Loading Hornady ELD-X 178 gr in 30-06

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May 6, 2017
I am loading 30-06 for the first time, and using the ELD-X 178 gr bullet and Reloader 19.

I have the Hornady 9th edition book which does not list the ELD-X, so I confirmed with Hornady on the phone that the COL for the ELD-X 178 in 30-06 is 3.220”.

However, measuring some factory loaded rounds, I get about 3.240” to 3.250”.

Per Nosler’s load data for 175-180 gr bullets, the starting charge weight is 56.0 gr (2576 fps) with a max of 60.0 gr (2742 fps), with the max being the most accurate. Alliant only shows 59 gr. for a Speer 180 gr SP (2640 fps). And, Hornady starts at 51.1 gr (2300 fps) with a max 59.6 gr (2700 fps).

So I think I will use a COL of 3.240” with a starting charge weight of 56.0 gr. Does this sound reasonable?

FYI – I wanted to first try using H4350 or IMR 4350, but neither was available. So I am starting with RL19.
I don't worry much about getting an exact OAL with any bullet. I always load one as long as possible that fits the magazine and will chamber. If the 1st one works then I load up a few more at that length and head to the range. If not I seat it deeper until it does. If I don't get the results I want at the range I may experiment with seating it deeper. It is easy enough to seat rounds I've already loaded deeper if necessary. But I almost never need to do that.

I can't help with RE-19, but I've loaded that bullet with a near max load of H4350 and get right at 2800 fps with 1 MOA accuracy. My 308's really like that bullet at about 2600 fps. I just used the same data suggested for any other typical 180 gr bullet.

I've had good luck with several different ELD Hornady bullets and they're earning a reputation as an effective hunting bullet. At a reasonable price.
Jmr40 gave some good advice on seating depth. The factory recommends a length that will safely fit any rifle. All you need is to safely fit yours.
If you haven't read the first few chapters of a reloading manual, I suggest taking an evening to do it. It helped me more than anything else.
Hornady 10th shows 52.9 starting and 59.6 max for Reloader 19 with the 178-180grn bullets, including the ELD-X. COAL for the ELD-x is 3.220”. Starting velocity in Hornady’s 23 3/4” barrel is 2300fps, max with 59.6grn RL19 is 2600. RL19 is one of the 5 slowest velocity loads for the 30-06 with these bullet weights. I’m personally loading H4350 under the 178 ELD-x in .30-06, using less powder to get more velocity than RL19, and beautifully consistent loads.

Talking about max charges as if that’s the only weight you’ll try is worrisome, but if you work up from 53grn and stop when you get pressure signs, then you’d be reloading like anyone else in the world.
I appreciate the replies. For the record, I never said I would start at the max and it would be the only weight I would try. I started at 56 gr, based on the Nosler chart for similar weight bullets (175-180 gr). My unstated goal was around 2600 fps.

56 gr of @ 3.245” COL averaged 2555 fps. I started there and worked up to 58.5 gr which averaged 2660 fps. No high pressure signs with any loads. The most accurate load I achieved today was 58.0 gr @ 3.235” COL which averaged 2605 fps.

I finally got a copy of the 10th edition for this weight bullet. The 10th edition shows RL-19 max at 59.6 gr and 2600 fps. But the 9th edition shows 59.6 gr at 2700 fps.

If I cannot find H4350 or IMR 4350, I think I will try Reloader 17 next.
I’d run 17 over 19, H4350 over either. Cabelas near me has had 5-20lbs of it on the shelf for the last 4 months. I’ve ordered a few other places too. As I mentioned, I’ve bought over a hundred pounds of it in the last 6mos. You should be able to find it.
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