Posted: 4/30/2011 7:46:44 PM EDT
Ok, so I bought all my reloading gear years ago (I drank the blue koolaid) and today, have just been able to get around to trying it out. I started off with pistol, since it's "easier". In my 4th station, I have a Lee carbide factory crimp die. All my other dies in all calibers are Dillon. Anyway, I used Remington 9mm 124 grain FMJ and Magtech primers. Powder was Accurate No 5. I used the "Start Load" for my powder measure and thus used 5.8 grains. My overall length was 1.150. Velocity is supposed to be ~1070 FPS. Did I make a mistake going with the "Start Load"? Is my overall length OK for a Glock?
I was having fun and ran out of 9mm (only had 100 bullets), so I moved on to .308. I loaded about 100 rounds of .308 using Accurate No 5. No, no, no - I'm just making sure you're paying attention. I used Accurate 2520 for the 308's (I have toolheads and powder measures for each caliber I use). Bullets were 168 grain AMAX. I also went with the "Starting Load" of 41 grains, which is supposed to be about 2500 FPS or so. Also Magtech primers. My overall length was 2.855 and I did NOT crimp any of the 308's. I intend to shoot the 308's from my Remington 700 PSS with a 22" threaded barrel. Also wanted to possibly be able to use it in my M1A or LR-308. My question for the 308's are: is my overall length OK for the load and intended rifles? And 2nd - Did I make a performance mistake by using the "Starting Load" @ 41 grains? If so, should I pull all these, re-use the powder and reload them all with more powder?
Any feedback or suggestions are very much appreciated.
Also, I did weigh powder after every 20 or so cartridges to make sure it was consistent. Same thing with measuring OAL. When I do shoot my reloads for the first time, I'll be sure to bring a buddy with a cell phone in case I blow myself up.
You didn't make any mistakes starting with the start load. In fact it would be a mistake not to start with the start load. However, don't be too shy at making loads with more powder in them. Make a range of loads from start to max and shoot them in that order.
You didn't mention trimming of your 308 brass. That step needs to be incorporated into your reloading process.
My question for the 308's are: is my overall length OK for the load and intended rifles?
2.80" is what I use with my M1A as it needs to fit the magazine. On the long side of the equation........if your rounds will fit the magazine of your rifle........you're GTG. Magazine length is usually a limiting factor with semi autos but not so much with a bolt gun. FYI.........some folks will load bolt gun cartridges with the bullet almost touching the lands of the barrel. Of course that could be done with a semi-auto too........if you wanted to load one cartridge at a time.
I'm wondering..............did you gauge your ammo for headspace? Checking............will probably save you a lot of grief.
And 2nd - Did I make a performance mistake by using the "Starting Load" @ 41 grains? If so, should I pull all these, re-use the powder and reload them all with more powder?
I don't use your brand of powder.
That being said...........
Most books will tell you what the "starting load" is.
Note that some books will tell you bolt gun loads and have a separate section for certain semi-autos.
And, in the event when I don't have that sort of specific information.........
My rule of thumb is.............10% below the MAX LOAD (as a place to start). Then.........if using military cases..........I'll drop a bit for that. And of course.......I'm assuming that I'm using the primer that was recommended with that powder.
PS..............M1/Garand loads are special (and FOR ME I'll also include M1A loads as being special). So.........I stick to "Service Rifle Loads" with those rifles.
Thanks. SO longer OAL is OK since it reduces pressure. The only drawback to longer OAL is getting the round into a magazine for an autoloader, right?
Any problems with not crimping 308 rounds?
So using my "Starting Load" powder weights, am I going to see much difference with shooting in the 100-200 yard ranges versus moving up to a bit more powder? Just need to know if I will have to re-zero my rifles @ 100 yards. I know it'll make a difference at longer distances.
First you need to consider that you need to do a proper load work up, then you need to learn that what a data source says is to follow it to use the same components as they did. Never load up a bunch of ronds of anything till you have verified the safety, function, and accuracy of the load! YOU WILL BE SORRY! Hope you bought a bullet puller....collet type works best with rifle rounds, and kninetic aka hammer type for handgun.
If you do not then you really need to reduce the top load by 10 percent and work up in 1 percent increments. 2520 is notorious for temp sensitivity. Since you are new to things, you need to follow the book to the letter....and yeah primers do make a great deal of difference... You need not be jumping to conclusions... components cost money and make your range time productive.
TAC is much better choice to use for the 308. Rumor suggests that BH used a non cansister form of TAC for their match ammo and that shoots pretty darn good. Plus meters well in DPM's.
Magazine length is generally considered 2.82" COAL for the 308. Some bolt guns may allow for longer rounds, but as a rule of thumb 2.82 is max.
Auto loaders shoud be just fine at 2.82.