reloading 6.5 swede


August 22, 2003, 10:18 AM
I finally got around to shooting my first 6.5swede handloads last night.

Gun - Winchester Mod 70 Featherweight
Load - 140gr Sierra Gameking
42.5gr IMR 4350
Winchester large rifle primer

In general, I'm not a good rifle shot. I tend to shoot well enough for the distances I hunt at, but I'm no benchrest shooter by any means. The range I shot at (NRA HQ) is only 50yds. I think I can do better at an outdoor range without a 44mag shooter next to me and a doubletapper two lanes further down. :banghead:

At 50yds, I shot 2 5 shot groups (offhand) that measured about 1" between the furthest two holes. I shot one group that was much smaller and could be covered by a quarter if you discounted to the two called flyers (forend supported by sandbag, rear of rifle supported by my shoulder). I did about the same off the bench and a little worse offhand with the Federal factory loads I had with me for comparison.

It shot to the same point of aim as the Federal Classic Hi-Shock factory loads I have (same bullet weight, rated by Federal at 2600fps).

The question: Should I do further load development? Am I likely to squeeze any more accuracy out without getting really uptight about chamber dimensions and other "accuracy" variables? If I changed the load, should I go higher or lower? Would another powder make a large difference? The barrel is a lightweight barrel and fully floated. I understand these barrels prefer a little pressure at the end of the forend. I may try that as well.

Time is short right now. I doubt I'll get to the range more than 2 more times before hunting season. I don't need groups that are only tighter by 1/4" since my shooting can vary by more than that, but if I can significantly improve my groups, I'm game (by handloads, I know I need more triggertime regardless of the load).


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August 22, 2003, 03:43 PM
"Should I do further load development? " You can but move out to 100 and shot the loads again off a good solid rest. Good ear defenders will help you ignore the shutzenblasters. A couple inches at 100 is ok for big game, but you should be able to get the groups smaller with practice. Mind you, if you sight in about 3" high at 100 you're ok out to about 300.

August 22, 2003, 04:08 PM
You can but move out to 100

There's only one 100yd range in the area that I have access to and it's hours are not compatible with mine during the week (better on weekends, but usually too crowded).

Good ear defenders

Had plugs and muffs. This was an indoor range, and a full one at that. I'm just too "jumpy" to shoot well in that situation. I do much better at outdoor ranges with few people shooting. PITA being a shooter AND being jumpy around loud sounds. :rolleyes:

It wasn't the best scenario for shooting yesterday, but it was the best I had. My main consideration is whether or not I'll see any decrease in group size by changing loads. If so, which direction would I go, up or down?

Anyway, judging by what I've read, I probably couldn't increase the "intrinsic" accuracy of the load by much (found a lot of load reports using that bullet and powder charge with sub-moa groups). Mebbe I'll load 100 or so and see what happens after I shoot all of them.


Dave R
August 22, 2003, 04:35 PM
MTN, the theory is that you try different powder qty (which yields different velocity) to find a load that matches YOUR barrel harmonics.

So if you're going to load another 100, I would try a few different powder charges. Hold everything else constant. Go down a couple of grains of powder. Go up IF you are currently under the max. Step up by 1/2 grain or 1 grain increments. See which load shoots tightest groups.

FYI my Speer manual says the statisiticans have concluded that a 7-shot group gives you the best accuracy info with fewest rounds fired. i.e. your 7 shot group will be a better indicator than 2 X 3 shot groups or a 5-shot group.

I once saw a post by a guy working up a load for .308. He posted 8-10 of his targets, with a different load on each target. You could see the groups getting smaller as the powder charges got bigger, to a certain point, then groups got bigger. The min. group size was where he stayed. It was just under a max load.

When you're shooting for group size, you need to know you're not measuring differences in your flich, so take appropriate steps to make sure the rifle is REAL steady as you run through a string.

OTOH, if this does not sound like fun to you, then the load you have certainly sounds workable.

But if 'twere me, I would shoot that next 100 with 4-10 different powder charges and see if I couldn't get down to 1/2" at 50 yards. If it doesn't work, you've wasted 100 rounds and maybe had fun doing it.

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