Sorry in advance if this is a newb question. I'm just beginning reloading and just want to be safe. I am trying to figure out my optimum coal. I took a fire formed case, colored a new 55 grain v-max bullet with a permanent market, hand seated the bullet long and chambered it in the rifle. I am coming up with 2.481". My Nosler manual says max. should be 2.350". Am I safe going over that? How much deeper should I seat the bullet from the measurement I got?
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January 2, 2010, 06:02 PM
If you did that your bullet should now be just touching the lands. There is some argument over to how much jump there needs to be between the bullet and the lands. One of my rifles shoots very well with seating .012 off of the lands while another favors .010. My hunting rifles are seated at around .020 or so. I will be long winded here.
Lets say you make a starting load like this
55 grain v-max using Varget as your powder. lets go middle of the road for velocites.
(3) bullets at 31.7 grains of powder; (3) at 32.0 grains, and (3) at 32.3; (3) at 32.5; and finally (3) at 32.8 grains. Have all of these seated at .010 off the lands.
Next make the same grained loads in sets of three or of five seated at .012 off the lands.
Then another batch of loads at .015 off the lands
Fire for groups paying close attention to pressure signs. once you have narrowed down a couple of loads that group well. Then start fine tuning. say your best group is acheived by the 32.5 grain batch at .012 off the lands. Load another batch at 32.4, 32.6 and 32.5 and fire for the best group.
This testing will help you develop a load that will preform top notch. Although what shoots the best through your rifle may not cycle through your magazine. So make a dummy round to make sure there are no feeding problems before you go through the time to develope loads. If a .010 doesn't feed don't make any that long.
January 2, 2010, 09:18 PM
Depending on the action that you're using, first consideration should be the COAL needed to function through the magazine unless you plan on using it as a single shot.
If you're using anything other than a short action, you can establish your regimen for load development without worrying about the manual's COAL data. That's only a suggested dimension, not etched in stone.
I personally did not have good luck with Varget in my 22-250 using Hornady A-Max bullets, but that may not be the case in yours.
January 2, 2010, 11:01 PM
"Sorry in advance if this is a newb question."
it is a newb question and that's sorta what we're here for, no apology needed.
Your confusion is understandable, few loading books, if any, really deal with the question very well. Fact is, the book OAL is simply what they used to develop their data AND what should work smoothly in most commercial rifles. It's no more a law to be followed than their powder charges are, all are suggestions that WE must carefully check on as we develop our own versions of their loads.
Your rifle is a bolt action and, for now, you ONLY know what the max possible OAL for it is, you don't know a thing about what your best shooting OAL is. Most factory sporting rifles seem to shoot best from .025" off the lands to as much as four times that much.
My .22-250 shoots my best load from about .025" to .035" off the lands so I load .030" off and minor variations either way makes not a bit of difference on target. But, my rifle and load isn't yours so YOU will have to do the experimenting needed to find the best OAL window for your rig and load.
January 2, 2010, 11:11 PM
I am by no means saying that Varget is the best powder for that particular load. I used it as a example as to how to build a load. Like others have stated every gun is different and likes different things. I happen to own to super redhawks in .44 mag. The guns are identicle make but do not shoot the same with reloads. So just because someone gives you a load they have had good luck with; it may not work for you.
January 2, 2010, 11:40 PM
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the info. The rifle is a Savage VLP. I loaded my first 18 rounds tonight. Nosler brass, H380, and 55 grain v-max. I did batches of three working up from 37 to 38 grains, all .010 off the lands. I can't wait to shoot them.
Here is a pic of my setup. Very small, but it seems to work well for me.