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Time to Test “New”Loads

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 19 2018 at 8:27pm
Spent a few hours reading thru the Reloading Forum. Got me thinking and looking thru what bullets and powders I have on hand:

Bullets:
150 gr Sierra Spitzer #2300
174 gr Sierra MatchKing #2315
174 gr Hornady Match #3131G
174 gr Hornady BTHP #3131
180 gr Sierra Spitzer #2310

Powders:

IMR 3031
IMR 4064
IMR 4350
IMR 4895
Re 15
Varget

Lots of options here with published load data. My standard load has been 40.0gr Re 15 with 174 gr SMK, which has done well in my LB No. 4 MK 1* but after reading reports from others on the forum I think I’ve got some motivation to test other powders and bullets and post the results. I plan to test at 200, 300 and 600 yds. Haven’t decided yet if shooting on the bench or prone with sling. My inclination is to shoot prone for score since the LE is not a bench rest rifle, it is a Service Rifle.   And that’s how I like to shoot it.

I will be using cases from Canadian Mk VIIz Service ammunition, DI 1943, DI 1944, DAC 1956; weighs in the range of 170 to 175 gr. I will check case capacity against R-P commercial, I think that’s all I’ve got for commercial brass. I’m expecting the R-P brass is lighter and has more capacity.   I will prep brass in my standard way:

1.Tumble clean
2. Neck Size in Lee Collet Die with a -0.001 inch undersize mandrel
3. Check Length, trim if > 2.222 to 2.215
4. Chamfer case mouth inside and out if trimmed
5. Remove primer pocket crimp by reaming (on once fired cases)
6. Uniform depth of primer pocket (on once fired cases)
7. Seat WLR Primer with Sinclair hand tool

I’ve annealed one batch of 40 cases to see if it makes any difference in my standard load I will use as a control group. Also have a batch of 80 cases that are once fired, the remaining 200 or so have been reloaded less than 10 times.

I plan to throw charges with my Redding measure, typically good for +/- 0.1 grains, but will occasionally give +/- 0.2 gr with larger stick powders like 4064.

I will load 40 rounds of each load and fire 10 shot groups: 2 at 200,1 at 300 and 1 at 600 yards. I don’t intend on loading up every combination of powder and bullet; obviously. I still have to work for a living, for a few more years anyway...

I don’t expect I’ll find anything new; possibly “New” for what works well in my rifle. The purpose of these tests for me is to identify a good 200 yard load for the CMP Vintage Military Rifle Match, and also one that will perform well at the mid range. It’s always fun to show others just how well this rifle can shoot.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 5:51am
Not sure with the Redding but  the 3031 is a bear to meter on some units because of the long grains. I usually have to drop short & trickle the last 1/4 Gr or so to get repeatable accuracy.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 7:48am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Not sure with the Redding but  the 3031 is a bear to meter on some units because of the long grains. I usually have to drop short & trickle the last 1/4 Gr or so to get repeatable accuracy.
 
Yes, I've had the same experience.  And being a relatively fast powder, I may exclude it from the tests.  I've used it before with the 174 gr SMK, but the other powders on my list will produce lower peak pressures for the same velocity.  Best consistency I get out of my measure is with Varget and Re15; 4895 is not bad either. 
 
I'm open to suggestions from anyone else on the forum; still not decided on if I should test on the bench or prone.  Perhaps one 10 shot group at 200 on the bench and the other prone with sling. 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 8:40am
Varget was considerably slower than posted for me, even with fairly stout loading (41.0 Gr gave me 2330FPS @ 10' with the 180Gr PPU soft points in my SMLE) , but it metered well even in my Dillon!  I need to try the 4895 during my next reloading cycle.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 10:43am
I would have thought that 41 grains of Varget under a 180gr bullet would have had a bit more velocity than that.  
 
I don't plan to chrono my loads, unfortunately, too much time to set up.   I plan to follow the Hornady and Sierra loading manuals and keep under the max load.  I've got the latest release of both. I have chrono'ed my 174gr SMK loads with Re15 and that's how I settled on 40.0 gr. 
 
I have found a wide range of listed max loads for some of these powders in the .303; particularly Re 15.   The Hornady and Sierra manuals were fairly close if I remember right on comparable bullets at the same muzzle velocity; and are both less than what Alliant has on their website for that powder as max.  Varget may be another powder with a wide range of published max loads. 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Macd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 2:57pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Not sure with the Redding but  the 3031 is a bear to meter on some units because of the long grains. I usually have to drop short & trickle the last 1/4 Gr or so to get repeatable accuracy.


Yup.  Just did up some up with 180grain Speer RNSP and 3031.  Dropping from my Lee PPM +/- .2 grains.  I always drop a few 1/10's short and trickle up till the electronic scale just turns over to the desired weight.  Just to complete the post; Win and RP brass twice fired, annealed and neck sized.  34.0-37.0 grains 3031, OAL 3.070 and this just makes it into magazine.  Seating depth is .220 of a bullet length of 1.060. (71% of diameter).  Firm crimp with Lee FCD.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 6:33pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Varget was considerably slower than posted for me, even with fairly stout loading (41.0 Gr gave me 2330FPS @ 10' with the 180Gr PPU soft points in my SMLE) , but it metered well even in my Dillon!  I need to try the 4895 during my next reloading cycle.


The Sierra 5th Ed. for the 180gr SPT gives a max load of 38.5 gr Varget at 2300 fps. Seems rather conservative as a maximum. They show this same load data for the 174 gr SMK. Sierra only lists 2 powders that can achieve the Mk VII muzzle velocity with this bullet (2450 fps): IMR 4895 and IMR 4320. Oddly, Varget burn rate is very close to IMR 4895, yet big difference in max load velocities in the Sierra tables for these bullets.

Hornady 7th Ed. gives max of 39.1 gr. Varget for 174 gr. bullet at 2400 fps. Both manuals state they used a No. 4 for tests, different cases and primers used, and different bullets, although same weights.

I’m not that concerned about velocity as I am with accuracy, but for 600 yd shooting, it’s got to be reasonable to minimize wind drift.

Again, a lot of variability in published load data.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Macd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2018 at 7:46pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Varget was considerably slower than posted for me, even with fairly stout loading (41.0 Gr gave me 2330FPS @ 10' with the 180Gr PPU soft points in my SMLE) , but it metered well even in my Dillon!  I need to try the 4895 during my next reloading cycle.


The Sierra 5th Ed. for the 180gr SPT gives a max load of 38.5 gr Varget at 2300 fps. Seems rather conservative as a maximum. They show this same load data for the 174 gr SMK. Sierra only lists 2 powders that can achieve the Mk VII muzzle velocity with this bullet (2550 fps): IMR 4895 and IMR 4320. Oddly, Varget burn rate is very close to IMR 4895, yet big difference in max load velocities in the Sierra tables for these bullets.

Hornady 7th Ed. gives max of 39.1 gr. Varget for 174 gr. bullet at 2400 fps. Both manuals state they used a No. 4 for tests, different cases and primers used, and different bullets, although same weights.

I’m not that concerned about velocity as I am with accuracy, but for 600 yd shooting, it’s got to be reasonable to minimize wind drift.

Again, a lot of variability in published load data.


Lyman 49th edition gives a start for Varget at 37.5 and a max of 41.7 for 180 grain soft point. Max velocity is 2306 fps.  Test rifle #1 Mk III*.  The 174 RN is listed at 38.0 start and 42.0 max for 2333 fps. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 5:54am
yeah, I checked several manuals & worked the load up. no pressure signs so far. Oddly Varget has always run slow for me in 4 rifles & 2 cartridges now.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 6:37am
I'll add my two cents here and leave it alone afterwards. This is the flattest shooting round I've worked up,and it stays put out to 500 yds. I haven't shot out farther then that yet.
At a hundred yards you can get a three shot group to touch each other.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 9:11am
Goosic. Is that accuracy out of a No4 Mk1 Sniper with a 3.5x scope?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 10:19am
That is with a standard issued No4 Mk1* Savage.
My best three shot group at 100 yrds was .427" with a Parker Hale Supreme No4 using a 3-9x40 scope with this load...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 11:14am
Impressive marksmanship.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pavia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2018 at 2:51pm
I'm not one to doubt the bullet maker but a 4gr difference between Sierra and Hodgdon on the 174gr SMK is crazy...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2018 at 5:14pm
Originally posted by Pavia Pavia wrote:

I'm not one to doubt the bullet maker but a 4gr difference between Sierra and Hodgdon on the 174gr SMK is crazy...


I don’t understand this either. I see similar differences with Re15.

My SMK load I used for about 10 years really performed. Target below is a 100 yard 10 shot group with my No. 4. 1 inch grid lines on the target and the group measured less than 1 inch center to center. Now, I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS LOAD, despite this being within published data, after cronographing this load, I now believe it is excessive with 43.0 gr Re15. I now load with 40.0gr Re15.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2018 at 6:16pm
Very impressive shooting!
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