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hornady 303 light magnum

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marc03033 View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 05 2009 at 6:41am
i would like to know if anybody tried those light magnums and are they any good
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2009 at 9:12am
Humm do you have any data or links where this ammo is available and who manufactures it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marc03033 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2009 at 12:03pm
hornady makes them i seen them on midway usa i dont have all the info .just go to 303 light mag on the net i think they might be discontinude
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Coleman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 13 2009 at 4:04pm
The Hornady light magnum is a 150 grain Spire Point bullet at 2830 fps. The powder used us a type of double base "ball" powder but it looks like strings. It's a high energy powder that makes a bit more velocity at lower chamber pressure. The powder is compressed and takes a special machine to load it. Some handload guides show loads that are about as fast but they likely make more pressure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marc03033 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2009 at 10:48am
thanx john have you ever tried them and can a guy still buy them are they any good for hunting?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2009 at 11:17am
John Coleman you mentioned low chamger pressure. Do you know what the pressure is on those rounds?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Coleman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2009 at 3:13pm
I mean low pressure for the velocity. The ammo is loaded UNDER max SAAMI pressure and I think SAAMI pressure limits for the 303 might be a bit on the low end compared to imported or military ammo. The Hornady light magnum uses a "high energy" double powder. It's the same theory as the Vihtavouri N-5xx series but instead of being an extruded powder, it's a form of ball powder but looks like strings and is compressed loaded with special equipment.

Vihtavouri claims higher velocity with standard single base powder with a 150 grain bullet but those loads are pushing the pressure limit. The best powder I've found for velocity with a 150 grain bullet in 303 is RL-15. The "secret" to the high energy powder is it acts like a slower powder and is in fact a slower powder. Most of what they are doing is compressing a slow burning powder in the case.

I've tried the Vihtavouri N-5xx series for extra velocity in other cartridges and it's just a slower powder than their single base N-1xx series. I can match the results of VV N-5xx with slower powder but N-5xx is extruded and is not compressed, at least not compressed as much as Hornady light magnums.

I bought some Hornady light magnums when they came out to test fire it and take apart a few rounds. I never hunted with them. If your rifle is accurate with a 150 grain bullets they should be great for hunting. Sighting in the faster 150 grain bullet might cost a few rounds of the light magnum ammo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2009 at 12:25am
John the reason I was asking, I was wanting to compare to a few of my hand loads.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Coleman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2009 at 2:10am
Well the light magnum ammo doesn't show high pressure in most rifles. I haven't loaded as many 150 grain bullets as heavier bullets but Vihtavouri shows two powders that can go above 2900 fps but VV uses CIP pressure limits which have gone a bit off track in certain cartridges since changing pressure test methods. Meaning CIP messed up the pressure in a few cartridges, so use caution. VV loads also tend to push the pressure limits and most commercial ammo tends to stay UNDER pressure limits and SAAMI limits for 303 may be a bit lower than CIP's current pressure limit which is suspect.

The highest velocity shown in my load guides for a 150 grain bullets other than VV looks to use RL-15 and still doesn't quite get as fast as the light magnum load. Years ago I used to see how fast I could push a certain bullet but these days I try to see how many reloads I can get out of my brass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 18 2009 at 7:40pm
How you assessing the pressures? The loading info I have both on the internet and in the manual doesn't quote pressures just max loads. The 150 grain mega uses either V130 or V133 min load for the 130 is 36.7 grains max load is 39.3 velocity ranges from 2726 to 2900 the 133 has a higher powder charge for minimal increase in velocity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 18 2009 at 8:11pm
All of this reloading information has been provided by Nammo Lapua Oy. The data given here were
obtained in laboratory conditions following strictly the CIP (Commission International Permanente) June
13, 1990 and November 9, 1993 rules. The listed maximum loads have been determined according to
the respective CIP/SAAMI maximum pressure specification, whichever is lower.
These test methods have been deemed to be safe throughout the world. Pressure is measured at the
case mouth or from inside the case according to the CIP.
DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY EXTRAPOLATIONS. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DATA AS WRITTEN.
IT IS A MUST FOR EVERY RELOADER TO READ THE RELOADING SAFETY RULES ON THE PAGES 12 AND
13 OF THIS GUIDE.

.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Coleman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2009 at 5:16pm
A lot of the load data from powder companies seems hotter than most factory ammunition. A funny thing about Vihtavouri is when it was first sold in the US there was no load except from Vihtavouri. The first Vihtavouri load guide in the US was known as Vihtavouri number one. The loads in it were famous for being overpressure, especially in the warmer places in America. Vihtavouri quickly came out with load guide numbr two that had much milder loads. Sako publishes the load data for it's factory ammunition using Vihtavouri powders. The factory Sako loads are usually one or two grain under the max loads from Vihtavouri.

When I first started loading 303 it was before the internet in late 1986. It had been a popular cartridge in Canada. One popular load in Canada for hunting was pulling the military 174 grain bullets and replacing them with 150 grain soft point hunting bullets. They even had commercial companies in Canada doing this. This loading was a bit lighter in recoil. I tried 150 grain and 180 grain hunting bullets. I got best accuracy with 180 grain bullets.

One Canadian gave me a load of 43,0 grains of IMR-4320 with a 180 grain bullet. The max load in one load guide at the time was 44.0 grains. The 43.0 grains of IMR-4320 was my load for a long time. In other cartridges the IMR-4320 gave me erratic results so I started looking at other powders.

When the 174 grain Sierra Match King came out I had to reduce my max 180 grain bullet loads. The Sierra guide puts these two bullets together for loads but the loads are mostly on the mild side. A couple of other manuals do reduce by one or two grains for the Match king bullet. I was surprised to see that both ADI and Vihtavouri allow one more grain of powder for the 174 grain Match king from the 180 grain Sierra bullet.

The early pressure signs I get are a sticky bolt. The second is a flattened primer and third is a shiny case head and bulging in front of the rim. Most all factory ammunition is loaded under SAAMI max. Both SAAMI and CIP have switched from copper crusher to transducer measurement but the way they measured still aren't 100% interchangeable. Lapua has said that CIP made a mistake when changing 338 Lapua Magnum from copper crusher to transducer. I have found a few other cartridges that look a bit odd with their newer pressure limits. American ammunition is usually loaded milder than European ammunition. Factory ammuntion is usually loaded about 8,000 psi to 12,000 psi UNDER rated maximum pressure.

You might be able to match the Light Magnum load for velocity but pressure will be higher. I don't know if it will be overpressure. Use caution especially with Vihtavouri load data. The loads might be safe but I don't know if they will reach the load guide's velocities but they might.

Vihtavouri calls their N-500 powder the double base "high energy" versions of their single base N-100 series. What I've found for example is when going from N-140 to N-540 it takes more powder to get a higher velocity and a similar amount of their slower single base N-150 gives about the same velocity. Most of the time the "high energy" double base powder acts like a slower single base powder.

With higher pressure cartridges like 308 and 30-06 the Hornady Light Magnums do make higher velocity than possible with handloading powders. In the lower pressure 303 there is more room to make higher velocities without going overpressure.

I find most load data from bullet companies to be milder than most load data from the powder companies. Accurate Arms has lower powder charges for the 174 grain Match King than the 180 grain hunting bullets. This agrees with my findings.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2009 at 7:31pm
The loads in it were famous for being overpressure, especially in the warmer places in America. Vihtavouri quickly came out with load guide numbr two that had much milder loads.

 It's common knowledge that heat can and will boost pressures. Obviously with Finland being a cooler climate thay hadn't taken that into consideration  when they printed the information. I have never had any trouble with Vit powders in fact most of the guys I know use them and nobody has complained about them. We use lapua cases and heads for nearly all the rifles and Vit powders. I'm a firm believer in not using max loads anyway as you are . But we get very acceptable performance from the V V powders with the 303 we have near enough duplicated the factory load using 174 grain HPBT.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2009 at 10:14pm

Tony and John Coleman thank you for your two latest articles. Some very interesting data on pressures. John you made reference to Vihtavouri only posting their loads I have several loading manuals printed by Hodgdon they also have only their data listed.

 

John you also commented about increasing velocities with out raising pressures in .303 British cases this can be achieved by using higher volumes of slow burning powders. The only draw back is the slower the powder the higher the volume needed thus eventually exceeding the capacity of the case and limiting your load. Another option is compressed loadings. The .303 British however does not digest those well. Consult loading manuals for information.  

 

Please remember that all hand loading can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Use extreme caution when loading. And only persons having experience and knowledge should reload. Always use start with minimum loading data.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Coleman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2009 at 6:14pm
It was rumored that the reason the early Vihtavouri load data was hot was because Finland is a cold country. Most load testing is done in a lab with a controlled temperature. I think 20 degrees Celcius might be a standard. VV powder might be temp sensitive but that first load guide had loads that were way over the top. It more than 15 years ago and I think about 20 years ago.

I don't like loading max loads and avoid them more now than I did 20 years ago. They are hard on cases and aren't always the most accurate at the range.

My comment about using "more" slower powder than a faster for increased velocities was in general, not just for 303. I didn't have any pressure issues with the Hornady Light Magnum ammo I shot. I didn't have a chronograph available at the time but another shooter that did chrono it from his Enfield saifd the velocity was about half way between the published velocity and the velocity of other 150 grain bullet ammo. I would think to match the velocity with hand loads might be possible but I'm pretty sure the pressure would be higher than the factory Light Magnum load but it may or may not be overpressure. Most factory ammo is not loaded to maximum pressure.

Vihtavouri powder is expensive in America these days. It was never cheap but these days it's more than other powders. VV N-500 series powders had a following for a while. Vihtavouri recommends against using the "high energy" N-500 powders in gas operated rifles.

I'm not sure the Hornady Light Magnum ammuntion is still made in 303. It seems to be a good load but 303 isn't super popular in the US. The Light Magnum ammo needs special loading machines to load the compressed strings of double base powder. The powder doesn't look anything like powders sold for handloading.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2009 at 8:48pm
VihtaVuori isn't cheap here in the UK. Around 60 / kilo lapua brass 762x54 for the lads new gun pennies short of 62/100 and lapua scenar heads at 31/100 . Prices for 308 cal 762x51 cases, last lot cost me 26/100. Prices are rocketing and sooner or later a lot of shooters won't be able to afford to indulge their pleasure. 
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