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Thread: Pine Marten's free reloading setup finally goes into action, live on the SD!

  1. #1

    Pine Marten's free reloading setup finally goes into action, live on the SD!

    The bank holiday has finally provided a chance to start attempting to reload. I'm starting with 150gr Sierra HPBTs for practice as I haven't yet managed to obtain those DL1 bullets from France. It's August, and France is closed. Yesterday evening, I set about measuring the OAL by partially setting a bullet and adjusting it in the rifle, so now I should have worked out the ideal length for this bullet and my particular rifle. It's noticeable longer than any of the factory loaded rounds I have. If you have a look at the picture below, you can see my FMJ dummy round on the left. It is 72mm long. Left are three Federal rounds. The first is a 140gr Nosler BT, then a 140gr Fusion, then a 150gr Speer HotCor. They are respectively 70mm, 70m m and 68mm long, all noticeable shorter than mine. Makes sense for a factory round I suppose, it's erring on the side of safety. So here I find my first major difference between reloads and factory rounds. More on this as I progress through the day.
    Attachment 46146
    Last edited by Pine Marten; 25-08-2014 at 13:17.

  2. #2
    After ordering a shell holder for my Lee Auto Prime, I found the said item under a flap in a carboard box, as is the way with these things. Using said tool requires a little practice but I've worked it out. In the photo you can see some failed attempts at crimping dummy rounds where I bent the shells, and an upside-down primer which shouldn't even be possible according to the Lee literature. So I now have my first ever 25 primed cases.
    Last edited by Pine Marten; 25-08-2014 at 13:18.

  3. #3
    I needed a couple of online videos before being confident that I knew how to read the Lee Safety powder scales. It didn't tell you anywhere that the big brass nut is to calibrate them but I worked it out. It's not fast, but it's very precise. I was surprised at how little powder 38.1grains is. Not even a full big yellow scoop, not quite two little ones. It's good fun this, a bit like making model aeroplanes or painting lead figurines when I was a kid. I could get into this.
    Last edited by Pine Marten; 25-08-2014 at 12:14.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    I'm typing with one hand as YPM is on my lap, as the bank holiday has finally provided a chance to start attempting to reload. I'm starting with 150gr Sierra HPBTs for practice as I haven't yet managed to obtain those DL1 bullets from France. It's August, and France is closed. Yesterday evening, I set about measuring the OAL by partially setting a bullet and adjusting it in the rifle, so now I should have worked out the ideal length for this bullet and my particular rifle. It's noticeable longer than any of the factory loaded rounds I have. If you have a look at the picture below, you can see my FMJ dummy round on the left. It is 72mm long. Left are three Federal rounds. The first is a 140gr Nosler BT, then a 140gr Fusion, then a 150gr Speer HotCor. They are respectively 70mm, 70m m and 68mm long, all noticeable shorter than mine. Makes sense for a factory round I suppose, it's erring on the side of safety. So here I find my first major difference between reloads and factory rounds. More on this as I progress through the day.
    Attachment 46146


    How do you know?


    They are erring to the side of SAAMI or CIP spec and consistency.

    Frankly, manufacturers spend a lot of time engineering the loads for best performance. I can't tell you how often my best performance and consistency over the chronograph has come from loads with the bullet seated to the manufacturers specs. ~Muir
    Last edited by Muir; 25-08-2014 at 12:23.

  5. #5
    Perhaps I should have said that I hope this rather than think it. We shall find out in September...

  6. #6
    Not often I agree with anyone, so no offence Muir, but the two most accurate rifles I have both use the standard factory specification loads.

    One is in 6mmBR Norma and uses the external dimensions of Norma Diamond Line ammo loaded with Sierra 107gn MKs - no ********ting, it will shoot into the same hole at 100 yards off a bench and I have had great fun shooting through the holes left on a target by a 308W I had just zeroed. I have substituted Viht N140 for the Norma powder but that is only because I use it in the 6.5 and 308 already and didn't want lots of different powders kicking around.

    The other rifle is a 6.5x47 Lapua and my standard 123gn load for this is an exact copy of Lapua's own factory load, even down to the powder type and weight. This rifle shot a five round 0.28" group off a bipod and rear bag a few weeks back in preparation for some pot hunting in the Imperial McQueen competition (Gold HPS cross and silver medal)!

    To get the load data for both all I did was take external dimensions from 10 factory rounds then pull the same rounds and measure the powder weights as well as look up the manufacturers load data online. Beats all the messing about with different powders and primers trying to get the last ounce of performance out of the cartridge - the manufactures have already spent thousands of /$ on doing that for you!

  7. #7
    PM

    Looking at the photo with your press & scales in it I see you have a long bolt /studding clamping the press down. That stud has a nice sharp burr on the end just ready to rip into your wrist as you reach round to pick something like you cases up - Cut it off & deburr the end or cover it. We don't want to hear that you've slit your wrist!
    Bent shells & upside down primers --- What were you looking at?? --- Look at the detail - that's where the devil is!!

    Load safe & enjoy.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    I needed a couple of online videos before being confident that I knew how to read the Lee Safety powder scales. It didn't tell you anywhere that the big brass nut is to calibrate them but I worked it out. It's not fast, but it's very precise. I was surprised at how little powder 38.1grains is. Not even a full big yellow scoop, not quite two little ones. It's good fun this, a bit like making model aeroplanes or painting lead figurines when I was a kid. I could get into this.
    here you go
    "Politicians must be allowed to panic. They need activity. It is their substitute for achievement"
    "'The matter is under consideration' means we have lost the file. 'The matter is under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Yorric View Post
    PM

    Looking at the photo with your press & scales in it I see you have a long bolt /studding clamping the press down. That stud has a nice sharp burr on the end just ready to rip into your wrist as you reach round to pick something like you cases up - Cut it off & deburr the end or cover it. We don't want to hear that you've slit your wrist!
    Bent shells & upside down primers --- What were you looking at?? --- Look at the detail - that's where the devil is!!

    Load safe & enjoy.

    Ian
    It would be pretty ironic if I were to hurt myself with a bolt whilst handling powder and primers... I shall see to it. As for the bent shells and so on, I was learning to use my particular heterogeneous set of kit. I knew this would happen, which is why I tested everything with dummy rounds. I've decided to dispense with crimping for now. It doesn't seem necessary to hold the bullets securely in place in this case. As I understand it, the key think isn't so much to crimp or not as to be consistent, so I'm going to consistently not crimp. I believe Muir won't like this. I may come round one day, who knows, I'm just starting.

    In the end, I only managed to load two lots of five rounds in different loads at the bottom end of my test ladder. But I have everything set up now so if I can find the time to do a batch of five every now and then over the next week, I'll be all set for test rounds. As for the stalking rounds, if that French guy doesn't come back to me in the next few days, I'm going to his counterpart in Germany. They may be a a little pricier, but I bet you they'll actually reply to me and ship the damned bullets.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Perhaps I should have said that I hope this rather than think it. We shall find out in September...
    I am completely unsurprised that you found you could set your bullet beyond SAAMI maximum length. This is how it is supposed to be. If you found it touched the rifling under SAAMI max. then I would have been shocked.

    Setting OAL such that the bullets are touching, or even crushed into the lands, is by no means likely to give best accuracy. It is a technique for advanced reloaders, more applicable to target bullets with jump-sensitive ogive profiles, not hunting bullets in factory chambers.

    The smaller the jump the more precise you have to be in every aspect of preparation, measurement and setting up of dies etc. And you may expect small variations to have greater effects than if you were using a sensible tolerance.

    And yes, there is a safety aspect. Without a guaranteed modest jump to the lands pressures can spike, even with otherwise safe charges. If tolerances stack up so that a worst case bullet ends up jammed into the rifling then things might go wrong.

    Whilst it is interesting to know how far out the bullet can be set before touching, you will not be able determine this accurately unless you use a comparator to measure to the bullet ogive, not the tip.

    If you have a comparator, and try measuring some bullets, you may be dismayed to find how variable the distance from ogive to bullet tip is.

    Setting up your seating die by measuring to the bullet tip is an acceptable technique if you are using a sensible jump, say 30/1000" or more, but if you are intending to have much less or zero then it is not.

    SAAMI spec. for 7-08 is an OAL of 2.530 to 2.800 inches, i.e. 64.26 to 71.12 mm.

    http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC...0Remington.pdf

    If you plan to set your bullets at 72mm you are 34/1000" beyond max. spec. Provided they fit in your magazine, and feed reliably, that isn't necessarily a problem, but I wouldn't try this on my very first reloads.

    By the way, you may find it easier to use all imperial measurements when reloading. Weights in grains to 0.1, measurement in inches to 1/1000", velocities in feet/second, energies in ft lbs all just seem to work rather better than trying to adapt SI units, nevermind mix and match.

    In particular measurement of dimensions to 1/1000" is more practical in the real world than using mm. 0.1mm is too loose. 0.01mm is not measurable with practical tools.

    It may not be the French way, but it works well, and is pretty much the standard.

    I'd start by setting OAL to 2.800 inches or less, and see how it goes.

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