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Thread: Alaskan big game bullet speeds?

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    Default Alaskan big game bullet speeds?

    Still building my test loads and would like to know if there is a certain window in bullet velocities that 200, and 220 grain bullets. Loading presently for 325 wsm and 300 wm.loads should maintain to be top preformers on our Big, big game.
    Looking at A-frame, Tsx, and Accu Bonds mostly.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    When I work up a new load for hunting purposes, I concern myself only with consistent accuracy. Checking velocity may or may not come long after the fact, to satisfy trivial curiosity. I refer to a good recipe book for the bullet I wish to use, choose a reliable recommended powder for that bullet, and then load for accuracy. Any animal, Alaskan or otherwise, will never know the difference between a couple hundred FPS either direction.
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    Furbearer:

    Most bullet manufacturers can tell you the velocity range a particular bullet they make is designed for, as far as terminal performance is concerned.

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    I seem to remember Nosler having a minimum terminal velocity of 1800 fps. I think Barnes bullets are about the same. Unsure of the the Aframe. I tend to load my 300 wins to about 2900 fps or more with the 180g if I can. Otherwise, I might as well use the 308 or 30-06. I like the velocity for flat shooting, not necessarily for bullet performance. I am not good enough to shoot that long yet where the bullet drops to 1800 fps and would fail to open. That looks to be about the 500-600 yrd mark according to the ballistic tables. All know accuracy kills, and I don't think that is what you are getting at here.

    What velocities are you getting?

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    Reloading Data Center shows the 220 gr Swift A-frame in 325 WSM with top velocity of 2778 fps over 61.7 grains of IMR 4007 SSC powder, with Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primer in a 24" barrel. Start load is 58.0 grains.

    As this bullet is extremely tough and designed for high velocities, I would load it as close to max as good accuracy will allow in your rifle.

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    As i don't have anything to test bullet velocities i was thinking on loading whatever powder charge the graphs show for certain velocities. and then from those loads find which one was most accurate and zero scope to that bullet and load.
    The old timer that has been giving me tips say's he usualy goes a grain or two over max load data if he likes the bullet to see if it improves the group or not.
    My thinking was that every bullet probably has a sweet spot at a certain velocity. A velocity that creates the best performance on impact in other words.
    Years ago far away from fairbanks, i used a 12-14" diameter oak tree stump to test the delivery of my 338 and 375 ammo.
    Lets just say that on a cold damp day that stump use to smoke (steam) pretty good. and when i dug the bullet from the cliff behind it, it told a lot on how the bullet reacted.
    Will call the bullet makers to see what their tests show.
    Thank you for all the help, much appreciated.
    Last edited by furbearer; 12-06-2011 at 22:41. Reason: left data out.

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    I'm thinking you best stay below max until you know how to make educated guesses at pressure. Using loads beyond max is just a really bad idea without some very good test equiptment. In fact, the maximum loads listed in the reloading manuals may be over max in your gun and should be approached with caution. I can see the wheels turning in your head as many of us tried this road when beginning to load. Loading over max is a very bad idea without a lot of experience and even then I'm not sure it's a very good idea. If you want a bullet to go faster get a gun chambered for a bigger round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by furbearer View Post
    As i don't have anything to test bullet velocities i was thinking on loading whatever powder charge the graphs show for certain velocities. and then from those loads find which one was most accurate and zero scope to that bullet and load.
    The old timer that has been giving me tips say's he usualy goes a grain or two over max load data if he likes the bullet to see if it improves the group or not.
    My thinking was that every bullet probably has a sweet spot at a certain velocity. A velocity that creates the best performance on impact in other words.
    Years ago far away from fairbanks, i used a 12-14" diameter oak tree stump to test the delivery of my 338 and 375 ammo.
    Lets just say that on a cold damp day that stump use to smoke (steam) pretty good. and when i dug the bullet from the cliff behind it, it told a lot on how the bullet reacted.
    Will call the bullet makers to see what their tests show.
    Thank you for all the help, much appreciated.
    Not having "anything to test bullet velocities" is a good reason NOT to load "a grain or two over max load data". You could have a very unsafe load, doin it like that.

    As to,,,,,,
    "every bullet probably has a sweet spot at a certain velocity. A velocity that creates the best performance on impact in other words."

    My thinking is as follows,,,, There are LOTs of variables effecting Terminal Performance.

    The variables of the range, angle, resistance at impact, size of the game animal, whether you hit a bone or not, how heavy, how strongly constructed the bullet, or the bullet design, all, probably have a greater effect on how the bullet performs on impact, than an optimal velocity.

    I don't know how one would arrive at such a "sweet spot", velocity wise, either.

    Ideally, for terminal performance, we want a bullet to penetrate enough to reach a vital area, and do enough damage, to be quickly lethal.

    If it expands too soon, it may not penetrate enough, if it doesn't expand at all, even though it penetrates all the way through, maybe it doesn't kill quickly enough, and either way the animal can be lost and/or die a cruel death.

    In other words, how a bullet performs on a stump, is quite different than how it performs on a pumpkin, or a game animal, and it's not all due to the velocity.

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    you are getting great feedback on your questions here - as far as terminal "testing" of your bullets you can probably just rely on Nosler, Barnes, Swift, etc... as they have all done pretty exhaustive testing already - Nosler Accubonds will be one of the more "reliable" long range bullets as they have been designed to "fly like a ballistic tip and act on game like a partition" meaning you will regularly lose 40%, give or take, at the "hit" - don't discount the Swift Scirocco neither, good bullet although the AFrame is outstanding - I've not killed anything with a Barnes but their rep preceeds them
    you are receiving sound advice on your load development philosophy, sooner or later you will wish you had not pushed your loads over book max in the pursuit of velocities ie: case separation or some other mishap that will wreck your day - there are enough different (good) bullets of varied weights and great cartridges to choose from - just my $.02 ... (re: the 325 WSM / 220 loads, 2800 from a 24" pipe is pretty darn fast)

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    I have done some extensive load development with my 325wsm using the bullets you listed. I would be happy to help you out as well as share some range time. I personally consider a chrono a required piece of reloading gear. For one it is very difficult to determine a drop chart without velocity and also with a chrono you can see when you start to peak out and are just blowing access powder out the barrel.

    That said my approach is to shoot a ladder when working up a new load. I will use base data and start loads out under that and work up, changing only the powder charge. I fire all these checking for a couple things, #1 is safety, no overpressure indication and #2 I'm looking for a group to emerge.

    Once I see how much powder I can safety use, indicated by primer marks and a bolt that is hard to open. I start loading up groups of 5 rounds and see which combo is most accurate.

    You see in the photo below that I shot a 5 shot ladder,, starting at 64g and working up to 66. Notice that shots 2,4, and 5 form a group. However also notice that I have a note saying that shot 5 at 66 grains was hard to extract indicating too much pressure. So using this info and knowing that 2920fps is fast for a 220 and faster than published, but proven safe in THIS RIFLE.

    I will now load up some keeping everything else the same and try 65.5 grains and shoot some groups. As it worked out this was an awesome combo for me in THIS RIFLE. Never just load up someone else's recipe and go shoot it in your rifle, ALWAYS work up.








    I try to solve for only one variable at a time. Experience has taught me that with my 325wsm a good starting point for A-Frames, Accubonds and Partitions is to seat them at .005 to .015 of the lands and adjust for accuracy. Barnes TSXs however likes a lot of jump and I have learned that .050 from the lands is a good starting point and have had better accuracy seating them at about .070 off in MY RIFLE.


    I have all the measuring tools for both 325wsm and 300wsm as well as many proven loads. If you would like some help I would be happy to get together and assist you in developing some loads for your rifle.


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    Steve, as your 64.5 gr load is almost 3 full grains over max, and the next increment in your ladder went DOWN 42 fps, I would consider it as max in your rifle and work back from there for accuracy. 2.8 grains and 102 fps over published max has got to be an overmax load.

    In the Data Center workup, going from 58.0 - 61.7 raised pressure 9600 psi. As max is approached, pressure often goes up at an INCREASED RATE. But even if it only went up beyond 61.7 gr at the same rate, your loads are close if not over 70,000 psi.

    You are also loading at a shorter OAL than the test cartridges, and seating close to the lands. Both of these factors also raise pressure.

    PLEASE BE SAFE !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by drow View Post
    Steve, as your 64.5 gr load is almost 3 full grains over max, and the next increment in your ladder went DOWN 42 fps, I would consider it as max in your rifle and work back from there for accuracy. 2.8 grains and 102 fps over published max has got to be an overmax load.

    In the Data Center workup, going from 58.0 - 61.7 raised pressure 9600 psi. As max is approached, pressure often goes up at an INCREASED RATE. But even if it only went up beyond 61.7 gr at the same rate, your loads are close if not over 70,000 psi.

    You are also loading at a shorter OAL than the test cartridges, and seating close to the lands. Both of these factors also raise pressure.

    PLEASE BE SAFE !!!
    I do thank you for your concern, but since I have fired that 64.5 g load over 100 times and killed bears with it I feel safe shooting it in the rifle it was worked up for!!!!

    As I said ALWAYS WORK UP,, and develop loads for EACH INDIVIDUAL rifle!!!!
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    Mr Drow,,, If my a-frame load scares you,, I'm sure my 200 grain AccuBOMB load would really give you concern, it sure scared all these critters to DEATH!!!!

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ther-SS-325WSM
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    stid2677 - I meant no slight in that comment toward you, obviously you are an experienced handloader and know what you are doing and as a matter of fact I am going to try your "over max" load for the 325 (with your disclaimer for sure) - I was just stating that a newbie shouldn't charge off into the "unknown" haphazardly - I go over "book max" all the time myself

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    A "book" max load is for one specific rifle on one particular day, temp, humidity and so forth. It does not mean that load is safe in your rifle nor does it mean that you can't exceed that load safely. Because of the statements from furbearer, I would suggest that he stay below max until he is more experienced or can work closely with an experienced loader such as stid. One important thing that many beginning loaders miss is the fact that a "book" listed load could actually blow their rifle. Another thing that lots of folks don't seem to understand is what 60,000psi really is.
    Furbear Please do not consider this a slam in any way as it's not. I am simply trying to keep you from doing some of the dumb things I have done. When I started loading about 1962 there was no internet to get advice from and being 14 I figured a little more powder couldn't hurt. I was wrong. Both accuracy and with some velocity is what we strive for in reloading but safety is first and is much more important than accuracy or velocity. As always, start low and work up but be sure you know what your dealing with before approaching or worse exceeding "book" loads. Three things I am working toward in my rounds are 1 safety 2 accuracy and 3 velocity and in that order. Good luck with your loading and be safe. Your body parts are not replaceable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drow View Post
    Steve, as your 64.5 gr load is almost 3 full grains over max, and the next increment in your ladder went DOWN 42 fps, I would consider it as max in your rifle and work back from there for accuracy. 2.8 grains and 102 fps over published max has got to be an overmax load.

    In the Data Center workup, going from 58.0 - 61.7 raised pressure 9600 psi. As max is approached, pressure often goes up at an INCREASED RATE. But even if it only went up beyond 61.7 gr at the same rate, your loads are close if not over 70,000 psi.

    You are also loading at a shorter OAL than the test cartridges, and seating close to the lands. Both of these factors also raise pressure.

    PLEASE BE SAFE !!!
    Very well said Drow...I think your observations and cautions are wise and suggest significant experience on your part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Three things I am working toward in my rounds are 1 safety 2 accuracy and 3 velocity and in that order. Good luck with your loading and be safe. Your body parts are not replaceable.
    Wise advice, that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drow View Post
    Steve, as your 64.5 gr load is almost 3 full grains over max, and the next increment in your ladder went DOWN 42 fps, I would consider it as max in your rifle and work back from there for accuracy. 2.8 grains and 102 fps over published max has got to be an overmax load.

    In the Data Center workup, going from 58.0 - 61.7 raised pressure 9600 psi. As max is approached, pressure often goes up at an INCREASED RATE. But even if it only went up beyond 61.7 gr at the same rate, your loads are close if not over 70,000 psi.

    You are also loading at a shorter OAL than the test cartridges, and seating close to the lands. Both of these factors also raise pressure.

    PLEASE BE SAFE !!!
    In all likelyhood, you are right.

    Primers will not always show high pressure, and by the time you get to the sticky bolt you're probably already at Over-Pressure, ?? 70,000 psi ??

    Also, much velocity over normal velocities is a "pressure sign" in and of itself.

    This comes from the writings of John Barsness, who has access to pressure testing.

    stid2677:

    Just because you have had no problems in 100 rounds, or any number of rounds, doesn't mean that you won't EVER.

    At extreme pressures, the least little thing can cause pressure to SKY-ROCKET.

    I wouldn't take the chance, myself, no matter how many years I've been handloading. And, I certainly wouldn't advise, or even mention, to others such an unsafe practice.

    When you stop and think about it, it's not worth the risk.

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    I can assure everyone concerned that I called SWIFT and spoke to a Representative about the 220 grain A-Frame load since I had purchased their newest manual and it did not include 325WSM data. I was given 66 grains of IMR 4007 SSC as MAX so I don't know where Mr DROW got his numbers, but I got mine from the bullet manufacturer and I'm very careful about the data I use. He told me at the time that 325wsm data would be included in their next printing. So it is possible that the data changed from the time I spoke to him, which has been close to 2 years ago.

    I'm not one to try to push a load faster than necessary as the net gain of a few fps really don't provide any flatter trajectory and only increases recoil.

    If there is new data for this load I would be happy to see it.

    Thanks to all for your concern.

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    I can say Mr. Steve data is fine! I tried his load of 66.0gr of RL 17 and 65.5gr of 4007 for the 200gr bullets, they shot fine in my rifle. I know not the 220, Also anyone who has 325 don't monkey around steve has done all the leg work. All you have to do is find what OAL your rifle likes! Thanks again Mr. Steve for the data you have provided!

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