Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Reloading - general:

We spoke off-line a little while back about some reloading techniques. It seems to me from some of the notes I see here maybe more people would be interested. As you know I am a bolt gunner, use moly-coated bullets, only neck-size and just generally go overboard with handloading details. I read somewhere that using some really fine steel wool around the case mouth might help. Well always questing for one or two more x's and a way to make reloading take even longer, I thought I would give it a try. I wound some very fine wool around an old cleaning brush and chucked it in a drill motor and ran the cases over this a few times making sure that the steel wool was polishing both the inside of the case mouth and the chamfered edge. I have to say this is one of the best "silly" steps I have taken. When applied to "good" brass the bullets seated very smooth and with very consistent small runout values. In a lot of LC 64 Match that I expect to see 1-2% with .003 or better runout I got less than 1% above .003. I do not think this will fix up bad brass but it sure makes good brass better. The easier they go in - the more accurate they seem to come out.

I know you load progressive' and this is an extra step that is really time consuming - still you might try it for your long range stuff. Something to do after you have all the burlap in you guillie hand frayed and your layin' back in your hide.

J.D. <>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 19:57:11 (EST) 

I made a rookie mistake, I bought Federal Match MAGNUM primers. Can I still use these with a lesser load of Varget with military brass and Sierra Matchking 168gr? Anyone have a good starting off point, or do I need to save these primers for my 300 Win/Mag, if i get one.

Tyson <>
Leander, TX USA - Sunday, November 29, 1998 at 02:45:02 (EST) 

Tyson; I will post this here with some invitation for others to comment if they have different experiences. I have had a bit of trouble igniting VARGET in the .300 Win Mag with 168 bullets (not that larger weights would not be worse). This leads me (along with observing that .308 varget 46grains varies a bit in velocity in my .308. This leads me to think you might be better off with the Magnums as primers. Actually the variation doesn't translate into worse groups untill you get way out there in range. (Beyond 500yards)Something I can't quite explain cause it should affect it before that.
(charges of VARGET are too small for .300 win mag for bullets larger than 168 grain and will likely result in hangfires and dangerous operation.) If I were you I would drop the charge back a half grain or so and work back up. I doubt you will have anyproblems with the magnums as far as accuracy is concerned.

B. Rogers <>
USA - Sunday, November 29, 1998 at 10:05:25 (EST) 

From what I have seen the more uniform burning loads seem to be the ones where the powder burning rate allows almost filling the case. That makes sense - at least to me - because small powder charges might tend to 'flop' around in the case and burn erratically according to how it happened to distributed at the time you pull the trigger.

Ken :)

Ken (NoVa Shooter) <>
Nokesville, Va USA - Sunday, November 29, 1998 at 10:43:04 (EST) 

Ken you are right as a rule they do. And we all like a full case if we can get it. VARGET is kind on an exception. It is a very forgiving powder in a lot of respects. I had a load of the stuff in 30-06 that would leave enough air to keep a mouse alive for a month and it still outshot a full case of 4350 so go figure. The fact is that Pat is right about using it in the .300 win mag and the 168 grain takes a bit of faith and sure nuff magnum primers to ignite it but darned if it don't outshoot most other (better suited to the case)loads I've tried at about 3150'. I use VARGET for .223 .243 .25-06 30-06 .308 and .300 win mag. It is real convienent to use just one powder but don't think I haven't tried Many others it is just the only powder I can do this with and get good or excellent accuracy with it.

B. Rogers <brogers@elkhart>
USA - Sunday, November 29, 1998 at 20:48:59 (EST) 

Meanwhile back to logical and rational questions: If one were to use 210 Federal Primers to load match bullets with Varget powder, would or should I expect to get better results using 210 Match primers instead. I'm open for suggestions, since Federal 210 Match primers are a little difficult to come by around here and for someone to order them for you costs a lot with the UPS hazard fee. So how much of a drop in accuracy should one expect, if any.

Also CCI Br primers or Winchester primers are they as good as the Federal 210M?

Thnax in advance.

Al Ostapowicz <>
Im traveling thru another dimension, not only of sight and sound but in , Ohio USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 22:56:31 (EST) 

You can use the 210 in place of the match there is not enough difference to even consider the extra expence. When I went from the match to the 210s there was no difference at all in my groups. I never went back,save the extra for a cold one!!

Pat <>
USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 23:58:53 (EST) 

Does anyone know of an accurate bullet in the 130 grain range that is solid non-expanding type? I need a better coyote bullet and want something in the 130 range. I have been using 163+/- "black tipped" but they are not very consistant in weight and everything else blows the fur to pieces! I want to get the same small hole in and out as the 163's give but they are lousy for consistant accuracy. Anyone have some knowlege to impart here it would greatly be appreciated.
(I know this is slightly out of context,but ya'll seem to know more than anyplace I have ever found) Thanks much,
Mark <>
S.L.C., Utah USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 11:32:41 (EST) 
Mark in Utah: Get a hold of a Barnes bullet catalog, they make a complete line of monolithic solids, some of which are pointed and specificly designed for pelt hunting.
Fred Fischer <>
People's Republic of, MD USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 14:26:15 (EST) 
Mark: They have several solids including a 125 gr bullet in .30 caliber.
Fred Fischer
USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 14:33:52 (EST) 
Would like to solicit comments on my reloading and benchrest procedures in order to gain some useful info on increasing accuracy.

I'm shooting a Savage FP110 Tactical, in .300 WinMag. I'm experimenting with various bullets and powders, but so far its a close match between Nosler BT's and Sierra MatchKing. Best results seem to be with Noslers at 180gr, and Sierra at 200gr. Powder is ususally best between 69-70gr IMR 4350, but I have recently begun a few trials with 7828. I've not shot enough groups with 7828 to begin to assess it's accuracy, but my initial groups did not seem to be very encouraging.

I've put about 300 rounds through, so far, and my overall average at 100 yards is 1.3" I include every single shot I've fired in this average, including the ones I wish would go away, and some downright awful loadings. So my average is an accurate estimation and it is not "embellished" in any way. I'm honest with myself.

So when I hear of others like Fred? who is claiming .75" at 200 yards, I am a bit incredulous. Either he is being "selective" about his average (conveniently ignoring a few bad groups that really opened up his average), or else he is one hell of a good shot. Since I do not know him, I will assume he is just one kick ass shooter.

But my groups average 1.3" @ 100 yards. However, I have my good days and my bad days. I have some groups that are really nice (.36 and .56, for instance). What I am looking for above all is consistency. I wish I could lower my standard deviation. In other words, I wish my average was 1" with some at .9 and some at 1.1, rather than 1" with some at .5 and some at 1.5. I want more consistency before I work on greater overall accuracy.

I use R-P brass (nickle). I've just recently begun neck sizing only, but it's too early to tell if it is helping any. I figure it can't hurt.

Also, I've begun moly coating and I would like to know if it is possible that that could have an adverse effect.

I use a harris bipod on the front and a 25lb. bag of lead shot on the rear (that way, i can adjust elevation by squeezing the bag a bit and not heavy-handling the rifle).

Full details and some scans/photos of some of my better groups can be found at my website ( Scroll down the left side index to the "target" icon under "Reloading Data" and have a look.

I use a database that i developed to track load data. It gives me reports that include such things as overall average, average for a particular bullet, average for a particular bullet/powder combo, average for bullet/powder/OAL combo, day's average, month's average, etc.

I use the compensated measuring technique (outer edge-to-edge MINUS bullet diameter).

One thing I notice is that my average is getting worse!!! My best daily averages occured in September, when I bought the rifle and have opened up thereafter. This is in conjunction with increasing the OAL to 3.6 inches. I'm thinking of backing off to 3.55" where my best group average seemed to be. I know that at 3.6" the bullet is definately touching the rifling - perhaps a bit too snugly. Is that possible?

Any comments would be appreciated. And be sure to have a look at my results web page.

Kirby L. Wallace

Kirby L. Wallace <>
Tulsa, OK USA - Saturday, December 19, 1998 at 17:26:23 (EST) 

You need to get a better bench set up if you want to be consistant.
Bi-pods and a shot bag full of shot wont do it. You need a good front rest and a bag designed for the rear of the stock and then make sure you put the gun in the same place each time and hold it the same each time. When you start shooting groups use 20 to 25 rounds of brass and use them all the time and when you get a flyer mark the brass and then next time you reload see if it is out of the group again and if it is, toss it. Brass is the biggest variable in group shooting other than the shooter, some times you just have a bad day an groups will suffer and then some days you can't do anything wrong and you get .75 at 200yds. Play with your bullet seating deapth it's a big factor in accuracy, not all guns like the bullet in the lands. Just my thoughts on it, good luck.
Pat <>
USA - Saturday, December 19, 1998 at 18:24:55 (EST) 
Another cold and nasty morning in SE Illinois. Contemplating a test of two sub-caliber pogo sticks and a Musgrave Palma rifle. With this kind of weather, the testing will have to wait!

Several days past, I mentioned the use of 175 Sierra MK's in my machine rest. Sorry that I didn't back up the good results of those bullets with a load. Since the loads were not mine, I can take no credit for the superb accuracy.

As stated, the barrel was a 1 in 13" .298 - .3065 Krieger. The chamber was Obermeyer. The OAL in each case 2.80" to conform with Palma rules. The first ten shots were from 1992 Palma cases, Federal 210M primers and 45 grains VV N-140 (non-moly). The second ten were in Rem. BR brass, Rem. 71/2 BR primers and, again, 45 grains of VV N-140 (non-moly). Both groups were little knots (1 1/4") at 500 yards. The first ten shots were not chronographed but the the second ten produced deviations well under 10. This last load was used by a friend at Cedar Springs, Ont. on labor day and a 900M comparison was made with the Sierra 155 Palma. The 155 Palma bullet, with a comparable load, used about two minutes less elevation at that distance. For those interested in Varget, the classic load for the 155 seems to be 45.3 grains. The VV N-140 load at about 46 grains.

I note considerable interest here with the Hornady bullets. While
I've only tested 168 and 180 light mag factory loads, it was superb
in the above mentioned barrel. In a Hart barreled 1 in 10" twist
M-700, this ammunition did not produce good results. Whether this
was due to twist or internal dimensions of the barrel, I haven't a clue.

Just some pre-breakfast Friday morning musing.
Bill Wylde <>
SE, IL USA - Friday, January 08, 1999 at 09:24:41 (EST) 

Ron N. I have never had a misfire. The only factory ammo I shoot is that which the Army provides. Otherwise, I can't afford to shoot anything but my own reloads. I have used an RCBS case prep center thingy since it appeared because I like the way the primers all go in to the same depth. Its got a stop collar that's factory set, as I'm sure you know, and I think you were right on the money in stating that your pocket uniformer may be removing too much metal. I'd machine a two-half split stop collar if, necessary, to limit the cutting depth. If I could get away with making one similar to a split locking ring for a reloading die then that would probably be simpler. Good luck with it.

Paul J. Headlee <the wife's got the computer at college>
Ogden, KS USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 01:37:04 (EST) 

My question is alot of you guys talk about reloading,but I havent see anything in S.C. that talks about reloading equiptment.I would like to know which reloader to buy,also dyes,primers, and cases.I`m new to reloading and need to get the basics to get started,any help would be appreciated. I`m looking to reload for my Remington 700VS in .308
Thanks in advance.BATCAM1 OUT
Keith Camardo <BATCAM1>
BEAV, OR, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 20:16:59 (ZULU) 

Well, now let's assume you don't have any reloading equipment yet. I use a RCBS "Rock Chucker" single stage press, with Forrester Bonanza Benchrest Dies. They have the "Micrometer" bullet seater, and a floating case and bullet alignment set-up. Bottom line is I don't get any bullet run out like I used to with the RCBS dies.
Bullet run out is when the bullet is seated in the case at an angle, causing inconsistant groups.
I use a Dillion vibratory case cleaner, with crushed walnut hull media to clean the cases. This saves the sizing die from excessive wear.
I also use a RCBS Hand Priming tool for the priming operation. I use Federal 210M Match Primers, but have had good results with Rem 9 1/2 primers too. I like Federal Match Brass because of neck-wall uniformity, Lapua is very good too.
I got a Stony Point Over all Length gauge set up to measure the length of my finished cartridges and to measure the freebore or length of the barrels throat. I try to duplicate the length and velocity of the Federal Gold Medal Match GM308M cartridges since this works so well in my rifle. 1/2 MOA is common.
I like Sierra 168's for ranges out to 600yds and Sierra 175's for anything over that.
For powder I like Varget. Vitta Vori N140 is very good too.
I should have listed this first, you need to get a good reloading manual, like Sierras or the Lyman manual. There is some good info in the book for begining reloaders, read and take your time. Most bullet manufacturers have a 1 800 line for techinical questions. Don't hesitate to call them for suggestions.
Check some of the reloading links here at SC too for some more info. This is not a complete listing of everything you need to think about, just an over view of some things to think about.
Handloading not only saves you money and produces very accurate ammo, it teaches you some ballistics and other things that affect accuracy.
There are Ballistic programs linked to Sniper Country so you can check out your handloads online too. JBM is a good one.

Bill Bledsoe <>
Shelbyville , KY, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 22:54:56 (ZULU) 

BATCAM1: The reloading manual Precision Shooting Magazine puts out has a lot of good information on loading for accuracy. It consists of a collection of reprints of articles from the magazine, which is another source for reloading tips. The book builds on basics of reloading you can get from any good manual.

Anybody seen the Sierra video tapes on reloading?
Grasshopper <>
Richmond, CA, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 23:41:17 (ZULU) 

To Keith Camardo:I agree with Bill Rogers with getting a reloading starter kit.However, if you are just new to relading and are not quite sure if you know if you will like it or not, try the Lee Challenger Anniversary Kit.It has just about everything you will need at a fraction of the price of the RCBS kit.That way if reloading doesn't turn your crank, you won't be out a lot of money.However, I'd recommend the RCBS dies over the Lee ones.

Oh,and by the way, try ABC's of Relaoding by Dean G. .It is a nice introductory book that new reloaders should find helpful.I still use mine after having bought it 5 years ago.And if you are seriously interested in reloading than get yourself a subsription to Precision Shooting.While it is geared more for experienced reloaders I think you may find it helpful.

Also Keith,if you belong to a gun club then source out the most experienced reloader in your club and ask him or her lots and lots of questions!

Jeff Babineau <>
Truro, N.S., Canada - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 01:53:25 (ZULU) 

For new reloaders, I have used a Lyman Mag-T turret press. I like the removable turrets, you don't have to reset the dies each time you changing calibers/dies. It is not much more than the single die presses.

The Shooter <>
College Station, TX, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 04:22:57 (ZULU) 

Back to Hot Tips & Cold Shots