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Thread: Are reloading manual loads hopelessly conservative?

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Default Are reloading manual loads hopelessly conservative?

    So bear with me, I'm a relative newby to the whole reloading game.
    I haven't cronographed my .280 loads yet, but my Rem 700 seems to like 55 grains of Rl19 under a 140 Accubond (Sheep load).
    I was having a look at a box of Fed 160Gr TBTs, and they are stated at 2800FPS. Now, going through my Nosler manual, thats only a hair under max loads for any of the 160Gr Nosler bullets with the exception of MagPro.
    All these loads are sticking with max COAL, but haveing checked my 700s chambering, I know I can long load (and will for accuracy), which isn't the point, as any fool can blow up a rifle. I guess the point is, just how conservative are these manuals anyway? Accordng to the Nosler book, I could get 2929 FPS out of 61.5 grains of MagPro, but so what? Another 6 grains to get what, 129 FPS more? I really don't give a hoot about speed, I want accuracy, but having read in the past about how well the .280 responds to handloads, can a guy be loading these 160 Grains in excess of 3000FPS and still get great accuracy and not exceed pressure?
    Sorry for the rambling post
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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    So bear with me, I'm a relative newby to the whole reloading game.
    I haven't cronographed my .280 loads yet, but my Rem 700 seems to like 55 grains of Rl19 under a 140 Accubond (Sheep load).
    I was having a look at a box of Fed 160Gr TBTs, and they are stated at 2800FPS. Now, going through my Nosler manual, thats only a hair under max loads for any of the 160Gr Nosler bullets with the exception of MagPro.
    All these loads are sticking with max COAL, but haveing checked my 700s chambering, I know I can long load (and will for accuracy), which isn't the point, as any fool can blow up a rifle. I guess the point is, just how conservative are these manuals anyway? Accordng to the Nosler book, I could get 2929 FPS out of 61.5 grains of MagPro, but so what? Another 6 grains to get what, 129 FPS more? I really don't give a hoot about speed, I want accuracy, but having read in the past about how well the .280 responds to handloads, can a guy be loading these 160 Grains in excess of 3000FPS and still get great accuracy and not exceed pressure?
    Sorry for the rambling post
    Lots of good questions Yukoner. I'll take a stab at the 160 grain/3000+. I do not think that is a viable goal in a 24 inch barrel rifle. You can almost certainly shoot that fast, but the pressures will be over max. I'd guess Nosler is pretty close to the mark with their pressure equipment and when you reach 2950 or so you have maxed out the 280 and 160 grain bullets. You might get a bit more with a longer OAL for a tad more capacity with the slower powders, but the reality is that if you get excessive velocity you are experiencing excessive pressures--no exceptions.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  3. #3

    Default conservative okay

    I've never believed that pushing for maximum velocity is necessarily the best reason for reloading. I have always believed that a "reasonable load" say 90% of max will not only do whatever that particular cartridge was designed to do, but will provide longer barrel life and therefore continued accuracy. Sure there are some cartridges that require max loadings to give best accuracy, but then there are others that don't have that as a necessary requirement. I've had some fast chamberings and have pushed beyond what was necessary to serve my purpose, but not for a long time. Like you mentioned, 6 grs. extra powder and probably over the top pressures often give diminishing returns in improved performance. Besides, depending on the bullet used, excessive velocity may result in diminished performance.

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    I guess I'm just a little surprised that the Federal Premium ammo gives such good performance comapred to handloads. Or maybe I shouldn't be at $60 a box. I always thought the factory loads were a LOT slower than what you could safely eek out of a handload.
    Is this generally true across the board, or are there certain cartidges where handloads will realize the potential for that round?
    I had heard the .280 was one of those, given the number of Remington auto loaders around. I still haven't loaded anything for my 7mmRM yet, and am anxious to see what it likes best.
    Thanks guys
    Paul
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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    The manuals may or may not be conservative, but I think one thing that might explain the performance difference is that these big manufacturers have access to proprietary powders not available to handloaders, not to mention testing facilities to ensure safety. Remember back when Hornady came out with the Light Magnum lines, claiming higher power levels. I believe the powder was the answer. I personally would not try to match performance levels of the most modern factory loads. I enjoy reloading and shooting the product of my efforts, but I don't have the breadth or depth of experience to push those limits.

    Chris

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    Just think by not jumping that extra 6 grains for every 10 loads at 61.5 you can load 11 at 55! That is 1/2 a box of extra ammo for every 100 rounds and those sheep will be just as dead.

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    Member fishnngrinn's Avatar
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    " Pet Loads" by Ken Waters has been a useful resource for the handloader. He has done the hard work of developing loads for accuracy and for maximum velocity/energy. He explains his findings, a good tutorial.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Waters-Pet.../dp/0935632336
    NRA Lifetime Member

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    No, they are not conservative. But, the factories have to load so that the loads are safe in all rifles that could shoot these rounds. Also, your rifle may reach max pressures sooner or later than the books data. A loading manual normally uses data gotten from one particular rifle and the max load for it could be over pressure in yours. The max load listed only shows what is possible in the rifle load combo they used and you should start low and work up. ALWAYS! Bragging rights of an extra few fps just isn't worth the risk and in reality has almost no affect. Be safe!

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    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    No, they are not conservative. But, the factories have to load so that the loads are safe in all rifles that could shoot these rounds. Also, your rifle may reach max pressures sooner or later than the books data. A loading manual normally uses data gotten from one particular rifle and the max load for it could be over pressure in yours. The max load listed only shows what is possible in the rifle load combo they used and you should start low and work up. ALWAYS! Bragging rights of an extra few fps just isn't worth the risk and in reality has almost no affect. Be safe!

    Example. I just loaded for my 338 fed.....180 Ballistic Silver tips (Nosler seconds)

    I stoped at 41.5 grains of IMR3031 even though one source listed max as 43.5 grains and another source listed max at 45 grains. OAL was 2.820". Why did I stop there? Because my primers were very flat and one had a small shiny spot on it.

  10. #10

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    i look at the reloading manuals loads as the basic idea in which you can trust the load that you are reloading .. only after basically loading the road and test fireing the rounds can you basically move away from the load listed in the book..

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    My experience has been that most reloading manuals are spot on, or very close. I've yet to see overly concervative data. Some older chamberings will be loaded to levels appropriate for the older guns, but modern loadings will be right up there. There is no reason to push an -06 based round to belted mag velocities. The only way to do that is by running high pressures, i.e over 70,000 psi. If you want a 7 mag, go buy one.

    I've found that the majority of my rifles group best when loaded up to the max bood load, or within a grain or so.

    It's tempting when you're starting out to try and see what your gun will do and go for max speed. I fell into that trap and tried to make my .308 into a 30-06 by following an article in handloader about the wonder powder VV N550. I did achieve the claimed velocity, but the primers were falling out of the cases. Since then I've learned to stick within the parameters of published data, use a chrono to confirm velocities, and use bullet seating to fine tune loads. I did have one rifle that would only group when ran hot, so I had the gun re-chambered. Other then that, I work up to book max and if I'm not happy with groups I try tuning seating depth, if that doesn't work I change powders.

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    Remember,
    Factory rounds are designed to be fired once. The company who makes them could care less if you want to reload the brass so the pressures may be higher in some cases.
    Rifles are built with tight and loose chambers depending on how much the reamer was used and sharpened. Then we have short throats vs longer throats. Toss in the mix that different brands of brass can hold different amounts of powder. This is a good reason to use different dies for each rifle you own.
    Agree with Paul that most manuals are pretty close.

    But all of them are conservative if you compare them to PO Ackleys books. His data was nuts!

    Shooting hot loads is pretty easy at the expense of case life. Then one day you get a drop of water in your barrel or a few snow flakes, then WAM, you pull the trigger and can't open the bolt.
    Tennessee

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    my Rem 700 seems to like 55 grains of Rl19 under a 140 Accubond (Sheep load).

    Accordng to the Nosler book, I could get 2929 FPS out of 61.5 grains of MagPro, but so what? Another 6 grains to get what, 129 FPS more?
    Don't confuse the extra 6grs to get 129fps. They are 2 different powders all together and 55grs of MagPro won't touch 55grs of RL19 in your application. On the other hand 61.5grs of RL-19 may cause you some pain.

    With loads that I have done in a variety of rifles and calibers I have found Nosler data to very good. I have found Sierra to be a touch conservative and Lyman to be a touch hot. Barnes is out to lunch with the 375Ruger and 375 H&H so I lost confidense in their entire manual.

    I test all of my loads against chronograph data and plot a chart with increases in charge to find optimum efficiency within a burn rate. Nosler consistently tests true in 204, 223, 243, 270, 7mm, 308, 30-06, 300WM, 300Rum, 338WM, 375 Ruger, 375 H&H. I have confidence in their data. Slight variances will be realized with thicker cases or different length barrels so start low and work up with traditional methods.

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    1Cor15:19 is RIGHT.

    Velocity is the best indicator of pressure.

    When you get a bunch more than the Max Velocities for the cartridge, you're pressure is too high, even if you don't get the classic pressure signs.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Default Try these link:

    http://www.reloadersnest.com

    I have found that 5% less then max seems to get better accuracy in what I load. This seems to be the case in my 375 H&H and in my 30-06. I have loads max loads before that still hit a pie plate at 100 yards, but I have loaded sub-moa loads as well with 5% or so less powder then max.

    Ron

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    some of the fun of reloading is experimentation with different combinations of bullet, powder and primers. the manuals offer information that can help to that end, and reduce your search time. knowledgeable reloaders will agree that safety is an important factor when assembling ammunition. it is good policy to follow a current manual, as there are many variables that can lead to a serious and dangerous outcome.
    enjoy your hobby, load safe ammunition, and good luck with your hunt!
    happy trails.
    jh

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