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Loading Above Manufacturer's Recommendations

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by T. Scott, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    Hi everyone,

    First post here. I just bought a new to me 300 Win Mag benchrest rifle. This is a full custom Clay Spencer Benchrest rifle.

    The guy I bought it from gave me his handloads data that he had worked up for it. He has a couple world records in benchrest shooting, so he knows what he is doing.

    I ordered a one caliber one book reloading manual because I may try some heavier bullets with it. When I looked up the loads for the powder that came with the rifle, I noticed that the max weight for the powder is listed at 62 grains, and the load data he gave me callled for 68 grains. The velocity of his rounds are 2,800 fps vs 2,500 fps in the manual.

    I had loaded some rounds with the data he gave me, and I have six rounds he loaded, so I compared the weight. The weight is the same. So it isn't a typo on the papers he wrote the load data on.

    So, my question, is it safe to go above recommended max loads? His data is 68 grains IMR 4350 and a 215 Berger Hybrid, at 2,800 fps.
     
  2. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    There are some people on here who have undoubtedly forgotten more about handloading than I've ever known. But going over max load data is never advisable.
     
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  3. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Is this guy a friend of yours? I mean, do you know him? Did you have the gun checked out by someone that knows rifles? I'm asking these questions, because...

    Well, since he is a world record holder, I'm sure that he knows what he's doing, or what he needs to do to win or accomplish whatever goal he is pursuing. To that end, I know guys that have pushed the limits (and beyond) of their equipment because to them, the equipment is disposable. It's most likely that to you, the rifle is special and you want to take care of it, but to him, it may have been just another rifle and a means to an end. I know a guy that, in his day, was written up quite often for his accomplishments in the shooting arena and since he's turned to gunsmithing, his rifles are sought after by those that know who he is; and to him, guns are tools for getting a job done.

    Bottom line...max loads are there for your safety. Follow what the manual says. Just as a precautionary measure, you might want to have someone that knows rifles check it out for you. 300 winmag is a pretty hot round as it is and he was overloading it. No telling no many rounds have been through the rifle using those rounds and I'd be surprised if the throat/bore would survive much more than 1000 rounds or so.
     
  4. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    Like the others, I too advise you to stick to the manual. It sounds like a nice rifle, and would be one you want to keep and cherish.

    Think of pro shooters as race car drivers. They will wear out tires and ruin a motor each race, and think nothing of it, because they have a goal: the finish line. The pro shooter has a goal too: flattest shooting cartridge with best accuracy. They will push the limits, burning out barrels, and know when it is time to replace the firearm. I'm not saying that you got a worn out rifle, but it's been driven hard, and who knows, round 5501 of the over powered loads will pop the reciever. You are on round 5498. Just something to think about.
     
  5. climbnjump

    climbnjump Member

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    Yeah, that's kinda hot, but what is the COAL?
     
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  6. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Welcome to THR.

    Is it "SAFE" to go above published max charges?

    No.

    That's like asking, "Is it SAFE to push your car to 7000 rpm when max rpm is 6000". ;)

    On THR, we do not recommend going above published max charges.

    And if you are going to post loads beyond published max charges, please follow forum guidelines - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...e-posting-extra-heavy-load-information.27444/

    "REQUIRED READ for those posting Extra HEAVY LOAD Information

    ... If you wish to share such ... loading data ... which is beyond currently published maximums, PLEASE heed this admonition:

    At the beginning of your message, insert in BOLD type a no-uncertain-terms cautionary note, for example:

    CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information."​
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    He is giving you some very bad advise.
     
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  8. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    I got three barrels with the rifle, this one is a Spencer and had just about 1k rounds through it, one is brand new and another has 200 rounds through it. I ran a bore scope through it and it looks great, just a little heat cracking, but I'm not an expert. I just met him when i found his ad, and he was very concerned about my safety, making sure I would never use commercial ammo because it had a tight neck chamber. He walked me through making the rounds, because I am fairly new to reloading (under 1k rounds reloaded).

     
  9. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    The COAL is 3.655 and base to ojive is 2.889.
     
  10. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    I saw this post right after i posted mine, but i thought mine would be ok since I was asking a question about the data and not posting it as a load data. Is that ok?
     
  11. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    My reloading and match shooting mentor was a seasoned bullseye match shooter. Just because he showed me how to make "match grade" level reloads did not mean I knew the details of reloading variables (And it took me years to learn them). And when you are loading near max/at max load data, many variables can push you over max published pressures.

    I could "show" a new reloader and walk through how to load 9mm Major rounds in terms of components required to push 115 gr bullet to 1450+ fps, but there are many reloading variables that could lead to brass case wall failure/rupture that the new reloader may not be aware of. Until the new reloader is aware of these, I would not recommend loading of 9mm Major rounds.

    There are reloading variables such as COAL/bullet seating depth that can affect chamber pressures. Here are some reloading variables that you should consider and use of standards to verify accuracy of your measuring equipment - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-and-discussions.778197/page-10#post-10966692

    And while a record setting match shooter may have higher precision reloading and measuring tools/instruments, you may not have the same level of precision tools/instruments.

    Until you are able to produce consistent enough reloads, I recommend you stay below published max charges. Here are some step-by-step articles on loading "match grade" rifle rounds - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...s-and-discussions.778221/page-2#post-10938613

    I posted the info on posting over max loads as a general FYI.

    For me, posting over max loads like 9mm Major would require not only proper THR disclaimer but the specific reasons for doing so (I can't think of any for rifle loads) and all the reloading variables you should monitor for.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  12. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    I am not a benchrest competitor. In my own shooting oddysey, my experience has been that best accuracy is almost always somewhere below max published loads.

    And is 300 Win Mag a common benchrest caliber? I was under the impression that efficiency and low recoil were key objectives in bench rest cartridges. 300 Win Mag seems an odd choice, no?

    The chambering of the rifle and the substantially higher than published loads seem incongruous with my limited knowledge of bench rest competition. Could a competitor comment?
     
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  13. joneb

    joneb Member

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    The barrel and action may be able to take the pressure??? but the brass may not. Belted magnum brass can be short lived accuracy wise with hot loads. Seems like if you want to push that bullet at 2800 fps or faster a 300 RUM, 300 Dakota or 30 Nosler would be a better route.
     
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  14. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    Thank you for the info and the links. I will check them out in the morning.
     
  15. T. Scott

    T. Scott Member

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    I think the 300 Win Mag is a common caliber for 400 to 1,000 yard matches. I think the 30-378 Weatherby Mag held the record for a long time as being the most accurate 30 caliber rifle for long range shooting. The rifle is right at 17 pounds, so recoil shouldn't be bad, and it will always be shot from a rest and rear bag.

    The weird thing is I found other loads that called for 70 grains of IMR 4350, but for 180 grain bullets. I thought this One Caliber One Book deal would be the best route to go, but maybe not. The book was published in 2016, so it's not too terribly outdated.
     
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  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Those 1 caliber books are just reprints of many sources and it's usually old data.

    What are you going to use this rifle for? If it's hunting decided on a good hunting bullet and check the manual from that company. Then work up your own loads. It's usually the best way to go. The bullets that came with the rifle are not suitable for hunting, they are target bullets.
     
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  17. DanK3Pos

    DanK3Pos Member

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    Looks like Dillon is shipping that type of manual with some of their reloading press packages. https://www.dillonprecision.com/xl-750-reloader-package-9-mm-223-5-56-mm_8_134_26665.html
     
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  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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  19. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Remember those MAX loads will wash out the throat of the barrel sooner than you expect.
    Then the barrel is set back and rechambered or replaced.
    Either way you will pay!
     
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  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Berger uses quickload for their data, iirc.

    3.655" is quite a bit longer, maybe someone with quick load could give you some generated pressure information.
     
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  21. climbnjump

    climbnjump Member

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    That's kinda what I was thinking... In this type of rifle, those Bergers are usually loaded pretty long.

    Normal max COAL for the 300 Win Mag is 3.340" so with your bullet loaded to 3.655" there is more case volume than normal. And when it comes to max chamber pressure, case volume matters.

    So your load of 68 gr of IMR 4350 is, as you have noted and others above have verified, a potentially dangerous round.

    Exceeding published maximums is a bad idea and no one here including me is going to suggest that it's an ok thing to do.

    But what I can say is that your over-max load is most likely generating less over-max pressure than it first appears because of the extra cartridge length. It might even be at or slightly under SAAMI max pressure. That's something that was probably taken into account when the rifle was designed.

    It looks like the fellow who built the rifle is now retired, but his website says he'll still take phone calls for questions about rifles he's built. Maybe give him a call...
     
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  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I see that many people have already offered the analogy of certain competition firearms to race cars. It is an apt comparison.

    I'm not a world record holder or even nationally competitive, but I do compete in USPSA*. I often compete in Open division. I had a gun specifically built for this chambered in 9mm Major. In order to hit the required power factor (momentum calculation - bullet weight times velocity), I must load rounds beyond book max. I am comfortable doing this because the gun I have includes a big compensator that helps retard slide movement and unlocking, a barrel with excellent chamber support, a slide and steel frame that are also used for a 10mm variant of the same gun, etc. Even with all this, I accept that there is some additional risk in loading and using this ammo - ammo that I would never use in a standard 9mm pistol. And I do preventative maintenance on the gun, and don't gripe about it when something wears out. So I'm trading off some margin of safety and some part life in exchange for competitive performance.

    Even so, precisely because I am not competing at a national-championship level, I opted not to have popple holes/ports drilled in the barrel itself. Those would make the gun recoil even flatter (the point of open guns is that they don't have much muzzle flip - they just recoil straight back into your hand), but because they sap pressure before the bullet hits the muzzle/compensator, I'd have to load even further beyond the book loads. When I was having the gun built, I decided I wasn't willing to trade away quite that much safety margin/part life.

    Those are the kinds of tradeoffs competitive shooters are making, and they are often taken into account when the gun is built. If you don't have a pressing need to make those kinds of tradeoffs, it's not even worth going down that path. I would never, ever recommend going down that path without a really good grasp of internal ballistics, a solid reloading history, and a very good understanding of the particulars of your individual gun and how it was built and what others doing similar things have experienced. And even then you're accepting some risk.

    * Or I did before the coronavirus shut down all matches! Man, I miss shooting matches...
     
  23. climbnjump

    climbnjump Member

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    I could run QuickLOAD, and I did which is why I said:

    But I'm not going to post a number because there is no way to be sure and there are other factors such as whether or not the bullet is jammed into the lands or not.

    So the QL number is only an indication, it isn't exact.

    And my experience with IMR 4350 in a 300 WSM has shown me that there is more than a little lot-to-lot variability in burning characteristics. If one is toying with maximums, a given charge weight might be under when using one lot and over when using the next. If the OP is using a different lot of powder to build his loads than the original owner did, that could potentially be a problem... (Which is why we always say, reduce and work back up when using a new lot.)
     
  24. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Firearms are built to a load and a service life. Lets say the service life is "one". Safety factors are applied to compensate for variances in alloys, manufacture. Lets say the safety factor for bolt lugs is "two", that is there is twice as much metal needed for a load of "one". That doubling of material would make the structure twice as strong as needed, when new, if the metal and manufacturing processes were perfect, but given stress cycles, the material degrades. That safety factor of two is there so the structure before it completes its life time of "one", with loads of "one".

    Also, loads over "one" will deteriorate the structure faster than loads of one or less than one. And this post shows an analysis indicating that:

    Fatigue Life of 4140 steel


    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?150409-Ruger-om-44-convertible&highlight=convertible


    Just a few thoughts on this. For Background I am a mechanical engineer with a heavy background in failure and fatigue.

    I wonder if I could request a high quality photo of the fracture zone of the cylinder? I am specifically interested in the grain structure of the bolt notches.

    I put fort the following.

    1) Firearms in general (the type we plebeians can get our mits one) are not designed for infinite fatigue life.

    2) The Factors of safety used in firearms design are in line with low end of fatigue requirements (usually less than 10,000 cycles).

    3) One of the funny things about fatigue is that each time you push the material past its original design point, you lower its expected life.

    4) I am looking at this as an older gun with an unknown number of rounds through it. but based on its age a substantial round count seems likely.

    5) When these firearms are designed it is generally preferable for something else to go before the cylinder lets go and takes the top strap. Generally this takes the form of the gun wearing loose or the barrel wearing out. But they are designed to handle X rounds at standard pressures.

    6) I see alot of folks calculate the strengths of Rugers, but these calculations are only ever performing an evaluation on a straight static pressure basis. This is wrong when trying to determine if a load is safe.

    I attached a couple of marked up figures for your perusal

    Note: poster shows a diagram in which given over pressures it is reasonable to expect the material to fail at 650 rounds.


    I participated in a discussion on another forum, and one of the posters wrote this:

    About Cartridge Maximum Pressures

    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=579451


    I don't think it is any coincidence that the SAAMI proof loads to max average load ratio is similar to ratio of threshold of plastic deformation to the fatigue failure stress at a number of cycles approximately the max number of times a gun might be fired.

    That's right, I am saying there are signs of intelligent design at SAAMI.

    FatigueSN-1.jpg

    10 or 12 years ago some guy working in Boeing structures drew this plot for me in relation to Rem700 bolt lugs. I don't think he copyrighted it. I know I have not.

    10,000 stresses at 70% of yield stress reaches fatigue.

    SAAMI proof loads for centerfire rifle are between 1.3 and 1.4 times the max average working pressure = 77% ~ 71%.



    When Stoner designed his AR15, he sized the bolt lugs for loads of 50,000 psia (because CUP was thought to be PSI) and he had to pass an endurance test of 6000 rounds. What you find today, is AR15 bolts tend to start cracking lugs around 10,000 rounds. There are bolts shot peened, made of more expensive alloys, and they have a reputation of lasting 30,000 rounds. But they do crack. The Army incidentally has been bumping up the pressures of the 5.56, it went from 50 kpsia to 52 kpsia, I think 54 at one time. Now they have a load which they won't publish the pressures, but it is rumored to be 65,000+ psia, which is too close for comfort to the proof pressures of 70,000 psia. One day we will find out the increase in cracked bolt in Army rifles. But don't worry, you the tax payer will pick up the tab.

    Reloaders don't really know the pressures in their barrels, published data is a guide, but your actual pressures will be different. Something also to understand, is that humans don't understand exponential processes. The slope of the curve for smokeless powder is exponential. Pressures do rise much faster than people can comprehend. Humans think in linear terms.The mathemation Al Barr is in this video to make the point that "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function". This is an hour long video, I don't expect anyone to watch it through.



    but, pressures are increasing a lot fast than charge weight. And you don't know the sensitivity. You don't know if an extra grain of powder doubles, triples, or spikes the pressure curve by a factor of ten., or a 100. You don't know. So it is best to stay conservative, if you are a person who has a good sense of risk.

    You will encounter or see people who have a poor sense of risk. Indian Larry was one of those. Indian Larry built fantastic custom motorcycles, and for fun, Indian Larry used to stand on the seat of one of his motorcycles, hands out, while the motorcycle was moving. You can find all sorts of pictures. And, Larry did not wear a helmet. The culture is one of bad ass and you can understand, wearing a helmet is for sissies. One day, when demonstrating his trick, Larry fell off and hit his head on the pavement. Larry is not with us anymore. But Larry thought he had control, he thought what he was doing was safe, thought he did not need a helmet, and he was wrong. You will run into a lot of Larry's, they seem sane, but you will find that they have a high risk threshold.

    We needed these types as humans spread out across the world. The example I am going to use is Easter Island. Easter Island is 1,300 miles from the closest land mass. It is easy to miss a tiny island from the ocean, a couple of clouds, a rainstorm, and you won't see it. And the Polynesians made it there in open canoes, no compasses, no GPS, no maps. You just have to wonder how many canoes went to the bottom, lead by charismatic, high risk leaders, with winning track records, who had faith they would find something new. And guess what, they ran out of food, water, and everyone on their canoe died. But one of them made it. In fact, those types made to all the islands in the Pacific, which is remarkable. But a lot of them went to the bottom.

    You will find, that those who dance on the edge, will eventually trip over into the chasm.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  25. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    If you've only been reloading for a year, I'd say that you have some knowledge and experience to gain before going out of the range of published data. I can totally understand wanting to take something and make it do what it shouldn't be able to do. It's a challenge. It's one of the reasons I went with .308. My chamber is so tight that some factory rounds won't even chamber.

    Still, it is something that you need to work up to. You need to get to a point where you not only know what to do, but why you're doing it. Doing something because someone told you to do it a certain way does not amount to knowledge.

    If that barrel has 1000+ rounds through it, odds are that it's either shot out or close to it. Do you have a gun smith that can fit either of those other two barrels for you?
     
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