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Thread: Possibly starting to reload - which powder?

  1. #1

    Possibly starting to reload - which powder?

    I'd be very grateful for advice on this particular aspect of my possible reloading career:

    As I'm considering doing a bit more target shooting, reloading seems now a more viable option.

    So, trying to keep the faff/expense/raw material stock to a minimum, is there a single powder that would serve for
    7.62 and .303 target loads (nothing dramatic as both No. 4 actions)
    .308 and .270 stalking loads (both modern rifles)

    And if so, which powder and why?

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Depending on whether you're after maximum velocity from your 270 or not you might be able to get away with one type of powder for the lot.

    The 308/7.62/303 will be best served by a medium burn rate powder like N140, Varget, RL15, H4895, IMR 4064 etc. I personally load H4895 for target loads in my 308 as it's easy to find accuracy with IME and RL15 for hunting loads with heavier bullets as I get better velocity than with the former powder.

    The .270 is ideally loaded with a much slower powder, something in the order of H4831, RL22, N160 etc. I do not have a .270 but help a friend load for his and know quite a number of 270 shooters besides. Although a powder of the burn rate given in the previous paragraph can work and indeed produce fine accuracy, the pressure climbs higher than the velocity. From what I have seen about 2800-2900 with a 130 grain bullet would be about the most to expect, though this is not necessarily an problem as you know.

    I was started on H4895 by IanF when he taught me to reload, any of the medium rate powders mentioned above will do a similar job, start there and if you can't find the accuracy you're after you can try another.

    .270 Winchester
    130 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H4895 .277" 3.180" 42.0 2782 44,700 CUP 45.0 2922 51,000 CUP
    140 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon H4895 .277" 3.280" 40.0 2627 45,300 CUP 42.6 2768 50,600 CUP
    .308 Winchester
    150 GR. NOS BT Hodgdon H4895 .308" 2.800" 43.0 2742 43,200 CUP 45.5 2870 51,000 CUP
    155 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon H4895 .308" 2.775" 43.0 2735 42,000 CUP 46.0 2873 49,700 CUP
    165 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H4895 .308" 2.750" 41.0 2525 38,600 CUP 43.5 2694 50,000 CUP
    180 GR. SPR SP Hodgdon H4895 .308" 2.800" 40.0 2454 41,200 CUP 42.5 2595 49,700 CUP
    .303 British
    150 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H4895 .312" 2.995" 36.0 2447 40,300 CUP 40.0 2627 43,600 CUP
    174 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon H4895 .311" 3.075" 34.0 2262 38,800 CUP 38.0 2446 43,600 CUP
    180 GR. SIE SP Hodgdon H4895 .311" 3.075" 34.0 2178 35,200 CUP 38.0 2400 43,500 CUP

  3. #3
    I only load for 308 and so can't really comment on specifics and I don't think you will better the details above. However, as a general comment the reason for reloading is often to get the best out of a given rifle and especially when target shooting I don't think that one powder will give you the best out of all the rifles you list. Given that it seems possible that you might start intending to use one powder and might end up using a much wider range and it might be worth planning for this at the outset.

    For what it is worth I started out with a powder pretty unsuitable for the 110 grain V-Maxs that I first loaded for my 308 (H414). However it was what the RFD had and I got a load for it and it got me started, I didn't worry too much about load development but just getting the process right and getting a feel for what was right and what was wrong. Once I'd reloaded nearly a 1lb tub of H414, including putting some of the cases around the cycle a few times, then I moved on to actually seriously thinking about "load development" as opposed to just learning the process. I found that a useful way to go about it and maybe in your case I'd start by focusing on just one rifle and getting into the swing of it with that before I concerned myself with the others and the more arcane details of working up the "best" load as opposed to just getting a load that shoots.

  4. #4
    IMR 4350. I have used it successfully in all the cases mentioned. No, it's not the optimal for every case, but it will do quite well all of them.

    Curious: Why haven't you picked through your reloading manual and just looked at what powder can be used to your liking in these chamberings??~Muir

  5. #5
    Varget is definitely one powder that spans those cartridges as well...

  6. #6
    If you are just starting reloading and want to avoid the faff, try and find someone local reloading for one of your cartridges to guide you through the process. Until you become competent just stick with the one cartridge, will save a fair bit on dies and bullets as well. If you try and master all four at once then lots of confusion possible and it may put you off, only good for the guys who will buy your redundant gear!


  7. #7
    Varget is pretty snappy for 270 isnt it?
    unless you are sticking to 100gn bullets and under

  8. #8
    Thanks for all the thoughts and data.
    Taking Bob's point, I think I'll pick a cartridge and cut my teeth on that - definately one of .303 or 7.62 for target use.

    After that I'll see how it goes, and maybe splash out another powder perhaps more appropriate for the .270.

    Assuming I start at all, that is...

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jcampbellsmith View Post
    Rimmed cartridges may not be an ideal starting point.

    The Rifleman's Journal: Cartridges: Reloading the .303 British Today

    Good luck. JCS
    Another interesting point. Maybe the 7.62 then? For that at least I have a big stack of once-fired .308 brass, which will be a useful starting-point.
    It is a P-H T4. Any thoughts on bullet choice would also be appreciated, and I guess keeping to the gentler end of recommended loads would be a good idea.

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