Reloading Big Bore's pros and cons

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by JOODOWD, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. JOODOWD

    JOODOWD New Member

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    I heard that reloading ammo would not yield consistent results especially in the big bores. I am particularly interested if this is true for the .375 H&H and the 416 Rigby and what effects the consistence of the reloads. Another aspect is how much of a financial benefit is there to reloading these calibers?
     
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...There is a huge financial savings in reloading big bores!! The last time I saw a box of 375 H&H in the store they were $80. When I bought my 375 the first thing I did was buy components & 50 pieces of brass was $50. A few boxes of bullets & a pound or 2 of powder, some primers & your in buisness. It doesn't take long to get ahead of the game at $80 a pop!!
    As for accuracy I really didn't work up to much for a load - I used 75 gr of H 414 with a 300 gr nozler partition- which shoots a 3 shot group at 1". That was the first load I found in the book with a gun powder I had at home. I figured that was good enough to kill any thing I will ever hunt & it also required no more beating of my shoulder at the bench!! I don't believe the factory stuff can shoot any better - and with the hard kicking at the bench I don't believe I can hold it any steadier either!!
     
  3. crs

    crs AH Member

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    I helped a friend break in his new Remington 700 in .375 H&H recently and he was very successful. First, he shot a box of factory loads with the iron sights and went through the usual new rifle shoot and clean ritual.
    Then, he mounted an extra 4 power scope (brand X, I believe).

    He picked a moderate load from a reloading manual, loaded 20 rounds, put the rifle in a lead sled at 100 yards and within 10 rounds was shooting one inch groups.
    Rather impressive, I thought. :)
    Nice rifle too. I have not shot it yet, but plan to this weekend.
     
  4. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    Don't know that I'll ever reload for my 375 H&H, but if I do it will be just to mess around. You can get Federal Powershoks, Rem Corelokts and some of the Hornady's for about $50/box.
     
  5. JOODOWD

    JOODOWD New Member

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    So yall haven't had any issues with the wife walking in the garage while your reloading and changing the humidity, therefore having the reloads shoot different or something similar?
     
  6. AFRIVENTURE

    AFRIVENTURE AH Member

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    My 5cents worth on this issue is that since I reload quite a lot of my Big Bore ammo, it is worth my while only for the reason of not getting my choice of ammo in factory ammo in SA and I use it a lot in one season.
    I do not concider the .375 as a Big Bore calibre and the choice of factory ammo available in the US is more than good enough for the occasional hunter on a hunt to Africa.

    Since the average hunter is only going to use his Big Bore on one hunt a year, factory ammo is the way to go.
    And cost should thus not be a factor as you would spend a couple of thousand $ on a hunt to Africa - so what is $ 160 on 2 boxes of ammo????
     
  7. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Since Hornady began selling loaded ammo it has become a lot cheaper. On Able's site 416 rigby in Federal $230 per box, Hornady $85 per box.

    That said I still reload for my .375, 416, 458, and 470. I trust my reloads more than factory rounds, plus I can shoot the bullets I like. Everything is weighed and measured, and I chamber every round through the rifle before leaving for a hunt.

    Repeating what I have said on here, there is no way I would go to Africa without running at least 250 rounds (preferably more) through the rifle I would bring. With that many rounds you would save enough reloading a big bore to pay for your reloading equipment especially if you do not want to shoot Hornady bullets.
     
  8. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ..I agree Mike there is significant savings!! Good shooters & hunters don't just pick up their guns a week or two before the hunt shoot a couple shots & think they are ready for the hunt. One must take these guns out several times a year and practice with them and be proficient with them!! Putting a lot of rounds down the barrell is the only way that is accomplished!!
    ...As far as thinking that factory ammo is the way to go and$ 160 is cheap vs. an African hunt - some people must think because we go to Africa to hunt we are all rich!! Far from it !! It takes years of saving & cutting corners with costs to be able to go on a decent safari!! If I was rich I would have been there many more times than TWICE!!!
     
  9. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    I started reloading a long time ago. Back in the early 70's I did it because the premium quality bullets available were pretty much only available to handloaders and were not regular fodder in factory ammo as they are today. Even back then I did not delude myself about saving money as I shot more and that quickly removed any perceived savings, but it did amortize the price of the reloading equipment faster.:D

    Today we have all kinds of good factory ammo that will take care of any shooting task. The better stuff is expensive though and much of the big bore ammunition is rather steamy, but as noted in other posts the price amounts to nothing when compared to hunting..........and I mean any hunting, not just Africa. Just driving my 4x4 at $120 a fill up amounts to a substantial amount of money on a long trip, never mind accommodation, meals and equipment/supplies while on the hunt. And that is an unguided hunt.

    Today I still reload because I like to fine tune exactly what I want for a specific rifle and application, but more and more it is for convenience. I live a long ways from a real 'gun store' and the little farm town stores with ammunition do not carry much of a selection, especially big bores. I can't order ammunition throught the mail. I can't get ammunition or reloading supplies shipped to me by courier without paying a hefty hasmat fee and most US companies will not even send reloading components such as brass and bullets in the mail.

    So I tank up on reloading supplies when I am in the big bad city and am good for long periods of time. It also allows me to AVOID going to the big bad city, which is a good thing..........well at least for me it is.

    Lastly, I reload because I do not trust our politicians on either side of the border. They are constantly saying one thing, while doing another. They throw a red herring or two out to keep us occupied while they slip things in through the back door. If you depend on factory ammo, it only takes one new bill getting passed to put you out of commission.
     
  10. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I have not hunted with factory ammo in the last 60 years..All my hunting and shooting is with reloaded ammo that I reload...I can produce a better, more accurate round than the factory, and that is common knowledge with well versed reloaders, particularly in big bores...

    If one makes the effort to become a knowledgable reloader its the only way to go, will save you mega bucks in the long haul, your ammo will most definately be more accurate, you have better bullet selection and you can get much more velocity and more killing power from a handload than from factory ammo...
     
  11. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    I agree with both Skyline, and Ray especially where cartridges used for large & somtimes dangerous game animals. The selection of good quality bullets is one of the reasons for this, but not the only one.

    As Ray says I can load better ammo than the factories, and it will always feed through all my rifles, and chamber easily in my double rifles. The bullets will do what they are supposed to do. The saveings in cost are real when you start to use any of the Nitro Express cartridges, in both money spent, and allowing you to shoot more becoming at one with a rifle that may be needed without time to think, or even aim.

    In the case of double rifles, very few will shoot to regulation properly with factory ammo, and handloads will make your double rifle shoot properly shot after shot. Anyone who takes to shooting a double rifle it's almost a sin to not load your own ammo, and if you want to get the best from a double rifle you will handload all your ammo, not to mention cost, $17 per shot for the 470NE for factory from federal.

    Gentlemen there is a difference between a re-load, and a hand-load. Re-loads are for practice stump shooting, and to save money learning how to shoot your double rifle or big bore bolt rifle instinctively. HAND-LOADS are what you use to save your life, or the lives of others in your hunting party.
    What I mean by all this is, Hand-loads to be used hunting for the bite-backs is loaded by hand, after properly matching the brass by weight, sizeing, and trimming, seated with bullets that are the best you can get, in NEW brass, useing fresh primers, all loaded with the same lot# powder. When you finish a batch of those loads you can weigh every cartridge, and they will all weigh the same or very close to it, and all will feed through your bolt rifle, from a full magazine, or chamber in either barrel of your double in a "DROP-IN" smoothness.

    Like Ray and Sky, I have been hand-loading for all my rifles since the early 1950s for all my rifles, except rimfires,the only place I use factory is with the rimfires, shotguns and simi-auto pistol ammo. All hunting ammo is Hand-loaded, very carefully, and the recipes are all for individual rifles, so as to get the best load I can for any rifle I own.
    .....................................Good hunting:thumb:
     
  12. WyoJoe

    WyoJoe New Member

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    About the only way I can afford to shoot my .375 very much is to reload. The Cheapest ammo for it that I have found is about $55/20 rounds and goes up to about $80/20.

    One thing that I did not see mentioned is the satisfaction a person enjoys when they shoot an animal with ammunition they have assembled.
     
  13. WyoJoe

    WyoJoe New Member

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    About the same here Mac. Although I have been known to buy commercial reloads for my .357.
     
  14. Talisker

    Talisker AH Member

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    The only factory loaded ammo I usually buy is .22LR and .25 cal air rifle pellets. Except for military surplus for practice and acquiring brass.


    The last factory ammo I bought was some old surplus 7x57 Norma softpoints from 1984. Surprisingly, we could not produce a faster or more accurate load than the old Norma loadings, but they used proprietary powder. USUALLY, the handload is better, but Norma ammo is not your usual factory fodder and the price tag reflects that.

    We beat the Norma factory load in accuracy with Sierra Game King bullets, but the velocity is far off by at least 200 fps. However, the slower velocity is better at close range for the Game King terminal performance. Handloading is about optimizing for your situation, especially for me as good 7x57 ammo is rarely available in the States anymore, and really never was except for Norma.

    Haven't figured out a way yet to save money on air rifle pellet reloads, but I can improve performance by loading a magnum rifle primer into a hollow point Crow Magnum pellet. The hole produced in plywood is a lot bigger from the improved pellet, and the "knockout power" is without a doubt more in evidence. Something to consider if you need something in a firearms restricted jurisdiction and you need some protection.

    Everytime we have a presidential election these days, there will be a shortage of hunting ammo as people stockpile and manufacturers temporarily suspend production to concentrate on certain cartridge types. A person with reloading gear and a stockpile of the harder to get stuff can make a good profit. I stockpile my own components, but I have a reloader that does the work for $5/hour, which makes it uneconomical for me to buy a couple thousand in reloading gear to match his stuff. Even by paying him his small hourly fee, I come out quite a bit to the good as far as cost goes, and have better shooting ammo as well.
     
  15. 6MM

    6MM AH Veteran

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    To me it is not about saving dollars though that is a nice side benefit. I like the quest to find the best load that works in my rifle. Every gun has it's own favorite recipe and I like finding it. I don't go out and buy every bullet under the sun but target a couple of brands and weights and then start the load work-up. Some happen quickly while others take a couple of months but once you find it and repeat that success the next trip it is really satisfying plus when you are stacking rounds one on top of the other at 100 yards or more it builds your confidence on the trip.

    I am proficient rifleman but let's face it never happens like the hunting shows, and having a consistent load for your rifle helps to offset those things that aren't quite perfect when you are squeezing that trigger on a trophy.
     

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