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bullet seating, powder loads, and other variables

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by nra-for-life, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. nra-for-life

    nra-for-life Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    hi everyone.

    id like to get some thoughts on where to start. im new to reloading and i will be loading up 22-250 for my first caliber for a specific bolt action rifle. my purpose for reloading is to try to shrink my group sizes and ultimatly create some specific loads for certain hunting and target applications that are as accurate as i can possible get them.

    there are so many variables to play with in reloading that im a little overwhelmed so id like to hear from you experts and see what you would do...

    i have currently 2 powders... reloader 15 and varget.

    i have 100 bullets to play with in 5 variations (500 total)... nosler 35 gr balistic tip LF, nosler 40 grain varmint balistic tip, sierra 50 grain blitzkings, sierra 53 grain HP mathkings, and hornady 52 grain ballistic tip a-max.

    i have 148 casings. they were all fired from the same rifle, are the same make, they are all fireformed, prepped and ready to load.

    so i am curious as to how i should start in regards to variables. would it be better to experiment more with bullet seating depth, powder loads, or something else.

    lets say for example if i load 20 rounds with the amax, would i be better off to try to keep the bullet seating depth the same on all and then just do different powders and powder charges or would i be better to keep the powder consistant end experiment more with bullet seating depth. id like to load all 148 casings up and shoot this weekend. hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for me and shooting thanks everyone.
  2. A-FIXER

    A-FIXER Member

    Jan 26, 2009
    I would start off getting a horndy compartator, then do groups of 4 of the set powder listed for each starting with the lowest charge to the highest staying 1gr away from max using the listed COL (here when you need your compartator to measure off the ogive for exact length).... length listed for each type of projectile as stated by the reload book and then shoot them and pick out the one that has the best grouping then you can get a hornady COL gauge and measure the exact distance or COL the rifles has.
    Then you can play with different lengths do remember some rifles like '' jump'' but again some work better just off the lands if you push the projectile into the lands depending how far you will want to back off the given round 1 to 2 grs to avoid excessive chamber pressure....
  3. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    Saint Louis Missouri
    I dont mean this too be negative. But do you need to be concerned about burning the barrel? That round burns so much powder. I would be careful with shooting hundreds and hundreds of rounds trying to squeze a tiny more accuracy while burning up the barrel. I have recently made my first handgun cartridges and was amazed how I accidently shot a little more accuracey. I am new to reloading, but dont want to see anybody damage a barrel. Good luck.
  4. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    I've done it the same way for many years with good results. I start under some where below mid range powder charge and seta my bullets up to the lands. Then without changing the powder charge I start to back of the lands in .005" increments until accuracy is dialed in to it's current best. Depending on the rifle, that may be at the lands or further back, your rrifle will tell ya.
    Then once you've determined seating depth, start working the powder charge until your rifle has determined what the optimum charge is.
    But do be cautious about burning the barrel as already mentioned. I've been fortunate in that I haven't burned one yet, but I do push the limits, I'm sure. An old friend and BR shooter I've know for decades told me, that if I must run compressed charges, that seating up to the lands will help reduce the risk of premature barrel burn out and also helps preserve the throat. But in this respect, make sure to keep it clean too, this is a big factor in avoiding throat errosion. A dirty throat will not seal well, and allows those damaging gases to blow back instead of forward.

    And being close to the lands gives the powder that mil second more to burn before the projectile completely exits the mouth. It becomes increasingly more difficult to protect the barrel and throat when loading up lighter shorter profiled bullets too, so keep that in mind as well. I often refer to the flame cutting you see on revolvers as an example of what happens when you are running compressed charges, with too much jump to the lands or the brass isn't properly form / sized. It just burns and cuts the throat and lands.

    You can easily see the difference between jump to the lands by inspecting your brass. You'll see where the brass is making it's seal. If it's sealing any where below the neck you've got some bullet seating issues, or brass the isn't properely formed / sized, or both. I personally like to see the seal at the mouth and will adjust the charge when the seal begins moving dowm the neck, and sometimes it means I need to bump the charge up more.
  5. Fall Guy

    Fall Guy Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    My approach is a little bit different than what you are suggesting. Maybe it's just because I'm a cheapskate.

    I start with the bullet I want to use. I then try 2-3 different powders using a constant seating depth (.020" off the lands). If those loads show promise I will then play with seating depth and maybe even primers.

    In short, I give one bullet a pretty good workout before I try another. I also have the luxury of shooting at my home so there is no need to load up a whole bunch of different stuff at one time.
  6. ngaither

    ngaither Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    I do the same thing. I work up my powders first and then start playing around with bullet seating.
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