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Thread: New to Handloading

  1. #1

    Default New to Handloading

    A friend and I are going to start reloading when his Lee press comes in a week or two. I am new to handloading and have never even seen it done but have been asking a lot of questions at gunshops and researching online.

    I will start reloading for my 7mm rem mag that I will use for a moose hunting trip this fall. I need to find a bullet that will shoot well out of my ruger m77. I have heard that Barnes x, failsafes, and nosler partitions are good bullets to start with but how do I go about experimenting with loads without breaking the bank? Should I load 6 of each and see how they group or shoot more? I am sure you all have your normal routine and technique but what is a smart way of going about this?

    My primary goal is to just find a load that has the tightest groups with the highest energy that will be the most effective on taking down a moose without going broke during the process. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    What factory ammo are you using now, brand and bullet weight? Does it shoot well? I would start out with that bullet weight, in barnes or nosler. I would start out with IMR 4350 as your powder. Get a good reloading manual. Start with starting loads and work your way up. You have to remember consistency is the name of the game. If you do it to one case do it to all the cases. Things that will change things, different primers, overall length of cartriadge is more of a fine tuning tool. Some rifles like a small bullet jump some like a large jump. Here is the process I go through

    1. Resize and deprime case. If it is my cases that I have shot I just neck size.

    2. Clean primer pockets.

    3. Deburr flash hole and make sure all flash holes are consistant, (same size)

    4. Put brass in a tumbler and clean. I use media to clean with and different media to polish with. This saves you money in the long run. When you put you polishing compound in your media the dirt will ruin your media if you use it to clean with.

    5. Now I trim the cases to length.

    6. Now I chamfer the case mouth inside and out.

    7. Now put them back in to the tumbler with your polishing media and polish the brass.

    8. Prime cases

    9. decide on the load you are going to load.

    10. weigh out your powder charge and load it in your case. I would do 4 cases

    11. Put your seating die in press and set it up the way your instruction tell you. I back my bullet depth all the way, till the die is set. Now I put a factory load in the die and screw the bullet depth till it touches the bullet.

    12. Put your case loaded with powder in the press, hold bullet of choice to the mouth of case, and pull the ram rod till the rod stops at the bottom.

    13. Measure oal (over all length) of cartriadge and then adjust the bullet depth to where you want it to be.

    14. After loading 4 I go out and shoot them. Remember the 1 shot is fouling shot. Measure the next three shots.

    15. After finding the load that you are going use. Sight in your load for hunting. Remember cold bore shots are different than sighting in your rifle round after round. It takes a few days to sight in your rifle to the cold bore shot. You do this 1 shot a day or after your barrel is completly cold like it will be when you shoot your game.

    Hope this helps a little bit.

  4. #4
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 7mm Mag

    7mm Mag

    160gr Nosler Accubond or Partition or Barnes TSX
    and Reloader 22 powder
    Fed 215 Match Primer
    WW or FC Cases
    Alaska

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by barko View Post
    What factory ammo are you using now, brand and bullet weight?
    • On last years moose hunt I used a Nosler partition by Federal. It proved to not be the most accurate out of my rifle. I missed at 300+ probably because I practiced at 100-200 yards. Actually the most accurate round I tried were the accubond 160 grainers and the remington corelocked 160's. I did not hunt with them though because I was told that these were not adequate for moose more for deer and caribou.
    • Thanks for all of your input

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska bush man View Post
    7mm Mag

    160gr Nosler Accubond or Partition or Barnes TSX
    and Reloader 22 powder
    Fed 215 Match Primer
    WW or FC Cases
    What about the 175 grainers? Do they give up too much velocity because of the extra weight? I guess you wouldn't recommend it if you haven't used it for yourself though.
    I have heard good thing about the barnes X. I think I will try those first.

  7. #7

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    If you're going to shoot X-bullets of any variety you need a VERY clean bore. Go out get some copper solvent and work your bore per instructions till you get a clean patch. It takes a very long time. In this respect noslers would probably be easier to start loading because they aren't as picky about fouling.

    The best load development tool I have is a chronograph. Don't get one right away but if you find yourself exploring the top end of published load data a chrony will keep you honest. Never exceed published load data velocity regardless of how much more powder the book says you can use.

    I use a lot of IMR 7828 in my 7mm. I think I read somewhere that 7828 was designed for the 7mm rem mag. I've had extreme velocity spreads of around 9fps using it (5 rounds). In any event the 7mm (at least mine) was very forgiving to start loading.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beer:30 View Post
    I use a lot of IMR 7828 in my 7mm. I think I read somewhere that 7828 was designed for the 7mm rem mag. I've had extreme velocity spreads of around 9fps using it (5 rounds). In any event the 7mm (at least mine) was very forgiving to start loading.
    Now correct me if I am wrong but I thought that you were supposed to use the powder specified by the bullet manufacturer or is that just a myth?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    Now correct me if I am wrong but I thought that you were supposed to use the powder specified by the bullet manufacturer or is that just a myth?
    Wow! Where did that come from.

    Powder selection, that is of burning rate, is to be determined by the case capacity and bore diameter and to a lesser degree, by bullet weight.

    To use the 7mm Rem mag as an example; it is a large case with a small bore. (this is a low expansion ratio) and that means slow burning powder. Slow or fast are relative terms but 7828 is among the very slowest of powder burning rates and is a suggested powder for such calibers as the 7 mag, 264 mag, 300 RUM ,etc. I have had the best accuracy from RL-22, a slightly faster powder, in the 7 mag. RL-25 is close to the IMR 7828 burning rate and is also a very good choice.

    With bullet weights in the equation, the slowest of this group, RL-25 and IMR-7828, would likely be the best with 175 grainers and possibly with 160 grain bullets.

    Bullet makers load and test powders that are appropriate for the caliber, almost never do they use a powder that is distant in burning rate from the "normal" powders for the caliber. An exception to this is Speer's use of XMR-5744 or IMR-4759 powder for greatly reduced loads in rifle calibers. The brand or type of bullet has nothing to do with which powder we should or should not use in any caliber, only bullet weight and powder capacity.

    Now if you are starting out loading for the 7mm Rem mag, the powders that will work well are as follows, fastest to the slowest; IMR-4350, H-4350, IMR-4831, AA-3100, RL-19, H-4831, RL-22, RL-25, IMR-7828. This is from memory so I may have left out some and there are some new comers that I haven't tried. I have loaded this caliber a lot and have had good results with it both in accuracy and field performance.

    If you haven't bought powder yet, first buy a good manual, Nosler No. 6 is out now and so is the new Hornady No. 7, Barnes No. 3, and the Speer No. 13 are good. Study the data for your caliber and determine a powder that will be useful and versatile for your caliber and bullets you intend to use. You may be best served by getting two of the above powders. These manuals will also be very useful in getting you learning curve up when starting out reloading. Read the whole manual! Don't just go to the data tables a cook book it, you won't learn much. Try to understand the different powders and what burning rate means. The Vihta Vouri manual has a very good course in internal ballistics. Enjoy your new hobby.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  10. #10
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs down 175gr

    The best balance of bullet weight for the 7mm mag is the the 160 gr..........the Barnes 160 TSX will give you 175 grain performance on game........excellent bullet!

    I rec the Sierra loading manual over all others as a first buy then the Nosler second..........weight Nosler has a new #6 manual coming out.

    As for powders Reloader 22 and IMR 4350 are excellent along with H4831.


    All good powders but I use more IMR 4350 than anything else.......30-06, 338 Win and 300 win and 7mm mag.

    If going after costal big bear and the 7mm mag is the only thing you have then the 160gr TSX or 175 Nosler Part.....would be a good bullet.
    But I would not carry my 7mm Mag for that big of a bear. I draw the line at the 300 Win and above for them!
    Alaska

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Wow! Where did that come from.

    Powder selection, that is of burning rate, is to be determined by the case capacity and bore diameter and to a lesser degree, by bullet weight.
    Did I mention I was new at this? This is why I am asking these questions.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    Did I mention I was new at this? This is why I am asking these questions.
    Well, Sir, you seem to counter everything everybody posts in regard to your question. Admittedly you are a novice at this handloading task and likely a novice at shooting as well, missing a whole moose and all. You have likely heard a few things from folks elswhere who have little or no experience at handloading and try those suggestions on us as well. Not a problem but some here on this forum, obviously by their comments, are well experienced in the loading game and hunting as well. Experience counts in spades.

    It really doesn't matter much if you use a 175 grain partition or 160 grain TSX bullet or which powder you push it with if you fail to understand a little bit about ballistics, trajectory and marksmanship.

    Why don't you ask a specific question and let some one answer it. Keeping in mind there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

    I'm sure you have several questions; Which powder? Which bullet for best accuracy? Which bullet for moose? What brand of brass? What velocity can be acheived with which bullet? What is the best primer? Where do I sight in for a moose hunt with which load and bullet? Those of us who have done this with the 7 mag or other calibers do have a plan. You must understand these plans differ from one shooter to another, listen to it all and sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    There are many good bullets that will work in the 7 mag for moose. One may be better than another at one time or another depending on several factors. You should select one of the better bullets for the hunt and do most load development with the less expensive Speer/Hornady/ Sierra "plain Jane" bullets. This will save money. You will be better served to hunt with the most effective bullet and give up a bit in accuracy. A moose is an easy target at reasonable ranges and any good bullet from a 7 mag in the boiler room will get the job done.

    Handloading this caliber is generally straight forward operation, no hidden pitfalls to watch for, except for the preservation of the shoulder headspace if you resize your fired brass.

    Using your own handloaded ammunition on a hunt is rewarding and can be tailored to the specific caliber and animal hunted. It will take some time and some testing to find what works best in your rifle. This process will take many rounds and lots of shooting, I call this bonding with your rifle. Learn what it likes and where the first shot will go and where to hold for the long shot. This, all part of the game.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  13. #13
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Default Great questions

    Senecanation,

    I'm fairly new at this m'self.

    Here's how I've gone about it to-date:

    Pick the bullet you want to shoot. It's the business end of your hunting trip, after all.

    From there, use the reloading manuals to choose a powder. Look at published velocity ranges, get insights from others on how well the powder matches the caliber (there have been some good insights in this thread already). Look at the data in the manuals for a powder that fills the case pretty full without needing loads of compression. (Nothing wrong with compressed loads, but it's hard to get enough RL-22 in a 30-06 case without crushing it to the point it wants to push the a Barnes TSX bullet right back out.)

    Work up a load and enjoy the heck out of yourself getting good velocity and accuracy. If you just can't get a given bullet and powder to work in your rifle, and you've tried all the tricks in the manual, switch powders and enjoy the heck out of yourself working up another load. Means you get to spend more time at the range, after all...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Well, Sir, you seem to counter everything everybody posts in regard to your question. Admittedly you are a novice at this handloading task and likely a novice at shooting as well, missing a whole moose and all.
    Sorry if I appear to be countering every response, I am just a little overwhelmed by this whole endeavor. There is so much information out there and I obviously have received some bad advice thus far. I know that the members of this forum are probably the most experienced when it comes to everything outdoors in Alaska and I appreciate all the input. I will start my first reload later in the week and after I go the the range I will let you all know how it went. I will most likely have some specific questions as well. Thanks again everyone for your help!

    PS: I still have nightmares about that **** moose

  15. #15

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    I actually got my start just reading the begining of the Hornady manual. It can be a bit intimidating. However, stick to starting loads till you understand what it's all about. The most important part is understanding what you are doing and why. Knowledge is the best way to keep from blowing up a gun and injuring someone. The question you need to be able to answer before you start loading is:

    What creates more pressure?

    Overpressure is probably the leading cause of catastrophic failure in firearms. If you understand all the ways things can go wrong it's easier to make sure they go right.

    PS don't dump powder back into it's container ...... ever!

  16. #16
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    Default Loading tips...

    Senecanation,

    Beer:30 brings out a good point and I'd like to expand on that a little.

    By all means read the "instructions" in the loading manual and don't start this without a good manual.

    I will disagree with a couple points or maybe more correctly expand on them. The "only" way to blow a gun up is with excess pressure. Now, how do we get excess pressure? Better yet how to avoid excess pressure.

    Use the powders shown for your caliber and bullet weight. Do not use the powder or charge weight given for a 140 grain for a 160 grain bullet, or anything heavier.

    I disagree with the "don't pour powder back in the can". Of course, pour it back, don't waste it. Just make absolutely sure it goes back in the can it came out of.

    Keep only one powder on the bench at a time, mixing powders is always dangerous.

    Here is a list of factors that cause pressure to elevate (increase) with any given load, even if we use the correct powder for the bullet and cartridge. This is called "Rate of confinement." If we increase the rate of confinement of a load we increase pressure.

    Think of this as Houdini trying to escape. Some things will cause him to take more time to escape and this is pressure vs time curve. With a given load, say 7mm Rem mag (since I'm loading some tonite) and 140 grain TSX bullets.

    With RL-22 powder and the 140 grain TSX, Fed-215 primer. I use 68.0 grains.
    Pressure is at a "Normal Level". Pressure will increase IF:

    I use a heavier bullet.
    I use faster powder. (RL-19)
    I use a heavier bullet.
    I seat the bullet out to a different OAL.
    I allow the brass to become too long and jam into the throat of the chamber.
    I use a "hotter" primer. With this I use Fed-215, about the hottest we can get.

    This is based on your rifle with certain dimensions of chamber, throat and bore, if any of these are non-standard, the "normal" load may need to be reduced to keep pressures normal. That's the reason for the starting load. Also, a max load in my rifle may be lower or higher pressure than your rifle.

    If you follow the books there is very little danger in this operation.

    Normal pressure for the 7 mag is about 65,000psi. A modern bolt action rifle will handle (for a while) about 25% more than that, but the brass will not it will fail first. We can learn alot by watching (measuring) the brass. Another lesson. More later.

    Sorry about the moose. Better a clean miss than a bad hit.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Senecanation,

    Beer:30 brings out a good point and I'd like to expand on that a little.

    By all means read the "instructions" in the loading manual and don't start this without a good manual.
    Do you consider the Lee loading manual a good one to start with? This is the one that comes with the press.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    Do you consider the Lee loading manual a good one to start with? This is the one that comes with the press.
    Yes. I think it will serve the purpose. Keep in mind some of the Lee equipment is different from most other manufacturers. It covers most subjects well as I recall, I haven't seen that manual in a while. It nevers hurts to have more than one manual. I have one from everyone who makes them and get an updated version when they come out. There is more in them than just load data.

    Have you bought powder, bullets and primers yet? Do you plan to start with once fired factory ammo brass? Factory ammo is usually crimped and the case nouth needs to be trimmed and trued up for best results, do you have a case trimmer?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  19. #19

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    I beleive the kit comes with a case trimmer. I have tons of once fired factory brass so I guess that will have to be trimmed. The kit should be in tomorrow or the next day and I will most likely start this weekend after I check out the sportsmans show. Maybe I can find a good deal on some components.

    Just a quick question; you said that Lee equipment is different from most manufacturers, do you know if rcbs dies will work with this setup?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I use a "hotter" primer. With this I use Fed-215, about the hottest we can get.
    I read an article once apon a time in Handloader in which they did all sorts of testing with this new DIY pizio pressure testing equipment. They put all sorts of conventional loading wizdom to the test. The two things I got out of it were max velocity obtained in testing data correlates fairly closely to the max load (when your bullet goes as fast as the data indicates for max you have reached your max load regardless of charge weight), and quantified effect of changing primers. Vintage 215s may have been hot but the more recent runs have either remained the same while others got hotter or just aren't as hot as they used to be. If I remember properly it goes something like:

    Rem 7 1/2
    CCI 250
    Win WMR
    Fed 215

    I still like 215s better than all the other ones.

    For those looking for a good "primer" on reloading the Hornady manual is detailed and informative. Throw in the fact that they make really good bullets and I'd say the book is worth the purchase. I taught myself how to load out of that book without any other assistance.

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