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Discussion Section for Ammunition, Reloading and Handloading.
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By Ghostwolf308
Ok this is for my long range guys. Im not competition shooting but still love to shoot long range. My question is this, I am wanting to step up my reloading and am wondering to I make the leap up to Lapua brass, or I can get my hands on LCLR unfired brass. Any other suggestions are welcome. My prep process is going to change as well. Still going to universal deprime and tumble. However i am going to get a mandrel die for neck sizing, so it will then go full length size no expander ball, mandel neck expansion, trim if necessary, primer, powder buller (plan on upgrading to a micrometer seating die).

Let me know what you think
User avatar
By Bfgloki
Lapua brass will help in terms of cost to reload and better primer pocket life. Is it the magical pill for accuracy? No but it’s consistent between pieces and that’s what contributes. If you have shoddy reloading practices it won’t matter. The key to the long range game is anal retentive and remove as many variables as you can from your process. That said I love my lapua brass for 308 and 223. It lasts forever. Have not tried it yet for my creedmoors simce well even my Hornady brass is yielding amazing groups right now and I am not messing with the recipe .
ncjw wrote: Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:18 pm Ummm, caliber?

Max range?

Accuracy expectation? (1.0moa or 0.1moa - big difference.)

Bolt action or auto-loader?
308 max range of 1000yds accuracy expectation of 1 moa or better currently for bolt guns but hopefully soon and auto loader as well
By ncjw
Ghostwolf308 wrote: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:39 pm 308 max range of 1000yds accuracy expectation of 1 moa or better currently for bolt guns but hopefully soon and auto loader as well
I don't see any downside to buying Lapua if you want to work with them first. But as above, attention to detail is everything. For a bolt gun you should run them through once with a standard load and cheaper bullets and fire form them to the chamber of your bolt gun. After that you should only need to trim to length as needed (and chamfer/deburr, etc) and clean the inside of the necks. Process the flash holes, weigh the brass and separate into lots to match within 1 gr, and make sure that the neck sizing and tension is extremely consistent.

If you are using a Forster, then concentricity isn't an issue but pretty much anything else may need a Hornady instrument/tool.

My bolt gun likes 175gr SMK's, and so does pretty much everyone else, so that may be a good place to start.

Full disclosure, I only go out to 600 yds, but I know people who shoot 1,000 and learned from them.

I'm sure there is much more on various long range forums:

AR10's require full sizing every time, usually trimming every time and cases should never be mixed with your bolt cases.
By varmint
Meet a bench rest shooter get to learn their loading system, lots of work but works, there is only so much you can do to a production rifle to make it shoot, most all mine have custom barrels, tight necks turned, all case prep, custom bullets, yes all makes a difference but together a big difference. Good glass is a must. Get a runout gage and use it.
Look into using a hand press and straight line dies.
Lapua brass sure does require much less case prep
User avatar
By Bfgloki
308 with 175 or higher weight pills( the Juggernauts by Berger are 185 g and beasts but a good economical choice is the Sierra Match King non tipped at 178g) as for powders you can get there with so many options but Varget is easy and tends to work for a lot of folks.
By ncjw
Yep, Varget and IMR 4064 are the only two powders that I have tested with. They are the universal starting powders and I figured that there are so many other variables, especially with brass processing and loads and so forth, keeping other variables down since they are widely used made sense.

Also, reading the wind is so difficult at range and so hard to learn that you need to focus on vertical group size and not total group size for a while. 100yd testing only gets you so far.

And 20 rds into 2MOA is better than 5 rounds into 1MOA. Almost all high power long range is 20 rounds in 20 minutes.
Ive got a bunch of Varget already. Hoping to get a load developed for the 178gr eldx. Just wanting to try and get some solid pieces for better rounds. I currently reload with a RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme with the Hornady lock n load conversion using Forster Benchrest dies. Im contemplating getting a mandrel die for neck expension vs the expander ball and a micometer seating die.
User avatar
By Bfgloki
308 is much more forgiving then say 6 or 6.5 Creedmoor. I have yet to mess with the 178 ELDs of any sort I have had decent results with the 165 BTHP. The ELD line is solid in the .243 & .264 line of bullets. Not so much for the .224 line. Again those are my personal experiences. I see many folks have great results. I like the Berger’s and Sierras but have really had spectacular luck with the Barnes Matchburner series in 223/6.5 Grendel/Creedmoor and 308.
User avatar
By Weapon
I will have to dig up some of my .308 loads not for use in a different rifle but just to give you some starting points/ideas.

As Bfgloki mentioned, the 175 SMK is usually a solid bet in almost any .308 bolt action. My Howa 1500 HB (1 in 10 twist) loves 175 SMKs. I have also had good luck with a number of 155gr and 168gr bullets with a number of different powders.

If starting with new brass, it is full length resized and then trimmed on an L.E. Wilson case trimmer. Then I deburr the case mouth with a VLD deburring tool. Primer pockets are uniformed and then flash holes are deburred and uniformed.

From there, how anal/OCD do you want to get? You can sort cases by weight and/or then measure internal capacity of each case, check neck thickness and then use a mandrel expander and neck turning to get tension as consistent as possible...but before you go that far, there are lots and lots of other things you can figure out about your rifle and what it likes.

Things to check and consider:
1. Max length (COAL) you can load into your magazine which will also reliably feed from the mag (unless you do not mind hand feeding each round into the chamber). If you want the rounds to feed from the mag, it is apt to place a limit on you before the next one.
2. Bullet seating depth/max load length before the ogive of your particular bullet is touching the rifling. You can play around with how much of a jump to the lands produces the best results with any given bullet for days (even if the answer is often ~0.015”-0.010” some bullets like less jump and more jam).
Hornady makes a nice OAL gauge set if you don’t already have one
3. Bullet comparators and CBTO (case base to (bullet) ogive). Hornady also has a decent bullet comparator kit if you don’t have one. Bullet seating depth needs to be as consistent as possible but COAL isn’t good enough because bullet tips are often dinged or otherwise deformed. The best way to measure jump (and length for consistency) is CBTO. It isn’t really the tip of the bullet that you are worried about but the distance of the ogive to the lands. So, set your bullet seating depth based on case base to ogive and then use a bullet comparator to verify that all of your rounds have the same CBTO.

Before you even go this far, take a good look at your rifle, test it with a well-known, highly accurate factory load (federal gold match usually works) and determine if anything on your rifle needs to be sorted out. If you have a two moa rifle due to mechanical problems with the rifle, building up insanely consistent handloads will be a waste of time to some degree. So, get a base line for your rifle’s accuracy potential and sort out any problems as necessary before bothering with micro-tuned ammo. Common problems: loose stock to action fit, barrel to stock contact, shabby crowns, etc.

That’s my 4am rambling post for this morning. I will approach this in a more organized manner on my next attempt. :)
User avatar
By Bfgloki
Weapon..... you complete me.

Always get a baseline of your rifle as weapon said with a factory load. This does several things:
1. Checks rifle for any obvious issues. If it shoots all factory Ammo bad then as Wep mentioned the rifle may have issues.
2. You may find that the factory Ammo fits your needs and can serve as last second replacement if you discover you didn’t have time to handload before a shooting session.
3. Gives you a realistic starting point to gauge your success or failures from when you load.
Both my 308s shot 3/4 moa or better with 178 Amaxes before they quit making them loaded to mag length for my AICS mags and my wife sigle feeding. Now i need to start over hoping the eldx will be just as good. Sounds like i need to get a comparator.

My goal is to get good accurate loads that are atleast 1 moa or better. I dont compete so im not sure neck turning and the other anal ocd things are required
By ncjw
Agree with above and kicking myself for not mentioning it: GMM308 175 or 168 for baseline rifle testing (you never know if a rifle might prefer the 168gr, so you might find something out right away).

Differ with above: The Palma and other 1,000 yd shooters I know all single feed, either with standard mag or a single feed adapter or a single feed only rifle.

Whether you are competing or not, it will help you get to the 1MOA goal.
User avatar
By Bfgloki
When it comes to rifles , 1 MOA is my baseline or minimal acceptable accuracy goal. If I can’t get a bolt rifle to 1 or less it is sold or donated to family as a deer hunting gun. Or if I feel some weird pull it goes into the project pile to be used for Frankenstein projects later.
User avatar
By Weapon
For LR competition, it is typically single feed. However, I often talk to other LR shooters who are shooting at targets that tend to move or others that just want to punch targets with mag fed loads for one reason or another. So, I leave the mag option open in case mag use isn’t optional for whoever happens to read my babbling.

That being said, if the goal is just sub-MOA, that is certainly possible with mag length loads in many rifles even though the more you emphasize the “sub” part of “sub-moa” the harder it gets. If you are just punching paper or ringing steel at long range for your own amusement, you can always add the condition that it has to be a load that will feed from a metal AICS mag just to make it more challenging. If you want to really annoy yourself, add the condition that it has to be a load that will feed from one of those damn thick walled polymer mags. :)

This will get slightly off topic but whenever I try factory match ammo (or several types of it) and cannot get to 1MOA (or sub-moa if the rifle should obviously be capable of it), I rarely ditch the rifle or switch to handloading to get it there before I start poking the rifle with a sharp stick of some sort. There are quite a few relatively minor issues that can toss a wrench in your sub-moa plans and many of them are easy to track down and fix.

Here is a fun game for anyone who has some spare time here and there and a good supply of coffee...

Wait until a couple weeks after a big hunting season has ended and then go browse the used rifle racks at your local gun stores for a project bolt action rifle. You can also look for semi-autos but the slightly dinged bolt action rifle which still has sharp and clean barrel rifling is what we’re really after as this is also a bang for the buck accuracy challenge. If you want to have some real fun, find one with a flimsy- plastic-canoe-paddle stock or somewhat poorly fitting stock as well as it will give you one more thing to figure out.

Ye old Savage bolt action which was originally found in a Walmart display case or Ruger American/pred are often a fine starting points. You can adjust the difficulty by picking one chambered for a cartridge known to have high accuracy potential or one chambered for something known to be a little less than ideal. Another fine option used to be the partially Bubba’d Mosin Nagant or the MN with the wallowed out crown. Granted, MN projects were a lot more fun when you could buy a 91/30 for $80 and the surplus ammo was dirt cheap but they are still amusing nowadays. For a beat up and Bubba’d milsurp 1.5moa or so is a reasonable initial goal. For a Savage in an easy caliber shoot for <1moa.
Rules: find and fix whatever is killing the rifle’s accuracy and get its groups as tight as possible while changing as few parts as possible. You can set a relatively low maximum budget if you want more of a challenge. The accuracy potential in some of these rifles will shock you...1.5 MOA Mosin? I actually have a sub-moa Mosin :)
User avatar
By Bfgloki
Indeed wep. I feel certain calibers have no reason not being 1 MOA or better...308, 223, any .264 diameter or long standing rounds. Plenty of time and loads to work on to get you hitting tight groups. Nearly every .243 (6mm) round option I have touched is 3/4 MOA or better so I have higher expectations for them.
I've been running Rl26 in the 6.5 and love it.

Seems like you can't pack enough of it in a case. I've tried it in 06',260, and the 6.5.

I have a 300 yrs target I shot w/6.5 on a real windy day it literally has a straight line rt to left. I can see my 3 shot groups are sub 1".
I suck in heavy wind!

In the 06' I'm still playing with it. I did a test 20 rounds split into 4 groups with 2 different FL dies, rcbs& hornady match grade, neck sized half of each group i put a light crimp.

Group size was quite large on most loads but agian there was definitely a horizontal line visible in all 4 targets. Tells me velocity is pretty consistent.
Next I'm going to work with Rl16, 260 likes this one better w/120 gr bullets.
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