Berger .257 115grn VLDs in .25-06


October 30, 2006, 11:45 PM
I've been recently working up handloads for my old Model 70 sporter in .25-06, and came across the Berger match bullets. Looking for optimum accuracy from my rifle, I saw them as the best option in the .257" class. Highest BC, etc. etc.

The first time I loaded them, I tried two depths. Seated touching the rifling like suggested from the manufacturer, and seated to the depth easiest to chamber in the rifle.

Much too my surprise, the deeper seated bullets shot much better, averaging 3/4 MOA at 100yds. I managed to squeeze this group out with the last 3 bullets of the day =) ( )

Onto my question. Should I continue seating this deep, or seat further out and adjust my load data until the accuracy is as good as it was seated deep. I've read seating deep will create more pressure, and I'm not sure if this is much of a risk as I am relatively new to reloading.

Second question. When seating the bullets, it seems a tiny bit of the jacket is being shaved off in the process. I do not know why this is happening, nor if it is normal. I have chamfered the brass, and I don't know what else could be causing it. Someone please clue me in.

That's all for now, thanks for the help,
Mr Pillow

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Jim Watson
October 31, 2006, 07:16 AM
My .308 doesn't care whether a VLD is loaded on or off the lands. My .223 demands they be seated into the lands. Just something to fool with til you are happy. It takes a large change in seating depth to much affect rifle chamber volume and pressure, it is not like a short straight pistol cartridge.

You MUST stop the case neck from shaving up bullet jacket. There are VLD chamfering tools that bevel the case mouth at a shallower angle.

October 31, 2006, 10:40 AM
I assume you are loading for accuracy. If that is the case, tinker with seating depths to find the most accurate length. If you are finding that backing them off the lands improves the group, shoot them at this length. I have found there is generally a sweet spot each particular rifle likes. My regiment for developing a load is to start with a widely acceptable powder (or one I have on hand) for the caliber, say IMR4831 for the 25-06. take a midline charge say 48.0gn then load a ladder (I load 4 bullets than change 1 variable then load another 4). When first developing a load, I change the seating depth by .01” as the variable in my ladder. Which ever depth provides the best group, and it doesn’t have to be printing clover leaves, a 1” group in a cluster of 1.5”-3” groups says something.
Next I refine the seating depth of your best rung by .005” using the same powder charge. Once I have found the depth it likes, I vary the velocity (powder charge) I usually try to work with a powder that provides upward of 85% case capacity. Once I find the velocity the rifle likes, I may vary the powder and try to stay in that same velocity range (buy a good chronograph, you wont regret it). The last thing I will vary is the primer, and I must admit I don’t find myself doing that very often.
I used to load in ladders of 3 or 5 but found that the flyer fairy would visit more often when you are using only 3 bullets and that 5 was more expensive. 4 shots allows you to screw up once. Good luck, looks like you are figuring it out pretty quick.
And yes, get a 22°chamfering tool, that shaving may not show much at 100yds, but if you wanna stretch your legs a bit, you will see more flyers.

October 31, 2006, 11:56 PM
Alright, I will order the 22* chamferer tonight. I've also decided to invest in a good seating die, and a good case trimmer/neck turner. Without spending alot(over $200), is there anything else I can do to help make my loads all the more accurate? Perhaps culling all bullets/cases by weight, and loading them based on those selections? Right now I can only cull by OAL, which I read isn't a good way to do it.

Thanks for the help,
Mr Pillow

November 1, 2006, 11:52 AM
I too found that my 30-06 likes bullets seated deeper than OAL of 3.34. I seat my Hornady 150 SST's at 3.235...shoots real well. My 223 however likes 2.29 oal...guns are laws unto themselves!!

November 1, 2006, 04:03 PM
what was the b.c. on those 115g bergers. I to shoot the 25-06.

November 1, 2006, 04:07 PM

November 1, 2006, 08:12 PM
is there anything else I can do to help make my loads all the more accurate?

Sort the brass by weight, sort the bullets by weight or base-to-ogive length, uniform the primer pockets, debur the flash holes. If you're shooting at fairly long distances, uniforming the bullets' meplats will eliminate any difference in BC between the bullets. Of course, Bergers might be sufficiently uniform that sorting or trimming the meplat doesn't get you anything... I haven't used them so I don't know.

November 1, 2006, 08:26 PM
I'm mainly shooting at 100-200 yards, 100 at the bench.

November 2, 2006, 07:36 AM
At the ranges you are shooting, you may be dissappointed by the accuracy. Because of the twist rate of the .25/06, (1/10"), the accuracy you've gotten may be as good as it gets.

The VLD's don't normally stabilize initially as well as lighter and shorter bullets. A condition known as nutation causes a bit of "wobble" in flight until the bullet travels a ways down range (invision the wobble of a top (ancient toy, no longer seen!) until it stabilizes and "stands" up).

The VLD comes into it's own past 300yds where it's superior BC. allows for a significant decrease in wind drift and drop, and the stability factor comes into play after the bullet "settles down".

I've seen both .224" 75-80gr VLD's as well as .308" VLD's shoot ~1.0moa at 100yds, and 3moa at 500yds. Not an uncommon occurence.

For your shorter range shooting (100-200yds) you will get better results with the Sierra 100gr BTHP Match King.
Try IMR4320 at about 42.0gr. I've seen two different .25/06's shoot this to about 1/2moa, which due to throat design will be about as good as it gets.
(One of the above was a Cooper SingleShot w/bull bbl. It would never shoot one-hole as owner attempted, but .4-.6" was ususally a given and was devastating on 400-500yd woodchucks in western Maryland.

Also, don't over look the Nosler 100gr. Ballistic Tips. My .257Robt. ltwt Sporter M98 Mauser Custom shoots them to near 1/2-MOA with a pitted bbl !!!

November 2, 2006, 08:06 PM
I tried some different bullets I had laying around and loaded Sierra 100grn SPBTs for this weekend at the range. Going to order some 100grn HPBTs, as well as some Berger 87grn FB bullets. For the moment the .25 is taking a back seat, my Garand arrived today and it's just too fun to put down ^.^

November 3, 2006, 02:34 PM
For me.
In very accurate rifles, the light bullets do better.
In not very accurate rifles, the heavy bullets do better.

In my rifle with the chamber cut to within .001" of concentric to the grooves at the rear of the case, 72 gr Beger MEF bullets get groups 1/2 the size of 117 gr bullets.

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