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Big Bore Reloading Questions

This is a discussion on Big Bore Reloading Questions within the Reloading forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; As AkMike recommended, I've decided to start reloading. The ammo prices in the big bores certainly justify it, and my ...

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    Default Big Bore Reloading Questions

    As AkMike recommended, I've decided to start reloading. The ammo prices in the big bores certainly justify it, and my sons will probably enjoy it.

    I've ordered a book on the subject, and hopefully it will answer most of my questions.

    JJ at Champlins re-regulated the Heym that he converted for me from 458 Win Mag to 450 NE with 450 gr NF solids. The rounds he used he loaded with IMR 3031 powder. Are there significant differences in the various powders offered? If I start loading for a 450 NE and 470 NE, then expand into .375 H&H and .416 Rem, is IMR 3031 a good choice?

    The Lee Classic Press was recommended for easier clearance with the long NE cartridges. Do Hornady dies work with a Lee Classic Press? What about other presses? Hornady has said that their classic press will work, but it takes some effort to get the bullet in initially.

    Now I just have to convince the wife that this is really a money-saving endeavor. Might be tough because I use that argument often, and usually it turns out to be wrong ....
    Shakey Katy, TX

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    There is lots of powders to choose from and burn rates will show you what does what. Get a burn rate chart off the net or in a loading manual. Hodgdon has a good one you can download off the net.
    Get at least two or three manuals to compare loads too. All manuals are NOT created equal!
    You will find 3031 on the fast side for rifles but it works well in large bore, straight wall cases from the .45-70 on up, but so will others. Virtually all die sets will work in any press as long as they are set up for standard size 7/8 dia dies and most if not all are. The opening or window of the press can make a difference in the ease of loading the long boys. RCBS, Redding, Lee and others make a tall press for the big boys. Until you have some time under your belt, use book maximums as max and dont do like many old timers do and "start at max and work up from there". We all like to get the most velocity we can but no animal on earth can tell the difference between 100 feet per second. Load for what shoots most accurately. Certain rounds like certain powders best. For instance the .30-06 almost always shoots well with 4350. The .338 Win mag loves the 4831's and Reloder 19, the .458 Win is well loaded with Reloder 7 and 3031. One disadvantage to 3031 is that it is bulky and takes up much room in cases that need all the help they can get, like the .458 mag. When loading for a .405 Win project some time ago, I switched to H335 (a ball powder) over 3031 as it takes up less room. Welcome to handloading. Its a great hobby and you will learn more than you ever imagined. Good luck with the wife, you're on your own there!

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    Find a friend or colleague that reloads and look at his set up, let him show you how. Books are great but nothing like hands on experience. Also, look at the lay out, you don't need alot of room but it should be well thought out and organized, everything in a logical sequence.
    I ONLY use IMR 4350 in my rifles, and I ONLY use Magnum primers, I once ALMOST got myself into a heap of trouble by having too many powders and primers, etc... I mis-read the charts and gave myself a 10 grain over the max load and shot it not once, but twice (bolt had to be pounded open, primer blown, so like an idiot I shot again - same result).

    Lots of info on the internet from various bullet and powder companies, some are more conservative, so work up slowly (1/2 grain increments) - I don't bother with tenths of grains, alot pf people do, I don't - my preference.

    Many years ago I bought a 375 H&H too good a buy not to, at the time a box of 30.06 were about $8 and 375 was $30 that's when I started reloading, now all the ammo is expensive and reloading makes alot of sense. We're having the same issues with components as with ammo - a large shortage - but it's getting better.

    As mentioned, to the best of my knowledge all dies are standard thread and interchangable - I use RCBS but that's what I started with and I am a loyal customer.

    One last bit of advice DO NOT clean your dies with parts cleaner or brake cleaner. I did, and today I had to buy a new set for my 7mm rem mag. Use only dish detergent and water of you need to really clean them, then compressed air to dry them out and a light coat of oil. Just my 2 cents..

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    greyfox,

    Far be it from me to argue with you about what works for you, but in the interest of the discussion, it is not generally recommended to use magnum primers as an all situation primer. First of all its not neccessary for most loading, and can increase pressures in some loadings. About the only place I use mag primers is in pistol loads using H110/W296 and with rifle ball powders like W748 or W760 and of course there are others, but I dont mostly use them preferring extruded powders for most of my loading. I am still laughing about your boo-boo with the overload! I use many different powders for my loadings but I load for many rifle and pistol cartridges. One powder wont cover it, not even a dozen. If I only loaded for a .30-06 I could happily get by with 4350. I agree with your other points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakey View Post
    As AkMike recommended, I've decided to start reloading. The ammo prices in the big bores certainly justify it, and my sons will probably enjoy it.

    I've ordered a book on the subject, and hopefully it will answer most of my questions.

    JJ at Champlins re-regulated the Heym that he converted for me from 458 Win Mag to 450 NE with 450 gr NF solids. The rounds he used he loaded with IMR 3031 powder. Are there significant differences in the various powders offered? If I start loading for a 450 NE and 470 NE, then expand into .375 H&H and .416 Rem, is IMR 3031 a good choice?

    The Lee Classic Press was recommended for easier clearance with the long NE cartridges. Do Hornady dies work with a Lee Classic Press? What about other presses? Hornady has said that their classic press will work, but it takes some effort to get the bullet in initially.

    Now I just have to convince the wife that this is really a money-saving endeavor. Might be tough because I use that argument often, and usually it turns out to be wrong ....
    Shakey,

    There's no doubt that within even a relatively short amount of time or rather shots taken, you will save money loading your own. I've calculated it a number of times from .416 Rigby on down to .270 Winchester and comes out virtually the same everytime, my loads cost about 1/2 as much as the comparable factory load.

    I'm with ses on the powders. They make a huge difference between calibers and even between size of the projectiles you're using in a given caliber. For instance my .375H&H loves 300gr A-Frames with IMR4350 behind them. But when using 250gr North Forks, the rifle wants H4895 or Varget. My .300WM prefers H4831 and to a somewhat lesser extent IMR7828 or RL25 with 200gr loads.

    That said, greyfox has a very good point. As you collect powders it can be easy to mix one with the other. My loading bench is in my garage, but I keep all of my powder in a cabinet in our laundry room. When I'm loading, I bring one and only one powder to the bench. And though I can recite in my sleep the various loads I have for various calibers and by which bullet I'm using, I always check my notes/manuals and confirm. Double checking the bullets being used and once again the powder before I load.

    The family has also learned to not disturb me when I'm loading. When trimming brass or priming, I may be inside and can handle the usual requirements of dad and husband. But when I go to the garage and start pouring powder and seating bullets, they all know to leave me alone, that I cannot talk or be distracted.

    I've had an incident like grey's (though I only pulled the trigger once, sorry grey) and it's really not funny when you sit and think about what might could have happened. On another forum, a fellow ran an experiment loading up pistol powder in a rifle cartridge just to see what would happen. From a distance using a string and behind cover, they pulled the trigger and the rifle literally blew apart into several pieces. I doubt you'd want your face next to that.

    I'm not saying this to deter you, but just to emphasize being safe and conservative as you start off. These are habits you always want to maintain.

    One last point, hopefully JJ will provide you the load specs for your double. Even though you have the exact recipe, powder manufacturers do occasionally change the powders slightly. You need to be aware of this and always start a bit below and work way back up to your designated load.
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    excellant points that I'd neglected to mention, Phil. The case prep is sometimes a tthe breakfast table , in the a/C, talking to the family, but RIGHT, when it's the powders and primers, DO NOT DISTURB!!

    As far as the primers, I load 243, 270, 7mm and 375 and only have one primer for all, just my thing,

    I should mention that using magnum primers your max load will be about 1 to 1.5 grains less than published.

    No offense taken sesto, If I only had a 30.06 I'd probably use 4064 exclusively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakey View Post
    As AkMike recommended, I've decided to start reloading. The ammo prices in the big bores certainly justify it, and my sons will probably enjoy it.

    I've ordered a book on the subject, and hopefully it will answer most of my questions.

    JJ at Champlins re-regulated the Heym that he converted for me from 458 Win Mag to 450 NE with 450 gr NF solids. The rounds he used he loaded with IMR 3031 powder. Are there significant differences in the various powders offered? If I start loading for a 450 NE and 470 NE, then expand into .375 H&H and .416 Rem, is IMR 3031 a good choice?

    The Lee Classic Press was recommended for easier clearance with the long NE cartridges. Do Hornady dies work with a Lee Classic Press? What about other presses? Hornady has said that their classic press will work, but it takes some effort to get the bullet in initially.

    Now I just have to convince the wife that this is really a money-saving endeavor. Might be tough because I use that argument often, and usually it turns out to be wrong ....
    Hi Shakey,

    I found it interesting to know that you have a .450 NE and are planning to reload cartridges for it. I too would like to do so and would be grateful for advice regarding where to source dies and reloading data from etc. Please do keep us informed of progress made by you in this direction.

    Regards.

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    Alot of good advice in this thread. Reloading can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience as well as saving you money in the long run. Definately take all the advice you get (from people that know what they are doing) to heart.

    A few things I've learned over the years.

    -Only one powder type on your bench at a time, triple check that it's the right powder for your cartridge. NEVER subsitute powders without doing a proper build up load test. NEVER EVER put pistol powder in a rifle cartridge.
    -Don't mix and match different brands of brass, they use different alloys and have differing case volumes.
    -Double check that your primers are the flipped the right way before seating.
    -Double check that all brass has a primer.
    -Double check that all brass has a powder charge in it.
    -If you are loading beyond CIP lengths make sure you know what the max loading length to the lands is.
    -Use a comparator tool for your caliper when measuring overall length. Measuring to the tip of a bullet is inconsistent.
    -I advise against seating bullets exactly against the lands, seat in or out. Inconsitencies in bullet ogives will result in one round being slightly into the lands, one being against them and one being off of them. This will give you some pressure differences and can cause some unexpected fliers.
    -Try to avoid crush charges (can happen with super slow burn powders). I have found this causes inconsitencies with seating depth and bullet runout.
    -Most books tell you to use .001" neck tension for resizing necks. I use .002" - .003". Variations in neck wall thickness from case to case can cause a zero tension situation.
    -Document everything, take lots of notes, trying to duplicate things from memory doesn't always work out.
    -If something doesn't feel right then scrap it and start over. If a piece of advice is triggering your spidey senses then research it before accepting it as truth. Once you break that trigger there is no going back.
    -Always err on the side of safety. Not to scare you but taking shortcuts with a mini pipe bomb only inches from your face is not conducive to a long happy life.

    Just a few tips, I'm sure I will think of some more.

    Cheers,

    Johnny
    Last edited by Johnny7604; 12-23-2013 at 08:07 AM. Reason: grammar

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    It's interesting that JJ uses 3031 for the 450. It's not my preferred for the 450 NE. I like IMR 4831 the best. But if that's what it was re-regulated with stick to it if it works well.

    Others like the RL15 and say it kicks less. I haven't tried that one yet so no comments.

    You can make light loads using the '75% Rule'. Take a bullet that is 75% of the one it was regulated with. 480/500 grains in this case. 75% of 500 is 350. There are several good 350 bullets that I use. Use the same powder charge as the regulation load.

    For doubles I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Graeme Wright's book "Shooting the British Double Rifle".
    There is tried and proven loads for doubles and the reasons that they work as they do . Many of the loads were pressure tested in England.

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    Hunter Blackbuck 12 22 2013 04.jpgNot sure why JJ uses 3031, but in this case, it seems to work well. I went with 450 grain North Fork solids, and had him add a mercury recoil tube to the stock. The result ended up being a very tolerable combination to shoot. Attached is a picture of my 14 yr old son Hunter with a Blackbuck antelope he shot yesterday morning with this combination. Slightly less momentum than the original 480 grain loading, but more than the 450/400. As for my reloading, I now am in possession of all the tools and components - now I just need to finish the remodeling effort in the garage so I'll have a place to do it!
    Shakey Katy, TX

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    If the load is slower than original is it shooting wide or did JJ set it for the slower load? It should be faster than the 2150 fps that the 480 has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AkMike View Post
    If the load is slower than original is it shooting wide or did JJ set it for the slower load? It should be faster than the 2150 fps that the 480 has.
    According to the chrony I now have, the loads he used to regulate the rifle with average 2,090 fps. Slightly less than the NE standard of 2,150 fps, but they still have plenty of momentum and are comfortable to shoot. We tried some Nyati practice ammo this past weekend (300 grain Barnes TSX loaded at a reported 2,000 fps - did not verify with chrony). It had a very similar POI at 50 yards, and felt like shooting a .308!
    Shakey Katy, TX

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    I won,t get into powder and primer difference etc I,will say Get yourself a re-loading book ,I have the 49th and a 46th edition Lyman I,m sure there are other books out there , these books will give you all the proper and various load data for the different bullet weights with Various powders it even gives you some recommendations.I use two Single stage Loaders an RCBS and a Lee both work very well I was extremely lucky to have a 20year pro show me the ropes when I decided to get into it,go slow and look for quality,Now that I,ve moved up to a 375HH, loading my own is going to save me a lot of money
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    Rob, there are few books that give reliable info for a DR. Lyman is a good reference for single piped guns but not for these beasts.

    Shakey if you're getting about 2100 and they print well then you're good to go. Have you shot the RH tube at a target on the right and the LH at a different target on the left yet? If the composite group is crossing then you need to slow it down or use a heavier slug. If they are wide then more speed is indicated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AkMike View Post
    Rob, there are few books that give reliable info for a DR. Lyman is a good reference for single piped guns but not for these beasts.

    Shakey if you're getting about 2100 and they print well then you're good to go. Have you shot the RH tube at a target on the right and the LH at a different target on the left yet? If the composite group is crossing then you need to slow it down or use a heavier slug. If they are wide then more speed is indicated.
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    Rob, Lyman and the many others really aren't doing anything with DR's barrel time and weights of the bullets are set in stone as the rifle is regulated. I have a 300 H&H DR that will not work very well with most of the published loads shown in several of my other books. You aren't trying to hot rod and go for the fastest load. I still haven't had time to develop a good load for it but it seems to like 180 grn and speeds of 2400-2500 fps. We all know that that H&H will do much better than that!

    Many think that these rifles are set (regulated) to have the bullets touch at the regulated distance? They should shoot parallel at any distance never crossing. The regulation distance is simply the distance that it was shot at.

    Mr Wright works only with DR's and understands their working. His book shows working loads for full nitro's, Nitro for black, (NfB) and Black Powder. I've started shooting the Nfb loads because of less pressure and good groups even in Damascus Barrels made about 140 years ago with out worries or problems.

    I've worked with DR's for close to 30 years and I'm a rank rookie in comparison to what I've learned in recent years from him and others here in Ak.

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