Reloading thoughts (beginning to mature?)


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ojibweindian
August 25, 2004, 10:42 AM
When I first started reloading late last year, I was trying to squeeze, safely, of course, maximum performance (read velocity) out of my Winchester M70. Since then, I've come to realize that performance != velocity alone, rather a healthy balance of velocity AND accuracy.

Now I've begun to reload for a newly acquired S&W 586. I've heard it said by some that I should try to squeeze out as much velocity as possible from my revolver, but I am of the opinion that I don't need to push a 125gr or 158gr bullet to speeds of 1500 fps and 1300 fps, respectively. As long as I get an accurate load in these two weights which zip along at roughly 1300 and 1100 fps for a 125gr and 158 gr bullet, respectively, that's good enough.

What do you guys think?

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HankB
August 25, 2004, 12:03 PM
My .30/06 Winchester M70 is happiest with a 180 grain bullet ahead of a maximum load of RL22 powder. It's a happy coincidence that, in this case, max. velocity actually DOES produce max. accuracy. (I am NOT exceeding published maximums, by the way . . . and I carefully worked up to where I am now in hot weather.)

For .357, very seldom do I load up to "maximum" velocity . . . I mean, it doesn't take a lot of energy to punch a hole in paper. Most of what I shoot splits the difference between a .38 +P and a full power .357 Mag load. It's easier on both me and the gun.

Valkman
August 25, 2004, 02:06 PM
I started reloading last September and have yet to load anything to max - that's just not what I'm trying to do. I'd rather chrono various loads and find one that's as powerful as I need yet very consistant with a low SD.

If I was loading my own CCW ammo I'd push it more, but I don't.

P95Carry
August 25, 2004, 02:15 PM
ojibweindian - You are on a good course IMO .. and as you know, I am of opinion that ''max-max'' loads rarely prove to be the most ideal for a gun . rifles in particular.

I am a recoil junky tho - and find a good fix from fairly hot 44's and .454's for instance but - with loading I still stay a bit ''sub-max'' .. thinking always of the gun too. OK Rugers are tough and I'll stoke pretty well for use in those but ... still see no need to max out for sake of it.

My 45-70 BFR is a good case in point . I am all but settling on a mid load for that .. still 1500 ft lbs but not excessively punishing .. just need to go up a shade to try and get groups closing in ... but the top loads (whilst gun is spec'd to take em) are not necessary for me.

Many a time I and others have found that the ''magic'' load is between 3% and 5% down from max published.

Glad you are enjoying your reloading tho by sound of it ..... so much control eh!:)

Kamicosmos
August 26, 2004, 12:42 PM
Bingo! We have a winner!

Yes, best performance may not always equal max velocities. Often times, max velocities equal crappy accuracy.

That's the best part about handloading, is playing round with the charge wieght to see what your gun (or you or the application of the round) likes best.

I have yet to understand the Drive to 'max out' a load. I guess it's just a macho 'My Load is Bigger/better/faster/louder than yours' thing...

stans
August 26, 2004, 09:21 PM
When I first started reloading I chased after maximum velocity, trying to turn my 357's into 41 Magnums. Then I came to the realization that a 357 ain't a 41 magnum and it can never be a 44 magnum. Now I load for optimum accuracy, because you can't miss your target hard enough to kill it and if I need 44 power I use a 44 Magnum.

whofan
August 30, 2004, 03:25 PM
When I first started reloading late last year, I was trying to squeeze, safely, of course, maximum performance (read velocity) out of my Winchester M70. Since then, I've come to realize that performance != velocity alone, rather a healthy balance of velocity AND accuracy.

When I started reloading for my M 70 30'06's in 1986 or so I was always after that magical speed 3000 fps with a 150 gr bullet! Back in those days, some loading manuals listed 60 gr of IMR 4350 as max. I think that the best that I did was about 2960 fps.

I soon found, however, that going a step or two below max always gave me the best accuracy with plenty of killing power for whitetails.

There is one caliber that seems to be the exception. My .300 Weatherby , Mark V, won't shoot worth a damn unless you are right at max. I used to use a load of 83 gr of 7828 with 200 gr Partitions and Fed 215 primers.

That load clocked at about 3050-3080 fps. Sure got my attention on the bench! I don't shoot that rifle much anymore.

goon
August 30, 2004, 07:12 PM
My contention is that if the load does what you need it to do, why go hotter? I started with .357 and then went on to loading 9mm, 45LC, 308, and 300 Savage. Of all the rounds I have ever loaded, I have never gone to the max. Why should I ? My 308 rounds killed cleanly and shot very accurately. My other rounds shot to point of aim and worked reliably in my guns.
Whether you are shooting targets or game, neither will know difference within a few hundred feet per second.

P95Carry
August 30, 2004, 07:45 PM
Leaving aside accuracy factors and ''gun punishing'' .. I think the ''hot loaders'' are in a sense chasing a holy grail .... Muzzle Energy!! Plus I guess flatter trajectories too, in fairness.

It is true that if for example we take a 150 grn 30 cal doing 2400 fps, we see ME of around 1918 ft lbs.

Increase that fps by 30%, to 3,000 fps and we get an ME of all but 3,000 ft lbs ... pretty much close to a 50% energy increase. The rise in ME with velocity is not linear.

Working backwards .. as we reduce velocity the loss in muzzle energy does come quicker than we might expect.

Compromize is IMO the name of the game .... a balance of all factors, to best achieve the required result. And in fact - it is probably way preferable to not push one cal to or beyond its safe limit ... better in fact to up caliber or cartridge spec' .... and then stay below spec.

Example .... don't push 44 mag to crazy levels ... go up to a more potent round like .454 Casull ... which is designed to be hotter. (Mind you - the SAAMI figures for .454 are near crazy!!).:D

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