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338wm load development

18 Jan 2015
@ 04:19 am (GMT)

Ben Law

i need to decide what my next step will be in my load development.

im loading 225gr sst's with adi ar2209

first batch of test loads were all reasonable with a few nice groups.

63 .762
63.5 1.23
64 1.13
64.5 1.46
65 .815
65.5 .574
66 1.28

today's groups were not quite as good, with some quite poor.
it was quite windy. but the bigger groups had vertical aswell as horizontal spread.

66.5 .862
67 1.8"
67.5 2.2"
68 3"
68.5 1.4
69 1.85
69.5 1"
70 2.2"
70.5 .763
71 1.2"

a couple of the 1-1.5" groups were 2 shots nice and close with 1 a bit off, so may have been the wind.

69.5 is adi's book max, 71gr is max in nick harveys manual.

i'm wondering if i should go above max to around 72 or so, or if i should just work around the 70.5gr load in .2 increments.

these are the primers after firing, 71gr on the far right. do you think they look safe to go higher?


Replies

18 Jan 2015
@ 04:20 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
picture didnt come up, try again.



18 Jan 2015
@ 04:21 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
Hard for me to say without having the rifle in hand so I can observe the brass more closely and also observe velocities as well as recoil from your T3.

I have gone up to 78gr in the past with a typical sweet spot at 77gr. But this may be way too hot for your rifle or recoil may be too hefty for the weight of the rifle.

I cannot see any extractor scuff marks on the case heads and the slight flattening of the primers may be relative to the brand of primers. If extraction is easy, you could step up a bit.

Pity we don't have any idea of velocities as it would be nice to brainstorm an acceptable velocity range (how far you wish to shoot) versus recoil etc.

I have been testing the 200 grain SST versus the 225 grain SST more extensively of late to look for subtle differences in killing at low velocities. There is a definite advantage to the 200gr bullet on lean animals or poor shot placement due to wind drift. The slight reduction in SD does allow for greater energy transfer (this latest batch near fully frangible) at extended ranges in lieu of body weight resistance (eg lean Fallow, goat, lean White Tail). The 225 grain bullet is less forgiving if body weights are reduced as mentioned in the KB. Testing the two side by side shows up the differences more so. I hope I made this clear enough in the KB. Sorry, this info is probably annoying when you are working diligently with the 225gr bullet. Nevertheless, I just want to make sure you have all relevant info.
19 Jan 2015
@ 04:43 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
wow 78gr, thats higher than i would have thought.

sorry i should have listed more details.

the primers are winchester large rifle magnum.

bolt lift and extraction was normal.

i shot most of the loads over the chrony, my first batch i had it set a bit close and i was getting erratic readings.
and i missed the first 3 groups of the 2nd round of testing.

68 - 2639, 2622, 2667 - 3"
68.5 - 2636, 2661, 2618 - 1.4
69 - 2655, 2700, 2672 - 1.85
69.5 - 2672, 2653, 2663 - 1"
70 - 2698, 2718, 2721 - 2.2"
70.5 - 2715, 2735, 2708 - .763
71 - 1st shot i forgot to jot down, 2731, 2714 - 1.2"

nick harveys manual lists 71gr at 2830fps so im well under that.

the info on the 200gr is of some interest. but i want to stick to the 225gr.
target will be sambar deer, out to as far as i can realistically hit them with this setup, so hopfully out to 800 or so.

im not sure the exact weight of the rifle, its a t3 varmint, i think 8.5lb + scope etc. also got the hss clamp on muzzle break so that helps with recoil.
i have noticed the recoil increase from start to end though.
19 Jan 2015
@ 04:52 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
most of the cases have a slight circular mark like the case in the middle around the word super (71gr load).
the marks are on all loads from 66.5gr, they may have been on the first round of test loads too but i'm not sure.

19 Jan 2015
@ 05:21 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
do you remember what velocity were those 77-78gr loads producing?
19 Jan 2015
@ 02:47 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
That's not so bad for Win primers.

Velocities were from 2970 to 3020fps depending on barrel length.

Nick Harvey utilized a long magazine rifle and seated long during his testing. He has loaded much hotter than is suggested in his book but has wisely stated mooderate loads. Your COAL is much shorter than his which is why you are down a bit on velocity but your velocities seem fairly normal.

71gr gives 2724fps.

40fps per grain of powder.

6gr x 40fps (77gr) = 240fps

2724 + 240fps = 2964fps

Approach with extreme caution.
20 Jan 2015
@ 04:30 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
how did u come up with 40fps per grain? is that just fps / grains or is it a general rule or experience?

some guys on another forum have said "hammer forged barrels don't like heat"
and have suggested only shooting 2 shots then allowing to cool.

sounds a bit extreme to me, surely a t3 varmint barrel can handle 3 shot groups then allowing to cool. what's your take on this?
20 Jan 2015
@ 04:31 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: 338wm load development
Ben l let all my barrels cool between shots when load developing! Tikka lite right through to bull barrelled target jobbies.
It’s not only the barrel temps that you feel on the outside, it’s your chamber & action temps that can effect follow up shots.
You are chasing down extreme accuracy so you need to keep as many things repeatable & consistant as possible, temps, grip (style and pressures) & sand bags.
Light wind shouldn’t worry the .338 to much @ 100 but it will put you off thinking about it.
21 Jan 2015
@ 04:04 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
40fps based on many years experience.

Yes, the hammer forge stress thing is bollocks. All barrels suffer to one degree or another under heat. Final heat treatment / stress relieving techniques determine final outcomes in barrel manufacture. Heat sink area (barrel thickness), length of barrel and speed of shooting all have an effect on performance. A 20" hammer forged .308 will have less sag and whip than a 32" button rifled .338 Magnum when both are warm. So many variables.

Best to test loads under cool conditions to determine accurate loads- then test the barrel with a more rapid string later with your established pet load to see how it will perform under duress / follow up shots.
05 Apr 2015
@ 02:36 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Hi Ben, I just found this post and I hope I can assist if it's not too late. I have owned 3 x 338 Win Mags and a 340 Weatherby, so you can bet I like the calibre. Anyway, the numbers printed in the load manuals will all vary and individual rifles will vary in their limit on what amount of powder they will safely digest. One of my 338's would take 74gns of AR2209 behind the 225gn SST without any pressure signs at all, but I could go no further as the magazine did not allow the bullet to be seated out without compressing the powder if I wanted more. I recollect that I was getting 2920fos with that in a 26" bbl. My current 338 will only take 72.5gns before pressure signs appear, and only yielding ably 2840 in a 26 " tube. Really, 23" barrels have proven to be the best combination of stiffness for accuracy but plenty long enough to burn that about of powder in that cartridge.

A trick with uniformity with this powder, and indeed this cartridge, is to use standard primers instead of magnum primers. The old timers who have used this cartridge since it's introduction found this to yield consistent velocities and accuracy. If you can get a hold of Reloader 19, it generally gives great velocity and better accuracy than AR2209. Try a Nosler a Partition too, as if they do not shoot in combination with what I have suggested, then the rifle or shooter is in question.

Good luck.
08 Apr 2015
@ 06:27 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
thanks buck, ill see how my next batch of test loads go.
26 Apr 2015
@ 11:25 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
tested some loads today.

71.5gr - ??? - 2.2"
72 - ?, ?, 2836 - 2.1"
72.5 - 2817, 2824, ? - 3.5"
73 - 2848, 2856, 2887 - 3"
73.5 - 2829, 2846, - 1.8"
74 - 2900, 2903, 2892 - 1.9"
74.5 - ?, ?, ? - 2.2"
75 - ?, ?, ? - 1.1"
75.5 - 2928, ?, ? - 3.3"
76 - ?, ? , ? - 2.9"
76.5 - 2968, ?, ? - .792"

not the results i was looking for.

had a few dramas with the chrony, sun then cloud etc then the wind blew it over twice.

groups were all over the place, then out of nowhere a nice triangular .792 group to finish off with. not sure if that was just a fluke.

loads are well over book max, but i did not notice any signs of pressure.

i'm not sure if the rifle just doesn't like the faster loads or what the go is. the lighter test loads in session 1 all grouped well, the mid range loads not quite so well, and the hotter loads poor with exception to the last group.

i think i will go back and try some loads around 65.5gr, 70.5 and 77.


on a side note i took my new little howa 223 out for its 1st run.
loaded up 12 rounds of 25gr (start load) 2206h with hornady 53gr v max federal primers.
3 shots to zero, clean with boretech eliminator (virtually no copper present, so i figure im good to go) then 3 groups of .460, .862 and .378, its a factory fluted varmint with a trigger job and boyds stock (unbedded).
so i was happy with that.
27 Apr 2015
@ 10:02 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Hi Ben, how far away do you intend to shoot at Sambar? I've shot quite a few if them now, mostly with the 338 but some with the 340 and even one with the 416. Never had to shoot beyond 200 yards. The Sambar is a pretty big target, so trying to get minute of rabbit is not so important as minute of Sambar. But realising it is still good to get a consistent accurate load then I understand, to an extent. More important is the bullet's terminal effect. I have shot three Sambar stags with the 225gn SST and found it lacklustre in performance, but it kills. In all my 338's there was a tendency to favour 250gn bullets, accuracy-wise. Seriously, try a 250gn Nosler Partition - it was accurate in all my 338's and 340 Wby and hits hard and drives deep. I have used it in Africa, Canada and here in Australia for big and small stuff - and it works! Just use the standard primer, not magnum. I really like AR2213SC or RL22 behind the 250gn Nosler. Surely I didn't just get lucky with that bullet in 3 x 338's and 1 x 340? Persist, but be open to trying different bullets.
27 Apr 2015
@ 10:13 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Ben, I just remembered reading an article in an American firearms magazine by a well known writer who found that Nosler Partitions were accurate in most all calibres/cartridges because he believed that because the bullet was open (lead exposed) at both the front and rear that the bullet would relieve easily when forced through rifling and it therefore conformed well to Widely varying bore dimensions. I cannot claim that this is the reason why it works, but from my experience in 4 rifles it does. I'll add that the 300gn Partitions I used in my 375 H&H also shot around 1" 3 shot groups at 100yds, so that makes 5 rifles!

27 Apr 2015
@ 08:27 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
Hey Buck, Ben was hoping for an intermediate long range load, hence the use of a softer bullet for lower velocity work.

Interesting that the rifle came in again just below 77gr. I have found sweet spots at 77gr also, mentioned this in the cartridges book- but it is way above book max and very fast. You will just have to see what the rifle likes or if it all goes south, try another bullet as Buck suggested. The Partition has merit as outlined in the cartridges book. The 225gr Speer BTSP is another option- very soft, will swage easily and work well at lower velocities- and will not suffer the same jump problems as a longer match style or tipped bullet.

Good to hear that the Howa is going well. The barrels seem to be excellent at the moment. Howa and back on form- excellent.
28 Apr 2015
@ 01:45 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Hi Nathan, I mustn't have read the entire thread closely enough and missed the intermediate long range requirement, however the Partition isn't too shabby as that front section is quite soft and does lots of damage and supposedly works down to 1800fps. The problem with the standard 338 is that it starts out slow to begin with so that 1800fps isn't that long a distance perhaps, at least with the 250gn slug. Anyway, I am curious about your work so I just ordered your entire collection. I am hoping it has in it the cartridges we I am waiting to see appear on you knowledge base, such as 35's, 9.3, 375, 416 etc. Please just be kind to us weird Aussies you have put up with for 100 years, we really are good neighbours and friends to you guys except for when we hit the cricket pitch...ouch! Buck
28 Apr 2015
@ 04:59 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
You realize I am full of shit when it comes to ribbing Aussies. I love the place and people. Actually, at the moment I am trying to get my circular breathing sorted so I can transition from didj farting sounds or playing till my face turns blue to a proper didj groove of an evening. Not that too many Aussies play the didgeridoo- wouldn't want to stereotype you guys and gals, that would be a fair suck of the sav.

Youtube and didgeridoo dojo to the rescue.

Yes- as soon as this book series is done (last one is due out July / August with luck), I will complete the KB- thats a promise. The Cartridge book does not have any long range info for the likes of the .35 or 9.3 bores but the preliminary testing procedures are laid out. I wanted to make sure that the reader was armed with test procedures and could then test various bullet designs and concepts within a relative frame of reference. Once you have a grasp of the fundamentals in the formative sections of the book, you can pretty much have at it.

You will find the book series useful Buck. Thanks for that.


28 Apr 2015
@ 10:43 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: 338wm load development
buck, the intention is to shoot sambar out to as far as i'm capable, so hopefully out to around 800yrds. so b.c. and velocity will come in handy.

i have my fingers crossed for the 77gr load.

in relation to the 76gr 2.9" & 76.5gr .792" loads, is it not unusual for half a grain to make such a difference in group size?

i could go back to a tight grouping lower velocity load for the time being, while i continue to work up loads.

if everything fails i will just have to try another bullet, and possibly reloader19 powder.

prehaps it would be worth seating bullets further out and single feeding.
maybe it would be worth trying the 285gr a max at 2400-2500fps.
single feeding wouldn't be ideal, but not the end of the earth if its accurate.
28 Apr 2015
@ 09:14 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: 338wm load development
Ben l have found both charge weight & seating depth changes effects to be particular to that barrel/rifle, but others with more experience may have seen patterns.
One thing that seems to stay true for me so far is that the heavier the barrel contour the wider the velocity node will be that l can work with. Some of my sporting barrels have less than .5grain charge weight windows to with in, while Sendero contours can get over 1 sometimes.

If you get stuck you can always try a few with more jump to change the timing, sounds crazy but it's worked for me with before!
29 Apr 2015
@ 12:41 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Hi Ben, 800 yards is so very long way to be shooting at such a tenaciously life-clinging species of deer (read that to mean 'tough'). I hope you are shooting them in country open enough for shot #2. Unless the central nervous system is damaged, they will run and I hope you can locate the animal if it is in more densely grown terrain that Sambar inhabit. I hope there are no injured and lost deer through any deliberate long range shooting. It sounds like lots of practice even after you sort your load out. I take my hat off to the hunters, err...shooters, who can cleanly kill quarry at those distances. At those distances that 285gn Amax might have merit. I am intrigued by long range shooting, but must confess to my own limitations and that is a distance far less than that. Cheers, Buck
29 Apr 2015
@ 02:37 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: 338wm load development
"I take my hat off to the hunters, err...shooters"

Now that’s a [email protected]$cking grand statement on a Long Range hunting forum, do your homework then come back with some relevant discussions!

If you read through Bens posts you would have known he is working towards the goal of ethically hunting deer at extended ranges and doing it with logical well thought out steps.

Because this is beyond your own limitations don't be so quick to judge others, l have seen many, many more deer lost by stalkers within 100 yards than any at extended ranges with the correct equipment & skills.

As l said do your homework!
29 Apr 2015
@ 04:30 am (GMT)

Buck Slammer

Re: 338wm load development
Hi Martin, it wasn't my intention to offend anyone. So, I am sorry. You are quite right and I will withdraw from any argument with you or anyone else. Are you Australian? Do you hunt Sambar? I do, and I was applying my knowledge of the animal and the terrain familiar to the majority of Sambar being pursued by hunters. Because a shot on Sambar infrequently results in that grand creature dropping on the spot. And in that terrain if they even run a short distance they are obscured by heavy vegetation. Factor in the time to walk 800 yards and getting to the exact spot where the animal was hit can itself be difficult without a mate staying where the shot was taken from to direct you to the location.

I am on this post because I use 338's a lot, and I see lots of 338's used. I hunt Sambar a lot, and I have opinions and bias like anyone - so that is why I might have typed so freely in my last post. I am a professional guide in Australia and Canada. I seen my share of wounded and lost animals at all ranges but I know that the greater the distance the greater the risk. I have hunted across the globe for the past 24 years. I am also bow hunter, so my thoughts of hunting and shooting are different from what yours might be. So these factor into some of my responses. Again, I apologise - most of all to Ben, since this is his thread and we're along by invite only.

Cheers, Buck.
29 Apr 2015
@ 04:52 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
Yes, it is a bit of an irony for sure. I never really got serious about long range until I started cleaning up after clients wounded animals, back in the days when I operated guided hunts as opposed to tutorials and ranges were not long. That said, I always enjoyed marksmanship and ridge to ridge or gully shots as a hunting strategy.

But then, there are "shooters" out there too. Don't think that applies here though so best to not drop such comments otherwise my normally very calm readers and forum members can find a limit to their tolerance. Besides, you will get the bug a bit more once you get into the books Buck- or when your knees pack in a bit LOL. It will be a new dimension for you to explore when you are ready.

Anyway- back to the subject.

Single feed versus mag feed- thats really up to you. I used to get hung up on it but over the years, I have spent so much time testing different rifles and loads that it doesn't concern me so much anymore. The A-MAX will work well out long and especially with these body weights.

Still, I think it is worth persisting a bit longer with your loads. Establish the low and high nodes, perhaps engage in atleast one or two hunts, then make a decision as to how to proceed from there.

Quite often I will get a reader who gets stuck during the decision making process. A good example came through this morning- 150gr .270 cal Speer Hotcor versus its BTSP sibling. Game would be Mule (Red) sized deer out to 400 yards but sometimes beyond- maybe 500 yards. In my experience, the Hotcor works best out to moderate ranges and is pretty good for game of this size, the BTSP out long as it was designed. But here we have a hunter wanting one load to do all- close and relatively long if past 400 yards happens to be a 500 yard shot. One load to do it all- a common ask.

Sometimes we reach a point where there is no ideal solution and it's best to just pick one bullet and go with it. In this instance, the 150gr BTSP would be the go because although it may lack exit wounding potential in close, wounding will be severe and I know it will work out long. The next step is to simply monitor results. My advice may prove quite hopeless for his local game- but he has to start somewhere.

Marty- seating deeper is a good call where all other measures have failed. Even just a tad deeper can change timing and harmonic nodes. We can get too hung up on getting close to the lands. Ben- take a projectile and set your vernier .1mm narrower than the measured bullet diameter and lock in place. After this, push the bullet against the caliper as if you were trying to pass it through nose first. When the bullet stops (because it is too wide), spiral the bullet, this will scribe a line, showing the intersection of the ogive and bullet body. You can seat to this scribe line and retest some of your loads if other experiments fail.

29 Apr 2015
@ 05:00 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 338wm load development
Sorry- that should have read- seating deeper where all measures have failed in a cartridge that already appears to be seated with an exceedingly long jump.
29 Apr 2015
@ 07:27 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: 338wm load development
And yes I'm Aussie and spend way to many hours chasing Sambar in the Vic High Country, call it and obsession if you will, hound, stalking & LR.

I have spent many, many hours setting up for and training/preparing to hunt these animals across or down into gullies just as Ben is starting to do (including training with Nathan). You will see the amount of work, accuracy & testing required that goes into such pursuits once you read Nathans books. Nathan will attest to my loathing of seeing animals suffer.
It may not be for you and many others who read these pages, but we are a long way past taking pot shots at animals disappearing over saddles with whatever soft point bullet we have at hand in hunting rifles.

Sorry for going so hard at you but it's an argument l am sick of hearing/having, many stalkers l know could not even shoot a consistent group never mind own an accurate rifle. Of corse there are limitations, calibre, environmental & personal but have a read you will see what l mean!
 

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