I had a strange thing show up today at the range,
using a load, developed last fall, and used successfully for two quick kills, Elk and Goat,
had no signs of high pressure, for sure, in development thru lots of firing, as well as hunting,...
using RL-17, in Federal Brass, ( in Sako 85 -.270wsm)
no where near max Coal for throat, (OAL not changed at all)
same primers, same brass, same exact powder load, and bullet (Nosler 160 Partition)
cases definitely not needing trimming,
and no sign of sticky bolt, fine accuracy and all felt well,
until I ejected them and under close inspection, found a mild cratering going on,
it was so mild, I couldn't even tell for sure at the bench, just felt I could see something different than usual (shows up quite a bit better on the pic than it did in the sun at the range)
dragging my fingernail across them I could barely feel something,
and having a ton of success with this load, I kept firing through 18 of them before stopping. Tried two different batches (meaning different Brass batches that had exact same load in them) both showed signs...
Never had an even remotely sticky bolt, but a few of them had what looked like classic cratering to me.
Shot nice groups at 100, 200, and 300 yards, with characteristic steady accuracy and grouping
When I got home I drug a very sharp pencil across them and you can see where the lead stopped on a rim at the edge of the firing pin indentation, pencil dropped a bit of lead there as a tell tale assurance.
So, Any Ideas,.....?? what could have changed in a load over a period of a few months ?
The batch of RL-17 is from different jugs but have the same batch number on them
and what do I do now,... start over, or just drop down a grain or two to work up again?
Needless to say, I'm bummed, this was my Producer Load,... darn, back to the grindstone ?