New rifle to reload - where to start?


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Wrage
September 6, 2011, 11:49 AM
I am going to start reloading for a new bolt action rifle - this is a hunting rifle for my son, I still consider myself fairly new to reloading and I was wondering the best process for developing an accurate round.

I made a dummy round with a slider bullet (Nosler Ballistic Tips - same he will be using for hunting) in it and put it in the rifle, closed the bolt, carefully removed it and measured the OAL 10x, then averaged 10 readings and it came out longer than my magazine - so I am assuming my max OAL would be/should be my magazine length?

So is it best to set my bullet seater to my OAL then develop min powder loads and work my way up? Or should I start with the OAL length from my manuals then work up a load, then start working my OAL length up?

Just want to make sure I am doing things properly and safely, thanks for your replies!

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cfullgraf
September 6, 2011, 02:02 PM
If you want to shoot your rifle as a single shot, you can load longer than the magazine. Probably not really desirable for a hunting rifle that has a magazine.

Published over all lengths are what the developer of the load came up with for what ever reason. They are not cast in stone. Within reason, you can choose whatever over all length you want.

If the published data has a minimum and maximum load, you could safely start at the minimum and work from there. If only a maximum load is listed, reduce the charge by 10 percent and start from there.

Changing your over all length is another variable that can be adjusted to improve accuracy. Do not go too long as you jam the bullet into the rifling and pressures will rise.

rcmodel
September 6, 2011, 02:22 PM
Or should I start with the OAL length from my manuals then work up a load,That's what I would do.
Seating to the lands, or seating "long" is not necessary to get a good shooting hunting load.

Many of todays rifles have so much leade or free-bore for legal reasons as to make seating to the lands impossible. Sounds ike you have one of them.

Anyway, factory loaded ammo is loaded to a standard length that will fit any magazine & chamber with no regard to reaching the rifling.
And some of it is more accurate then most rifles & shooters are capable of seeing on paper.

In some cases, hunting bullets will have a crimp cannulure for use if you do want to crimp.
That right there is the recommended seating depth for that bullet.

By proper powder selection and charge weight experimenting, you can make it shoot at any length I betcha.

rc

billyjoe
September 6, 2011, 09:59 PM
For hunting loads stick to mag length. For hunting loads function is more important than match grade accuracy. Work up a load that shoots well and functions smoothly. I tried hunting with my target loads in my 6mm one time and found out that when it was 10 degrees my neck sized cased with bullets touching the lands didn't chamber when i got in the field. Now i load hunting rounds and target rounds and keep them in differant boxes.

Wrage
September 6, 2011, 11:58 PM
Seating to the lands, or seating "long" is not necessary to get a good shooting hunting load.

Excellent! That is what I needed to know! I will load up some factory spec. min to max ammo then and not worry about OAL for now.

Thanks for the info all, your wealth of experience is sure appreciated!!!

gamestalker
September 7, 2011, 12:40 AM
If the OAL maximu is longer than your magazone I would do just as you suggested, seating to the magazine length, or some where above the published OAL that will easily accomodate the magazine fit. For a hunting application it is super important to make sure function is going to be reliable. Nothing is worse than having a super accurate target round that won't chamber or eject when a nice buck is walking away, mean while your trying to get a shot or follow up shot down range.
From there I would choose a slow burning powder and start my load work up at 50% of the load range. In other words, if the load range is 54 grs. - 59 grs. I would start at 56.5 grs.. That's how I do it, and it hasn't failed me in 30 + years.
Choosing a powder for high powered rifle has always been easy for me because, I just load with the slowest burning of the listed options.

GP100man
September 7, 2011, 08:33 AM
My neighbor bought a rifle that had 1 long throat & we never got it to shoot a 6" group at 100yds !!!

Tried every 277 bullet I had nada !! he sent it back for repair & got a different rifle .

I could find the lands in that 1

gamestalker
September 7, 2011, 09:02 PM
I guess I've been fortunate in that respect. My high power's have all had really nice throats to work with. Last night I did up some 130 gr. Speer and the listed OAL was 3.285" and the depth to the lands was 3.286". That 700 is one tight grouping action and doesn't ever require a long OAL to get up close and personal to the lands. The longest throated action I have in only about .015" aft the published OAL, of course that is varied according to the bullets I'm working with, but not by much.

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