Is there something wrong with these reloads?

Primer

Well-Known Member
#1
I've been reloading pistol calibre for the last 18 months and did my first rifle loads last week and fired some off on Saturday but think there could be a problem looking at all the gas fouling on the cases, i'm guessing the case neck/cartridge is not sealing in the chamber on firing and allowing hot gas to flow back over the cartridge to the bolt head, is this normal in a rifle?, any advice appreciated





The cases were once fired Norma in 6.5x55 and I did a full length resize using Lee dies and I also used the Lee factory crimp die, I did 6 lots of 6 rounds with 3 lots using Lapua 139gn hpbt with N160 powder using 44/44.5/45gn loads and 3 lots using Sierra 140gn hpbt with N160 powder using 45/45.5/46gn loads, all off them had the same fouling all the way to the ejector ring.
I fired some Privi 139gn rn beforehand and no fouling evident on those cases, can it just be that the N160 is a dirty powder?

The Privi didn't perform very well in my Browning A bolt at all the grouping was all over the place, all 6 of my trial loads grouped very well with not much difference in them over 100m, I didn't have use of a chrono at the place I was at so I don't know what fps I was getting but there was a noticeable louder report from the reloads, more noticeable recoil and I could hear the thwack of the bullet hitting the backstop compared to the Privi's.

I also got the micrometer out with the following results with random checks from each of my loads:

[TABLE="width: 500, align: left"]
[TR]
[TD]Make
[/TD]
[TD]Type
[/TD]
[TD]Neck
[/TD]
[TD]Shoulder
[/TD]
[TD]Case
Length
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Privi
[/TD]
[TD]New
[/TD]
[TD]7.4mm
[/TD]
[TD]11.09mm
[/TD]
[TD]54.74mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Privi
[/TD]
[TD]Fired
[/TD]
[TD]7.59mm
[/TD]
[TD]11.16mm
[/TD]
[TD]54.77mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Privi
[/TD]
[TD]Fired Reload
[/TD]
[TD]7.4mm
[/TD]
[TD]11.13mm
[/TD]
[TD]54.7mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Norma
[/TD]
[TD]Resized Reload
[/TD]
[TD]7.4mm
[/TD]
[TD]11.09mm
[/TD]
[TD]54.71mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Norma
[/TD]
[TD]Fired Reload
[/TD]
[TD]7.4mm
[/TD]
[TD]11.13mm
[/TD]
[TD]54.71mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
#3
Step on the throttle a bit. Your pressures are too low. You're sure your scale is good?? ~ Muir
Was using the Lee perfect powder measure and checked the weights via the Lee beam scale and an mtm digital scale as the perfect powder measure was varying by upto .7 of a grain between throws.
 

takbok

Well-Known Member
#4
I had the same happen when I full length sized my first cases - even with the hotter loads. You're probably bumping your cases down a bit too much with the full length sizing die - die screwed in a little too far(even if you followed instructions correctly. Try screwing the die out incrementally, sizing a case each time. Try chambering the cases until you feel some resistance when you close the bolt. The die is now set up correctly for your chamber. This should help the cases to seal in the neck area.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
#5
VV data is very mild now compared to some load data

either work hardened brass (which would astound me as norma is extremely difficult to work harden) or either
a) Drop down to a faster powder
or
b) as above, up your charge levels
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#6
Was using the Lee perfect powder measure and checked the weights via the Lee beam scale and an mtm digital scale as the perfect powder measure was varying by upto .7 of a grain between throws.
Ok. And your certain the brass is once fired and not work hardened?
Step it up, then.~Muir
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
#7
Ok. And your certain the brass is once fired and not work hardened?
Step it up, then.~Muir
When I purchased them I was told they were once fired, not sure what colour primers Norma have from factory, these had silver but still had the same problem on 1 Privi case that sneaked into my loads and that was once fired in my rifle a couple of weeks ago.


I have N140 I could use too but there's no loading data for that past 130gn bullets. 46gn of N160 under a 139gn bullet seemed to be a popular load when I did a search on here a couple of weeks ago.
45.1gn shows as max load on VV website for the Lapua 139 bullets and 46.7gn as max load for the Sierra 140gn bullets.

The only other difference I noticed was on OAL with the Privi being I think 74mm whereas the VV for the 139/140 is 79/80mm.


Could I look at increasing the final neck crimp to up the pressure in the case?
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
#8
Should be about the same charge as 7828, H-4381sc, or RL-22: 47.0 grains, yielding about 2700 fps. You need a chronograph. Some of my other manuals show 48.5 and 49.0 gr of VV-N160 as max.
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
#9
When I purchased them I was told they were once fired, not sure what colour primers Norma have from factory, these had silver but still had the same problem on 1 Privi case that sneaked into my loads and that was once fired in my rifle a couple of weeks ago.
Not sure if they still do it but the primers Norma factory ammo used to have a small N impressed into them. It's been a long time since I've bought any factory ammo.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
#10
Should be about the same charge as 7828, H-4381sc, or RL-22: 47.0 grains, yielding about 2700 fps. You need a chronograph. Some of my other manuals show 48.5 and 49.0 gr of VV-N160 as max.
I've kept 3 of each of my loads to use at my normal club as they have a Chrono I can use so I can see what they were producing but unfortunately they only have a 25m rifle range as we mostly only do practical shotgun and mini rifle shooting/comps there. Getting one myself is on my endless list of stuff to buy.

I now have 30 once fired Privi cases that I've fired in my rifle that I can just neck resize and use and 10 that I've already done a full resize on so can see if its the full resizing that's causing the issue.
 

takbok

Well-Known Member
#11
I'm pretty sure the neck sizing will work for you. If your once fired brass that you haven't fired can chamber, you can also just neck size that - worked very well for me with once fired Norma brass.
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
#12
I only ever neck the brass after first firing. Ensures that the brass fits the chamber perfectly.

How hot are you loading? If you are being cautious and are way inside limits then the brass may not be expanding fully hence the gas escaping down the sides.

And what brass are you using. I had endless issues with cheap brass and then switched to Norma or Lapua only. Not had an issue since.

Lots of possibilities. Just knock them off one by one and you will find the answer.
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
#13
This is a not uncommon problem with N160 and some cartridges, notably 6.5X55 and 7X57mm, especially in a rather loose factory sporting or military rifle chamber. Its occurrence is often random too - loads burn cleanly on one occasion, not on another. I've even had it appear / disappear during a single range session despite no obvious change in the ambient temperature or any other circumstance.

The suggested cures - increasing loads carefully and watching the degree of 'shoulder bump' during full-length sizing may help, but equally may not offer a 100% effective cure. Factory ammo often uses a faster burning powder than many regard as ideal in this cartridge, especially as they're (Lapua aside) often loaded to lower pressures than your loads are producing. This can create other / different problems with one make that's no longer around prone to inexplicably and randomly producing a large 'gas dent' in the case shoulder / upper body where a bubble of gas becomes trapped twixt chamber and case walls. You don't say what sort / make / age of rifle you're loading for. A modern sporting or F-Class target rifle can be loaded to MUCH higher pressures and velocities than an M1896/1938 military Mauser. Published loads in manuals are even further restricted as despite its common name, the cartridge was a joint Swedish / Norwegian development in the early 1890s and the Norwegian Krag rifle that also used the cartridge ionitially is one of the weakest 'smallbore' smokeless numbers around and has seen some blown up examples in recent years with some makes of surplus military ammo and rather too ambitious handloads. Conversely, I just achieved 3,000 fps with the cartridge and 139gn Scenars in a 30-inch barrel F-Class rifle and N160 a couple of years back. Not a great or frankly sustainable load, and the rifle did much better with 139/140s and a full-case of N165 at 2,900 fps.

To get cleaner burning, an alternative approach is to move to a faster burning powder, those in the '4350 class' being the obvious candidates - Viht N150, IMR and Hodgdon 4350, Lovex S070 (still sometimes labelled as 'Accurate 4350' in this country). Many American shooters of the older military rifles prefer still faster burning powders despite this leaving a fair amount of empty space in the relatively large case. Sierra lists 35.8gn H. VarGet as its 'accuracy load' for 140/142gn bullets. Look at older editions of the American reloading manuals and it's all IMR 4064, 4895, 4320. Even now Lyman shows its 'accuracy' loads as N150 with the 120gn Nosler Ballistic Tip, IMR-4064 for the 129gn Hornady Spire-Point, IMR-4895 with the 140gn Sierra MK, and the only slow burner combination given this appellation is Re22 with Hornady's 160gn RNSP. Those powders in the 4895 / 4064 burning rate class use significanly lower charges and produce equally significantly lower velocities, so often aren't suitable for stalking loads given the need for minimum velocities / MEs, but may suit range use to 600 yards well. I've known many British target shooters happily use Viht N140 largely because they use that powder in almost everything - a bit faster burning than I'd prefer but it works in shorter-range target shooting.

In days of yore and pre-Dunblane when I loaded a variety of sporting bullets weighing from 139 to 175gn over mild N160 7X57 loads for an 1895 Boer Mauser in historic arms target shooting, I was intermittently plagued by this problem. Since I didn't want to buy another powder, I tried different primers and eventually found the CCI-250 Magnum type completely cured the problem. It seems to be an ignition speed problem with these long-cased smaller bore 19th century cartridges and this powder. It nevertheless usually give fine accuracy despite the tendency to sootiness and I later ran a 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser M1896 that had apparently been rebuilt as a 'Service Match' rifle by some Swedish armourer with some success in Historic Arms comps with the 140gn Sierra MK and 44.5gn N160 for several years.
 
Last edited:

Primer

Well-Known Member
#14
This is a not uncommon problem with N160 and some cartridges, notably 6.5X55 and 7X57mm, especially in a rather loose factory sporting or military rifle chamber. Its occurrence is often random too - loads burn cleanly on one occasion, not on another. I've even had it appear / disappear during a single range session despite no obvious change in the ambient temperature or any other circumstance.

The suggested cures - increasing loads carefully and watching the degree of 'shoulder bump' during full-length sizing may help, but equally may not offer a 100% effective cure. Factory ammo often uses a faster burning powder than many regard as ideal in this cartridge, especially as they're (Lapua aside) often loaded to lower pressures than your loads are producing. This can create other / different problems with one make that's no longer around prone to inexplicably and randomly producing a large 'gas dent' in the case shoulder / upper body where a bubble of gas becomes trapped twixt chamber and case walls. You don't say what sort / make / age of rifle you're loading for. A modern sporting or F-Class target rifle can be loaded to MUCH higher pressures and velocities than an M1896/1938 military Mauser. Published loads in manuals are even further restricted as despite its common name, the cartridge was a joint Swedish / Norwegian development in the early 1890s and the Norwegian Krag rifle that also used the cartridge ionitially is one of the weakest 'smallbore' smokeless numbers around and has seen some blown up examples in recent years with some makes of surplus military ammo and rather too ambitious handloads. Conversely, I just achieved 3,000 fps with the cartridge and 139gn Scenars in a 30-inch barrel F-Class rifle and N160 a couple of years back. Not a great or frankly sustainable load, and the rifle did much better with 139/140s and a full-case of N165 at 2,900 fps.

To get cleaner burning, an alternative approach is to move to a faster burning powder, those in the '4350 class' being the obvious candidates - Viht N150, IMR and Hodgdon 4350, Lovex S070 (still sometimes labelled as 'Accurate 4350' in this country). Many American shooters of the older military rifles prefer still faster burning powders despite this leaving a fair amount of empty space in the relatively large case. Sierra lists 35.8gn H. VarGet as its 'accuracy load' for 140/142gn bullets. Look at older editions of the American reloading manuals and it's all IMR 4064, 4895, 4320. Even now Lyman shows its 'accuracy' loads as N150 with the 120gn Nosler Ballistic Tip, IMR-4064 for the 129gn Hornady Spire-Point, IMR-4895 with the 140gn Sierra MK, and the only slow burner combination given this appellation is Re22 with Hornady's 160gn RNSP. Those powders in the 4895 / 4064 burning rate class use significanly lower charges and produce equally significantly lower velocities, so often aren't suitable for stalking loads given the need for minimum velocities / MEs, but may suit range use to 600 yards well. I've known many British target shooters happily use Viht N140 largely because they use that powder in almost everything - a bit faster burning than I'd prefer but it works in shorter-range target shooting.

In days of yore and pre-Dunblane when I loaded a variety of sporting bullets weighing from 139 to 175gn over mild N160 7X57 loads for an 1895 Boer Mauser in historic arms target shooting, I was intermittently plagued by this problem. Since I didn't want to buy another powder, I tried different primers and eventually found the CCI-250 Magnum type completely cured the problem. It seems to be an ignition speed problem with these long-cased smaller bore 19th century cartridges and this powder. It nevertheless usually give fine accuracy despite the tendency to sootiness and I later ran a 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser M1896 that had apparently been rebuilt as a 'Service Match' rifle by some Swedish armourer with some success in Historic Arms comps with the 140gn Sierra MK and 44.5gn N160 for several years.
Thanks for the lengthy reply, i'm using a Browning A bolt (ll I believe) with a 20" barrel, the age is unknown but I think they have only been making that model in the last 10 years or so.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
#15
I only ever neck the brass after first firing. Ensures that the brass fits the chamber perfectly.

How hot are you loading? If you are being cautious and are way inside limits then the brass may not be expanding fully hence the gas escaping down the sides.

And what brass are you using. I had endless issues with cheap brass and then switched to Norma or Lapua only. Not had an issue since.

Lots of possibilities. Just knock them off one by one and you will find the answer.

You must have missed it in my previous post, i'm using Norma brass and loads are very close to max in the VV manual.
 

sikastag270

Well-Known Member
#16
hi been reloading now for 45 years tens of thousands loaded using nothing but vit powder never crimped in my life to me you do not need to crimp vit n133 n140 n160 to me vit is not a dirty powder never had your problems
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
#17
Not sure if they still do it but the primers Norma factory ammo used to have a small N impressed into them. It's been a long time since I've bought any factory ammo.
they have a number of different styles unfortunately
some silver
some brass coloured
some have N
some have NP
some have nothing

if in doubt anneal but my .270 brass is on low loads pushing 2800-2900 and is on 8,9, 10 firings some of it
no sealing issues at all
Norma is soft and I see that as a good thing

You must have missed it in my previous post, i'm using Norma brass and loads are very close to max in the VV manual.
Don't take books as gospel
they are a guide
You still need to find the sweet spot for your rifle, it may be lower, it may be higher than theirs.......but the propensity for litigation promotes lower and lower load data year on year....unless it is in the Lee book!
some .243 load data for N160 was up to 4-5gr difference for book max between Viht and Lee for the same bullet weight and manufacturer depending on year!
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
#18
Sorry Primer, always guilty of not reading everything properly!

If you're on Norma brass and loading fairly hot the only thing I can think of that's left is your full length reloading die. Have you tried necking only and seeing if you still get the same issue? Once fired with a warm load the brass should be formed to the chamber no matter how oversize the chamber is (within reason).

If that's not the issue, I'm sorry, I'm out of ideas.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
#19
Sorry Primer, always guilty of not reading everything properly!

If you're on Norma brass and loading fairly hot the only thing I can think of that's left is your full length reloading die. Have you tried necking only and seeing if you still get the same issue? Once fired with a warm load the brass should be formed to the chamber no matter how oversize the chamber is (within reason).

If that's not the issue, I'm sorry, I'm out of ideas.
I have the 30 Privi cases I've once fired in the rifle that I can just neck size and the 18 Norma's I fired at the weekend but I have 82 Norma's that I have already full length resized, I suppose I could try neck sizing them too to see if any improvement. I will have to pop down to my normal club in the next week or so and run the other 18 reloads through the chrono to see what they are producing to see if I need to up the loads a bit too.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
#20
I have the 30 Privi cases I've once fired in the rifle that I can just neck size and the 18 Norma's I fired at the weekend but I have 82 Norma's that I have already full length resized, I suppose I could try neck sizing them too to see if any improvement. I will have to pop down to my normal club in the next week or so and run the other 18 reloads through the chrono to see what they are producing to see if I need to up the loads a bit too.
If you've FL resized the Norma then it's too late to neck size them.

And keep crimping. Some people may have never felt the need to crimp (which means they haven't tried it??) but I do it regularly, for every cartridge for which I have a FCD. Ammunition makers do it as well. Additionaly, FWIW, I full length resize 223, 308, and 30-06 as I have numerous rifles in these chamberings and interchange ammunition. I don't get smokey cases like that. It's not the FL resizing that is the direct cause of your problem.~Muir

Let us know how the chronographing goes.
 

Top