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Working Up My First Rifle Load

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Surculus Solitudo, Oct 31, 2009.

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  1. Surculus Solitudo

    Surculus Solitudo Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Fort Mohave, Arizona
    I am preparing to reload rifle rounds for the first time. I would call myself a novice at reloading. I have been reloading for my .40 cal and 9mm for about 2 months now. I have been quite pleased with the results.
    I will be reloading new .243 Winchester brass with Speer 85gr boat tailed soft points over Alliant Reloader 15 powder using Wolf large rifle primers. It was difficult to find the bullets and powder so that is what I am starting with. It should be quite effective as a Javelina hunting round. I would like your opinion on my plan to work up the load in my Weatherby Vanguard. The brass, bullet, and powder were all specified in the Speer loading manual. The Wolf primers were not, but they were all I could find at a reasonable price. I have read in forums that they burn hotter than other primers.

    This is my plan: Starting at the lowest charge in the manual, I will load a round in tenth grain increments as I progress toward the maximum load. At the range, I will shoot a round and inspect it for overpressure indicators before moving to the next round and powder increment. Once I have proofed the load in my rifle, I will carefully load a batch of rounds to shoot at 100 yards for group to evaluate the capability of the load with my rifle as well as sighting it in.

    What does the collective wisdom of the group think?
  2. Shoney

    Shoney Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    Yes, the Wolf primers are hot and very consistent according to the tests I've read. It would probably be prudent approach max loads very carefully.

    Using 1/10 (0.1) grain is not recommended in any manual I've read. Standard is 0.3 to 0.5 grain increments. In this instance the 0.3 gr increments is what I would use. would use 5 cartridge groups of each increment, shooting them at different targets marked with that load. This simplifies analysis.

    Good Shooting!!!
  3. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Cornelia, GA
    2 things...

    I think you generally got the process down pretty well. Sounds like you got the safety aspects down too. This load is also in the Accurate Powders reloading pamphlet and probably shown online. It has a difference of 4.1gr between max and min, so if you load in 0.1gr increments, you're going to need 41 cartridges. That may be a bit excessive. Try 0.3gr differences to find the first pressure signs, and then work up to that point in 0.2gr to find the accuracy spot. That might be quicker.

    The only thing really different about rifle reloading is that you'll trim (or at least measure) your cases after sizing. If you trim, you'll also probably want to deburr inside and out. Case length is a lot more critical on bottleneck rifle brass. For that reason rifle reloading goes much slower, so give yourself plenty of time.
  4. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    S32-E152 Hunter Valley
    +1, Unlike your auto pistol rounds, one tenth of a grain increases will be a slow workup, as this is an extremely small percentage of the overall powder charge in 243win.

    Personally I go from the start load, then increase in half grain increments if all is well and drop back to 0.2gr additions as the workup approaches the book maximum.

    3 to 5 rounds of each load gives a better indication of whats going on pressure wise, than just a single test cartridge will, before moving up to the next level. Also gives an idea about what is happening with groupings.
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