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Thread: Bolt Sticking

  1. #1
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    Default Bolt Sticking

    All,

    Went to the range for the first time with a batch of handloaded 308 ammo. The strange thing is that at very low powder amounts my bolt was getting very difficult to open. Let me post the data below:


    Caliber: .308
    Gun: Weatherby Vanguard 2, fairly new 3 years old
    Brass: Federal once shot
    Primers: Federal Match Grade Large Rifle
    Sizing method: Full Length with trimming
    Powder: Hodgdon BCL2
    Bullet: Speer 165 Grain boat tail
    Bullet seating depth: 2.811
    Shooting distance: 100 yards

    Max Powder loading per hodgdon website: 47.5 grains, starting grains 44




    First three bullets fired grouped all three holes covered by a quarter. I was at 44 grains of powder which is the starting load based off Hodgdon's website. I did not notice any difficulty opening the bolt after firing, I would describe the process as very normal.


    Next three rounds were 44.3 grains of powder. For this set the bolt was difficult to open, but by no means impossible. I would say it just wasn't as smooth as it normally would be. grouping opened up significantly, more in the 1.25-1.5 inch range


    Next three rounds were at 44.6 grains of powder. For this set the bolt was much more difficult, I could always get it open but I had to reposition myself to be able to get enough leverage on the bolt. this grouping also opened up to around 1.5"



    My question to everyone, did I hit the max pressure that I should be using in my gun? Or is something else wrong in this situation? The primers look normal after firing, but there was a small nick in the case lip. I would estimate that is where the bolt grabber was pulling to eject the case? (sorry I don't know the correct term).


    Please ask questions and I will do the best I can to answer if you need more details. Also if pictures help you guys diagnose I can also grab some of what ever you think necessary.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like your rifle really likes the 44 gr load. Iíd say youíre right to assume the others are hot. It would be helpful for your load developing to shoot over a chronograph, buy or borrow one. Iíve got a couple of rifles that reach book speeds close to max with starting loads. Could be mechanical differences, scale differences, powder lot #ís, primers, etc.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockeyefun View Post
    My question to everyone, did I hit the max pressure that I should be using in my gun?
    I've no experience with that particular gun, cartridge, or powder, but I can state unequivocally that it is possible to encounter published load date that's either erroneous and/or too hot for a particular gun.

    Good advice, this:
    Quote Originally Posted by gbflyer View Post
    Iíd say youíre right to assume the others are hot. It would be helpful for your load developing to shoot over a chronograph, buy or borrow one. Iíve got a couple of rifles that reach book speeds close to max with starting loads. Could be mechanical differences, scale differences, powder lot #ís, primers, etc.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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  4. #4
    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Probably just a max load in YOUR rifle. May not be in a different one. Also put a dab of synthetic grease on the rear bearing surfaces of the bolt lugs. Nothing sticks like bare steel surfaces at 60,000 PSI.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    I'll see if my manager has a chrono I can borrow, he's the one that guided me into reloading. if not, how much does one go for usually?


    Also, thanks for the replies everyone, still new to this hobby and the reloading books only go so far, sometimes you just need time learned wisdom!

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    In looking at the #50 Lyman manual, they are showing COAL of 2.780". However I do not think that the COAL is your problem. Also 44.6 grains is not even close to max loads in any of the manuals that I looked at. With out seeing pictures of the fired brass, it is going to be difficult to trouble shoot. While not a bolt action, my AR-10 is handling loads a little more warmer then what you are shooting, without any issues.
    Lets see what other have to say!

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    Attachment 97266

    overall case photo

  9. #9

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    Two places I'd check: Are you SURE, 100% SURE, of your powder measures? Sounds like you may have misread the scale or in some may used a different powder (happened to me ONCE with IMR 4320 and IMR 4350.

    It may not have anything to do with your loads, your chamber may be dirty or fouled and shooting it just happened to coincide with handloads.

    Thus: Clean it real well, shoot some KNOWN mild moderate loads paying attention to bolt function,
    if youhave any handloads left over, pull a few bullets and re-weigh the charges, verify everything and start over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sockeyefun View Post
    I'll see if my manager has a chrono I can borrow, he's the one that guided me into reloading. if not, how much does one go for usually?


    Also, thanks for the replies everyone, still new to this hobby and the reloading books only go so far, sometimes you just need time learned wisdom!
    I just got a MagnetoSpeed Sporter off of Midway. I found their price to be the best when shipping is figured in. Itís like $150 and a few $ shipping. What a cool device! I have one of those optical jobs you shoot over as well, works good when environmental conditions are good. This MagnetoSpeed doesnít care and just plain works. It does affect point of impact so take it off to zero if you use one.

    Sorry to sound like a salesman. This is the best reloading accessory Iíve ever owned though.

  11. #11
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    Try some FLs and report back.

    SOTN
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    Federal cases ditch them, find some remington or winchester cases. Also for others Speer recommends 2.800 so he's not too far off. Speer lists 45.0 as max, usually federal cases are heavier and you will reach max loads with less powder with federal cases. I don't use federal much anymore I stick too winchester of remington they are lighter. But with that there are better powders out there for the 308. Like RL15, AR comp, 2520 etc.

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    For powder maxes, who do you trust more as a rule of thumb? The powder manufacturer? The reloading manual? Or the bullet manufacturer? Just more curious than anything.

    As far as powder, I'm fairly happy with the results from BLC2, I mean this grouping isn't bad.....

    Attachment 97276

  14. #14
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Have you though about pulling one round apart, looking at the powder against some of what you thought you used, and then re-weighed the loads to see if they were what you thought you loaded? Also maybe weighing the bullets to see if they are actually 165 grains?

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    1) Gun problem. Dirty/fouled barrel or action. Clean it and start over

    2) Reloading problem. Headspace, COL, powder measure, crimp....... Check your ammo against what you thought you were doing. Do you have a way to check headspace and COL? Most every time I have had too much pressure, I could see a cratered primer or stamp from the ejector on the head of the brass.

    3) No problem at all. Everything is just fine and you are at your natural maximum for that gun and powder combo.

    Looks like you need to start over. Have fun, and maybe load up a few other rounds with a different powder to check against next time at the range.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, If the bolt is sticking, I'd think that there would be marks on the case head and maybe the primers flattened more than usual.

    That's why I suggested trying FLs for comparison.

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    All,

    So I went back to the range on Sunday after taking some advice on trying different powder. I loaded up Varget, from min to max (sorry I don't remember the amount of grains, log book is at home, but I went off the Hodgdon website for values).

    Only had the bolt stick once on me and I was able to get to the max load. The only thing I really did different this batch was I washed my brass with soapy water after sizing it to get all of the case lube off the brass. (same bullets, cases, and primers as before)


    Any thoughts on if left over lube could have been the cause of the sticky bolt?

  18. #18

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    Yup, a sticky or dirty chamber, In this case excessive case lube?
    You'll get lots of opinions, here's mine and it's absolutely free ad worth every penny:

    Take it out of the stock, remove the bolt, use denatured alcohol, Wrap a piece of lint free clot (or shop towel) and a toothbrush, flush it out. Let it air dry, then clean and OIL. Remove or protect the scope

  19. #19

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    Or soft brass which will show up as high pressure

  20. #20
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Rifle is 3 years old, first time you shot it? Have you run some off the shelf ammo?
    ďWe have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


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