Modern Sporting Rifle Evolution
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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #1 

I had a very frustrating day helping (or trying to) my son develop a hunting load for his Win-70 Coyote Lite .300 WSM.

Quick background – about 5 years ago when he was deployed to Afghanistan, I bought a lightly used Winchester Coyote Lite in .300 WSM for my son Jim.  After he got home, we developed several MOA (or under) long range target loads with several match bullets in the 155-175gr range, all using A4350 powder and S&B LRM primers.  This rifle WILL shoot A4350 with sub-MOA groups!

He intends to hunt with it this year, so I figured it would be easy to come up with good loads using Nosler 165gr Accubonds, same powder and primers.  Epic failure! [nono]

Using carefully prepared brass (tested new and 1x fired), with carefully weighed charges, we were getting 5-shot strings with Extreme Spreads of ~60 fps, and completely unacceptable accuracy. All brass was inspected for correct cartridge headspace before firing.

Another frustration was an excess of split necks – and this on both new brass or 1x fired freshly annealed brass.  The loads are WELL under maximum and none showed any pressure signs except for the split necks.

Just to eliminate any potential issues with the S&B primers, we loaded 5 rounds with Winchester LRM primers, and got even worse results (lower avg MV, higher SD & ES).

The bullets were Shooter Pro-Shop Seconds… however I weighed and measured a sample of them and they seemed perfect.  In total frustration, I loaded new (not 2nds) 165gr Nosler BTs with the same charge (double checked) in new brass, and still saw 56 FPS extreme spread.

I am a careful experienced reloader; this rifle is capable of sub-MOA performance.  Even discounting accuracy, the inconsistencies in MV have me stumped – along with the rash of neck splits.

Any ideas?


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crazysccrmd

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Reply with quote  #2 
My first stop would be a different bullet. I haven’t used those specific Noslers but in my experience with other calibers the accubonds and ballistic tips in the same weight are shaped identically. In other words, you used essentially the same bullet twice and it gave reasonably repeatable and similar results. A good sign in my opinion that the loading process isn’t at fault.
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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks - and if accuracy was only issue, I'd agree. Such wide velocity extremes shouldn't be caused by the bullet... certainly not when testing bullets from two batches.  Then there is the split necks...
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BIGGDAWG

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Reply with quote  #4 
probably 2 things bad batch of brass and it don't like that bullet

one other thing to check is diameter of the necks on fired brass that didn't split. and compare that to loaded rounds maybe it has a large neck in the chamber over working the brass.

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Talenel

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have some experience with a 7mm WSM.  Much the same for split necks and bad accuracy.

Found out my dies push back the shoulder .030 to far. Had to get a set of shims for my dies and figure it out. 
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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #6 
If I didn't have this rifle shooting one hole groups with match/target bullets, I'd suspect it.  Neither my son nor I recall problems with split necks before either, but we are using mostly new (Winchester) brass this time.

As BiggDawg suggested, the bag of Winchester brass we just opened could be poor quality; I did anneal the new brass after the first 5~6 splits... it reduced but didn't eliminate them.  I'll measure the loaded round's neck vs. the fired neck's to see what sort of expansion is going on.  I have both a RCBS Precision Case Mic and Honady Case H/S gauge; so I know my cartridge H/S is good.  In fact, this rifle has a TIGHT chamber (H/S-wise).

What sort of jump have y'all found works best for Nosler ABs?


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Rifter

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Reply with quote  #7 
You're forgetting one huge factor that many experienced reloaders overlook.  Certain combinations of powder and bullet just don't work well together.

One of the first things I do when I start working with a new caliber (new for me that is) is to do a review of as much data from different sources as I can find that gives velocity and accuracy info.  Most manuals don't tell you much beyond velocity.  One of the reasons I like Handloader Magazine so much is that they always give some data on which loads were the most accurate along with the velocity.  Its harder to do with some of the newer calibers because they don't have the track record over time that a lot of the older standards do. 

The Hornady #9 notes that W-760, IMR-4350 were the two standouts in their testing, and I would also try one of the 4831 versions as well.  I'd also go more old school on the bullets with something like the Hornady Interlock, either flat base or BT.  You don't mention what brand of brass you're using, but I don't trust Winchester any farther than I can throw a moose one handed.  I know you check proper headspace on sizing, but wouldn't hurt to double and triple check that.

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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #8 
Most all brass was Winchester - either new out of the bag or 1x fired; every case properly prepared and measured. Any new ones that were too short (H/S) were set aside for future fire-forming.  Of the fired brass (1x fired - this rifle), most was Win and some was Federal.   I have 1-lb of new IMR-4350, I was thinking of trying that at the same weights already tested with A4350.  I also have WW-760.

Would you do me a favor and see if any of your back issues of Handloader featured the .300 WSM?  I'd love to see what they say / recommend - especially with 165gr class hunting bullets.  Thanks, RJ

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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #9 
I measured 10 necks of new Win brass with bullets seated and 10 fired cases w/o split necks.

Loaded Avg = 0.3350"  (Min=.3345", Max=.3355")
Fired Avg = 0.3422" (Min=.3415", Max=.3430")

For an average expansion of 0.0072"

Also note: ALL fire brass rechambered in the rifle with ease as is... no resizing, nothing.

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BobT

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Reply with quote  #10 
If I'm not mistaken I had good luck in the .300 WSM with H4831SC and Nosler bullets up to 180 grain, sadly I let the data go with the rifle. For magnum cases I nearly always use Federal 215 primers and I'm sure the WSM was no exception. 
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Rifter

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerJoe
Most all brass was Winchester - either new out of the bag or 1x fired; every case properly prepared and measured. Any new ones that were too short (H/S) were set aside for future fire-forming.  Of the fired brass (1x fired - this rifle), most was Win and some was Federal.   I have 1-lb of new IMR-4350, I was thinking of trying that at the same weights already tested with A4350.  I also have WW-760.

Would you do me a favor and see if any of your back issues of Handloader featured the .300 WSM?  I'd love to see what they say / recommend - especially with 165gr class hunting bullets.  Thanks, RJ



I'll have to do some digging to see if they've done a load article for it.  I'm trying to sell the house, so most all of my books, magazines, and DVDs are boxed up (its scary how many boxes I ended up with too).  If they did, it'll be a real bug hunt to find it if I've got that issue, so don't wait on me.

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Reply with quote  #12 
Ha I'm still no unpacked all the way from a move 16 months ago... My reloading room is a shambles.
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Rifter

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Reply with quote  #13 
Ranger Joe, I did some digging and found that the Aug 2001 issue of Handloader has an exclusive (at that time) article on the .300 WSM, written by John Barseness.  That is Handloader #212.  I was able to check my back issues and unfortunately I don't have that one.  I've got a gap of several years in my line up and that one is one of the missing ones.

You can go to http://www.riflemagazine.com/backissues and order a copy in print, or if you're a LoadData subscriber, it looks like you can access that information on line.  I used their search function based on caliber, bullet weight, powder and got a list of about 30 loads.  They show the bullet/powder/fps, but you have to be a subscriber to see the powder charge and other data.  As I'm sure you're aware, most of the data in their database is supplied by users, so it covers the full gamut of components and load information.  They also include the stuff developed by their own writers, but you have to dig sometimes to find it.

I've ordered back issues in both print format and on disc for various calibers, and it was well worth it.  Good luck.

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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #14 
Rifter: Many thanks!!  Buying that back issue seems like a sound investment to me.  ETA: Found it on-line @ eBay for $9 delivered, ordered!

I do have some additional data and success from this weekend.  I tried both A-4350 and IMR-4350 (same charge of 64.5gr) with a shorter COAL - after reading several places that the Noslers tend to like a longer jump.  Both powders showed improved consistency (lower ES, lower S-D, better accuracy), but not as good as I wanted; unfortunately, the MV dropped as well.  I then tried W-760 (again, same charge) and was very disappointed; worst accuracy and ES/S-D of any of our tests.

Last, we tried A-2700 (same 64.5gr) and shot 1 ragged hole with 4 bullets and the 5th being .25" outside the large hole!  MV was in the 3020 FPS range with low S-D and ES.  Looks like we have a decent baseline to now tweak for a very potent long range hunting round.

Damn - we put a lot of expensive Nosler bullets into the dirt to get here!

ETA #2: We never fired any 4~5 rounds with A-4350 or IMR-4350 without a split neck.  We fired 10 rounds with W-760 and A-2700 without any splits!  That is just weird!

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Reply with quote  #15 
I feel your pain. Brand new Winchester 284 brass on its first firing. No bueno.

Kevin

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RangerJoe

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Reply with quote  #16 
Wow - those are splitting at the shoulder!  Have you checked the cartridge H/S between new and fired brass?  I had to weed out nearly 10 cases from a bag of 50 NEW Winchester .300 WSM brass for being too short H/S; and when I say too short, I mean 0.006" too short (below factory zero) or worse, several were 0.0085 too short.  With a high pressure round like the .300 WSM (or .284 Win), that much too short can/will cause problems.
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wikster1983

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Reply with quote  #17 
Come to think of it now, but I shot my buddy's 30-06 with new but older winchester ammo and most of the necks split with them as well! A couple I remember split into the shoulder too! Any chance of there being just something wrong with their brass?
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Rifter

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wikster1983
Come to think of it now, but I shot my buddy's 30-06 with new but older winchester ammo and most of the necks split with them as well! A couple I remember split into the shoulder too! Any chance of there being just something wrong with their brass?

Winchester used to have really good brass.  I started noticing problems with it about 10 years ago. Things like rim thickness all over the place, brand new brass out of round, etc.  I started to see comments from other in various forums and magazine letters.  I finally just stopped using it altogether.  I had to throw out 150 .45 Colt cases because rims wouldn't fit a standard shell holder.  There are dozens of primer blowout posts on the various forums over the last ten years.

So, I no longer use any Winchester products.  Seems to me most of this stuff started when they sold off everything but the name some years back.  Obviously, it is all somewhat subjective, but I haven't had any such issues with any other brands.

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