advantage of the Black Friday weekend rebate. I walked out with a new X-Bolt Eclipse in 7mm-08 with 24" thin barrel and brake. It has a laminated TH stock. Trigger pull is a predictable 4 1/4 lbs, but feels very crisp (M*Carbo spring in the mail now!). I mounted a Riton 4 - 16x50 scope with fine BDC illuminated reticle with a Warne Pic rail and a set of their extra high steel rings to allow the bell with flip cap to clear the extended end of the rail. I got rid of most of my 7mm stuff awhile back except I have a good amount of new 7-08 brass on hand. I prepped some Nosler cases tonight. I have 2 bullets on hand to choose from. A 150 grain Ballistic Silvertip (coated), and a 140 grain Woodleigh Weldcore. The Woodleigh is going to get the nod. Don't really want to put coated bullets down the tube before it's well broken in.

My question is for suggestions on which of the following powders I have available to use for this 7mm-08 cartridge with a 140 grain Woodleigh bullet.

The choices are: Norma 204, Ramshot Big Game, Winchester 760, H414, Reloader 17, Accurate 2700, H4350, IMR4350, IMR4451, Accurate 4350, Hybrid 100V, 2000 MR, 4000 MR, H380, IMR4655, Winchester StaBall, Ramshot Hunter, Reloader 19, VV N550, VV N555, MRP, VV N150, or VV N160. I MIGHT be able to get my hands on some Reloader 16, but not sure I'd have sufficient time to load and test it.

Of the choices above, I would likely pick IMR4451 or Reloader 17 just because they are always usually very accurate and give very good velocity. However, if any of you have a better idea, I only have Saturday evening to get the rifle on paper and zero the scope for him. He's going to want to go practice with something Sunday afternoon, so I have to have it in his hand with enough of whatever recipe made for him to practice a few rounds and take it home for the hunt next weekend. I won't really have time to develop the best, most accurate of all possible loads and have it zeroed for him before Sunday. I can go with one load, zero it, and hope it shoots Minute-Of-Deer. Doesn't really matter the distance, size of animal, or any other factor that would normally be considered, I just need the 140 grain Weldcore to move as fast as I can safely get it to move with the odds of giving the best accuracy. I have been able to get every rifle I've tried them in to shoot the Weldcores very well if I leave them seated near the lands. They have lots of bearing surface compared to boattail bullets of the same weight. They also flatten big boars at the ranges he will likely shoot at deer.

I read a thread where someone had great performance from Big Game in 7-08 and lighter weight bullet. I would expect Hybrid 100V and StaBall to give perhaps the highest velocities, but my groups with both of those across a spectrum of cartridges have been very mediocre. Great accuracy is generally always had with IMR4451 and RL 17 with good speed, if not the best, but there could be a large enough variation in the ambient temperature between Saturday evening when I try them out and the next weekend at day break when he climbs in his tree to still hunt. Most likely it would be cooler then, but not sure how much cooler and how much it would effect Reloader 17 or Reloader 19. Win 760, H414, and H380 are solid choices because I can get a good amount of them in the case. All the 4350s are solid performers, and H4350 and VV555 are temp stable. The temp difference likely won't be over 20 degrees. All would work, but which do you guys see being the fastest, most accurate (potentially- let's say "most consistent"), and least likely to have a large POI shift due to a 20 - 25 degree temperature swing?

I could just buy a box of factory bullets and hope for the best, but I think I can best their performance, even on a single try. I'll take care of what charge to use, just need your feelings on what powder from my list of those available you think would have the potential to be the best for this cartridge/bullet combination.

Thanks in advance. Perhaps if I get lucky and find a box of something on the shelf at the range store, I can compare that with the selected load I make and go with the most accurate of the two.

I'm loaning him my new Eclipse because I think between the brake and the stock design, with a lighter bullet in this cartridge and all the weight on top of the action added, his recoil will be comparable to the .22 Creedmoor. I'm praying Priority Mail brings the M*Carbo trigger spring Saturday. I can install it just before hitting the range. The Riton scope will have the capability for him to be ultra precise with the fine reticle, but use it's ultra-low glow illumination on the lowest setting to allow him to see his mark in dark timber at sunset without being so bright as to cause significant glare and making it harder to see well like most cheaper illuminated scopes do. It will be a little weighty to climb a tree with, so a good strap will be necessary.

Thanks for your input.
 
Last edited:

DUSTY NOGGIN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
879
Location
salt lake city
h4350 would be my go to , because it can be compressed and good velocity , id bet something nice happens right at the full to the base of the bullet charge weight ....

but any of your choices that CAN be compressed , and id favor any extreeme or temp stable powder first

i might seat a bullet saami COAL , to find out where the base of the bullet is , settle some powder to that level and weigh it , if it weighs between min and max id do a small OCW near that weight
 

jimbires

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,140
Location
clearfield county , Pa
my first choice would be RL17

I use it in my one 7mm-08 with 140 Bergers . it gives me high velocity , and good accuracy . as I use up powders I have for my other 7mm-08's , I'll be switching them to RL17 too .

I'll say RL17 is the powder that produces the most velocity with the Woodleigh bullet. around 3000 FPS , with about 102% case fill at max load . I'm not fond of Nosler brass , but since you have it , use it .
 

.300 Dakota

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
337
Location
Moss Point, MS
Follow up: I decided to just wait and go to the range store and see what factory ammo they had onhand, so I didn't try to make any yesterday or the day before. Wisely, I called them right after work this afternoon to ask. They had zero. Just like everyone else online. I actually thought they would. Instead of going directly to the range (range bag and rifle in the trunk from work), I went home and got to work with the few pieces of brass I'd prepped (13!). I was going to make 1 fouling shot and 3 groups of 4 rounds each with the 3 finalists (just because I was going to have to dig for my RL 17) H4350, IMR 4451, and Winchester StaBall. I charged 5 cases with 48.7 grains of StaBall and 4 cases with 45.7 grains of IMR 4451. As I started measuring 46.2 grains of H4350, I realized the range would be closed by the time I got through and got there. I dropped the H4350 and went with the 2 loads I had. I added 0.2 grains to the published max charges for both powders on the Hodgdon site because I found out using my Hornady Lock N Load OAL gauge (Actually mine is a Stoney Point who sold the patent to Hornady some years back) that the throat of the Browning Eclipse is decently long. Longer than the Bergara B14 Ridge that wouldn't hold 1.5 MOA in 7-08. I got to the range with 23 minutes left til close. Fortunately for me, with the Riton scope set on 16X, I was able to see the diamond-shaped bullseye pretty well at 100yds in fading light. There was 1 guy left firing away on a Savage Axis II, and there were 4 targets hanging (I bought one at checkin to go hang). I asked him which one(s) he was shooting and he pointed out only one. I was able to find plenty of unshot areas on the other 3 and picked the one with the least number of holes. Practically none the size a 7mm would leave. This was important because I didn't have to make the range "cold" and go waste precious minutes hanging a target. I bore sighted the gun manually looking through the bore and lining the crosshair of the scope with the center of the sight picture I had through the bore. When I was satisfied I had the crosshair as close as possible to the center of the bore sight picture, I inserted the #5 StaBall load charged with 48.7 grains with a Federal Gold Match 210 primer seated to exactly touch the lands (or within 1/2 a thousandth [.0005"]). I could tell it was there on the lands because I had to make a 2nd run at chambering (similar to what happens to many of the Seekins Havak rifles you hear about "binding" on initial chambering attempt where the shooter has to make a second attempt to close the bolt. The round chambered easily with zero bolt resistance when it got itself lined up right. Or this could be because of Browning's M16 extractor they have employed now.

At any rate, the initial shot landed 2 1/2" low and 1/4" right. One of the best jobs of manually bore sighting I've ever done. I made an adjustment and fored 2 rounds of the other 4 rounds of the StaBall group. I couldn't really tell for sure after the first shot and thought I'd hit off the target. I tried a 2nd shot and thought I was seeing a hole 1" low in the lower point of the inner diamond of the bullseye. Surmising I'd put 2 through 1 hole, the 3rd round went about 1/2 - 5/8" diagonally down and left of the initial 2-shot ragged hole. I adjusted the scope 4 clicks up and shot the last StaBall round, which landed in the right corner of the outline of the inner bullseye. Perfect. Leave it alone. I have what amounts to a near 1/2 MOA group (at worst 5/8 MOA). I moved to a different red diamond bullseye and started firing the 4451 group. I LOVE me some IMR 4451! I get great groups and good velocity every time! Probably my favorite powder outside of Norma 203B. Not this time! My first 2 shots landed about 1/2 - 5/8" apart, but the third flew out an inch and a half ot more. (I'm looking through the scope and estimating group size, not actually walking down with my tape measure as per normal). At 16Xn the groups look larger than they really are generally.

The Browning "Feather" trigger broke at 4 1/4 lbs on my scale before leaving for the range. That's a bit heavy and as stated the M*Carbo replacement spring is on the way, but won't get her til Monday. However, I thought the trigger functioned very well on the bench and seemed lighter than it really was. I had zero issues with the trigger qand it broke like glass.

Normally, I get great groups with 4451 and meh... groups with StaBall. Today was the opposite. I am not surprised that there was an affinity for one certain load. The very thin barrel of the Eclipse heated up quickly. I didn't h hj very time to let the barrel cool as much as I normally would, but was cool enough outside that I could grab and hold the barrel along it's entire length without getting burned.

So what did I learn? 48.7 grains of Staball under a 140gr Woodleigh Weldcore in a Nosler case with Federal Match primer seated to the lands fired from a Browning X-Bolt Eclipse 7mm-08 with Riton 4-16x50mm scope mounted with a Warne ring set and Pic rail makes a heck of a good group and SHOULD BE traveling 3000 ft/s according to the Hodgdon Web site with 9.5 twist and 24" barrel. I also learned that, like most very thin barrels, POI and group size between 2 different loads vary a good amount. That's ok. It is approximately zeroed for the StaBall load that I would estimate to be 200 ft/s faster than the IMR4451 load that opened up to 1.5 MOA or more. I came home and made 17 more rounds identical to the best one of 2 loads on the range this evening. I plan to get up early and take the rifle, ammo, and some hearing protection so my son-in-law can go squeeze off a couple rounds and verify the zero before the hunt.

Recoil was very mild. The SIL will be able to handle it easily. I guess StaBall is going to get the nod for now.

I'm super excited about the rifle. It is better than any other factory gun I can remember. Very little perceived recoil and good trigger with excellent accuracy potential. Hoping my SIL gets a deer so we can see if the Woodleighs flatten deer like they do big hogs.

I saved the last round the IMR4451 group for the SIL to burn the residue of the cleaning product I used and get use to the gun. I'll tell him to ignore everything else and concentrate on the trigger and crosshair.

Thanks for your feedback!
 
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