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Thread: Some help on a 30-06 factory duplication load

  1. #1
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default Some help on a 30-06 factory duplication load

    I have a 30-06 that is extremely finicky about what it will shoot. It's glass bedded in solid, and everything is torqued correctly, but it is basically a 3" @ 100 yd gun with with a wide variety of powders and bullets. I've tried 4350, 4831, Ramshot Hunter and Big Game, Speer, Hornady, Nosler, Barnes, 165 gr, 180 gr, 200 gr.... You get the idea. The only exception (and the reason I keep trying) is factory loaded Winchester Supreme 180 gr Accubonds. Those particular loads are sub 1" all day long and today I managed a 1.1" group @ 200 yds. Unfortunately, they are $45/box, so practice is kind of expensive. Plus I much prefer to load my own.

    The loads are obviously Winchester brass, Winchester primers and Nosler Accubonds, but I'm stumped on the powder. I pulled one apart and it is stuffed with a 57 grs of a ball power. As a general description, the grains are about 50% larger in size that the Ramshot powder I have and they are slightly flattened. I'm speculating that its W760/H414, but don't have any of that powder to compare it too. Does the "slightly flattened" description match W760?



    This is the 200 yd groups I'm trying to duplicate. Anybody have any ideas on what Winchester might have used for the powder?

    Yk

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    Interesting problem. A max load for the 30-06 with 180 grain bullets and W 760 would be 54.0 grains........That likely isn't the powder. H450, an older, discontinued powder would fit the description and the charge weight, but the factory powder is likely a Winchester (Hodgdon manufactured) powder not available to us over the counter.

    But... it is highly unlikely that your inaccurate hand loads are a direct result of your powder choice. Your rifle sings with those factory loads and that bullet at that velocity....because the rifle likes that bullet at that velocity. A chronograph here would be helpful. There can be minor differences in accuracy with various powders once the ideal velocity is reached with a given bullet but your tests give gross differences and that isn't likely the issue here.

    With those slow extruded powders, a primer change may well make a bigger difference. Complete ignition could be an issue. It is the best match of components that sometimes makes the best accuracy. W-W brass Win LR primers (Their factory primer is hottter than std LR) are giving good consistent performance with that powder. You can do the same with another set of components. This of course assumes your hand loads are well assembled with not alignment problems and correct seating depth, etc.
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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Thanks Murphy, that's good information. A bummer though, since I was kind of hoping that W760 was the simple answer. The charge seems a bit light for W780, so I suppose it's not that either.

    I'm fairly confident in the quality of my hand loading technique, since I'm managed to assemble accurate loads for a variety of firearms. I don't have a chronograph, which handicaps me somewhat, but have managed to do get at least MOA from most guns. It would be interesting to check runnout, etc on these loads to rule out a bad set of dies.

    The last load I tried was 180 gr Accubonds seated to the exact same OAL as factory. I loaded with 58 gr of Ramshot Hunter and and ignited it with a Fed 215. No dice. I've also tried CCI 200 and 250's with the various powders. For what it's worth, the spread on the bad groups is typically vertical.

    So based on what you are telling me, I either need to clock the factory loads and then try to match that velocity (would need to borrow a chronograph), or as an alternative, pick a powder and load up a series in small powder increments in an essentially blind attempt to match velocity?

    Interestingly, when I hit the "sweet spot" with the factory loads, it's a very forgiving spot. I've fired it in conditions ranging from -10 to +85 degrees, with and without forend tip pressure, hot, cold, clean, fouled, etc and the darn thing just shoots nice tight groups. But ONLY with those loads.

    I think the final answer is going to be a new barrel, but that's not in the cards this year.

    Yk

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    What Murphy says above certainly confirms my observations. I use a chronograph religiously with all my shooting and load evaluations and have often noted that a particular rifle will have a specific velocity for a particular bullet that it shoots best regardless of the powder used. Of course some powders will produce better accuracy than others but the "best velocity" remains quite consistent with the same bullet while trying different powders. Good luck duplicating your "magical load"!
    "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

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    Once upon a time I had a magic load for my Swift using H-414 and Sierra 55 gr. HPBT. I even had the load written down. After shooting all my loads over a couple of seasons I reloaded about a thousand rounds that would not hit a phone booth from the inside. So after playing with powder and everything else I could think of at the time finally I changed the primer to a mag and used the same load data from before and beheld my magic load. I know this does not help you much but to say your magic load may be very near so only change one componet at a time and work that one componet. Good luck

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default Followup

    Based on Murphy's theory that the groups were related to a particular velocity rather than a powder type, I decided to run an experiment. Rifle is a Ruger Ultra-light with a rough barrel and a long throat, so I'm not exactly working with stellar material, but I KNOW it can shoot those certain loads.

    I dug through my powder and found enough Ramshot Hunter to load a few rounds. Not finding any load data for 180 gr Accubonds, I extrapolated from a some other bullet types and loaded up 3 rounds each from 56.5 - 60.5 gr in 0.5 gr increments. Cases were once fired Winchester, neck sized, and primed with Fed 215M. OAL was set to exactly what Winchester uses in their factory shell. I then carefully fired 8 groups at 100 yds. Results were... interesting.





    I got decent groups at both 58.0 gr and 60.0 gr. However both times, an additional 0.5 grs blew the group out to 4+"

    Apparently my pencil barrel is very very picky. I'll probably load up a few more of the 60 gr load, just to see how repeatable my results are. Generally, I just think I've got a dog of a barrel, and will save my pennies for a new one at some point. The only alternative I can think of would be to full length pressure bed the fore end to try and tame the vibrations a little.

    As a disclaimer, my rifle has a fairly long throat and is very forgiving of hotter loads. Please don't use mine without working up to it.

    Yk

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    Recognizing that each rifle is unique, I have to say your experience with that Ultralight sounds just like my buddy's that I reload for. His hasn't been bedded, but I did free-float the barrel. Otherwise they sound alike right down to the grouping. His "magic" load turned out to be near max with H4831 and a 180 Partition. I'd quote the charge, but this is old stuff completely different than the latest version. I see that on your list, but his only shines with Fed 215M primers. If you weren't using mag primers when you shot it before, it might be worth a revisit. Interesting enough his only shines with 150 and 165 grain bullets when using 4064 and the magnum primer again. I don't know what that's all about, but he's happy.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Thanks BrownBear, I may revisit some of my old loads and tweak the primer and powder charge to see what I get. It kind of seems like I just need to find the right vibration node to make it shoot. I would like to find a non-premium bullet to shoot for practice.

    Meanwhile I've got two more boxes of the factory stuff to get me through another hunting season.

    Yk

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    Thanks BrownBear, I may revisit some of my old loads and tweak the primer and powder charge to see what I get. It kind of seems like I just need to find the right vibration node to make it shoot. I would like to find a non-premium bullet to shoot for practice.

    Meanwhile I've got two more boxes of the factory stuff to get me through another hunting season.

    Yk
    Something else worth tinkering, is how you brace the rifle on the bench. My bud's rifle DOES NOT like to be rested on the forend, even after freefloating. I put the front sandbag right under the floor plate, and everything is roses. And it shoots best of all if I rest my forehand on the sandbag and clasp the rifle lightly as I shoot, an old muzzleloading benchrest trick. Yet another gun mystery on a long list of gun mysteries, I guess. Who knows if that combo will work for you, but it's worth noting that the little rifle is tender about how it's benched.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Wow. Strange groupings. Have you tried shooting with IMR4831? I've had very good results in my Ruger M77 (tang safety) with that and Nosler 180 gr partitions.

    I wasn't sure if you did this, but have you tried cutting some card stock (like business cards) and using them as shims between the fore end tip and the barrel to see if it improves your groups? With a stock Ruger ultralight contour barrel, I would bet it would help. From what I understand, unless a barrel is stress relieved (like a Krieger, Lilja, etc) it generally benefits from a pressure point rather than free floating.

    Even though you clearly have one load that is magic, getting a good bedding job on the action would likely shrink the rest of the groups. The strange horizontal stringing would make me think it could be a bedding issue.

    Interesting problem.

    There are also those goofy looking limbsaver rubber tuner things people put on their barrels (http://www.limbsaver.com/2011/firearms/41.php).

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    All of today's shooting was done with the forend in a rabbit ear sandbag just forward of the front action screw. My support hand was used to control elevation at the buttstock. I could fiddle with it a bit.

    This rifle came with the stock Ruger forend pressure pad. It shot the first load I tried (the Winchester Accubonds) great, but a couple of other loads poorly. I free floated it to see if that helped, but no change. Then I glass bedded the front lug and 2" of barrel... still no change. I really hate to go back to tip pressure with a wood stock. They just move too dang much in the weather. I may piller bed the rear action screw to make sure that's not moving, but other than that I'm at a loss for what else could be causing bedding issues.

    My feeling is that the barrel is actually pretty straight, since I can get great groups with the "magic" load even when the barrel is smokin' hot. I'm getting even wear on the bolt lugs, so pretty sure that's not it. Headspace is on the tight side of spec.

    If nothing else, these problem rifles can be an education in reloading. I've certainly learned a few things. I do have some IMR4831, IMR 4064, etc on hand. I think I'm going to try varying the powder charge slightly to see if I can find the sweet spot with different bullets. Could be a waste of time, but at least I'm shooting...

    Yk

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    Is metal fouling affecting your grouping? I shutter to think of the number of rifles I have sent down the road because they "won't shoot" only to discover I had not cleaned all the copper fouling out. When cleaned well, most rifles will shoot well. Just a consideration. J.

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    OldRgr

    Fouling "may" be a problem. Even though I clean it down to bear steel, the lands will foul terribly within a few shots. interestingly, the grooves don't seem to be too bad, but the getting the copper off the lands is a project. I've pretty much decided that this barrel needs to go down the road, just need the money to make it happen.

    Yk

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