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Thread: low load .243

  1. #1

    low load .243

    I started loading for a 243 I picked up in late summer, havent used it much but managed to produce some remarkable results in record time.
    I ended up with a load as follows which produced as close to a single hole group as I am ever likely to see!

    Lapua Brass
    100gn Hornady Interlock SPBT
    38.2gn N160

    Went out yesterday and it a fit of desperation having seen nothing else to shoot, decided to perforate some cardboard.
    no rangefinder but i am guessing it was around 120-130yds.
    first two shots were bang on the bull and about 1/2" apart.

    My problem is that I noticed some of the necks and case bodies following on from that had black soot on them. I only fired 8 or 9 rounds of this load before and dont recall any of these signs.

    I know this indicates a low charge that has not sealed adequately and I know that I obviously need to up the charge.
    My question is I am only 1.7 grains off the VV load limit and 3+ grains off the Hornady load limit, if it shoots like this and the only side effect is a bit of soot am I nuts to try and work up another load with more powder just to stop a little bit of soot?

  2. #2
    Any idea what velocity you were getting ???

    Cheers + ATVB

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?

  3. #3
    Lack of obturation can be caused by several things, not enough pressure is one, hardness of brass is another. Now low pressures are often accompanied by a protruding primer. If the primer is stills seated snugly in it's pocket then I suggest annealing the case necks and trying again.

  4. #4
    The Vit manual was revised last year and for .243 the loads were reduced, so a max load this year was not a max load last year.
    That said, the previous figures for .243 were rather hot.
    EG the max load for 85gr using VIT160 is now 43.8gr, whereas it was 48.2gr
    When developing a load 2 years ago using 87gr Sierra Varminter I stopped at 47.7gr when the bolt became stiff to lift after firing.
    For a while I used 46gr as the load, now I use 44gr with the benefit of a chrono.
    I don't think the formulation has changed for VIT160.

  5. #5
    I had the same problem when working up a new load in my 6.5x55.

    I managed to correct it by seating the bullet deeper (reducing OAL) or by increasing the charge of powder.

    My Hunting Blog: click here

  6. #6
    This is the sort of query that novices looking for a ready answer post, but the OP isn't one of these.

    All I can do is to dig out real results I gathered almost 20 years apart in 2 rifles. Same Oehler chronograph. Draw your own conclusions.

    HEYM SR20 (60cm)

    28/06/1993 Hornady 100gr SP - Vit N160 - WW cases - CCi 200

    40.0 grs = 2762 2764 2766 2783

    TIKKA M595 (57cm)

    09/05/2002 Hornady 100gr SP - Vit N160 - Lapua cases - Win LR

    42.0 grs = 2873
    43.0 grs = 2906
    44.0 grs = 2998

    There is no way that the Op's load, accurate as it may be, is making 1700 ft/lbs (E&W Rules) so IMHO it's not acceptable, nor would I use it.

    Unlike most of the U.S. powders, all the Vihtavuouri powders I've used and continue to use (N130, N133, N135, N140, N160, and N165) are still at full strength. I suspect that they've reduced the recommended charge weights from manual to manual rather than emasculate the product. This gives newer users the option of following their advice to use the latest published loads.
    Stick to whatever is in the book you've got and your conscience is clear .
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonher View Post
    I had the same problem when working up a new load in my 6.5x55.

    I managed to correct it by seating the bullet deeper (reducing OAL) or by increasing the charge of powder.
    I agree with this, and would also recommend you try H4350 i personally find this is better powder for the wee 243 (although i doubt it will stop the "soot" you describe.
    The blackness you refer to also occurs with some factory rounds in my experience when they don't seat very well in the rifle.

  8. #8
    thanks for all the comments.
    I still class myself as a novice reloader but to clear a few things up.

    The brass is brand new Lapua, shouldn't need annealing nor should it be overly hard from the factory.
    The load is for Roe in Scotland so well within legal deer velocity/ME/bullet weight and I deliberately didn't want a barrel burning 4000fps screamer as I hate wasting meat

    The primers all look perfect, not protruding, nicely flattened in the pocket with good contour to the edge of the primer cup.
    I cant see the chamber being bigger without seeing it reflected in the primers, i dont have a headspace gauge but if anyone was generous enough to loan me one I would be interested to compare fired, unfired I would cover postage obviously.

    I know the VV book used to be hot, what irritates me is the lack of consistency between sources of data from one manufacturer to another and from one year to another. A 5grain shift from one year to the next for the load you mention above is a joke!

    I will try seating the current ones a bit deeper, sounds like a good idea.
    will see if I can crimp a few and see if that helps
    if all else fails I will step up the load to try and get some snap into the fire forming but I will be gutted if I the accuracy changes.

    its the most accurate rifle I have ever owned!
    Last edited by bewsher500; 24-12-2011 at 10:00.

  9. #9
    Established Poster
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Northants & Poverty Bay
    With N160, CCI200 primers, Hornady 100 gr BTSP, Norma cases with a cartridge OAL of 68.0 mm I achieved the following results in 2008 with my Tikka T3 22.5" barrel:
    42.0 gr 2807 fps, 42.5 gr 2864 fps, 43.0 gr 2895 fps, 43.5 gr 2904 fps, 44.0 gr 2957 fps, 44.5 2996 fps and 45.0 gr 3014 fps. At that time Viht quoted 46.9 gr as the max load of N160 and I had no over pressure signs with the loads I tested. 42.5 gr gave me the best group with the Hornady's but Sierra Gameking 100 gr BTSP's always give a better velocity / accuracy load in my rifle.

  10. #10
    good to know, thanks
    will see how I get on with more powder
    hope it still groups!

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