1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Distance to Lands on Hunting Loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by StringTwelve, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. StringTwelve

    StringTwelve Well-Known Member

    I'm in the process of developing some hunting loads with my Remington 700 .270 for both Elk and Mule Deer.

    My question is: How close to the lands should I start these test loads? I've heard no closer than .010 but was curious if anyone has had any experience with this the could clue me in on. Should I drop the powder charge somewhat the closer to the lands I get?
    I have both 130gr and 150gr bullets to play with at this point. Mostly Winchester and Federal brass. CCI primers.

    Any input is appreciated.

  2. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Start at 10 thou off the lands and develop your best shooting load. Then back off in 5 or 10 thou steps to find the best shooting OAL.
  3. gkdir

    gkdir Well-Known Member

    Without going thru a rather lengthy testing procedure,,are their particular rifle brands that have shown wheather they prefer a "jump" or "jam" seating on the bullet??
  4. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    For as long as I've been reloading for hunting or other purposes, I have always seated as close to the lands as will function in the magazine. There is more than one benefit to this style of achieving a functioning OAL starting with how much jump to the lands. The greater the distance the bullet has to travel to the lands, the greater amount of harmonic distortion created, bullet shaving, and higher pressures. Some who hand load for bench rest and other competitive shooting will actually seat up to the lands, and even into them. A good combination for loading in this manner is to use slow burning powders, as they will accomodate a compressed charge in most cartridges, which will enhance accuracy and maintain consistent chamber pressures.
    I honestly haven't even looked at a recomended OAL for high powered rifle since shortly after starting my reloading hobby, that was about 30 yrs. ago. An exception to this method of reloading would be when loading for an auto loading action.
    As was already established by Ranger335V, .010" off the lands is a good place to be, or start. Most bullet brands are too inconsistent with regard to the olgive location to consistently seat at a given distance off the lands. Also in this respect, a variation of several thousandths isn't really going to produce a noticable difference.
    FYI, my first high powered rifle I started loading for was a 700 in .270 win. to which I must say is a fine hunting cartridge, and not bad on paper either!
    My favorite hunting load for the .270 has been:
    RL19 57.5 grs.
    Speer 130 gr. PSPBT Hot Core or the Grand Slam
    CCI large rifle primer or large rifle BR
    Muzzle velocity was chronographed at over 3250 fps @ 7,500' elevation. Velocity @ 2,000" elevation was 3150 fps.
    I killed 2 elk, numerous mule and white tail deer, antelope, and a black bear with the above load.
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I would not seat to the lands with big game hunting loads.

    Too much can go wrong and run an expensive & difficult hunt.

    And if you notice, some of the most accurate ammo in the world is Federal Gold Medal Match, Black Hills match ammo, and most everyones factory varmint loads.

    They do not seat to the lands.

  6. j2crows

    j2crows Well-Known Member

    The sweet spot for my .270 with 130 grs. was .020" off. You just gotta mess with it a bit.
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    As RCmodel stated, seating up to the lands is not an effective method for a hunting load. I was only providing an example of how some BR and other competitive shooter's use this method to elaborate on the potential accuracy gained as you move closer to the lands.
    Good point RC. It certainly wouldn't be good if a new reloader took this as an "etched in stone"or ideal method.
  8. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    If the round fits and feeds reliably from the magazine, and the round chambers easily, then I don't think it matters how far off the bullet is from the lands. If your rifle is considerably more accurate with the bullet touching the lands, and you need that level of accuracy, then that's where the bullet should be. Most of the reliability issues I see with reloads are from neck sizing only where the shoulder continues to move forward with each firing eventually making it hard to close the bolt. I bump the shoulders back on all of my rifle cases to a max of SAAMI and a min of SAAMI-0.002". I've found excellent accuracy and reliability using this method. New .308 Win Lapua brass produces very accurate loads and the shoulders typically fall between SAAMI and SAAMI-0.002".

    I've shot more than 1,500 rounds through my match rifle chambered in .308 Win and every round has been loaded to 0.000" off the lands without a single problem. It wouldn't matter to me if I were shooting paper or pachyderms, although I have no wish to do the latter. The load I use works with the bullet 0.000" off the lands so that's where it stays. All rounds feed, chamber, fire and eject under a variety of conditions which include high stress drills shooting 5 rounds in under 30 seconds to shooting 51 rounds matches lying down in the dust and dirt. If there was a problem it would have shown up by now.

    According to Bryan Litz, SMK bullets have a tangent profile and can be seated with a lot more "jump" to the lands because the smooth ogive transition enables them to align themselves to the rifling. Bullets with a secant profile perform better when they're much closer to the lands because they don't align themselves as well. Examples of secant profile bullets are the Hornady A-MAX and Lapua Scenar bullets which have superior long range accuracy over tangent bullets, but inferior short range accuracy. So if you're worried about seating bullets up to the lands, buy tangent bullets rather than secant ones.
  9. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member


    Accuracy is best for me in bottle neck cartridges comes with being jammed into the lands, but for hunting, reliability is what I want.

    I load at 3.34" for hunting with the 270 130 gr BT, chambered by Pac Nor.

    That does not touch the lands, but good enough accuracy so it always hits the front 1/3 of the animal at 500 yards.
  10. doorman

    doorman Well-Known Member

    I ended up at .010 for my .270 using H4350. My 100 yard groups were averaging .65 inch with 130 gr Nosler Accubonds.
  11. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    It's YOUR gun and YOUR ammo. Seat the bullets to where YOU want them.

    For hunting ammo, I prefer easy feeding ammo. This means partial full-length sizing and bullets only lightly touching the lands, if at all.

    For some of my rifles, this means that the accuracy is going to be a little bit less than optimum. But, even a 2moa rifle can be counted on to deliver the goods as far as most shooting on game is done. One of my favorite hunting rifles is a Remington M7 in 7mm-08. It's at best a 2moa rifle, but has racked up an amazing amount of game in the relatively short time I've owned it.

    What you don't want is a load than on a hot-sunny day is going to casuse excessive pressure. This could be caused by a warm load combined with bullet seated to touch the lands. Also, you don't want to unload the rifle and leave a bullet stuck in the throat because you jammed it in there chambering the cartridge. Without a cleaning rod to tap out the bullet, it could mean a ruined hunt. Especially if you're miles from a cleaning rod...
    I always carry a mil-surp M16 cleaning rod in my back-pack, even for a "day" hunt in case I stick the muzzle in the dirt...... or some such thing....

Share This Page